The Reappearance of Śrī Śrī Rādhā & Mādhava The Discovery of the Ancestral Deities of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Thakur
Jaya Rädhä Mädhava kuïja bihari Gopé Janavallabha Girivaradhäri
Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur
Dr. Fakir Mohan das (Babaji) Maharaja
Sri Sri Radha-Madhava Come to Orissa Five hundred years ago when Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu launched the sankirtan movement of the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord, He commissioned His closest associates to spread the movement everywhere. On the order of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu travelled extensively throughout Bengal, humbly begging everyone He met to chant the holy names and worship Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. Many Bengalis surrendered at His lotus feet, becoming His disciples and adopting the Gaudiya Vaisnava way of life. Among these disciples was Krishnananda Dutta, a wealthy landowner residing in Andul, not far from present-day Calcutta. Krishnananda Dutta worshiped deities of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava in his home in Andul. After his retirement from family affairs, Krishnananda Dutta, taking the deities with him, moved to the holy place Puri, Orissa, home of the famous temple of Lord Jagannatha. In Puri, Krishnananda lived a pious and simple life, not speaking to anyone, but chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra the whole day and night, and worshipping Sri Sri Radha-Madhava. After living in Puri for some time, he met the feudal king of Ali State, about two hundred kilometers from Puri. Impressed with Krishnananda’s spiritual qualities, the king invited him to live in his state, where he donated an entire village, named Choti (formerly called Choti Mangalpur), to the worship of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava.
The Ninth Generation — Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur The descendants of Krishnananda Dutta worshiped Sri Sri Radha-Madhava in Choti from generation to generation. Eventually the worship passed into the hands of his descendent Kedaranath Dutta (1838-1914), who is well-known to all Gaudiya Vaisnavas as Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, the great saint who was the first to present the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in a modern context.
Srila Prabhupada and the Song “Jaya Radha-Madhava” Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur wrote hundreds of songs glorifying the Supreme Lord in Bengali, Sanskrit, and Brajaboli (a dialect that combines Bengali, Sanskrit, and
Oriya). His songs capture the essence of Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy. One song, “Jaya Radha-Madhava”, was a favourite of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who would sing it every day just before his public lectures. This song paints a beautiful picture of the pastimes of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur’s beloved deities Sri Sri Radha-Madhava.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Sri Sri Radha-Madhava After the departure of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, the worship of Sri Sri RadhaMadhava was handed down to his son, Bimala Prasad Dutta, also known as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada. Because Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was a lifelong Vaishnava and a dedicated travelling preacher, whenever he visited Choti he didn’t like to stay in his family house; he would visit the temple of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava and stay in the nearby Dassahera Mandap.
Sinister Plot Unfortunately, after Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s departure from this world, the worship became neglected, and the local family charged with the worship schemed to lay their own claim on the lands belonging to the deities. In approximately 1950 they secretly buried Sri Sri Radha-Madhava under the ground at a temple in another village, claiming that the deities had become broken and thus, according to traditional practice, had to be submerged in the nearby Birupa River. Then they removed Sri Sri Radha-Madhava from the ground and secretly gave Them to a poor brahmana family. They resided in the house of this brahmana for about fifty years, unknown to the whole of the Gaudya Vaisnava community.
Choti is the Sripat, the Native Place, of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur In the terminology of Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the native place of a great saint is called a sripat, and such places are considered worshipable by all the followers of the saint. But just as the village of Choti was deprived for five decades of seeing its proprietors, Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, the village – the native place of Srila
Bhaktivinode Thakur and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur – became all but forgotten by the spiritual descendants of these two great saints during that time. Now, though, ISCKON devotees from Bhubaneswar from the time of Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja go every year to Choti to perform sankirtan.
A Dedicated Researcher Fortunately for us all, Bhaktivinode Thakur left information about his connection with Choti in his autobiography. Dr. Fakir Mohan Das, a research scholar and professor at Utkal University in Bhubaneswar and one of Bhaktivinode Thakur’s spiritual descendants, came across this information. Starting in 1982, Dr. Fakir Mohan Das visited Choti whenever he had the opportunity, and through painstaking research he eventually uncovered and published the facts about the history of the place for the benefit of the Gaudiya Vaisnava community. But reestablishing the worship of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava in Choti is developing under the guidance of the International Thakur Bhaktivinode and Thakur Bhaktisiddhanta Memorial Trust. In 1993, on the 155th anniversary of the birth of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, a public meeting was held in Kendrapara, Orissa, to glorify Thakur Bhaktivinoda, whose portrait was being installed in honor of his being the first law graduate of Orissa. In his speech, Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaj (1929-1996), an ISKCON leader and native of Orissa, declared the following: “Choti is the sripat, native place, of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, and he resided there. Having been decorated with the dust of Bhaktivinode Thakur’s lotus feet, this is a very sacred place. But most people have not known about it. This place is now coming to everyone’s notice because of the blessings of Bhaktivinode Thakur. Getting the strength of that blessing, the research scholar Dr. Fakir Mohan Das has been working to reveal this place to the world. Without such blessings, no one can do this work. Sripad Fakir Mohan Das may face much opposition, but after resisting this opposition strongly, he will surely establish the real truth.”
Rediscovery Dr. Fakir Mohan Das was never fully satisfied with the story of how the deities had been submerged in the river, and he continued to make inquiries. He found two witnesses who, after hearing the story about the broken deities, declared that Srimati Radharaniâ€™s murti was made of brass. And brass cannot break, so how was it possible that the deities became broken? So, it became clear that the story told by the neighbours was not true. In 1999, a supercyclone destroyed many villages in Orissa, and Choti was also severely affected. In one of the houses, deities of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna became visible. Someone informed Dr. Fakir Mohan Das about it. When he saw the neglected deities he understood that They were the ancestral deities of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. Presently Their Lordships are being worshiped in the Sri Radha Nikunja Bihari Ashram in nearby Isvarapur part of Kendrapara, the district headquarters, pending the construction of a new temple for Them in Choti. Now, every Kartika month, Sri Sri Radha-Madhava appear out of Their causeless mercy on the altar of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar in the ISKCON-temple Sri Sri Krishna Balarama mandir in Vrndavana Dhama
Jaya Rādhā-Mādhava (from Gītāvalī)
˜ (jaya) rādhā-mādhava (jaya) kunja-bihārī (jaya) gopī-jana-vallabha (jaya) giri-vara-dhārī ˜ (jaya) yaśodā-nandana, (jaya) vraja-jana-ranjana, (jaya) yāmuna-tīra-vana-cārī Krishna is the lover of Radha. He displays many amorous pastimes in the groves of Vrindavana, He is the lover of the cowherd maidens of Vraja, the holder of the great hill named Govardhana, the beloved son of mother Yasoda, the delighter of the inhabitants of Vraja, and He wanders in the forests along the banks of the River Yamuna. (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was very fond of this song and sang it just before his lectures. In Allahabad and Gorakhpur Srila Prabhupada fell into a trance after singing the first two lines, and after some time he came back into external consciousness and said, “Now just chant Hare Krishna.” Srila Prabhupada said that this song is “a picture of Vrindavana. Everything is there — Srimate Radharani, Vrindavana, Govardhana, Yasoda, and all the cowherd boys.”)
Hare Kåñëa Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa Kåñëa Hare Hare Hare Räma Hare Räma Räma Räma Hare Hare