Deity of Sriman Mahaprabhu,
worshiped in Sri Nabadwip Dham
1. The Appearance of Srimati
Today is the Holy Day of Vasanta-pancami (the fifth day
of the light fortnight of the moon, month of Magh, when Krsna is worshipped
with the new flowers of spring). On this day, the holy advent of Srimati
Visnupriya Devi occurred. Her father was Sri Sanatana Misra of Nabadwip,
who was a Brahmana and great devotee of Lord Visnu. Srimati Visnupriya
Devi is the Eternal Consort of Sri Gaurasundar in His feature of Gaura
Narayana, and according to Sri-Gauranganoddesa-dipika she is
directly Satyabhama in Krsna's Dvaraka-lila.
was the second wife of Sriman Mahaprabhu in the householder period of
His Pastimes. From childhood, she was devout in the Divine Service of
the Supreme Lord. Kasinatha Pandit was the intermediary in her marriage
was the ideal of Divine Self-surrender at the Lotus Feet of Mahaprabhu.
When she was only fourteen, Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, and after
that she lived the rest of her life in penance. From early morning she
would take the Holy Name the whole day, and for every Mahamantra
that she chanted, she would put one grain of rice into a clay pot. After
chanting her quota, she would take that rice and cook it and offer it
to the Lord. That was all she would take for her subsistence, so gradually
she became emaciated. She passed her days in this way.
brother was her guardian after Sacidevi departed, and ultimately she
had a Sri-Murtti (Deity) of Mahaprabhu, and she would worship
Him in that Form. And since the time of Visnupriya, that worship is
being continued up to the present in the Temple here in Nabadwip known
as 'Mahaprabhura Badi' (the Home of Mahaprabhu). So this day of the
year is connected with her holy memory, and we may achieve her Grace
if we honour this time in her name, discussing her Pastimes. She will
be propitiated and Sri Chaitanyadev will also be pleased with us, giving
us a step forward in our transcendental march towards Him.
2. The Appearance of Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi
is also the appearance day of Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi. He is considered
to be Vrsabhanuraja of Varsana, Vrndavana, the father of Srimati Radharani.
Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi was born in a Brahmana family at Chattagram,
and he bore the title 'Vidyanidhi' on account of his scholarship. Apparently
he was a man of luxurious habits. In those days, people who could afford
it would have a house in Nabadwip on the banks of the holy Ganges river;
they would from time to time visit Nabadwip to regularly bathe in the
Ganges and remain for some time in this Holy Place, and then return
to their homes to continue their livelihood. So, Pundarika Vidyanidhi
also had a house in Nabadwip.
in Gaura-lila, Gadadhara Pandit was the Representation of Srimati
Radharani Herself. At that time, Gadadhara Pandit was a young boy. He
was younger than Mahaprabhu. Mukunda Datta was a follower and admirer
of Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev, and he also came from Chattagram, the
village of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. He knew Pundarika Vidyanidhi to be
a man of higher religious type, that is, a Bhagavata type or
Krsna-bhakta. But outwardly Pundarika Vidyanidhi lived a life
of luxury. He was a well-to-do man, a general zamindar (state
owner). Mukunda Datta naturally knew him when he came to Nabadwip, since
he hailed from the same place. Mukunda Datta went to Gadadhara Pandit
and asked him, "Would you like to have the darsana of a Vaisnava?"
childhood Gadadhara Pandit was very fond of Vaisnavas and Krsna-nama.
He had much fondness for Nimai Pandit, when the Lord returned from Gaya.
Previously he was very much afraid of Nimai Pandit, because whenever
They met, Nimai Pandit would always tackle him with some apparent quarrel
about etymology or something of that nature. So, after returning from
Gaya, when Sri Chaitanyadev expressed his Devotional Aspect, He said
one day, "Gadadhara, from your very childhood you are a devotee of Krsna,
and My days have been wasted discussing grammar and mundane literature.
But you, Gadadhara, My friend your life is very successful. You have
fulfilment of life. From the beginning you are fond of Krsna-nama."
So, from the beginning Gadadhara Pandit's heart was towards Krsna. Therefore
when Mukunda Datta asked him, "Would you like to see a Vaisnava who
has come from afar?" the reply came, "Yes, yes, I shall go; take me
Mukunda Datta took Gadadhara Pandit to Pundarika Vidyanidhi. And what
kind of Vaisnava was Pundarika Vidyanidhi? He was sitting on a luxurious
bedstead, smoking a very ornate and valuable pipe. His head was adorned
with beautiful oiled curly locks, and many valuable pastes were anointed
on his body. Two attendants fanned him on either side.
Pandit thought, "Mukunda has brought me to this luxury-loving man sitting
on the bedstead and smoking? What type of Vaisnava has he brought me
to see?" He was disappointed at heart, and Mukunda could guess it. Mukunda
Datta was a very good singer, and in a very sweet tone he sang this
sloka of Bhagavatam:
baki yam stana-kala-kutam
jighamsayapayayad apy asadhvi
lebhe gatim dhatry ucitam tato 'nyam
kam va dayalum saranam vrajema
sloka was chanted by Mukunda in a very sweet tone, and this created
a wonderful effect in Pundarika Vidyanidhi. The Bhagavatam says,
"Who else but Krsna should we approach? Who can be so kind, so gracious?
There is limitless Grace in Him. Why? Baki - Putana, came to kill Him
in a treacherous way, taking the garb of a dhatri, a motherly garb.
In this way she came to try and kill Him; yet Krsna gave her a position
as a nursemaid in His group of assisting mothers. So gracious is the
Lord. Who else can we approach for our good?"
This is the meaning of the
verse. "She painted deadly poison on her breast, and came to suckle
the boy Krsna. So treacherous was her action. In the garb of motherly
affection she tried to murder the boy, and she was given such a high
position as an attendant of His mother. She was elevated to the motherly
group. Such Grace, such Mercy He showed, without considering or passing
judgment on the worth of that action. So other than that kindhearted
and gracious Krsna, where else should we go for shelter?"
entered the heart of Pundarika Vidyanidhi and began to vibrate, and
produced such force that he was stunned; then shivering began, and madly
gesticulating, he began to pull his hair and tear his silken dress,
kicking over the tobacco and pipe. His rich bedding and dress were ruined,
and he began to roll on ground and cry, kam va dayalum saranam vrajema
"In whom shall we take shelter other than Him?"
Gadadhara Pandit thought, "Oh, I have committed a great offence in my
mind, thinking that he was not a Vaisnava, because of his fashionable
dress and style. Really, how great a Vaisnava he is what a wonderful
effect the memory of Krsna caused in him!"
Gadadhara Pandit revealed his mind.
I have committed offence against this great Vaisnava. What will be my
fate? When I first saw him, I shunned him; I committed offence. I think
that if I take mantra from him become his disciple then he
may forgive all my offences. There is no other way to be absolved from
this Vaisnava-aparadha. I shall have to inform my Lord Gaurachandra,
Nimai Pandit, about this."
they left the place of Pundarika Vidyanidhi, and Gadadhara went to take
Nimai Pandit's permission to become the disciple of Pundarika Vidyanidhi.
anyone knew that Pundarika had come from Chattagram to Nabadwip, and
even before Mahaprabhu had met him, Mahaprabhu was seen to suddenly
cry, "Bap Pundarik! Bap Pundarik!" In the mood of Srimati Radharani,
Nimai was taking his name. Bap means 'father.' So He was calling,
"Father, Pundarika! Father Pundarika!" Nimai Pandit was chanting like
this, in the mood of Radharani.
Gadadhara made his proposal to Mahaprabhu, the Lord immediately replied,
"Yes, very good proposal. Go and accept him at once." Gadadhara Pandit
represents Radharani in Gaura-lila, and Pundarika is Radharani's
father in Krsna-lila: the Guru is like the father, and the disciple
is like the child. So Mahaprabhu at once approved and Gadadhara took
initiation from Pundarika Vidyanidhi. He was none other than Vrsabhanuraja,
and Gadadhara was the incarnation of Radharani in Gaura-lila.
Vidyanidhi would not take bath in the Ganges because he could not tolerate
that his feet would touch the holy Ganges river. Before daybreak, he
would go to the Ganges and take some of the water on his head. He did
not go to the Ganges by day, because he could not tolerate to see persons
who would dive into the water or spit there and contaminate the pure,
holy water by misusing it. Before worship, prayer, etc., the general
pandit section may bathe in the Ganges and fast to purify their
bodies of sin. But Pundarika Vidyanidhi would rather drink some Ganges
water prior to his daily worship and duties, thereby teaching us the
proper worshipful respect due to the Ganga.
Puri, his dearmost friend and associate was Sri Svarupa Damodara. When
he went to Puri, he felt some pain in his heart that the priestly servants
of Lord Jagannath dressed the Lord in starched cloth, which is generally
considered impure. When cloth is manufactured by handloom, the thread
is soaked in boiled rice water which acts as a paste to hold it firm
in the loom. That cloth is considered impure, and must first be rinsed
in water before offering it to the Deity. But in Puri, that was not
the practice. They directly used starched cloth for
dressing Lord Jagannath, and Pundarika Vidyanidhi could not accommodate
and Balaram came to him and dealt slaps to his cheeks.
night, he dreamt that both Jagannath and Balaram came to him and dealt
slaps to his
saying, "You have come here to point out the defects in My servitors?
both began to slap him, and the
was so intense that when he rose in the morning he found that both his
cheeks were inflamed.
expressed to his most intimate friend, Svarupa Damodara: "My dear friend,
Svarupa Damodara, such is my position. I had this objectionable feeling
in my heart towards these servitors, so Jagannath and Balaram have punished
me in this way. See the swelling on both cheeks!"
was the nature of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. In essence, we are told that
he is the father of Srimati Radharani, incarnated here as Pundarika
Vidyanidhi. A slight holy association of this day, his appearance day,
will help us a great deal in our advancement of spiritual life.
3. The Appearance of Sri Raghunandana Thakur
this is also the birthday of Raghunandana Thakur. He was born in a place
named Srikhanda, near Katwa, in a Kaviraj family, a lineage of Ayurvedic
doctors. Raghunandana was the son of Mukunda Kaviraj, who was such a
notable doctor that even kings called for him for treatment. Raghunandana
was a bachelor his whole life. His figure was extraordinarily beautiful,
and he was very fond of dancing. From the beginning he was, of course,
a natural devotee.
family of Mukunda Thakur worshiped their ancestral Deity at home. Once,
when Raghunandana was a growing boy, who had perhaps only recently received
the sacred thread and admission to worship, his father asked him, "I'm
going out and won't return in time. You please worship the Deity and
feed Him offer bhogam for His food." His expression was, "Please
try to feed my Deity."
he was away, Raghunandana's mother cooked many items and brought them
to the temple, and asked Raghunandana to offer them to the Deity. Generally
the doors are kept closed during worship, so behind the closed doors
Raghunandana offered and prayed to the Lord,
take these dishes I am offering You please eat."
the Sri-Murtti did not answer or come forward to eat. Raghunandana
began to cry.
father will rebuke me! He has requested me to feed You, and You are
not eating. I'll be punished. You have to take this food!"
sincere boy began to cry in such a way that Krsna had to eat. Raghunandana
was satisfied, and came out from the Deity room.
mother came to remove the Prasadam.
is this? All the plates are empty!"
asked me to feed the Deity. He has taken."
mother said angrily,
boy, you have eaten it! The Deity doesn't eat. We offer, everything
remains, and afterwards we take the Prasadam. You wicked boy,
you have turned out to be such a rogue you have eaten everything."
no, I did not eat, the Deity ate everything."
is impossible, you foolish boy! Do you want to make a fool of me? This
can never happen!"
began to cry.
I'm speaking the truth."
let your father come, and I shall ask him to punish you."
returned, and Raghunandana's mother complained,
boy has grown to be such a rogue! He says the Deity has eaten."
Raghunandana also petitioned his father,
the Deity has eaten. He would not take in the beginning, but I began
to cry, and then He ate."
it is true my father, I am not lying."
you show me?"
he was given another chance to worship, and from a hidden place his
father could see that the Deity had actually taken the food.
a devotee was Raghunandana Thakur. When he danced in Sankirttana,
it was such a charming scene that even Mahaprabhu was attracted. During
the Jagannath Rathayatra seven special groups would chant and
dance, and in the party from Srikhanda we find that Raghunandana was
today is the day connected with the memory of Sri Raghunandana Thakur,
who is considered to be Pradyumna Avatara. Many more incidents
occur in his pastimes I have only touched on them. It is also said
that near the banks of the lake Madhu-puskarini there is a Jambu tree,
and according to his wish two Kadamba flowers bloom on that tree every
day for the worship of his Deity. Many miracles are found in his pastimes.