Parishads: Sri Pradyumna Brahmachari

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja

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Sri Pradyumna Brahmachari or Sri Nrisinghananda.

aveshash ca tatha jïeyo mishre pradyumna-sanjnake
The Lord’s avesha manifestation took place in Pradyumna Mishra.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has quoted the above verse in connection with Pradyumna Brahmachari and not for the Orissan Pradyumna Mishra who will be described later in chapter 63 of this volume. The Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana has also taken the same position. Hari Das Das there calls Pradyumna Brahmachari the Lord’s avesha.

The Lord’s Avirbhava

sakshat-darshana, ara yogya-bhakta-jive
avesha karaye kahan, kahan avirbhave
Lord delivered the fallen souls in three different ways: some places by appearing to them directly in his self-same body, in other places by entering into a worthy devotee, and in still other places by divine epiphany. His principal method of giving salvation was to appear to the conditioned souls in his self-same body, but he also took possession of Nakula Brahmachari’s body and made an apparition before Nrisinghananda Brahmachari. It is the Supreme Lord’s nature to declare, “I shall deliver the people of the world.”
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.2.4-6)

The Name Nrisinghananda

Mahaprabhu gave Pradyumna Brahmachari the epithet Nrisinghananda because of his absorption in the service of Nrisingha. He is considered to be one of Chaitanya’s own branches.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.35, 3.2.53)

Pradyumna Brahmachari considered himself to be the servant of Nrisingha for Nrisinghadeva manifested himself in his body. He remained by Mahaprabhu’s side in the consciousness that Nrisingha himself had appeared in the form of a sannyasi.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.3.286-7)

Vrindavan Das Thakur writes in the Chaitanya Bhagavat that Pradyumna conversed directly with Nrisinghadeva. This is mentioned particularly when Pradyumna joined the company of devotees on the annual pilgrimage to Jagannath Puri.

Pradyumna Brahmachari, who talked directly to Lord Nrisingha walked along as a part of the company of devotees.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.8.92)

All those people who think that the body of the Lord is a product of the material nature are atheists who have been bewildered by the Lord’s illusory energy. They think that these accounts are tall stories they can criticize out of their false sense of being learned. Anyone who lacks faith in the Supreme Lord is an unfortunate beggar who is cheated of any worthwhile achievement in life, and who gains nothing but the birth and death that are the lot of the conditioned soul.

The Power of Pradyumna’s Meditation

When Mahaprabhu took sannyas in Katwa, he made off for Vrindavan, but Nityananda Prabhu tricked him into coming back to Shantipur to the house of Advaita Acharya. Afterwards, the Lord continued to Puri in the company of Nityananda Prabhu, Jagadananda Pandit, Mukunda Datta and Damodar Pandit. Shortly thereafter, he left Puri on a pilgrimage through southern India. On his return from South India, he planned a trip to Vrindavan that would take him on the route along the Ganges through Bengal. On this trip, he stopped at the house of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s brother, Vidya Vachaspati in Vidyanagara, delivered Devananda Pandit and Chapal Gopal from their offenses in Kuliya village, and then met Rupa and Sanatan Goswamis for the first time in Ramakeli.

As Mahaprabhu made this trip, Pradyumna Brahmachari meditated on him, visualizing himself placing jeweled bricks on the road on which the Lord was walking to make his journey more agreeable. When the Lord reached Kanair Natshala, about 200 miles north of Calcutta in the Santal Paragana district of Bihar state, five miles from the town of Rajmahal, Pradyumna’s meditation suddenly broke. He was immediately able to understand that the Lord would only go as far as Kanair Natshala on this occasion and no further.

It is said that mental service like that performed by Nrisingha Brahmachari in this meditation is superior to service performed with actual ingredients. Rupa Goswami makes this point in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.182), where he gives the example of the Brahmin from Pratishthanpura who attained the association of Narayan in Vaikuntha as a result of mental service or manasi seva.

Pradyumna Brings the Lord to Kumarahatta

On one occasion, Mahaprabhu was attracted by Nrisinghananda’s love to come to Kumarahatta and to appear in the house of Shivananda Sena. This story has been told beautifully by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami in the second chapter of the Antya-lila of his Chaitanya Charitamrita.

One year, as Shivananda Sena’s nephew Srikanta Sena left Puri, Mahaprabhu told him to convey the message to the Bengali devotees that there was no need for them to come to Puri that year, for he himself would be visiting Bengal in the month of Paush. When Srikanta came with this news, all the devotees were jubilant in expectation of the Lord’s visit. But when the month of Paush had almost come to an end and there was no sign of Mahaprabhu, Shivananda Sena, Jagadananda Pandit and the others who had been waiting anxiously were disheartened by his non-arrival.

At that time, Nrisinghananda happened by and asked everyone the reason for their unhappiness. When he heard that they were disappointed that the Lord had not come, he assured them that he would be able to make Mahaprabhu appear there within three days. Since Shivananda and Jagadananda knew Nrisinghananda’s spiritual powers, they believed him.

Nrisinghananda sat down and stayed absorbed in meditation for two days, after which he told Shivananda that Mahaprabhu had arrived in Panihati and that by noon of the next day he would be in Kumarahatta. He ordered Shivananda Sena to supply him with the ingredients for a feast in honor of the Lord. He personally started cooking early in the morning and made a large variety of preparations that he distributed onto three plates to make offerings to Jagannath, Nrisinghadeva and Mahaprabhu. As soon as he sat down in meditation for the offerings, Mahaprabhu personally appeared and ate all three plates, leaving no remnants.

Although Nrisinghananda was overjoyed to see the Lord accept his offerings, he made a pretense of disappointment. He said, since Mahaprabhu and Jagannath are ontologically non-different, there was no fault in his eating the plate set out for Jagannath. But why had he taken the offering intended for Nrisingha? “Nrisinghadeva has fasted today,” he said. Indeed, the Lord performed this pastime in order to show that he is not different from Jagannath or Nrisinghadeva.

After eating, Mahaprabhu left for Panihati. Nrisinghananda cried out in distress, causing Shivananda to inquire what was the cause of his troubles. Nrisinghananda answered that the Lord had alone eaten all three plates, leaving Jagannath and Nrisinghadeva to fast. Shivananda Sena had some doubts, but on his request provided him with foodstuffs to prepare a second offering. The brahmachari cooked once again and made an offering to Nrisinghadeva.

The next year, when Shivananda Sena went with the Bengali devotees to Puri, everyone was duly astonished to hear the Lord himself volunteer the information that he had been to Shivananda’s house in the month of Paush and had eaten the delicious offerings made by Nrisinghananda.

One day, the Lord was engaged in conversation in the presence of all the devotees and suddenly began to praise Nrisinghananda’s qualities. He said, “Last year in the month of Paush, Nrisinghananda gave me delicious sweetmeats and vegetables such as I had never eaten.” Hearing this, all the devotees were struck with wonder and Shivananda was finally convinced that the incident was true.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.2.76-78)

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

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