viernes, 18 de junio de 2010

Santos Vaishnavas - S


He belonged to the sakha of Lord Caitanya. In his past incarnation he was Ratimanjari, or Ragamanjari, or Lavanga manjari (GGD. 181-182, CC. 1.10.84).

He was born around 1410 Saka (1488 A.D.) (printing of date is not clear in GVA p. 1397:1420?)

At a fairly young age he studied under the foremost teacher of the time, Vidyavacaspati, and acquired a sound command over all branches of theology. Sanatana had an immense fascination for Ärîmad Bhâgavatam.

Mukunda, the paternal grandfather of Sanatana, joined the royal government service at Gauda during the rule of Sultan Barbak Shah (1460-1470 A.D.). Barbak's son died after reigning for seven years and was succeeded by Fateh Shah. In order to ensure the security of his kingdom and his palace, Barbak Shah brought a large number of slaves from Abyssima who were called "Habsi." These slaves soon mobilized and killed Fateh Shah in the capital. Some amongst these slaves ruled for six or seven years and brought about their own ruin. The minister of the last slave ruler, named Hussain Shah, finally ascended the throne of Gauda.

During the rule of Fateh Shah, Mukunda died and Sanatana was appointed to Mukunda's post. In this way Sanatana saved himself during the interval of slave rule by occupying the high position of Dabir Khas (private secretary) (CCM 1.184 - Sakara Mallik). Sanatana took charge of defence activities and Hussain Shah ruled as advised by Sanatana. At that time Rûpa was given the responsibility of governing the boundary areas.

Rûpa and Sanatana received land for their personal use from the royal government, consisting of Yusafpur and Cengutia pargana in Fatehabad. There, on the bank of the river Bhairai they built a huge palace (See the book Jasohar Khulnar Itihas 1.349-3 58 for details on this). They also arranged to build several mansions with lakes, etc. at Ramakeli (CC. R.G. Nd. PP. 305-306).

One night when Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî was very young he had a dream in which a brahmana came to him and offered him a Ärîmad Bhâgavatam. Sanatana was extremely happy, until the dream faded away. In the morning after completing his bath and worship he sat down in his usual spot. At that time a brahmana approached him and handed him the Bhâgavatam saying, "Take this Bhâgavata and read it everyday. In this way all your desires will be fulfilled." The brahmana then went away. Sanatana was overwhelmed with joy and from that day he regarded Ärîmad Bhâgavatam as the only scripture and read it daily without fail. In his Ärî Kèëòalila stava Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî praises the Ärîmad Bhâgavatam as follows: "My only companion, my only friend, guru, my deliverer, my fortune and my source of pleasure, I pay my tribute to you."

It was at Ramakeli that Rûpa and Sanatana first met Lord Caitanya. Later Ärî Rûpa and Anupama departed with all their riches to Fateyavada. Ärî Sanatana then began to think of giving up the service to the state. The Badshah had already invested full responsibility for the management of the state to Ärî Sanatana and Rûpa and could not think of running the state without them. Ärî Sanatana sent a message of his illness to the Badshah and stopped attending the court. On hearing of this illness, the Badshah sent a Vaidya (a doctor) to see Sanatana. When the Vaidya arrived at his house he found Sanatana discussing scriptures with 15-20 scholars. Upon examining Sanatana he found no illness and thus reported it to the Badshah. The Badshah then paid a visit to Sanatana's house where he was respectfully received by Sanatana and the Paòàitas and offered a beautiful seat. The Badshah asked Sanatana, "The doctor I sent to examine you has reported that you have no disease. The state administration is dependent upon you, yet you are not coming to court. Already your brother has left, and my state activities have come to a stand still. I cannot understand what you are thinking." Ärî Sanatana replied, "It is useless to depend on me. Please appoint another person for this task." The Yavana king angrily said, "You have spoiled my activities." Ärî Sanatana replied, "You are the King of Gauda and can do anything you like, now you can punish me for neglecting my duties." The King was furious and ordered the Kazi to imprison Sanatana.

At that time the King was at war with Orissa. Prior to his leaving for the war, Hussain Shah paid a second visit to Sanatana and asked him to accompany him. However, Sanatana replied, "You are going to give trouble to the Deities and to virtuous men, I will not go with you." Thus the Badshah left without him and Sanatana remained in prison.

While Sanatana was imprisoned, a letter arrived from Ärîla Rûpa Gosvâmî stating, "Somehow try to get freed from the prison. I left eight hundred mohars with a grocer-man. I am leaving for Vèndâvana with Anupama." Sanatana was very happy to receive this news.

Sanatana Gosvâmî then told the Mohammedan jailkeeper, "Dear sir you are a saintly person and are very fortunate. You have full knowledge of the revealed scriptures such as the Koran and similar books. If one releases a conditioned soul or imprisoned person according to religious principles, he himself is also released from material bondage by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Previously I have done much for you. Now I am in difficulty. Please return my goodwill be releasing me. Here are five thousand gold coins. Please accept them.

In this way Sanatana convinced the jailkeeper, who replied, "I am willing to release you, but I am afraid of the government." Sanatana replied, "There is no danger. The Nawab has gone to the south. If he returns tell him that Sanatana went to pass stool near the bank of the Ganges and that as soon as he saw the Ganges, he jumped in. Tell him, `I looked for him a long time, but I could not find any trace of him. He jumped in with his shackles, and therefore he was drowned and washed away by the waves.' There is no reason for you to be afraid, for I shall not remain in this country. I shall become a mendicant and go to the holy city of Mecca." Sanatana then stacked seven thousand gold coins before the jailkeeper. He then agreed, and that night he cut Sanatana's shackles and let him cross the Ganges.

In this way Sanatana was released. However, he was not able to walk along the path of the fortress. Walking day and night, he finally arrived at the hilly tract of land known as Patada. There he met a landholder and submissively requested him to get him across that hilly tract of land. A man who was expert in palmistry was at that time staying with the landlord. Knowing about Sanatana, he whispered to the landlord, "This man possesses eight gold coins."

Hearing this the landlord was very pleased and said to Sanatana, "I shall get you across that hilly tract at night with my own men. Now just take these grains and cook lunch for yourself." Sanatana then went to the riverside and took his bath. After having fasted for two days, he cooked the grains given by the landlord and ate.

However, having formerly been a minister of the Nawab, he began to contemplate the situation. He wondered why the landlord was offering him such respect. Thus he questioned his servant, Isana, who revealed that he was carrying seven gold coins. Sanatana then took the gold coins and handed them over to the landlord saying, "I have these seven gold coins with me. Please accept them, and from a religious point of view please get me across the hilly tract of land. Smiling, the landlord said, "Before you offered them, I already knew that there were eight gold coins in your servant's possession. On this very night I would have killed you and taken your coins. I am very satisfied with your behavior. I shall not accept these gold coins, but I shall get you across that hilly tract of land simply to perform a pious activity."

Sanatana replied, "If you do not accept the coins, someone else will kill me for them. It is better that you save me from the danger by accepting the coins." After this settlement was made, the landlord gave Sanatana four watchmen to accompany him. They went through the forest path for the whole night and thus brought him over the hilly tract of land. After crossing the hills, Sanatana Gosvâmî told his servant, "Isana, I think you still have some balance left from the gold coins." Isana replied, "I still have one gold coin in my possession." Sanatana Gosvâmî then said, "Take the coin and return to your home."

After departing from Isana, Sanatana began traveling alone with a waterpot in his hand. Simply covered with a torn quilt, he thus lost all his anxiety. Walking and walking, he finally arrived at a place called Hajipura. That evening he sat down within a garden.

In Hajipura there was a gentleman named Ärîkanta, who happened to be the husband of Sanatana Gosvâmî's sister, who was engaged in government service. Ärîkanta had 300,000 gold coins with him, which had been given to him by the emperor for the purchase of horses. Thus Ärîkanta was buying horses and dispatching them to the emperor. When Ärîkanta was sitting in an elevated place, he could see Sanatana Gosvâmî. That night he took a servant and went to see Sanatana. When they met, they had many conversations, Sanatana told him in detail about his arrest and release. Ärîkanta then told Sanatana, "Stay here for at least two days and dress up like a gentleman. Abandon these dirty garments. Sanatana Gosvâmî replied, "I shall not stay here even for a moment. Please help me cross the Ganges. I shall leave immediately." With great care, Ärîkanta gave him a woolen blanket and helped him cross the Ganges. Thus Sanatana Gosvâmî departed again.

After a few days, Sanatana Gosvâmî arrived at Varanasi. He was very pleased to hear about Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu's arrival there. He then went to the house of Candrasekhar and sat down by the door. Understanding what was happening, Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu said to Candrasekhar, "There is a devotee at your door. Please call him in." Going outside, Candrasekhar could not see a Vaisnava at his door. When he informed the Lord, He said, "Is there anyone at your door at all?" Candrasekhar replied, "There is a Muslim mendicant." Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu immediately said, "Please bring him here." Candrasekhar then spoke to Sanatana Gosvâmî, who was still sitting beside the door. "O Muslim mendicant, please come in. The Lord is calling you." Sanatana was very pleased to hear this order, and he entered Candrasekhar's house.

As soon as Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu saw Sanatana Gosvâmî in the courtyard, He immediately went up to him with great haste. After embracing him, the Lord was overwhelmed with ecstatic love. Sanatana was also filled with love, yet in a faltering voice , he said, "Oh my Lord, do not touch me." Shoulder to shoulder, Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu and Sanatana Gosvâmî began to cry unlimitedly, much to Candrasekhar's astonishment. Catching his hand Mahâprabhu took Sanatana Gosvâmî inside and made him sit in an elevated place next to Him. When the Lord began cleansing Sanatana Gosvâmî's body with His own hand, Sanatana said, "Oh my Lord, please do not touch me." The Lord replied, "I am touching you just to Purîfy Myself because by the force of your devotional service you can Purîfy the whole universe. Saints of your caliber are themselves places of pilgrimage. Because of their Purîty, they are constant companions of the Lord, and therefore they can Purîfy even the places of pilgrimage." He then introduced Sanatana to Candrasekhar, Tapana Misra and the other devotees.

Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu called Candrasekhar and asked him to take Sanatana Gosvâmî with him and to take away Sanatana's present dress. Candrasekhar then took Sanatana Gosvâmî to bathe in the Ganges, and afterwards brought him a new set of clothes, but Sanatana did not accept them. When the Lord heard about this He was very happy. At noon Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu took Sanatana Gosvâmî to the house of Tapana Misra for lunch.

Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu felt unlimited happiness to observe Sanatana Gosvâmî's strict following of the principles of sannyasa. However, He repeatedly glanced at the woolen blanket Sanatana Gosvâmî was wearing. Thus Sanatana could understand that the Lord did not approve of it. He then began to consider to give it up. Sanatana then went to the bank of the Ganges to bathe. While there, he saw that a mendicant from Bengal had washed his quilt and had spread it out to dry. Sanatana Gosvâmî told the Bengali mendicant, "My dear brother, please do me a favor. Trade me your quilt for this woolen blanket." Saying this Sanatana exchanged the blanket for the quilt and returned to Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu. The Lord then asked, "Where is your woolen blanket?" Sanatana Gosvâmî then narrated the whole story. Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu said, "I have already deliberately considered this matter. Since Lord Kèëòa is very merciful, He has nullified your attachment for material things. Why should Kèëòa allow you to maintain a last bit of material attachment? After vanquishing a disease, a good physician does not allow any of the disease to remain." Sanatana Gosvâmî replied, "The Supreme Personality of Godhead has saved me from the sinful life of material existence. By His desire, my last piece of material attraction is now gone."

Sanatana then clasped the feet of the Lord and said, "I was born in a low family, and my associates are all low-class men. I myself am fallen and am the lowest of men. Indeed, I have passed my whole life in the well of sinful materialism. I do not know what is beneficial for me and what is detrimental. Nonetheless, in ordinary dealings people consider me a learned scholar, and I am also thinking of myself as such. Out of Your causeless mercy, You have delivered me from the materialistic path. Now, by the same causeless mercy, please tell me what my duty is. Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited? Actually I do not know how to inquire about the goal of life and the process for obtaining it. Being merciful upon me, please explain all these truths."

Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu said, "Lord Kèëòa has bestowed His full mercy upon you so that all these things are known to you. For you, the threefold miseries certainly do not exist. Since you possess Lord Kèëòa's potency, you certainly know these things. However, it is the nature of a sadhu to inquire. Although he knows these things, the sadhu inquires for the sake of strictness. Those who are anxious to awaken their spiritual consciousness, who have unflinching intelligence and who are not deviated, certainly attain the desired goal. You are fit to propagate the cult of devotional service. Therefore gradually hear all the truths about it from Me. I shall tell you about them."

Thus for two months the Lord instructed Sanatana Gosvâmî on the science of devotional service. The Lord then requested him to write books describing this science. Mahâprabhu said, "Your two brothers Rûpa and Anupama have already gone to Vèndâvana. You should also go there, and I shall return to Nilacala. You will also come there to see Me in due course of time." Mahâprabhu then took his leave from the devotees, who all cried helplessly. Ärî Sanatana bid farewell to the Kasi devotees and started for Vèndâvana.

In Vèndâvana Sanatana met Subuddhi Raya, but he missed Rûpa Gosvâmî, who had already left. Rûpa and Sanatana had followed two different paths, thus they did not meet along the way. After some time Sanatana Gosvâmî came alone from Mathura to Jagannâtha Purî to see Lord Caitanya. Because of bathing in bad water and not getting enough food every day while travelling on the path through Jharakhanda Forest, he developed a disease that made his body itch. Suffering greatly from this itching, he resolved that in the presence of Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu he would throw himself under the wheel of Jagannâtha's car and in this way commit suicide.

When Sanatana Gosvâmî came to Jagannâtha Purî, he stayed under the care of Haridâsa Ùhâkura for some time and Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu was very happy to see him. The Lord informed Sanatana about the death of his younger brother Anupama, who had great faith in the lotus feet of Lord Ramacandra. One day Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu said to Sanatana Gosvâmî, "Your decision to commit suicide is the result of the mode of ignorance. One cannot get love of God simply by committing suicide. You have already dedicated your life and body to My service; therefore your body does not belong to you, nor do you have any right to commit suicide. I have to execute many devotional services through your body. I want you to preach the cult of devotional service and go to Vèndâvana to excavate the lost holy places." After having thus spoken, Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu left, and Haridâsa Ùhâkura and Sanatana Gosvâmî had many talks about this subject.

One day Sanatana Gosvâmî was summoned by Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu, who wanted him to come to Yamesvara-tota. Sanatana reached the Lord through the path along the beach by the sea. When Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu asked Sanatana Gosvâmî which way he had come, Sanatana replied, "Many servitors of Lord Jagannâtha come and go on the path by the Simha-dvara gate of the Jagannâtha temple. Therefore, I did not go by that path, but instead went by the beach." Sanatana Gosvâmî did not realize that there were burning blisters on his feet because of the heat of the sand. Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu was pleased to hear about Sanatana Gosvâmî's great respect for the temple of Lord Ärî Jagannâtha.

Because his disease produced wet sores on his body, Sanatana Gosvâmî used to avoid embracing Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu, but nevertheless the Lord would embrace him by force. This made Sanatana Gosvâmî very unhappy, and therefore he consulted Jagadananda Paòàita about what he should do. Jagadananda advised him to return to Vèndâvana after the cart festival of Jagannâtha, but when the Lord heard about this instruction, He chastised Jagadananda Paòàita and reminded him that Sanatana Gosvâmî was senior to him and also more learned. Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu informed Sanatana Gosvâmî that because Sanatana was a pure devotee, the Lord was never inconvenienced by his bodily condition. Because the Lord was a sannyasi, He did not consider one body better than another. The Lord also informed him that He was maintaining Sanatana and the other devotees just like a father. Therefore the moisture oozing from Sanatana's itching skin did not affect the Lord at all. After speaking with Sanatana Gosvâmî in this way, the Lord again embraced him, and after this embrace, Sanatana Gosvâmî became free from the disease. The Lord ordered Sanatana Gosvâmî to stay with Him for that year, and the next year, after seeing the Ratha-yatra festival, he left Purusottama-ksetra and returned to Vèndâvana.

Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî used to worship Kèëòa living in a cottage near the birth place of Ärî Kèëòa in Mahavana. One day Sanatana was begging alms near the bank of the Yamuna, where Madana Gopala deva and the other gopa boys used to play. When Madana Gopala saw Ärî Sanatana, He ran to Sanatana and grabbing his hand said, "Oh father, I shall go with you." Sanatana said, "My dear son, why will you come with me?" Gopala insisted, "I want to stay with you. Sanatana replied, "But what am I going to feed you?" Gopala asked, "What do you eat?"

Sanatana said, "I eat only dry bread and gram." Gopala replied, "I shall also eat that then." Sanatana protested, "You will not be able to eat that. You please stay with your parents." But Gopala insisted that He wanted to go with Sanatana. Eventually Sanatana pacified the boy and sent him to his parents. Sanatana then continued begging alms. That night, the same boy appeared in Sanatana's dream and smilingly said, "Oh father, I am Madana Gopala. Tomorrow I shall come with you." He then disappeared. Ärî Sanatana woke up and was mad with joy thinking, "What have I seen? I never saw such a beautiful child." Chanting the holy name, he opened the door and saw a beautiful Deity of Gopala waiting on the doorstep. The entire area was glowing due to the presence of the Deity. Sanatana stood spell-bound, tears of love poured from his eyes, wetting the feet of Gopala. He then performed the abhiseka ceremony and worshiped the Deity with the utmost devotion. When Ärî Rûpa Gosvâmî saw the Deity of Gopala, he was also overwhelmed with ecstasy. Ärî Rûpa immediately sent a messenger to tell Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu in Purî about the appearance of the Lord. Thus Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî continued worshiping Madana Gopala in his cottage.

Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî used to beg wheat and make bread from it, then he would offer the bread to Gopala. Sometimes he prepared vegetable curry for Gopala, while other times, being without oil or salt, he was unable to do so. Often times he offered only dry bread to Gopala. This disturbed Sanatana, but what could he do, he had been ordered by the Lord to write books. Being busy with this work, how could he find time to beg paise for buying oil and salt? Nevertheless, it saddened Sanatana to offer only dry bread to his Lord. The omniscient Lord, understanding the mind of his devotee said, "Sanatana feels hurt to offer me dry bread. He would like to offer Me opulent foodstuff...

Once a rich ksatriya of Multan named Ärî Kèëòadâsa Kapur, came to Mathura for some trading business. Along the way his boat became stuck on a sand bank in the Yamuna and he was unable to travel any further down the river. When Kèëòadâsa Kapur heard that there was a great saint named Sanatana Gosvâmî living nearby he eagerly sought him out and found Sanatana immersed in writing. He wore only a kaupina and his body was emaciated. Kèëòadâsa immediately fell prostrate at the feet of Sanatana. Sanatana offered him a seat, but Kèëòadâsa did not accept it, rather he sat on the ground. "Baba," Kèëòadâsa said, "please be kind to me, my boat is stuck in the Yamuna and I am unable to set it free." Ärî Sanatana replied, "I know nothing, you tell your problem to Madana-gopala." Kèëòadâsa offered his obeisances to Madana-gopala and begged that His boat be freed, promising that he would then dedicate all of his profits for the service of Madana-gopala. That same afternoon there was a heavy storm which made it possible for Kapur to set his boat free. Seeing this as the mercy of the Lord, Kèëòadâsa donated all of his profits for the service of Madana-Gopala, namely to build Him a temple, prepare bhoga and arrange royal service for Him daily. Thus Sanatana's desire to serve the Lord opulently was fulfilled and he was overcome with joy. Kèëòadâsa Kapur accepted initiation from Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî.

One day, desiring to see Ärî Rûpa and Ärî Raghunatha, Ärî Sanatana came to Râdhâ kunda. Rûpa and Raghunatha eagerly got up from their seats, offered their obeisances and a seat to Sanatana. They sat together happily discussing topics of Kèëòa. Ärî Rûpa had written a book named Chatu Puspanjali in which he quoted Ärî Râdhâ stava. Ärî Sanatana read that stava in which he came across the word "vyalanganaphanam" (i.e. the plait of Ärî Râdhârani looks just like the hood of a female snake). Ärî Sanatana began to wonder whether it was correct to compare the plait of Ärî Râdhârani to the hood of a venomous female snake. At noon Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî went to take bath in the kunda. Along the way he came across some gopa girls playing under a tree near the kunda. As he looked at them it appeared to him that there were snakes swinging on their backs. He anxiously warned the girls, "Oh girls, beware of the snakes, they are climbing up in your plaits." The girls were playing happily and did not hear Sanatana, who then ran towards them to warn them. Seeing Sanatana running toward them, Ärî Râdhâ and her playmates smilingly disappeared. Ärî Sanatana was shocked and perplexed, but remembering the comparison given by Ärî Rûpa, he clearly understood everything.

One day when Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî was living at Mahavana, he came across Ärî Madana Gopala playing on the bank of the Yamuna. Astonished, he thought, "What am I seeing? Is that actually Madana Gopala?" He thought that perhaps it was another gopa boy. On another day he again saw the same gopa playing with the other gopas. That day Sanatana decided to wait and see where the boy went. When evening came, the gopa boys began to return to their houses after playing. Madana Gopala then entered into the temple. In this way Sanatana came to understand that Madana Gopala used to play daily on the bank of the Yamuna.

At one time Sanatana gave up taking rice or water and sat meditating in a solitary place on the bank of Pavana-Sarovara. At this time the omniscient Lord arranged to provide food for His devotee. Just before dusk, Ärî Kèëòa, in the guise of a little boy, came before Ärî Sanatana with some milk and said, "Oh father, I have brought your milk." Sanatana: Why have you gone through so much trouble to bring me milk? Ärî Kèëòa: Because I know that you are fasting. Sanatana: How did you know? Ärî Kèëòa: When I came back from grazing the cattle I passed by the lake and saw you sitting here. Sanatana: Why hasn't anyone come with you? Ärî Kèëòa: No one else had any time as there are many household duties to be done, so I came alone. Sanatana: Ah, you are only a child yet you have to suffer so much. Ärî Kèëòa: No, no my father, I am not feeling any difficulty. Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî quickly took the pot of milk from His hand and said, "My dear child, please be seated. I shall at once empty the pot." Ärî Kèëòa: No, my father, I won't stay long. It is now almost evening, I must go to milk the cows. Tomorrow I shall come back for the pot. Saying this the boy disappeared. Staring into the emptiness, perplexed, Ärî Sanatana suddenly realized that Ärî Kèëòa Himself had delivered the milk to him. Floating in tears, Sanatana drank the milk. From that time onward he begged alms for his meal and the inhabitants of Vraja built a cottage for him to live in.

Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî used to circumambulate Govardhana Hill every day. However, as he grew older it became increasingly more difficult to cover this fourteen miles daily. Nevertheless, he did not want to stop his regulated practice. Realizing the difficulty of His devotee, Ärî Kèëòa appeared in the guise of a gopa child and said, "Oh my father, you are aged now, it is not necessary for you to continue going around the hill of Govardhana everyday." Ärî Sanatana protested, "But it is my regular worship." Ärî Kèëòa replied, "Leave it now that you are so old." But Sanatana insisted, "Rule is rule, it is not wise to leave it." Ärî Kèëòa then gave him a piece of stone embossed with His own footprint and said, "Father, this is a stone from Govardhana, go around this daily and you will get the same result." Ärî Kèëòa gave him the stone and disappeared. Ärî Sanatana was astonished and realized that the King of the Hill Himself had given him the stone. After that he circumambulated the stone daily.

Sanatana used to perform his bhajan in a place called Cakalesvara in Govardhana. However, there was an abundance of mosquitos there, which disturbed Sanatana. One day he decided, "I won't stay here any longer. It is not a suitable place to worship or write." Understanding the mind of Sanatana, Lord Äiva appeared to him in a dream and said, "Sanatana, carry on with your service to Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu because from tomorrow you will no longer be disturbed by mosquitos." From that day onward that place became free from the disturbance of mosquitos and Ärî Sanatana carried on with his bhajan without hindrance.

The following are the works of Ärî Sanatana: (1) Ärî Brhad-Bhâgavatamrta, (2) Ärî Hari-bhakti-vilasa and its Digdarsini Tika, (3) Ärî Kèëòalilastava or Dasama Carita, (4) The Tipponi on Ärîmad Bhâgavata, (5) Brhad Vaisnava-Tosani, (6) Eggeling mentions in the India Office Catalogue, Vol. VII, pp. 1422-1423 that Sanatana wrote a tika titled Tatparyadipika on Kalidâsa's Meghadutam, (7) One manuscript titled "Gopalapuja" is found in the name of Sanatana in Madras Oriental Manuscripts LIbrary Catalogue Vol. IV, Part l, Sanskrit A.R. No. 3053, a-47. (8) He is also said to have written a booklet titled Laghu-Harinamamrta-vyakarana. The same book is found in the name of Rûpa Gosvâmî in Dacca University Library. Since Hari-bhakti-vilasa is mentioned in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindu (1.2.72,201), which was written in 1463 Saka, it can be understood that Hari-bhakti-vilasa was written before 1463.

The following are references to Sanatana Gosvâmî found in the Caitanya Caritamrta (references shown in parenthesis indicate the CC. BBT ed. reference):

1.10.94 When Raghunatha dâsa visits Vèndâvana, Sanatana takes care of him like his own brother.

1.10.95 Sanatana listens to the details relating to Lord Caitanya narrated by Raghunatha dâsa.

2.1.174 (2.1.184) Sanatana as Sakar Mallik, the minister of the King of Gauda.

2.1.196-197 (2.1.208-210) Sanatana's correspondence with Lord Caitanya prior to their meeting each other.

2.1.172 (2.1.175-182 Discussion with Rûpa about Hussain Shah's attitude toward Lord Caitanya.

2.1.172-93 (2.1.182-205) Rûpa and Sanatana go to meet Lord Caitanya in disguise; they first contact Lord Nityânanda and Haridâsa Ùhâkura.

2.1.194-203 (2.1.207-217) Lord Caitanya showers His mercy upon the two brothers and encourages the devotees to also do so.

2.1.204-6 (2.1.218-220) The two brothers meet all the devotees.

2.1.207-210 (2.1.221-226) Rûpa and Sanatana advise the Lord to leave Ramakeli and suggest the route which He should take to reach Vèndâvana

2.1.212 (2.1.226) The two brothers leave Ramakeli.

2.19.2-4 (2.19.3-5) The two brothers devise a way to renounce worldly life; Brahmanas perform religious ceremonies and chant the holy name of Kèëòa so that the brothers may attain the feet of Lord Caitanya.

2.19.12-16 (2.19.13-17) Sanatana remains at home with Paòàitas studying Bhâgavatam on the pretext of illness.

2.19.17-26 (2.19.18-27) The King pays a sudden visit to Sanatana's house; requests him to continue his work; Sanatana refuses; the King imprisons Sanatana.

2.19.27-29 (2.19.28-30) Sanatana is requested to accompany the King in war with Orissa; Sanatana refuses.

2.19.31-34 (2.19-31-35) Through a letter Rûpa advises Sanatana how to free himself from prison.

2.19.115-19 Sanatana's remarkable renunciation and sincerity.

2.20.3-32 (2.20.4-33) With the help of a prison-guard and a feudal lord, Sanatana escapes.

2.20.33-44 (2.20.34-45) Arrival in Varanasi

2.20-44-59 (2.20.47-64) Sanatana meets Lord Caitanya at the house of Candrasekhar and is blessed.

2.20.60-63 Sanatana narrates how he escaped from prison; Lord Caitanya informs Sanatana that He met Rûpa and Anupama in Prayag.

2.20.63-65 Sanatana bathed and properly dressed with the help of Candrasekhar.

2.20.65-73 Sanatana refuses to accept the new garment offered by Candrasekhar; he accepts an old one from Tapana Misra.

2.20.74-77 Meeting with a Maharastrian brahmana; Sanatana's desire for madhukari.

2.20.77-89 Sanatana exchanges his blanket for a torn quilt.

2.20.92-2.23.60 Sanatana receives spiritual instructions from Lord Caitanya at Kasi for two months.

2.23-61-66 Lord Caitanya blesses Sanatana so that he may fully imbibe the instructions given him.

2.24.2-227 Sanatana listens as Lord Caitanya gives sixty-one different interpretations of the Atmarama verse.

2.24.228-235 Sanatana listens to discourses on Bhâgavata given by Lord Caitanya.

2.23.53-55 Lord Caitanya commands him to go to Vèndâvana and establish lost pilgrimage sites, preach devotional service, and write devotional books.

2.24.236-257 Sanatana receives the blessing that whenever he would take up the pen, Lord Kèëòa would ensure the flow of writing.

2.25.54 On the final day when Prakasananda is converted at the Bindumadhava temple, Sanatana participates in Nama-sankirtana along with Candrasekhar, Tapan Misra and Paramananda while Lord Caitanya dances in ecstasy.

2.25.135-136 Lord Caitanya directs Sanatana to visit Vèndâvana and serve the Vaisnavas there.

2.25.162-165 From Prayag Sanatana reaches Mathura where he meets Subuddhi Raya and hears about Rûpa and Anupama from him.

2.25.166-167 (2.25-214-215) Visit to forests, renunciation, collection of Mathura-mahatmya literature, locating lost holy sites.

3.4.24 Sanatana reaches Nilacala via Jharikhanda, half-starved and suffering from skin infection.

3.4.5-11 Sanatana decides to give up his life. Lord Caitanya embraces Sanatana, ignoring the sores on his body.

3.4.21-22 Lord Caitanya introduces Sanatana to his close associates.

3.4.23-51 Istagosthi with Lord Caitanya, who conveys news of Rûpa's arrival at Nilacala and the death of Anupama; Lord Caitanya explains Murari's sincere devotion.

3.4.49,52 Prasada received from Lord Caitanya.

3.4.53-66 Understanding his desire to commit suicide, Lord Caitanya prevents Sanatana from doing so and instructs him on spiritual practices.

3.4.68-87 Haridâsa Ùhâkura explains to Sanatana how wrong it was to plan to commit suicide.

3.4.88-99 Sanatana and Haridâsa discuss about Lord Caitanya.

3.4.110-129 Lord Caitanya tests Sanatana at Yamesvara Tota, and is delighted when Sanatana is successful.

3.4.130-139 Jagadananda advises Sanatana to return to Vèndâvana.

3.4.140-155 Lord Caitanya is furious with Jagadananda and praises Sanatana.

3.4.156-159 Sanatana praises Jagadananda's good fortune to be criticized by the Lord, while blaming himself for being praised by the Lord.

3.4.160-192 Lord Caitanya explains the reason from praising him and cleanses Sanatana by embracing him.

3.4.100-107 Sanatana participates in the Ratha-yatra; Lord Caitanya introduces him to the Gaudiya and Nilacala devotees.

3.4.197 Sanatana discusses the attributes of Lord Caitanya with Haridâsa Ùhâkura; participation in the Holi festival. Lord Caitanya sends Sanatana to Vèndâvana.

3.4.199-204 Sanatana takes the same route which Lord Caitanya took to Vèndâvana, which is described to him by Balabhadra Bhattacarya.

3.13.43-60 Sanatana meets Jagadananda Paòàita in Vèndâvana and helps resolve all his problems.

3.13.65-67 Sanatana sends some gifts for Lord Caitanya through Jagadananda.

3.13.64 According to the desire of Lord Caitanya, conveyed through Jagadananda, Sanatana renovates a Vaisnava monastery located at Dvadâsaditya-tila and stays in a hut in front of it.

3.4.208-210 Carrying out the instruction of the Lord, Sanatana recovers lost holy sites of Vèndâvana, preaches, and writes books about devotional service.

Sanatana was born in 1410 Saka (1544 calendar year: 1488 A.D.). He lived 27 years in his house and 43 years in Vraja: his duration of life was 70 years. He died in 1480 Saka (1615 calendar year, 1558 A.D.), on the day of the full moon in the month of Asadha (June-July).

(See also Narescandra Jana's Vrndavanera Chaya Gosvâmî PP. 11-82)


In his Laghu-Vaisnava-Tosani, Ärî Jiva Goswami has mentioned their family lineage begining with Ärî Sarva, who was a yajur vedi brahmana, Bharadvaja gotriya, from Karnataka. His son was Ärî Aniruddha deva who had two sons Ärî Rupesvara and Ärî Harihardeva. There was apparently some altercation between the two brothers, who had different mothers (Aniruddha deva had two wives) as a result of which Ärî Rupesvara along with his wife and eight horses, came to Paulastya-desa, where he was befriended by the ruler of that land, Ärî Sekaresvar. Ärî Padmanabhadeva, the son of Ärî Rupesvar was extremely learned in all the Vedas. He came with his family to live at Naihati, on the banks of the Gaôgâ. He had eight daughters and five sons. His five sons, following in the footsteps of their predecessors, were very expert in the study of Vedas. Their names were Purusottama, Jagannâtha, Narayana, Murari and Mukundadeva. Mukundadeva's son, Ärî Kumara deva, being oppressed by some of the other family members, came to live at Bakla Candradvip. Ärî Kumaradeva had many sons, amongst whom Ärî Amar (Sanatana), Ärî Santosh (Ärî Rûpa) and Ärî Vallabha (Anupama) were great devotees.

Ärî Sanatana was born in the Christian year 1488 (Sakabda 1410). He, along with his brothers, began his studies from their maternal uncle's house, in a small village, Sakurma, near the capital of Gaura-desa.

The Badsa Hussain Shah, having heard of their profound scholarship and intelligence, decided to engage the two brothers as his ministers. Though they were unwilling, the order of the Badsa could not be entirely neglected. Thus they came to live at Ramakeli, the capital of Gaura-desa at that time, and were presented much wealth by the Badsa. Many brahmanas and pandits from distant lands would stay with Rûpa and Sanatana whenever they would come to Ramkeli, especially, those from Karnataka and Navadwipa. There is still a house near the Gaôgâ, called Bhattabati, which is said to have been their residence.

They had many instructors and professors. In rhetoric their teacher was Ärî Vidyabhusanapada. They were trained in philosophy by the brother of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Ärî Vidyavacaspati, as well as Ärî Paramananda Bhattacarya, Ärî Rampada Bhadrapada. Their names have been mentioned in the commentary of the tenth canto of Ärîmad Bhâgavatam.

These three brothers were from childhood endowed with great devotion to the Lord. In memory of Ärî Vrindavana, near their residence they planted many auspicious trees such as Tamal, Kadamba, Juthika and Tulasi. In the midst of these gardens constructed Shyama-kunda and Râdhâ-kunda. In these auspicious surroundings they always remained absorbed in service to Ärî Madana Mohana. Having heard something about the famous Nimai Paòàita they became very anxious to have His darsana, and always meditated on when they might get such a chance.

One morning, Sanatana Goswami, saw a dream in which one brahmana was presenting the Ärîmad Bhâgavatam to him. Suddenly he woke up, but seeing that no one was there, he felt sad. Later on, in the morning after he had finished his bath and performance of puja, one brahmana came to his house and presented him with the Bhâgavata, instructing him to study it very thoroughly. Having received it in this way, he was beside himself with bliss, and from that day, considering the Bhâgavata to be the essence of all scriptures, he began its thorough study.

"My only constant companion, my only friend, guru, wealth, that which has delivered me, my great fortune and the source of my good luck, the form through which I taste pleasure, my obeisances to you, Ärîmad Bhâgavatam." (Ärî Kèëòa-lila stava).

When the brothers learned that Nimai Paòàita, the life and soul of Nadia, had accepted sannyasa and gone to stay at Purî, they fainted dead away, having lost hope of getting His darsana. They were a little pacified only after a celestial voice informed them that they would be able to see the Lord, here in Ramakeli itself.

After five years had passed, Mahâprabhu decided to come to Bengal to have darsana of his mother and mother Gaôgâ. All of the devotees were in ecstasy and Saci mata was so overjoyed that she was not even aware of her own body. After spending a few days with Advaita Âcârya in Santipur, He came to Ramakeli. (C. C. Mad 1.166)

Sakara Mallik (Sanatan) and Dabir Khas (Rûpa), along with their brother Ärî Ballabha (Anupama), who had a son who was just a small child (Ärî Jiva), they offered salutations at the lotus feet of Mahâprabhu.

After Mahâprabhu had left Ramakeli to return to Purî, the brothers began to observe some vows and rituals in order to obtain shelter at His lotus feet. After sending the family members to their residences at Candradwip and Fateyabad, Ärî Rûpa and Anupama loaded a boat with their accumulated wealth and left Ramakeli. Sanatan remained there alone. Thereafter, Rûpa and Anupama, having received news of Mahâprabhu's journey to Vrindavana, set out to meet Him. Arriving at Prayaga, their desire was fulfilled. At that time they informed Mahâprabhu that their brother had been incarcerated at Ramakeli. Mahâprabhu simply smiled and replied that he would get his freedom very soon.

Meanwhile, after the successful departure of Rûpa and Anupama, Sanatan was planning how he also could make his getaway. The Badsa had entrusted Dabir Khas and Sakar Mallik with the main responsibility of managing the affairs of his kingdom. When Sanatana stopped attending his darbar on the plea of being ill, he sent his personal doctor to examine him. The doctor informed him that there was nothing wrong with Sakara Mallik, and so the Badsa personally came there to find out what was the matter. The Badsa addressed Sanatana Gosvâmî, "My doctor says that you are perfectly healthy. All my affairs depend on you, but you are simply sitting in your house, in the company of these pandits. Your brother has also left. In this way my kingdom will topple. I don't know what you are trying to do to me."

Sanatana Gosvâmî said, "We will no longer be able to assist you in the affairs of your government. You had better find someone else to do it."

The Badsa got up in great anger and declared, "You brothers have ruined all my plans."

Sanatan replied, "You are the independent ruler of Gauda. If you feel anyone has committed any misdeed, then you can punish him as you see fit."

The Badsa had Sanatan imprisoned. During this time the Badsa was preparing to go to Orissa to engage in warfare with the king of that country, so he requested Sanatana to accompany him. Sanatana refused, telling him, "As you will naturally try to give pain to the Deities in the temples and the sadhus, I will not be able to accompany you."

Therefore the Badsa set out for Orissa leaving Sanatana imprisoned. At this time Sanatana received a letter from Ärî Rûpa, stating that he had depositied eight hundred gold coins with one grocer. With the help of this money, Sanatana should immediately arrange his release. The account of his escape and journey to meet Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu in Varanasi is found in C.c., Madhya-lila ch. 20. After that he went to Vèndâvana.

In a kutir cottage made from leaves, Sanatana Gosvâmî lived for some time at Mahabon, the birth place of Ärî Kèëòa. One day, he was walking along the banks of the Yamuna, going to beg some foodstuffs in a nearby village. Madana Gopaladeva was playing with some cowherd boys there, and when he saw Sanatana Gosvâmî he came running towards him, "Baba! Baba!". Catching hold of Sanatana's hand he told him, "I want to go with you!"

"Lala!" (?) replied Sanatana, "Why do you want to go with me?"

"I want to stay where you live."

"If you stay with me, what will you eat?"

"Baba! Whatever you eat."

"But I only eat some dry capatis and chick peas."

"Then that is what I will eat."

"No that won't be enough for you. You should stay with your mother and father." "Na, baba, na. I want to stay with you."

Sanatan Goswami patiently explained that the boy might feel difficulty if he stayed with him, and sent him home. Then he went to beg some capatis in the village.

That night, in a dream, he saw that boy again come to him. Smiling very sweetly, he caught hold of Sanatana's hand and said, "Baba! I am coming tomorrow to stay with you. My name is Madana Gopal". His dream ended and he woke up. Losing himself in great ecstasy, he said to himself, "What did I see? Such a beautiful boy!" Thinking of Lord Kèëòa he opened the door to his hut and saw standing outside a beautiful Deity of Gopal. His effulgence shone in all directions. For a few seconds Sanatana was completely stunned as he gazed upon Gopal's radiant smile. He expected that the Deity might say something or come towards him. Finally, tears of love gliding down his cheeks, Sanatana fell to the ground, offering his dandavats.

Gradually, he performed Gopala's abhiseka (bathed the Deity) and offered worship to Him. Sanatana's brother Rûpa came there and, seeing the Deity, was deeply moved in ecstatic love. Sanatana kept the Deity with him in his leaf hut and began to worship Him in great happiness. Ärîla Rûpa Gosvâmî immediately sent word of this auspicious event to Mahâprabhu, at Purî.

According to the different perspectives of vision of various devotees, Kèëòa's pastimes might sometimes be described in different ways, putting more or less emphasis on the external events that surround the internal moods and sentiments felt by Kèëòa and His devotees. In light of this, it has been described in the Prema-vilasa that the Madana Mohana Deity resided at the home of one Mathura brahmana, Damodar Caube by name. Subsequent to the period of time during which He was worshipped by Ärî Advaita Âcârya, Damodar Caube, his wife Ballabha and their son, Madan Mohan, used to worship the Deity in the mood of parental affection and friendship. Damodar Caube's son used to play together with Lord Madana Gopala. Sometimes, like naughty brothers, they would slight one another and then complain to the parents. Their parents would feed them together at the same time and lay them down to rest together.

Sanatana Gosvâmî used to sometimes beg chapatis from Caube's house. When he saw how the Deity was being worshipped he would instruct Damodara's wife Ballabhadevi in the rules and regulations of proper Deity worship. However, she found all of these rules very difficult to follow. One day when Sanatana saw the Deity Madana Gopala and the boy Madan Mohan eating their lunch together, he became moved by the transcendental mood there and the symptoms of ecstatic love appeared in his body. Then he told Ballabhadevi that she should worship Madana Gopala according to the dictates of her heart.

One night Sanatana Gosvâmî and Damodar Caube's wife both had a dream simultaneously in which Madana Gopala requested to be able to come and live with Sanatana Gosvâmî. In great happiness Sanatana received Madana Gopala from the family and took Him to a small hillock near Surja ghat, where he constructed a small hut made of branches and leaves. Then he began to serve Madana Gopala, preparing offerings for Him from whatever he obtained by begging.

One day Madana Gopala refused to eat, complaining that there wasn't even any salt in the chapatis. Sanatana replied, "Today it's salt and tomorrow it will be ghee. But I am sorry. I don't have the time or the inclination to chase around after rich men requesting special items from them". Having silently listened to this reply Madana Mohana didn't say anything further, but rather arranged that Kèëòa dâsa Kapoor would come that way, as will subsequently be described.

Sanatana Gosvâmî would beg some flour from the village and then with that prepare capatis for Madana Gopala. Sometimes he would collect some forest vegetables, roots or spinach and also prepare some vegetables. If sometimes there was no ghee or oil, or salt, then he would just cook dry capatis. But he felt very bad about this. On the other hand, he could not see an alternative.

Mahâprabhu had ordered him to compile Bhakti-sastras (devotional scriptures) and the major portion of his time was devoted to that. Sometimes it simply wasn't possible to find time to beg some money with which to purchase salt and oil.

"Madana Mohana is the son of a Maharaj. Seeing that He is simply eating dry capatis Sanatana felt very sad; Madana Mohana, who is within the heart of everyone could understand, 'Sanatana wants to render greater service to Me.' Then Madana Mohana Himself desired that His service might be increased."

Within a few days a wealthy ksatriya named Ärî Kèëòa dâsa Kapoor came to Mathura to engage in trade and business. By chance, however, his boat became stuck on a sand bar in the Yamuna and by no means could he manage to free it. By the by, he came to learn that a sadhu by the name Ärî Sanatan Gosvâmî was living nearby. In order to seek the blessings of the sadhu, Kèëòa dâsa Kapoor came to his hermitage and found Sanatana Gosvâmî engaged in writing.

Sanatana Gosvâmî's body was very lean and thin from the practice of great austerities and he was wearing only a kaupin. Kèëòa das offered his dandavats and Sanatana Gosvâmî in turn offered him a grass mat to sit on. Kèëòa dâsa touched the mat with his hand and sat on the ground. He appealed to the Gosvâmî, "Baba! Please bestow your mercy on me."

Sanatana replied, "I am a beggar. What mercy can I bestow upon you?"

"I simply want your blessings. My boat is stuck on a sand bar in the Yamuna, and we can't free it by any means."

"I am completely ignorant about all these matters. You can speak to Madana Gopa about it."

Kèëòa das offered his dandavats to Madana Mohanji and spoke to Him, "O Madana Gopala Deva! If, by Your mercy my boat is freed, then whatever profit is realized from the sale of its cargo, I will give to this Gosvâmî to be engaged in Your service."

Praying this way, Kapoor Seth took leave from Sanatan Gosvâmî. That afternoon there was such a downpour of rain that the boat very easily floated off the sand bar and on to Mathura. Kèëòa dâsa could understand that this was the mercy of Lord Madana Gopala Deva. His goods were sold at a very handsome profit and with this money he constructed a temple and kitchen and made all the necessary arrangements for the royal execution of Ärî Madana Gopala's worship. Seeing this arrangement, Sanatana Gosvâmî was very happy and after some period initiated Kèëòa dâsa Kapoor as his disciple.

Ärî Madana Mohana Deva is presently worshiped at Karauli, Rajasthan. When the daugher of the king of Jaipur was offered in marriage to the king of Karauli, she very insistently requested that her father send Lord Madana Mohana with her as a dowry, as he was very attached to Him. Her father was very reluctant and agreed only after stipulating one condition: "Madana Mohana would be placed in a room with many other Deities. Whoever she chose while blindfolded could go with her to Karauli."

Madana Mohana reassured her by telling her that would be able to recognize Him by the soft touch of His arm. By this stragem, she easily recognized Madana Mohana who still resides in Karauli till this day. There is a direct bus to Karauli from Jaipur. Otherwise, one can go by train from Mathura to Hindaun and then from there to Karauli by bus.

One day Sanatana Gosvâmî came to Râdhâ-kunda to meet Ärî Rûpa and Ärî Raghunatha dâsa Gosvâmî. Upon his arrival they both got up to greet him and after respectfully seating him, they immersed themselves in discussion of the nectarean pastimes of Ärî Ärî Râdhâ-Kèëòa. At that time Ärîla Rûpa Gosvâmî was composing some hymns in praise of Ärîmati Râdhârani, collectively known as "Catu Puspanjali". Sanatan Gosvâmî, while reading these, came across one verse:

O nava gorocana gauri praba rendi barambaram mani stavak vidyoti veni

byalangana fanam

Here "byalangana fanam" means that the braids of Râdhârani's hair appeared very beautiful like the hoods of a snake. Sanatana Gosvâmî reflected, "Is that a proper comparison 'like the hood of a poisonous snake'?"

At noon Sanatan came to the banks of Râdhâ-kunda, and after offering prayers there, he began to take his bath. Then, on the opposite bank of the kunda, he noticed some cowherd girls playing under the shade of a large tree. As he watched them from the distance, it appeared that a black snake, hanging from the tree, was about to wrap itself around the neck and shoulders of one of those cowherd girls. Sensing some danger he called out to her, "Ohe Lali! Look out! There is a snake just behind you!" But the girls were absorbed in their play and didn't take notice of him. So he immediately took off running to save them from the impending danger. Seeing him approaching them, Ärîmati Râdhârani and Her friends began to laugh. Then they disappeared. Sanatana was completely stunned but then gradually the understanding came to him that Ärî Rûpa's comparison was appropriate.

Coming to the banks of Pavan Sarovar, Sanatana Gosvâmî entered into some woods there, and giving up food and water, he became absorbed in intense meditation on the lotus feet of Ärî Ärî Râdhâ-Govinda. Ärî Kèëòa, who is within the heart of everyone, could understand that His devotee was going without food, so He came there in the dress of a cowherd boy, with a pot of milk in His hand, and stood smiling before Sanatana Gosvâmî. (B.R. 5/1303)

"Baba! I brought some milk for you."

"Oh Lala! Why have you gone to such trouble for me?"

"I saw you are sitting here for so long without any food."

"How do you know that I am not eating anything?"

"I come here to pasture my cows and I watch you to see what you are doing. But you never take any food."

"You should have sent someone else, you are just a small boy. You have suffered some difficulty in bringing this milk here for me."

"Na, na, Baba. It was no trouble. At home everyone else was busy, so I was happy to be able to come myself."

Sanatan Gosvâmî requested the boy to sit down while he transfered the milk into another container.

"Na Baba! I can't sit down now. It is almost sunset. I have to milk my cows now. I will come to get the pot tomorrow."

When when Sanatana looked up there was no one there. He could understand Ärî Kèëòa Himself had brought him this milk. With tears of love streaming down his cheek, he drank the milk. From that day he gave up fasting and would go to beg some foodstuffs from the Brijabasis. The Brijabasis also built him a small hut.

One day Rûpa Gosvâmî had a desire to cook some sweet rice for his elder brother, Sanatana, but he had none of the necessary ingredients. Ärî Râdhâ Ùhâkurani, who fulfills the desires of her devotees, could understand everything. Dressing Herself as a cowherd girl, she came there carrying a basket containing rice and sugar with a pot of milk in her other hand. "Svamin! Svamin! Please accept this offering which I have brought".

Hearing someone calling in such a sweet voice, he opened the door of the kutir and saw an extremely beautiful cowherd girl standing there with a present of rice, sugar and milk in her hands.

"Lali! What brings you here so early this morning?"

"Svamin, I came to bring you this present."

"Oh! But you have gone to so much trouble."

"What trouble? I have come to serve the sadhus."

Ärî Rûpa requested her to sit down, but she replied that there was much work at home, so she couldn't sit down just now. And then she was gone. Ärî Rûpa looked up and saw that there was no one there and was a little startled. "Now where did she run off to so quickly?"

He prepared the sweet rice and after offering to Ärî Giridhari, he gave the prasadam to Ärî Sanatana. Sanatana was in total ecstasy while accepting this prasadam and inquired, "From where did you get the rice and milk?"

Ärî Rûpa replied, "One cowherd girl brought everything."

Sanatana asked, "Just like that? Suddenly she brought everything?"

"Yes. This morning I was thinking to make some sweet rice for you. Just after that I saw one cowherd girl standing before our kutir with all the ingredients in her hands."

As Sanatana heard this, tears began to glide down his cheeks. "The taste of this sweet rice is from another world. Who else could have brought such ingredients but Ärîmati Râdhâ Ùhâkurani herself. Don't desire like this again." (B.R. 5.1322)

Everyday Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî would circumambulate the fourteen mile circumference of Govardhan hill. As he became advanced in years this became somewhat difficult, but he was not inclined to give up his vow. Kèëòa, however could understand that it was difficult for him, so He came to him one day dressed as a cowherd boy.

"Baba! You have become old now, so I think it isn't necessary for you to circumambulate Govardhan hill anymore."

"No Lala! This is my regular vow, my worship."

"You can renounce this vow in your old age."

"No Lala. One should never renounce his vows."

"Baba. I have a very good idea, if you will accept it."

"If it is acceptable surely I will accept it."

Then Ärî Kèëòa presented him a stone from Govardhan hill with the imprint of His foot, a calf's foot print and the impressions of a stick and flute in it.

"Baba! This is a Govardhan sila."

"What will I do with this?"

"You can circumambulate this sila, and that will be the same as circumambulating Giri-Govardhan." Saying this much the cowherd boy disappeared. Then Sanatana could understand that Giriraja Himself had presented His worshippable form to him and from that day he would circumambulate this sila.

Sometimes Ärî Sanatana used to stay at Mahaban. One day he saw some cowherd boys playing on the banks of the Yamuna, and amongst them was one boy whom he thought was Madana Gopala. "Is that my Madana Gopala playing there? No it must be one of the local village boys."

Then on another day as he was passing by the Yamuna, there again he saw that same boy and thought, "This time let me wait and see where he goes." Finally as the evening approached the boys finished playing and set out for their respective homes. Following behind that particular boy, sure enough, Sanatana saw him enter the temple. Then he could understand that Madana Gopala goes every day to the banks of the Jamuna to play with the other boys.

Wherever Ärî Sanatana and Ärî Rûpa would go throughout Vraja, in all the various villages the two brothers were much adored by the Brajabasis, who would feed them milk and yogurt. They in turn would see the Vrajavasis as Kèëòa's own family members and respect them in that way. Though it was not their business to engage in ordinary gossip, with the Brajavasis they would inquire about their well-being, e.g. how many sons and daughters they had and who had been married where, what everyone's various names were, how their cows were giving milk, how the bulls were working in the fields, how the harvest was going on, who had fallen ill and if they were getting better or not.

In this way Rûpa and Sanatana became the life of the villagers and the Brijabasis also became the life of Rûpa and Sanatana.

Ärî Sanatana would sometimes stay at Cakreswar, near Govardhan. At that place there were many mosquitos, which was a great disturbance. When he was one day being harassed by these insects, Sanatan remarked, "I won't stay here anymore. It is impossible to concentrate on anything. Neither can I write, nor chant." That night, Lord Äiva came to Sanatan and told him, "Sanatan! Please continue your service here in a happy frame of mind. From tomorrow there will be no more disturbance from mosquitos."

After that there were no more mosquitos and Sanatana continued his bhajan free from disturbance.

Ärî Sanatana Gosvâmî compiled many scriptures. These include: Ärî Brhat-bhagavatmrta, Ärî Hari-bhakti-vilasa and its Dig-darsani-tika, Ärî Kèëòa-lilastava (dâsam carit), Ärî Bhâgavata-tipani (commentary on Ärîmad Bhâgavatam) and Brhat-vaisnava-tosani.

Ärî Sanatan Gosvâmî was born 1488 (Christian); 1410 (Sakabda). At the age of 27 he came to live at Braja where he remained for 43 years. He thus lived to be 70 years old. His disappearance was on the full moon day of Asar in the year 1558 (Christian calendar). His name in Braja-lila is Rati-manjari.



ramadâsa, kavicandra, Ärî gopaladâsa

bhagavatacarya, thakura sarangadâsa

The seventy-third branch of the original tree was Ramadâsa, the seventy-fourth was Kavicandra, the seventy-fifth was Ärî Gopala dâsa, the seventy-sixth was Bhâgavatacarya, and the seventy-seventh was Ùhâkura Saranga dâsa. (CC Adi 10.113)


Another name of Ùhâkura Saranga dâsa was Sarnga Ùhâkura. Sometimes he was also called Sarngapani or Sarngadhara. He was a resident of Navadvipa in the neighbourhood known as Modadruma-dvipa, and he used to worship the Lord in a secluded place on the bank of the Ganges. He did not accept disciples, but he was repeatedly inspired from within by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to do so. Thus one morning he decided, "Whomever I see I shall make my disciple."

When he went to the bank of the Ganges to take his bath, by chance he saw a dead body floating in the water, and he touched it with his feet. This immediately brought the body to life, and Ùhâkura Saranga dâsa accepted him as his disciple. This disciple later became famous as Ùhâkura Murari, and his name is always associated with that of Ärî Saranga.

His disciplic succession still inhabits the village of Sar. There is a temple at Mamagacchi that is supposed to have been started by Saranga Ùhâkura. Not long ago, a new temple building was erected in front of a bakula tree there, and it is now being managed by the members of the Gaudiya Matha. It is said that the management of the temple is now far better than before.

In the Gaura-gaòodeäa-dîpikâ (172) it is stated that Saranga Ùhâkura was formerly a gopi named Nandimukhi. Some devotees say that he was formerly Prahlada Maharaja, but Ärî Kavikarnapura says that his father, Äivananda Sena, does not accept this proposition.


Ärî Saranga Murari Ùhâkura used to reside at Modadrumadwipa Mamgachi, where his Deities of Ärî Ärî Râdhâ-Gopinath are still present. There is also a Bakul tree there which is perhaps existing since the time of Saranga Ùhâkura. There is a local legend concerning this tree. One day when Mahâprabhu came there, he noticed that the Bakul tree in the courtyard of Saranga's temple was dying. So he asked Saranga, "This Bakul tree is dying, so what are you going to do?"

Saranga Ùhâkura replied, "Besides Your mercy Prabhu, I don't see any hope for this tree." Then Mahâprabhu embraced that tree, which has remained healthy to this day and is now quite large.

Saranga Ùhâkura had resolved that he would not accept any disciples but Mahâprabhu nevertheless repeatedly requested him to do so. Finally he relented and agreed by saying, "Tomorrow morning the first person I see I will initiate with the divine mantra."

The next day, in the early morning, he went to take his bath in the Ganges. By change a dead body came and touched his feet as he entered the water. Picking up this body he said, "Who are you? Get up." From behind Mahâprabhu who was witnessing everything called out, "Saranga! Say the mantra in his ear!" Then when Saranga said the mantra into the ear of that dead child, the body became consious. He said, "My name is Murari. I am your servant. Please bestow your mercy upon me."

On the day when this boy was to be invested with the sacred thread he was by chance bitten by a snake and died. As he was only a boy, the custom was not to burn the body but rather to place it on a raft of banana trees and float it down the Gaôgâ. When his parents received the news that their child was alive, they came there to take him home. However Murari declined to accompany them to his former home. He told them, "I will remain in the service of he who has given me life again, for I am indebted to him."

Vrindavana dâsa Ùhâkura has described this Murari Caitanya das as follows: "There was an external consiousness present in Caitanya dâsa's transcendental body. He would enter into the forest just to chase tigers. Sometimes he would jump on the back of a tiger, who by his influence remained inert. At other time he would put a python on his lap and play with great delight. It was by the mercy of Avadhuta Mahasaya (Nityânanda Prabhu) that he was able to play in this way with tigers and snakes. Ärî Nityânanda Raya is very affectionate to his servants, and thus by a simple wink of his eye they are able to enjoy mellows which are not even accessible to Lord Brahma.

"Caitanya was constantly in forgetfulness of himself, absorbed as he was in the bliss of speaking his inner thoughts. Sometimes he would remain within the water for 2 or 3 days without suffering any bodily inconveniences. He appeared to be almost insentient and therefore his activities were imperceivable. Such was the fierce intensity of his immeasurable prowess. How much can I describe of the interminable transformations of his devotional sentiments?" (C.B. Ant. 5.426-434)

The descendants of his family are still residing at Sargram in Barddhaman district.

According to Gaur-ganoddesa-Dipika Saranga Ùhâkura was previously Nandi Mukhi, in Vraja lila.

His appearance is on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Asar. His disappearance is on the 13th day of dark fortnight af the month Agrahayon.

The temple of Saranga Ùhâkura and his worshipable Deities, Ärî Ärî Râdhâ- Gopinath are still being worshipped at Mamgachi (Jaharnagar), just North of the present town of Navadwip. The worshipable Deities of Vasudeva Datta Thakur, Ärî Ärî Râdhâ-Madan Gopal are also residing there. One can go there by rickshaw or tram from Navadwip town. By train one should go north towards Katwa and get down at the 2nd stop, Bhandar tikuri.


Ärî Vasudeva Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was the very dear associate of Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu. His birthplace is a few miles from Campahati, which is just near the present town of Navadwipa; it was formely known as Kulia. His father's name was Maheswara Visarada, and his brother's name was Vidya


Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was at that time the foremost logician in all of India. He had travelled to Mithila where he studied logic under Ärî Pakkadhar Misra, his guru. He was not able to bring any of the manuscripts from which Ärî Pakkadhar Misra taught logic, therefore it was necessary for him to memorize all of the verses in entirety before he could return to Navadwip. After his return, Navadwipa very quickly became the foremost center for the study of logic (it was the Oxford of India).

At that time the foremost student of the Bhattacarya was Raghunath Siromani, who wrote a commentary on logic entitled Didhiti. In order not to damage the pride of this Raghunatha Siromani, Mahâprabhu (Nimai Paòàita) threw his own commentary into the river Ganges.

Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was also a renowned scholar of the Vedanta of Sankaracarya, which he taught to thousands of his students. Due to the earnest desire of Ärî Prataparudra Deva, the king of Orissa, he came to Jagannâtha Purî to teach the Vedanta.

Ärî SITA ÙhâkuraNI

Ärî Sita Ùhâkurani, like Ärî Sacimata is the eternally worshippable mother of the universe. She was always intensely absorbed in parental affection for Ärî Gaurasundara, and she used to give friendly advice to Sacimata and Jagannâtha Miära as to how they should raise their son, Nimai.

Ärî Sita Ùhâkurani is the incarnation of yoga-maya, Bhagavati Paurnamasi. Her other expansion (prakash murti) is her sister, Ärî. (Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika)

Sita Ùhâkurani gave the name "Nimai" to the child with the idea in mind that witches and female sorcerers would not be able to harm Him. The neem tree is highly antiseptic and evil spirits cannot go near it, so also, with the name "Nimai", evil spirits will not be able to go near such a person with this name.

In this connection Sitadevi was completely absorbed in parental affection. In comparison to the mellows of devotional love, the opulences, strength, etc. of Bhagavan have to admit defeat. In fact, by this affection, in which one forgets the supreme position of the Lord and considers Him to be an ordinary human, the Lord obtains great satisfaction. (C. C. Adi 13.111)

At this time Sita Ùhâkurani spent a few days at Mayapur and gave various instructions to Jagannâtha Miära and Sacidevi regarding the upbringing of the child. Jagannâtha Miära and Sacimata in turn presented valuable cloths and other fineries to Sita devi during the birth festival of their son.

Besides his house at Santipur, Advaita Âcârya also had another house at Ärîdham Mayapur. After the birth of Ärî Gaurasundara he and Sita Ùhâkurani began to spend most of their time at Mayapur. Ärî Saci devi always remained very reverential towards Sitadevi. They were extremely close friends and Sita Ùhâkurani would come everyday to Jagannâtha Miära's house to check on the child. As Nimai began to grow up, He increased the pleasure of the devotees, like the waxing moon in the sky increases our happiness by its cooling effect.

A few years later when Jagannâtha Miära's oldest son (VisvaRûpa) suddenly took sannyasa and left home, Jagannath and Sacidevi, as well as Nimai, were very aggreived. At that time Ärî Advaita Âcârya and Sita devi would especially try to console them and look after Nimai.

When Ärî Gaurasundara returned from Gaya-dhama in a god-intoxicated state and began to reveal his true self, Advaita Âcârya and Sita Ùhâkurani came from Santipur and were the first ones to offer worship at His lotus feet.

One day, Saci-kumar, smiling very sweetly, entered the courtyard of Advaita's temple and sat down. Nityânanda was present with Him and Advaita Âcârya also sat down to join them. Then the three of them very happily decided to hold a sankirtan festival. Hearing their conversation Sita Ùhâkurani felt great bliss and coming out of the house she very enthusiastically suggested to Sacinândana how she could assist in the preparations. Seeing her enthusiasm, the ecstatic bliss of Ärî Gaurasundara increased that much more and He told her, "Ùhâkurani, please invite many Vaisnavas to your house. Those who are singers and those who can expertly play the mrdanga and other instruments; each one should be respectfully invited to come here for a sankirtan festival."

Then when Ärî Gaurasundara started in the direction of Vrindavan, after taking sannyasa, Sita Ùhâkurani, like Sacimata herself, was extremely afflicted and having fallen down on the earth, remained there for four days as though almost dead. Bhakti-vatsala, Ärî Gaurasundara, being bound by his devotees' love, was not able to go to Vrindavan, and instead came to Santipur. Sita Ùhâkurani and Advaita Âcârya having gotten to see him again also got back their life. Then Sita devi cooked for and fed Mahâprabhu who had also been fasting for a few days.

Having spoken to her about this, Ärî Gaura Ray instructed everyone to extend invitations to all the Vaisnavas. Then he told them to bring mrdanga and kartals and with the oil of aguru and sandalwood paste, to establish a sacred water pot. (This is a process whereby; performing some puja, the presence of a sacred divinity is invoked and established within the water pot.) He instructed how the place where the kirtan would be held, should be carefully cleansed and decorated with banana trees and flower garlands. He then explained how, in the evening, with flower garlands, sandalwood paste, betel nuts, ghee, honey and yoghurt, the invocation ceremony should be performed.

Hearing these nectarean instructions of Mahâprabhu, everyone felt great joy and they immediately began to bring the auspicious articles by which the whole area became perfumed with a pleasant fragrance and sweet scent. Then, the heavens resounding with the transcendental sound vibration of "Hari! Hari!" the kirtan began. Paramesvar thus concludes his description of the sankirtan festival performed at the house of Advaita Âcârya; himself floating in the bliss of those ecstatic mellows. (Ärî Pada-kalpataru)

Three sons took birth from the womb of Sita Ùhâkurani - Acyutananda, Kèëòa Misra and Gopala Misra. They were all followers of Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu. Sita Ùhâkurani's father's name was Nrsimha Bhaduri. She had a sister, Ärî, who was also married to Advaita Âcârya. (B. R. 12.1785)

She cooked many preparations for Mahâprabhu, and when all the devotees were in Purî for Rathayatra, Mahâprabhu would be invited to accept His lunch. He accepted their loving offerings as though one charmed by mantra. She was always very affectionate to Mahâprabhu and treated Him like her own son. Mahâprabhu as well saw her as non-different than his own mother and treated her with the same devotion.


Ärî Äivananda Sen was a very intimate servant of Ärî Caitanya Mahâprabhu. Just before the rainy season (Caturmasya) he would lead the associates of Caitanya Mahâprabhu from Bengal to Purî, where they would go each year, to see the Lord. All of the expenses of this journey were born by him, Sen Äivananda. (C. C. Adi 10.54).

Wealth and opulences are properly engaged in the sevice of Ärî Hari, the guru and the Vaisnavas. Äivananda Sen used his property and possessions in this way, in the service of Ärî Gaurâôga and His devotees. His entire family, sons and servants were all devotees of Caitanya Mahâprabhu.

His three sons, Ärî Caitanya Das, Ärî Rama das and Ärî Karnapur das, were extremely devoted to Mahâprabhu. His two nephews, Ärî Vallabha Sen and Ärî Kanta Sen were also great devotees.

Sen Äivananda used to reside at Kumar hatta, which is presently known as Halisahir. The location of his worshipable Deities, Ärî Ärî Gour-gopal is unknown at present. However, the Deities worshipped by Ärînath Pandit, the guru of Kavi Karnapur, are still residing at Kalyani. This is the temple of Kesto Ray, and is located a few miles from Caitanya Doha.

In his Gaur-ganoddesa-dipika, the son of Äivananda, Ärî Kavi Karnapur has written that the gopi in Vrindavan by the name Bira, who was the messenger of Ärîmati Râdhârani, is presently known as Ärî Äivananda Sen.

The devotees would depart for Purî one month before the Ratha-yatra festival and travelling by foot, they would arrive one month later.

One day, the devotees set out on their trip, as it was an auspicious day to begin a journey. At first they came to Ärî Advaita Âcârya's house in Santipur. After conducting a festival there for one day, Advaita prabhu, his wife and son accompanied the party to Mayapur where they would have the darsan of Caitanya Mahâprabhu's mother, Saci mata. She was somehow or other passing her days in great separation from her son.

The devotees all offered their obeisances to her and she in turn offered obeisances to the feet of Advaita Âcârya and his wife Sita Ùhâkurani. Then, while remembering her son, she began to cry. Advaita Âcârya Prabhu and his wife consoled Saci Mata as best as they could, and then, along with the other devotees, they commenced their journey.

Though Lord Caitanya had ordered Nityânanda Prabhu to preach in Bengal, he would also accompany the devotees to see Mahâprabhu. Also present were Ärî Âcâryaratna, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Ärîvas Pandit, along with his brothers and their wives, Vasudeva, Govinda, Madhava Ghosh, Murari Gupta Ohja, Ärî Raghava Pandit, Ärî Khandavasi Narahari, Ärî Gunaraja Khan, etc. Sen Äivananda would bring his wife and their sons, and many of the other devotees as well would bring their wives. The Ùhâkuranis (ladies) would prepare foodstuffs, which were the favourite preparations of Mahâprabhu. Äivananda would make the arrangements for everyone's meal as well as the paying of the tolls at the ferry gates. Wherever they would halt for the night, they would hold a festival of dancing and chanting of the Holy names.

Äivananda Sen knew all the paths through Orissa. One day he remained behind at the ghat to settle their account with the toll collector, while the rest of the party went ahead. After walking some distance they sat down to rest underneath a tree. Äivananda, however, was held up and not able to come right away and thus there was no arrangements for their meals. Having walked quite some distance that day, everyone was very hungry. Nityânanda began to abuse his name and was ready to curse him.

"Where is that Äiva? Everyone is dying of hunger but still he hasn't come. No one is arranging any prasadam. Let his son die as well!"

Just then Äivananda arrived. His wife went to him with tears in her eyes, "You didn't manage any prasadam and now Gosai is very angry. He has cursed your sons to die." Äivananda replied, "Now don't you become crazy. No need to cry needlessly. Just try to get a hold of yourself."

Consoling his wife he came to where Nityânanda Prabhu was and offered his dandavats. Nityânanda, still in angry mood, gave him a good kick. Äivananda felt great pleasure to get this mercy from Ärîpad Nityânanda and immediately went to the house of one Gaudiya Vaisnava to arrange prasadam and a place to stay for the devotees. Then he went to bring Nityânanda Prabhu there.

Nityânanda Prabhu accepted prasadam with the devotees after which Äivananda came, and offering his obeisances at Nityânanda Prabhu's lotus feet he prayed to him; "Today in accepting me as your servant, you punished me fittingly, according to my offense. But such is your tenderness that under the pretense of punishment you actually awarded me such great mercy. Who within the three worlds can understand your character? The dust of your lotus feet is very difficult to obtain even for Lord Brahma, but even such a low, vile wretch as me received the touch of these lotus feet on his body. Today my birth and the heritage of my forefathers has become successful, and today I have received devotion to Ärî Kèëòa, as well as the ordinary objects of attainment for human beings - religion, economic development and sense gratification."

Hearing these words of Äivananda, Nityânanda Prabhu became very happy and he rose up and very lovingly embraced him. (C.C.Ant. 12.31)

One year Äivananda came to Purî, bringing his son, Caitanya Das, with him. One day Caitanya Mahâprabhu asked the child: "What is your name?" To this the child replied, "Caitanya Das". Then Mahâprabhu asked Äivananda: "What kind of name is this?" Äivananda: "As I received inspiration in my heart, so I have chosen this name."

One day Äivananda suggested to his son that he invite Mahâprabhu for lunch. When Caitanya das made this request Mahâprabhu accepted the affectionate invitation offered by the boy. Thus Äivananda along with his wife prepared many preparations of foodstuffs, feeling very happy in heart that Mahâprabhu would be taking his lunch at their house that day. When Mahâprabhu arrived Äivananda offered his obeisances, and after washing Mahâprabhu's feet he seated Him for lunch. At this point Mahâprabhu told, that today's invitation has been extended by Caitanya Das. Then Caitanya Das placed in front of Mahâprabhu yogurt, limes, ginger, flower pakoras and other salty preparations, arranged very nicely. Seeing this arrangement Mahâprabhu said: "This boy understands My mind. Therefore today I am very pleased to accept his invitation. (C. C. Ant. 20.180)

Thus Mahâprabhu very happily accepted the prasadam and after finishing, He called Caitanya das and gave him His remnants.



All glories to Ärî Kholaveca Ärîdhara Ùhâkura, who is full of compassion and tenderness. His bananas and radishes were eaten by the Lord Himself, Ärî Ärî Gaurâôga Raya.

Kholaveca Ärîdhara Ùhâkura lived just on the border of Nadia (Mayapur). He maintained himself by selling bananas, vegetables, banana leaves and cups. Whatever little income he had, fifty percent went for worship of Mother Ganges, and with the rest he somehow or other maintained himself. Towards the end of night, during the early morning hours (brahma muhurta) he would loudly chant Hari Nama. His atheistic hindu neighbours, devoid of devotion, couldn't tolerate this, and they used to berate him with abusive language: "This clumsy, boorish knave couldn't get enough rice to fill his belly, but it is we who have to suffer, as he keeps us awake by his loud moaning in hunger." (C.B. Madhya 9.148)

Ärîdhara, however, didn't bother with their ranting and raving. Rather, in great happiness, he simply carried out his own business service. In the bazaar at Bamonpukkur he had a store. He was extremely honest and asked a fair price for his banana leaves and vegetables. He didn't like to haggle over the prices, so he simply asked a fair price to begin with. Thus saving valuable time and energy, he used it to remember the Holy Names. He didn't like to waste time speaking so much. The customers would simply hand him the correct price and take their goods in exchange. Whatever money he got from selling the various parts of the banana plant, bananas and radishes, he would use half for purchasing flowers and sweets for worship of Mother Ganges. Whatever remained he used for maintaining his household.

Sometimes, as instructed by His mother, Lord Gaurasundara would come to the bazaar to purchase bananas, radishes and spinach. He used to barter with Ärîdhara all the while cutting jokes. Ärîdhara would sell his goods at a fixed price, so Ärî Gaurasundara would offer half that much. Then Ärîdhar would get up and try to snatch away the vegetables from Ärî Gaurasundara's hands. But He wouldn't let go. Finally it would end up that the two of them would be pulling the vegetables back and forth. Then many people would crowd around to see the fun.

One day Mahâprabhu was haggling over the price of a banana flower with Ärîdhara. When Ärîdhara tried to snatch back the banana flower, Mahâprabhu chide, "Why do you behave like this, My dear brother Ärîdhara? Some think that you are renunciant, but I know that you have so much hidden wealth. You are trying to snatch these things out of My hand, but after so many days, you still don't know who I am? I am the father of the Ganges whom you worship. I am only telling you the truth." (C.B. Mad 9.173)

"Ärîdhara then cried "Viëòu! Viëòu!" and put his hands over his ears. Hearing Nimai Paòàita's seeming blasphemy, he thought that perhaps He had gone crazy. But Ärîdhara then reflected upon Ärî Gaurasundara's character very carefully. "Gaurâôgasundara's form is beautiful enough to bewilder Cupid himself (madanamohanaRûpa-Gaurâôgasundara). The beautiful tilaka on His forehead steals one's mind away. His dhoti looks very beautiful tied in three places, and His hair is very wavy. Two things are very restless: His nature and His eyes. The white brahman thread encircling His body looks so beautiful, as though a subtle form of Ananta is residing on His body. His lips red from chewing pan, He laughs and looks at Ärîdhara. And again He takes some bananas, picking them up Himself." (C.B. Mad 9.169-172)

As they conversed, Ärî Gaurasundara played with the bananas, setting them back down on the ground and then, laughing, picking them up again. Ärîdhara then said, "Please listen to me, Ùhâkura! I am Your dog, so kindly forgive me. You don't have to pay anything. Take it for free!"

Mahâprabhu replied, "You are very clever, Ärîdhara! By selling bananas you have become quite wealthy."

Then Ärîdhara, as if to get rid of Him, asked, "My dear Ùhâkura, are there no other stores in this bazaar?"

"There are so many, but what is that to Me? You are My regular supplier! Why should I give you up?"

"Yes, yes, dear Ùhâkura, now I fall at Your feet. I am defeated by You. From today, I will give You what You want. You can take things for free."

"But you'll just give Me old, rotten things!"

"Dear Ùhâkura, why should I give you bad vegetables?"

"Then it's all right. Very well, that sounds good."

After disputing in this way for a while, Mahâprabhu went home. Ärîdhara sat transfixed, gazing after Him. "Someday this boy will be a great liberated soul. How sweetly He speaks and what wonderful expressions He makes! Though He behaves with me in such a ticklish manner, still I feel no remorse in my mind. He doesn't go to any other shop in the market but comes only to me. I am so fortunate!"

Every day Ärî Gaurasundara used to eat vegetable preparations of Ärîdhara's banana stalks and banana flowers from his banana leaf plates and cups.

"The Lord eats what is offered by His devotees. He doesn't even look at what may be offered by nondevotees even though there may be ten million varieties of preparations." (C.B. 9.185) Every day, Ärî Gaurasundara would go for walks and wander throughout the town with His disciples. One day He came to Ärîdhara's house. Ärîdhara knew the Lord very well, having seen Him so many times in the marketplace. Though He did not cut jokes today, Gaurasundara would not leave Ärîdhara's place. Ärîdhara offered Ärî Gaurasundara a seat. Sitting down, Ärî Gaurahari told Ärîdhara, "All day you chant 'Hari, Hari'. You worship Ärî Ärî Laksmi-Narayana as well. But how is it you are so poor? You have so little to eat and your clothes are so meager!"

"But Ùhâkura, though I may eat little I am not fasting, and as for my clothes, whether they are few or many, still I wear something."

"My dear Ärîdhara, you may indeed be wearing some cloth, but I see that it is patched in at least ten places. And though you live in a house, there is no thatching on the roof. Just see, the people of Navadwipa worship Goddess Candi and Durga. They get so much material happiness from this, isn't that so?"

"You have spoken correctly, dear Ùhâkura. Still, everyone's days are passing the same. The king lives in a jewelled palace and eats dainty foodstuffs and wears the most excellent apparel. And the birds simply live in the treetops. But tomorrow they will become equals, because everyone has to reap the results of his own activities according to the will of the Lord." (C.B. Adi 12.189-190)

Then Mahâprabhu began to joke again. "Ärîdhara! I know you have so much wealth, but you are simply hiding it! I am going to tell everyone! I see how you cheat the people!"

"Ùhâkura! You should go home now! I don't want to quarrel with You."

"Just one more thing, Ärîdhara. Whatever you want to give Me, please bring it now. Unless you give me something, I cannot leave here"

"Look, Paòàita! I am a poor man. By selling banana stalks and bananas, I am not even able to feed myself properly. I just don't have anything suitable to give You."

"All right, let your buried riches remain hidden. For now, just give Me some banana stalks, bananas and banana flowers."

Ärîdhara thought to himself, "This brahmana youngster might be somewhat touched in the head. If I answer back too much He might even beat me. And, because He is the son of a brahmana, if He beats me, I won't be able to retaliate. Then again, I can't afford to give vegetables and bananas away to Him for free everyday. Yet again, because He is a brahmana and thus an expansion of the Lord, whatever service I can render to Him is actually my great fortune."

Then he spoke. "You don't have to pay me anything today, Ùhâkura. Here, take these bananas, banana stalks and banana flowers! But don't quarrel with me anymore."

"If you give away nice things, my dear Ärîdhara, who can quarrel with you? But give nice ones. Don't give a blind cow in charity to a brahmana!"

Thus having again enjoyed some joking words with Ärîdhara, Ärî Gaurasundara, along with His disciples, got ready to set out for His house. Just as He was about to leave, he again asked Ärîdhara, "What do you think of Me? If you tell Me truthfully, then I'll go."

"You are the son of a brahmana. An expansion of Viëòu."

"Ärîdhara! I'm surprised you still don't know who I am! I am a cowherd boy! The glories of your Mother Ganges are also due to Me."

"You don't even respect Mother Ganges! As people get older, they become subdued and temperate, but at Your age You are getting more and more restless. Now You had better go home. Don't fight with me anymore."

Hearing Ärîdhara's parting words, Ärî Gaurasundara laughed and went home. For as long as the Lord chooses not to reveal Himself, no one can recognize Him.

For a few more days, Ärî Gaurasundara continued with His daily pastimes of learning and education. But then He went to Gayadhama where His mood radically changed. By the time He returned home He was completely intoxicated with love for Kèëòa. He was now intensely absorbed in the moods of transcendence; the courtyard of Ärîvasa Paòàita's house was the principal place where these manifestations of divine rapture blossomed forth with the outpouring of His heart. It is not possible to describe the ecstatic transformations which occured in His person. They gradually increased with the passage of day to night and night to day.

One day, Mahâprabhu decided to reveal His true self, and sitting on the throne of Lord Viëòu within Ärîvasa Pandit's temple, He began to display His divine potencies. At that time He called His devotees, one after another.

"Bring Ärîdhara here! Let him see My divine form. He has executed so many penances and austerities and tolerated so much trouble in order to have My darsana."

Though it was the middle of the night, as the devotees approached Ärîdhara's house, they could hear him chanting the Holy Names. As they arrived, they called out, "Ärîdhara! Ärîdhara!" But he was so much absorbed in loudly chanting the Holy Names of Hari that at first he didn't hear them. After a little while he became conscious of their presence and coming out of his house he saw their shining faces in the moonlight. "What brings you here in the middle of the night?"

"Ärîdhara! Hurry up! Mahâprabhu is calling you. He sent us to bring you!"

Simply hearing mention of Mahâprabhu, Ärîdhara fainted to the ground in a swoon of ecstatic love." (C.B. Mad 9.154)

The devotees picked him up and brought him to see Mahâprabhu. Seeing His dear devotee, Mahâprabhu called out, "Ärîdhara! Come here, come here! In order to get a glimpse of Me, you have performed so much worship in so many births, and in this life as well you have served Me so much. With great satisfaction have I tasted your vegetables, bananas and banana flowers, eaten with rice from your banana leaves. Ärîdhara, have you forgotten all this?! Ärîdhara! Just get up and see My divine form. This form even the personified Vedas are not qualified to see."

Ärîdhara very slowly got up and began to gaze at the divine form of the Lord.

Tamal Shyamal dekhe sei Vishwambhar Hate Mohan bansi dakkhine Balaram

Mahajyotirmoy sab dekhe vidyaman Kamala tambul dei hater upare catur mukh

pancamukh age stoti kore (C.B. Mad 9.190)

"He saw his Lord Visvambhara, but with a bluish bodily complexion, holding in His hand the flute and accompanied by Balarama standing on His right. Emanating from the Lord and His associates he saw an effulgence illuminating the temple. The goddess of fortune was handing Him betel and pan leaves, while Lord Brahma and Lord Äiva continued to recite hymns."

Seeing his Lord Gaurasundara in His form of Syamasudara, Ärîdhara again fell to the ground in a swoon of love of God. By His touch, Mahâprabhu brought him back to consciousness and told him to offer hymns in praise of Himself. Ärîdhara replied, "Ùhâkura! I don't know anything."

"My dear Ärîdhara, whatever you say will be a hymn in praise of Me and I bless you that the goddess of learning, Mother Sarasvati, be present on your tongue."

Then Ärîdhara proclaimed, "Jaya jaya Mahâprabhu, jaya Visvambhara, (the Maintainer of the universe). Jaya jaya Navadvipa Purandara (Who is full with all beauty). Jaya jaya ananta brahmanda kotinatha (the Lord of tens of millions of universes) Jaya jaya saci punyavati garbhajata (Who took birth from the womb of the pious and chaste Saci). Jaya jaya Vedagopya jaya dvijaraja (Who is hidden within the Vedas and is the Lord of the brahmanas). Yuge yuge dharma pal kari nana saja (Who comes in varrious forms to uphold religions during the different ages). (C.B. Mad 9.200-202)

In this way Ärîdhar offered prayers for almost an hour and a half. Being very pleased, Mahâprabhu told him, "Now ask any benediction from Me."

"Ùhâkura, I don't want any benediction. But if You want to bless me someway then this is my request:

Se brahman kari nilo mor kholapat Se brahman hauk mor janma janma nath Se

brahman mor sange karilo kondol Mor prabhu hauk tar caran yugal (C.B. Mad


"That brahmana who snatched away my banana leaves and cups, may He be my Lord birth after birth. That brahmana Who would wrangle with me over the price of my bananas, may His lotus feet always be my object of worship."

Having requested this blessing, Ärîdhara began to cry very loudly. Seeing his tears of love, the devotees also began to cry.

Mahâprabhu replied, "You, Ärîdhara, are My servant birth after birth. I have tested you in so many ways, but I am extremely pleased with your conduct. I have become indebted to you by your service and love for Me."

Hearing these loving words from Mahâprabhu the devotees made the sky reverberate with the sounds of "Hari! Hari!"

"Neither wealth, followers or scholarship do they desire. Who can understand these servants of Ärî Caitanya? What is the effect of learning, wealth, beauty, fame and aristocratic birth, other than to simply increase one's false ego and thus bring about on's end. What Ärîdhar gained, simply by selling bananas and radishes, is unatainable by the richest of men in tens of millions of ages." (C.B. Mad 9.283-235)

After performing various pastimes with His devotees in Nadia-nagara, the Lord then desired to perform the pastime of accepting sannyasa in order to deliver all the living entities. The day before His departure He passed in ecstatic dancing and chanting of the Holy Names, and in the evening returned to His house. The devotees accompanied Him there.

"Today how unprecedentedly beautiful Prabhu looks! Smiling so sweetly He is presenting His flower garlands to His various devotees, who are floating in oceans of bliss. Advaita Âcârya is here, Ärîvasa Pandit and Ärî Vakresvara Pandit, and here comes Ärîdhara with a bottle gourd in his hand, to offer to Mahâprabhu."

Taking the gourd in His hand Mahâprabhu began to laugh. He thought to Himself, "How will I go to take sannyasa without first eating Ärîdhara's bottle gourd? I can't refuse the offerings of My devotees."

He called His mother: "Ai! Ärîdhara has taken the trouble to bring this gourd! Cook it and offer it to Kèëòa."

Just at that time another devotee brought some milk. So Saci Mata prepared halavah from the gourd and milk and after offering to the Deity she brought it before her son. While feeding His devotees He honoured the prasada Himself also.

"Ärîdhara! How can I refuse what you have brought for Me? But tell Me if you will honor My request."

"Ùhâkura! Just say whatever it is. Why shouldn't I be able to keep Your request?"

"Then please come here to My house every day so that I can see you."

After enjoying some joking words with His devotees He instructed them to always engage in Ärî Kèëòa sankirtana. Then He prepared to take rest. In the dead of night He left to accept sannyasa. When He resided at Purî, Ärîdhara used to come every year with the other Bengali devotees to see Him.


In his past incarnation he was Kusumasava sakha of Vraja (GGD. 133). Other references to him are listed as follows: Kèëòacaitanyacaritam of Murari Gupta 4.17.8, CBh. 1.1.11, Caitanyamangala of Jayananda 23, CC. 1.10.65, Vaisnava Vandana of Jiva Gosvâmî 108, Devakinândana 34, and Vèndâvanadâsa 36. He was born in a brahmana family in Navadvipa and was of the twelve Gopalas.

Although Ärîdhara was extremely poor financially, he was abundantly rich with the treasure of prema-bhakti. He earned his livelihood by selling bananas, banana flowers, stems, and leaves. Out of his daily earning he spent half for offering worship to the Ganges and half on his living. He was commonly known as "Kholaveca Ärîdhara." He was an extremely honest man. He had a fixed price for his commodities and never allowed any bargaining. Lord Gaurâôga often enjoyed teasing Ärîdhara, hackling over the price of his goods, insisting that he give him the goods for half price. Thus the goods were snatched back and forth from Ärîdhara's and Lord Caitanya's hands. Finally, Ärîdhara would give in and allow the Lord to take the goods for free.

The Lord was always pleased with Ärîdhara's behavior and He would use any excuse to visit him. They would converse confidentially and joke with each other. In this way several hours a day passed very happily. Ärîdhara offered the Lord obeisances and a seat as soon as He arrived. Ärîdhara's calm and mild personality stood in obvious contrast to Nimai's stormy character.

"Ärîdhara you are always chanting Lord Hari's name, so what is the reason for your suffering? You are serving the husband and master of Ärî Laksmi Devi, the Goddess of Fortune, so why are you always in want of food and clothes?"

"I am not starving," replied Ärîdhara, "and as You can see, I have clothes on. They are neither fine clothes nor the right size, but my body is covered."

"But Ärîdhara," argued the Lord, "the clothes are torn in several places and I know you have neither straw nor rice in the house. Look around you. All the citizens worship Goddess Candi (Mother Durga), the destroyer of all enemies, and none of them suffer for want of food, shelter or clothing."

"You have made a good point," replied Ärîdhara, "but generally speaking, everyone's life is almost the same. The king may live in a palace surrounded by opulence and eat sumptuously while the birds live in the open or in a simple nest in a tree top and gather their own humble food, but basically everyone's approach to life is similar. By the Lord's design each of us must meet the demands of duty and in doing so we behave more or less alike. Personally I prefer to live the life I am leading now."

"I am sure you have immense wealth hidden somewhere," accused the Lord, "and you are relishing opulent food in secret. Soon I will make it known to everyone, and then we will see how you continue to cheat the people."

"Come to my house, dear learned brahmana," invited Ärîdhara, "and see for Yourself. We should not start an argument here."

"I am not going to let you off so easily," said Nimai, "Tell Me what you are going to feed Me?"

"I make a simple living selling leaf cups," replied Ärîdhara. "What can I offer to give You from such an income, respected brahmana?"

"I am not going to touch Your hidden wealth now, that I will get later," assured Nimai. "But if you give Me banana root and some banana stalks right now without taking money, then I will not fight with you any more."

Ärîdhara thought to himself, "He is a very aggressive brahmana. Someday He might even beat me. But even if He does beat me, what can I do? I really cannot afford to give Him whatever He wants free each day, but I see He has a godly form; He is not an ordinary personality by any means. If He takes my goods by force or by some other tricky means, then He is free to do so. I think this is my good fortune, and in spite of my poverty I will continue to give Him whatever He wants."

Having made his decision, Ärîdhara answered the Lord, "Dear brahmana, You do not have to pay me anything at all. I will give You whatever You want with an open and happy heart. Take Your bananas and other vegetables, take the leaf cups that I have and please do not fight with me anymore."

"Yes that is a very satisfactory agreement," said Nimai. "There should be no further fights, but please see to it that I get good quality bananas, banana stalk and radish." Daily the Lord ate with Ärîdhara from his leaf cups, relishing his bananas, banana stalks, radishes and Ärîdhara's cooking in general. When a gourd grew on Ärîdhara's roof top, the Lord had it cooked into a special preparation made with milk and hot spices.

One day the Lord asked, "Ärîdhara what do you think of Me? As soon as you tell me that, I shall return to My house."

Ärîdhara replied, "You are a brahmana, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord Vishnu."

"No, you do not know," said Nimai. "I belong to the community of cowherds and milk men. You see Me as a young brahmana boy, but I consider Myself to be simply a milk man."

Ärîdhara just smiled at the Lord's comment; he could not recognize his own Lord and master, being deluded by the Lord's internal potency.

"Ärîdhara, I am going to reveal to you an esoteric truth. You see the river Ganges? I am the source of the Gaôgâ." "O Nimai Paòàita! Have You no fear of disrespecting Gaôgâ devi like this?" asked the disturbed Ärîdhara. "People usually become grave and serious as they grow older, but Your frivolity seems to have doubled since Your childhood."

After staying with Ärîdhara for sometime, Nimai Paòàita returned home.

Once Ärîdhara was walking along loudly singing Krishna's name and he began to dance in ecstacy. When the other devotees saw this dear devotee of Lord Caitanya dancing they came and surrounded him and began to sing. Ärîdhara was overwhelmed with spiritual emotions and fell down rolling on the ground, continuously chanting Krishna's name. When the non-devotees saw this they ridiculed and laughed at him saying, "Just look at him! That poor fellow has also become a Vaisnava. Although he cannot afford clothes nor does he have money to eat, suddenly he is making a show of exhibiting ecstatic symptoms. They all live by begging, yet now they have started an untimely festival." The atheists continued to hurl insulting remarks at the devotees, but the pious devotees went on chanting Krishna's name undaunted.

Once Lord Caitanya, while dancing in mad ecstacy, went to the small broken hut where Ärîdhara lived. Ärîdhara had practically no possessions, only an old dented metal pot stood outside his door. The pot had been repaired so many times that even a thief would not think of stealing it. While the Lord was dancing in front of Ärîdhara's house He saw that the metal pot was filled with water. The Supreme Lord Visvambhara, wanting to teach the human society how deeply He loved and cared for His devotees, picked up Ärîdhara's worn out waterpot and proceeded to drink water from it with great pleasure. When Ärîdhara saw what Visvambhara was doing he came running, shouting, "O death, I am finished! I know You have come to my house to destroy me!" Thus speaking, the saintly Ärîdhara fainted on the ground out of great spiritual perturbation. Lord Visvambhara with utmost satisfaction said, "My whole being has now become Purîfied. Today finally I have attained devotion to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna simply by drinking water from Ärîdhara's pot." Saying this the Lord shed tears of divine ecstacy. Through this pastime the Lord taught the world the extraordinary potency of the water which has been touched by a pure devotee; immediately one is Purîfied and thus attachment to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna is manifest within the heart.

In the Padma Purana (Adikhanda 31/112) it is stated, "The wise devotee who is desirous of Purîfying himself completely of all sinful reactions should specifically approach a pure Vaisnava and beg from him his food remnants. If this is not available then at least he should beg some of his water remnants, or drink the water that has washed his feet."

The devotees began to cry with joy upon seeing the Supreme Lord manifest such mercy and special affection towards His devotee. Nityânanda, Gadâdhara, Advaita and Ärîvasa rolled on the ground and cried ecstatically. Haridâsa, Vakreswar, Candrasekhar, Jagadananda and numerous other close associates of the Lord, were also unable to contain their spiritual emotions and called out the sweet name of Kèëòa with tears in their eyes. Ärîdhara's house became the blessed exhibition site for the highest form of ecstatic love of Godhead. The whole universe exulted with the chanting of Krishna's holy name, and Lord Gauracandra, seeing His mission accomplished, smiled benignly.

Just behold the glory of Ärîdhara's devotion, the Supreme Lord reciprocated by bestowing His full mercy upon him. With great pleasure the Lord drank water from Ärîdhara's base metal waterpot, although the pot was used for many purposes and was full of repairs and dents. The Lord, however, did not drink ordinary water when he drank from the pot; the potency of Ärîdhara's devotion had transformed the water into divine ambrosia. Thus the Lord taught that everything in relation to a pure devotee is transcendental.

The Supreme Lord, on the other hand, ignores the valuable gem-studded waterpot of a materialist. He accepts any offering from His surrendered devotees, irrespective of any rules and regulations for offering. If His devotee can only offer some meager or ordinary food then the Lord forcibly takes it from him, as was the case with Sudama Vipra. In many instances the Lord has shown that He sells Himself to His devotees. When the Pandavas were banished to the forest, Lord Krishna relished simple offerings of leafy vegetables from Yudhisthira Maharaja. Lord Krishna manifests Himself to His devotees according to the desire and mellow of the devotees, and He allows Himself to be sold or purchased by His unalloyed devotees. All the scriptures have described this wonderful quality of Lord Krishna, that He specially favors His pure devotees and always personally protects them from all calamities.

It was difficult to understand the transformation that took place in the Lord after He drank water from Ärîdhara's waterpot. All the devotees began to shed tears of joy seeing the special mercy that the Supreme Lord showered upon His pure devotee. Ärîdhara was struck with wonder and tears overflowed from his eyes. Holding a straw between his teeth he knelt humbly before the Lord. He called out the name of the Lord and said, "What have you done my Lord, what water have You drunk?" But Lord Visvambhara's bliss could not be checked and He danced in ecstacy surrounded by all His associates who sang and danced along with Him. Nityânanda Prabhu and Gadâdhara Paòàita were like two jewels decorating the Lord on either side.

Kholaveca Ärîdhara's fortune was indeed so great that even Lord Äiva and Lord Brahma were moved and shed tears of joy and appreciation. The Supreme Lord Caitanya is unattainable by wealth, fame or erudition, but is captivated by unalloyed devotion. After the water drinking incident the Lord left Ärîdhara's place and proceeded towards town.

At the time of the Lord's Mahaprakasa, He requested some of the devotees to bring Ärîdhara before Him. The devotees rushed to carry out His order and half way to Ärîdhara's house they heard him loudly chanting the holy name. Following the sound they reached the house of Ärîdhara and informed him of the Lord's order. Upon hearing the Lord's request, Ärîdhara fell unconscious. The devotees joined hands and carried him to the presence of the Lord. Lord Gaurâôga warmly welcomed him and said, "Ärîdhara you have performed immense austerity to attain Me. In your previous births, as well as in this birth, you have dedicated yourself entirely to My service. Every day I partake of food on the banana leafs offered by you." Lord Gaurâôga continued, "Ärîdhara, look at Me." Ärîdhara suddenly saw Lord Gaurâôga become Lord Kèëòa carrying His flute. Balarama stood at His right side, while Laksmi devi offered Him betel-leaf. Anantadeva sheltered the Lord with His hoods, while Caturmukha, Pancamukha, Narada, Suka and Sanaka sang hymns. Surrounding them were charming young girls who offered prayers with folded hands.

Ärîdhara was awe-struck and fell on the ground losing consciousness. Lord Gaurâôga urged Ärîdhara to rise and offer prayers, which Ärîdhara submissively did. The Lord then requested, "Ärîdhara, ask whatever boon you want. Today I shall bestow you with asta-siddhi."

Ärîdhara, however, refused to ask for any material gain. Finally, at the repeated request of the Lord, Ärîdhara said, "My Lord, since you are forcing me to accept a boon, I request that the brahmana who used to snatch my banana leaves may remain my worshipful Lord eternally." With arms raised Ärîdhara burst into tears. The Lord then granted Ärîdhara's desire.

Ärîdhara used to participate in the street sankirtana led by Lord Gaurâôga. Later, he regularly visited the Lord in Nilacala.

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