Saturday, May 5th, 2018
The appearance and disappearnace days of the associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are truely most auspicious and glorious, and that too of such an exalted personality as Ramananda Ray, an eternal associate of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was assissting Mahaprabhu in his pastimes of tasting the highest mellows of divotional service while residing in gambhira, by reciting various rasa-ladden verses from the bhagwatam and poems composed by the great writers such as Chandi das, Vidyapati and Jayadev goswami. The panchami tithi during the Krishna paksha in the month of Jyeshtha became blessed, as on this day the great devotee Raya Ramananda, who is considered to be Vishakha sakhi in Krishna lila and also said to be the Pandav Arjun, left this earthly planet to go back to the spiritual world. Born and brought up in the district of Puri, in the village of Bentapur adjacent to Brahmagiri Alalnath, he was the eldest of five sons of a great devotee named Bhavananda raya. Along with being an expert poet and writer, he was also the governor of east and west Godavari and a minister of King Prataparudra. While on his pilgrimage of South India, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprbahu halted at the bank of Godavari with the intention of discussing transcendental subject matters with Ramananda Ray as suggested by Sarvabhauma Bhattachraya. While sitting at the bank of Godavari Mahaprabhu saw Ramananda come with his followers for a bath in the river Godavari. Upon seeing Mahaprabhu, a brilliantly effulgent Sanyasi, Ramananda Ray went to him and paid respecful obeisances unto his lotus feet, and after having fixed a time to meet, and discuss the transcendental gloriesof Shri Krishna, he went back to his residence while Mahaprabhu went to the house of a devotee to honour prasadam. In the evening, leaving behind his entourage, Ramananda Ray submitted himself to the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu and they both discussed transcendental subject matters in a secluded grove at the bank of the river. Knowing him to be well versed in transcendental subject matters, as had been told to him by Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Mahaprabhu asked him various questions, starting from the basics going upto the highest moods of the gopis and Shrimati Radharani herself. This most beautiful conversation that ensued between the two great personality is celebrated amongst all the Gaudiya Vaishnavas as Shri Ray Ramananda samwad. After the discussion, Ray Ramanada requested Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to please mercifully reveal his true identity, upon which he had the darshan of Shri Krishna and Shrimati Radharani in Shriman Mahaprabhu. Before departing from there, Mahaprabhu instructed him to leave all his government responsibilities and come and join him in Shridham Puri, where they would discuss the unfathomable transcendental sweet names, form, qualities and pastimes of Shri Vrajendranandan krishna. Following the order of Mahaprabhu, he soon moved to Puri with the permission of Maharaj Prataparudra, where he was eternally engaged along with Shri Swaroop Damodar in hightening the moods of separation of Mahaprabhu in Gambhira by reciting various melodious poems and verses describing the pastimes of Shyamsundar. He was also instrumental in arranging for the King to have the darshan of Mahaprabhu during the Rathayatra festival.
While residing in Puri, he wrote a famous drama named Jagannath Vallabh natakam, which is full of transcendental mellows and is treasured amongst the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. He then directed the deva-dasis in the Jagannath temple on how to beautifully enact this drama, by explaining to them in deep not only the actions but also the deep internal moods of gopis in the play. He was indeeed so pure and situated in his transcendental identity as a Sakhi of Shrimati Radharani, that even though he would personally massage the young girls bodies, bathe them and adorn them with beautiful clothes, yet he would not in the least be disturbed in his mind and this was glorified by Mahaprabhu himself, who said that even he himself would get disturbed by seeing a beautiful girl, but Ray Ramananda was so exalted that even though he was so closely dealing with these girls, yet he was not effected in the least. Knowing his transcendental glories, Mahaprabhu once sent a devotee named Pradyumna Mishra to go learn about bhakti from him, but seeing him with these young girls created doubt in the mind of Pradyumna Mishra, who went back to Mahaprabhu, where he heard the glories and exalted position of Ray Ramananda from Mahaprabhu himself and thus went back to Ray Ramananda and was blessed with his mercy.
On this auspicious day of his disappearance, we pray to him to please bestow upon us his mercy so that we may be able to attain unflinching affection for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha Shyamsundar.