kenavantara-bhedena bhedam kurvanti satvatah
Jagadananda Pandit is the very life of the Lord. He is known everywhere as being a manifestation of Satyabhama.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.29)
All glories to Gauranga, the life of Jagadananda and Shrigarbha! All glories to the wealth of Vakresvara Pandit!
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.7.3)
The date and place of Jagadananda Panditís birth are unknown. Devotees who are seeking devotion as the goal of their lives do not consider detailed information about a spiritual masterís material identity to be essential. From Chaitanya Bhagavat we learn that Jagadananda Pandit was present at Srivasa Angan and at Chandrasekharaís house after Mahaprabhu returned from Gaya and participated in the beginnings of the sankirtan movement.
All the Vaishnavas felt great enthusiasm when they heard that Mahaprabhu had begun his sankirtan movement. Every night, these kirtans took place in the house of Srivasa Pandit, and on certain occasions, in the house of Chandrasekhara Acharya. Nityananda, Gadadhara, Advaita, Srivasa, Vidyanidhi, Murari, Hiranya, Hari Das, Ganga Das, Vanamali, Vijaya, Nandana, Jagadananda, Buddhimanta Khan, Narayan. These were some of the personalities who stayed with the Lord as he danced. Other than such intimate associates, no one was allowed entrance into the sankirtan.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.8.110-113, 117)
Thus from Vrindavan Dasís account, we know that Jagadananda Pandit is an eternal associate of the Lord and participated with him in his Nabadwip sankirtan pastimes. From this we can surmise that he was born somewhere in Bengal.
On their way to Puri, as they travelled through Atisara, Chatrabhog, Northern Orissa, Suvarnarekha, Jaleshvara, Remuna, Yajpur, Vaitarani, Katak (Cuttack), Sakshigopala, Bhuvaneshvara, Kamalapura, Atharanala, etc., Mahaprabhu gave his companions many lessons in how to depend on the Lord and other matters. In one place named Gangaghata, just across the frontier into Orissa, Mahaprabhu himself told his companions to wait in a temple while he went to the village to beg. He came back with rice and vegetables in his cloth which he gave to Jagadananda to cook. When he had finished preparing the meal, Mahaprabhu and his other companions ate his cooking with great relish.
According to the Chaitanya Bhagavat, Mahaprabhu gave his danda (staff) to Jagadananda to carry as they walked. One day, Jagadananda gave the danda to Nityananda Prabhu to hold as he went to collect foodstuffs. Nityananda Prabhu is non-different from Balaram and he took this opportunity to break Mahaprabhuís staff into three pieces, so teaching his followers to take the tridanda, a staff of three branches. According to the Chaitanya Bhagavat, Jagadananda took the broken staff to Mahaprabhu, and he became extremely unhappy to have lost his only possession. Mahaprabhu then told his companions that he wished to travel alone, giving them the choice of whether he would walk in front or behind them. The devotees answered that they would walk behind him, not in front.
Leaving Nityananda Svarupa in one place, Jagadananda went to look for food. Jagadananda carried the Lordís danda, and he left it with Nityananda when he went. He said, "Take care of the Lordís danda. I will be right back after begging foodstuffs."
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.2.202-4)
While walking in front of the other devotees, from Atharanala Mahaprabhu saw a vision of Krishna playing his flute on the pinnacle of the Jagannath Puri temple. He ran toward the temple and entered to behold the form of Jagannath, whereupon he fell into a swoon. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya noticed him and took him to his own house where he saw to his care. Nityananda, Jagadananda, Mukunda and Damodar arrived at the Jagannath temple not long afterwards. There they heard that the Lord was at Sarvabhaumaís residence and they immediately went there. This was Jagadanandaís first meeting with Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya.
Jagadananda Pandit was a permanent associate of the Lord at Puri:
Gadadhara Pandit, Vakresvara, Damodar, Shankara, Hari Das, Jagadananda, Bhavananda, Govinda, Kashishvara, Paramananda Puri and Svarupa Damodar, all came and made their residence in Puri. They, along with Ramananda Raya and other long-time residents of Sri Kshetra, were Mahaprabhuís permanent companions.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.1.252-4)
Jagadananda Panditís mood was primarily that of madhura-rasa, which was very pleasing to Mahaprabhu and won his heart. In the Chaitanya Charitamrita, this is described as follows:
Paramananda Puri had parental affection for Mahaprabhu; Ramananda Raya had love for him in pure friendship; Govinda Dasís love for him was as a servant. Gadadhara, Jagadananda and Svarupa Damodar worshiped in the ecstasy of the chief rasa. Mahaprabhu heart was won by these four different loving attitudes.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.2.78)
By Mahaprabhuís mercy, Saravabhauma Bhattacharya gave up his predilection for the impersonal philosophy of Mayavada and took up the path of devotion. He then had a vision of Mahaprabhu in a six-armed form which inspired him to compose a Sanskrit hymn to the Lord in a hundred verses. He wrote the first two verses glorifying Mahaprabhu on a palm leaf and gave it to Jagadananda to bring to the Lord. Mukunda Datta was there when Jagadananda came from Sarvabhaumaís house, carrying Jagannath prasad and the palm leaf. He took the precaution of copying the two verses down on the wall in front of the Lordís residence before Jagadananda carried it in to show him. As soon as Mahaprabhu saw the verses, which glorified him as an incarnation of the Supreme Lord, he tore up the palm leaf. Because Mukunda had preserved the verses on the wall, however, the devotees were able to obtain great joy from reading them. The verses are as follows:
vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yoga-Let me take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ocean of transcendental mercy, Sri Krishna, who has descended in the form of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to teach us detachment, real knowledge and his own devotional service.
shikshartham ekah purushah puranah
kripambudhir yas tam aham prapadye
kalan nashtam bhakti-yogam nijam yah
avirbhutas tasya padaravinde
gadham gadham liyate citta-bhringah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has taken the name of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, has appeared to reveal the ancient system of devotional service to himself which had almost been lost due to the influence of time. I pray that the honeybee of my mind will drink deeply of the honey of his lotus feet.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.6.253-4; Chaitanya-candrodaya-nataka 6.74)
Mahaprabhu took sannyas during the fortnight of the waxing moon of the month of Magh (January-February). He arrived in Nilachala in the month of Phalguna (February-March). In the month of Chaitra (March-April), he converted Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya to Vaishnavism. In the month of Vaishakh (April-May), he left for his pilgrimage to the south of India. When Mahaprabhu said that he wanted to go on this pilgrimage alone, Nityananda Prabhu told him that he should not travel by himself and suggested that he would accompany him. At this time, Mahaprabhu showed his great affection for his companions (Nityananda Prabhu, Damodar Brahmachari, Jagadananda Pandit, etc.) by remonstrating with them and refusing their company on this pilgrimage. Of Jagadananda, he said,
"Jagadananda wants me to enjoy sense gratification. I try to do whatever he tells me because I am afraid of him. Whenever I act contrary to his wishes, he gets angry and stops talking to me for three days at a time."
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.7.21-2)
While Mahaprabhu was travelling in the South, the devotees waited for him in great distress caused by his absence. The deeper oneís love, the more one feels the pain of separation. The sign of real love is in the intensity of the joy one feels at being united with someone from whom one has been separated. After travelling for several months, the lord arrived in Alalanath, near Puri, and sent his servant Krishna Das to tell Nityananda and the other devotees that he had returned. The enthusiasm that they all felt for seeing him again knew no bounds and they all rushed to Alalanath. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes their reaction to the news of his arrival in his Chaitanya Charitamrita as follows:
"As soon as Nityananda heard of Mahaprabhuís arrival, he immediately got up to go to see him. Indeed, his love for the lord made him very impatient. Jagadananda, Damodar Pandit and Mukunda, danced as they went to greet the Lord, their bodies unable to hold back their ecstasy."
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.9.339-40)
Nityananda Prabhu, Jagadananda and the others advised Mahaprabhu to send Krishna Das to Gauda to tell Sachi that the lord had returned from his pilgrimage to South India. Mahaprabhu approved of the idea out of a desire to give pleasure to his devotees. Gradually, in the company of Jagadananda, Mahaprabhu met with all the devotees who had come to live in Puri, including Svarupa Damodar, Raya Ramananda, Hari Das Thakur, etc. One of Jagadanandaís most enjoyable services to the Lord and his devotees was to satisfy them with the foodstuffs that he had himself cooked.
The Bengal devotees came annually during the Caturmasya period to be with the Lord in Nilachala. They did this three years in a row before Mahaprabhu announced his determination to go to Vrindavan. On this occasion, Jagadananda was amongst his companions when he travelled through Orissa and Gauda. They went to Panihati, Kumarahatta, Kuliya village, Ramakeli, etc., before finally turning back from the village of Kanair Natshala to return to Puri, abandoning the pilgrimage to Vrindavan because of the large crowd of companions which had gathered around him. The Lord vowed that the next time he would travel to Vrindavan alone. When he did go again, he took the path through the Jhariikhanda jungles, accompanied only by a servant named Balabhadra Bhattacharya. When he returned by the same path, he was once again reunited with his loving devotees including Jagadananda, who had once again been suffering greatly in his absence. This reunion was so joyful that it is beyond description.
These instructions had an effect on Sanatan and he changed his mind. The Lord himself does not concern himself with the purity or impurity of a devoteeís external body; he is attracted by the inner purity of his desire for service. Therefore Mahaprabhu did not hesitate to embrace Sanatan, again and again. When he did so, the pus leaking from Sanatanís sores touched the Lordís body which embarrassed and shamed him. Sanatan turned to Jagadananda Pandit for advice and Jagadananda told him that he should leave for Vrindavan immediately after the Rathayatra. Sanatan thought that this was the best solution and went to Mahaprabhu to ask him permission to depart. When Mahaprabhu heard this, he became angry and chastised Jagadananda, saying:
"Jagadananda is just a newcomer, a boy. Yet, he has become so proud that he thinks that he can give even you advice. You are his guru in every respect, both in material and spiritual terms. Yet he gives you advice? Doesnít he know his own worth? You are my teacher; you are an authority. And yet, like an impudent child, he is giving instruction to even someone as qualified as you."
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.4.158-60)
The devotee and the Lord occasionally chastise their intimates. If the devotee is chastised by the Lord, he should consider it a great good fortune. Sanatan reacted to Mahaprabhuís criticism of Jagadananda as a sign of his great fortune and his own misfortune.
You accept Jagadananda into your inner circle, while you venerate me. It is as though you were giving him ambrosia to drink and me the bitter juice of neem and tobacco leaves.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.4.163)
Even though Mahaprabhu had long been won over by Jagadanandaís devotion to him, he made a point of teaching all of his followers Vaishnava etiquette and the importance of offering the proper respect to senior Vaishnavas such as Sanatan Goswami Prabhu through him. He said to him,
"Jagadananda is not more dear to me than you, but I cannot tolerate transgressions of etiquette."
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.4.166)
When Mahaprabhu was telling Vallabha Bhatta about the greatness of devotees, he said that through the association of preachers of the Holy Name like Jagadananda Pandit, one could attain devotion to Krishna.
Acharyaratna, Acharyanidhi, Gadadhara Pandit, Jagadananda, Damodar, Shankara, Vakresvara, Kashishvara, Mukunda, Vasudeva, Murari and so many other great devotees have appeared in Gaudadesha. They have preached the glories of the Holy Name throughout the world. It is through their association that I have a little devotion to Krishna.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.7.48-50)
Jagadananda Pandit had a deep and pure love for the Lord, like that of Satyabhama for Krishna. He was moody, being possessed of the vamya nature. He would repeatedly provoke loving arguments with the Lord and there always seemed to be some misunderstanding between them.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.7.142-3)
In the Chaitanya Charitamrita, at the beginning of the eighth chapter of the Antya-lila, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami contrasts the sincere loving attitude of Jagadananda Pandit with the hypocrisy of Ramachandra Puri. Even though Ramachandra Puri was officially a disciple of Madhavendra Puri, he had no proclivity for service. Because of his lack of sincerity and his false piety, he was ultimately deprived of his guruís mercy.
Jagadananda was present at Hari Das Thakurís funeral celebration, serving prasad to the senior associates of the Lord. By his behavior, he showed that giving prasad to the devotees was an important element of devotional service.
During the Caturmasya all the devotees would come to meet the Lord in Nilachala and would return at the end of the four month period. In the same year that Mahaprabhu told Nityananda not to come to Puri, he also sent Jagadananda to Nabadwip with a message for his mother. Jagadananda recounted that which Mahaprabhu had told him about the exact times when Sachi Mata thought that she had dreamt or hallucinated his coming and eating her food offerings. When she heard this from Jagadananda, she believed that these secret visits were not hallucinations, but had in fact been real--he really had come. When the other devotees met Mahaprabhuís intimate associate, Jagadananda, they all were submerged in an ocean of happiness.
Jagadananda then went to Shivananda Senaís house where he collected a fragrant sandalwood oil for rubbing on Mahaprabhuís head. He filled an earthen jug with the oil and brought it back with him to Puri where he gave it to Govinda, the Lordís servant. Govinda then told Mahaprabhu, "Jagadananda Pandit has brought aromatic sandalwood oil back from Gaudadesha with him. If you rub it on your head, it will relieve the symptoms of disturbed bile and wind." In order to set a proper example, Mahaprabhu answered, "Sannyasis are forbidden the use of body oils. It is even more reprehensible to use aromatic oils. Since he has gone to the trouble of bringing the oil all the way here, you can give it to the Jagannath temple. They can use the oil to light lamps for the Deity. That will make all his troubles worthwhile."
Govinda told Jagadananda of Mahaprabhuís decision. Jagadananda began to sulk and stopped talking. After ten days, Govinda again told Mahaprabhu that Jagadananda still wished him to use the oil. Mahaprabhu became angry and in order to teach the world, said,
"Why donít we hire a masseur to give me massage. Are these the pleasures for which I have taken the renounced order? You will all be very amused at seeing my downfall. As I walk along the road, people will get a whiff of my perfumes and say, there goes a womanizing monk."
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.12.112-4)
Govinda was speechless at Mahaprabhuís tirade. The next morning, Jagadananda Pandit came to Mahaprabhu who again said to him, "A sannyasi shouldnít use fragrant oils. The best thing to do is to offer it to Jagannath for his service." Jagadananda became angry and proudly said, "Who told you I brought this oil all the way from Gauda? Itís a lie." He then threw down the earthen jug in the courtyard and broke it. Then he went to his own room, locked the door and lay down.
After he had fasted for three days, Mahaprabhu finally went himself to assuage him, knocking on his door and saying gently, "Jagadananda! Open the door. I am going now to bathe and then to the temple for darshan of Jagannath. When I come back I will take whatever food you have prepared for me. So start cooking." Out of his love for the Lord, Jagadananda immediately got up, bathed and started preparing the Lordís lunch. After performing his noonday rituals, the Lord returned, let Jagadananda wash his feet and then sat down to eat. Jagadananda set a banana leaf before him and then covered it with fine rice soaked in clarified butter, numerous vegetable preparations and then cakes and sweet rice. Mahaprabhu told Jagadananda to set another banana leaf and fill it with food as he had done so that he could eat beside him. He lifted his hands in the air and refused to eat a bite until Jagadananda sat down and ate with him. Finally, Jagadanandaís pride melted and he agreed to take the Lordís prasad once he had finished. As he ate, Mahaprabhu repeatedly praised the food that Jagadananda had cooked in his loving anger.
"This is the kind of nectar that you offer to Krishna. Who can estimate the extent of your good fortune?"
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.12.133)
Jagadananda kept serving more and more vegetables to the Lord, who out of fear refused nothing, eating everything that he was given. He was afraid that if he refused even a single preparation Jagadananda would again start fasting, so on that day, he ate ten times as much as he did normally. After the meal, Jagadananda gave him some aromatic spices, sandalwood and a garland. Mahaprabhu then insisted that he sit down and take his meal in front of him. Jagadananda pleaded with Mahaprabhu to go and rest, as he was well aware of the demands of etiquette. Ramai and Raghunath Bhatta had also helped with the cooking, so he wanted them to eat also before sitting down himself, but he assured the Lord that he would. Mahaprabhu was still not convinced and so he told Govinda to remain there and report to him whether or not Jagadananda had eaten. But Jagadananda immediately told Govinda to go and massage the Lordís feet. After he had given Ramai, Nandai, Govinda and Raghunath Bhatta to eat, Jagadananda took the remnants of Mahaprabhuís plate. When Mahaprabhu heard that Jagadananda had finally eaten, he was able to rest peacefully.
Jagadanandaís love for the Lord was just like the descriptions of Satyabhamaís love for Krishna in the Bhagavat. Who can describe the extent of Jagadanandaís good fortune? His love is the standard by which that of others is to be compared. Anyone who hears about the loving exchanges (prema-vivarta) between Jagadananda Pandit and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will know the characteristics of prema and will attain the wealth of pure love.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.12.152-4)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur writes that the words prema-vivarta in this verse can mean both the kind of confused transformations of love that Jagadananda underwent with the Lord, or the book of that name which he wrote.
The Lord Sleeps on Plantain Bark
Due to his intense feelings of separation from Krishna, Mahaprabhu started to increase his vows of renunciation. He decided to sleep on a bed of dried plantain bark, which caused him pain by rubbing against his bones. The devotees were greatly distressed to see the Lordís suffering. Jagadananda decided to take steps to alleviate the Lordís pain by getting some cloth and dying it saffron, and then filling it with cotton from the silk cotton tree. In this way he made both a mattress and a pillow for the Lordís comfort. Jagadananda then asked Govinda Das to give the mattress and pillow to the Lord and Svarupa Damodar to convince him to use them. When it was time for the Lord to go to bed, he saw the cotton pillow and became angry. However, when he heard that Jagadananda Pandit had given it, he hesitated. So he made a pretense of anger, "A mattress and pillow? Why donít you just go and get me a bed? A sannyasi is supposed to sleep on the ground. Jagadananda wants me to become a sense enjoyer. This is shameful." Jagadananda was saddened when he heard from Svarupa Damodar that Mahaprabhu had refused the bedding. However, Svarupa Damodar cleverly made some bedding out of dried banana leaves which the Lord accepted. This satisfied all the devotees with the exception of Jagadananda.
Though he said nothing about it, Jagadananda was angry and asked Mahaprabhu for permission to go to Vrindavan. The Lord was able to understand the real reason for his dissatisfaction and said to him in a consoling voice, "You are angry and blame me for it. And so you want to go to Mathura and become a beggar?" The petulant Jagadananda hid his true feelings and simply said, "I have wanted to go to Vrindavan for a long time. Previously you wouldnít give me permission, so I could not go."
Mahaprabhu out of his affection for Jagadananda would not give him permission even though he asked him repeatedly. Finally, Jagadananda asked Svarupa Damodar to intercede on his behalf and get the Lordís permission to go. Svarupa Damodar went to Mahaprabhu and said, "Jagadanandaís desire to see Vrindavan is very strong. I think it would be a good idea if you sent him to Vrindavan just as you previously sent him to Nabadwip with a message for Sachi Mata." Thus, Mahaprabhu finally allowed himself to be persuaded and accorded permission to Jagadananda to go to Vraja. Out of his affection for him, however, he gave him elaborate instructions for his voyage. "The road up to Varanasi is free from any problems. After Varanasi, however, the road is full of robbers, so be careful. You should take some soldiers with you for your protection. If the highwaymen see a single Bengali on the road, they will be sure to attack and loot him. When you get to Mathura, first go and see Sanatan. Offer your respects to the Caube Brahmins of Mathura, but donít associate with them. You will not be able to understand their behavior, so respect them at a distance. Do the Vraja-parikrama with Sanatan, do not leave his side for even a moment. Donít climb Govardhana to see Gopal. Donít stay in Vraja for a long time. Hurry back."
"Come back quickly! Do not stay there for a long time. Donít climb Govardhana to take darshan of Gopal."
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.13.39)
"You are Mahaprabhuís most important associate. No one is dearer to him than you. How could anyone tolerate you wearing another sannyasiís cloth around your head?" Sanatan answered, "Well said! It is clear, Pandit Mahashaya, that you are unequalled in your love for the Lord. Only from you could I have learned this lesson, for you alone have such solid faith in the Lord. My purpose in binding the cloth around my head has been realized, for as soon as you saw it, I was able to witness the manifestations of your love for the Lord. A Vaishnava should not wear a saffron-colored cloth. I will give it to someone else, for I have no further need for it."
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.13.56-61)
Jagadananda offered the food he had cooked to Mahaprabhu and then took prasad with Sanatan. After staying with him for two months, he started to feel his absence from Mahaprabhu too intensely and asked Sanatan for permission to return to Puri. Sanatan bid him goodbye, giving him sand from the place where Krishna held the rasa dance, a stone from Govardhana, a garland of guÔja berries and some dried ripe pilu fruits for Mahaprabhu. Jagadananda was delighted to return to Puri and see Mahaprabhu and the other devotees again. Mahaprabhu embraced him tightly and was extremely pleased with the gifts sent by Sanatan. Most of the devotees did not know how to eat pilu fruits, but because they were from Vrindavan, they enjoyed them anyway.
Tell the lord that I pay him a million obeisances and that I humbly submit to him the following: Tell the madman that everyone has gone mad. Tell the madman that they are no longer selling rice in the market. Tell the madman that the crazies are no longer good for anything. Tell the madman that this is what the madman said.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.19.19-21)
Bhaktivinoda Thakur explains this riddle in this way: "Tell Mahaprabhu that everyone has become intoxicated with love for Krishna and so in the marketplace of love, no one is buying the rice of Krishna prema any longer. Tell Mahaprabhu that the saintly madmen (aul) are so intoxicated with love that they are no longer involved in their material duties. Tell Mahaprabhu that Advaita said this in a state of complete intoxication of prema. In short, the message was that the purpose for which Mahaprabhu had been called to earth by Advaita had been completed. Now the lord may do as he wills."
The date and place of Jagadananda Panditís departure from this world are unknown.
[Excerpted from "Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates" by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]