Appearance day of Gadadhar Pandit
Srimad Bhagavatam Class
30 April 2022
Srila Gadadhara Pandit avirbhav tithi mahotsava ki jai.
Nitai gaura prem anande Hari Haribol.
All glories to assembled devotees. Hare Krishna. Everyone is okay? Thank you for being with us this morning to do Nityam Bhagavata Sevaya. Hari Hari. So we are reading from canto ten chapter eighteen, Lord Balaram slays the demon Pralamba. Haribol.
Is this good news? So the verse is twenty two and today is as I said earlier, it is also the appearance day of Gadadhar Pandit ki jai.
So first we will read Srimad Bhagavatam and we will talk a little. Then we will also talk or remember Gadadhar Pandit as much as we could or I could manage to remember and share that remembrance. So we are at their mercy. Okay, so please repeat after me.
vahanto vahyamanas ca
carayantas ca go dhanam
bhandirakam nama vatam
jagmuh krsna purogamah
Thus carrying and being carried by one another, and at the same time tending the cows, the boys followed Krsna to a banyan tree known as Bhandiraka (SB 10.18.22)
Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes the following verses from Sri Harivamsa (Visnu parva 11.18-32 ), which describe the banyan tree
sakhinam sakhinam varam
sthitam dharanyam meghabham
nibidam dala sancayaih
nila citranga varnais ca
sevitam bahubhih khagaih
phalaih pravalais ca ghanaih
lata puspa sumanditam
tasya desasya sakhinam
kurvanam subha karmanam
bhandiram nama namatah
And the rest of the purport is just the translation of these verses which we have just read which are from Mahabharata.
They saw that best of all trees, which had many long branches. With its dense covering of leaves, it resembled a cloud sitting on the earth. Indeed, its form was so large that it appeared like a mountain covering half the sky. Many birds with charming blue wings frequented that great tree, whose dense fruits and leaves made it seem like a cloud accompanied by a rainbow or like a house decorated with creepers and flowers. It spread its broad roots downward and carried upon itself the sanctified clouds. That banyan tree was like the Lordly master of all other trees in that vicinity, as it performed the all-auspicious functions of warding off the rain and the heat of the sun. Such was the appearance of that nyagrodha tree known as Bhandira, which seemed just like the peak of a great mountain.
vahanto vahyamanas ca?carayantas ca go dhanam?bhandirakam nama vatam?jagmuh krsna purogamah
Thus carrying and being carried by one another, and at the same time tending the cows, the boys followed Krsna to a banyan tree known as Bhandiraka
The description of the tree in the purport caught my attention, although this is the pastime of Balaram killing the demon Pralamba. Also this is in the middle of the act of the killing and hence it is described ‘vahanto vahyamanas ca.’ We will talk about the three verses very soon.
The friends of Krishna say ‘who do you think you are?! Krishna or even you Balaram, you and us, we are the same, all equals!’ Friendship is amongst equals, right? So that we see here and hence they’re playing with their friends and this demon has taken advantage. Pralamba has entered the gathering of the cowherd friends.
Pralamba is very long, lamba means long, very very long. Initially he looked to be a normal size but soon he became a long and tall demon and that’s why he came to be known as Pralambasura. Prabhupada asked his disciples ‘who is stronger, Krishna or Balaram?’ What did they say? Prabhupada was expecting a response, ‘is Krishna stronger or is Balaram stronger?’
Some said Krishna and some said Balaram. So Balaram Krishna, Krishna Balaram. Prabhupada said ‘look at Krishna and Balaram and the way they are standing. Isn’t Balaram taking support of Krishna even to stand?’ Jai Srila Prabhupada! So Prabhupada made a point that Krishna is stronger but in this pastime it doesn’t look like Krishna has proven his strength.
There was a wrestling match and Krishna has been defeated! Balaram’s party has won and that’s why Balaram is sitting on the back of Pralamba and Sridhama is sitting on the back of? Krishna! So about the trees, this tree that we are reading and hearing about, that tree is still there. You just have to come out on Vraja Mandal Parikrama and one day you will have darshan of this bhandira mentioned here.
Krishna and Balaram and friends were playing games, as they always do and therefore as we go on Vraja Mandal Parikrama we also play games, sometimes including wrestling matches. There were wrestling matches here and so we are also reminded of Krishna’s pastimes and the Parikrama devotees re-do the wrestling matches and the rest of us enjoy seeing the wrestling matches.
You heard the description of this tree which is huge and of course it is green and beautiful. There are blue birds flying around this tree and it is loaded with fruits and flowers and these trees are also devotees of Krishna. I was sitting under this tree here and it reminded me that it is a desire tree that even fulfils the desires of Krishna and his devotees.
These trees are so great and so nothing is inert in Vrindavan and everything is sac cid ananda.
cintamani prakara sadmasu kalpa vrksa
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees..
Here the first line is mentioning the kalpa vrksa, the wish fulfilling tree and then the cows are mentioned and then lakshmi, Gopi’s are mentioned but the first item mentioned is the desire tree.
Prabodhananda Saraswati Thakur in his Vrindavan Mahimamrita, the glories of Vrindavan, glorifies the trees of Vrindavan like anything. These are his realisations about the trees of Vrindavan and the flowers which shoot or sprout or bloom. Even the leaves are sprouted and Prabodhananda Saraswati says ‘look, their hairs are standing on end.’
Just like one of the symptoms of ecstasy, the leaves are standing on end and the flowers are standing on end just like hairs that stand on end and the trees are ecstatic! So not just one tree which is mentioned here in this verse, all the trees of Vrindavan are like this. Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was touring Vrindavan when he went on Vraja Mandal Parikrama.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did Parikrama of Vrindavan and Vrindavan doesn’t mean just Loi Bazaar Vrindavan, no. That’s how the rest of the world thinks and even I thought that way that Vrindavan means just seeing Loi Bazaar which is in the centre. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not come to Vrindavan and stay at MVT guest house for the rest of the month or whatever duration.
No, he went all around Vrindavan and all the twelve forests of Vrindavan. Vrindavan is known for being Vrinda-van, forests full of trees, right? The biggest population is that of the trees in Vrindavan. So when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was touring Vrindavan, everyone was welcoming and greeting Gaurasundar in Vrindavan.
Of course they thought ‘this is our Shyamsundar. Shyamsundar is here!’ Gaurasundar had come, that was five hundred years ago but they had this realisation that ‘our Shyamsundar is back.’ So everyone was meeting and greeting and glorifying the Lord and serving, especially the trees and the Lord was mostly reciprocating with those trees.
He was reciprocating with everyone and he was also saying ‘Haribol Haribol Haribol’ and everyone was chanting ‘Haribol Haribol Haribol’ including the trees. So in Chaitanya Charitamrita it is described by Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami how the trees were thinking. ‘Oh, our friend is here! Our friend is here!’
So they had to greet their friend and the trees had to give some gifts to their friend, so the fruit bearing trees were shaking their branches and tons of fruits were being downloaded, they were dropped and being offered to Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As he continues his journey through Vrindavan, and of course he is chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
The flower bearing trees, they shake their branches and tons of flowers, this kind of flower and that kind of flower. There was a flower abhishek, fresh and fragrant flowers being dropped from the top and the branches and they are like the hands of the trees dropping the flowers. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is feeling grateful ’thank you, thank you, thank you.’
He is embracing the trees, ‘thank you my dear tree.’ The next tree is saying ’me too.’ Then Mahaprabhu had to rush to that tree and embrace that tree and then ‘me too, me too.’ And the next tree and the next tree. In this way Mahaprabhu had to embrace all the trees of Vrindavan. It’s not a big deal for him. He could have become as many as the trees which were there, that many Gauranga’s.
He is Radha Krishna nahi anya so he could expand. Hari Hari. So these trees of Vrindavan play a very vital role in the pastimes of the Lord. What is Vrindavan without forests and without trees? Can we imagine? First of all it says Vrinda yaha vanam, there are lots of Tulsi trees and it is Tulsi Vrindavan. And the other trees are there and they are all great devotees, Hari Hari.
While performing the Sankirtan pastimes in Navadwipa, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s party was in Godrumadwipa and there is a Alm Ghat, like a mango grove and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s party had been chanting and chanting for a long time and they were hungry. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu brought them to this mango grove, ‘okay sit around.’ ‘The devotees were saying ‘we are hungry and what is this, there is nothing to eat here.’
And what did Mahaprabhu do? He planted a mango seed and quickly- in the spiritual sky there is no past present or future and everything is in present tense. And so quickly it grew leaves and flowers and fruits, raw and ripened fruits grew so quickly (Maharaja clicks fingers).
‘Okay say Maha prashade govinde.’ By the time they finished their prayer the fruits were ready and they were served and these fruits were so huge and delicious. Even a big devotee could not finish eating one of those mangoes. Someone else would think ‘that’s all you are giving us to eat, just one mango?’ So that was a great devotee, that mango tree was a devotee of the Lord.
So today five hundred years ago the other Pandit appeared, Haribol! We were not there to greet him back then but now we can welcome him. Su swagatam Gadadhar Pandit, welcome Gadadhar Pandit. That’s okay you don’t have to sing, I know you are all willing and ready to go but we don’t have seven days for recitation of Srimad Bhagavatam or Chaitanya Charitamrita katha.
We could welcome Gadadhar Pandit in our lives and so Gadadhar Pandit is very, very special. We could very easily say he was the topmost amongst the associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We could also say that there are two top notch associates, one was Balarama who is also standing at the right side of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When we take darshan of Pancha Tattva
Dakhine nitaicand, bame gadadhara. On Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s right hand side stands Lord Nityananda and on his left is Gadadhar Pandit. In this way we remember Pancha Tattva also and Gadadhar Pandit is on top of the list
panca tattvatmakam krishnam bhakta rupa svarupakam
bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam namami bhakta saktikam
I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Kirishna, who is nondifferent from His features as a devotee, devotional incarnation, manifestation, pure devotee, and devotional energy
The Lord appeared in Pancha tattva, five forms which are five personalities and so at the end of this prayer it is said ‘bhakta saktikam.’ So Gadadhar Pandit is the Sakti, energy of the Lord and what kind of Sakti is he? He is the hladini sakti of the Lord and who is this hladini sakti? Radharani ki jai! Jai Radhe.
So Radha had already appeared when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. When the Lord appeared then what happened?Sri Krishna Chaitanya Radha Krishna nahi anya. They are two in one, there is one Radha and one Krishna but there is also another form. Radharani has appeared in another manifestation and that is Gadadhar Pandit.
What I have heard and have understood is
that in Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes as you all know, this is a well known fact that Radha and Krishna cannot be together all the time. The gopi’s also cannot be with the Lord all the time because the social norms are there and customs are there. A young boy and young girls together in one place and gossiping, it’s not possible, not possible!
Radharani of course wants to be with Krishna all the time, yes or no? You’re not Radharani so can’t say, but you know Radharani. So that which was then impossible was made possible. What was not possible in the nitya lila in Vrindavan, was made possible and Radharani appeared in her Gadadhar form in Lord Chaitanya’s manifest pastimes. She has become Gadadhar Pandit and now she can freely mix and mingle with her Krishna as Gadadhar.
Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki jai!
No-one could object and no-one could suspect and that is what happened in this gaura lila. Gadadhar Pandit was with Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu throughout Navadwipa lila as well as Nilacala lila. From their very childhood they were together and they were playing together, they even went to school together.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to debate with Gadadhar while he was a Pandit. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a Pandit and he would always argue. He would also argue with Gadadhar Pandit and also Mukunda Datta and back then Gadadhar Pandit used to say ‘when will our friend Nimai Pandit become a devotee?’
He was more of a Pandit than a bhakta then and he was always having these debates. And so that did happen, as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was initiated by who? Iswara Puri in Gaya, that was when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life changed and he stopped arguing with others including Gadadhar Pandit. Then he was looking for Krishna, ‘where is Krishna, where is Krishna?’
He asked this question one time to Gadadhar Pandit, ‘where is my Krishna?’ ‘Oh your Krishna is in your heart.’ As soon as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard this, actually he is Nimai and he has not become Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu yet and he has not taken Sannyasa yet, and so Gadadhar Pandit says ‘your Lord is in your heart.’
As Nimai heard this that the Lord is in your heart, he is immediately scratching and hurting his chest and digging deeper, he is attempting to open his heart like Hanuman. Hanuman had done this and you could see who is in his heart. I was in Bombay some time ago and it was summer season and I saw a big billboard. There was a young man who was depicted there and he had opened his heart. As we looked, we had to look at it as you couldn’t avoid it. There was a limca bottle.
So as Nimai was attempting to dig deeper to perform a open heart surgery or something, to look at the Lord of his heart or the Lord in his heart, then ‘no no no! Don’t do that, don’t do that! Look, take darshan of this deity because the deity is non different from Krishna. Or chant Hare Krishna.
Kali kale nama rupe Krishna avatare
The Lord appears in the age of Kali in the form of the holy name.’ Like that, Gadadhar succeeded in stopping Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s attempt to perform an open heart surgery. Saci Mata was watching this from a distance, what Gadadhar Pandit did for her Nimai and she had come on the scene and came forward.
‘Well done, well done Gadadhar. Thank you. I have a wish that you please stay with and around my Nimai. He may get into trouble like this again, who knows? I just saw what you did for him and how you protected him.’ Like that she strongly recommended that Gadadhar Pandit always be with Chaitanya Nimai.
One day Chaitanya Mahaprabhu out of ecstasy started calling out ‘bop, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, bop!’ No-one knew what he was talking about and who was this Pundarika Vidyanidhi? He was calling bop which means father. ‘Oh father Pundarika Vidyanidhi.’ In Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes Pundarika Vidyanidhi is?
Well there he is Pundarika Vidyanidhi but in Krishna’s pastimes he is?
Radhe vrindavaneshvari vrishabhanu sute.
King Vrishabhanu had appeared as Pundarika Vidyanidhi and at that time Pundarika Vidyanidhi was in Bangladesh and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu kind of called him over, ‘please come over.’
He had come and was kind of hiding or staying away in Navadwipa and Mukunda Datta proposed to Gadadhar Pandit, ‘would you like to see a very extraordinary devotee?’ ‘Oh why not? Please take me along with you.’ So that happens and Mukunda and Gadadhar have gone to see Pundaika Vidyanidhi because at that time he had migrated and is Navadwipa at the time.
So Pundarika Vidyanidhi was hiding in two ways we could say. He was staying away at a greater distance and in that way he was hiding away and he was also acting on his lifestyle which was a materialistic lifestyle. And he was hiding his true identity and nobody could recognise him. That is what happened as Mukunda Datta and Gadadhar Pandit arrived.
Gadadhar Pandit was witnessing this he and said ‘what is this? You said you were going to bring me to an extraordinary devotee and is this the extraordinary devotee? Look at the dress he is wearing and his sitting place and they are fanning him. Look there is a pond right there and this and that. The whole life is a life of luxury with no tinge of renunciation. This is some attached householder! This is not a Mahatma. Sa mahatma sudurlabha.’
Gadadhar Pandit was thinking like that and Mukunda Datta must have read the mind of Gadadhar Pandit and what he was thinking about. Then Mukunda Datta started reciting the words that Uddhava had recited one time in Vrindavan. As Pundarika Vidyanidhi heard this prayer he was a changed person and all the emotions aroused. He was trembling and he couldn’t even sit in his seat.
He fell down and he was rolling on the ground and screaming out the names of the Lord. Then Gadadhar Pandit thought ‘oh I am sorry. It’s good that I did not say anything offensive, but mentally I was certainly very offensive. Now I realise what kind of great devotee he is by seeing all the symptoms and ecstasy of this Pundarika Vidyanidhi.’
He thought ‘the only way I could rectify my mentality and for me to atone for my offences is if I become his disciple.’ And that did happen and then when Pundarika Vidyanidhi heard of this offer, ‘could you accept me as a disciple?’ Pundarika Vidyanidhi said ‘I am very lucky, very fortunate to have a qualified disciple like you!’ And that transaction did take place and here we see that Gadadhar Pandit is Radharani and he has become a disciple of Pundarika Vidyanidhi who is her father in Krishna lila.
Pundarika Vidynidhi has become her spiritual master as the spiritual master is the spiritual father and when Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, he disclosed his thoughts and intension of taking sannyasa with only a few selected devotees and Gadadhar Pandit was one if them. There was also Nityananda Prabhu, Chadrasekhar Acarya and Mukunda Datta. There were only four or five persons and Gadadhar was one.
When the sannyasa initiation took place in Katwa, Gadadhar Pandit was right there And as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu travelled to Puri, ‘only a few persons could go with me!’ From Shantipura all the residents of Navadwipa wanted to go with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu but he said ‘no, no, no no.’ But Gadadhar Pandit was allowed and he accompanied the Lord to Jagannatha Puri and one time the Lord found a deity of Krishna at Jagannatha Puri.
He offered that deity to Gadadhar Pandit. ‘He is Krishna and you are Radharani. He is Krishna so you can serve and be with this Krishna.’ That is tota gopinath ki jai! So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also gave initiation to Gadadhar Pandit in a way. This was ksetra sannyasa. Gadadhar Pandit was a Brahmacari throughout his life. The other members of the Pancha Tattva were all married and out of five, only Gadadhar was single or unmarried, so Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave him ksetra sannyasa.
‘This is Sri ksetra and you will be a sannyasi but you will have to stay right here serving tota gopinath.’ So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannatha Puri, this was his regular practice. He used to go to tota gopinath especially to meet Radharani, well meet Gadadhar Pandit because externally he is Gadadhar Pandit in a male form, but in their eternal forms they are Radha and Krishna.
So here in tota gopinath, Gadadhar Pandit used to recite Bhagavatam. The reciter is Gadadhar Pandit and who is in the audience? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to listen to Gadadhar Pandit. The way Gadadhar Pandit used to recite Bhagavatam you can’t even imagine. We have heard how tears were rolling down his cheeks and he would drop those tears on the Bhagavatam.
Everyday the Bhagavatan was getting wet then drying up and then there the next day again. You can imagine the condition of the Bhagavatam, wet and dry and so..This is another thing but there was a time when Srinivas Acharya heard the news that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is no more and then he ran because he was on his way to Jagannatha Puri hoping to get darshan of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
On the way he found out that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is no more. ‘Okay at least I can still go and take darshan of Gadadhar Pandit and listen from him.’ This he did but Gadadhar Pandit said ‘the condition of my bhagavatam is so bad, could you get another copy for me?’ And Srinivas Acharya goes to find another copy of Srimad Bhagavatam but by the time he returns, Gadadhar Pandit is no more.
This was happening all the time to him. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu disappeared and everyone was gradually disappearing. Just like Srila Prabhupada disappeared, a big number. After that we are also dropping out but our race doesn’t stop, we keep marching. As Prabhuji said, we have come back home because this is Prabhupada’s home and coming to Vrindavan is coming to Prabhupada’s home. It is Krishna’s home.
We get to be with Prabhupada and associate with Prabhupada in Vrindavan dham ki jai! So then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to come to Vrindavan and Gadadhar Pandit wanted to very much accompany him. ‘Oh Vrindavan! When are you going to Vrindavan?’ So Radharani is thinking ‘of course, I have to come with you!’
So Gadadhar Pandit was following Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and from time to time Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would notice and say ‘oh, you’re still here. Go back.’ Then after a while again the Lord would continue and then notice and say ‘you’re still here, go back.’ Then the Lord managed to go all the way up to Cuttack from Jagannatha Puri and then the Lord had to cross a river and so Chaitanya Mahaprabhu jumped into the boat and Gadadhar Pandit wanted to follow him into the boat.
But Mahaprabhu said ‘no, you can’t come.’ And Chaitanya Mahaprabhu proceeded and Gadadhar Pandit collapsed and he was rolling on the ground and there were pangs of separation. Of course he had to return home and he was getting older and he was not able to reach the head of his deity. He was not able to extend his hands to offer the deity a turban or flute and so what did the Lord do?
His deity kind of sat down. ‘Okay now you can go round and serve me conveniently’ and that deity tota gopinath is still sitting. Hari Hari. In the same deity Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wound up his pastimes by entering that deity of tota gopinath. The Lord entered that deity which Gadadhar Pandit used to worship, or rather Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had given him that deity which he was worshipping and Mahaprabhu also becomes a part of that deity.
‘Okay you can continue to serve the deity and myself’ and that is what Gadadhar Pandit did for the rest of his life which was only for another eleven months after Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s departure. Gadadhar Pandit also departed, he could not bear the separation from Gauranga and so he also departed. So what? Nothing more to say.
There’s so much to say but,
Gadadhar Pandit avirbhava tithi mahatsava ki jai!
Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai!
Nitai Gaura prem anande hari haribol.
Srila Prabhupada ki jai.
Sri Krishna Balaram ki jai.
Vrindavan dham ki jai.
Trees of Vrindavan ki jai.
Vrinda devi Tulsi Maharani ki jai.
Gaura prem anande hari haribol.