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March 7, 2000   VNN5633  Comment on this story

Tirobhava Mahotsava Of Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji Maharaja


USA, Mar 7 (VNN) — Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Jayatah!

6 th March 2000, 513 Gaurabda: Tirobhava Mahotsava of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja.

Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji

Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja appeared in this world sometime around 1750 A.D. in a remote village in the subdivision of Tangail, in the district of Mayaman Singh, what is now known as Bangladesh.

He belonged to a very aristocratic family.

The Gaudiya Vedantacarya Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana's initiated disciple was Uddhava dasa Babaji, and his initiated disciple was Madhusudana dasa Babaji, and Jagannatha dasa Babaji accepted Babaji initiation from Madhusudana dasa Babaji Maharaja. According to the Gaudiya-Vaisnava-jivana, the diksa Guru of Jagannatha d. Babaji was Jagadananda Goswami of Sringavat, Vrindavana, whose vesa-guru was Krsna dasa Babaji of Govardhana fame.

Jagannatha dasa Babaji performed Bhajana in Vraja-mandala for many years. He was famed throughout the region as a siddha-baba (a perfectly realized soul). He was known to sometimes chant continuosly for 3 days and nights in a row without sleeping and he would fast throughout. After the complition of his vow he would breakfast upon flat rice and yoghurt prasada.

“He was known to sometimes chant continuosly for 3 days and nights in a row without sleeping and he would fast throughout.”

In the year 1880, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura visited Babaji Maharaja's lotus feet in Sri Vrindavana and got many valuables instructions from him. In the 1880's the Paramahamsa Babaji came to the Burdwan district, staying in the village of Amalajoda. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura went there on the pretext of government business, thereby obtaining the association of Jagannatha dasa Babaji for the second time. The Babaji was delighted by Bhaktivinoda's Thakura's enthusiasm for preaching the glories of the Holy Name of Krsna. Thereafter, Jagannatha dasa Babaji sojourned in Burdwan for eleven days and performed uninterrupted kirtana. (chanting and scriptural discussions) day and night. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura established a prapanna-asram (a monastery for surrender to Krsna) in Amalajoda village.

In the year 1893, Jagannatha dasa Babaji was residing in Kulya, Nabadvipa, and he went to see Surabhi Kunja, the residence of Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda.

The entire grove was electrafied by his arrival and appeared especially beautiful. Later, together with his followers, he proceeded to Mayapura and visited many holy places, like the Yogapitha, Srivasa Angana, etc. When he arrived at the birthplace of Lord Gaura, which had been discovered by Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda, he began to dance in ecstasy, although he was very old at the time, and had previously been thought, unable to walk, he thus established the authenticity of the side beyond any doubt, He spent some time at the Yogapitha in the association of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and he miraculously cured one of the Thakura's sons of a skin disease, simple by telling him to ly down in the dust of the lord's place of appearance.

He passed most of the time chanting the Holy Name, on the bank of the Ganges in Kuliya. His bhajana kutira and samadhi may still be seen there. One day he asked Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda to construct a veranda to shelter the devotees who came to see him, which the Thakura did immediately.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was well versed in astronomy by the age of twelve. Hearing of this, Babaji Maharaja summoned him one day and instructed him to make a vaisnava calendar, which would include the appearance and dissapearance days of all the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Visnupriya Thakurani. Accordingly, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura made the necessary calculations and began the publication of the Sri Nabadvipa Panjica.

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji's life and soul was the chanting of the Holy Name, and rendering service to Vaisnavas. He lived on this earth for 135 years (according to Gaura-parisada-caritavali) and preached the Holy Name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Although he was almost bent double in his old age, still, during the time of kirtana, his body would expand over six feet, and his appearance would replicate the dancing figure of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

His favorite disciple was Bhagavata dasa Babaji, who had accepted Babaji initiation from him. Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji took Babaji initiation from Srila Bhagavata dasa Babaji Maharaja. Gaurahari dasa Babaji, Ramahara dasa Babaji and Nityananda dasa Babaji werer disciples of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, who hailed from Barsana in Vraja Mandala.

Another disciple, called Krsnadasa Bababji, was from Kadamkhandhi. Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja's personal servant and disciple, Sri Bihari dasa, was very stout and powerful. Due to Babaji Maharaja's advanced age. He could appearantly not walk. Sri Bihari used to carry him everywhere on his shoulder in a bamboo basket. Once, when he was traveling thus, a wealthy man gave him a rupee, which was deposited with Babaji Maharaja's servant, Bihari. After journing for some miles, Srila Babaji Maharaja had his servant take him back to the donor and he returned his one rupee. He told the man, "I understand that you have a good deal of money, I could not bear the burden of one rupee, and I wonder how you tolerate the burden of so many?"

Babaji Maharaja sometimes accepted donations for rendering service to the Vaisnavas, but on this instance he instructively exhibited his detachement, showing how one must be wary of accepting charity from the pounds, shillings and pence class of men.

Inspired by Bihari dasa, the villagers of Surya kundha built a room and a smal temple for Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. The Siddha Baba asked Bihari dasa to install a deity in the temple. Upon receiving this order, Bihari proceeded to Sonaruddi village, which was about 8 miles from Katoa.

He requested the local people to give him a Deity. He duly received Sri Sri Gaura Nitai Deities, went to Calcutta and collected donations totaling 5000 rupees from Srinath Rai, the renowned Laha families and others. He then returned to Surya-kunda. With great pomp and festivity, the Deities of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai were installed in the temple where they glisterned like gold.

Shortly thereafter, a band of dacoits stormed the temple one night and attempted to carry away the Deitis, thinking them to be actually fashioned from gold. However they were unsuccessful in attempting to purloin those golden Lords and fell exhausted in the temple. They fled without achieving their aim, just before the arrival of dawn. This incident disturbed Babaji Maharaja greatly, and he told Bihari dasa to donate the Deites to some devotee in Vrindavana. Bihari dasa went to Vrindavana town and presented them to a Goswami of Bengali extraction. These Deites are still being worshipped in the temple of Dhobigati of Gopalbhagh and are famous by the name of Sona Gaura i.e. the Golden Gaura.

Several days after this incident, Srila Babaji Maharaja told Bihari dasa, "I cannot live without the Deities, bring another Deity from wherever you can find one." Hearing his Guru Maharja's command, Bihari proceeded to Radha Kunda and met Sri Dhenu dasa Babaji of Mathura. There, in Radha kunda in a stack of hay, which had been gathered for feeding the cows they discoverd a deity of Sad-bhuja, a six-armed Deity of Lord Ramacandra, Lord Krisnacandra and Lord Caitanya Mahaphrabu combined. Bihari dasa had the Deity proberly painted in Vrindavana, and returned to Surya-kunda with great enthusiasm. The beautiful form of the Lord was installed according to the scriptural ordinaces, and Srila Babaji Maharaja worshipped him for ten years.

With the passing of a decade, Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Mahraaja was inspired to go to Nabadvipa and he therefore requested Bihari dasa to deliver the Deity to someone in Vrindavana. Bihari dasa thus proceeded to Vrindavan and gave the Deity to the head priest of the Gopala-guru-asrama, who was known as Srila Narottama dasa Babaji.

The Lord in his six-armed form is worshipped to this day in the Sadhbuja temple situated in a lane near Nidhuvana.

Bihari then carried his Guru Maharaja on his sholder to the Mathura Railway Station and boarded a train for Nabadvipa. When they reached the station in Bardhawan, a British railway officer was so impressed by the simplicity and blissful nature of Srila Babaji Maharaja that he assisted them in many ways. They alighted from the train, before reaching Nabadipa, hired a bulloc cart and traveled to the asrama of a famous pure soul, named Sri Bhagavan dasa Babaji, who resided at Ambika-Kalna in Bengal This great soul was extremely pleased to see Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Mahrajaa, and he exclaimed in a state of transcendental exultation, "O, my friend has come!" He then embraced Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji.

Both of them fell to the ground in a state of profound transcendental ecstasy and becoming unconscious entered in an impenetrable spiritual trance. They remained motionless, locked in their embrace of loving friendship from ten o' clock in the morning until eleven o' clock that night. The servants of the two Siddha Babas began to feel uneasy, and Sri Visnudasa,the servant of Sri Bhagavan dasa Babaji Maharjaa requested Bihari dasa to do something to bring them back to external awareness. Bihari dasa began to massage his Gurur's chest and chant the Maha Mantra - this device brought them both back into external consciousness and they got up. Srila Jagannatha dasa babaji Maharaja had not eaten or drunk during these three days of travel, and so prasada was immediately arranged and he broke his fast at midnight. After this they slept a while.

Excerpted from: 'Babaji Maharaja - Two beyond duality'

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