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Narottama dasa Thakura

Page history last edited by Juan Castañeira 11 years, 3 months ago

Narottama dasa Thakura

 

He appeared 45 years after Lord Caitanya's disappearance in Raj Sathi district in modern Bangladesh as a son of King Krishnanandana Dhatu. His father had waited long for a son. Astrologers had predicted he'd be a big acharya - parents took this to mean a good ruler.

 

He was smart boy. He learned his subjects quickly. Narottama was attracted to the katha of Mahaprabhu which was very prominent at that time. He wanted to go to Vrndavana.

 

Previously in one kirtana Lord Chaitanya had cried out "Narottama!" Nobody except Lord Nityananda knew the meaning of this. Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda went to the Padmavati River and left prema bhakti with her for Narottama. She asked, "How will I know him?" LC said, "When his body touches your waters you'll overflood in ecstacy."

 

When he was 12 LC and LN appeared in a dream and told him to bathe in the Padmavati which was 1 mile from Kheturi, the capital. This was during the calm season. As soon as he stepped in the river, big waves appeared. Padmavati endowed him with prema-bhakti and he turned gold. His parents thought he was sick.

 

When his father and uncle Purushottama were called to the capital of Bengal NDT ran off to Vrndavana. He travelled quickly, not eating, but got a boil on his foot and had to stop beneath a tree for 3 days. A brahmin came with a pot of milk and left it for him. He prayed to the Lord for direction and had a dream of Rupa and Sanatana who told him to drink the milk and just go. He did and was healed and ran.

 

He went to Jiva Goswami who told him to go to Lokanatha Goswami who got sannyasa from LC. LG didn't want disciples. So NDT served him secretly for a long time, cleaning stool place and putting a pot of fresh water there and fresh dirt. He would hold the broom to his breast and weep. LG was impressed as NDT was a prince, so he gave him initiation.

 

NDT is Champaka Manjari and a direct potency of Lord Nityananda. She is a personal associate of Anangamanjari.

 

NDT would do manas seva. Once he burned his hands while cooking in his mind, and this was noticed by Lokanatha Goswami. LG told him, "Take full shelter of Jiva Goswami." He became siksha disciple of JG, with contemporaries Srinivasa and Shyamananda Prabhu.

 

JG wanted his books sent to Bengal. He sent them in a trunk with these 3 siksha disciples. Hambi, a king near Varanasi, was a dacoit and had an astrologer who told him these three mendicants had an enormous treasure in their trunk, so he stole that trunk during the night. Srinivasa was deputed to get the books back while Narottama went on to Bengal. He sat on the bank of the Bhagirathi and cried, thinking about the Lord and desiring to know the place of His appearance. Just then an old brahmana came and asked him why he was crying, and he told him. That brahmana said, "I've seen so many pasttimes", and he took him to the place of LC's appearance, where Isana Thakur was staying. NDT got the blessings of the senior Vaishnavas - Raghunandana, Jahnavi, Bir Chandra.

 

In his old kingdom, his father and uncle had passed away and his cousin-brother Santosh had become king. Santosh welcomed NDT with all ceremonies and took initiation from him. This was a big thing - others took initiation also. In Khetari he held the first Gaur Purnima festival and installed six Deities - one is now in Vrndavana in Gokulananda temple near the Radha Ramana temple (Deity of Lord Chaitanya). All great Vaishnavas of that time in Bengal came to this festival, including Shyamananda, Jahnavi, Mineketana Rama, Achyutananda, Mukunda Datta and others. NDT started Gaurangahatti style of kirtana (because ragas, which are only celestial, do not invoke spiritual emotions). Srinivasa Acharya and Mukunda began singing this style at this first GP festival. After this festival many took dikshas from NDT. But smartas opposed this. He was even making sudras into brahmanas and giving brahmins initiation. He didn't care for the criticisms of the smarta brahmins.

 

Once he was going with his dear friend Rama Chandra Kaviraja (disciple of Srinivasa - NDT could have been his guru in their relationship, but accepted him as friend). As they walked along they saw two brahmin boys who were bringing goats for a sacrificial slaughter. The two devotees spoke among themselves about the nastiness of this practice, and the reactions to it. When the brahmin boys heard, they became alarmed and, inquiring further, became ND's disciples. Their father was a Shakta and was very disturbed. He got a pandit to discuss with his boys but they defeated him. So he went to a big big pandit named Rupa Narayana Chakravarti and that pandit complained to the local governor, who said "I'll arrange that you debate NDT. You defeat him and we'll settle this matter once and for all."

 

So Ramachandra Kaviraja and another brahmin disciple of NDT set up a pottery stand and a pan stand near NDT's ashrama. The governor came there with the pandit, and as was the custom, sent servants to the shops for pots and pan. So these "wallahs" talked with the servants only in Sanskrit. Hearing this the two bigshots came to see for themselves; shudras talking first-class Sanskrit, and telling that they were disciples of NDT. This alarmed the two, who fled.

 

When he was 80-85 he decided to leave the planet. He got a disease in the throat and couldn't speak. Smartas said, "Just see." Disciples begged him, "Don't go now. We'll be finished." But he left anyway, wanting to serve Krishna directly in spiritual world. But Madhavacharya prayed, "If you go now, the movement will be destroyed." So he came back to life as his body was being taken on procession to be interred. He became too much famous for this. One critical brahmin then got leprosy; he came to NDT and begged forgiveness, was cured and took initiation.

 

At age 105 he decided to leave this world. One day he told disciples, "I want to bathe in the Ganga." But they wouldn't let him step into the river, they just dug a shallow area where he sat and they splashed. But as they splashed his body melted away into the Ganga.

 

First sankirtan

 

When Srinivasa Acarya, Dukhi Krsna dasa (later Syamananda Prabhu) and Narottama dasa Thakur were travelling from Vrndavana to Bengal with books given to them by Srila Jiva Goswami, they were robbed at night at Visnupura by Raja Biaham Biya (the thief king). He had his thieves spying along the road as the party of Vaishnavas came along; he stole their decorated box when, after stopping for the night and having kirtan, they went to sleep. His astrologer told him, before he opened the box, that the contents were priceless. When he opened the box he saw the expensive cloth covering the books and his heart soared in anticipation. The first thing he saw underneath the cloth was the writing of Rupa Goswami; just seeing this freed him of all his sins and purified his heart; he experienced love of God and then lamented that he'd caused somebody great grief by this theft. He went to sleep and dreamed a beautiful golden person (more beautiful than a gold mountain) was laughing at him. That person said, "This is all a pastime. You will soon meet someone who will make you exceedingly happy." In the meantime, Srinivasa was informed by the villagers that the king was a great theif and that it was he who had stolen the box of books. Srinivasa met one brahmin named Krsna Ballabh, who became his disciple, along with others. Srinivasa inquired about the king from him, and KB said, "Oh, he's become a very pious man recently - he daily hears SB and is always inviting sadhus to read the SB and explain." Srinivasa said, "Sometime I would also like to go and explain SB to him." KB said, "Why sometime? Let's go now." So in the assembly of the king, Srinivasa appeared, and everyone was impressed with his character. In a beautiful voice he recited SB and gave a stunning explanation that nobody had hdeard before. The king bowed at his feet, wearing a cloth around his neck as a sign of humility. He became SV Acharya and the king was most glad to be able to return the books to him.

 

 

 

 

 

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