Sri Gadadhar Pandit:
(A chapter from His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj's Bengali book
Sri Puri Dham Mahatmya-mukta-mala)
Sri Gadadhar Pandit stayed with Mahaprabhu from his childhood. His father's name was Madhav Misra, and his mother's name was Ratnavali Devi. They lived in Mayapur near Jagannath Misra's house and considered Sachi Devi their elder niece.
In His childhood, Sri Gaura Hari played with Gadadhar Pandit, and although Gadadhar Pandit was a few years younger than Mahaprabhu, they both went to the same school in Their village. Mahaprabhu could never stay without Gadadhar Pandit, and Gadadhar Pandit could not stay without Mahaprabhu even a moment too. In Dvapar-yuga, he was Srimati Radharani.
Once, when Sri Ishwar Puri came to Mayapur, he taught Gadadhar Pandit a scripture called Krishna-lilamrita, and Gadadhar Pandit was enchanted to hear it from his holy mouth. Gadadhar Pandit was calm, peaceful, reserved and renounced from his childhood. Sometimes, Mahaprabhu, showing very naughty pastimes in His childhood, would challenge Gadadhar Pandit with tricky questions about nyaya (logic), and Gadadhar Pandit did not particularly like it and sometimes wanted to keep away from Mahaprabhu—at times, seeing Nimai walking down the street, he would try to avoid him, but Gaurasundar would not let him go.
One day, Gadadhar Pandit came to Mahaprabhu and said, "Prabhu, give me initiation." But Mahaprabhu said, "Your Guru is coming. He will give you initiation."
Some time later, Sri Pundarik Vidyanidhi came to Nabadwip from Chattagram. Mahaprabhu would always call him "baba" (father).
One day, Mukunda Datta came to Gadadhar Pandit and said, "Prabhu, do you want to see a Vaishnav?"
"Yes, of course! Let's go!" Gadadhar Pandit answered.
When they came to the house of Pundarik Vidyanidhi, the faith and eagerness that Gadadhar Pandit had come with somewhat diminished: he saw Pundarik Vidyanidhi was a householder devotee lying at leisure in his bed, wearing an expensive dhoti and very nice shirt, eating a paan. Gadadhar Pandit had come to see a sadhu, but the sadhu he saw looked like a materialist. In this way, Gadadhar Pandit made some offence to Pundarik Vidyanidhi—he thought, "Who is this man? Why does he behave like a materialist if he is a Vaishnav?" Mukunda Datta could understand his mind, so he sang a sloka about the pastimes of Krishna:
অহো বকী যং স্তনকালকূটং
aho baki yam stana-kala-kutam
"Oh! Even though the wicked Putana nursed Krishna with her poison-smeared breasts, intending to kill Him, Krishna granted her a position befitting His mother! Of what merciful Lord shall we take shelter other than Him?"
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.2.23)
Hearing the extremely sweet voice of Mukunda Datta reciting the pastimes of Krishna, Pundarik Vidyanidhi at once exclaimed, "Krishna! Krishna!", began to cry and fainted. Gadadhar Pandit again thought, "Not understanding him, I have taken this great maha-bhagavata person for a materialist! I have made an offence! Unless I take initiation from him, I will not get relief from my offence—my offence will not be removed."
Why did Mahaprabhu call Pundarik Vidyanidhi "father"? There is a reason for this. This Pundarik Vidyanidhi was Raja Vrisabhanu, an incarnation of Srimati Radharani's father, in Dvapar-yuga, And who was Gadadhar Pandit? Gadadhar Pandit was an incarnation of Srimati Radharani. Therefore, when Gadadhar Pandit told Mahaprabhu what had happened, Mahaprabhu said, "To atone for your offence, you must take initiation from him! He is your Guru!"
Then, another day, Mukunda Datta told Pundarik Vidyanidhi very nicely about Gadadhar Pandit, and when Pundarik Vidyanidhi heard it, he smiled,
শুনিয়া হাসেন পুণ্ডরীক বিদ্যানিধি ।
suniya sasilen pundarika vidyanidhi
"Hearing it, Pundarik Vidyanidhi smiled and said, 'I have got hold of a precious jewel. There is no doubt that I have got such a disciple by many lifetimes of good fortune."
"I am very grateful to be getting such a disciple as him! Actually, it is not me who is giving mercy to him—he is giving mercy to me by allowing me to have him as my disciple."
Then, Gadadhar Pandit came close to Pundarik Vidyanidhi, offered him his obeisance, and Pundarik Vidyanidhi gave him the mantra. When Gadadhar Pandit came back home, he got a new life—he was day and night floating in Krishna-prema.
Gadadhar Pandit always stayed with Mahaprabhu in His Nadiya pastimes, and when Mahaprabhu showed the pastimes of accepting sannyas, Gadadhar Pandit accepted ksetra-sannyas on Mahaprabhu's order and started living in Nilachal (Sri Puri Dham). He stayed there like Mahaprabhu's shadow. Srila Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj composed the pranam-mantra about Gadadhar Pandit:
নীলামভোধিতটে সদা স্ববিরহাক্ষেপান্বিতং বান্ধবং ।
nilambhodhi-tate sada sva-viraha-ksepanvitam bandhavam
"On the shore of the broad blue ocean Gadadhar Pandit used to read Srimad Bhagavatam to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was suffering from the great internal pain of separation from Himself (Krishna). Gadadhar Pandit supplied the wine of Krishna-lila to intoxicate his afflicted friend and give Him relief. As he read, tears would fall from his eyes like flower offerings onto the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. May the pleasure of that brilliant personality, Gadadhar Pandit, the best of the Goswamis, be my only object in writing this book."
When Gadadhar Pandit took ksetra-sannyas on the order of Mahaprabhu, he started serving the Deity of Sri Tota Gopinath. "Tota" means "a garden" in the Oriya language.
One day, Mahaprabhu came to Gadadhar Pandit and said, "Gadadhar, I will give you today a great gift!"
Gadadhar Pandit got excited, "Give, Prabhu, give!"
Then Mahaprabhu went with him to a garden. When they came there, Mahaprabhu began to dig the sand and suddenly found a beautiful Deity there. Having got the Deity, Mahaprabhu said, "Here is your gift!"
From that day, Gadadhar Pandit served that Deity of Sri Tota Gopinath.
One time, Gadadhar Pandit thought, "Mahaprabhu always goes out to different places for preaching, and I never get to go with Him. I always stay here and do puja..." Desiring to go with Mahaprabhu, he felt sad. One day, however, when Mahaprabhu was going out, Gadadhar Pandit started walking behind Him. Mahaprabhu turned round and seeing Gadadhar Pandit said, "Where are you going?"
Gadadhar Pandit said, "I am going with You!"
Mahaprabhu replied, "Do you have no service? Who gave you permission? Do you think you will go with Me and eat nice things staying at different people's houses?"
Then, Gadadhar Pandit decided to be clever, "No, no, actually I am not going with You at all. I am going to see Ai (Mother Sachi Devi)!"
"Listen, you have your service. You cannot go away from here leaving your service. Serve Gopinath!"
What did Gadadhar Pandit say then? He said openly, "If I serve You, then millions of services to Gopinath are accomplished through that! Actually, millions of services to Gopinath cannot compare to the darshan of Your holy feet."
"Quiet! Be quiet! Not another word!" Mahaprabhu did not take him along. When He got on the boat, Gadadhar Pandit fainted. Such was his love.
In this way, Gadadhar Pandit never left Puri Dham. He served Gopinath every day, and when he became old, he prayed to Gopinath, "Prabhu, I have become very old now, I cannot do Your service any more! I cannot dress You, I cannot put a garland on You. I cannot do anything properly. Prabhu, please give me relief from this service." Then, hearing the humble prayer of His beloved servitor, the Lord sat down to accept the service of His devotee! This is 'loving search for the lost servant.' Next day, when Gadadhar Pandit came to the temple do the mangal-arati, what did he see? Gopinath sat down to take the service of Gadadhar Pandit.
There are different stories told about how Mahaprabhu disappeared. Some say that He went to the temple of Jagannath and merged into the temple, and some say that He entered the temple of Tota Gopinath and never came out again—He had merged into Gopinath through Gopinath's thigh. Even now you can see also that there is a blood mark on the thigh of Gopinath. There are two versions, and both are correct.
Gadadhar Pandit cooked spinach called abona sak almost every day, and he would invite Mahaprabhu to take prasadam. Mahaprabhu loved coming to him and taking prasadam prepared by him. One day, Gadadhar Pandit thought, "What if I cook sak today and not invite Him—will He come or not? How much does He think about me? How much does He love me? I want to see it." So, that day he cooked abona sak and invited Nityananda Prabhu and devotees—and everybody came—but he did not invite Mahaprabhu thinking, "Will He come or not?" Suddenly, Mahaprabhu came and said, "What, gosai, you are cooking such nice things and not inviting Me? Are You trying to cheat Me? Do not cheat Me!" Then, Gadadhar Pandit was very pleased. He told Mahaprabhu to sit down and gave Him prasadam.
Jay Sri Tota Gopinath ki jay!
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