shri-radha-prema-rupa ya pura vrindavandeshvari
sa shri-gadadharo gaura-vallabhah panditakhyakah
nirnitah shri-Svarupair yo vraja-lakshmitaya yatha
pura vrindavane lakshmih shyamasundara-vallabha
sadya gaura-prema-lakshmih shri-gadadhara-panditah
radham anugata yat tal lalitapy anuradhika
atah pravishad esha tam gaura-candrodaye yatha
gadadhara panditadi prabhura nija-shaktiGadadhara Pandit and others are the lord’s own energies. I pay thousands of obeisances to their feet.
tan sabhara carane mora sahasra pranati
“Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appears in six features, namely as the two types of guru, the devotees of the lord, the lord himself, his incarnation, his expansion and his energy. According to the principle of simultaneous oneness and difference, they are all identified with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself.”
(Anubhashya to Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.1.37-45)
She who was Radha in Krishna’s pastimes became Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami in Gaura’s lila. When Gaura manifests his identity with Narayan, his shaktis are his wives Lakshmipriya and Vishnupriya. When identifying with Krishna, his shakti is Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami.
païcatattvatmakam krishnamI offer my obeisances to Krishna who appears in five features, as a devotee, as the expansion of a devotee, as an incarnation of a devotee, as the pure devotee and as the devotional energy.
These five features all appeared with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his incarnation, and in their association, he joyfully performed the congregational chanting of the Holy Names. Though he appears in these five forms, there is in fact no difference between them. The distinctions arise due to his desire to relish different devotional flavors. Sri Gauranga, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara and Srivasa, etc., make up the Pancha Tattva and there is spiritually no difference between them. The supreme truth has unlimited different pastimes in order to relish the different tastes of transcendental relationship and thus he separates into these five forms as the form of devotee, the devotional manifestation, the devotional incarnation, the devotional energy and the pure devotee.
jaya jaya nityananda-gadadharera jivanaAll glories, all glories, to the life of Nityananda and Gadadhara!
jaya jaya advaitadi bhaktera sharana
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur comments on words “the life of Gadadhara” as follows: “Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami is chief amongst the most intimate devotees of Sri Chaitanya. He is the fountainhead of the entire shakti-tattva and is thus present equally in Mahaprabhu’s lilas in Nabadwip and in Nilachala. His childhood home was in Nabadwip; later when he took sannyas, he went to live in Jagannath Puri, in a garden or tota by the seashore. Pure devotees who wish to enter into the madhura-rasa of worship to Radha and Govinda take shelter of Gadadhara Pandit and are known as Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s intimate devotees. Those devotees who are not so inclined take shelter of Nityananda Prabhu and engage in pure devotional service in his mood. Some of Mahaprabhu’s devotees, such as Narahari, were followers of Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami. They took refuge in him because they knew him to be his dearest associate and thus worthy of their service. Some devotees therefore call Chaitanya ‘the life of Nityananda’ while others called him ‘the life of Gadadhara.’”
Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami was a brahmachari for his entire life. Isvara Puripada was very impressed by his indifference to the pleasures of the world and out of affection for him gave him instruction in his own work, Krishna-lilamrita.
While Mahaprabhu was delighting in his pastimes as a student, there was no scholar in the town of Nabadwip who was not afraid of entering into debate with him. Mahaprabhu would defeat one’s position and then show how the same position could be defended. Mukunda, Srivasa and others who knew the joys of the devotional sentiment were afraid of getting involved in such useless debates with Nimai Pandit and so they would avoid him. One day, Nimai Pandit saw Gadadhara and asked him to give the definition of liberation. Gadadhara answered according to the Nyaya school, that liberation consisted in the final eradication of all miseries (atyantika duhkha-nivritti). Nimai then proceeded to show how this definition was inadequate. The other devotees who were listening thought how wonderful it would be if such a brilliant scholar became a devotee.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.10)
When Mahaprabhu returned from Gaya and began to reveal the amazing transformations of love, all the devotees were astonished. Sriman Pandit was the first to see Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic symptoms and he reported this news to all the others who were overjoyed. When Mahaprabhu decided to reveal his true identity to the devotees, he told them to come to the house of Shuklambar Brahmachari. Gadadhara went to Shuklambar’s house but was discreet about his presence there, but when he saw Mahaprabhu become intoxicated with the power of the Holy Names and overcome by the sattvikas, he fainted. Mahaprabhu then said to him: “Gadadhara! You have such good fortune. From your early childhood, your mind has been fixed on Krishna’s lotus feet. Meanwhile, I have wasted my life in useless activities. Though I had obtained the great treasure of a human birth, by my misfortune, I made no use of it.”
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.1)
Whenever Mahaprabhu became too overcome by his ecstasies, Gadadhara would calm him. One day, as Mahaprabhu was crying out in separation, “Where is Krishna? Where is Krishna?” Gadadhara said to him, “Your lord Krishna is hidden in your heart.” As soon as he heard this, Mahaprabhu began to claw at his chest, but luckily Gadadhara was able to stop him by holding his hands and calm him by saying, “Krishna will come shortly, be patient.” When Sachi saw how Gadadhara was clever in handling her son, she asked him to always stay by his side to protect him.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.2.198-210)
aho bakiyam stana-kala-kutamHow truly amazing! The sister of Bakasura, the evil Putana, was sent on a mission to kill Krishna. He drank the kalakuta poison that was mixed with her breast milk, and despite her evil intentions, awarded her the position of a wet nurse (as Ambika Kilimba in Goloka). Who is more merciful than he that I should take shelter of him?
jighamsayapayayad apy asadhvi
lebhe gatim dhatry-ucitam tato’nyam
kam va dayalum sharanam prapadye
The instant that Pundarika Vidyanidhi heard this couplet, he began to cry, “Ha Krishna!” and fell to the ground in a faint. Extraordinary ecstatic symptoms began to show on his body. Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami was amazed to see this reaction and began to regret the offensive thoughts he had been having just moments before. Later, Mahaprabhu advised Gadadhara that the best way to become free of the offense was to take initiation from Pundarika Vidyanidhi, and so he became his disciple.
At Chandrasekhara’s house, in the first act of the play about Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan that Mahaprabhu staged, Hari Das played the part of the village constable, Srivasa Pandit played Narada Muni and Mahaprabhu Rukmini. In the second act, Gadadhara also dressed as a woman, at which time Mahaprabhu said, “Gadadhara is a part of my Vaikuntha family.” Afterward, Mahaprabhu dressed as the primal energy and gave joy to everyone in the form of the mother of the universe; the devotees too glorified him with hymns addressed to the Divine Mother.
When Mahaprabhu wanted to go to Vrindavan, Ramananda Raya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya used all the means at their disposal to make him stay in Puri. On the third caturmasya after his departure from Nabadwip, all the Bengali devotees came to Puri with their wives to see him. After the Gundicha temple cleansing and the Rathayatra, the devotees returned home. As they were leaving, the devotees from Kulina village asked Mahaprabhu to describe the characteristics of a devotee. Mahaprabhu then described the differences between a Vaishnava, a more advanced Vaishnava and the most advanced Vaishnava.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.16.69-75)
When Mahaprabhu showed even more determination to go to Vrindavan, the devotees finally gave him permission to leave after Vijaya-dashami. King Prataparudra gave a great deal of help to smooth his journey. When he crossed the Citrotpala River, Raya Ramananda, Mardaraja, Harichandana continued on in his company. Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami was unable to tolerate the idea of separation from the lord and also wished to remain with him, but Mahaprabhu reminded him of his vow to remain in Jagannath Puri and forbad him to go to Vraja. Gadadhara said to him, “Jagannath Puri is wherever you are. My vows to remain in Puri can go to hell.” Mahaprabhu again told him not to abandon his service to Gopinath. Gadadhara answered, “Seeing your lotus feet is worth a million services to Gopinath.”
When Mahaprabhu said, “If you abandon your duties to Gopinath, you will be at fault.”, Gadadhara answered that he was willing to take that responsibility, but he would not disturb Mahaprabhu by following alongside him, he would go alone to Bengal to see Sachi Mata. Other than Mahaprabhu’s intimate associates, no one is able to understand the extent of Gadadhara Prabhu’s devotion to Gauranga. Love on the path of spontaneous devotion is not easy to comprehend. Gadadhara was ready to abandon his vows, his service, everything for the sake of Mahaprabhu.
When they all arrived at Cuttack, Mahaprabhu called Gadadhara and said, “Your decision to break your vows and leave your service has been made a reality. If you come with me, that will make you happy. But do you want your own happiness or mine? It will make me unhappy if your vows to remain in Puri and to serve Gopinath are broken. If you want my happiness, return to Puri and take up your vows again. That is all I have to say.”
When he heard Mahaprabhu’s words, Gadadhara fell to the ground in a faint. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya comforted him on Mahaprabhu’s order and then accompanied him back to Puri.
Vallabha responded to Mahaprabhu’s indifference by starting to visit Gadadhara and making a show of attachment to him. Mahaprabhu did not particularly care for Gadadhara’s relation with Vallabha and began to demonstrate a certain coolness toward him also. This behavior made Gadadhara fear that Mahaprabhu would ostracize him and so he came and fell at his feet and started to cry. Mahaprabhu laughed and embraced Gadadhara. He said,
”I wanted to agitate you, but you did not become agitated. You said nothing in anger, but patiently bore everything. Your mind was not disturbed by my tricks. By remaining fixed in your simple nature, you have purchased me.” No one can describe the character of Gadadhara’s ecstatic love. Thus, Mahaprabhu has been given the name Gadadhara-prananatha, “Gadadhara’s life and soul”. No one can describe the lord’s mercy toward Gadadhara; thus people sing their names together: Gadai-Gauranga.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.7.157-160)
Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami remained on this earth only eleven months after Mahaprabhu’s disappearance. In Bhakti-ratnakara, Narahari Chakravarti has described the terrible suffering of Gadadhara in Mahaprabhu’s separation. He remained alive only in order to be able to see Srinivas Acharya.
Repeating the name of Gaurasundara with his eyes closed, his sighs were as hot as flames. No one but the lord can know how Gadadhara Pandit suffered in the absence of Gauranga. His motionless body remained alive only so that he could bestow his mercy on Srinivas Acharya.
Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami disappeared at Puri on the dark moon day of Jyestha in 1456 of the Shaka era (1535 AD).
When Mahaprabhu took sannyas in Katwa, Gangadhara was overcome with grief and began to cry constantly while calling out the names “Ha Chaitanya! Ha Chaitanya!” When other devotees saw him intoxicated in divine love for Mahaprabhu, they nicknamed him Chaitanya Das, a name which stuck with him for the rest of his life.
Chaitanya Das had no desire for the things of this world, but one day he suddenly felt a strong wish to have a son and told this to his wife, Lakshmipriya. She responded by telling him to immediately go to Puri to ask Mahaprabhu for his blessings. The couple left for Puri, stopping for a few days at the house of Balaram Vipra, Lakshmipriya’s father, in Jajigrama. When they arrived in Puri, Chaitanya Das and his wife paid their obeisances to Mahaprabhu, but before they could speak, the Lord himself said, understanding their desire, “Jagannath Deva will surely fulfill all your desires.”
The other devotees were curious about what desire Mahaprabhu was talking about and they asked his servant Govinda. But before he could say anything, Mahaprabhu called Govinda and gave him the answer: “Chaitanya Das desires to have a son. Indeed his wife will give birth to a jewel of a son, who will be named Srinivas. He will be the manifest form of my love and will be non-different from me. He will increase everyone’s enthusiasm for devotion. Through Rupa and others I will bring scriptures into the world, and through Srinivas, I shall distribute them.”
At that time, the Lord called Govinda and said in a deep voice, from a trance state, “The Brahmin has come here, desiring a son. He will soon have one, whom he will name Srinivas. I will bring scriptures into the world through Sri Rupa and others and these jewel-like books will be distributed by Srinivas. Srinivas is the embodiment of pure love for me. All minds will be enthused upon seeing him.”
Once they had received Mahaprabhu’s blessing, Chaitanya Das and his wife returned to his home and when the auspicious moment came, a son was born to them. Chaitanya Das immediately offered the child to Mahaprabhu.
The child went through the usual rituals of the first feeding of solid food, name-giving, hair-cutting, etc. All the local associates of Mahaprabhu, such as Govinda Ghosh and the residents of Shrikhanda, Narahari and Raghunandan, poured down affectionate blessings on the child.
He studied grammar, literature and poetic theory from Dhanaïjaya Vidyavacaspati, and quickly acquired mastery of these subjects. Not long afterward, Srinivas’s father died. The loss of his devotee father’s association greatly affected Srinivas, but the other devotees made a concerted effort to console him and his mother in their grief.
Srinivas took his mother and moved from Cakhandi to his maternal grandfather’s house in Jajigrama, where the villagers were overjoyed to see him. Shortly thereafter, he went to visit Narahari Sarkara in nearby Shrikhanda. From Narahari he learned that Mahaprabhu would shortly be ending his earthly pastimes. This news made Srinivas determined to see the Lord before it happened. He quickly returned to Jajigrama and took permission from his mother to make the trip to Puri. He then joined the devotees on the annual pilgrimage. It was the fifth day of the waxing moon.
Before arriving in Puri, however, the news arrived that Mahaprabhu had indeed ended his lila. Srinivas Acharya fainted at the news, and when he came back to consciousness, he decided to commit suicide. However, the Lord himself appeared to him in a dream and told him to complete his journey to Puri. Once in Puri, he again had a dream in which he saw Jagannath, Subhadra and Balaram, as well as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with his associates. The incarnation of Mahaprabhu’s pleasure potency, Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami met him and both of them were immersed in an ocean of ecstasy. Srinivas also met Raya Ramananda, Paramananda Puri, Shikhi Mahiti, Sarvabhauma Pandit, Vakresvara Pandit, Govinda, Shankara Pandit, Gopinath Acharya and received blessings from them all.
Srinivas Acharya stayed for some time in Puri, hearing Srimad Bhagavatam from Gadadhara Pandit Goswami. Gadadhara then told him to return to Gauda. When Srinivas returned, he heard that Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu had also disappeared. Once again he determined to end his life, but the two Prabhus appeared to him in a dream to assuage his grief and had him give up his intention.
When he arrived in Nabadwip, Srinivas was once again plunged into a morass of sorrow at the loss of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Vamshivadanananda Thakur saw him in this condition and approached Vishnupriya Devi and asked her to grant an audience to Srinivas and bless him. Srinivas Acharya was amazed to see the intense renunciation and deep faith of Mahaprabhu’s widow. While in Nabadwip, he had a dream of Sachi Devi and received blessings from her, too. Srinivas then wandered throughout Bengal, going to all the Shripatas of the associates of Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, seeking their blessings. He visited Shantipur, Khardaha, Khanakula Krishnanagara, Shrikhanda, etc., and met Murari Gupta, Srivasa Pandit, Damodar Pandit, Shuklambar Brahmachari, Gadadhara Das, Paramesvari Das, Jahnava Devi, Vasudha Devi, Virabhadra, Abhiram Thakur, Narahari Sarakara Thakur, Raghunandan Thakur. All these great personalities witnesses Srinivas’s intense devotion and told him to go to Vrindavan. Srinivas then went to his mother and asked her repeatedly for permission to make the trip which she could not refuse when she saw his great eagerness.
When Vishnupura’s king saw the large chest, he was delighted at the prospect of finding large amounts of valuables inside. How disappointed he must have been to see nothing but books inside! He turned to the astrologer and asked him how he could have made such a mistake. The astrologer answered, “I can’t understand it. Every time I made my calculations I came up with the same conclusion: this chest is full of priceless jewels! It is incredible, I don’t know why my calculations have gone wrong!”
The mere sight of the holy books had a purifying effect on the king, however, and he regretted having stolen them. Indeed, he desired to meet with the acharya of the books. That night he had a dream in which the Granthacharya appeared to him and this pacified him somewhat.
The next morning, Srinivas, Narottama and Shyamananda awoke to find the chest of books missing. They searched everywhere, but when they failed to find any clue of the books’ whereabouts, they felt so depressed that they considered killing themselves. Some local villagers saw the distressed condition of the three Vaishnavas and immediately suspected the robber king, Vira Hambira. Srinivas made some further investigations and was assured that he would be able to find more information from the king himself. The three Vaishnavas felt some hope and abandoned their suicidal intentions. Srinivas Acharya decided to remain in Vishnupura in the hope of finding the books, but he sent Narottama to Kheturi and Shyamananda to Orissa.
Vira Hambira arranged for a secluded dwelling to be given to Srinivas Acharya. One day, when he had the opportunity to find the king alone in his apartments, Srinivas recounted the entire story of the journey from Vraja and the theft of the manuscripts. The King immediately confessed, showing great sorrow for his misdeed, and had the chest of books returned to its owner. In great relief, Srinivas immediately sent messengers to Vrindavan, to Narottama and Shyamananda with the good news. In the course of time, Vira Hambira and his entire entourage all took initiation from Srinivas and dedicated their entire lives and wealth to him. Vira Hambira’s initiated name was Chaitanya Das.
It is not always easy to understand the divine activities of Mahaprabhu’s devotees. Only someone who is totally surrendered to the Lord and his devotees can have access to their glories.
Please be merciful, Prabhu Srinivas Acharya! Narottama Das begs for the association of Ramachandra.
When Shuklambar Brahmachari, Gadadhara Das, Narahari Sarkara and Dvija Hari Das all ended their earthly activities, Srinivas Acharya once again felt overcome by grief and made another trip to Vrindavan. Once again he met with Gopal Bhatta and Sri Jiva Goswamis, as well as with Bhugarbha and Lokanatha Goswamis, and these great devotees spoke to him encouragingly, reducing his feelings of loss. Ramachandra Kaviraj and Shyamananda Prabhu also joined Srinivas in Vraja on this occasion.
When he returned to Gauda, Srinivas joined in the festivities occasioning the anniversaries of the departure of Gadadhara Das in Katwa, Narahari in Shrikhanda and Dvija Hari Das in Kaïcanagariiya. From there he went to Budhari village, where Ramachandra Kaviraj and Govinda Kaviraj hosted him with great opulence.
Narottama Das Thakur had also left Vrindavan on Lokanatha Goswami’s orders, returning to his home in Kheturi. On the full moon day of Phalguna, he established the worship of six sets of deities in the temple there: Gauranga, Vallabhikanta, Vrajamohana, Sri Krishna, Radhakanta, and Radharamana. Srinivas Acharya performed the installation ceremony and the first puja.
Jahnava Devi was also present at this great event. After the festival, she went on to Vraja with her entourage. Upon her return, she met with Srinivas Acharya at Katwa and then went with him to spend some time in Jajigrama.
Srinivas Acharya made another trip to Nabadwip with Narottama and Ramachandra Kaviraj, performing the parikrama of the nine islands, each of which represents one of the limbs of devotional service.
When Raghunandan Thakur entered the nitya-lila, Srinivas Acharya went to Shrikhanda to help conduct the funeral festival in his honor. He returned with a heavy heart to Jajigrama, and from there went to see his disciples in Vana Vishnupura. He was received by the excited King and the other residents of the town. There, he received an order from Mahaprabhu himself in a dream to accept the hand of Gaurangapriya, the daughter of a certain Raghava Chakravarti. Raghava and his wife Madhavi had been searching for a suitable husband for their daughter with no success. They also received the order in a dream to give their daughter in marriage to Srinivas. As a result, Srinivas married for a second time.
The pure devotee has no other objective in life than to fulfill the desires of the Supreme Lord. They are thus ready to do anything if it pleases the Lord. None of their activities has the slightest hint of material desire in it. Srinivas Acharya is the avesha incarnation of Mahaprabhu himself and his transcendental activities can only be described by someone who has received his special blessings.
Krishna’s friend Vasudama became Dhanaïjaya Pandit in Gaura-lila.
Dhanaïjaya Pandit was Nityananda Prabhu’s dear servant; he was very renounced and full of love for Krishna.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.11.31)
Opinions vary about Dhanaïjaya Pandit’s birthplace and his parentage. In the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana, it is said that he was born in the village of Jariagrama in Chittagong district on the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of Chaitra, 1485. His father’s name was Shripati Bandopadhyaya, his mother, Kalindi Devi. His wife was Haripriya.
In the book Gauranga Madhuri, another version is given: He was born in the village of Siyan Muluk, near Bolpur in the Birbhum district. His father’s name was Adideva Vacaspati and his mother, Dayamayi. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur subscribes to the former view in his Anubhashya.
Dhanaïjaya Pandit’s primary home was in the village of Shitalagrama which is served by the Kaicara post office in the precinct of Mangalakota, district of Burdwan. Shitalagrama is about one mile north of the Kaicara railway station, nine miles west of Katwa on the narrow gauge line to Burdwan city. He is also said to have had homes in the village of Sancara Pancara and Jalandi. This first of these villages lies two miles south of Satadeula Tajapura, which is four miles from the Memari train station. Jalandi is about 10 miles east of Burdwan city and is served by Lokanagara post office. The home of Saïjaya Pandit is also found in this village who is said by some to have been Dhanaïjaya’s brother and by others his disciple. Dhanaïjaya had no descendants. Those who supervise the Shitalagrama temple are descendants of his disciples.
Both the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana and Gauranga Madhuri agree that Dhanaïjaya Pandit was married and that his wife’s name was Haripriya. It is also mentioned that he would prostrate himself in obeisances before Tulasi Devi three times a day. He was married when very young, but this did not stop him from leaving on a pilgrimage shortly after his wedding. His wealthy father gave him money for traveling expenses, but Dhanaïjaya gave it all to Mahaprabhu and carried only a begging bowl. This particular action has been recalled by the author of the Vaishnava-vandana:
vilasi vairagi vandon pandita dhanaïjayaDhanaïjaya’s main home or shripata in Shitalagrama. The deities of Gopinath, Nitai-Gauranga and Damodar which he worshiped are still being served there. These deities are brought into a field not far from the temple where the disappearance day festival is held annually in the middle of Magh.
sarvasva prabhure diya bhanda hate laya
Dhanaïjaya Pandit participated for a few days with Mahaprabhu in his sankirtan pastimes in Nabadwip. From there he returned to Shitalagrama whence he went on a pilgrimage to Vrindavan. Before travelling to Vrindavan, he stayed for a few days in Sancara Pancara, leaving a disciple who was travelling with him in charge of the deity service. At present, there is no further sign of this temple in Sancara Pancara.
Nityananda Prabhu delivered the most fallen and crushed the atheistic. These powers were manifest in his dear devotee, Dhanaïjaya. Dhanaïjaya Pandit converted many robbers and atheists in the Shitalagrama area.
Dhanaïjaya Pandit was an extraordinarily great Vaishnava. Nityananda took up permanent residence in his heart.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.5.773)
As one enters the Shitalagrama temple, a small Tulasi altar stands on the left. This is the site of Dhanaïjaya Pandit’s samadhi tomb. His disappearance day is the Shukla-ashtami of Karttik month.
---Excerpted from the book "Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates" by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj.