Vakresvara Pandita – A great dancer and dear servant of Lord Chaitanya
Srila Prabhupada explains the glories to Sri Vakresvara Pandita
srivasa, haridasa, ramadasa, gadadhara
murari, mukunda, candrasekhara, vakresvara
e-saba pandita-loka parama-mahattva
caitanyera dasye sabaya karaye unmatta
srivasa—Srivasa Thakura; haridasa—Haridasa Thakura; ramadasa—Ramadasa; gadadhara—Gadadhara; murari—Murari; mukunda—Mukunda; candrasekhara—Candrasekhara; vakresvara—Vakresvara; e-saba—all of them; pandita-loka—very learned scholars; parama-mahattva—very much glorified; caitanyera—of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; dasye—the servitude; sabaya—all of them; karaye unmatta—makes mad.
Srivasa, Haridasa, Ramadasa, Gadadhara, Murari, Mukunda, Candrasekhara and Vakresvara are all glorious and are all learned scholars, but the sentiment of servitude to Lord Chaitanya makes them mad in ecstasy.
– Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 6.49-50
vakresvara pandita–prabhura bada priya bhrtya
eka-bhave cabbisa prahara yanra nrtya
vakresvara pandita—of the name Vakresvara Pandita; prabhura—of the Lord; bada—very; priya—dear; bhrtya—servant; eka-bhave—continuously in the same ecstasy; cabbisa—twenty-four; prahara—a duration of time comprising three hours; yanra—whose; nrtya—dancing.
Vakresvara Pandita, the fifth branch of the tree, was a very dear servant of Lord Chaitanya's. He could dance with constant ecstasy for seventy-two hours.
In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, verse 71, it is stated that Vakresvara Pandita was an incarnation of Aniruddha, one of the quadruple expansions of Visnu (Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Aniruddha and Pradyumna). He could dance wonderfully for seventy-two continuous hours. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu played in dramatic performances in the house of Srivasa Pandita, Vakresvara Pandita was one of the chief dancers, and he danced continuously for that length of time. Sri Govinda dasa, an Oriya devotee of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, has described the life of Vakresvara Pandita in his book Gaura-krsnodaya. There are many disciples of Vakresvara Pandita in Orissa, and they are known as Gaudiya Vaisnavas although they are Oriyas. Among these disciples are Sri Gopalaguru and his disciple Sri Dhyanachandra Gosvami.
– Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 10.17
apane mahaprabhu gaya yanra nrtya-kale
prabhura carana dhari' vakresvara bale
apane—personally; mahaprabhu—Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; gaya—sang; yanra—whose; nrtya-kale—at the time of dancing; prabhura—of the Lord; carana—lotus feet; dhari'-embracing; vakresvara—Vakresvara Pandita; bale—said.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally sang while Vakresvara Pandita danced, and thus Vakresvara Pandita fell at the lotus feet of the Lord and spoke as follows.
– Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 10.18
"dasa-sahasra gandharva more deha' candramukha
tara gaya, muni nacon–tabe mora sukha"
dasa-sahasra—ten thousand; gandharva—residents of Gandharvaloka; more—unto me; deha'-please deliver; candra-mukha—O moon-faced one; tara gaya—let them sing; muni nacon—let me dance; tabe—then; mora—my; sukha—happiness.
"O Chandramukha! Please give me ten thousand Gandharvas. Let them sing as I dance, and then I will be greatly happy."
The Gandharvas, who are residents of Gandharvaloka, are celebrated as celestial singers. Whenever singing is needed in the celestial planets, the Gandharvas are invited to sing. The Gandharvas can sing continuously for days, and therefore Vakresvara Pandita wanted to dance as they sang.
– Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 10.19
bhagavati devananda vakresvara-krpate
bhagavatera bhakti-artha paila prabhu haite
bhagavati devananda—Devananda, who used to recite Srimad-Bhagavatam; vakresvara-krpate—by the mercy of Vakresvara; bhagavatera—of Srimad-Bhagavatam; bhakti-artha—the bhakti interpretation; paila—got; prabhu haite—from the Lord.
Devananda Pandita was a professional reciter of Srimad-Bhagavatam, but by the mercy of Vakresvara Pandita and the grace of the Lord he understood the devotional interpretation of the Bhagavatam.
In the Chaitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-lila, Chapter Twenty-one, it is stated that Devananda Pandita and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's father, Visarada, lived in the same village. Devananda Pandita was a professional reciter of Srimad-Bhagavatam, but Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not like his interpretation of it. In the present town of Navadvipa, which was formerly known as Kuliya, Lord Chaitanya showed such mercy to him that he gave up the Mayavadi interpretation of Srimad-Bhagavatam and learned how to explain Srimad-Bhagavatam in terms of bhakti. Formerly, when Devananda was expounding the Mayavadi interpretation, Srivasa Thakura was once present in his meeting, and when he began to cry, Devananda's students drove him away. Some days later, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed that way, and when He met Devananda He chastised him severely because of his Mayavada interpretation of Srimad-Bhagavatam. At that time Devananda had little faith in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as an incarnation of Lord Krishna, but one night some time later Vakresvara Pandita was a guest in his house, and when he explained the science of Krishna, Devananda was convinced about the identity of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus he was induced to explain Srimad-Bhagavatam according to the Vaisnava understanding. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, verse 106, it is described that he was formerly Bhaguri Muni, who was the sabha-pandita who recited Vedic literature in the house of Nanda Maharaja.
– Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 10.77
The three brothers Govinda, Madhava and Vasudeva Ghosa all belonged to a kayastha family. Govinda established the Gopinatha temple in Agradvipa, where he resided. Madhava Ghosa was expert in performing kirtana. No one within this world could compete with him. He was known as the singer of Vrindavana and was very dear to Sri Nityananda Prabhu. It is said that when the three brothers performed sankirtana, immediately Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda would dance in ecstasy. According to the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (188), the three brothers were formerly Kalavati, Rasollasa and Gunatunga, who recited the songs composed by Sri Visakha-gopi. The three brothers were among one of the seven parties that performed kirtana when Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu attended the Ratha-yatra festival at Jagannatha Puri. Vakresvara Pandita was the chief dancer in their party. This is vividly described in the Madhya-lila, Chapter Thirteen, verses 42 and 43.
– Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 10.115 : PURPORT
kasi-misra, pradyumna-misra, raya bhavananda
yanhara milane prabhu paila ananda
kasi-misra—of the name Kasi Misra; pradyumna-misra—of the name Pradyumna Misra; raya bhavananda—of the name Bhavananda Raya; yanhara—of whom; milane—meeting; prabhu—the Lord; paila—got; ananda—great pleasure.
In the list of devotees at Jagannatha Puri [which begins with Paramananda Puri, Svarupa Damodara, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Gopinatha Acarya], Kasi Misra was the fifth, Pradyumna Misra the sixth and Bhavananda Raya the seventh. Lord Chaitanya took great pleasure in meeting with them.
In Jagannatha Puri Lord Chaitanya lived at the house of Kasi Misra, who was the priest of the king. Later this house was inherited by Vakresvara Pandita and then by his disciple Gopalaguru Gosvami, who established there a Deity of Radhakanta. The Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (193) states that Kasi Misra was formerly Kubja in Mathura. Pradyumna Misra, an inhabitant of Orissa, was a great devotee of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Pradyumna Misra was born of a brahmana family and Ramananda Raya of a non-brahmana family, yet Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised Pradyumna Misra to take instruction from Ramananda Raya. This incident is described in the Antya-lila, Chapter Five.
Bhavananda Raya was the father of Sri Ramananda Raya. His residence was in Alalanatha (Brahmagiri), which is about twelve miles west of Jagannatha Puri. By caste he belonged to the karana community of Orissa, whose members were sometimes known as kayasthas and sometimes as sudras, but he was the governor of Madras under the control of King Prataparudra of Jagannatha Puri.
– Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 10.131
cakravarti sivananda sada vrajavasi
mahasakha-madhye tenho sudrdha visvasi
cakravarti sivananda—of the name Sivananda Cakravarti; sada—always; vraja-vasi—resident of Vrndavana; maha-sakha-madhye—amongst the great branches; tenho—he is; sudrdha visvasi—possessing firm faith.
Sivananda Cakravarti, the thirty-third branch, who always lived in Vrindavana with firm conviction, is considered an important branch of Gadadhara Pandita.
The Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, verse 183, mentions that Sivananda Cakravarti was formerly Lavanga-manjari. The Sakha-nirnaya, written by Yadunandana dasa, also names other branches of Gadadhara Pandita, as follows: (1) Madhava Acarya, (2) Gopala dasa, (3) Hrdayananda, (4) Vallabha Bhatta (the Vallabha-sampradaya, or Pustimarga-sampradaya, is very famous), (5) Madhu Pandita (this famous devotee lived near Khadadaha in the village known as Sanibona-grama, about two miles east of the Khadadaha station, and constructed the temple of Gopinathaji in Vrindavana), (6) Acyutananda, (7) Chandrasekhara, (8) Vakresvara Pandita, (9) Damodara, (10) Bhagavan Acarya, (11) Ananta Acaryavarya, (12) Krishnadasa, (13) Paramananda Bhattacarya, (14) Bhavananda Gosvami, (15) Chaitanya dasa, (16) Lokanatha Bhatta (this devotee, who lived in the village of Talakhadi in the district of Yasohara and constructed the temple of Radhavinoda, was the spiritual master of Narottama dasa Thakura and a great friend of Bhugarbha Gosvami), (17) Govinda Acarya, (18) Akrura Thakura, (19) Sanketa Acarya, (20) Pratapaditya, (21) Kamalakanta Acarya, (22) Yadava Acarya and (23) Narayana Padihari (a resident of Jagannatha Puri).
– Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta – Adi 12.88
Gambhira is situated south east of the Jagannatha Temple in Bali Sahi, on the way to Svargadvara. This place is also known as Kashi Mishra’s house or Radha Kanta Matha. When Mahaprabhu came to Jagannatha Puri after taking sannyasa, He stayed at Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house. But after He toured South India, on His return to Puri, He then stayed at Kashi Mishra’s house. Kashi Mishra was Rajguru of King Prataparudra, and the King had gifted him a house with a large garden near the temple. King Prataparudra was a great Devotee of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; he suggested to Sarvabhauma that Mahaprabhu can stay in Kashi Mishra’s house. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed in Kashi Mishra’s house in a very small room called Gambhira. He stayed in Gambhira constantly for the last twelve year of His manifested pastime. Inside the room there is a box which holds the Kamandalu, Paduka and quilt of Mahaprabhu.
Sri Radha Kanta is worshipped in Kashi Mishra’s house. King Prataparudra’s father, Sri Purusottama Deva, conquered the king of Kanchipura in battle and returned with three Deities: Radha Kanta, Sakshi Gopala, and Bhada Ganesha. Bhada Ganesha is still worshiped in an inner courtyard just behind Jagannatha Temple. It is said Radha Kanta was also worshipped inside the Jagannatha Mandir for some time. But in dream Lord Jagannatha informed the King Prataparudra to remove Radha Kanta Deity Because He is taking all nice items from His bhoga plate and so king requested his Gurudev Kashi Mishra to take the Radha Kanta to his house.
During the Kashi Mishra’s time only Sri Radha Kanta was worshipped here. Later, when Gopala Guru became the Mahanta of the Matha, he installed a Deity of Srimati Radharani on the left side of Sri Radha Kanta and a Deity of Sri Lalita Devi on the right side. He also established the Deities of dancing Gauranga and Nityananda on the left and right side of Radha Kanta.
Gopala Guru, the disciple of the Vakreshvara Pandita, served Mahaprabhu from early childhood at Gambhira. After the disappearance of Vakresvara Pandita, Gopala Guru received the charge of the seva of Sri Sri Radha Kanta and Gambhira. You can find the Deity of Gopala Guru at the entrance of Sri Radha Kanta Mandir, facing east.