Parishads: Shikhi Mahiti

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja

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Shikhi Mahiti was an Orissan, considered to be one of Mahaprabhu’s most intimate associates and one of his personal branches, who lived in Purushottam Kshetra. He was a servant of the Jagannath deity with the title of likhanadhikari (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.10.42). Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur explains that this was a temple secretarial position, mainly responsible for publishing the annual ephemerus known as Matala Païji.

ragalekha kalakelyau radha-dasyau pura sthitau
te jïeye shikhi-mahati tat-svasa madhavi kramat
Shikhi Mahiti and his sister Madhavi Devi were previously Ragalekha and Kalakeli, two of Srimati Radharani’s servants.
(Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 189)

Shikhi Mahiti was a great soul, noted for his great compassion and his pure heart. Besides his highly qualified sister Madhavi, he had a brother named Murari Mahanta or Mahanti, who also had strong faith in Mahaprabhu. Their devotion to him was spontaneous and unwavering. They never forgot Mahaprabhu for even a moment and the Lord also poured down unlimited affection on them.

Lord, this is Murari Mahati, the brother of Shikhi Mahati’s brother. He knows nothing other than your lotus feet.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.10.44)

Murari and Madhavi became Mahaprabhu’s devotees before their older brother. However, much as they tried to persuade him, they were not able to convince him that the Moon of Vrindavan had become incarnate in Sri Gaurasundara.In his Anubhashya, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has described how Shikhi Mahiti finally came to receive Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy. The following is a summary of his account, which is based on Kavi Karnapura’s Chaitanya-carita Mahakavya (13.89-109): One day, after his younger brother and sister had spent some time trying to convince him of Mahaprabhu’s divinity, Shikhi Mahiti dozed off. Towards the end of the night, he had a dream in which he saw his brother and sister looking upon the feet of Lord Gaurasundara and telling him to wake up. Startled, Shikhi Mahiti opened his eyes and saw that his siblings were indeed before him. The wonderful dream had inspired ecstatic symptoms in him and his eyes were filled with tears. He ecstatically embraced his brother and sister who asked him what was the reason for his joy. Shikhi Mahiti saw their wonder and in order to put their minds at ease said to them:

"I have just had the most wonderful dream. Listen to me. Today, I have finally become a believer in the glories of the son of Sachi, Sri Gauranga. In my dream I saw Mahaprabhu taking darshan of Lord Jagannath in the temple, and as he was doing so, he entered into the body of Jagannath and then came out again. He did this over and over and I can still see the Lord doing it. Am I still dreaming? The Lord of unlimited compassion, Gaurasundara, called me by name and then embraced me with his long arms of unblemished beauty." As he recalled his dream, Shikhi Mahiti became overwhelmed by devotional ecstasy, whereupon Murari and Madhavi asked him to accompany them to the temple to behold Lord Jagannath. As they entered the temple, they saw Mahaprabhu standing at the Jagamohana gazing upon the deity. They started to cry tears of joy and Shikhi Mahiti saw his dream come to life before him. Then Lord Gaurasundara embraced him, saying, "You are Murari’s brother." At the Lord’s touch, Shikhi Mahiti fell into an ocean of ecstasy and from that time on, he forgot everything else but the Lord’s service.

Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami’s Chaitanya Charitamrita, Vrindavan Das Thakur’s Chaitanya Bhagavat and Narahari’s Bhakti-ratnakara all describe the extent to which Shikhi Mahiti was dear to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:

The Lord joyfully met Svarupa Damodar and then Shikhi Mahiti and Bhavananda Raya.
Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.1.130)

All the devotees joyfully came forward to meet the Lord, and his gave them an embrace of love each one of them. Amongst the devotees who were there were Kashi Mishra, Ramananda Raya, Pradyumna Mishra, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Vaninatha, Shikhi Mahiti and others.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.16.253-4)

Shikhi Mahiti is mentioned as being present at the meeting of the Bengali devotees with those of Puri in Chaitanya Bhagavat, 3.8.60.

Shikhi Mahiti and others said that it was time to go and take darshan of Jagannath Deva.
(Bhakti-ratnakara 8.237)

Shikhi Mahiti was one of Mahaprabhu’s three and a half most intimate devotees.

The Lord accepted Shikhi Mahiti’s sister as one of Radha’s friends. In the entire world, there were only three and a half devotees who were so worthy. They were Svarupa Damodar Goswami, Ramananda Raya and Shikhi Mahiti. His sister was the half person.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.2.105-6)

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

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