Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jai Nitai

What would today have been without a mention of Lord Nityananda? The day is almost over and Nitai-pada-kamala is echoing in my mind.

Last year I picked up a fairly new Bengali language publication about Nityananda Prabhu in Kolkata. The author is named Uma Bandyopadhyaya, title is Bangla Charitra Sahitye Nityananda ("Nityananda in Bengali Biographical Literature"). This is her Ph.D. thesis and Kanan Bihari Goswami has written a fulsome foreword.

There are pictures of Ekachakra, Khardaha, Kalna (the house of Surya Sarkhel, Nityananda's father-in-law and Gauridas Pandit's house), and Panihati. They are black and white and not super quality, but still it is nice to see these places. Raghava Pandit's home seems to have been fixed up since the last time I was there.

Some new stuff in this book: I had never heard of a book ascribed to Basu Ghosh called Subarna Bonik Katha o Kirti, "The Subarna Boniks, their story and fame." Strange title for a book by Basu Ghosh. It is about Uddharan Datta, primarily, as far as I can see, recounting Nityananda Prabhu's visit to Saptagram, initiation of Uddharan (his original name was Divakar, but Nitai gave him Radha Krishna mantra and changed his name because he had saved his jati).

According to this work, Uddharan Datta then started preaching all along the west bank of the Ganga as far as Katwa, establishing Nityananda vigrahas carved in wood to go alongside Gauranga. There is a village near Katwa called Uddharanpur, where he apparently lived out the later part of his life. It is not far from Krishnadas Kaviraj's birthplace also.

Nityananda himself established Gaura murti puja in many places, and it appears that Uddharan Datta may have simply added Nityananda murtis next to the ones that were already there.

kaṇṭaka-nagara madhye joto grama chilo
sarvatra prabhura mūrti uddhāraṇa sthāpilo
sahasra deule nityānandera vigraha
śobhā pāya śrī-caitanyera dāru-mūrti saha

Nityananda ordered Shashtibara, one of his best kirtan singers, to remain in Saptagram with Uddharan and this was how it became one of the principal preaching centers in Bengal. The book has a picture of the Gaura Nitai deities there. Unfortunately, I have never had the occasion to see these deities, even though I have been to Triveni, which is just nearby.

I just opened the book at random to be able to say something about Nitai Prabhu today. The next section is about his marriage.

The Caitanya-bhāgavata passage where Mahaprabhu sends Nitai back to Gauda Desh does not contain any specific mention of marriage. Dr. Bandyopadhyaya quotes a verse from Jayananda's Caitanya-maṅgala which does:

nityānanda gosāi tumāra gauḍa-deśa
āji hoite chāḍo gosāi avadhūta-veśa (Jayananda, 217)
nityānanda vivāha korite ādeśilā
gaura ājñāya bhakta-gaṇa nija-deśe gelā (Advaita-prakāśa)

Jayananda also says that Sachidevi told Nitai to get married. She said, "Start wearing the brahmin thread again and get married. Keep my word and it will be well for you." (Jayananda, 75) The author guesses that this took place in about 1519-20.

Nityananda came to stay in Khardaha in 1522. About his life there, UB quotes the Muralī-vilāsa describing the beautiful surroundings of the house by the banks of the Ganga. Virabhadra was born in 1535 in the Kunja Bati. His samadhi is there also.

In 1570, Birbhadra received a large piece of stone from the Nawab, which was then carved into the Shyamasundar deity.

Nityananda's disappearance year is not known with certainty. UB quotes several sources, that he left the world in 1542 (Vaishnava Digdarshini) at the age of 69. Jayananda says the tithi was Ashwin Krishashtami. There are two accounts. Jayananda says it happened during kirtan in the Shyamasundar temple in Khardaha, but this is impossible as there was no Shyamasundar yet. Another book attributed to Vrindavan Das, Nityananda Vamsa Mala, says that Nitai was taking Jahnava to visit Ekachakra and he merged into the Banka Ray deity there.

Bhakti-ratnakara says Nityananda merged into the Banka Ray deity in Ekachakra when he left this world. Anyway, there is no samadhi anywhere, just like there is no samadhi for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Interesting quote from Chaitanya Mangala by Jayananda. When the brahmins came complaining about Nityananda's behavior to Mahaprabhu, Mahaprabhu criticized Nitai. But Nitai told him that in the Kali Yuga, austerities are not necessary or helpful in the performance of sankirtan. (kAThinye kirtana kaliyuga dharma nohe) And with that he refused to change his way of doing things.

So, the main things that Nitai did was to get rid of caste consciousness. (jāti bheda nā karimu caṇḍāla javane--Jayananda). In particular, UB points to the Chira-dadhi Mahotsava in Panihati as a "revolutionary event" in Hindu society.

Anyway, while Mahaprabhu was engaged in high deliberations and ecstatic moods with Svarupa and Rama Ray, Nityananda was having kirtan everywhere. heno nitāi bine bhāi, rādhā kṛṣṇa pāite nāi. dṛḍha kori dharo nitāier pāi.

Jai Nitai


Visakha said...

Jai Nitai. Excellent post! Where did you buy "Bangla Charitra Sahitye Nityananda"? I'd love to get a copy.

Subrata said...

Jay Nitai,

First of all with due respect I must tell this article fell short of expectation from you. I did notice this article is of type "daysara". Please excuse me if I am wrong herebut it did not satisfy my ear which is willing to hear something from you on this very day.

That book you were talking about by Uma Bandapadhaya released in front of me two years back at Panihati DandaMohatsabha during the annual Kirtan of Sri Ram Das Babaji Mahasaya. Uma Bandapadhaya is a disciple of my Kaka Guru Sri Jivasaran Das Babaji present Mahanta of Sri Ekachakra Dham who helps Srimati Uma Bandapadhya for her research work and even he contributed one article in that book. Sri Jivasaran das baba is present scholar of Sri Nitaichand and he is writing "PurnaKumbha Sri Nityananda" continuosly in the quaterly Magazine "Uttrana" which is getting publish from Sri Ekacharkra Dham. In that serialized article he is researching and presenting many unknown facts about early Gaudiya Vaishnava Movement and Sri Nitai's contribution to shape up the religion which is what we see today. Simply put without Sri Nitai's effort there would have no possibility to know in a slightest way what is Rasa all about and what is Gaudiya Vaishnavism . That would have been a history long ago during its childhood and would get a small place in history book. Six Goswami did not preach, nor they expanded the fold of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. It is Sri Nitai who is the Father of Sri Gaur's Samkirtan Movement, which prepared the fields and various adhikaris (upayukta "Patra" to contain Rasa ) to realized the Gift of Sri Gauranga , supported by scriptural evidence from Six Goswami at later part.

(Continued to the next response )

Subrata said...

There is one big “Mistake” in your article which is causing undermining Sri Nitai's greatness even over Sri Gaura, which sometime forced Gaura to look through Sri Nitai's eyes. May be probably that is Lila of Sri Gaura to preach Sri Nitai's glory even more like he did earlier by making everybody drinking water from Sri Nitai's lotus feet ( Sri Nitai's padodok).

The incident you are talking about is about Women dance in mid of Samkirtana with everybody. That happened early phase of Samkirtan Movement when Sri Gaura was around, by seeing Women dancing with men relinquishing the shyness and social protocol, Sri Gaura took that opportunity to show what is Sri Nitai made off. He acted angrily and protested against that act. Sri Nitai quickly replied back saying in Kali Yuga strictness is not the rule ( Kathinya Kali Yuger Dharma Noi ) , and everybody including Sudra, Brahmin, Women, Sanyasi has equal adhikar to taste the nectar of Samkirtan , to taste the Rasa which is highest vedantic truth. Sri Gaura totally silenced and made other released why he always keeps Sri Nitai at that highest place.

Jagat Ji you missed this point to show Sri Nitai's position in Sri Gaura's eyes.

Sri Gaura did the same again at Puri when people protested against some of Sri Nitai's unconventional act to spread Harinam by demolishing foolish social regulation which was common at that time in Bengal to make people oppress and cause them suffer by Smarta Brahmins. When Sri Gaura heard complains about Sri Nitai and by knowing Sri Nitai is waiting far somewhere to see his pran Gour outside Puri, Sri Gaur ran towards that place when he sawSri Nitai is sitting lonely and meditating on his Pran Gaur, and without uttering any single word Sri Gaura simply start Pradaskhin in circle around Sri Nitai by starting stava in praise of Sri Nitai.


Sri Gaura’s famous word,

Sundri Jabani yadi Dhare Nityannada
Tathapi Brahmar Bandya Bole GauraChandra.

Even if Sri Nitai Drinks wine/liquor , associates with fallen women,

Still he would be worshipped even by Brahma Shiva.


Yadyapi amar Guru Sundi Bari Yaya,
Tathapi se amar Nityananda Raya.

Even if my Sri Guru goes to drink wine
Still he is manifestation of my Nityananda Raya.

( This is quote was very dear to Ramakrishna and he used to recite it when he used to get chance )

naytin said...

Ah, this really made my day... but why was the Panihati festival so revolutionary? Because Raghunath Das who sponsored was a kayastha?

Anonymous said...

Hare krsna prabhu,
Do you have any idea in which shastra it states the appearance (tithi, paksa and masa)of Lord Nityananda. Thank you. This is my email add

visnudas said...

Radhe Radhe!
Joy Nitaichand!
Jagadananda Baba-
This was such a delight to read! Esp. after the dizzying semantic and philosophical flights of the post re: archetype/uniqueness/radhaKrishna symbology. Thank you.
Chant Yugala Naam, see Nitaichand in every living being and accept everything as His kripa. This is the instruction that I am putting in your mouth to me.
Joy Nitai Chand!!
Mohan Shyam Das

Jagat said...

Thank you, Subrataji, for the comments and clarifications. I just posted quickly some things from Dr. Bandyopadhyaya's book, without reflection or verification of the original sources.

I got the book from Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar in Kolkata.

I knew Jivasarana Dasji back in the 80's when I had the chance to spend some time in Ekachakra. He was very warm to me and I think he will remember me. Perhaps for my noisy swimming in the pukkur or for the time a scorpion was found in my sleeping gear.

Jai Nitai again!!

Jagat said...

Nityananda Trayodasi in Ekachakra

Satya devi dasi said...

That page on Facebook is unavailable.

Jagat said...

Just as well. I posted without really looking. It was a Gaudiya Math parikrama inside the Nityananda birthplace grounds. It did not really show the ashram or the people there. It seems that the Saraswata Gaudiya Math has built something nearby.

Subrata said...

Jay Nitai,

Thaks Jagat Ji for clarification. Yes that book is available at Sankskrit Pustak Bhandar and Nitynanda Vhamsha Prabhupad Sri Birchand Goswami had written one article in that book on Sri Nitai which he asked me to translated and post it to our website @ , which I could not do , hope to do it soon.

Yes Sri Jiva Saran kaka can remember you. One day in our discussion he spoke about you to me. Hope to see you at Ekachakra one day.

Jay Nitai