Parishads: Srila Kashishvara Pandit

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja

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pura vrindavane cetau sthitau bhringara-bhangurau
shri-kashishvara-govindau tau jatau prabhu-sevakau
Srila Kashishvara Pandit (also Brahmachari or Goswami) was Krishna’s servant Bhringara and Govinda was Bhangura. They became Mahaprabhu’s servants in Gaura-lila. Some Kashishvara was the sakhi Sasirekha.
(Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 137)

Kashishvara Pandit’s home was in the village of Catara in the district of Hooghly, about one mile from the present day Serampore (Shriramapura) railway station. His father was Vasudeva Bhattacharya, a Brahmin of the Vatsya gotra in the li ne of Kanva. He also had the title Chaudhuri. The temple which belonged to Kashishvara Pandit is situated in the neighborhood of Catara village is known as Chaudhuri Paria. He established deities of Gauranga and Sri Radha Govinda. There is an annual festival there on Òola Purnima. Kashishvara Pandit was very powerful physically. Rudra Pandit of Ballabhapura was his nephew.

Kashishvara Was Ishvara Puri’s Disciple

Kashishvara Pandit was a disciple of Ishvara Puri who had received much mercy from him. For this reason he is counted as one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s branches. Sri Govinda was also Ishvara Puri’s disciple. Both of them devotedly served their spiritual master as long as he was present in this world. Just before he disappeared, he instructed them both to go engage in Mahaprabhu’s service. Govinda was the first to come to Puri to serve the Lord after the disappearance of their guru; Kashishvara travelled throughout India on a pilgrimage before finally coming to Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.

I am a servant of Ishvara Puripada, my name is Govinda. On his order I have come to you. At the time of his departure, my master ordered me: Go to Sri Krishna Chaitanya and serve him. Kashishvara will also come after he has seen the pilgrimage sites. I have come directly to you.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.10.132-4)

On another day, Kashishvara Gosaïi arrived; the Lord greeted him respectfully and gave him a place to stay with him.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.10.185)

The Lord turned to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Sarvabhauma answered that he should most certainly obey the instruction of his spiritual master and so the Lord did as his guru had ordered him and accepted Govinda and Kashishvara Pandit as his personal servants.

sa shushruvan matari bhargavena
pitur niyogat prahritam dvishadvat
pratyagrahid agraja-shasanam tad-
ajïa gurunam hy avicaraniya
(Raghuvamsha, 14.46)
On the order of his father, Parashurama killed his own mother as though she were an enemy. When he heard this, Lakshmana accepted the order of his elder brother Rama, for the orders of a guru are not to be debated.
nirvikaram guror ajïa maya karya mahatmanah
shreyo hy evam bhavatyash ca mama caiva visheshatah

(Ramayana Ayodhya-khanda, 22.9)
I must follow the order of my guru because he is a great soul. You will certainly benefit from this, but even more so will I.

Kashishvara’s Service to Mahaprabhu

Whenever Mahaprabhu went to see Jagannath, Kashishvara would use his physical strength to hold back the crowds, allowing the Lord to pass without being touched by anyone.

Ishvara Puri’s disciples were Kashishvara Brahmachari and Govinda. At the time of his departure from this world, he instructed them both to come to Nilachala and to engage in Mahaprabhu’s personal service. The Lord considered them both to be his superiors because they had personally served his spiritual master, but he nevertheless accepted their service because it was his guru’s order. Govinda would engage in personal, bodily service, while Kashishvara would go before him when he went to see Jagannath. He would push people aside to make a path for the Lord so that he could go through the crowd without being touched.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.138-142)

Mahaprabhu joyfully took the devotees to the temple to see Jagannath. Kashishvara led the way, clearing the path, while Govinda followed carrying the Lord’s waterpot.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita Madbhya 12.206-7)

In Puri, the abode of the Supreme Person (Purushottam-dham), when the Lord was dancing in front of Jagannath’s Rathayatra cart, three rings of people would be formed around the Lord in order to hold the people back. The innermost ring consisted of Nityananda Prabhu and other devotees, the second of Kashishvara, Mukunda and others, and the third of King Prataparudra and his bodyguards.

Kashishvara, Mukunda and many other devotees held hand to form a second protective circle.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.13.89)
Kashishvara was one of the seven persons who would serve maha prasad to the devotees after the kirtan at the Rathayatra. The others were Svarupa Damodar, Jagadananda, Damodar, Gopinath, Vaninatha and Shankara.

Kashishvara also participated in some of the Lord’s lilas in Nabadwip, such as the kirtans at Srivasa Angan and bathing in the Ganges. He was also present when the Lord went with kirtan to the house of Shridhara and drank from his iron pot. He, along with the other devotees present, cried to see the Lord’s mercy on that occasion. Govinda, Govindananda, Shrigarbha, Shriman, Jagadananda and Rama were others present on that occasion.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.23.451)

Vrindavan Das Thakur tells just how dear Kashishvara was to the Lord, calling Mahaprabhu Kashishvara’s heart on one occasion (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.1.6) and the wealth of Kashishvara’s life (Kashishvara-prana-dhana) on another.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.24.3)

He was also present when Mahaprabhu went to greet Advaita and the other devotees when they arrived from Bengal. His disappearance day is on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Karttik. According to another opinion, it is on the full moon day of the month of Ashvina, when the Rasapurnima of Radha Krishna is also celebrated.

[Excerpted from "Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates" by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]

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