Disappearance Day – Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur

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All glories, All glories to the saptam goswami, the seventh gowami, Shrila Bhaktivinod Thakur, who reinstated the powerful surge of Pure devotional service which had slackened after the disappearance of Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur and his followers. Although materially highly educated and holding respectable government posts, he would always engage all his time, when he was not serving in his Post, in chanting the holy names of the Lord, studying the shastras and Writing books which are invaluable jems for all gaudiya vaishnavas.  Bhaktivinod Thakur,who in his spiritual form is a maid servant of Shrimati Radharani named Kamala Manjari,authored about a hundred books in various languages, being a master in numerous languages such as Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, English, Urdu and others, which are full of Rasa tattva and explain, elaborate, complement, simplify and propogte the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his followers, the six goswamis and others. His unparalleled pure genius works such as Shri Harinaam Chintamani, Krishna samhita, Jaiva Dharma, Shri Chaitanya Shikshamrita, Bhajan Rahasya, Shridham Navadwip Mahatmaya and Prema Pradip are but a few titles written by this most merciful personality, the appearance of whom and whose causeless mercy upon all the fallen conditioned souls is the sole reason for our good fortune of being in this Krishna Conciousness Movement. It was he, who,through his prayers, brought Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati PRabhupad to this world, who inturn instructed and inspired Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami PRabhupad to preach in the western world and bring innumerable illusioned living entities to the shelter of the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Not only this, rather he also made a prediction of the appearance of a specail personality who would preach Krishna Conciousness in the western world and he also predicted that in the near future, foreign nationals from all over the world would join the Bengali vaishnavas in Shridham Mayapur and sing the glories of Mahaprabhu together, and sure enough, with his mercy, these predictions were fulfilled by Shrila Prabhupad. His mercy upon Prabhupad and the entire preaching of Krishna conciousness is such that in the year 1896, the very year that Abhay Charan De took birth, Shrila Thakur Bhaktivinod sent small booklets to some libraries in the west with a lengthy english introduction named, “Caitanya Manaprabhu, His life and “precepts” and thus planted the seed of preaching in the west, which was later on nourished and brought to success by Shrila Prabhupad. Besides having writter volumes upon volumes of treasure chests of Krishna bhakti in the from of his books, he also composed an estaunding number of Bhajans glorifying  the vaishnavas and the Lord. In this age of Kali, prayers are considered to be the most powerful, but alas, we lack even the ability to pray properly and therefore Thakur Bhaktivinod has given us gitavali, sharanagati, kalyan kalpataru and gitamala, which are a storehouse of prayerful bhajans describing every aspect of bhakti, from prayers to the lotus feet of the vaishnavas,glorification of Mahaprabhu, Gaura Gadadhar, Nityananda PRabhu, Radha Krishna, to bhajans based on the Shikshashtakam and explaining

various other shlokas and tattvas described in the shastras. His contribution to the Vaishnava community, although unfathommable, includes another great benediction in the form of the excavation of the holy appearance place of Mahaprabhu, which was confirmed by Shrila Jagannath das Babaji maharaj, who was a renowned and respected vaishnava of the time and the shiksha guru of Bhaktivinod thakur, who although having taken intiation from Vipin Behari Goswami, was very close to Jaggannath das Babaji Maharaj. This great personality, whose mercy is of utmost importance for advancement in spiritual life, graced this amavasya tithi in the month of by chosing it as his disappearance day. And on this day we pray to his lotus feet to be blessed with Krihsna bhakti.

This day is also the holy disappearance day of Gadadhar Pandit, who is none other than Shrimati Radharani, appearing in this material world to bless the household of Madhava Mishra and Ratnavati devi and to assist Shri Chaitanya in fulfilling his innermost heart’s desire, to taste the mood of Shrimati Radharani and her love for Shyamsundar. In their childhood, both Gadadhar pandit and Nimai pandit were very close and intimate friends, going to each other’s houses to play and studying in the same school. However, unlike Mahaprabhu, who was a very naughty and proud young scholar, always eager to debate and defeat others in grammar, Gadadhar pandit was from the very beginning very sober and renounced, due to which he would

try and keep some distance from Nimai so as to not be challenged by him with various questions on grammar and nyayashastra. Growing up in Nawadwip, Gadadhar pandit, always being absorbed in devotion to the lotus feet of Krishna and being very dear to Mukunda datta, would often go with him to hear from any exalted vaishnava who would be visiting Nawadwip. Once the great devotee Pundarik Vidyanidhi came thereand both of them went to visit him. When Gadadhar pandit saw Pundarik Vidhyanidhi, his heart filled with doubt about Pundarik Vidyanidhi’s exalted position because of the external appearance that he had of being a person fully engrossed in the senses, as he was seated on a kingly couch chewing pan while being fanned by his servants. Understanding Gadadhar’s heart, Mukunda datta, with the intention to bring forth the true identity of Pundarik Vidyanidhi, recited a shloka from the Bhagwatam that described Krishna’s causeless mercy that he showed on Putana by giving her the position of a mother even though she had come with the intention to kill him. Despite the fact that she had smeared her breasts with poison, just due to her having performed the service of feeding him her milk, being extremely merciful, Krishna blessed her with the position of a mother. As soon as Pundarik Vidyanidhi heard this sholka, he immediately lost all composure and wept torrents of tears in love for Krishna and displayed various ecstatic symptoms such as hair standing on ending and rolling on the ground. Seeing this and realizing his mistake in having doubted the excellence of Pundarik Vidyanidhi’s devotion, Gadadhar pandit felt remorseful and in order to rectify himself he took shelter of the lotus feet of Pundarik Vidyanidhi and accepted him as his spiritual master. After some time, when Mahaprabhu had returned from Gaya and had started exhibiting his love for Madhav, he was once crying pitifully while calling out for his Prananath, Vrajendranandan Vanamali. Seeing Gadadhar coming near him, he asked,’’Where is Krishna?’’, to which, Gadadhar, after deliberating upon how to best answer his question, said that Krishna was in his heart. Hearing this Mahaprabhu without a moments delay started tearing at his chest and crying and saying that he wanted to open his heart so that he could see his Lord. Seeing Mahaprabhu like this Gadadhar pacified him and consoled him by saying that Krishna would be coming really soon. Sachimata, who had witnessed the entire incident, requested Gadadhar to henceforth always stay with Nimai and take care of him, as even she herself was afraid of going near him when he was in such a state because she did not know how to pacify him. Following Mother Sachi’s instruction Gadadhar would always stay with Mahaprabhu and therefore after Mahaprabhu accepted the Sanyas order of life and took up his residence in Shri Kshetra, Gadadhar pandit also moved to Puri dham and took Kshetra sanyas, in which he would never leave Jagannath puri. While residing there he would recite the Shrimad Bhagwatam for Shriman Mahaprabhu, and the various esoteric topics mentioned therein, such as the moods of the Gopis, which no one could explain better than him, as he was Shrimati Radhika herself, explaining her moods so that Mahaprabhu could imbibe them to the fullest and fulfill his desire to experience the love of Shrimati Radhika for Shyamsundar. However, due to Gadadhar pandit

being Shrimati Radharani herself, he would never be with Mahaprabhu in Gambhira, when he would be tasting the highest mellows of love, as in his presence he would not be able to give up his mood of being Krishna and would therefore not be able to taste the feelings of separation from Krishna as Shrimati Radhika feels. Once while sitting with Gadadhar on top of the Chatak parvat, which reminded Mahaprabhu of Govardhan hill, he dug up the deities of Gopinath, Shrimati Radharani and Lalite, which are still currently being worshiped in the Tota Gopinath temple nearby Yameshvar tota, and entrusted their worship to Gadadhar pandit, who very expertly carried out the service of Gopinath with great love and devotion. However, due to his service to Gopinath and his vow to never leave Shri Kshetra, he was unable to accompany Mahaprabhu to Vrindavan, which gave him immense grief, so much so that he was even willing to break all his vows to go with Mahaprabhu, but upon the insistence of Mahaprabhu he stayed back and carried on with his service instead of going with him. In this way he resided in Puri, always serving the deities of Tota Gopinath. The disappearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu nonetheless put Gadadhar pandit in such a state of excruciating pain of separation that he became old very fast, even though he was only 47 at that time and due to this, performing service to Gopinath was getting difficult for him. Seeing this Gopinath mercifully sat down and accepted his service in a sitting position. Yet, the pain of separation continued to be unbearable for him and therefore he also left his body just one year after Mahaprabhu, by entering into the deity of Tota Gopinath. Gadadhar pandit is truly a very special personality, as he is Shrimati Radharani herself, who came to help Krishna in understanding her mood. However, contrary to her general vaam(left wing) nature, in Gaur lila, in the form of Gadadhar, she is very submissive and acts as a servant trying to facilitate the mood of Mahaprabhu in whatever way possible. It is her mood that Mahaprabhu is trying to understand and without Gadadhar pandit his attempt would be incomplete and therefore he plays a very crucial role in Gaur lila and hence the worship of Gaur Gadadhar is considered to be the highest and many of our acharyas such as Bhaktivinod thakur and others have worshiped Gaur Gadadhar and therefore we pray to Gadadhar pandit to please bestow his mercy upon us so that we may be able to serve Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

This holy day marks yet another important festival which is Shri Gundica Marjana, the day when the temple of Gundica is cleansed in preparation of the arrival of Jagannath Dev, who will come to the temple the next day, riding on his chariot and accompanied by his sister Subhadra and elder brother Baladev. At the time when Mahaprabhu was performing his pastimes with his devotees in Jagannath puri, he would go with all his associates and clean the temple of Gundica. There would be transcendental competition in seeing who would accumulate the most amount of dust by vigorously cleaning the temple, and iín his ecstacy Mahaprabhu would always collect the biggest pile of dust. Taking this opportunity, the most fortunate devotee Kala Krishna das poured water on the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu and drinking that nectar he was submerged in an ocean of unprecedented spiritual ecstacy. Although outwardly feigning anger Mahaprabhu rebuked him for doing so, but internally he was pleased by his devotion. Along with cleaning the Gundica temple, the devotees would also clean the Nrasimha dev Temple near by and thereafter take a bath in the Narendra Sarovar, where they would enjoy various water sports, splashing each other with the refreshing waters and thus experiencing great joy. The great clean up would be followed by sumptuous prasad. Taking this day as a special occasion, let us all thoroughly cleanse our hearts with the nectar of the glories of the Lord and his devotees, so that we may become qualified for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to come and take up residence in our hearts, for he is the sole propreitor of all the devotees hearts.