Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur and Sri Vakreshwar Pandit
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami writes,
maha-bhagavata-srestha datta uddharana
"Uddharan Datta Thakur, the eleventh among the twelve cowherd boys, was an exalted devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. He worshiped the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda in all respects."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, 1.11.41)
Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur was a great Vaishnav, maha-bhagavat. He always worshiped and served Sriman Nityananda Prabhu's lotus feet. In Sri Gaura-ganodesa-dipika that is written by Sri Puri Das (Sri Kavi Karnapur, a son of Sivananda Sen), it is said that Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur is an incarnation of a cowherd boy named Subahu. In Vraja-lila, he is a friend of Krishna, and in this age he comes as Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur.
Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur writes in Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat, or Sri Chaitanya-mangal (3.5.443),
kata-dine thaki' nityananda khadadahe
"After passing some days at Khadadaha, Nityananda went with His associates to Saptagram."
When Sriman Nityananda Prabhu visited Khadadaha and then came to Saptagram (Adi-saptagram, the birthplace of Srila Raghunath Das Goswami), He stayed in the house of Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur, on the bank of the Triveni River, a confluence of three rivers—Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. At that time, Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur was a servant of the king of Naihati, but despite his material occupation and position, he received Sriman Nityananda Prabhu's mercy.
Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur was a householder, and he established a sad-bhuj (six-armed) Deity of Gauranga, next to Him are Nityananda, and Gadadhar, and on another altar he established Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. These Deities are still there.
Later, Jahnava Devi, Sriman Nityananda Prabhu's sakti (or wife, as we commonly say) also visited the house of Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur, but at that time he was already not alive.
Today is the day when Sri Uddharan Datta Thakur left his body...
When Mahaprabhu was in Nabadwip, before He took sannyas, a devotee named Sri Vakreshwar Pandit stayed with Him. Later, when Mahaprabhu left Nabadwip to take sannyas, Sriman Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Vakreshwar Pandit accompanied Him. When Mahaprabhu stayed in Puri, Sri Vakreshwar Pandit also stayed there. The birthplace of Sri Vakreshwar Pandit is in Guptipara, near Kalna. Sri Vakreshwar Pandit always danced during Mahaprabhu's kirtans—he was a great singer and dancer. When Mahaprabhu went to Ramakeli to meet with Srila Sanatan Goswami and Srila Rupa Goswami, Sri Vakreshwar Pandit was with Him.
You know the story of Devananda Pandit's offence. One time, Devananda Pandit was giving a class when Srila Srivas Pandit suddenly began to show ecstatic mood (he became overwhelmed by transcendental feelings). Some of the followers of Devananda Pandit did not like it, so they kicked Srivas Pandit from that assembly, and Devananda Pandit did not stop them. This is the offence Devananda Pandit made to Srivas Pandit. Some time later, Sri Vakreshwar Pandit said to Devananda Pandit that he had made a grave mistake and told him to ask Srivas Pandit for forgiveness—then his offence would be removed. Devananda Pandit did not make a direct offence to Srivas Pandit, but the offence was committed through his followers. As a result of that offence, Mahaprabhu always ignored Devananda Pandit and did not give him any mercy. One time, Sri Vakreshwar Pandit came to Nabadwip and was chanting and dancing at the house of one of the devotees. Devananda Pandit was there too, and when Sri Vakreshwar Pandit also started to show his transcendental mood, Devananda Pandit picked up a stick and started to check the crowd—he told people not to crowd so much around Sri Vakreshwar Pandit and not to disturb his dancing and chanting. When Sri Vakreshwar Pandit sat down after the kirtan, Devananda Pandit paid obeisance to him, and Sri Vakreshwar Pandit bestowed some mercy upon him—he advised him to go to Srivas Pandit and apologise to him. Devananda Pandit did so, and some time later, when Mahaprabhu came to Nabadwip from Puri to see His mother and the Ganga, Mahaprabhu finally bestowed His mercy on Devananda Pandit.
As I have mentioned earlier, Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur also says in Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata that Sri Vakreshwar Pandit stayed with Mahaprabhu when He was in Nabadwip, and when Mahaprabhu went to Puri, Sri Vakreshwar Pandit also came there and stayed with the Lord. There are many pastimes of Sri Vakreshwar Pandit described in the scriptures. In Vraja-lila, Sri Vakreshwar Pandit is a gopi named Tunga-vidya. Sri Vakreshwar Pandit also composed a book called Sri Sri Gaura-Krishnodaya that was later reprinted by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur.
Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur writes,
jivera bhagye avani aila gaura-hari
"Fortunately for all the jiva souls, Sri Gaura Hari came to this world assuming the form of a beautiful golden doll that enchants the entire world. He bestowed the nectar of the Holy Name on all unconscious jiva souls of Kali-yuga and brought them to consciousness. The Lord comes in the garb of Nityananda, Advaita Acharya, Gadadhar, and all the associate devotees."
Sri Vakreshwar Pandit was a close associate of Sriman Mahaprabhu. During the festival of Sri Ratha-yatra in Sri Puri Dham, Mahaprabhu divided all the devotees into four groups, and Sri Vakreshwar Pandit was the leader of one of the groups. He was a great dancer, as I have already said. Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami also glorified Sri Vakreshwar Pandit in very beautiful words (1.10.17)
vakresvara pandita—prabhura bada priya bhrtya
"Vakreshwar Pandit, the fifth branch of the tree, was a very dear servant of Lord Chaitanya. He could dance with constant ecstasy for seventy-two hours."
Sri Vakreshwar Pandit could chant and dance for three days at a time without stopping. Such are the glories of Sri Vakreshwar Pandit...
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