Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Stoka-krsna,
BY: SUN STAFF
Three of the Twelve Gopalas
May 08, 2011 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.
As we mentioned yesterday, when considering the various sastric references to the personality Stoka-krsna sakha, an interesting question arises as to his identity during Lord Caitanya's lila. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika by Srila Kavi Karnapura, we read:
"Lord Krsna's cowherd friend Stokakrsna appeared in Lord Caitanya's pastimes as Sri Purusottama das. (130)
Dama-gopa, who had been Lord Krsna's cowherd friend in Vraja, appeared in Lord Caitanya's pastimes as Nagara Purusottama. Nagara Purusottama was born in a family of phyiscians, and his father's name was Sadasiva." (131)
In these two verses, a clear distinction appears to be made between Sri Purusottama das and Nagara Purusottama.
Srila Prabhupada also offers a clarification on the identity of Stoka-krsna gopa in his purport to Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila 11.33, describing him as one of the twelve gopalas:
"It is stated in the Caitanya-bhagavata that Purusottama Pandita was born in Navadvipa and was a great devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. As one of the twelve gopalas, his former name was Stokakrsna."
We find several instances in contemporary Vaisnava writings where the list of the twelve gopalas in Gaura lila is as follows:
Listed above are both Purushottama Das and Nagar Purushottama, who in Vraja lila are described as having been the cowherd boys, Stoka-krsna and Dama-gopa (Damana).
This point of confusion is also addressed in the biography of Sri Purusottama Das Thakur in the Parishads series from Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj. The author writes:
sadasivasuto namna nagarah purusottamah
vaidya-vamsodbhavo namna dama yo vallavo vraje
"Nagar Purushottam was previously the cowherd named Daman in Vraja. He is now born in a Vaidya family as the son of Sadashiva.
Daman was one of the twelve Gopals and a companion of Krishna in his childhood pastimes in Vraja. In the eleventh chapter of the Adi-lila of Chaitanya Charitamrita, Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami has listed Purushottam Das amongst the devotees of Lord Nityananda."
The above description seems to suggest that Nagar Purushottam and Purushottam Das are one and the same, which would infer that Daman gopa and Stoka-krsna are also one and the same. Yet both Daman gopa and Stoka-krsna are listed as being among the Twelve Gopalas. Likewise, on lists of the Twelve Gopalas in Gaura-lila, we find both Nagar Purushottama and Purushottama Das, indicating that these transcendental personalities are four different persons.
These questions are further addressed in the Parishads article on Sri Purushottam Das Thakur, the remainder of which follows:
"Sadashiva Kaviraj was a great personality. Purushottam Das was his son. From birth, Purushottam das was absorbed in the service of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, and he always engaged in childish play with Lord Krishna. His son was named Sri Kanu Thakur, a very respectable gentleman. His body was saturated with the nectar of Love for Lord Krishna.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.11.38-40)
Vrindavan Das Thakur has also named Purushottam Das as one of Nityananda Prabhu's chief associates.
Sadashiva Kaviraj was very fortunate to have a son like Purushottam Das. Purushottam Das had no external consciousness of his body, for Nityananda Prabhu is constantly acting through him.
(Chaitanya Bhagavata 3.5.741-2)
For four generations the family of Purushottam Das consisted of eternally perfect direct associates of Mahaprabhu: Kamsari Sen, Sadashiva Kaviraj, Purushottam Thakur, and Kanu Thakur. The Gaura-ganodesa-dipikaidentifies Kamsari Sen as Ratnavali Sakhi and Sadashiva Kaviraj as Chandravali (156).
Purushottam Thakur's wife was named Jahnava Devi. She died while her son, Kanu Thakur, was just a young child. Nityananda Prabhu named the boy Sisu Krishna Das. It is said that Nityananda Prabhu's wife Jahnava Devi adopted Kanu and took him with her to Vrindavan. Some say that he was also one of the twelve Gopals. One legend about Kanu Thakur holds that when in Vrindavan, while he was dancing in kirtan, his ankle bell flew off. He vowed that he would make his residence wherever the ankle bell was recovered. When it was found in the town of Bodhkhana in Jessore district, he established his Sripat there. In the opinion of some, Madhavacharya (Madhava Chattopadhyaya) of Jirat in Hooghly district, the husband of Nityananda Prabhu's daughter Ganga Devi, was Purushottam Thakur's disciple.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has the following to say about Purushottam Thakur's Sripat: " Purushottam Das Thakur lived at Sukhasagara, midway between the Chakdaha and Simurali railway stations. The deities he installed were formerly served in Beledanga village, but when the temple fell into the river, the deities were taken to Sukhasagara. That temple was also swallowed by the Ganges and so the deities were brought with Jahnava Mata's deity to Sahebdanga Berigram. Since that place was also destroyed, all the deities were again moved about three or four miles to the village named Chanduregram, on the banks of the Ganges about one mile up from Pal Para."
Devakinandana Das, the author of the Vaisnava-vandana, was Purushottam Thakur's disciple. There he writes,
"I worship Sadashiva Kaviraj with great attentiveness. He was constantly intoxicated with love and had no external consciousness… I bow down to my worshipable Lord, Purushottam Thakur. Who can list his incomparable qualities? He was merciful to those who were devoid of virtue, displaying the natural power of his compassion. When only seven years old, he was so intoxicated with love for Krishna that he danced in a way that enchanted the entire world."
The following supplementary information is given in the Gaudiya-Vaisnava Abhidhana:
"Some people say that Purushottam's surname was Nagar, while others say that the name Nagar comes from the name of the area where he lived. Since the five villages (Beledanga, Berigram, Sukhasagar, Manasapota and Pal Para) are so close together, this area is sometimes called Nagaradesh. Purushottam once ate snake poison when in a trance state without experiencing any ill effects. This was a source of great astonishment to all who witnessed it. Many of Nityananda Prabhu's associates often displayed such miraculous powers."
Biography of Sri Purusottama Das Thakur from Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj
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