Shrinivasa Acharya

 

     Shrinivasa's father's name  was Shri Gangadhara Bhattacharya. Later he became known as Chaitanya Das.  His wife's name was named Shri Laksmipriya.  He lived on the banks of the Ganges in a village called Chakhandi Gram.

     When Shri Gaurasundara ended his Nabadwip lila he went to the ashram of Keshava Bharati to accept sannyasa, news of their conversation was proclaimed far and wide.  From all around thousands and thousands of people to see the sannyasa of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. At that time, from Chakhandi Gram came Gangadhara. When Shri Nimai Pandit was about to have his beautiful hair shaved off, all the devotees began weeping floods of tears.The barber was unable to do the work of shearing the Lord's hair.  His eyes filled with tears, and he was unable to see.  Mahaprabhu requested him to use the razor his hair.  After some time, Shri Madhu, the barber did the work of shaving the Lord's beautiful hair from his head.  The barber cried out in anguish, "What misery I have caused! What have I done?" and fell unconscious upon the earth. A great uproar of weeping and wailing filled all four directions. Who could console them? What a pitiful sight. The men and women there were unable to speak, and  seeing this pitiful sight, the birds in the trees also fell silent.

      Shri Gangadhara Bhattacharya's was shocked, and fainted upon seeing this scene.  When he arose again,  he was half-mad. The only sound that issued from his lips was "Shri Krishna Chaitanya, Shri Krishna Chaitanya." He returned to Chakhandi Gram, but like a madman he would only go on chanting Shri Krishna Chaitanya, Shri Krishna Chaitanya, again and again, softly to himself.  His chaste and faithful wife hearing of Mahaprabhu's sannyas began overflowing with tears. All the brahmanas and their wives past their days weeping in great agony.  In this way the people of Nadia gave Gangadhara Bhattacharya the name "Caitanya das."  In order to take darshan of the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Chaitanya Das went with his wife to Jagannatha Puri.

     When Chaitanya Das finally arrived in Jagannatha Puri after such a long journey and received darshan of the holy feet of Shri Chaitanya, Chaitanya Das and his wife crying tears of joy, fell before the Lord and offered their obeisances. Shri Chaitanya called them to his side and blessing them with his merciful glance spoke the following sweet words: "Jagannatha is delighted that you have come here. Go and take darshan of him. The lotus eyed Lord is ready to satisfy your innermost heart's desire. The Lord is supremely merciful. In order to receive his mercy, you have come a long way, and he wants to satisfy your heart's desire. Go now and take darshan of Lord Jagannatha."

     Shri Chaitanya Dasa and his wife went to take darshan of Jagannatha.  The Lord's personal servant, Govinda, went with them.  The good brahman and brahmani, upon seeing Lord Jagannatha wept tears of prema and offered many prayers and hymns from the scriptures to the Lord.  After this they followed the directions the Lord had given them on where to stay, and went to the place he had provided for their stay.  For a few days, Shri Chaitanya Das in great happiness remained in Jagannatha Puri.

     One day, being the Paramatma in everyone's heart and therefore knowing everything, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told his servant, "Govinda! The desired son of that brahmana and his wife shall soon appear.  Shrinivasa will be his name, and he will be a greatly beautiful child. Through Shri Rupa and Sanatana I will manifest the bhakti-shastras. Through Shrinivas, all these shastras will be distributed. Let that brahmana and his wife quickly return to Gauda Desh."  Receiving the auspicious blessings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with great ecstasy, Shri Chaitanya das returned to Gauda Desh.  Soon, within the womb of the brahmana wife of Chaitanya Das, a child was conceived who embodied the mercy potency of the Lord.  Laksmipriya's father's name was Balaram Vipra.  He was a pandit and an astrologer expert in the Jyoti Shastras. He could understand that from the womb of Lakshmipriya a great soul, a mahapurush, would soon take birth.  The Bhakti Ratnakara records that "On the full moon day in the month of Vaishakha, in the constellation or naksatra of Rohini, when all the stars were aligned in an auspicious way,  Lakshmipriya gave birth to a son." The boy's bodily luster was as brilliant as molten gold. He had a long nose, his eyes extended to his ears, a broad chest, and arms that extended to his knees.  In this way, he was seen to manifest all the bodily symptoms of a mahapurush, or great soul. 

     Shri Chaitanya Das offered the boy to the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. At the beginning of their son's birthday celebration, they gave profusely in charity to the brahmanas and their wives. All the brahmanas and their wives took great pleasure in holding the newborn child.  Finally, Lakshmipriya herself took the child in her lap and Gaura-nam kirtana began.   They taught the boy to chant the holy name of Gauranga. Just as the moon grows from a tiny crescent to its full and brilliant form, so the boy gradually grew up and became more briliant with each passing day.  Gradually his hair-cutting ceremony and sacred thread ceremony came and went.  After this time, he went to Shri Dhananjaya Vidyavacaspati where he began studying grammar, poetry, rhetoric, and shastra.  Within a short time he became highly learned in all the different subjects he was taught, and his vision into the revealed scriptures was extraordinary.

     When he was a small child, Shrinivasa received the mercy of Shri Govinda Ghosh Thakura and Narahari Sarakara Thakura.  After some time, Shrinvasa's father passed away.   At the disappearance of his father, Shrinivasa was devastated with grief.  All the devotees did their best to pacify him, but he was unconsolable at the loss of his father. So bereaved was he that he would allow no food or drink to pass through his lips, and in this way he fasted for some time.

     Bidding farewell to the devotees there, Shrinvasa and his mother left  Chakhandi Gram, and after a few days, they arrived in Yajigram at the house of Shri Balaram Vipra, Shrinvas's maternal grandfather. Hearing of Shrinviasa's move to Yajigram  the saintly persons who lived there became very happy.  Seeing Shrinvas's profound scholarship and bhakti-prema all the pandits and brahmanas in Yajigrama were amazed.  Still, the hankering within the heart of Shrinivasa was unsatisfied.  He could only think day and night of seeing the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya. By and by he grew very eager to go to Jagannatha Puri.

     To take darshan of the holy feet of Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura, Shrinivasa went to Shri Khanda. Arriving there, he fell at the feet of Narahari with his mind filled with the ecstasy of love of Godhead and began rolling on the ground, his voice choked with emotion. Seeing his wonderful love for Krishna, Narahari embraced him.  Shrinivasa was absorbed in remembrance of the holy name of Shri Gauranga and wept tears of joy. Then he let Narahari know of his aspiration to go to Jagannatha Puri to see the holy places of Shri Gauranga's lila.  Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura, Raghunandana Thakura, and some of the other devotees who were there, upon listening to his proposal were very happy and said, "You should wait here for a few more days.  Soon many of the devotees from Bengal will go to Puri.  At that time you may go in their association.

     Shrinivasaleft Shri Khanda and returned to Yajigram, where he told his mother of his plans for a long journey to Jagannatha Puri with the devotees.  Upon hearing her son's wishes, and seeing that his mind was made up, she gave him her blessings. A few days later he set out  for Puri in the company of the devotees from Bengal.  Completely overwhelmed with internal joy, gradually reached Jagannatha Puri in the afternoon.  That night they stayed at the house of a panda who lived  near the simhadvara gates.  The next morning he went to the house of Gadadhara Pandit. Seeing the Pandit, Shrinivasa fell on the ground before his lotus feet with tears in his eyes.  Gadadhara Pandit affectionately took hold of him and embraced him. As Shrinivasa was being embraced by Shri Gadadhara Pandit, he wept in separation from Shri Gauranga.   

     After staying in the house of Gadadhara Pandit for a day, Shrinivasa went to take darshan of Ramananda Raya, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Vakreshvara Pandit, Paramananda Puri, Shikhi Mahiti, Govinda, Shankara,  and Gopinatha Acharya as well as many others who were eternal associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing Shrinivasa, all these devotees were very happy. Seeing Shrinivasa's unprecedented Gaura-prema, the devotees could understand that he was Gaura-shakti, the energy of the Lord. They could understand that through him the message of Shri Chaitanya and the various scriptures would be preached.  Knowing this, all the internal devotees of Shri Chaitanya gave various important instructions to Shrinivasa.  In a few days, having seen all the important holy places of Shri Chaitanya's pastimes in Jagannatha Puri he bade farewell of the devotees there in order to return to Bengal.  All the devotees affectionately embraced Shrinivasa before his departure. After bidding farewell to the devotees, Shrinivasa started down the road to Bengal.  When he had gone down the road for a while, he heard that Shri Gadadhara Pandit had disappeared.   Shrinivasa drowned in the ocean of separation and began weeping and wailing piteously. That night in a dream, Shri Gadadhara Pandit came to him in a dream and pacified him.  After this, Shrinivasas once again headed for Bengal. On the path he heard the news that Shri Advaita Acharya and Shi Nityananda Prabhu had disappeared. Shinivasa Acharya fell down on the road, stunned.  There he spent the night wetting the earth with his tears of sadness in separation.  That night, out of their causeless mercy, Shri Nityananda and Shri Advaita appeared to Shrinivasa in a dream and pacified him.  Gradually, Shrinvasa came to Bengal.

     First he went to Shri Khanda, where he offered obeisances to the holy feet of Shri Narahari Sarakara, Raghunandana Thakura and the other devotees.  Having taken their their blessings, he went on to Shri Mayapur in Navadwip.  Seeing the holy land of Shri Chaitanya's birth, Shrinivasa fell to the ground his voice choked up in ecstasy. At the house of Shriman Mahaprabhu he found Vamshivadana Thakura.  Shrinivasa offered his obeisances to the lotus feet of Vamshivadana. When he came to know who Vamshivadana Thakura was, he was very happy.  Shrinivasa loudly cried out the holy name of Shri Chaitanya.  Shrinivasa prayed to have darshan of the lotus feet of Shri Vishnupriya devi.  At that time, Shri Vishnupriya did not give him darshan.  When Vamshivadana Thakura informed Shri Vishnupriya of Shrinivasas intense desire to have her darshan, and requested her again and again to meet with him, she gave her consent, and upon her order Vamshivadana Thakura brought Shrinivasa to her.

     Upon seeing her, Shrinivasa fell upon the earth with tears of prema, offering prostrated obeisances.  Shri Vishnupriya Thakurani gave her blessings to Shrinivasa told him to remain and take prasada.

     Out of separation from Shri Gauranga, Shri Vishnupriaya Thakurani had grown thin as the waning moon of Krishna Caturdashi, when the slim lunar crescent is barely perceptible just before the dark moon.    Her practice was to set aside a grain of rice for every rosary of Hare Krishna mantras she would chant.  At the end of the day she would cook the rice she had set aside and offer it to her deity of Mahaprabhu. Then she would accept just enough to keep her body and soul together.  In Nabadwip, Shrinivasa took darshan of many Vaishnavas including Shri Murari gupta, Shrivasa Pandit, Damodara Pandit, Shri Sanjaya, Shuklambara Brahmachari, and Gadadhara Das.

      After staying for a few days in Nabadwip dham, he went to Shantipura to the house of Shri Advaita Acharya and took darshan of the holy feet of Shri Sita Thakurani, the eternal wife of Shri Advaita Acharya. Sita Thakurani, out of separation from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was barely keeping her body and soul together.  She gave her blessings to Shrinivasa. Shrinivasa  visited many other devotees in Shantipura and offered them his respects and prayers. Gradually from there he went to Khadadoha.

     In Khadadoha, at the house of Shri Nityananda Prabhu,  Shri Parameshvari Thakura was staying.  He brought Shrinivasa before Shri Vasudha and Shri Jahnava, the wives of Nityananda, and Shri Birchandra, Nityananda's son.  Shrinivasa, with tears of prem in his eyes offered his dandavats before those great souls, and, as he did so, Shri Jahnava placed her lotus feet upon his head and blessed him with the dust of her lotus feet. Everyone was very affectionate towards Shrinivasa.  In this way he stayed for a few days in Khodadoha. Finally Shri Jahnava Mata ordered him to go to Vrindavana Dham.  Taking her order upon his head he visited Khanakula, where he went to the house of Abhirama Gopala. After he offered his respects to Abhiram Gopal Thakura, Abhiram Gopal gave Shrinivasa three lashes with his whip called Jaya-mangal, or "Victory of auspiciousness."  His wife, Shri Malini Devi became outraged and forbade him to continue, out of compassion for Shrinivas.  She held her husband's hand and forced him to stop whipping Shrinivas.  Upon being lashed by the transcendental whip of a pure devotee, Shrinivasa's body was overwhelmed with the ecstasy of Krishna prema.  Shrinivasa humbly offered his prayers to Abhiram Gopala and begged his blessings to return to Shri Khanda.

     In Shri Khanda, upon again seeing Narahari Sarakara Thakura and Raghunandana Thakura, Shrinivasa was very happy.  Finally he returned home to Yajigrama and when he arrived at his own house again offered respects to his mother's lotus feet.  He then told her of the order he had received from Shri Jahanava Devi to go to Vrindvana, and prayed for her blessings to go.  His mother gave her blessings with great pleasure. Shrinivasa soon left for Vrindavana. On the way he stopped in Gaya and took darshan of the lotus feet of the Vishnu deity there at the place where Mahaprabhu met Ishavara Puri and took initiation from him.

      After staying in Gaya for two or three days, he arrived in Kashi at the house of Chandrashekhara.  He also met with many other devotees there.  Hearing directly from Tapana Mishra and Chandrashekara about the different pastimes Mahaprabhu had performed while in Kashi, Shrinivasa swam in the ocean of nectar.  After a few days he left Kashi.

  Soon he arrived in Mathura.  He took bath at Vishrama Ghat.  It was at Vishrama Ghata that Shri Krishna rested after slaing the demonic King Kamsa. And for that reason it is known as Vishrama Ghata, or the "place of rest."  Shrinivasa visited Krishna's holy birthplace and took darshan of the Adikeshava Deity and then turned towards Vrindavana.  On the road to Vrindavana he met many brahmana residents of Vrindavana who told him that Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami and other great devotees had just passed away.  Hearing this, he became very sorrowful. He began to weep and fell to the ground in the agony of separation.   The brahmanas who were with him somehow helped him to the place where Shrila Jiva Goswami was.  Shri Jiva Goswami had heard of Shrinivasa. Shrinivasa offered his respects to the lotus feet of Shri Jiva Goswami, who embraced him with great affection. After this, they both had much to say to each other. Shrila Jiva Goswami who was from Bengal wanted to hear news about the welfare of the different Gaudiya Vaishnavas, and after they talked for some time, Jiva Goswami arranged for prasada and a place to stay for Shrinivasa.

That day, Krishna Pandit, the servant of the Govinda Deity, brought prasada to Shrinivasa.  Shrinivasa took prasada with Jiva Goswami himself. It was in the afternoon on the full moon day of the month of Vaishakha that Shrinivasa arrived in Vrindavana at the place of Jiva Goswami.  The next morning he went with Jiva Goswami and took darshan of the Radha Raman Deities. They also saw Gopal Bhatta Goswami. Gopal Bhatta Goswami was very happy to see Shrinivasa. Shrinivasa offered his respects to the lotus feet of Gopal Bhatta Goswami with great humility and begged him to initiate him in the divine mantra. Gopal Bhatta Goswami with great happiness agreed to initiate him. The following day, at the temple of Shri Radha-Raman, Shri Gopal Bhatta Goswami gave mantra diksha to Shrinivasa.  the day after he was initiated, Shrinivasawas sent to Raghunatha Das Goswami.  With great happiness, Shrinivasa went to the Radha-kunda where Raghunatha Das Goswami used to stay. There he found Krishna das Kaviraj Goswami, Raghava Pandit, and many other great devotees and offered his respects to all of them.  For three days he stayed at the Radha-kunda and received many instructions about bhajan from those great souls.  Having received the blessings of all of the devotees there at Radha-kunda, Shrinivasa once again returned to Vrindavan to the shelter of the lotus feet of Shri Jiva Goswami.

     At length, Shri Jiva Goswami taught the Shrimad bhagavatam and the scriptures of the Goswamis to Shrinivasa. In a short time Shrinivasa knew by heart all the siddhantas of the Goswami's literature.  Because of his expertise in philosophy, Jiva Goswami gave him the title "Acharya." From that day on he became famous among the Gaudiya Vaishnavas as Shrinivasa Acharya.

     Shrinvasa Acharya had previously heard of Narottama Thakura, but at the ashram of Jiva Goswami he met him in person. From the time of their first meeting,  Shrinivasa and Narottama became lifelong friends.  Jiva Goswami ordered the two of them to wander in the forest of Vrindavana with Raghava Goswami.  On the order of their guru they set about to journey through the Vrindavan forests.  Shri Raghava Pandit was a South Indian brahmana, and was singlemindedly devoted to Shri Gaurasundara and was very dear to Him. Shrimad Kavi Karnapura notes in his Gaura Ganodesha Dipika:  "That person who was once the dear gopi friend of Radharani and whose name was Champakalata later appeared as Shri Raghava Goswami and lived at Govardhan where he worshiped a deity of Giridhari in great ecstasy.

     Shri Narahari Chakravarti dedicates five chapters of his Bhakti-ratnakara to discussing in great detail how Shrinivasa and Narottama together with Raghava Goswami wandered throughout the 64 kroshas of Mathura Mandala.

     After wandering through the twelve forest of Vrindavan for some time, they again returned to Jiva Goswami.  At that time, Duhkhi Krishna Das, (Shyamananda Prabhu) had just arrived from Gauda-desha. Shri Jiva Goswami seeing him was greatly happy.  Dukhi Krishnadas was the dear disciple of Shri Hridaya Chaitanya Prabhu.  Shri Hriday Chaitanya Prabhu himself had sent Dukhi Krishna Das to study at the school of  Jiva Goswami.  Jiva Goswami asked him for news of the devotees in Bengal and in Utkala, inquiring about the welfare of each and every one of them. 

     After this Dukhi Krishna Das was introduced to Shrinivasa and Narottama.  The three of them were ornamented with all good qualities and soon began a friendship that was to last the rest of their lives. The three of them cultured a deep understanding of the Goswami scriptures, studying them at the lotus feet of Shrila Jiva Goswami. In this way they stayed with Rupa Goswami who taught these faithful and dear disciples of his everything, until their understanding was perfect.

     At this time, it was decided by the Goswamis of Vrindavan to send Narottama, Shrinivasa, and Shyamananda to Bengal to deliver the Goswami scriptures and preach.  The three of them were extremely renounced and highly learned in the conclusions of the bhakti-rasa scriptures. After this, the three of them were called before the Goswamis, who made clear their desires for preaching the literatures.  The three of them agreed with great enthusiasm to carry out the task they had been ordered to do. It was settled that the three of them would leave on an auspicious day.  The Shukla-paksha day of the month of Agrahayana was chosen.

      Thereafter, having first offered their respectful obeisances unto the three principle deities of Vrindavan, Shri Govinda, Gopinatha, and Madana Mohan, those three great souls, Shyamananda Prabhu, Narottama Thakura, and Shrinivasa Acharya were sent by Jiva Goswami with the Goswami sciptures to Bengal.  The books were carefully packed in a trunk and loaded onto an oxcart for safekeeping.  In this way they set out with the oxcart on the road to Mathura on their way to Bengal. It was a long way, and they would slowly move from one village to the next, stopping at night in a village where they would perform sankirtan, preach, take prasada and rest. Gradually the bullock cart arrived in Vanavishnupura. 

     Vanavishnupura was the headquarters of King Birhambir, a leader of dacoits. He heard from one of his thieves that many people were moving along the road with a chest full of jewels loaded onto a bullock cart heading towards Bengal.  He reported that they had just entered Vanavishnupura.  The king instructed his men to steal the chest of jewels from the bullock cart. The devotees finally arrived in Vanavishnupura just as the sun was going down.  After conferring with one another, they decided to settle down for the night and rest on the banks of a sarovara in the village. Since many people lived nearby there, they could have some of them watch the bullock cart and make sure that nothing was stolen. Indeed, upon seeing the effulgence of these Vaishnavas, and after listening to their bhajan and kirtan, all the people of that village were astonished.

     King Birhambir again and again sent different thieves to get news of their movements.  And it came to pass by the will of providence that after many days his mind's goal was achieved.  One especially dark night the devotees were sleeping peacefully by the side of a river after taking prasada, having left all the Goswami scriptures in the chest on the bullock cart.  They were deep asleept.  At that time, the thieves came and carefully stole away with the chest of books and hurried away. They brought the chest to King Birhambir, as he had ordered them to do.  When the king saw the chest, he thought "Jewels! Treasure!"  His mind was carried away by happiness. Calling the thieves before him, he rewarded them with new clothes and ornaments and commended them on their good work.

     The king considered, "This chest has certainly come from the west.  After many days, I have finally obtained great wealth. In this way, his joy was boundless." He had been told that some valuable jewels were inside the chest, and so he wanted that chest.  King Birhambir had an astrologer in his court who had told him that what was in the chest was priceless.

     In this way, when the devotees arose the following morning, they saw that the chest containing the Goswami's scriptures was no longer on the bullock cart.  They felt as if their heads had been struck by a thunderbolt. They began searching about and inquiring from everyone around.  But no one knew anything.  They could find nothing.  The three of them were close to death with depression.  Some time later, when they were more calm, they said, "Who can understand the will of Govindadev?  When we left on this journey we had His blessings.  It was by his will that all the Goswami scriptures were put into that one chest. " In this way the devotees spoke contemplatively about the meaning of the tragedy that had befallen them. They remembered once hearing from the Goswamis that Vanavishnupura had a king who was the leader of a gang of dacoits.  That king was famous for stealing all sorts of valuables from pilgrims passing on the road.

     That night, the king opened the chest containing the Goswami's scriptures.  After opening the box, he removed the cloth that covered what was beneath.  There he saw the treasured books of the Goswamis. He opened one of the books and saw the name "Shri Rupa Goswami" written on the palm leaf.  When he saw the infallibly beautiful handwriting of Shri Rupa Goswami all the  sins that he had amassed throughout his long life of crime immediately flew away from him.  His heart was purified. From his pure heart arose the divine rapture of Krishna prema.  Again placing the Goswami scriptures carefully within the chest, the King retired for the evening.  As he was resting, he had an unusual dream. In his dream he saw a beautiful person, whose body glowed with an unprecedented effulgent as brilliant as a golden mountain. His smile was like the moon.  Then that person spoke, saying, "Do not worry.  Soon I shall come and we shall meet.  At that time your joy shall be unceasing.  Life after life you are to be my eternal servant."

     When the king had seen the scriptures in the chest, he immediately began to worry, thinking to himself, "The loss of these holy scriptures is certainly causing great trouble to someone, somewhere.  This will be a cause of great anxiety for me." In his dream some divine person said, "O King.  Do not worry.  In order to retrieve these treasured scriptures I shall soon come to meet with you. Life after life you shall be my eternal servant."

     The three devotees decided that Shri Narottama Thakura should go to Kheturi Gram, Shri Shyamananda Prabhu would go to Ambika Kalna, and Shrinivasa Acharya himself would stay behind in Vishnupura, where he would go to the king's palace and retrieve the Goswami scriptures.  A brahmana resident of Vishnupura named Shri Krishna Vallabha was fascinated upon seeing Shrinivasa Acharya and brought Shrinivasa Acharya to his own home where he duly worshiped with Acharya with the proper respect. At length, the Acharya initiated him into the divine mantra. There were others also who were present there who recognized Shrinivasa Acharya as their guru and accepted initiation from him.

     King Birhambir always used to listen to the Bhagavatam.  Hearing this, Shrinivasa Acharya wanted to go to the king's palace and give the  Bhagavatam lecture.  He suggested this proposal to Shri Krishna Vallabha.  Shri Krishna Vallabha told him that the king had great faith in the Bhagavata and in sadhus.  He said, "Let us go to the king's palace today." Hearing this, Shrinivasa Acharaya quickly went with Krishna Vallabha to the king's palace. When Raja Birhambir saw the brilliant effulgence of Shrinivasa Acharya, he fell to the ground offering his prostrated obeisances.  At that time he offered Shrinivasa an elevated seat, and gragrant flower garlands. After this, Shrinivasa Acharya intoned the guru-vandana prayers to his spiritual master in a sweet voice, and began his explanation of Shrimad Bhagavatam. His recitation of the verses was wonderful, and his explanations were even more wonderful. After hearing his explanation, the whole assembly, including the king, were melted by Krishna Prema.

     It is said that "Just by seeing a great Vaishnava one is purified."  The great dacoit leader was purified simply upon seeing Shrinivasa Acharya. After Shrinviasa Acharya had finished his explanations of Shrimad Bhagavatam, he began the Sankirtan of the holy name and, after some time, began dancing in the kirtan. After some time, Raja Birhambir, clutching a straw between his teeth, fell before the lotus feet of Shrinivasa Acharya and offered his prostrated obeisances in a mood of great humility and begged him for his mercy again and again.  Shrinivasa Acharya took hold of him and embraced him heartily. He told him that very soon, Shri Gauranga Himself would bestow mercy upon Raja Birhambir. After this the king brought out the chest with the scriptures of the Goswamis and offered them to Shrinivasa Acharya.

     Shrinivasa Acharaya could understand the meaning of Shri Gaurasundara's "boundless sweet mercy." One can see his will manifest in everything that happens. Shrinivasa Acharya gave his blessings to the king.  News of all this quickly reached Shri Jiva Goswami in Vrindavana.  Hearing news of all that had transpired, Jiva Gowamis and the other Goswamis were very happy and found the activities of Shrinivasa Acharya to be wonderful.

     Bidding his leave of the king, Shrinivasa Acharya took the chest of books to Yajigram and told all the devotees there of what had happened.  Hearing everything from Shrinivasa, the devotees were very happy. At that time he heard of the passing of Shri Vishnupriya Thakurani in Nabadwipa.  In great unhappiness and distress, Shrinivasa Acharya fainted. The devotees all did their best to revive and console Shrinivasa, and after some time he came to his senses. At that time a message came from Shri Raghunandana in Shri Khanda, inviting Shrinivasa Acharya to come there. Without any delay, Shrinivasa set out for Shri Khanda. When Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura, Raghunandan Thakura and all the other eternal associates of Shri Chaitanya in Shri Khanda saw Shrinivasa Acharya they were very happy. Shrinivasa offered his respects to all of them and gave them news of the Goswamis in Vrindavana.

     At this time, Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura told Shrinivasa Acharya that it was his mother's wish that Shrinivasa marry.  He said, "Your mother is a great devotee.  For a long time she has rendered service in Yajigrama. Whatever she orders you to do you must do.  It is her wish, as it was your father's, that you must marry. Without having to hear his mother's order a second time, Shrinivasa took it upon his head. After staying for a few more days in Shri Khanda, he went to Kanthak Nagara to visit the house of Gadadhara Dasa Thakura and take darshan of him.

     After he Offered his respects to Gadadhara Das Thakura, Gadadhara Das embraced him affectionately.  Gadadhara Dasa wanted to hear from Shrinivasa about all the devotees in Vrindavana, especially the Goswamis.  He was curious to know from him all about the welfare of those devotees. that Shrinivasa had seen on his long journeys. After hearing everything from him Gadadhara das became very happy.  The Acharaya spent a few more days with Gadadhara Das and then bade farewell to him.  At the time of Shrinivasa's departure, Gadadhara Dasa blessed him, saying: "One day you will certainly taste the nectar of the Lord's own Sankirtan, surrounded by his personal associates.  You have my blessings to go and marry.  May it bring you auspiciousness."

     Accepting the blessings and instructions of Shri Gadadhara Das, Shrinvasa Acharya returned to Yajigrama.  At that time in Yajigrama Raghunandan Thakura had just arrived, to the great satisfaction of everyone. In Yajigrama lived a devotee-brahmana named Gopal Chakravarti.  He had a beautiful and devoted daughter named Draupadi.  Shri Raghunandana Thakura arranged she they would be joined in holy matrimony to Shrinivasa Acharya. On the day known as akshaya triti in the month of Vaishakha, the wedding was performed. The Acharya's wife's previous name was Draupadi, but after the marriage, her name became Ishvari.  Previously Shri Gopal Chakravarti had taken mantra initiation from Shrinivasa Acharya. Gopal Chakravarti had two sons named Shyama Dasa and Ramachandra. They took initiation from Shrinivasa Acharya as well. Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura, hearing the news of Shrinivas Acharya's wedding was very happy.

     At length, Shrinivasa Acharya began instructing his disciples in the Goswami scriptures.  Dvija Haridas's sons Shridas and Shri Gokulananda also took initiation from Shrinivasa Acharya and began studying the Goswami scriptures under his guidance. Gradually Shrinivasa Acharya's influence began to spread.  In a short time, many sincere and faithful souls came to him to take shelter at his lotus feet.

Shrinivasa Acharya meets Ramachandra Kaviraja

     One day Shrinivasa Acharaya was in Yajigrama at his own house, where many devotees had gathered to hear him lecture on Shrimad-Bhagavatam. At that time, passing by the house of Shrinivasa Acharya was Ramachandra Kaviraja the son of Chiranjiva Sen (one of Mahaprabhu's eternal associates).  He had just been married, and he and his new bride were on their way back from the wedding.   From a long way off, Shrinivasa Acharya saw Ramachandra Kaviraja, and Ramachandra Kaviraja also saw Shrinvasa Acharya from a distance. Upon seeing each other from a distance a deep mood of friendship arose within the hearts of those two eternally perfect devotees of Shri Gauranga. After seeing each other they were eager to meet one another.  Shrinivasa Acharya had heard about Ramachandra Kaviraja from the local people.  And Ramachandra Kaviraja had heard about Shrinivasa Acharya.  In this way they met and were introduced by some of the local people.

     Shri Ramachandra along with his new bride came to the house of Shrinivasa Acharya. How quickly the day passed. They spent the night where they had been staying since coming to Yajigrama, at a brahmana's house near the home of Shrinvasa Acharaya, and the following morning went to Shrinivasa Acharya and fell before his feet offering prostrated obeisances. The Acharya bade Ramachandra Kaviraja to get up from the ground, and heartily embraced him saying, "Life after life you have been my friend.  Providence has brought us together again today by arranging our meeting." Both of them felt great happiness as a result of their having met.  Seeing that Ramchandra had an acute and  deeply learned transcendental intelligence, Shrinivasa was very happy.  He began to make him hear the Goswami scriptures. After a few days the Acharya initiated him in the divine Radha-Krishna mantra.

     After some time, Shrinivasa Acharya again started out for Vrindavana. Along with him were many other devotees who also wanted to go to Vrindavana. They followed the path the Acharya had previously taken, and after some time  walking and walking, they finally arrived in Gaya Dham, where they took darshan of the lotus feet of the Vishnu deity.  After this they went to Kashi.  There Shrinivasa had darshan of Shri Chandrashekara and the other devotees of Kashi, all of whom were very happy to see Shrinivasa and embraced him with great affection.

     Shrinviasa stayed in Kashi for two or three days and then left for Mathura.  Upon entering Mathura, he bathed once again at Vishrama Ghata.  After this, he went to the holy place of Krishna's advent within this world and saw the Adi Keshava Deity there. After this, he left Mathura for Vrindavana. Soon he arrived in Vrindavan.  There, Shri Jiva Goswami was expecting him. Shrinvasa went to Shri Jiva Goswami and offered him his respectful obeisances, and Shri Jiva Goswami made him get up and then embraced him heartily. He asked for news of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas in Bengal, whom he had not seen in such a long time. Just at this time, from Puri, Shyamananda Prabhu  also arrived in Vrindavan. He offered his respects to Shri Jiva who embraced him and asked for news of the devotees in Puri. After this, Shrinivasa and Shymananda were reunited.  They offered obeisances and embraced and were very happy to see each other. Then, the news came that Dvija Haridasa had just passed away and they were very unhappy.  They stayed in Vrindavan with Jiva Goswami, who taught them various siddhantas,  devotional conclusions, from a book that he had just completed, the Sat Sandarbha: Six Treatises.  At this time Jiva Goswami had also begun work on a book called Gopal Champu.  He read the invocation or mangalacaranam of that book to Shrinivasa and Shyamananda.

     Shrinivasa Acharya stayed in Vrindavan with Shri Jiva Goswami associating with the other Goswamis there for a few months in great happiness. After some time, he sent to  Gauda Desh for Ramchandra Kaviraja, requesting him to come to Vrindavana.  Some Bengali devotees who were in Vrindavan took the message to Ramchandra. When Ramchandra Kaviraja arrived, he introduced him to Shri Jiva Goswami. Ramchandra offered his full obeisances to Shri Jiva, who made him stand and embraced him.  Jiva Goswami ordered him to visit the important deities in Vrindavan, beginning with  Radharamana, Govinda, and Gopinatha and to take darshan of the lotus feet of the Goswamis. Together with Shyamananda and Shrinivasa, Ramchandra did as he was ordered, and the three of them took darshan of the deities and saints of Vrindavan.  Seeing the extreme devotional humility and other good qualities of Ramchandra Kaviraja, the Vrindavan Goswamis were most pleased.

     Shrimad Jiva Goswami then ordered Ramchandra to take darshan of the different forests of Vrindvana.  After he had seen everything, he went to Radha-kunda and took darshan of the lotus feet of Raghunath Das Goswami and Krishna Das Kaviraja Goswami. After this, upon the order of Shri Jiva Goswami, Shrinivasa Acharya and Shyamananda Prabhu set out  for Gaudadesh.

       Gradually they came to Vanavishnupura.  When they arrived there, King Birhambir was so happy to see Shrinivasa Acharya that he began to dance. After this the king carefully worshiped Shrinivasa Acharya according to the rules of worship for the guru, then he offered him nice foodstuffs, and after this arranged for a big festival in the royal palace.  Seeing the bhakti of the king, Shyamananda was amazed.  At this time, Shrinivasa Acharya initiated the king in the Radha-Krishna mantra.  The king's name became Shri Chaitanya Dasa The king's son, Darhihambir, also took initiation, and his name became Shri Gopal Dasa.  By the grace of Shrinivasa Acharya, the king arranged for the installation of a deity, Shri Kalachand.  Shrinivasa Acharya, with his own hand, installed the deities by performing an abhishek ceremony and puja as well as all the other appropriate rituals.  After staying there for some time, Shri Shyamananda Prabhu set out for Puri. Shrinivasa Acharya left for Yajigrama.

     At that time, the king of Shikhareshvara, Shri Harinarayana Dev invited Shrinivasa Acharya to his own house. The eternal associates of Shrinivasa Acharya arranged for a triumphal reception for Shrinivasa Acharya there. The Acharya stayed there for a few days and spoke Bhagavat-katha that flowed as sweetly as the current of the Ganges.  Many people there attained the mercy of Shrinivasa Acharya.

       After staying a few days in the land of Shikheshvara, he arrived in Shri Khanda, and there he  heard that on the Krishna Ekadashi day in the month of Agrahayana, Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura entered into the Lord's unmanifest pastimes, passing away from this temporary world.  Upon heraing this he fell upon the ground, unconscious.  In great lamentation, he cried a river of tears. In the pain of separation he could not contain himself.  Shri Raghunandana Thakura was lost in sorrow.  Upon seeing Shrinivasa, he was somewhat pacified.  For some days Shrinivasa stayed in Shri Khanda, before going on to Kanthak Nagara. Arriving there he heard that in the month of Kartika Gadadhara Das had passed away.  Pierced by the agony of separation, Shrinivasa felt that his life had gone.  In great sorrow, he somehow composed himself and returned to Yajigrama.  There, when he returned to his own home he invited all the devotees to a big festival.

     Some time later, on the Krishna Ekadashi  in the month of Magh they had a festival honoring the disappearance of Dvija Haridasa in Kanchangari Nagara.  To attend the festival Shrinivasa went to Kanchangari Nagara.  At that festival there was a great crowd.  It was on the day of the festival, that Dvija Haridas's sons Shri Dasa and Shri Gokulananda took initiation from Shrinivasa Acharya. After staying there for some days, Shrinivasa left and started on his way to Kheturi Gram.  There, on the Phalguna Purnima day, the day of Mahaprabhu's advent, a great festival was to be held.  The festival had been arranged by King Santosh Dutta. He was the son of Narottam's brother as well as Narottam's disciple.  For this festival, Jahanava Devi herself, the wife of Lord Nityananda, had come. Along with her came Shri Nidhi Shri Pati Shri Krishna Mishra, Shri Gokula, Shri Raghunandana, and many other eternal associates of Mahaprabhu.

     Shrinivasa Acharya did the abhisheka ceremony and the puja for the deitiy installation.  When the day of the full moon in the month of Phalguna came they began they began the great festival of Hari Kirtana by chanting the holy name all day long.  They chanted day and night, and in the midst of that great kirtan Chaitanya Mahaprabhu along with his eternal associates appeared before the devotees and revealed themselves to the sight of everyone. The next day of the festival, a great feast was held.

     The names of the deities were Shri Gauranga, Shri Vallabhikanta, Shri Vrajamohana, Shri Krishna, Shri Radha Kanta, Shri Radharaman.  The installation of these six deities was a great festival.  The world had never seen such a great Vaishnava festival. At the conclusion of the festival, Raja Santosh Datta distributed beautiful cloth and ornaments to all the devotees. The devotees in their turn showered the king with many auspicious blessings. 

     After the festival, Shrinivasa Acharya and Shyamananda Prabhu went back to Yajigrama.   Many Vaishanvas went with them, and when they arrived at the house of Shrinivasa they began a festival there. After some days, Narottama Thakura arrived there.   After the three of them spent some time together in Yajigrama exchanging their realizations, Shyamananda Prabhu headed for Utkaladesh.  Shrinivasa, Narottama, and Ramchandra Kaviraja left for Nabvadwipa.  When they arrived in Mayapura, Navadwipa at the house of Shri Gauranga, they found the Lord's ancient servant Ishan Thakura, and offered their respects to his lotus feet by falling down like rods.   They all introduced themselves to Ishan and when he found out who they were he embraced all of them in the ecstasy of prema.

     At this time Ishan Thakura was the only one staying in the house of Shriman Mahaprabhu. The following day, Ishan took them on parikrama, and together the three of them saw all the holy places in Nabadwipa. As he took themn from one place to the next, they were very happy to hear from Ishan of all the different pastimes the Lord performed in Nabadwipa. After he had shown them the holy places, they again offered their respects and, begging his leave, set out for Shri Khanda.   Soon after this, Shri Ishan Thakura passed away from this world and entered the unmanifest pastimes of the Lord.  In this way, all the eternal associates of the Lord in Nabadwipa and Mayapura gradually disappeared from the earth and entered into the Lord's unmanifest lila.

     One day, Raghunandana Thakura wanted Shrinivasa to come for a visit, so he sent a devotee to carry this message to Yajigrama.  Shrinivasa Acharya quickly came to Shri Khanda and offered his respects to Raghunandana. After giving his blessings to Shrinivasa, Raghunandana said, "May you live long. Preach the mesage of Shri Gauranga far and wide." After saying this, Shri Raghunandana Thakura went before the deity and, calling his son Kanai, offered himself to the lotus feet of his Gopal-Gauranga deities. After this, the devotees lost themselves in Sankirtan for three days.  At that time Raghunandana Thakura again offered himself to the deities of Narahari Sarakara Thakura, Shri Gauranga and Shri Madana Gopala, and before their merciful glance disappeared from this world.

     Upon seeing the disappearance of Shri Raghunandan Thakura, his son Kanai Thakura, Shrinvasa Acharya, and the other devotees were lost in sorrow, drowning in the tears that poured from their lotus eyes in separation from that great saint. After this, Kanai Thakura arranged for a big festival. All the devotees of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu were invited from everywhere.   On the day of the festival a great number of Vaishnavas arrived there and assembled together. In a big courtyard they began their complete absorption in chanting the holy name. and dancing. In that divine kirtan, Shri Raghunandana Thakura himself appeared before them, dancing. Shri Raghunandana Thakura's disappearance day is on the 14th day of the white moon in the month of Shravana.  Anyone who saw or heard of this festival attained their life's success.

     At the end of the festival, Shrinivasa bid goodbye and went to Vanavishnupura where he was given a royal reception at the palace of the king. The Acharya began giving class and performing kirtan at the king's house.  From the four directions came many Vaishnavas, who all assembled there. The king with great affection performed all kinds of service to the devotees. In Utkala, Vanavishnupura turns into Vishnupura.  Many devotees and faithful and pious people came from there to take shelter of the lotus feet of Shrinivasa Acharya.

     In Radhadesh, in Gopalpur Gram lived a great devotee-brahmana named Shri Raghava Cakravarti.  He had a daughter named Shri Gauranga Priya.  Not having arranged for the wedding of his daughter, he was in great anxiety, and constantly worried about this.  He went before the deity of Mahaprabhu and told the Lord everything, making different offerings, and falling before the lotus feet of the deity.  That night that brahmana and his wife had a dream in which  his daughter was given to Shrinivasa Acharya. After this wonderful dream both of them became very happy.  Then again they began to worry that such a thing was impossible.    After thinking this over for some time, Raghava Chakravarti went quickly to Shrinivasa Acharya.  After offering his respects to the Acharya, Raghava Chakravarti with folded hands stood before him.  Understanding his desire, Shrinivasa Acharya smiled slightly. He offered Raghava Chakravarti a seat and inquired about the reason for his visit. After remaining silent for some time, the brahmana finally spoke, saying, "I have come to submit a suggestion at your lotus feet, but I cannot find the audacity  to express it, out of awe for Your Reverence.  If you can reassure me that I have nothing to fear in speaking I shall tell you why I have come."  The Acharya said, "You have nothing to fear.  Please speak your mind."  At that time the brahmana offered Shrinivasa Acharya his daughter's hand in marriage. When he heard this, the Acharya smiled slightly.  Upon hearing of all this, the devotees present there became very happy.  At last Shrinivasa Acharya agreed to wed the daughter of Raghava Chakravarti.

     With great pomp, Maharaja Birhambir made arrangements for the wedding of Shrinivasa Acharya.  When the stars were auspicious, Shri Raghava Chakravarti, having endowed his daughter with beautiful garments and ornaments came to Shrinivasa Acharya and offered her hand to him. After marrying Shrimati Gauranga Priya, Shrinivasa Acharya returned with his new bride to Yajigrama. Exactly at that time the divine energy of Nityananda—Shri Jahnava Devi had just arrived at the house of Shrinivasa Acharya, having returned from a pilgrimage to Vrindavana. Seeing her, the Acharya's happiness knew no limits. With great respect he took the dust from her lotus feet, offered her the seat of honor and, after worshiping her, after which he bade  his new bride, Gauranga Priya, offer her respects and prayers to the lotus feet of Jahnava Mata.

     When Shri Jahnava Mata, who is known as Bhakta-Svarupini—the personification of Bhakti— saw the good character and beauty of the young bride She embraced her with great affection. With much happiness, She remained in the house of Shrinivasa Acharya for some days, after which she again returned to her village, Khorodoha Gram.  In Yajigram Shrinivasa Acharya accepted many disciples.  He would often discuss the shastras and perform Sankirtan until his voice was hoarse and he could no longer speak.  In Yajigrama, Shrinivasa Acharya experienced great ecstasy in discussing the Goswami scriptures, in studying them and in teaching them to others. In this way he would pass his days in great happiness. Seeing the Acharya's devotional opulence and  expansive capacity for preaching, everyone was amazed. By his influence many important atheists cmae and surrendered at his lotus feet.

     Shrinivasa Acharya, Shri Narottama and Shri Ramchandra Kaviraj were of one heart and mind. Shrila Narottama Thakura has written doya kore shri acharya, prabhu shrinivasa—ramachandra mage narottamo das: "O Master Shrinivasa, be merciful to me!  Narottama prays for the association of Ramchandra Kaviraja."

     Shrinivasa Acharya had three sons and three daughters. The names of his daughters were Krishna Priya, Hemalata, and Phulapi Thakurani.  His sons names were Vrindavan Vallabha, Radha Krishna, and Shri Gita Govinda. Shri Gita Govinda son was Krishna Prasada.   His son was Jagadananda.  Jagadananda Thakura had two wives.  His first wife's son was Yadavendra and his second wive's sons were Radha Mohana, Bhuvana Mohana, Gaur Mohan, Shyam Mohan and Madan Mohan.  The descendant's of Bhuvan Mohan at present live in Murshidabad in Manikyahar Gram.

[This article and more information at  www.stephen-knapp.com]

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