The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Srivasa-angana
BY: SUN STAFF
Kirtan at Srivas Angan
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Jul 15, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 148.
PERIOD 7 (8:24-10:48 P.M.) : EVENING PASTIMES
In an earlier segment of this series we covered a place listed in the 'Glossary of Places' as Khola-bhanga-danga, which is another name for Srivasa-angana. The pastime of the Kazi breaking the Vaisnava's mrdangam is associated with this place.
"Srivasa Angana is sometimes described as the place where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His intimate associates began the Sankirtana Movement. Every night for a year, Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and Their associates performed ecstatic kirtan here, dancing in ecstasy behind closed doors. Srivasa Angana is thus called the Rasa Sthali of Navadvipa, corresponding to the Rasa Sthali of Vrindavana, where Sri Krsna danced with the Gopis in the groves of Vraja. In the combined Form of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, Lord Chaitanya enacted those rasalila pastimes here at Srivasa Angana.
Among the other transcendental pastimes the Lord performed with Srivasa Pandit, who is an incarnation of Narada Muni, is the famous story of the passing of Srivas'a son. This pastime is narrated in Chaitanya Bhagavata and Chaitanya-caritamrta, and briefly summarized in Audarya Dhama:
"One night Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was dancing along with His associates in Srivasa's courtyard. At this time, Srivasa's son died of a disease. All the ladies in the house started to cry, Srivasa Pandit came into the house and, seeing the situation ordered the ladies to stop crying, so they might not disturb Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's dancing. Srivasa told the ladies: if I were to get an opportunity of such a death, my life would be complete; so please, if you must cry, cry mildly. After hearing the words of Srivasa, the ladies stopped crying and Srivasa again went and joined the Lord's dancing.
In due course of time, everyone came to understand that Srivasa's child had died, but no one revealed this externally due to fear of disturbing the Lord's ecstatic dance. After several hours had passed, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stopped and enquired: Has anything strange happened in this house?" Srivasa replied: "What strange or unfortunate thing could take place when You are present? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a little suspicious and again enquired from His associates if anything inauspicious had happened. The elders present there informed the Lord that Srivasa's child had died. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was shocked and fell down in lamentation -- "Why was I not informed about the incident earlier?" The elders replied: "Srivasa did not wish to disturb Your happy dancing".
When they saw that the Lord had become calm, they requested His permission to take the child to perform the cremation ceremony, as the child had been lying dead for 71/2 hours. When they brought the child from the house, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spoke to the child: "O my dear child, why are you leaving Srivasa's house?" At this the child sat up, to every-one's amazement, and started to speak? O master of the universe, who is whose child and who is whose father? For some time I have appeared in this house, and now my time is up; I must to elsewhere. No one is the controller, but all are controlled by Your energy in the form of Time. Now, taking permission from You, I will carry on to my next destination". As this child became quiet all of the relatives of Srivasa were overwhelmed with ecstatic joy upon hearing the child's words and their lamentation went far away."
An episode in Caitanya-bhagavata mentions that 'adjoining Nimai's house was the Srivasa Angana, where many Vaisnavas assembled daily and did kirtana in chorus with drums and symbols for long hours, even late in the night. The Turk kings were avowedly anti-Hindu. They not only desecrated Hindu temples, but also destroyed many, and their policy towards the Hindus was 'to grind them down and reduce them to poverty' (Smith 1962). The Kazi was equally intolerant. Being disturbed by the loud kirtana he sent his attendants to the Srivasa house who broke the drums and warned the Vaisnavas of dire consequence if they did the kirtana again. Since that time, the Srivasa Angana is known to the Vaisnavas as 'Khol Bhangar Danga' i.e. the place where the drums were broken. Hearing of the incident Nimai became so enraged that he took out a large procession of Vaisnavas doing loud kirtana with many drums and cymbals. He led the procession from near his house along the road by the bank of the Ganga and proceeded towards the Kazipara." (A Study for Sri Chaitanya's Birthplace, Prof. K. N. Mukerjee)
Srivasa-angana is also mentioned in the Sriman-Mahaprabhor-Asta-Kaliya-Lila Smarana Mangala-stotram, 'Auspicious Prayers for Remembering the Eight-fold Daily Pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu' by Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur. In this offering, the glories of Lord Chaitanya's daily pastimes are broken down into periods of hours. The Lord's pastimes at Srivasa-angana cover two of the nighttime periods:
9. yah srivasa-grhe pradosa-samaye hy-advaita-candradi-bhih
sarvair-bhakta-ganaih samam hari-katha-piyusam-asvadayan
kartum kirtanam-urdhvam-udyama-paras tam gauram-adhyemy-aham
In the evening time, the Lord goes to the home of Srivasa Pandita, accompanied by Srila Advaita-chandra and other dear associates. Meeting with the multitude of His devotees, He tastes and relishes the nectar of topics concerning Lord Hari, and His mind becomes most agitated with the ecstasies of pure love of Godhead. Then, becoming very lustful to relish the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord, He orchestrates the performance of intensely jubilant sankirtana which attains the summit of passionate glorification of the holy names. I thus meditate on the daily pastimes of Sri Gaura-sundara.
PERIOD 8 (10:48 P.M. - 3:36 A.M.) : MIDNIGHT PASTIMES
10. srivas-angana avrto nija-ganaih sarddham prabhu-bhyam natann-
bhramyan srila-gadadharena sahito naktam vibhaty-adbhutam
svagare sayanalaye svapiti yas tam gauram-adhyemy-aham
Continuing well into the night, the Lord dances and dances in the courtyard of Srivasa, surrounded by His most intimate devotees. His most ecstatic sing is accompanied by His devotees who are expert in playing rhythms loudly on the mridanga drums. He wanders and dances with Sri Gadadhara Prabhu in the most astonishing way, throughout the night, until just before dawn. Then He returns to His own home, where retires to His bedchamber and falls asleep with His wife. I thus meditate on the daily pastimes of Sri Gaura-nataraja.
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