Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi

puëòaréka vidyänidhi——baòa-çäkhä jäni
yäìra näma laïä prabhu kändilä äpani

Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi, the third big branch, was so dear to Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu that in his absence Lord Caitanya Himself would sometimes cry.

Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi, the third big branch, was so dear to Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu that in his absence Lord Caitanya Himself would sometimes cry.
In the Gaura-gaëoddeça-dépikä Çréla Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi is described as the father of Çrématé Rädhäräëé in kåñëa-lélä. Caitanya Mahäprabhu therefore treated him as His father. Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi’s father was known as Bäëeçvara or, according to another opinion, Çuklämbara Brahmacäré, and his mother’s name was Gaìgädevé. According to one opinion, Bäëeçvara was a descendent of Çré Çivaräma Gaìgopädhyäya. The original home of Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi was in East Bengal, in a village near Dacca named Bäghiyä, which belonged to the Värendra group of brähmaëa families. Sometimes these Värendra brähmaëas were at odds with another group known as Räòhéya brähmaëas, and therefore Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi’s family was ostracized and at that time was not living as a respectable family. Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté informs us that one of the members of this family is living in Våndävana and is named Sarojänanda Gosvämé. One special characteristic of this family is that each of its members had only one son or no son at all, and therefore the family was not very expansive. There is a place in the district of Caööagräma in East Bengal that is known as Häta-häjäri, and a short distance from this place is a village known as Mekhalä-gräma in which Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi’s forefathers lived. One can approach Mekhalä-gräma from Caööagräma either on horseback, by bullock cart or by steamer. The steamer station is known as Annapürëära-ghäöa. The birthplace of Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi is about two miles southwest of Annapürëära-ghäöa. The temple constructed there by Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi is now very old and much in need of repair. Without repair, the temple may soon crumble. There are two inscriptions on the bricks of that temple, but they are so old that one cannot read them. There is another temple, however, about two hundred yards south of this one, and some people say that this is the old temple constructed by Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi.
Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu called Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi “father,” and He gave him the title Premanidhi. Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi later became the spiritual master of Gadädhara Paëòita and an intimate friend of Svarüpa Dämodara’s. Gadädhara Paëòita at first misunderstood Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi to be an ordinary pounds-and-shillings man, but later, upon being corrected by Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, he became his disciple. Another incident in the life of Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi involves his criticizing the priest of the Jagannätha temple, for which Jagannätha Prabhu chastised him personally by slapping his cheeks. This is described in Çré Caitanya-bhägavata, Antya-lélä, Chapter Seven. Çré Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura informs us that there are still two living descendants of the family of Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi, who are named Çré Harakumära Småtitértha and Çré Kåñëakiìkara Vidyälaìkära. For further information one should refer to the dictionary known as Vaiñëava-maïjuñä.(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta Adi lila 10:14. purport.)

baòa çäkhä,——gadädhara paëòita-gosäïi
teìho lakñmé-rüpä, täìra sama keha näi

Gadädhara Paëòita, the fourth branch, is described as an incarnation of the pleasure potency of Çré Kåñëa. No one, therefore, can equal him.(Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta Adi lila 10:15.txt.)

There is an interesting story how Srila Gadahar Pandit first met Pundarik Vidyanidhi. He had heard that he was a very great devotee and one worthy of seeking out. So he want to his home for a darshan. His initial seeing him sent confusion through his being. As before him sat what appeared to be the personification of sense gratification - dressed in oppulent silk clothing, hair oiled and nicely combed back, seated upon a huge silken cushion with a water-pipe for smoking in front of him and beautiful young women seated around the room.

Gadadhara Pandit came there expecting to see a sadhu, a guru, someone he could approach for spitual knowldge, to learn from, and take shelter of. But to his surprise he saw this sense gratifier...

"I came here to learn from you about Krishna" Gadadhar said, ....but no sooner the word Krishna were uttered Pundarik Vidyanidhi fell to the ground his body his body became strangely transformed and he mumbled the name of Krishna , Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.....

Gadhadhara then realised that this was no ordinary man, but a very advanced devotee absorded in blissful Krishna consciousness.

Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya lila 16th Chapter Summary
The Lord’s Attempt to Go to Våndävana

Çréla Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura gives the following summary of this chapter in his Amåta-praväha-bhäñya. When Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu wanted to go to Våndävana, Rämänanda Räya and Särvabhauma Bhaööäcärya indirectly presented many obstructions. In due course of time, all the devotees of Bengal visited Jagannätha Puré for the third year. This time, all the wives of the Vaiñëavas brought many types of food, intending to extend invitations to Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu at Jagannätha Puré. When the devotees arrived, Caitanya Mahäprabhu sent his blessings in the form of garlands. In that year also, the Guëòicä temple was cleansed, and when the Cäturmäsya period was over, all the devotees returned to their homes in Bengal. Caitanya Mahäprabhu forbade Nityänanda to visit Néläcala every year. Questioned by the inhabitants of Kuléna-gräma, Caitanya Mahäprabhu again repeated the symptoms of a Vaiñëava. Vidyänidhi also came to Jagannätha Puré and saw the festival of Oòana-ñañöhé. When the devotees bade farewell to the Lord, the Lord was determined to go to Våndävana, and on the day of Vijaya-daçamé, He departed.
Mahäräja Pratäparudra made various arrangements for Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu’s trip to Våndävana. When He crossed the River Citrotpalä, Rämänanda Räya, Mardaräja and Haricandana went with Him. Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu requested Gadädhara Paëòita to go to Néläcala, Jagannätha Puré, but he did not abide by this order. From Kaöaka, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu again requested Gadädhara Paëòita to return to Néläcala, and He bade farewell to Rämänanda Räya from Bhadraka. After this, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu crossed the border of Orissa state, and He arrived at Pänihäöi by boat. Thereafter He visited the house of Räghava Paëòita, and from there He went to Kumärahaööa and eventually to Kuliyä, where He excused many offenders. From there He went to Rämakeli, where He saw Çré Rüpa and Sanätana and accepted them as His chief disciples. Returning from Rämakeli, He met Raghunätha däsa and after giving him instructions sent him back home. Thereafter the Lord returned to Néläcala and began to make plans to go to Våndävana without a companion. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta. 16th Chapter Summary.)

ei-mata saba vaiñëava gauòe calilä
vidyänidhi se vatsara nélädri rahilä

Finally all the Vaiñëavas returned to Bengal, but that year Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi remained at Jagannätha Puré.

Madhya 16.77
svarüpa-sahita täìra haya sakhya-préti
dui-janäya kåñëa-kathäya ekatra-i sthiti

Svarüpa Dämodara Gosvämé and Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi had a friendly, intimate relationship, and as far as discussing topics about Kåñëa, they were situated on the same platform.

Madhya 16.78
gadädhara-paëòite teìho punaù mantra dila
oòana-ñañöhéra dine yäträ ye dekhila

Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi initiated Gadädhara Paëòita for the second time, and on the day of Oòana-ñañöhé he saw the festival.
At the beginning of winter, there is a ceremony known as the Oòana-ñañöhé. This ceremony indicates that from that day forward, a winter covering should be given to Lord Jagannätha. That covering is directly purchased from a weaver. According to the arcana-märga, a cloth should first be washed to remove all the starch, and then it can be used to cover the Lord. Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi saw that the priest neglected to wash the cloth before covering Lord Jagannätha. Since he wanted to find some fault in the devotees, he became indignant.

Madhya 16.79
jagannätha parena tathä ‘mäòuyä’ vasana
dekhiyä saghåëa haila vidyänidhira mana

When Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi saw that Lord Jagannätha was given a starched garment, he became a little hateful. In this way his mind was polluted.

Madhya 16.80
sei rätrye jagannätha-baläi äsiyä
dui-bhäi caòä’na täìre häsiyä häsiyä

That night the brothers Lord Jagannätha and Balaräma came to Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi and, smiling, began to slap him.

Madhya 16.81
gäla phulila, äcärya antare ulläsa
vistäri’ varëiyächena våndävana-däsa

Although his cheeks were swollen from the slapping, Puëòaréka Vidyänidhi was very happy within. This incident has been elaborately described by Öhäkura Våndävana däsa(in his Chaitanya Bhagavat).