“SRI SIDDHA-BAKULA” – Bhajana Kutir of Srila Haridasa Thakura

Dear devotees,
Hare Krsna
Dandvat pranam, Jai Srila Prabhupad.

Today is disappearance day of Naamacharya Srila Haridas Thakurji. I am sharing here an email which I rcvd recently which glorifies the fortunate tree under which Srila Haridas Thakurji used to sit and chant Hare Krsna Mahamantra…this fortunate tree was planted by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and has had association of SriSri Gaura Nitai and many associates of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu including Goswamis of Sri Vrindavan dham. This fortunate tree is named – Siddha Bakul….and when we get a chance to go to Sri Jagannathpuri…get the good fortune to go to Sri Jagannath Puri…we can get more fortunate by taking darshan of Sri Siddha Bakul tree and place where Srila Haridas Thakurji resides.

SriSri Gaura Nitai ki Jai !!!
Srila Haridas Thakurji ki Jai !!!
Sri Siddha Bakul ki Jai !!!

SRI SIDDHA-BAKULA
Bhajana Kutir of Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura
at Sri Ksetra Jagannatha Puri Dhama

Sri Siddha-Bakula is located near Gambhira Temple on Bali Sahi road in Sri Jagannatha Puri Dhama. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally arranged for Srila Haridasa Thakura to reside at this place. This is the place where he performed his daily bhajana of chanting 192 rounds (3,00,000 names) of Hare Krishna maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare |
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare ||

Since Haridasa could not enter the Jagannatha Temple, being of a Muslim family, Sri Caitanya requested Haridasa, "Remain here and chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. I shall personally come here to meet you daily. Remain here peacefully, and look at the cakra on top of Lord Jagannatha’s temple and offer obeisances. As far as your Prasadam, I shall arrange to have that sent here." In order to provide shade for Thakura Haridasa, Sri Caitanya planted a used tooth stick of Lord Jagannatha. All of a sudden it grew up and appeared as a great shade tree.

When Srila Rupa Goswami visited Jagannatha Puri, Mahaprabhu allocated him a residence here with Thakura Haridasa. Rupa Gosvami recited Lalitha Madhava and Vidagdha Madhava under this tree before Sri Gauranga and his followers. During his stay Sanatana Gosvami also lived here. Haridasa Thakura left his body here.

There is a small temple featuring a murti of namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura in a sitting pose chanting japa. The site has extraordinary bakula tree winding and climbing around the courtyard. Tree looks like it exploded or it appears like petrified wood; completely dead. Yet it is wonderfully flourishing with lush green leaves and fragrant flowers. In another temple altar is Sadbhuja Gauranga (six-armed Gauranga) in the middle and Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acarya. There is also a Deity of Lord Nrsimhadeva.

Holy site of Siddha-Bakula is extraordinary in its potency; not only did the tree sprout from the maha-prasadam toothbrush of Sri Jagannatha Deva, planted by the lotus hand of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but it was the residence of Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura. Here, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu discussed with Srila Haridasa Thakura the yuga-dharma, thus establishing the true importance of the location, Siddha-Bakula.
SRILA HARIDASA THAKURA
Sri Haridasa Thakura is an eternally liberated associate of the Lord. The associates of the Lord are worshippable wherever they make their appearance. Just as Garuda appeared as a bird, and Hanuman as a monkey, Haridasa Thakura appeared in a family of Yavanas (Mohammedans). From his very birth he was very deeply devoted to the Holy Names of Sri Krishna. Lord Caitanya appointed him the teacher of the holy name, Namacarya. Every day before taking his one and only meal he finished chanting 192 rounds (3,00,000 names) of Hare Krishna maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare |
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare ||

Thakura Haridasa was present during most of the Lord Caitanya’s pastimes in Nadia, and when the Lord went to Jagannatha Puri, Haridasa also went and took up residence there. Every day, after attending Lord Jagannatha’s mangala arati, Lord Caitanya would come to see Haridasa Thakura and bring him some of Lord Jagannatha’s prasadam. When Sri Sanatana Goswami and Sri Rupa Goswami would come from Vrindavana to Puri they used to stay with Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa, in order to maintain the etiquette, would not go near Lord Jagannatha’s temple but would offer his obeisances to the Cakra on top of the temple, from a distance. As he was considered to be a Mohammedan by birth, his presence in the temple would be objectionable to those who were caste conscious. He passed away in presence of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

GLORIES OF SRILA HARIDASA THAKURA

When Haridasa Thakura came to live by the banks of the Ganges, Advaita Acarya was very happy to get his association. The brahmana residents of Fulia were very pleased to see how he worshipped the Holy Name, and they used to come every day to have his darshan. Gradually word began to spread of his glories. When the Mohammedan administrator came to know of all this he began to burn with malice and went to the local Mohammedan king to inform him, "Though he is Mohammedan, he behaves as a Hindu. Therefore he should be brought here for trial." Hearing the words of that sinful man, the local king who was also very sinful, had Haridasa Thakura brought their immediately.

Because of his purity, Srila Haridasa Thakura radiated a certain effulgence which the Nawab could not fail to notice. Nawab was confused.

He asked Haridasa, What sort of mentality has overcome you? Knowing you have the good fortune to become a Muslim, why do you behave like a Hindu? To discard your own race, land and religion for another is perverted. How do you expect to attain the liberated platform if you behave like this? I have decided to punish you according to the mandates of the Koran so that you will be freed from your sins.

Srila Haridasa Thakura patiently listened to the threats of Nawab, recognizing his words as the illusory potency of the Supreme Lord Visnu. Without any apprehension, Haridasa simply smiled at the Nawab and spoke in a sweet, soothing voice, My dear Sir, there is only one God for all living entities. The difference between the Muslim god and the Hindu God is in name only. According to every scripture – be it Koran or Purana – God is one. He is the non-dual, eternal, transcendental Absolute Truth, infallible and perfectly complete, and in that capacity He resides in everyones heart.

The omnipotent Lord is the supreme controller of everything. The living entity is moved by the desire of the Supreme Lord, and he acts and works only according to the Lords design. The Supreme Lords transcendental name, activities, qualities, associates, and abode are glorified according to different classes of spiritual instruction. But irrespective of the manner in which He is worshiped, the Lord accepts everyones individual mood of surrender towards Him. However, if one living entity feels hatred or envy toward another, he ultimately reflects those emotions in his relationship with the Lord. Whatever you see of me and my activities are direct manifestations of the Lord who guides me from within. Looking at it from another perspective, a person may be born in a family of brahmanas but despite his high birth he demonstrates the perverted behaviour of a fourth-class, uncultured person. What can the Hindus do with such a person? He is forced to act in degrading ways because of his innate propensities, and he accordingly suffers or enjoys the reactions of his activities. What could be achieved by punishing him for activities which are an intrinsic part of his nature? My dear respected Sir, please consider these points seriously, and if you still find me guilty then punish me.

The Muslim courtiers were sincerely moved by the honesty of Haridasa Thakuras words and presence. But his wisdom could not penetrate the envious and sinful heart of the Kazi who turned to the Nawab and instructed, You must punish this man! He is evil and mischievous. Others will fall under his influence and become equally sinful. He will disgrace our Muslim religion and community. Therefore he must be appropriately punished. If he wants to be excused, then let him preach from his own scripture.

The Nawab tried again, My friend, just speak from your own scripture and accept the path. Then you will have nothing to fear. Otherwise, the Kazis will force me to punish you. Why should you let that happen?

Whatever the Supreme Lord desires is destined to happen; there is no one who can check it," replied Haridasa. You should know without a doubt that you are merely an instrument of the Lords desire. Even if my body is cut into pieces and I lose my life, I will never give up chanting Hare Krishna.

Beating in 22 market places in Fulia:
Hearing this, envious Kazi ordered, Lash him in twenty-two market places until he dies. There is no other judgement I find appropriate. If he lives despite the punishment, then I will conclude that our big scholar has spoken the truth. The sentries were called in and the orders boomed out, Lash him until he breathes his last! The sin a Muslim incurs by becoming a Hindu can only be punished by death! The Kazis envious designs had fructified in the heart of the Nawab and Srila Haridasa was dragged away by the sentries.

From one market place to another they beat him mercilessly, their black hearts consumed by hate for the pure devotee of the Lord. But Haridasa was a pure soul, completely surrendered to the Supreme Lord, so he faithfully chanted Lord Krishnas holy name. So absorbed was his in the fervent chanting that he did not feel any pain. Good-hearted and pious people could not bear to see the torture inflicted on such an innocent person. Some begged the sentries to stop while others predicted, If they continue to torture this good man, the entire kingdom will be ruined. One person threw himself at the feet of the sentries and pleaded, I will give you any reward you like if you stop this merciless beating. But none of these protests evoked the slightest mercy from the sentries who continued to drag Srila Haridasa Thakura from one market place to another, lashing him relentlessly.

By the grace of Lord Sri Krishna, Haridasa felt only little pain in his body. Just like Prahlada in the Srimad Bhagavatam who was tortured by demons, Haridasa never suffered at all. Not only was Haridasa freed from his pain, whoever remembers this story of Srila Haridasa will also be saved from the miseries of life. Throughout his ordeal, Haridasas one emotion was pity for the sentries. "O Lord Krishna, please be merciful upon these poor souls so they may not be punished because of me,"

Nothing could stop the insensitive sentries who were determined to see their assignment through to its deathly end. Yet for all their beating, Haridasa showed no signs of distress as he was absorbed in remembering the holy name of Lord Krishna. At last the guards had to stop in amazement. "How can a human being survive such a brutal beating? Any ordinary man would have died after the beating we gave in the first two or three market places. We have lashed him continuously through twenty-two market places and he still shows no sign of either pain or death. Occasionally he looks up to smile at us. They concluded that he must be a saintly person.

O Haridasa," they pleaded. "Because of you we shall certainly be punished. When the Kazi sees that despite our beating you are still alive, he shall certainly kill us instead.

If my survival brings such terrible misfortune to you," replied Haridasa, then I shall definitely give up my body. Just see how I die.

Srila Haridasa Thakura immediately fell into trance. A pure devotee of the Supreme Lord possesses all mystic power so without any hesitation, Srila Haridasa fell lifeless, without a trace of breath. The Muslim sentries were astonished but gladly brought the body of Srila Haridasa to the Nawab. When the Nawab ordered the sentries to bury him, the Kazi protested, No, if he is buried he will be saved and ultimately gain entrance into heaven. Although he was born a Muslim, he behaved like a low Hindu, therefore it is proper for him to be thrown in the Ganges to suffer eternally like the other lost Hindus. By being buried he will become elevated and freed from his sin.

On the Kazis order the sentries picked up the body of Haridasa Thakura and carried him to the Ganges. Haridasa remained in his deathly trance, meditating on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The spirit of the Lord Krishna then descended into the body of Srila Thakura and he became so heavy that it was impossible to move him. The strongest sentries came forward to push him into the waters, but he remained in deep trance and could not be moved. Haridasa had already drowned in the ocean of love of Lord Krishna, and he had no perception of the world around him. Just like Prahlada Maharaja, Haridasa Thakura had the spiritual ability to constantly remember the Supreme Lord. Such an extraordinary capability was not surprising for Haridasas heart was the permanent residence of Lord Gauracandra.

This entire episode with Srila Haridasa Thakura is a replication of the heroic activities of Sri Hanuman in Lanka. Indrajit, Ravanas son, had sent the Brahmastra, a weapon given to him by Lord Brahma, to capture Hanuman. Hanuman could easily have escaped it, but to show respect to the potency of Lord Brahma, Hanuman allowed himself to be bound by the Brahmacari. Similarly, Srila Haridasa Thakura could have escaped the punishment of the Moslems, but by allowing them to torture him, he taught the world a lesson: Despite the extreme miseries of life, one must never stop chanting the name of Krishna.

Haridasa Thakura was directly protected by the Supreme Lord Govinda, therefore who could harm him? Sri Caitanya Bhagavata states: If one simply remembers the name of Haridasanot to mention his terrible ordeal at the hands of the Muslimshe becomes free from his own pain and misery. Most certainly Srila Haridasa Thakura was one of the closest and most important associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanyacandra.

Haridasa floated downstream on the currents of the Ganges, and after some time he became conscious, by the Lords desire. Fully awakened and overwhelmed with ecstasy, he climbed the bank of the Ganges and proceeded toward Fulia, loudly chanting the name of Krishna as he walked. When the Muslims saw Srila Haridasa they were convinced that he possessed extraordinary mystic powers. Pure, happy feelings replaced the envy and hate in their hearts. They offered him obeisances, worshiping him as a very saintly person. By this worship the Muslims became free from material entanglement. In the presence of the Nawab, Haridasa stopped chanting and smiled compassionately at the Muslim ruler who was standing respectfully with folded hands.

In a humble and meek voice the Nawab said, I can now understand that you are truly a saintly person. You have realized the absolute truth, and you have seen the one Supreme Lord everywhere and in everyone. Absolute knowledge and liberationwhich the mystic yogis and philosophers proudly boasthas been easily attained by you because you are a perfect human being. I have come just to see you, simply to beg forgiveness. Kindly forgive me for the offenses I have committed against you. Because you see everyone equally, you have neither friends nor enemies; there is no one in the entire world who can actually grasp your extraordinary position. You are a free man in every respect. You may stay wherever you wishin a lonely hut or a cave on the bank of the River Ganges. But please be merciful upon those of us who have committed this great offense against you.

Everyone – whether elevated or wretched – automatically forgets about mundane life when he sees the lotus feet of Srila Haridasa Thakura. The Muslims had been angry enough to kill him, yet they were transformed and they worshiped his feet, accepting him as a holy man. After forgiving and blessing them, Haridasa went to Fulia.

At the time, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu displayed His divine opulences by manifesting Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the courtyard at Srivasa Pandita’s house, He was calling his dear devotees: "Haridasa! When those Mohammedans were beating you I was ready to destroy them with My Sudarsana Cakra, but as you were praying for their welfare I was unable to do anything."

Therefore I accepted their blows on My own body. Just see, the scars are still here on My body." Seeing those marks Haridasa fainted in ecstatic love. Regaining his consciousness he began to praise the Lord of his life, "O Lord Viswambhara, master of the universe, please have mercy on this sinner, who has fallen at Your feet. I have no good qualities and am a vile wretch, rejected by all classes of men. How can I describe Your divine character?"

ENTRANCE TO SIDDHA BAKULA
Siddha-bakula is situated behind Kasi Misras house, Gambhira.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally arranged for Srila Haridasa Thakura to reside at this place.

Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (right, golden color) sitting with
Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura discussing the Glories of the Holy Name

SRI SIDDHA-BAKULA TREE –
The place where Srila Haridasa Thakura performed his daily bhajana of chanting 192 rounds (3,00,000 names) of Hare Krishna maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare |
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare ||

SRI SIDDHA-BAKULA
Holy site of Siddha-Bakula is extraordinary in its potency; not only did the tree sprout from the maha-prasadam toothbrush of Sri Jagannatha Deva, planted by the lotus hand of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but it was the residence of Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura. Here, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu discussed with Srila Haridasa Thakura the yuga-dharma, thus establishing the true importance of the location, Siddha-Bakula.

NAMACARYA SRILA HARIDASA THAKURA AT SRI SIDDHA-BAKULA
The daru-murti (wooden) of Srila Haridasa Thakura was established by Sri Jagannatha Gosvami

SRI SIDDHA-BAKULA TREE

HISTORY OF SRI SIDDHA-BAKULA

Devotees from Gaudadesa came to Jagannatha Puri to see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu during annual Lord Jagannatha Rathayatra. Mahaprabhu welcomes everyone as they arrived in Jagannatha Puri, but He could not see Haridasa. Haridasa had not approached Mahaprabhu, but rather stayed on the main street, oferring his obeisances from afar. The devotees ran to Haridasa to inform him that the Lord Caitanya was asking for him. Hariadasa replied, I am fallen and low-born. I am not qualified to go near the Jagannatha temple. If I can get some place in the garden then I will spend my time there chanting my rounds. I do not want the servants of Jagannatha to touch my body. They will be contaminated by touching me.

Devotees went to Mahaprabhu and told Him these things. Mahaprabhu was very happy to hear of the humility of Haridasa.
At that time Kasi Misra and the superintendent of the temple came to meet Mahaprabhu. They had arranged accommodation and prasada for all the devotees who had come from Gaudadesa. Mahaprabhu said to Kasi Misra, Near My place there is a flower garden. In this garden there is one solitary house. Can you give Me that house? I would like to sit there alone and perform nama-smarana.

Kasi Misra replied, My Lord, everything belongs to You. Why do You have to ask me? Whatever You need just use it.

After making the arrangements for accommodation and prasada for all the devotees, Mahaprabhu then came to meet Haridasa. Haridasa was chanting the Holy Names in great ecstasy, and as soon as he saw Mahaprabhu, he immediately fell at the lotus feet of the Lord and offered his prostrated obeisances. Mahaprabhu picked him up and embraced him. Both were crying with great love for each other. Haridasa said, O Lord! Do not touch me. I am fallen, low-class, an untouchable and the greatest sinful person.

Mahaprabhu said, I am touching your body that I may become purified. I am not as pure as you. At every moment you are taking bath in all tirthas. At every moment you are performing yajna, tapa and charity. Constantly you study the Vedas. You are more pure than brahmanas and sannyasis. Mahaprabhu then took Haridasa Thakura to the flower garden behind His own room, and Haridasa Thakura to reside in that most secluded place and perform harinama-bhajana. Mahaprabhu said, I will come here every day to meet with you. From here, take darsana of Nila-cakra. Every day I will personally come to meet you and bring Jagannatha prasada for you.

At this time, the place Mahaprabhu secured for Haridasas residence was known as Mudra Math. Nila-cakra was visible from the courtyard of the math, but now, due to the many buildings surrounding the math, it can no longer be seen.

How did unique bakula tree in the courtyard become known as the Siddha-bakula?

Every day morning during avakasa period, the pujaris of Jagannatha Mandira offer three twigs of a kumbhatua tree as toothbrushes (danta-kastham) to Jagannatha Swami, Baladeva and Subhadra. One morning before the offering, a twig was missing, so the pujari hastily arranged a twig from bakula tree to use as a toothbrush. Every day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would go to the temple of Jagannatha for darshana. That day the pujari, after offering, gave bakula twig to Mahaprabhu as maha-prasadam.

Mahaprabhu was in ecstasy, having received the toothbrush of the Lord. When Mahaprabhu came to see Haridasa, He planted the maha-prasadi bakula toothbrush in the garden. Soon that twig grew into a large tree that offered shade to everyone, and daily Haridasa Thakura would perform his bhajana under the tree.

After the departure of Haridasa Thakura, a devotee named Sri Jagannatha Gosvami used to perform bhajana here. One day the kings officers arrived at the bhajana-kutira. They were searching for suitable trees to cut down for making the wheels on Jagannathas Rathayatra chariot. Finding this bakula tree to be stout and straight, ideal for making the chariot wheel, kings officers informed Jagannatha Gosvami that they would return with workers the following day to take the tree. Sri Jagannatha Gosvami objected. He told them about the supreme sanctity of this bakula tree, which was planted by Mahaprabhu Himself and used as the bhajana sthali of the revered namacarya Thakura Haridasa.

But kings people paid no heed to his appeal. They decided to cut this tree, and so Sri Jagannatha Gosvami remained quiet, trying to understand that this must be the desire of the Lord. When kings officers returned the next day to take the tree, they observed a miracle. Overnight, the main truck of bakula tree had become petrified; as hard as rock. Rest of the tree was completely hollow, bent over and winding here and there. It was of no use to them.

Unlike a normal living tree, this phenomenal bakula tree has no middle portion it only has outer bark. According to botanical principles the tree should be dead, yet it is thriving beautifully. This tree is no ordinary, having been used as a toothbrush for Lord Jagannatha, then planted in the ground by Mahaprabhus own hand, and acting as a shelter of namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura. Any person or even an object like a bakula twig that is intimately connected with Lord Jagannatha, Gauranga Mahaprabhu and the namacarya Haridasa Thakura will surely attain perfection. The bakula tree had attained perfection, and from that day on it became famous as the Siddha-bakula tree.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu planted the tree on Caitra Sankranti (May-June). Until this day, it is celebrated as Danta-kastha-ropana Mahotsava (festival of the planting of the wooden toothbrush), when devotees perform abhiseka to the Sri Siddha-bakula tree with 108 kalasas of water.

PALM LEAF LILA and SRILA RUPA GOSVAMIS COMPOSITIONS AT SRI SIDDHA-BAKULA

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to dance before Lord Jagannatha Ratha during the Rathayatra festival at Jagannatha Puri, He always sang the following two lines: seita parana-natha painu
yaha lagi madana-dahane jhuri genu
I have gotten that Lord of My life, for whom I was burning in the fire of lusty desires.

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to sing this song especially during the latter part of the day, and He would think, Let Me take Krishna and go back to Vrindavana. This ecstasy was always filling His heart. In that ecstasy, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recited a verse when dacing in front of Lord Jaganantha. Almost no one could understand the meaning of that verse. yah kaumara-harah sa eva hi varas ta eva caitra-ksapas
te conmilita-malati-surabhayah praudhah kadam-banilah
sa caivasmi tathapi tatra surata-vyapara-lila-vidhau
reva-rodhasi vetasi-taru-tale cetah samutkanthate
That very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet still my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire.

This verse appears to be the hankering between some ordinary boy and girl, but its actual deep meaning was known only to Svarupa Damodara. By chance, one year Rupa Gosvami was also present there. Although the meaning of the verse was known only to Svarupa Damodara, Rupa Gosvami, after hearing it from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, immediately composed another verse that described the meaning of the original verse. After composing this verse, Rupa Gosvami wrote it on a palm leaf and put it on the roof of the thatched house in which he was living. Srila Rupa Gosvami then went to bathe in the sea. In the meantime, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to his hut to meet him.

To avoid turmoil, three great personalities – Haridasa Thakura, Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Goswami – did not enter the temple of Jagannatha. Every day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to see the upala-bhoga ceremony at the temple of Jagannatha, and after seeing this He used to go visit these three great personalities on His way to His own residence. If one of these three was not present, He would meet the others. That was His regular practice.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the residence of Srila Rupa Gosvami, He accidently saw the palm leaf on the roof and thus He read the verse composed by him. After reading the verse, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went into an ecstatic mood. While He was in that state, Srila Rupa Gosvami came and immediately fell down on the floor like a rod. When Rupa Gosvami fell down like a rod, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu got up and gave him a slap. Then, taking him on His lap, He began to speak to him.

No one knows the purport of My verse, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said. How could you understand My intention? Saying this, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu bestowed various benedictions upon Rupa Gosvami, and taking the verse, He later showed it to Svarupa Damodara. Having shown the verse to Svarupa Damodara with great wonder, Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked him how Rupa Gosvami could understand the intentions of His mind.

Srila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami replied to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, If Rupa Gosvami can understand Your mind and intentions, he must have Your Lordships special benediction.

The Lord said, I was so pleased with Rupa Gosvami that I embraced him and bestowed upon him all necessary potencies for preaching the Bhakti cult. I accept Srila Rupa Gosvami as quite fit to understand the confidential mellows of devotional service and I recommend that you explain devotional service to him further.

SWEET GLORIES OF THE HOLY NAME

After the four months of Caturmasya [Sravana,
Bhadra, Asvina and Kartika], all the Vaishnavas of Bengal returned to their homes, but Srila Rupa Gosvami remained in Jagannatha Puri under the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

One day while Rupa Gosvami was writing his book, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly appeared. As soon as Haridasa Thakura and Rupa Gosvami saw the Lord coming, they both stood up and then fell down to offer Him their respectful obeisances. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced them both and then sat down.

Lord inquired, What kind of book are you writing? He held up a palm leaf that was a page of the manuscript, and when He saw the fine handwriting, His mind was very pleased. Thus being pleased, the Lord praised the writing by saying, The handwriting of Rupa Gosvami is just like rows of pearls.

While reading the manuscript, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw a verse on that page, and as soon as He read it He was overwhelmed by ecstatic love. tunde tandavini ratim vitanute tundavali labdhaye
karna-kroda-kadambini ghatayate karnar-budebhyah sprham
cetah-prangana-sangini vijayate sarvendri-yanam krtim
no jane janita kiyadbhir amrtaih krsneti varna-dvayi

I do not know how much nectar the two syllables Krish- na have produced. When the holy name of Krishna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted this verse, Haridasa Thakura, upon hearing the vibration, became jubilant and began to dance while praising its meaning. One has to learn about the beauty and transcendental position of the Holy Name of the Lord by hearing the revealed scriptures from the mouths of devotees. Nowhere else can we hear of the sweetness of the Lords holy name. thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Haridasa and Rupa Gosvami and left for the seaside to perform His noontime duties.

On the next day, after visiting the temple of Jagannatha as usual, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara. They all went together to Srila Rupa Gosvami and on the way the Lord greatly praised his qualities. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recited the two important verses, He felt great pleasure; thus as if He had five mouths, He began to praise His devotee.

Just to examine Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Ramananda Raya, the Lord began to praise the transcendental qualities of Sri Rupa Gosvami before them. Characteristically, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna does not take seriously an offense committed by a pure devotee. The Lord accepts whatever small service a devotee renders as being such a great service that He is prepared to give even Himself, what to speak of other benedictions. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Purusottama, the greatest of all persons, has a pure mind. He is so gentle that even if His servant is implicated in a great offense, He does not take it seriously. Indeed, if His servant renders some small service, the Lord accepts it being very great. Even if an envious person blasphemes the Lord, the Lord never manifests anger against him. Such are His great qualities.

When Haridasa Thakura and Rupa Gosvami saw that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had come with His intimate devotees, they both immediately fell down like logs and offered prayers to their lotus feet. Thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His personal devotees met Rupa Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura. The Lord then sat down in an elevated place with His devotees. Rupa Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura sat at the foot of the elevated place where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting. Although everyone asked them to sit on the same level as the Lord and His associates, they did not do so.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Rupa Gosvami to read the verse they had previously heard, Rupa Gosvami, because of great shyness, did not read it but instead remained silent. Then Svarupa Damodara Gosvami recited the verse, and when all the devotees heard it, their minds were struck with wonder. "’My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Krishna on this field of Kuruksetra. I am the same Radharani, and now We are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but I would still like to go to the bank of the Yamuna beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vrindavana.’" After hearing this verse, Ramananda Raya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya said to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, "Without Your special mercy, how could this Rupa Gosvami have understood Your mind?" (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Antya-lila 1.53-115)
SRILA HARIDASA SPEAKS ON NAMA TATTVA

One day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Haridasa Thakura as usual, and in the course of discussion He inquired as follows, My dear Thakura Haridasa, in this Age of Kali most people are bereft of Vedic culture and therefore they are called yavanas. They are concerned only with killing cows and brahminical culture. In this way they all engage in sinful acts. How will these yavanas be delivered? To My great unhappiness, I do not see any way.

Haridasa Thakura replied, My dear Lord, do not be in anxiety. Do not be unhappy to see the condition of the yavanas in material existence. Because they are accustomed to saying ha rama, ha rama [O my Lord Ramacandra], they will very easily be delivered by this namabhasa. A devotee in advanced ecstatic love exclaims, O my Lord Ramacandra! O my Lord Ramacandra! But the yavanas also chant, ha rama, ha rama! Just see their good fortune!

Namacarya Haridasa Thakura, the authority on the chanting of the Holy Name said, The chanting of the Lords holy name to indicate something other than the Lord is an instance of namabhasa. Even when the holy name is chanted in this way, its transcendental power is not destroyed. Even a mleccha who is being killed by the tusk of a boar and who cries in distress again and again, ha rama, ha rama attains liberation. What then to speak of those who chant the Holy Name with veneration and faith? Ajamila was a great sinner during his life, but at the time of death he accidently called for his youngest son, whose name was Narayana and the attendants of Lord Visnu came to relieve him from the bonds of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death.

The word rama consist of the two syllables ra and ma. These are unseparated and are decorated with the loving word ha, meaning O. The letters of the holy name have so much spiritual potency that they act even when uttered improperly. If a devotee once utters the holy name of the Lord, or if it penetrates his mind or enters his ear, which is the channel of aural reception, that holy name will certainly deliver him from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, with correct or incorrect grammar, or properly joined or vibrated in separate parts. O brahmana, the potency of the holy name is therefore certainly great. However, if one uses the vibration of the holy name for the benefit of the material body, for material wealth and followers, or under the influence of greed or atheism – in other words, if one utters the name with offenses – such chanting will not produce the desired result very soon. Therefore one should diligently avoid offenses in chanting the Holy Name of the Lord.

Namacarya Haridasa Thakura continued, If one offenselessly utters the holy name even imperfectly, one can be freed from all the results of sinful life. O reservoir of all good qualities, just worship Sri Krishna, the purifier of all purifiers, the most exalted of the personalities worshipped by choice poetry. Worship Him with a faithful, unflinching mind, without duplicity and in a highly elevated manner. Thus worship the Lord, whose name is like the sun, for just as a slight appearance of the sun dissipates the darkness of night, so a slight appearance of Holy Name of Krishna can drive away all the darkness of ignorance that arises in the heart due to greatly sinful activities performed in previous lives. Even a faint light from the holy name of the Lord can eradicate all the reactions of sinful life. While dying, Ajamila chanted the holy name of the Lord, intending to call his son Narayana. Nevertheless, he attained the spiritual world. What then to speak of those who chant the holy name with faith and reverence? Because of even the faintest rays of the effulgence of the Lords holy name, one can attain liberation. We can see this in all the revealed scriptures. The evidence appears in the story of Ajamila in Srimad-Bhagavatam.

As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard this from Haridasa Thakura, the happiness within His heart increased, but as a matter of course, He still inquired further. On this earth there are many living entities, the Lord said, some moving and some not moving. What will happen to the trees, plants, insects and other living entities? How will they be delivered from material bondage?

Haridasa Thakura replied, My dear Lord, the deliverance of all moving and non-moving living entities takes place only by Your mercy. You have already granted this mercy and delivered them. You have loudly chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and everyone, moving or not moving, has benefited by hearing it. My Lord, the moving entities who have heard Your loud sankirtana have already been delivered from bondage to the material world, and after the non-moving living entities like trees hear it, there is an echo. Actually, however, it is not an echo: it is the kirtana of the non-moving living entities. All this, although inconceivable, it is possible by Your mercy.

When loud chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is performed all over the world by those who follow in Your footsteps, all living entities, moving and non-moving, dance in ecstatic devotional love. My dear Lord, all the incidents that took place while You were going to Vrindavana through the forest known as Jharikhanda have been related to me by Your servant Balabhadra Bhattacarya. When Your devotee Vasudeva Datta submitted his plea at Your lotus feet for the deliverance of all living entities, You accepted that request.

My dear Lord, You have accepted the form of a devotee just to deliver all the fallen souls of this world. You have preached the loud chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and in this way freed all moving and non-moving living entities from material bondage.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, If all living entities are liberated, the entire universe will be devoid of living beings. Haridasa said, My Lord, as long as You are situated within the material world, You will send to the spiritual sky all the developed moving and non-moving living entities in different species. Then again You will awaken the living entities who are not yet developed and engage them in activities. In this way all moving and non-moving living entities will come into existence, and the entire universe will be filled as it was previously. Previously, when Lord Ramacandra left this world, He took with Him all the living entities of Ayodhya. Then He filled Ayodhya again with other living entities.

My dear Lord, You have set a plan in motion by descending to the material world, but no one can understand how You are acting. Formerly, when Lord Krishna descended in Vrindavana, He freed all living entities in the universe from material existence in the same way. Krishna, the unborn Supreme Personality of Godhead, master of all masters of mystic power, delivers all living entities, moving and non-moving. Nothing is astonishing in the activities of the Lord. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be seen, glorified or remembered with an attitude of envy, He nevertheless awards the most confidential liberation, which is rarely achieved by demigods and demons. What, then, can be said of those who are already fully engaged in devotional service to the Lord? By descending as an incarnation at Navadvipa, You, just like Krishna, have already delivered all the living entities of the universe.

One may say that he understands the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He may know whatever he may know, but as far as I am concerned, this is my conclusion. My dear Lord, Your pastimes are just like an ocean of nectar. It is not possible for me to conceive how great that ocean is or even to understand a drop of it.

Hearing all this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was astonished. These are actually My confidential pastimes, He thought, How could Haridasa have understood them? Greatly satisfied by the statements of Haridasa Thakura, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced him. Outwardly, however, He avoided further discussions of these matters. This is a characteristic of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although He wants to cover His opulence, He cannot do so before His devotees. This is well known everywhere.

O my Lord, everything within material nature is limited by time, space and thought. Your characteristics, however, being unequalled and unsurpassed, are always transcendental to such limitations. You sometimes cover such characteristics by Your own energy, but nevertheless Your unalloyed devotees are always able to see You under all circumstances. (Yamunacarya Stotra-ratna 13)

Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to His personal devotees and began speaking about Haridasa Thakuras transcendental qualities as if He had hundreds of mouths. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu derives great pleasure from glorifying His devotees, and among the devotees, Haridasa Thakura is the foremost. The transcendental qualities of Haridasa Thakura are innumerable and unfathomable. One may describe a portion of them, but to count them all is impossible.
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Antya-lila 3.49-94)

Directions to reach Sri Siddha-Bakula:
#1. Sri Siddha-Bakula is located in Sri Kestra Jagannatha Puri Dhama. Sri Siddha-Bakula is located near Gambhira Temple on Bali Sahi road. Jagannatha Puri Dhama is well connected by air, rail and road to different parts of India. Nearest airport is Bhubaneswar, 60 km from Puri. Bhubaneswar is well connected by flights to Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and other Indian cities. One can take a pre-paid taxi from the airport to Puri, which will take about an hour to reach Puri. Many fast trains link Puri to different parts of India. Puri is overnight tourney from Howrah (Kolkata) station. A number of overnight trains run from Howrah to Puri which are very convenient.

#2. One can also visit Sri Siddha-Bakula by attending Sri Ksetra Parikrama organized by ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) every year during the month of November/December few days after the end of Kartik masa (month). Please contact HG Ananga Mohan Das (Ananga.Mohan.tkg) or HH Bhakti Purusottama Swami Maharaj (bps) for more details.

Srila Haridasa Thakura movie: (with English subtitles)

Jagannatha Puri Rathayatra 2013 Live Telecast recording:

Mayapur TV: http://Mayapur.tv /
Live Darshan fromVrindavana: http://www.iskconvrindavan.com/live/

Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura Ki Jai!
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Ki Jai!
Hare Krishna maha-mantra Ki Jai!

HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE |
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE ||

your servant,
Padmanabh das

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