Parishad: Sri Mahesh Pandit & Sri Uddharana Datta Thakur

December 18, 2006 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment

Dec 18, KUALA LUMPUR (MON) – Disappearance Days of Sri Mahesh Pandit and Sri Uddharana Datta Thakur.

Sri Mahesh Pandit

In Vraja, Mahesh Pandit was Krishna’s cowherd friend, Mahabahu.
Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika 129

Mahesh Pandit was one of the Dvadasa-gopala, or twelve cowherd boys. His home (Sripat) was first situated in Masipur across the river from Jirat on the eastern bank of the Ganges. When Masipur fell into the river, the Sripat was moved to Beledanga near Sukhasagar. Here too, the banks of the Ganges fell into the river causing the destruction of the village. Once again the Sripat was moved, this time to its present location in Pal Para near Chakdaha. This last move took place in the Bengali year 1334, or 1927 A.D. Pal Para is situated within the Panchnagar administrative block. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur mentions in his commentary to Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.32 that this final resting place for Mahesh Pandit’s Sripat is in Kanghal Puli.

Mahesh Pandit is also considered to be a branch of both Nityananda and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Some people say that he was the youngest brother of Jagadish Pandit , whose Sripat is in nearby Jashra. According to this opinion, there were three brothers in the family, Jagadish, Hiranya and Mahesh.

Mahesh Pandit’s Sripat is a small construction in the style of an ordinary residential building. It houses Gaura-Nityananda deities, as well as Sri Gopinath Madanamohana, Radha-Govinda and a Shalagram Shila. In front of the temple building is a memorial to Mahesh Pandit, his puspa-samadhi.

Sri Mahesh Pandit participated in the Chira-dadhi Mahotsava (“the festival of chipped rice and yogurt”) in Panihati, after which he followed Nityananda Prabhu to Saptagram. He was present in Khardaha when Narottam Das Thakur came there to pay a visit (Bhakti-ratnakara 8.220). Mahesh Pandit, like all of Nityananda Prabhu’s associates, resembled him in being extremely magnanimous and devoted to the salvation of all the fallen living beings. In his ecstasies of devotional love, he would dance madly.

Mahesh Pandit was a magnanimous cowherd boy. In his love for Krishna, he would dance to the sound of kettledrums like a madman.
Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.11.32

His name is also mentioned in Chaitanya Bhagavata; Vrindavan Das Thakur calls him a great soul, paramamahanta.
Chaitanya Bhagavata 3.6

His disappearance day is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the dark moon (Krsna trayodasi in Paush.

Sri Uddharana Datta Thakura

Uddharan Datta was the best amongst the bhagavatas, who served Nityananda’s lotus feet in every way possible.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.11.41)

Whenever the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, adopts the emotional nature and bodily luster of Srimati Radharani in order to become Sri Krishna Chaitanya, he is always accompanied by his eternal associates who join him in order to enrich his pastimes. Thus, Krishna’s primary expansion or prakasha, Baladeva, accepts the attitude of a devotee and the form of Nityananda, appearing in Ekachakra village in order to embellish Mahaprabhu’s lila. He too has his entourage of personal confidantes who descend to this earth to assist him in playing his role. Nityananda is Baladeva tattva, i.e., he is none other than Lord Shesha, the source of three purushavataras, Maha Sankarshan’s causal form or mula Sankarshan. His chief companions are known as the Dvadasha-gopalas or twelve cowherd boyfriends. Thus it is stated in the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika (129):

subahur yo vraje gopo datta uddharanakhyakah

    The cowherd named Subahu became Uddharan.

Uddharan Datta Thakur is thus one of the twelve Gopals. In order to assist Nityananda in his incarnation, he took birth in the town of Saptagram in Hooghly district, near the Trishbigha railway station in the year 1481 AD. His parents were named Srikara and Bhadravati of the gold merchant class. Any caste in which a Vaishnava appears is to be considered holy — the earth itself is blessed by the appearance of a Vaishnava and his/her mother has achieved the perfection of motherhood. Vrindavan Das has written in the Chaitanya Bhagavat as follows:

Nityananda remained a few days in Khardaha and then went on to Saptagram with his troupe of associates. The Lord stayed at the house of the fortunate Uddharan Datta on the banks of the Triveni. Completely surrendered to the feet of Nityananda Prabhu, Uddharan Datta worshiped him without any false pretense… The entire caste of gold merchants was purified by the presence of Uddharan Datta in its midst, of this there can be no doubt.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.5.443, 449-50, 453)

jati-kula saba nirarthaka janaite
janmailena haridase mleccha-kulete

    In order to show that one’s caste and family background are completely irrelevent, Hari Das took birth in an outcaste family.

Sri Krishna Chaitanya and Nityananda wanted to teach that a great devotee may appear in any family in any caste, and so they had some of their devotees take birth in such households.

One who takes birth in a low-class family is not disqualified from performing devotional service, nor is one who born in a pure, high-class brahminical family automatically qualified for such service. Whoever engages in the worship of the Lord is a great person; one who does not worship is rejected. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.4.66-7)

arcye shiladhir gurushu nara-matir vaishnave jatibuddhir
vishnor va vaishnavanam kalimala-mathane padatirthe “mbubuddhihshri-vishnor namni mantre sakala-kalushahe shabda-samanya-buddhir
vishnau sarveshvareshe tad-itara-samadhir yasya va naraki sah
Anyone who considers the deity to be nothing but stone,
the guru to be an ordinary human being,
or the Vaishnava to be a member of a particular caste or race,
who takes the holy water which has washed
Vishnu or the Vaishnava’s feetand can destroy all the sins of the age of Kali,
to be ordinary water,
who thinks that the name or mantra of Vishnu,
which destroys all evils, is the same as any other sound,
or who takes Vishnu to be equal to anything other than him,
has a hellish nature.
(Padma-purana)

Anyone who sees a Vaishnava in terms of his material birth is destined for a hellish existence. Subahu took birth in a family of gold merchants, but this does not mean that he was a gold merchant — he was an eternal associate of the Lord beyond the material qualities. One cannot understanding the underlying nature or ontological aspect of the Lord and his devotees by using the gross or subtle material senses; one can only get a superficial understanding of their morphological aspect, i.e., their external aspect. The true nature of the devotee and the Supreme Lord is revealed to the surrendered heart. If Uddharan Datta Thakur is merciful, one can understand his transcendental nature and his divine glories.

Amongst deities, Vishnu is supreme. Only by uttering the name of Vishnu can all of one’s sins be burned up, all inauspiciousness in one’s destiny be destroyed and auspiciousness gained. A single utterance of the name of Rama equals a thousand repetitions of the name of Vishnu.

rama rameti rameti rame rame manorame
sahasra-namabhis tulyam ramanama varanane

    Oh sweet-faced Durga, I take great pleasure in chanting the names of Rama, Rama, Rama. A single utterance of the name of Rama is equivalent to a recital of the thousand names of Vishnu.
    (Padma-purana, Uttara-khanda, 72.335; Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.9.32)

sahasra-namnam punyanam triravrittya tu yat phalam
ekavrittya tu krishnasya namaikam tat prayacchati

    The fruits of three recitals of the thousand names of Lord Vishnu are attained by a single utterance of the name of Krishna.
    (Brahmanda-purana, Laghu-bhagavatamrita. 1.631, Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.9.33)

Even though the name of Krishna and the Krishna-mantra are supremely powerful, offenses are taken into consideration in its chanting. Even negligent chanting of the Holy Name (namabhasa) can destroy all sins and give one liberation. Nevertheless, if one commits offenses, the benefits of namabhasa are lost. Lord Krishna withholds his mercy from the offensive person. The difference between a sin (papa) and an offense (aparadha) is the following: an improper act committed toward a conditioned embodied being is a sin, whereas a similar improper act committed toward Vishnu or the Vaishnava is an offense. An offense has more grave consequences than a sin. Ajamila was a great sinner, but because he had committed no offenses, he was delivered by the power of namabhasa. Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu delivered everyone, both sinners and offenders.

There are offenses to be considered while chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. Therefore simply by chanting Hare Krishna, the offender does not become ecstatic. But these considerations do not exist where Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda are concerned. So as soon as one chants the name, he feels the ecstasy of love for God.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.8.24,31)

Bhaktivinoda Thakur glosses this verse as follows: “If one takes shelter of Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda in faith, his is very quickly cleansed of all offenses. Thus as soon as he chants the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, he feels the ecstasy of love for God.”

Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami has glorified Nityananda Prabhu’s quality of being merciful to the most fallen in the following words:

Because he is intoxicated by ecstatic love and is an incarnation of mercy, Lord Nityananda does not distinguish between the good and the bad. He delivers all those who happen to come before him and therefore he has delivered such a sinful and fallen person as me.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.5.208-9)

Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur has particularly given extensive glorifications of Nityananda Prabhu. The sinful and offensive living beings of this world have no alternative but the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu if they want to be delivered. Even though Nityananda is bhagavat-tattva, he behaves as a devotee. All of his associates are expansions of his mercy. Nityananda Prabhu is said to be the deliverer of the most fallen; his companions seek out even more fallen souls to deliver. In fact, Nityananda distributes his mercy to the conditioned souls through his devotees. As one of Nityananda’s closest confidantes, Uddharan Datta Thakur is called parama-parama-patita-pavana, “the deliverer of the most fallen of the most fallen”. Thus any jiva who takes shelter of Uddharan Datta Thakur is quickly delivered from his material entanglements and attains the service of Nityananda Prabhu and Gauranga Prabhu’s lotus feet. Therefore Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes him as the best of the maha-bhagavatas and Vrindavan Das Thakur writes in the Chaitanya Bhagavat:

Uddharan Datta is a great and magnanimous Vaishnava, who has a title to the service of Nityananda Prabhu.

From a superficial point of view, Uddharan Datta worked as the manager of a big zamindar (Nairaja) of Naihati, about one and a half miles north of Katwa. The relics of this royal family are still visible not far from the Dain Hat station. The village where Uddharan Datta Thakur lived while acting as the manager of the estate was named Uddharan-pura.

Though he possessed a vast fortune, Uddharan Datta renounced all sense gratifications, dedicating all of his sense activities to the service of Nityananda Prabhu. Being controlled by the love of his devotee, Nityananda enjoyed the foodstuffs that Uddharan had cooked.

The Lord grabs the offerings given him by his devotee. That which is given him by a non-devotee is of no interest to him.

Saptagram stands on the banks of the Saraswati River. At Uddharan Datta’s Sripat, one can still see the six-armed figure of Mahaprabhu that he personally worshiped. On the right side of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a deity of Sri Nityananda. On another altar are the figures of Radha Govinda and a shalagrama shila, and below the throne is a picture of Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur. After Uddharan Datta disappeared, Jahnava Devi made an auspicious visit to his home.

Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami writes in the Chaitanya Charitamrita that his brother did not have as much faith in Nityananda Prabhu as he had in Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This was the cause of an argument between his brother and Nityananda’s follower Minaketana Rama Das. Krishnadas took Rama Das’s side in this argument and rebuked his brother. Nityananda Prabhu was pleased with Krishnadas for having supported his devotee, even though this was a fairly ordinary qualification. Nityananda gave Krishnadas a vision of himself, the right to live in Vrindavan and service to the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna. The conclusion is this that if we worship Uddharan Datta Thakur, serving him and try to please him, we will quickly be able to get the mercy of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, through which we will become eligible to attain love for Krishna and thus perfect our lives. In order to attract people to Uddharan Datta’s Sripat it is necessary to make repairs to the buildings on the site. Through this, people will become aware of his glories and will seek his mercy and become blessed. If one makes an effort to serve the devotee, then he will give the commensurate power to serve.

In front of the Saptagram temple, a large hall has been constructed, in front of which is a shady, cool terrace covered by a madhavi creeper.

Srinivas DattaThakur was Uddharan Datta’s only son. Their descendants have spread into many branches and today live in Calcutta, Hooghly and many other places. Those who have taken birth in this family are doubtlessly very fortunate individuals. We pray that they abandon the superficial illusory family connection and establish their transcendental relation with him. [1]

Uddharan Datta Thakur left this world in the Shaka year 1463 (1552), on the krishna trayodashi of the month of Paush.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] The following comments are added in A. C. Bhaktivedänta Swami’s commentary on Chaitanya Charitämåta 1.11.41: “When we returned from America in 1967, the executive committee members of this temple invited us to visit it, and thus we had the opportunity to visit this temple with some American students. Formerly, in our childhood, we visited this temple with our parents because all the members of the suvarëa-vaëik community enthusiastically take interest in this temple of Uddharan Datta Thakur. In the Bengali year 1283 (AD 1876) a babaji named Nitai Das arranged for a donation of twelve bighas of land for this temple. The management of the temple later deteriorated, but then in 1306 (AD 1899), through the cooperation of the famous Balaram Mullik of Hooghly, who was an assistant magistrate, and many rich suvarëa-vaëik (gold merchant) community members, the management of the temple improved greatly. Not more than fifty years ago, one of the family members of Uddharan Datta Thakur named Jagamohana Datta established a wooden mürti (statue) of Uddharan Datta Thakur in the temple, but that mürti is no longer there; at present, a picture of Uddharan Datta Thakur is worshiped. It is understood, however, that the wooden mürti of Uddharan Thakur was taken away by Sri Madana-mohana Datta and is now being worshiped with a Salagram Sila by Srinath Datta.”

Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

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