The Glories of West Bengal - Kalna, Part Two


The Ganges at Kalna

Nov 15, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of West Bengal kshetras, and the tirthas associated with Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His parishad associates.

The ancient town of Kalna, West Bengal is one of the topmost Gaudiya Vaisnava kshetras, being home to Lord Caitanya's personal belongings and the site of His transcendental pastimes with parishad associates. The Mahaprabhu Bari (also known as Gauranga Mandir) is home to a handwritten copy of Bhagavad-gita that the Lord wrote, and gave to Gauridas Pandita. The Bengali term bari means 'house' or 'abode'.

Mahaprabhu Bari – Front Entrance

Also residing in Kalna is the oar of a boat in which Mahaprabhu rowed Himself to Kalna, traveling from Shantipur, across the Ganges. While it is often said that the boat itself is still kept in Kalna, in fact only the oar of the boat is there. The confusion arises from use of the term 'scull', which can mean both 'boat' and 'oar'. In this case, however, only Mahaprabhu's oar/scull remains at Kalna.

Sri Caitanya's Boat Trip, Santipur to Kalna

The story of Lord Caitanya's trip from Santipur to Kalna is told in the Bhakti-Ratnakara of Srila Narahari Dasa, which we briefly quoted in the previous segment:

    "As an introvert Gauridasa would always live in seclusion. The Lord understood his mind very well.

    One day Sri Caitanya went to Ambika after crossing the Ganga from Santipura.

    He told the Pundit, "I had gone to Santipura and from there I went to the village Harinadi by boat.

    "I crossed the Ganga by rowing the boat with an oar. This is the oar; take it; I am giving it to you."

    "With this oar mankind can cross the ocean of this material world." Saying this the Lord embraced Gauridasa Pandita.

    The Lord took the Pandita with him to Nadia and engaged him in wonderful activities.

    Who can understand the plan of Gaura Candra? He gave the Pandita the lyrics that he himself had composed.

    After some days the Pandita returned to Ambika where he regularly read the Gita given to him by Prabhu.

    Simply seeing the handwriting of the Lord on the manuscripts of the Gita gave the Pandita extreme pleasure.

    Fortunate visitors to Ambika can have darshan of the handwritten manuscripts of the Gita by Prabhu and also the oar.

    Who can describe the fame of the Pandita to whom Krsna Caitanya and Nityananda were the life and soul of.

    He was constantly absorbed in singing the glory of Nitai and Caitanya and knew nothing but their lotus feet.

    Nitai and Caitanya were the lights within his eyes. Who can understand his total devotion?

    On sight of the Lord gave him immense pleasure and a moment of separation threw him in great sorrow.

    Understanding the mind of the Pandita, Lord Gaurahari once told him to bring a neem tree from Navadvipa and carve deities of Caitanya and Nityananda.

    He assured Gauridasa that he would find no trouble carving the deities and that all of his desires would be fulfilled.

    The Pandita was ecstatic with joy and carefully carved the wooden deities.

    He who made the deities was only a recipient of the Lord's grace. It was the Lord's own manifestation and the others were merely instruments in the Lord's desire.

    Beholding the deities Pandita Gauridasa was overwhelmed with joy and could not restrain his tears.

    Considering himself most fortunate he made arrangements for the installation ceremony of the deities and took help from some of his favorite companions.

    Following the prescribed rituals he bathed and anointed the deities at an auspicious moment and then seated them on their throne.

    The devotees of the Lord were extremely happy to see the deities of Nitai and Caitanya properly installed.

    The beauty of these two deities pleased the whole world but true realisation of their presence was reserved for the followers of Mahaprabhu.

    It was well known that Nitai and Caitanya were bound by the love of Gauridasa.

    The pastimes revealed by Nitai and Caitanya at the house of Gauridasa are also well known."

    (Bhakti-Ratnakara by Srila Narahari Dasa, Chapter, Texts 332 to 357)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Associates


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