Sri Panihati:
Place of Prime Pastimes

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Adhivas of the annual chida-dahi mahotsav
25 June 2018, Sri Panihati

 

It is written in our calendar that tomorrow is the chida-dahi danda mahotsav. Only a fortunate soul who wants to get the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can come here—only they can engage in service here. Without a great fortune no one can come here, no one can serve Sriman Nityananda Prabhu.

What is this place? What is it famous for? This is actually the place of Raghunath Das Goswami—the place where Sriman Nityananda Prabhu gave His mercy to Raghunath Das Goswami. Without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu we will not get the mercy of Gauranga Mahaprabhu or the mercy of Radha Krishna: Nitai bhajile Gaura pabe; Nitaiyer karuna habe Vraje Radha-Krsna pabe (if you worship Nitai, you will get Gaura; if you get the mercy of Nitai, you will attain Radha-Krishna in Vraja Dham). These are very essential things. I am going to speak first in English, after that I will speak in Bengali.

There are two special places here, one is the banyan tree on the bank of the Ganges (we will go there with a parikrama later), and the other one is Sri Raghav Pandit's house. Raghav Pandit had a sister, her name is Damayanti. Damayanti would prepare food for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during the whole year. At that time, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lived in Puri, and she would prepare achar, kasundi, samosas, cakes, and many other things. She could not go to Puri herself, but her brother Raghav Pandit would take all the preparations and bring them to Mahaprabhu in Puri—he would walk to Puri starting off two month ahead. Later, we can go on a parikrama together and visit Raghav Pandit's house—you can see there how many preparations, pounds and pounds of preparations, they make. They will go and take it to Puri before the Gundicha-marjan day, the eve of Ratha-yatra.

You remember that when Mahaprabhu took sannyas, He first came to Sri Advaita Acharya's house in Santipur. Raghunath was very young at that time, a child of perhaps six-seven, and his father Govardhan took him to Santipur at that time. There, he met with Mahaprabhu for the first time, and from that day Raghunath got some mercy from Mahaprabhu—he became completely detached, asakti-rahita. Raghunath had a very disinterested nature and no attachment to his family and family life; he would only always think about Mahaprabhu. Later, Raghunath tried to go to Puri to meet with Mahaprabhu many times, but he would stay there during a few days and then his father would come and take him back home.

His father was a big landowner. It is about a hundred kilometres to Nabadwip and fifteen to Katwa from here, and all the land between Nabadwip and Katwa was the property of Raghunath Das Goswami's father. So, his father thought, "If my son becomes a sannyasi, who will take care of my property?" That is why he always, again and again, came and brought his son back. Mahaprabhu also told Raghunath finally, "Batul hao na, ghore phire yao! Do not become crazy! Go back to your home! You always come and your father takes you back—better you stay at your house. Antare nistha: it is not necessary to show others that you are a Vaishnav, that you chant the Holy Name, etc. You can chant secretly, chant within your mind, it is not necessary to show anything to others. Do you understand? When Krishna gives one His mercy, no one can bind them—they come to Him very quickly. Go back to your home, do not worry." After that, Raghunath Das Goswami came back to his home (it is about fifteen kilometres from here), and his father had him married to a very nice girl. Still, he was not interested in his marriage; he always had a disinterested nature.

One day, Nityananda Prabhu came to this place here. As I have told, Raghav Pandit's house is nearby, it is about a five minute walk from here. Raghav Pandit had invited Nityananda Prabhu, "Prabhu, come and take noon prasadam at my house." When Nityananda Prabhu came to Panihati, Raghav Pandit was at home, and Nityananda Prabhu, coming with all His parsadas (associates), sat under a banyan tree on the bank of the Ganges. Raghunath Das Goswami immediately got the news that Nityananda Prabhu had come to Panihati and, taking permission of his father, quickly came there.

Soon, one of the devotees said to Nityananda Prabhu, "Prabhu, look! Raghunath is coming!" Nityananda Prabhu replied, "Oh, Raghunath is coming? Very nice!" When Raghunath came closer, Nityananda Prabhu said, "Ai, chora, ai! Come, thief, come! You are a thief, and I will give you your punishment today!"

Why did Nityananda Prabhu call him a thief? What did he steal? It has a hidden meaning. Nityananda Prabhu called Raghunath Das Goswami a thief because he wanted to serve Gauranga Mahaprabhu directly—avoiding Nityananda Prabhu, he wanted to do direct service. This is not seva, it is karma! If you do any 'service' without the mercy of Gurudev, without the permission of your Guru, then it is not service, it is karma! Gurudev said also: if I do not tell you to read Bhagavatam, but you read it, then your reading of Bhagavatam will be like reading a newspaper; on the other hand, if I tell you, "Read the newspaper," then it is OK, you can read the newspaper and your reading of the newspaper will be like reading Bhagavatam. This is what Gurudev said. So, Nityananda Prabhu was saying, "You went to Mahaprabhu without My permission, that is why you were rejected by Him again and again—you could not stay with Mahaprabhu because maya always attacks you. You have been avoiding Me, that is why you are a thief! That is why I am giving you punishment!"

Hearing this, Raghunath Das Goswami said, "Prabhu, I am Your dog, whatever punishment You want to give, give it." Then, Nityananda Prabhu said, "Many devotees have come here today. You will give a chida-dahi mahotsav (mix some flat rice, yoghurt, some sweets, mango, jackfruit, banana, and give that prasadam to everybody)."

There are many shops at this place that sell flat rice, sweets, sugar, etc. Raghunath Das Goswami gave all the money he had with him and bought everything from the shops—with that, he made much prasadam and with the help of devotees distributed it to everyone, but first he offered two bowls for Nityananda Prabhu and Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Nityananda Prabhu prayed to Gauranga Mahaprabhu, "Prabhu, please come," and Gauranga Mahaprabhu came—not everyone could see Him, only two-three persons could see Him there. After that, when the festival was over, Raghunath Das Goswami fell down at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu offering his full obeisance to Him, and Nityananda Prabhu put His leg on his head saying, "You have done this Vaishnav seva, so, yes, now you can go to Mahaprabhu!"

After that, Raghunath Das Goswami went to Mahaprabhu in Puri, and no maya came—eventually his father, mother, et al. died and Mahaprabhu gave him the service of gunja mala and Govardhan sila. Later, Raghunath Das Goswami left Puri and went to Vrindavan...

So, this place here is where Nityananda Prabhu gave His mercy to Raghunath Das Goswami. This place is called Panihati. Srila Prabodananda Saraswati Thakur wrote one sloka saying that sometimes we are on a train or in a car and we feel so much pressure in the belly, we are so worried because we want to go to the bathroom; as soon as we pass stool and urine we feel so much relief, we feel free. In the same way, Raghunath Das Goswami said, "When I have left everything, all my property, etc., I felt I was free—I felt so much relief. I could serve Mahaprabhu freely because I had no more headache about anything!"

This is how Srila Raghunath Das Goswami did his service.

 

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