Parishads: Sri Ranga Puri

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja

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There Mahaprabhu met Sri Ranga Puri and ended the sufferings of Rama Das. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.1.113)

During his travels through South India, Mahaprabhu came to the town Pandharpur on the banks of the Bhima River. Pandharpur is the home of the Vitthaladeva deity in the Sholapur district of Maharashtra. It is also well-known as the home of the famous Maharashtrian Vaishnava saint Tukarama who lived there in the 15th century of the Shaka era.

In Pandharpur, Mahaprabhu was invited by a certain Brahmin to his home where was lavishly fed. While there, he heard that Madhavendra Puriís disciple, Sri Ranga Puri, was staying nearby in another Brahminís house. Mahaprabhu immediately went there to meet him. He prostrated himself before his guruís godbrother and was immediately inspired by a mood of ecstatic love. Sri Ranga Puri was also impressed by the sight of Mahaprabhuís ecstatic symptoms and guessed that the Lord must have some relation to the spirit of devotion promulgated by his own spiritual master, without which they would be impossible. He lifted the Lord up and embraced him and the two of them began to cry in devotional ecstasy.

From there Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Pandharpur, where he joyfully saw the temple of Vitthala Thakur. A Brahmin saw the Lord chanting and dancing in ecstatic love, was very much pleased and invited him to his home for lunch. The Brahmin offered Mahaprabhu food with great respect and love. After finishing his lunch, the Lord received auspicious news: Sri Ranga Puri, one of the disciples of Sri Madhavendra Puri, was residing at the home of another Brahmin in Pandharpur. The Lord immediately went to that Brahminís home and, upon entering, saw Sri Ranga Puri. As soon as Mahaprabhu saw him, he was immediately overwhelmed with ecstatic love and prostrated himself in obeisance. All the symptoms of ecstatic transformation were visibleCtears, jubilation, trembling and perspiration. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.9.282-7)

Upon learning that Mahaprabhu was Isvara Puripadaís disciple, Sri Ranga Puri was filled with great affection for him. Just by touching each other, they were both flooded with ecstatic feelings. They passed seven days together in discussions of Krishna conscious topics. Sri Ranga Puri was overjoyed to hear that the Lordís birthplace was in Nabadwip. He told the Lord that he had previously been to Nabadwip with his spiritual master and that they had and eaten at Jagannath Mishraís house. He recalled that Jagannathís wife Sachi had fed them a delicious banana flower curry. She had served the sannyasis as though they were her own sons and as if the Mother of the Universe had become incarnate in her. Sri Ranga Puri continued to tell Mahaprabhu that Sachi and Jagannath had a worthy son who took sannyas, taking on the name Shankararanya, but who had died there in Pandharpur.

Upon hearing all this, Mahaprabhua was overcome with feelings of separation and he let Sri Ranga Puri know that Shankararanya had been his very own brother and that Jagannath and Sachi were his father and mother. After they finished their conversation, Sri Ranga Puri went on to Dvaraka while the Lord continued on Krishnavenva River.

Madhavendra Puri is pure devotional sentiment personified. Simply by remembering his name, one can achieve all perfections. All of his disciples such as Isvara Puri and Sri Ranga Puri were similarly intoxicated with the moods of sacred rapture. (Bhakti-ratnakara 5.2272-3)

Some people say that Sri Ranga Puri later came to Jagannath Puri to join the Lord and spend the remainder of his life in his association.

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

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