Sri Sri Nityananda Janmasthan
BY: SUN STAFF
Apr 25, 2011 CANADA (SUN) A brief history of Ekchakra dhama and Nityananda Janmasthan, originally written in Bengali by HG Paratatwa Prakashan and presented in several parts.
Sri Sri Nityananda Mahaprabhu was the incarnation of the concept of love that originated in Lord Sri Chaitanya, the eternal messiah. He was among the foremost of the league of illustrious men who had deepest sympathy and love for humanity. The divine and revolutionary philosophy of Nityananda saved the society from the crisis it faced. He made people cross the barrier of colour, creed, cast privilege and united them with the knowledge that all are the children of the Divine (amrit). He had spontaneous love for each and everybody. He never discriminated while providing benevolence. He never did command, but inspired others through His generosity.
The world will become a better place when we imbibe the spirit of Nityananda. Perhaps we will find a way out of the quagmire of discrimination and meanness. This distinguished leader of mankind was born in the village of Ekchakra, P.S. Mayureswar (Sub-div. Rampurhat) in the district of Birbhum, West Bengal to a pious Brahmin family. At a later date the village came to be known as Ekchakra-Garvabas in His honour. The village has since been regarded worldwide by the puritans as the womb of benevolence and love and as the foremost holy place for one and all. This book is a small effort to throw light on the glory of Ekchakra.
Ekchakra Garvabas is an obscure village of Bengal, tucked away in a remote corner between Rampurhat and Sainthia on Eastern Railway. The village is about ten minutes walk from the Birchandrapur bus stop. The advent place of Nityananda is at the end of the village, aside unique natural beauty. A mosque was built by the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, on the birth place of Lord Sri Krishna at Mathura; Babri Masjid was built on Ram Janmabhumi at Ayodhya.
Opinions are contradictory on the exact Birthplace of even Lord Sri Chaitanya. It is indeed surprising that there is no doubt or suspicion regarding the Birthplace of Nityananda, as if the Lord Himself kept it free from any skeptical question. It is a matter of great pride for all of us. This association again glorifies Birbhum, the holy place hat united the Shakta, Shaiva and Vaishnavas.
Nityananda was born on Shukla Trayodashi, in the month of Magha, in the year 1473 A.D., 12th Feb. (Shakabda - 1395). Like the Sun that enlightens the world from his chariot, Nityananda filled the world with His fountain of love and benevolence from this Ekchakra. Ishan Nagar in his book, Adwaita Prakasha, Narahari Chakrabarty in Bhakti Ratnakara, Nityananda Das in Prem Bilasa, Brindaban Das in Sree Chaitanya Bhagbata, Abhiram Das in Pat Paryatana have glorified the place. In modern times, Subal Chandra's Saral Bangla Abhidhana, Sri Haridas Das's Gaudiya Baishnava Abhidhana, a research work like Birbhum Bibaran, Rasik Mohan Vidyabhusan's Nityananda Charit, magazines like Gourange Madhuri, Gaudiya, Bhakti, Nitai Sundar, etc., eulogize the holy place and bring it to the notice of commons.
The film Nityananda Mahaprabhu presented by Sulata pictures has also brought the place in focus. The arrival of a number of great men, their ideas and opinions, culminated in a programme held on All India Radio on 25th December 1974 based on their conversation. The sanctity of the place has been well established. The reference of the place is also available in folktales, folk songs and legal documents as well.
But the significance of the place is not widely known. Most people believe that both Sri Chaitanya and Nityananda (Gour and Nitai) are originally from Nabadwip. But this is a misconception. We can point out a series of facts that mark the identity of this place. As in Nabadwip and Brindaban, Ekchakra also has its own yogapitha, a spot sanctified by its connection with the Lord, who used to meditate here so often. In Bhakti Ratnakara, the Yogapitha has been depicted as it appeared to Jahnava Devi, wife of Nitaichand.
In chapter 156 of Adi Parba in the original Mahabharata of Vyasdeva, Baishampayana referred to the place. The Pandavas while travelling around Trigarta, Panchal, Matsya, Kichak and other places, once came here with Vyasdeva. Their dwelling place is named Pandavtala, which still attracts lots of enthusiastic visitors. From here Arjuna went to Kotasur to kill Bakrakshasa. Here, the Pandavas heard about Droupadi's swayamvara and proceeded towards The Ganges as directed by Vyasdeva.
The detailed description of this place as we get it in the Mahabharata still resembles present day Ekchakra. Narahari Chakrabarty, in his famous book on mediaeval Gaudiya Vaishnavism, wrote about the arrival of the Pandavas at Ekchakra. Narahari was the son of Sri Jagannath Chakrabarty and a follower of the Great philosopher and sage, Sri Biswanath Chakrabarty. Ishan Thakur, the domestic servant of Sree Gouranga, while travelling around Nabadwip along with Srinivas and Narottam, declared at Mahatpur that Yudhisthir, Kunti and the other Pandavas came to Nabadwip from Ekchakra. Yudhistir in his dream was commanded by Balarama to come here. Even the birth of Gouranga at Nabadwip was predicted to him. In the twelfth chapter of 'Bhakti Ratnakar, the incidents are mentioned in detail.
Ekchakra Garvabas is very close to Birchandrapur with only a lean river flowing between them. Originally, Dabuk, Sandhigara, Kotasur and Mayureswar, all neighbouring villages together formed Ekchakra. How the vast area gradually reduced to a small village is a history that we get in Bhakti Ratnakar. Madhab Bandyopadhyay, a close relative and contemporary of Nityananda explained this to Jahnava Devi, wife of Nityananda. The Pandavas rescued Ekchakra from the hands of the demons. Two temples, one of Vishnu and the other of Ganesh situated on the bank of Yamuna, were once the pride of the village. The wide river in course of time has reduced to a slim line of water. The place once abounded in exquisite natural beauty and housed prosperous, cultured, honest and men of intellect. It was a centre of religious education. But it became desolate once Nityananda left home and His relatives deserted the place. Most of the aged men went on pilgrimage.
Later, during the declining years of the Pathan regime, a powerful Muslim Jaigirdar shifted the residents from Ekchakra to Khalatpur, a new town established by and named after him. Her Divine Grace Jahnava Devi visited Khalatpur at the time of its onset. Two Pathan leaders, Nazir Khan and Perez Khan, ruled over the place under the supervision of Khalat Khan. Two big tanks named after them still exist near the main road. There are also other remnants of old days like Pnariapukur and Pilkhana dhibi (a shelter made for elephants).
Now a days, all of us are restless, worried and disappointed —more or less. The present generation is hesitant and uneasy. Tranquility or delight has become lexicographical. At such a time, the auspicious and beneficial thought of our ever merciful Lord Nitaichand will positively lead us to genuine, perfect and eternal bliss. The word 'Garvabas' was added to Ekchakra and the village in now called Ekchakra Garvabas.
Just before the Advent of Nityananda, a sage came to their home and seeing Padmavati, mother of Nityananda, he started dancing and saying repeatedly, "This is the womb." The stranger was Garga Muni in disguise. He predicted the arrival of Balarama on earth in the self of Sri Nityananda. He emphasized that Padmavati was the reincarnation of Rohini (mother of Balarama), and that she cradled in her womb Balarama, the other self of Nityananda. He predicted the descent of Nityananda in the month of Magh, on Sukla Trayodashi. Saying these, Garga Muni disappeared.
In this connection one can remember that it was this Garga Muni who revealed the name of Balarama and Krishna in the Court of Nanda. The very place where Nityananda was born is still undistorted and a memorial has been built there. It is called the maternity temple, i.e., Sootika Mandir. Jahnava Devi, wife of Lord Nityananda herself selected Madhab Bandyopadhyay and Raghav Pandit as the first and second custodians to look after the holy place. It is the Birthplace of Nityananda, the other self of Sri Chaitanya, whose spontaneous love transcended the barrier of cast and creed, who saved traditional religion and culture from sheer devastation, whose spiritual willpower rescued the tormented and downtrodden, who saved the country from self-destruction and who gave us a glimpse of eternal life. It must therefore, be regarded as one of the holiest places in the world.
The village where He spent His boyhood days has even now maintained its beautiful natural ambience. The present Ashram encloses a moderate area in which are the house of Nityananda's, father Mukunda Bandyopadhyaya (alias Harai Pandit), the courtyard and the Birthplace. The water tank adjacent to the place that was once used by His family has always attracted devotees from near and far. The tank is surrounded by many trees and is named Nitai Kund. Embedded in its core and not visible to the naked eye is another tank named Ananga Kund. A beautiful Shivalinga and a lot of utensils were found while digging the tank. The place of His birth is on the bank of Nitai Kund.
Raghav Pandit of Govardhan (His birthplace was Deccan and Bhajansthali, Govardhan—Uttar Pradesh) was appointed the first sevyat of this place, as willed by Jahnava Devi. The memorial was constructed by Sri Krishna Das and Jagadananda Das, disciples of Raghav Pandit in his presence. The memorial needs immediate renovation. The big tree, which till today stands in the Sasthitala besides the maternity temple, has been a witness of the old days.
As customary, a ritual was held here on the sixth day after the Birth of Nitaichand. Only a few parts of the tree still survive. But the hanging branches occupy a large area. A variety of birds nest on the tree. Each year the villagers celebrate their yearly Jamaishasthi beneath its canopy of branches and leaves. The place has been renovated and a beautiful pedestal surrounded by walls has been erected.
All Rights Reserved by Paratatwa Prakashan. Edited slightly for readability.
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