Disappearance lila of Siddha Sri Ramhari Das Babaji

23 08 2009

Jai Nitai!

Today is the day of the disappearance lila of Siddha Sri Ramhari Das Babaji. He is one of the 12 great Mahatmas that are connected with our param-gurudeva Sripad Ramdas Babaji Maharaj. In any festival connected to Ramdas Babaji these 12 Mahatmas are served along with him.

Ramhari Das Babaji took birth in 1847 in Sripat Shantipur. Even as a child he exhibited strong spiritual tendencies and renunciation. As so often happens in these situations his parents thought to marry him to take his mind from his spiritual practices. But he just took complete shelter of Sri Nam and left home and went to Nabadwip hoping to get the kripa of the Vaisnavas there.

By good fortune he met Siddha Jagannath Das Babaji and took his shelter and guidance. Jagannath Das Babaji could understand that he was very serious and determined in his sadhana and arranged for him to receive diksha from Sri Radhikavilasa Thakura of Sri Khanda who was then staying in the kutir with Jagannath Baba.. Then Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj himself gave him veshashraya and named him Ramhari Das. Since his home and family were not far away his family members continued to give Ramhari trouble so he decided to go to Braja to do his bhajan. He stayed at Kesi Ghat, Radhakund, and Lala Babu’s kunja in Vamsivat for 12 years

He was a very loving and affection soul and treated all equally. He was especially fond of Gaura kirtan and instructed his sisyas to read Locana Das’s Dhamali as part of their daily sadhana. He was so attracted to Gaura Nam that if anyone said the name of Gaura he would embrace them with love. His favorite Vaisnavas to associate with were the sisyas of Jagannath Das Babaji and he also loved to do kirtan with our param-gurudev Sripad Ramdas Babaji which they did regularly.

It is so sweet to mention that when anyone would come to visit him from Nabadvip he would immediately welcome him with a garland of  fresh flowers and some cooling sandalwood paste.  He would then take that person on his lap and ask some philosophical questions about Gaurahari. If he didn’t get answers that pleased him he would ask the person to quickly go back to Nabadwip and have darshan of Nitai and Gaura and to get the association of the Gaura bhaktas there.

Rajarshi Banamali Bahadur, a close associate of Madhava Das Babaji came to stay at Lala Babu’s kutir. One day after honoring the prasad of Sri Radhavinod he became so overwhelmed in rapture that he began to dance and yell out, “Gaura, Gaura!” Sri Bijoy Krsna Gosvami’s disciple, Sri Brajabala Mahasaya, Sri Giridhari Das Babaji, Sri Madhava Das Babaji and many others came to join in the kirtana and they all danced in complete ecstacy!

On one day in 1907 at around noontime. he told his disciples, “Sri Gaurhari and His companions are performing kirtana and are dancing in ecstasy in Srivas Angan. I have to go there immediately.  Please bathe me and decorate me with tilak.”  After his sisyas carried out his orders, he sat in meditation with his eyes closed and entered nitya-lila.


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Gopinath stolen from Sri Khanda

21 07 2009

Jaya Gora!

It was brought to my attention yesterday by my dear gurubhai, Subrata Ji that the murti of Gopinath was stolen on October 27, 1987. All along I had a funny feeling about Gopinath and that is why I didn’t point him out in the picture of the altar at Gaura Radha Madangopal Mandir. I was told by Dilip Raya Goswami that Gopinath was on that altar, but obviously some miscommunication was there. You can see a photo of the original Gopinath on Subrata’s blog.





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




Journey to Sri Khanda, Sri Pat of Narahari Sarkar Pt. 4

13 07 2009

Jaya Gora!

Now we drive away from Baradanga and in just a couple of minutes we arrive in the town of Sri Khanda. Dilip Raya Goswami takes us on a brief tour of the mandirs here…we park and continue on foot. First stop is Radha Govinda Mandir. Goswami Ji tells us that Mahaprabhu stayed here for 10 days. Madhu Pushkarini is located just behind the mandir. I wrote about the lila that took place at Madhu Pushkarini and shared some photos in an earlier post. Next he took us to Radha Madanmohan Mandir and told us that Mahaprabhu stayed in this mandir for 5 days. There is also a bhajan sthali of Narahari located here. To be continued…

Radha Govinda at Sri Khanda

Radha Govinda at Sri Khanda

Radha Madanmohan at Sri Khanda

Radha Madanmohan at Sri Khanda

Narahari's bhajan sthali at Radha Madanmohan Mandir

Narahari's bhajan sthali at Radha Madanmohan Mandir

A look inside the bhajan kutir

A look inside the bhajan kutir





Two more lila paintings from Narahari Gaura Kunja

11 07 2009

Jai Gora!

In the post about the dRSTi dAn lIlA a few days ago, I mentioned that I had already shared all the paintings I had from Narahari Gaura Kunja, but afterwards I found two more. I have already spoken of the lilas that take place in the two paintings I am sharing today. You can read about those lilas in the previous post  “Journey to Sri Khanda Pt 3.”

nADu khAoyAna lIlA ~ Raghunandan feeding laddu to Gopinath...Mukunda peeking through the doorway

nADu khAoyAna lIlA ~ Raghunandan feeding laddu to Gopinath...Mukunda peeking through the doorway

Abhiram Goswami meets Raghunandan - they dance and Raghunandan's nupur flies off his foot and creating a kunda where it lands in Akaihat

Abhiram Goswami meets Raghunandan - they dance and Raghunandan's nupur flies off his foot and creates a kunda where it lands in Akaihat some two miles away





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