Radhey Shyam

16 08 2009
~ Radhey Shyam ~

~ Radhey Shyam ~

kRSNaM vinA jagad idaM na hi vetti rAdhA
rAdhAM vinA jagad idaM na hi vetti kRSNaH
etena sarvam anugacchati sarva eva
kRSNa-prakAza-vasatiH khalu rAdhikaiva

kRSNaM vinA jagad idaM na hi vetti rAdhA
rAdhAM vinA jagad idaM na hi vetti kRSNaH |
etena sarvam anugacchati sarva eva
kRSNa-prakAza-vasatiH khalu rAdhikaiva ||8||

Radha knows nothing other than Krishna in this world, and Krishna knows nothing other than Radha. Everything follows from this. Everything indeed. Radha alone is the abode of Krishna’s light and revelation.

Radhastakam~Narahari Sarkar

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Journey to Sri Khanda, Sri Pat of Narahari Sarkar Pt. 5

18 07 2009

Jaya Gora!

Well, here we are at the final mandir of the visit, Sri Sri Gaura Madan Gopal Mandir.  This is where the Goswami’s live with their families, and this is the birthplace of Sri Raghunandan Thakur. The sign above the entrance says that Narahari’s bhajan kutir was here, but it was not shown to us. Also the famous Gopinath is located on the altar in this mandir. Dilip Raya Goswami introduced us to his brother Banku Vilas Thakur Goswami and their wives. Dilip wanted his brother to speak Gaura Narahari katha to us, but I think he felt a bit uneasy about his English language skills and declined, asking Dilip to just continue speaking. From what I gathered his brother Banku Vilas is a very learned Vaisnava and knows all the lilas pertaining to Narahari, Raghunandan and the other Sri Khandavasis. Tea was served and Dilip Raya told us the lila about Raghunandan and Gopinath in English. He showed us a picture of their gurudeva, Sri Balaram Vilas Thakur, and pointed out a verse which was written around the picture–ananta brahmaNDaA mAjhe tirtha gaNan | sarbbatirtha sAr bhAi zrI guru caraNa || “O Brother! The most excellent of all the tirthas within the unlimited universes is the lotus-feet of Sri Guru.” He liked that verse a great deal. I posted this photo in Pt.1 of this series. After that we all climbed back into the Sumo and headed off to Ekachakra. Dilip Raya Goswami was going to show me his library and answer some questions I had, but before I knew it, the time ran out and we had to go. On the way out I did get to see the room my gurudeva would stay in when he came to Sri Khanda to perform bhajan and do kirtan. The Goswami’s were very cordial and invited me to come back and stay for a while to do bhajan. I certainly intend to take them up on their offer. Jaya Gora! Jaya Narahari!

Entrance to Gaura Radha Madan Gopal Mandir

Entrance to Gaura Radha Madan Gopal Mandir

~ Gaura Radha Madan Gopal ~

~ Gaura Radha Madan Gopal ~

Group photo on the porch of the Goswami's home

Group photo on the porch of the Goswami's home

Murti of baby Raghunandan on the lap of his mother

Murti of baby Raghunandan on the lap of his mother

ananta brahmaNDaA mAjhe tirth agaNan
sarbbatirtha sAr bhAi zrI guru caraNa




Drishti Dan Lila ~ a lila painting at Narahari Gaura Kunja

9 07 2009

Jaya Gora!

Here is the last of the paintings I have from Narahari Gaura Kunja. This one illustrates the dRSTi dAn lIlA.

Drishti dan lila ~ Virachadra Prabhu restoring sight to a blind man

Drishti dan lila ~ Virachadra Prabhu restoring sight to a blind man

A huge utsav was held at Sri Khanda in honor of Narahari Sarakar’s disappearance. In the evening, aroti was performed at Gauranga Mandir and kirtan began. Flower garlands and sandalwood paste were offered to the khols and karatalas and then to all of the assembled Vaisnavas. An auspicious roar resounded through the air and hundreds of lamps were lit around the compound where the sankirtan was being performed. The entire assembly was enchanted by the wondrous sound of the kirtan. Soon the compound was filled to the brim and all the Vaisnavas had streams of tears flowing down their faces. Demigods decended and mingled as ordinary people and floated in an ocean of happiness while enjoying the kirtan. The Vaisnavas, forgetting their own existence danced madly in kirtan—a kirtan which mesmerised the entire universe.

Nityananda’s son, Sri Virabhadra was in attendance and whoever saw his dancing forgot all their miseries. He was dancing so beautifully that the Vaisnavas lamented having only two eyes with which to watch his astonishing dance. A blind man who was listening to the kirtan asked another man what the name of the dancer was. When he heard Virabhadra, he thought that the name had the power to remove all the evils from the world. Vira means, “destroying the wicked,” and bhadra means, “protecting the good.” In his mind he lamented being blind and therefore unable to see the dancing of Virabhadra Prabhu. He silently begged the Lord to cure his blindness. His crying reached the heart of Virabhadra Prabhu who glanced affectionately at the man. Suddenly the blind man’s vision was restored and he became overwhelmed with joy. The glory of Sri Virabhadra was recognized by a huge ovation.





Madhupan Lila ~ a lila painting at Narahari Gaura Kunja

3 07 2009

Jaya Gora!

Narahari Sarakar was Madhumati sakhi in Braja lila, and one of her services was to supply madhu (spiritous liquor) to Radhey Shyam and their associates during madhupAn lIlA.

Madhupan Lila

Madhupan Lila

When Nityananda, Mahaprabhu and some of their companions had gone to the house of Narahari their visit there was greatly celebrated. At that time Nityananda desired to perform a special lila. Recognizing Narahari as Madhumati sakhi of Braja lila, he called out, “Madhumati! I have come from a long distance hearing your ‘Madhumati’ name to quench my thirst for madhu. Will you not give us madhu to drink?”

Narahari poured some water from the kunda into a jug and gave it to Nityananda. The water mystically became madhu. Nitai and all his friends drank it freely and asked for more. Everytime Narahari brought water it turned into madhu. They all drank and got intoxicated. Under the influence of this madhu they laughed, cried, sang, danced, and rolled around on the ground.

In Sri Khanda the pond where the water came from is still there. It is known as Madhu Pushkarini.

Monument at Madhu Pushkarini describing the lila that took place there

Monument at Madhu Pushkarini describing the lila that took place there

Madhu Pushkarini as it appears today

Madhu Pushkarini as it appears today





Journey to Sri Khanda, Sri Pat of Narahari Sarkar–Baradanga Pt. 3

1 07 2009

Jaya Gora!

khaNDavAsI mukunda-dAsa, zrI-raghunandana
narahari-dAsa, ciraJjIva, sulocana |
ei saba mahAzAkhA——caitanya-kRpAdhAma
prema-phala-phula kare yAhAG tAhAG dAna ||CC 1.10.78-79||

khaNDavAsI mukunda-dAsa, zrI-raghunandana
narahari-dAsa, ciraJjIva, sulocana |
ei saba mahAzAkhA——caitanya-kRpAdhAma
prema-phala-phula kare yAhAG tAhAG dAna ||CC 1.10.78-79||

The Sri Khandavasis were Mukunda, Raghunandan, Narahari, Ciranjiva and Sulochana. They formed a major branch of the tree of Sri Caitanya’s reservoir of mercy. They gave away the fruits and flowers of that prema anywhere and everywhere.

Kalpataru Vishvambhara and the Sri Khandavasis

Kalpataru Vishvambhara and the Sri Khandavasis

The photo  is a painting on a courtyard wall at Narahari Gaura Kunja in Baradanga. It shows the main Sri Khandavasis as listed in Caitanya Caritamrta. As you look at the picture, on the far left is Mukunda Das/Sarakar. He was the son of Narayan Das and the eldest brother of Narahari. Mukunda’s son is Raghunandan Thakur.  His second brothers name was Madhava Das. The Gaura Ganoddesa Dipika (175) states that Mukunda was the presiding deity of Braja, Vrinda Devi.

The next person in the photo (right side of Mukunda) is Raghunandan. One day Mahaprabhu gave Mukunda a half-chewed piece of His pan prasad and told him to give it to his wife to eat. The next day Raghunandan was born. In Caitanya Caritamtra (Madhya 15.114) Mahaprabhu asks Mukunda who is the father, you or your son Raghunandan. Mahaprabhu was pointing out that the one from whom Krishna bhakti is obtained is the father, or guru. This was spoken in relation to the famous story about Raghunandan serving bhoga to his father’s Gopinath which goes as follows:

One day Mukunda had to go out for some work. He prepared a plate of bhoga to be offered to Gopinath and asked that Raghunandan keep watch on the offering until he returned. Raghunandan kept looking at Gopinath waiting to see Him eat, but He did not eat. In anger Raghunandan said, “Gopinath! Will you not eat? Will you only eat when my father feeds you? Are you not mine?” He said this and burst into tears. Seeing this, Gopinath got teary-eyed to see him weep and said with a smile, “I am yours Raghu,” and began to eat. He ate ever particle and Raghunandan was unlimitedly happy. When Mukunda returned he asked Raghunandan to bring prasad, and he said, “Papa! Gopinath ate it all.” Mukunda was stupified. Out of curiosity the next day he pretended to go again for some work and asked Raghunandan to feed Gopinath again. Instead of going anywhere he hid behind the door. Raghunandan picked up a laddu from the plate and put it in the hand of Gopinath and said, “Eat Thakur, eat.” At that time Mukunda peeked around the door and to his surprise he saw that Gopinath was eating with great pleasure. Gopinath then noticed Mukunda watching from the door. Mukunda was a great devotee, but he did not have the simple heart and faith of his son, Raghu. Gopinath had eaten half the laddu and the remainder was still in his hand. Mukunda was overwhelmed and embraced his son and kissed him again and again as tears of joy flowed from his eyes. In Gopinath’s temple in Sri Khanda you can see that Gopinath is holding half a laddu in His hand.

When Raghunandan was eight years old his father took him to Nilachal for darshan of Mahaprabhu. As soon as Raghunandan made obeisance he sang the following verse which came into his heart spontaneously:

“O Golden Gaura! How sweet is your body, from which hundreds of streams of lustre flow. Even Cupid feels jealous of Your beauty, on account of which  You easily steal the heart of anyone who sees You even once. O Gaura! How I wish that the image of You in Your dancing pose always remains in my mind.”

Mahaprabhu’s companions were all struck with wonder to hear such a sloka coming from the mouth of an eight year old boy. Mahaprabhu entrusted him with the service of their family deity Gopinath who he served lifelong with his heart and soul. On the account of his bhakti two flowers bloomed everyday on a Kadamba tree on the bank of a pond near his house for the service of Gopinath. (CC Madhya 15.128-129)

There was a great Vaisnava named Abhiram Goswami who heard of Mahaprabhu’s special affection for Raghunandan and came for his darshan. He made a full prostration before Raghunandan who picked him up and embraced him. They began kirtan and started to dance. While dancing one of the nupurs worn by Raghunandan flew off his foot and fell near the house of his disciple Krishna Das in Akaihat some two miles away. A kunda appeared on the spot where it landed. This Nupur Kunda of Akaihat can be see even today. I was unaware of this lila and didn’t go to Akaihat to see the kunda unfortunately…next time I go to Sri Khanda I will certainly make a point of visiting this kunda.

Raghunandan wanted to have darshan of Srinivas Acharya before leaving his body. At the same time a desire arose in the mind of Srinivas Acharya to come and see Raghunanadan. Happily they met and confidentially Raghunandan said, “All of Mahaprabhu’s companions have gone one by one. Having been deprived of their company I don’t want to live any longer. Let’s see if Mahaprabhu fulfils my desire.” After a couple of days Raghunandan arranged for Nam-yajna in which he performed kirtan. On the third day, while doing kirtan he was so overwhelmed in bhava that he began to invoke Mahaprabhu by loudly chanting His name, “Sri Krishna Caitanya.” Mahaprabhu heard his call and appeared before him internally and took him to His Dham.

The next person in the painting is Narahari and I have written something about him in Pt.1 of this series. On the right side of Mahaprabhu is Ciranjiva and the last person is Sulochana. Ciranjiva had two famous sons. The oldest son was the dearest associate of Narottam Das and was named Ramachandra Kaviraj and the other was the famous poet Govinda Das/Kaviraj. The Gaura Ganoddesa Dipika (197-297) states that Ciranjiva was the sakhi named Candrika in Braja-lila and Sulochana was the sakhi named, Chandrashekara.

All these Sri Khandavasis would come to Nilachal each year to have darshan of Mahaprabhu and to perform kirtan and dance before Jagannath Dev at Ratha Yatra.