Visiting Sri Ramkeli

Sunday, 5 May 2019
Ramkeli, Malda District, West Bengal
Photographs courtesy of Sripad B.N. Sadhu Maharaj

 

 

pujya-sri-guru-varga-vandita-mahabhavanvitayah sada
paurvaparya-parampara-prachalita-prajya-pramurtakrteh
bhakter nirmala-nirjharasya nibhrtam samraksakam sadaram
vande sri-gurudevam anata-sira acharya-varyam nijam

"I bow my head in eternal obeisance to my Gurudev, the best of acharyas, Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj. He is the ever vigilant, stalwart guardian of the current of pure devotion whose highest form flows from our most worshippable Sri Rupanuga Guru-varga in their exclusive dedication to Mahabhav, Srimati Radharani."

aichhe chali, aila prabhu 'ramakeli' grama
gaudera nikata grama ati anupama
tahan nrtya kare prabhu preme ahcetana
koti koti loka aise dekhite charana

"Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu eventually arrived at a village named Ramakeli. This village is situated on the border of Bengal and is very exquisite. While performing sankirtan in Ramakeli-gram, the Lord danced and sometimes lost consciousness due to love of God. While at Ramakeli-gram, an unlimited number of people came to see His lotus feet."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya, 1.166-167)

 

 


 


 


 


The temple on the right is the temple of lotus footprints of Sriman Mahaprabhu, established by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Sriman Mahaprabhu is known to have taken rest under this very tree when He came to Ramkeli.

 


 


"sri-chaitanya krpa-nidhi asiya ap...
atmasatha kaila hetha rupa sanatana
sri bhakti siddhanta saraswati mahajana
kirtti yanra visvavyapi krsna sankirtana
loka hita lagi kaila vividha yatana
sri gaura padanka mandira karila kalpana
sri chaitanya saraswata mathasrita gana
mandira prakase yache tara krpa-dhana"

 


 


Sri Madan Mohan temple nearby

 


 


Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sriman Mahaprabhu, Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


A little further to the south, there are remains of the fort of Nawab Hussain Shah Badasaha.

 


 


 


 


 


 


His Divine Grace is pointing at the place (pictured below) where the prison that Srila Sanatan Goswami Prabhu had to stay and escape from was.

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj says in Sri Sri Rupa Sanatan Siksa (Available for download as ePub for offline reading):

Rupa and Sanatan stayed in Ramkeli-gram in Malda district, Gauda Mandal. Mahaprabhu actually went there to rescue them. They both worked for the emperor Hussein Shah (Husain Shah), a Muslim king of that area, and were in charge of a big state and all the property within it. Malda is half way to Siliguri, on the other side of the Ganges, it is maybe 200-300 km from Nabadwip.

We must understand how many obstacles they faced to come to Krishna consciousness, how much they tolerated after joining Krishna consciousness, and how much service they did for Mahaprabhu. We can learn something from them.

When Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami lived in that area, Mahaprabhu went there with a few devotees and started sankirtan. It was a Muslim area, so the king's people stopped the kirtan, but Mahaprabhu still stayed in that area for some time. In the meantime, Rupa and Sanatan heard that somebody tried to start kirtan, and, understanding that it had to be Mahaprabhu, they went to meet with Him.

It is written here in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita,

শ্রীরূপ-সনাতন রহে রামকেলি-গ্রামে ।
প্রভুরে মিলিয়া, গেলা আপন-ভবনে ॥
দুই ভাই বিষয়-ত্যাগের উপায় সৃজিল ।
বহুধন দিয়া দুই ব্রাহ্মণে বরিল ॥

sri-rupa-sanatana rahe ramakeli-grame
prabhure miliya gela apana-bhavane
dui bhai visaya-tyagera upaya srjila
bahu-dhana diya dui brahmane varila

Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan stayed in a village called Ramkeli, and after meeting with Mahaprabhu, they went back to their house. The two brothers then began to devise ways how to give up their material life. They hired two brahmans and paid them a lot of money.

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.2-3

The two brothers were thinking how to leave all the material things—how to detach themselves from the material work and things. And they succeeded.

The verse that Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami recited in Remkeli upon meeting Mahaprabhu:

mat-tulyo nasti papatma, naparadhi ca kaschana
parihare 'pi lajja me, kim bruve purusottama

"There is no parallel to my sinful, criminal life. Everything that can be conceived of as bad is found in me. O Supreme Lord, I am even ashamed to come before You to petition, 'please forgive my offenses.' What more can I say than this?"

 

 

 

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