Shri Abhirama Gopal Thakura
Shri Abhirama Gopal Thakura was also known as Shri Rama Das. He was a great devotee of Lord Nityananda. On the order of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, he became a great acharya and preacher of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.He was a very influential personality, and atheists and blasphemers were very much afraid of him. Empowered by Shri Nityananda Prabhu, he was always in ecstasy and was kind to all fallen souls. It is siad that if he offered obeisances to any stone other than a shalagram-shila, it would immediately burst into pieces. According to Gaura-Ganodesha-Dipika (12) in Krishna-lila he was Shridama, one of the 12 prominent boy cowherd friends of Shri Krishna. He was Nityananda's dearmost devotee. Abhiram Gopal's wife's name was Shri Malini devi.
Abhirama Gopala Thakura lived in Khanakula Krishnanagara. Khanakula Krishanagar may be visited by taking the narrow gauge train from Howrah Station in Calcutta to Amta. It is located in the present Hooghly District of West Bengal. There, in Khanakula Krishnanagara, near the bankof the Khana river, is the temple of Abhirama Thakura. Because it is a town (nagara) with a Krishna temple, the town is called Krishna-nagara, and because the temple is on the kula (banks) of the Khana, it is called Khanakula-krishna nagara Just outside the temple is a bakula tree. This place is known as Siddha-bakula-kunja. It is said that Abhirama Thakura used to like sitting beneath this tree.
The story of how the Gopinath deity of Khanakula Krishnanagara was established is as follows. One day, the deity of Gopinatha appeared to Abhiram Gopal in a dream, and informed him that he wanted to manifest himself in Khanakula Krishnanagara. It is said that he was buried in the earth, and that in the dream he ordered Abhirama Gopal to excavate him and inaugurate his worship. Abhirama Gopal went to the place where the Lord had indicated he would be found, and began excavation. There, after digging for some time, he found the mind-enchanting deity of Shri Gopinatha. The place where this discovery was made is now called Rama kunda, and there is a small lake there. The Bhakti Ratnakara says, "After having excavated the Gopinatha deity, all the devotees headed by Rama Dasa (Abhirama Gopala) bathed in the sacred waters of the kunda near the spot where the deity had been found. From that day on the kunda became famous as Rama Kunda. Whoever bathes there becomes free from repeated birth and death."
One day Shri Abhirama Gopala was overwhelmed with the ecstasy of sakhya rasa, and had a desire to play the flute of a cowherd boy. Intoxicated by the bliss of Krishna-prema, he began searching the four directions for a suitable flute. As he searched through the forest for a suitable instrument all at once he saw before him a big log. The log was so huge that sixteen men could not move it. Grabbing hold of that log, he turned it into a flute and began to play upon it. The Chaitanya Charitamrita says, "Rama dasa was one of the principle branches of the Nityananda branch of the Chaitanya tree of bhakti. He was full of sakhya-premaŚlove of Krishna saturated with the mellow of friendship. He once picked up a log that sixteen men couldn't lift and used it as a flute."
Shri Abhirama Thakura had a bullwhip that was imbued with divine power. Its name was "Jayamangal." Whoever was struck with this whip became filled with Krishna prema. One day Shrinivasa Acharya went to take darshan of Abhiram Gopala. At that time, Abhiram Gopal touched him three times with Jayamangal. The Thakur's good wife, Malini, cried out, "My Lord! Do not touch him again. Calm yourself. Shrinivas is only a boy. If you touch him again he will lose consciousness." As a result of coming in contact with the whip of Abhirama Thakura, Shrinivasa Acharya became filled with Shri Krishna prema.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
ordered Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Bengal, he sent Abhirama Gopal and
Gadadhara Das along with him. Simply upon seeing Abhiram Gopal, atheists and
blasphemers would flee in terror. He was a remarkable scholar, well-versed in
all the scriptures. He married his wife, Malini, upon the order of Shri
Nityananda Prabhu. His disappearance day is on the seventh day of the dark moon
in the month of Chaitra, and on that day a great festival attended by thousands
of devotees is held every year in Khanakula-Krishnanagara.
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