Sri Syamananda Prabhu
who know the associates of Sri Gauranga to be eternally liberated souls
will attain their place by the side of the son of the king of Vraja.
Syamananda Prabhu, Srinivasa Acarya and Sri Narottama dasa Thakura were
the internal associates of Sri Gaurasundara. They incarnated in this
world in order to spread the teachings of Sri Gaura-Krsna after His
departure from it.
Sri Syamananda made his appearance at Utkala
in the village of Dharenda Bahadurpur. His father's name was Sri Krsna
Mandal and his mother's name was Sri Durika. Sri Krsna Mandal, who
descended in the line of sad-gopas, had many sons and daughters who
unfortunately passed away before the birth of this son. For this reason
this son was named Dukhiya.
Everyone said that this child would
be a very high-souled saintly person. "On the full moon day of the
month of Caitra he has taken his birth at a very auspicious moment, by
the mercy of Lord Jagannatha. It is as though Lord Jagannatha has
personally brought him here in order to propagate His teachings, and
therefore He is personally maintaining him. He looks just like a new
cupid. One's eyes and mind are soothed just to look upon him."
time passed, the purificatory rites, his first taking of grains,
tonsure (the hair-cutting ceremony) and the rites for beginning his
education were performed, one after the other. The scholars were
astounded to see his profound intellect. Within a short period he
completed his studies of grammar, poetry and rhetoric. When he heard of
the glories of Sri Gaura-Nityananda from the Vaishnavas of his village,
a very deep attachment to Their lotus feet developed in him.
Krsna Mandal was himself a very advanced devotee. Seeing that his son
was always absorbed in thinking of Gaura-Nityananda. He told him that
he should be initiated into the divine mantra.
The boy replied,
"Sri Hrdaya Caitanya is my guru. He is at Ambika Kalna. His guru is Sri
Gauri dasa Pandita. The two brothers, Sri Gaura-Nityananda, are
eternally present in his house. If you give your permission, I will
proceed to there to become his disciple." His father asked, "But
Duhkhiya, how will you get there?" "Father, there are many people from
here who go there to bath in the Ganges. I will go with them."
father deliberated for a great while on this matter and after going so
he finally gave his permission. Thus Duhkhiya set out for Gaudadesa.
Gradually he came to Navadwipa, then Santipur and finally Ambika Kalna,
where he inquired from the local people where he might find the house
of Gauri dasa Pandita. Outside the gate of the mandira, he fell down
and offered his dandavats. Sri Hrdaya Caitanya happened to be passing
by at this time. Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu looked at him for a few moments
and then asked, "Who are you?"
Dukhiya replied, "I have come to
serve Your lotus feet. My home is at Dharenda Bahadurpur. I was born in
the caste of sad-gopas. My father's name is Sri Krsna Mandal. My name
Sri Hrdaya Caitanya was very pleased by this sweet
speech. He told the boy, "From now your name is Krsna das. Since early
this morning I was feeling that someone would come today."
Krsna dasa began his service with great devotion, and on an auspicious
day his guru initiated him into the divine mantra. Sri Hrdaya Caitanya
could see that his new disciple was extremely intelligent and at the
same time very devoted, so he ordered him to go to Vrindavana to study
the literatures of the under the tutelage of Srila Jiva Gosvami. Sri
Krsna das bowed his head in assent, and on an auspicious day he set out
for the holy dhama. At the time of his departure, his guru gave him
many instructions and conveyed through his disciple his obeisances to
the lotus feet of the Gosvamis of Vrindavan.
Duhkhi Krsna das
first came to Navadwipa. After inquiring from someone as to the
whereabouts of Sri Jagannatha Misra Bhavan, he came there and went
inside. Seeing Sri Isana Thakura, he fell down and offered his
obeisances. Isana Thakura then asked him who he was, and so the boy
introduced himself. Isana Thakura blessed him and he remained there
The next day he set out for Mathura with a party of
pilgrims. Upon coming to Gaya Dham he took of the lotus feet of Sri
Visnu there. He remembered Mahaprabhu's lila of accepting initiation
from Sri Isvara Puri here and became overwhelmed in ecstatic love. From
Gaya he came to Kasi Dham where he met with Tapan Misra, Candrasekhara
and the other devotees, and he offered his salutations to their lotus
feet. They in turn blessed him.
He finally entered Mathura
Dhama. After taking bath at Visrama Ghata, he took darsana of Sri
Adikesava and rolled on the ground in the dust of the birthplace of Sri
Krsna. From here he proceeded towards Vrindavana where, after learning
the where abouts of Srila Jiva Gosvami, he offered his obeisances to
the lotus feet of that great acarya. After being asked, he introduced
himself with full particulars.
"Gurudeva has committed me to
your charge. His petition to Your Divine Grace is, 'I am entrusting
Duhkhi Krsna das to your care. Please fulfill his mind's desire and
send him back to me after some time.'"
Srila Jiva Gosvami was
extremely happy to receive Duhkhi Krsna dasa into his care. Krsna das
very carefully began to serve Jiva Gosvami as well as study the
literatures of the Gosvamis.
Srinivasa Acarya and Narottama dasa
Thakura also came to Sri Jiva at this time to study under him. Thus
Krsna das had the opportunity to meet them.
Krsna das requested
Srila Jiva Gosvami for a special service. Sri Jiva instructed him to
sweep the forest grove of Sevakunja everyday. From that day he began to
carry out this service with great pleasure. He felt that his life had
become successful. As he swept, tears flowed from his eyes. Sometimes
he would loudly chant the names of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda and sometimes
he would become inert while remembering Their pastimes. Sometimes he
would put the broom, which was full of dust, on his head. Even Lord
Brahma and Lord Shiva pray to receive a little of this dust of
Vrindavana on their heads.
The Lord of Vrindavana and His
consort were very pleased with the service of Krsna das, and desired to
grant him Their darshan. One day while Krsna das was cleaning the
kunja, his heart filled with love. Just then he happened to notice a
very beautiful ankle bracelet lying in the dust. He picked it up,
touched it to his head and then bound it in the corner of his upper
cloth. "I'll give it to whom ever it belongs to when they come to look
for it," he thought.
The next morning the were quite shocked
when they noticed that Srimati Radharani's left ankle bracelet was
missing. Radharani explained, "Last night, when I was dancing in the
kunja, it must have fallen off. Please look for it and bring it back to
me, who ever finds it."
When the gopis came to search for the
bracelet, Visakha devi noticed Krsna das sweeping the grove. She asked
him, "Have you found an ankle bracelet here?" Duhkhi Krsna dasa was so
mesmerized by her sweet words and radiant form, which was like that of
a demigoddess descended from heaven, that he simply stared at her
dumbfounded. Again she asked him, "Have you found an ankle bracelet
Duhkhi Krsna made obeisances and humbly replied, "Yes, I found it. Who are you?"
"I am a cowherd girl."
"Where do you stay?"
"In this village."
"Is it your ankle bracelet?"
"No it isn't mine. It belongs to a new bride in our house."
"How did it get here?"
"She came here yesterday to pick flowers and it must have fallen off then."
"All right, then please tell her she can come and collect it from me."
"No, you can just give it to me."
"No, I want to give it to her personally."
a few moments, Visakha devi returned with Srimati Radha Thakurani who
stood in the shade at the foot of a large tree. Visakha called out to
Krsna dasa, "Bhakta, the person who lost her ankle bracelet has come to
Duhkhi Krsna das completely forgot himself while
gazing, even though it was from some distance, at the unparalleled,
brilliant splendor of Sri Vrsabhanunandini. In great joy he handed the
ankle bracelet to Visakha. At this point, Duhkhi Krsna dasa could sense
hat something very profound was about to take place. His eyes filled
with tears and he fell down on the ground to offer his obeisances. In
great ecstasy he rolled in the dust.
Visakha then told him, "O best of the devotees! Our Sakhi wants to give you a benediction to express her gratitude."
Krsna dasa saw the holy waters of Radha kunda before him. After
offering his obeisances, he immersed himself in her waters. Thus he
attained a transcendentally beautiful feminine form. Coming out of the
sacred kunda, he stood before Visakha devi and offered prayers. Taking
this 'forest sakhi' by the hand, Visakha approached Srimati Radha
Thakurani, and the new sakhi fell down at Her lotus feet. Then Srimati
Radharani decorated her forehead with tilaka using the ankle bracelet
and the kumkum of her lotus feet.
"This tilak will remain on
your forehead. From today you will be known as Syamananda. Now you can
go." After She said this, Srimati Radha Thakurani and Her sakhis were
no longer to be seen. Dukhi Krsna dasa's trance broke and he found
himself as before, alone and in his male body: yet with the tilaka
applied by Srimati Radharani still on his forehead. Being overwhelmed
with emotion, he repeated over and over, "What have I seen?"
"What have I seen?", while tears of ecstasy rolled down his cheeks.
reciting prayers hundreds and hundreds of times to Sri Radhika, he
finally returned to Srila Jiva Gosvami. Sri Jiva Prabhu was struck with
wonder when he saw the brilliant new design of tilaka on his young
student's forehead. After offering his prostrated obeisances, Dukhi
Krsna dasa, his eyes brimming with tears, recounted at Jiva Goswami's
request his experience in Sevakunja. Hearing of his great fortune, Sri
Jiva was elated, but cautioned Dukhi, "Don't reveal this blessed event
to anyone. From today, just carry on with the name Syamananda."
that Dukhi Krsna dasa's name and style of tilaka had for reasons
unknown been changed, the Vaishnavas naturally began to discuss this
strange development amongst themselves. The news finally reached Ambika
Kalna. When he heard of the seemingly unauthorized behavior of his
disciple, Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu was unsettled and angered. He
immediately set out for Vrindavana.
Arriving there some months
later, he let it be known he wished to see the rest while Dukhi Krsna
dasa, Syamananda came and offered his prostrated obeisances at his
gurudeva's lotus feet. Seeing his disciple's tilaka, Hrdaya Caitanya
Prabhu was enraged and exclaimed, "Your conduct towards me is
He continued to chastise him and
eventually even began beating him. The Vaishnavas finally managed to
restrain and pacify him by offering various explanations on
Syamananda's behalf. Shyamananda simply tolerated it all with an
unfaded countenance and continued to serve his gurudeva faithfully.
night, Sri Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu had a dream in which Sri Radha
Thakurani appeared in a very severe mood. She rebuked him by saying, "I
am the one who, being very satisfied by Dukhi Krsna dasa's service,
changed his tilaka and his name. What do you or anyone else have to say
about it?" Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu prayed for forgiveness at the lotus
feet of Sri Vrajesvari and considered what an offender he had become.
next morning he called for Syamananda. Taking him in his lap, he
embraced him again and again in great affection. With his eyes brimming
with tears he repeated, "You are so fortunate."
Caitanya Prabhu remained at Vrajadhama for a while and then, after
instructing Syamananda to remain with Sri Jiva Gosvami for some more
days, he returned to Gaudadesa.
Sri Syamananda, Srinivasa and
Sri Narottama began to pass their days in great bliss, studying the
literatures of the goswamis and begging a little to eat from door to
door. The three of them resolved to continue in this way and thus
devote the better part of their time to serving and worshipping Sri
Krsna in Vrindavana.
The goswamis held a council together and
decided that these three should be sent to Gaudadesa to preach the
teachings of Mahaprabhu as presented in the gosvami literature. One day
Srila Jiva Gosvami called the three of them together and informed them
of this decision. Thus the three of them accepted that order on their
Thereafter, on an auspicious day Srila Jiva Gosvami
sent them on their way with a large, nicely decorated container filled
with scriptures. But the books were stolen by the dacoit king, Sir
Hambhir, in Bisnupur. There Srinivasa Acarya prabhu remained behind to
recover the books while Narottama continued on towards Kheturi and
Shyamananda proceeded to Ambika Kalna. Arriving there, Syamananda paid
his obeisances to his guru, and Sri Hrday Caitanya Prabhu embraced him
and inquired about the well being of the gosvamis of Vrindavana. When
he heard that the books of the gosvamis had been stolen in Bishnupur,
he was very concerned.
Syamananda served the lotus feet of his
guru in great happiness and in this way passed his days. At this time
most of the devotees of Lord Caitanya in Orissa had all passed away.
Thus the preaching of Mahaprabhu's teachings had all but come to a
halt. Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu considered this a very serious problem and
finally instructed Syamananda Prabhu to go there to carry on the
preaching of Mahaprabhu's mission.
Syamananda was at first very
sad that he would have to be separated again so soon from his spiritual
master, but Sri Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu explained clearly that he had
other alternative but to accept this order on his head.
set out for Utkaladesh (Orissa). After entering Orissa he first went to
his birth place at Dharenda Bahadurpur. The villagers were overjoyed to
see him after so many years. He remained there for some days and
preached Krsna consciousness, the result of which was that many people
became attracted and took shelter at his lotus feet. From there he came
to Dandeshwar, where his father, Sri Krsna Mandal, had previously
resided. The people there were similarly delighted to receive him and a
festival of Hari katha was held there for a few days. Here also many
people were attracted by his spiritual potency and became his
disciples. Thus, by the auspicious arrival of Syamananda Prabhu in
Utkala the teachings of Mahaprabhu revived.
On the banks of the
Suvarna Rekha River lived one pious and devoted landholder by the name
Sri Acyuta deva. His only son was called Rasik. From his very childhood
Rasik was very devoted to Lord Krsna. As he gradually attained the
appropriate, age his father engaged some panditas to see to his
education. However he didn't have much regard for material knowledge.
He had already ascertained that the greatest goal in life is devotion
to Lord Hari. Rasik became anxious to take shelter at the lotus feet of
a bonafide spiritual master. One day as he was sitting alone,
contemplating on this subject, when he heard a divine voice: "Rasik!
Don't be in anxiety anymore. Very soon a very great personality of the
name Syamananda will arrive here. Just take shelter of his lotus feet."
this, Rasika was encouraged and took to continuously waiting and
watching for the arrival of Prabhu Syamananda. After a few days
Shyamananda prabhu, accompanied by his disciples, came to the village
of Rohini, situated very beautifully on the banks of the Suvarna Rekha
River. Rasik's happiness knew no bounds. After offering his prostrated
obeisances, he very humbly led Syamananda prabhu into his house and
worshipped his lotus feet along with his family members, wife and sons,
who all surrendered completely to Shyamananda.
On an auspicious
day Syamananda prabhu initiated Rasika into the Radha-Krsna mantra and
Sri Rasik Deva began a festival of nama sankirtan in his home. He
invited all of his friends as well as the tenants of his estates and
everyone was so attracted by the teachings of Sri Gaura Nityananda, as
expounded by Syamananda prabhu, that they immediately wanted to take
shelter at his lotus feet. Thus many people of Rohini became disciples
of Syamananda prabhu.
There lived a very well known yogi in
Rohini by the name Damodara. One day he came to have darsana of
Syamananda prabhu. He became captivated. Even from a distance he saw a
brilliant effulgence emanating from his body. Coming closer he offered
salutations at the Acarya's lotus feet. Syamananda in turn offered his
greetings. With tears in his eyes, Shyamananda requested the yogi, "In
your purified state you should always chant the holy names of Sri
Gaura-Nityananda. They are extremely merciful, and they will bestow
upon you love of Krsna."
Hearing these statements of the Acarya,
the yogi Damodara's mind became softened in love, and he replied, "I
will worship the lotus feet of Gaura Nityananda. Please be merciful to
me." And so the Acarya blessed him. Thus the yogi became a great
devotee and continuously sang the glories of Gaura-Nityananda with
tears in his eyes.
Many wealthy gentlemen lives in the village
of Balarampur. When they heard of the glories of Syamananda, they
became very eager to see him, and a few came to beseech him to visit
their town. Syamananda very mercifully accepted their invitation and,
with Rasikananda, Damodar and some of his other disciples, he very
triumphantly entered Balarampur, where the noble and up right citizens
very ecstatically received him by worshipping his lotus feet and making
arrangements for his meal. A festival of Hari-katha was held over the
next few days during which many people accepted shelter at his lotus
From here Sri Syamananda Prabhu went to Sri Nrsimhapur,
where many atheists lived. But when Syamananda stayed a few days, these
atheists got the chance to hear his necterian talks, which melted their
hard hearts in love for Krsna. Thus, in this place also, he gained many
Day by day the glories of Syamananda spread
throughout Utkaladesa. From Nrsimhapur he came to Gopiballabhpur. Here
again, many well to do people were attracted to his lotus feet and so
took shelter there. The people here especially requested him to install
the Sri Vigraha of Radha-Krsna. Thus from their contributions, a temple
for the deity complete with a hall for sankirtana, a kitchen, quarters
for the devotees, a pond (bathing tank) and surrounding gardens were
Thereafter Acarya Sri Syamananda performed the
installation of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda and a great festival was held at
which it seemed the greater part of the population of Bengal, Orissa
was present. Seeing the graceful, sweet loveliness of the
transcendental forms of Sri Radha and Govinda, the peoples' hearts were
fully satisfied. Syamananda Prabhu entrusted Sri Rasikananda with the
worship. After traveling throughout the length and breath of Orissa and
preaching the message of Sri Gaura-Nityananda, Syamananda returned to
the lotus feet of Sri Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu at Ambika Kalna. After
offering his prostrated obeisances at the lotus feet of his guru,
Syamananda narrated how the victory banner of Sri Gaura Nitai was now
flying throughout Utkaladesa. Sri Hrdaya Caitanya very affectionately
embraced him in gratitude.
Syamananda was invited to the
festival at Kheturi, which he attended with his disciples. Once again
he was united with his old friends Srinivasa and Sri Narottama. These
three floated in an ocean of happiness as they exchanged affections and
embraces. Sri Jahnava Mata, Sri Raghunanandana Thakura, Sri
Acyutananda, Sri Vrindavana dasa Thakura, as well as many other
stalwart leaders of the preaching mission of Mahaprabhu of this time,
were also present. After the conclusion of the celebrations, Syamananda
took leave from the Vaishnavas there and set out for Utkaladesa.
he came to Kantaknagar, he again met with Srinivasa Acarya Prabhu, and
in Jajigram he saw Sri Raghunandana Thakura once more. He was informed
that by this time many of the last remaining personal associates of
Mahaprabhu had recently disappeared from this world.
Syamananda Prabhu entered Utkaladesa. Along the way he stayed at the
homes of different devotees and blessed them with his mercy. In this
way he again came to Gopiballabhpur. Here he received the news that his
guru, Sri Hrdaya Caitanya prabhu, had also departed from this world, he
fainted dead away. After recovering his consciousness, he wept for some
time, terribly distraught. Sri Hrdaya Caitanya appeared to him in a
dream and comforted him.
The greatness of Syamananda became
known throughout all of Orissa and the worship of Sri Gaura-Nityananda
was inaugurated in many, many places. Sri Rasika Murari, Sri
Radhananda, Sri Purusottama, Sri Manohara, Cintamani, Balabhadra, Sri
Jagadisvara, Sri Uddhava, Akrura Madhurana, Sri Govinda, Sri
Jagannatha, Gadadhar, Anandanandana and Sri Radha Mohan were among the
intimate and dear disciples of Sri Syamananda prabhu.
conquering in all directions Syamananda returned to Gopi-ballabhpur
where he observed a great festival for some days. Then he came to
Uddanda Raya Bhui's house, at Nrsimhapur where he held a great
festival. On the first day of the dark fortnight in the month of Asar
Sri Syamananda Prabhu left this world.
Syamananda Prabhu's puspa
samadhi and the place where he found Srimati Radharani's ankle bracelet
is just across the street from Sri Sri Radha-Syamsundara's temple in
Vrndavana. Sri Sri Radha-Syamsundara are his worshippable Deities.