Nityananda Das was a disciple of Jahnava Mata, the divine consort of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Jahnava related to Nityananda Das many stories from the lives of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and Their associates. On her order, he compiled those stories into the book known as Prema-vilasa. The following is a translation excerpted from the 19th chapter.
One day in his home Narottam thought about installing a deity. That night Narottam saw in a dream the six deities of Gauranga, Vallabhi Kanta, Sri Krishna, Vraja Mohana, Radha Kanta and Radha Ramana. Seeing those six dear deities the pleasure that Narottam received was beyond description. After seeing that dream Narottam woke and, sitting up, spent the rest of the night crying tears of joy.
When the night finished he performed his morning duties, and then began arranging for the deities to be carved. Stone was brought and artisans started carving those six deities with great devotion. The five Krishna deities were made beautifully, but although all due care was taken in the work, the deity of Gauranga was not made nicely. Seeing the deity of Mahaprabhu, Narottam became disheartened, and began calling out in a loud voice, “Gauranga, Gauranga,” and crying and crying.
Later, in a dream, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared before Narottam. In his dream Narottam saw Mahaprabhu sitting at his side. The Lord said gently: “My dear Narottam, listen carefully. With much care you are trying to carve a deity of Me, but I will never stay in this murti. I will tell you how to obtain a deity of Me. Before I accepted sannyasa I had a deity made of Myself which I had put into the Ganges. No one knows about this. But because you are My dear devotee I am blessing you with this knowledge. That deity is now inside the rice storage house of Vipradas.” After saying this, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu disappeared.
Narottam awoke and saw that morning had arrived. After finishing his morning duties he began making inquiring from people as to the whereabouts of Vipradas. One person told him that Vipradas was a wealthy man who lived nearby. He said that Vipradas was doing business in large quantities of rice and other grains. Hearing this, Narottam went to the house of Vipradas.
When Vipradas saw that Narottam had arrived, he offered his obeisances and inquired what had brought him to his home. Thakur Mahashay replied, “I have some special purpose to accomplish here. I want to go to where you store your grains.” Vipradas replied, “O Mahashay, this is not possible to do. That is a fearful place with many kinds of snakes. As soon as they see a man they begin to hiss very loudly. Out of fear of those snakes no one can go near that place. For many days much grain has been lying there.” Narottam said, “Don’t worry. When I go there the snakes will all leave.”
After saying this, Narottam Mahashay went to that storage room. Immediately all the snakes left that place and then Narottam came out with a deity of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing this, all of the people became surprised. From that time there was no more fear of snakes in that place, Vipradas became very happy. Vipradas came with his whole family and took shelter at the feet of Thakur Mahashay.
Obtaining that deity, Narottama brought Him to his house and installed Him. Seeing the beauty of that deity, everyone felt very blissful. Those who had previously seen Chaitanya Mahaprabhu verified that the deity looked exactly like Him.
Note: According to The Complete Guide to Vrindavana by Rajasekhara dasa Brahmachari, the Gaura deity on the left side of the altar at the Radha Gokulananda temple is Narottam das Thakur's Gaura. This temple is situated near Kesi Ghat in Vrindavan.