Blessed is the Shukla Chaturthi tithi in the month of Shravan, for on this day two great personalities, Sri Raghunandan Thakur and Vamsi das babaji maharaj, entered the eternal pastimes of the Lord. The disappearance days of these great personalities is a glorious opportunity for all the vaishnavas to remember and be inspired by their great devotion for Shyamsundar.
Sri Raghunandan Thakur, who is Pradyumna, the third in the chaturvyuha, the son of Sri Krishna, and in another form a dear friend of Krishna in his pastimes in Vrindavan, appeared in the house of Mukunda das, in Srikhand, to participate in the pastimes of Sri Sachinandan Gaurahari. Once, in his childhood, when his father Mukunda das had to go somewhere, he instructed Raghunandan to offer bhoga to the family Gopinath diety and left. When he returned home, and asked Raghunandan for the remenants of the Lord, Raghunandan innocently replied that the Lord had eaten everything that he had offered and had not left any remnants. Indeed, being bound by the love of the small boy Raghunandan, who told the Lord to come and eat, the Lord ate everything that had been offered. Being very surprised to hear that, Mukunda das, on another day, again asked his son to offer bhoga to the deity. Desirous to see what happens, Mukunda das returned home right after leaving and hid to see the wondrous feat of his son feeding the Lord. Raghunandan again lovingly told Gopinath to come and eat and so Gopinath began eating the offering. However, he stopped immediately when Mukunda das entered inside. Seeing the greatness of his son, Mukunda das cried tears of joy and embraced his dear son. Later on, while visiting Mahaprabhu, Gaurahari once asked Mukunda das whether he was the father and Raghunandan the son or was Raghunandan the father and he the son, to which, Mukunda das replied that indeed Raghunandan was the father, and they got their devotion for the Lord from him. Mahaprabhu was very pleased to hear this. Raghiunandan Thakur was a very dear associate of Mahaprabhu, who would come every year to puri with Mukunda das and Narahari Sarkar, his uncle, and would participate in the Sankirtan group of the devotees of Srikhanda during the Rathayatra festival. He later also participated in the Kheturi festival and Narahari Sarkar’s memorial festival in Srikhanda. Before departing from this world, he blessed Srinivas prabhu to be able to preach the mission of Mahaprabhu, as he was very affectionate towards Srinivas prabhu. Thereafter, on this auspicious day he entered into the eternal pastimes of the Lord. We humble pray at his lotus feet to bestow upon us the service to the Lotus feet of Gopinath.
Sri Vamsi das babaji maharaj also chose to bring his pastimes in this world to a close on this very day. Born in the village of Majidpur in the district of Jamalpur in Bangladesh as the son of Sanatan Malobrahma, he moved to Navadwip at a very young age, after having renounced his family life. There he lived almost as a madman, mad in the love of Godhead and not in the least bothered about his material surroundings. His only possessions were his kaupin, kantha(blanket for winter season), and a few utensils which he used for cooking for his dieties, Sri Gaur-Gadadhar, Niati, Radha Krishna and Gopal. Being completely absorbed in spiritual life, he would talk with his deities and do everything for their pleasure. He would go every morning to pick flowers, after which he would go for Madhukari, to collect alms for cooking for his deities. After returning, he would string garlands for all his deities and then cook for them. It was therefore only evening by the time he would offer bhoga to his Lords and accept Prasad. Not having the slightest feeling of possessiveness towards any worldly things, he would leave the hut unlocked and when asked why he did so, he would say that if the owners themselves, referring to his Lords Gaur, Gadadhar and Nitai, did not take care of the place, then what could he possibly do. On certain occasions, when something would go missing from the hut, he would scold his ‘Boys’ and punish them accordingly. Once, when the utensils in which he would offer bhoga to Gaur Niati disappeared from the hut, he did not offer them any bhoga as a punishment for not taking care of their pots. When Nitai’s pot was returned the next day, he fed him but kept Gauranga hungry, soon after which Gaura’s pot was also returned. Seeing him scolding the Lords, the general people were not able to appreciate his exalted position, but Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupad, who was present at the same time, had great respect for him and instructed his disciples to always provide him with whatever bhoga he may need. Vamsi das babji maharaj performed many such sweet, and often incomprehensible pastimes, before departing from this world and entering the spiritual world. On this auspicious day, we pray for him to bless us with unflinching attachment to the lotus feet of Sri Gaurasundar.