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Gaudiya Maths in Jagannath Puri

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Dear Prabhus,


Dandavats. As some of you may already know, I have been putting together a book about Jagannath Puri for some time now. It is nearing completion and Mandala Media hopes to be able to have it ready for Christmas. It will contain many different elements: translations of articles by Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj, a translation of Sundarananda Vidyavinoda's Sri Kshetra and a great deal of new and interesting information from a variety of other sources, including the old Gaudiya magazines, recent historical works, and so on.


I am currently working on a chapter about the Gaudiya Maths in Jagannath Puri. There are, according to my information, twelve Gaudiya Maths in Sri Kshetra. However, I only have any information about four or five of them. I was hoping that someone might be able to help me get information about some of the other Gaudiya Math branches, such as Sri Chaitanya Ashram (Bhakti Kumud Santa); Sri Chaitanya Saraswata Math, Chaitanya Chandra Gaudiya Math (Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaja); Gaudiya Saraswata Ashram, Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, etc.


I have fairly good information about Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Purushottam Gaudiya Math, Iskcon Bhakti Kutir, and Gopinath Gaudiya Math. But if anyone can provide information, even if it is just to add color -- personal anecdotes, etc., it may help to make this book even more nectarean for everyone.


At a minimum, I am looking for the following info:


(1) Official Name of the Math.

(2) Address

(3) Founder's name (a little information on the founder).

(4) Current acharya and/or local mahanta.

(5) Date the Math was established in Puri.

(6) Deities worshiped.

(7) Number of permanent residents

(8) Any other interesting or relevant information. Relation to Mahaprabhu's lila, special festivals, miraculous occurrences, descriptions of special architectural or other physical features (gardens, views, proximity to other sites) etc.


If you cannot personally help out, perhaps you may be able to help by putting me in touch with someone else who can provide more information.


With great appreciation for any service you can render to this project,


Your servant,


Jagadananda Das




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I thought you might be interested in seeing the answers I get. Here is one from Tridandi Swami Bhaktivedanta Tirtha Maharaj.


<h3>(1) Sri Nilacala Gaudiya Matha</h3>


(2) Gaurbat Sahi in Swarga Dwar, near Haridas Thakura’s samadhi by the sea. Tel. Ph. 06752-23074


(3) Founded by Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaj and Bhaktivedanta Narayan Goswami Maharaja. Sri Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja is president/acarya and Sri Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is vice president and acarya. They have dedicated their whole life to the service of their Gurupadapadma Srila Bhakti Prijna Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, who left this world in 1968. Then they were given charge of all Maths and affairs of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. Both are considered to be foremost of all Vaisnava scholars and philosophers in the world today. Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja is especially known for his vast knowledge and realisation of Vaisnava siddhanta. They have manifested many temples and preaching centres all over the world with many thousands of disciples engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord under their guidance. All are attracted to them because of their pure mood and perfect example of devotional love and service. Their desire is that all people should become great persons, leaving all bad conditions, and chant the holy name without duplicity and attain pure Bhakti to Lord Sri Krsna. Then in this life they will be happy. His happiness is our happiness. This is pure love.


(4) In charge of the Math, officially managing, is Srila Bhaktivedanta Acarya Maharaja and assisted Sacidananda Brahmacari (present manager). The general manager for all Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti is Sri Bhaktivedanta Madhusudhana Maharaja.


(5) Founded in 1978 on Rasa Purnima at the end of Kartika month. The Math was established.


(6) Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha-Vinoda Biharji.


(7) In Nilacala the famous festivals of Snana yatra, Ratha-yatra, Janmastami, Radhastami, Gaura Purnima, many thousands of people visit. Many devotees stay in our math for these festivals. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's lila in Ghambira and Puri were performed nearby. Tota Gopinatha temple is very nearby where Mahaprabhu went everyday and heard Srimad Bhagavatam Katha from Sri Gadadhara Pundit. Mahaprabhu gave samadhi to Srila Haridas Thakur Himself nearby, dancing and bathing in the ocean, performing kirtan. Everyone who visits is tasting Mahaprabhus Ghambira mood. Puri has so many places of Mahaprabhu's pastimes. All are made welcome here.


Your servant,


Tridandiswami Bhaktivedanta Tirtha Maharaja





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Since I am not getting much feedback here, I thought I would post some of the contents of my research so far, for your pleasure. These articles still need to be edited, so please excuse any sloppy writing. Any comments or criticisms will be most welcome.


This book will hopefully be published in the fall.




Sri Purushottam Dham has special significance for the followers of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Long ago, Srila Vyasa Deva predicted that this would be the center from which devotion to Krishna would spread out to the four corners of the world – hy utkale puruSottamAt. For the disciples of the Gaudiya Math, this is true not only because Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spent half His life here relishing the Holy Name in divine ecstasy, but also because Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur took birth here. Srila Prabhupada himself founded the Purushottam Math in Gaurbat Sahi, next door to Tota Gopinath.


All the unique features of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes were fully revealed in Puri Dhama. This is why the incarnation of Gauranga’s mercy, Srila Prabhupada, decided to begin his worldly pastimes in that holy place. Puri remained very dear to Srila Prabhupada’s heart throughout his life. His last visit to Puri took place not long before his disappearance. In fact, he only left the Sri Purushottam Math on the ocean beach in Puri on the morning of December 7, 1936, twenty-four days before concluding his pastimes.


In the years since his disappearance, many of his disciples and grand-disciples from all over the world have established maths and temples that beautify the town and increase its glories and the glories of the saints whose line they honor. In this chapter, we will name a few of them and, as far as possible, tell some of their history.




<h3>The birthplace of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur </h3>


To the south of the Narayan Chata math is the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, which marks the birthplace of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and his family resided there from 1870-1874, while he was Deputy Collector and Magistrate. The house that was here belonged to the rich Calcutta businessman, Ramachandra Arhya, who built it on land leased from the Dakshin Parshwa Math.


Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, who grew up to become the founder of the Chaitanya Math and the worldwide Gaudiya Maths, appeared here at 3:30 on Friday, February 6, 1874, on the Krishna Panchami of Magh. The effulgent and beautiful child was born to Bhagavati Devi while Bhaktivinoda Thakur and the other members of the household sang the names of the Lord. Everyone was amazed to see the child’s umbilical cord wrapped around his body like a sacred thread. His parents gave him the name Bimala Prasad in honor of Lord Jagannath’s divine energy, Bimala Devi.


Bimala Prasad was six months old when the Rathayatra festival was held. That year, by Lord Jagannath’s desire, the cart stopped directly in front of Bhaktivinoda’s house and remained motionless there for three whole days. Under Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s direction, a kirtan festival was held in front of the Deity for this entire three-day period. During one of these days, when the six-month old baby was brought before Jagannath in the arms of his mother, he grabbed Jagannath’s feet and took the garland from around His neck. The child’s first solid food was Lord Jagannath’s prasad.


Bimala Prasad only remained in Purushottam Kshetra for ten months, but he returned many times in his devotional career, both to engage in bhajan as well as to establish the Sri Purushottam Math in 1922.


<h3>Madhava Maharaj recuperates the house </h3>


This house where Saraswati Thakur was born was reclaimed in 1974 by His Grace Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj (1904-1979) after arduous efforts and now houses a Chaitanya Gaudiya Math with a beautiful temple building.


One of Siddhanta Saraswati’s leading disciples, H.H. Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaj (1904-1978), often discussed recovering the site of his spiritual master’s holy appearance with his godbrothers, but most of them were unable to see how the dream could be realized, as there seemed to be insuperable difficulties in acquiring the property. Since Madhava Maharaj had served in the Chaitanya Math until 1954, he at first tried to encourage Bhakti Vilasa Tirtha Maharaj to spearhead the attempt to recover the holy site. In 1965, they together wrote to the then Chief Minister of Orissa, Sadasiba Tripathi, and met with him and the Endowment Commissioner, Biren Mitra.


The Dakshin Parshwa Math was the owner of the land, but the Mahanta had leased it to the Arhya family for 99 years. Around this time, this lease expired and the Dakshin Parshwa Math began legal proceedings to recover its rights over the property. The case went from the lower courts all the way up to the Supreme Court with the final judgment declared in favor of the Math, allowing them to reclaim everything. Unfortunately the fourteen or fifteen tenants who had occupied the premises for a long time refused entry to the sadhus of the Math. These complications discouraged most of the Gaudiya Math devotees, except for Madhava Maharaj who continued to persevere.


Eventually the Mahanta of the Dakshin Parshwa Math gave up hope that he would be able to evict the tenants. He decided to sell the property with the tenants still in it. These complications discouraged most of the Gaudiya Math institutions from getting involved, with the exception of Madhava Maharaj, who continued to take an interest. When the Dakshin Parshwa Math offered to sell, Ranganath Mishra advised Madhava Maharaj to buy the building, despite the problem presented by the presence of tenants.


In Orissa, no property held in the name of a Deity (devottara) can change hands without the express permission of Orissa Hindu Religious Endowments Commission. With the cooperation of the Dakshin Parshwa Math, this permission was granted on 28 June 1973. Many people were involved in this process, including Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj, who had to make frequent visits to Endowments Commission, the Dakshin Parshwa Math and the lawyers’ chambers.


The process was not easy – before the Endowments Commission rendered its decision, another branch of the Gaudiya Math presented presented papers to the Dakshin Parshwa Math making a competing claim on the property. They had the support of the Governor, B. D. Jatti, and many other prominent citizens. Madhava Maharaj was in Amritsar at the time, but hurried back to Cuttack to put out the fire.


An appointment was arranged for Madhava Maharaj to meet Governor Jatti on Saturday 26 May, 9:15 a.m., but upon reaching the Raj Bhavan, they saw the Governor about to leave in the midst of security police. Maharaj immediately jumped out of his taxi, prompting Governor Jatti to stop his car and come forward to pay pranams, to the great consternation of the security staff.


The Governor learned then of the appointment for the first time. He put aside his other plans and spoke with Madhava Maharaj. Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj writes of the incident, “No one could resist the force of Srila Gurudeva’s demeanor and divine personality. After speaking to him, the Governor soon came to realize that the opposing parties’ claims against Srila Gurudeva had to be false.”


This was not the last hurdle that had to be overcome, however. The competing claimants attempted to stay the permission to transfer the property to the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, but were defeated in court. Once gaining the permanent lease to the property, however, Madhava Maharaj still had to face the problem of tenants who had no intention of moving. Court battles again followed and the members of the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math were obliged to camp in a room on the opposite side of the Grand Road.


When a tenant finally vacated, devotees were finally able to move into one room in the building. This took place on 15 December 1974, when Madhava Maharaj and a few bhaktas entered, carrying an oil painting of Srila Prabhupada and joyfully chanting the Holy Names in sankirtan.


The situation with the recalcitrant tenants did not improve and even degenerated to physically intimidation. Nevertheless, construction work was started on a two-storey residence for the devotees of the Math. H. H. Bhakti Kumud Santa Maharaj of the Chaitana Ashram in Gaurbat Sahi provided help and support to Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj, the secretary of the Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, who was charged with supervising the construction work.

Finally, the resistance of the tenants broke down and from the end of 1977 to the beginning of 1978, they vacated the premises one by one. Except for a single tenant in the northern corner, they all left the house. The holy site of the birthplace of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was inaugurated in glory and splendor, with Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj officiating, on Tuesday, 28 February 1978. Unfortunately, Madhava Maharaj disappeared not long afterward the same year.

Of these successful efforts to reclaim the founder-acharya’s birthplace, B. B. Tirtha Maharaj writes: “If one is sincere, then by the grace of the Guru, the Vaishnavas and the Supreme Lord, one can acquire the right to perform any type of seva. Srila Vishwanath Chakravarti tells a parable to this effect in his commentary on the Gita: There once was a sparrow who lived by the seashore. On the beach, the tiny bird lay a clutch of eggs, so small that they were hardly perceptible to the eye. They meant everything to the sparrow and she would constantly fly around them.


“One day, while the sparrow was away seeking food, the swollen and foaming sea washed over the eggs and swept them away. When the tiny bird returned and discovered what had happened, she was overwhelmed with grief. She learned of the cruel role the sea had played in this tragedy from the other birds. The tiny bird repeatedly begged the sea to return her eggs, but the sea did not heed her cry.


“The sparrow then made a vow to dry up the entire ocean. She repeatedly dove into the sea and brought water back to the land in her beak. The birds and other animals tried to persuade the sparrow to desist, but she would listen to no one.


“Narada Goswami, who knows all languages, came to know of the sparrow’s impossible ambition and he too tried to restrain her. She respectfully bowed to Narada, but wanted to know why the sea would not return her eggs, since she had done nothing wrong. If she got her eggs back, she would, of course, immediately stop taking the water away.


“Seeing the tiny bird’s determination, Narada was filled with compassion and, by the power of his will alone, reached Garuda, the carrier of Vishnu, in heaven. He purposefully provoked the divine bird, Garuda, ‘While you are cavorting here in heaven, I am hearing on earth that birds have no brains. Why is that?’


“Garuda wanted to know what he would have to do to dispel this idea. Narada asked him to see to it that the distraught bird got its eggs back. Immediately, Garuda flew angrily down to Earth and began fanning the sea with his mighty wings. The fury of their tremendous impact made the sea very afraid. In fear, the ocean personified came and stood before Garuda with palms joined in entreaty. Garuda thundered that he would not tolerate any insult to the birds and that the eggs of the sparrow would have to be returned. The frightened sea searched around for the eggs and returned them to the sparrow.


“The tiny bird was not strong but its perseverance and determination won the compassion of Narada and the grace of Garuda. Thus, the impossible was made possible.”


The Chaitanya Gaudiya Math in Jagannath Puri particularly observes the Niyam Seva period, or month of Karttik. They also have annual festivals at the time of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s appearance day and during the Rathayatra.


(adapted from B. B. Tirtha Maharaj's biography of Madhava Maharaj).

<small><font color=#999990>


[This message has been edited by Jagat (edited 06-26-2001).]

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I forgot to add:


Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj wrote in 1983, after the temple building was completed:


<blockquote>On March 24, 1980, the cornerstone for a new temple was laid in the house in Jagannath Puri where Srila Prabhupada was born. While the foundations were being dug, the devotees were overjoyed at seeing the pure earth with the fragrance of sandalwood incense. Just as Prabhupada was self-manifest, his birthplace also has the same spiritual quality. Though many obstacles had to be overcome in order to make this temple a possibility, Prabhupada’s dear disciple Srimad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Goswami Maharaja, out of his compassion for the devotees, agreed to accept the service and undertook the efforts to restore the holy site.


Now Sriman Mahaprabhu and Jagannath Deva, Himself in another form, have manifested a beautiful skyscraping temple over the site of Their dear devotee’s appearance. Through their blessings and the inspiration given by Srila Prabhupada himself, a powerful desire to do this work manifested in the heart of Prabhupada’s intimate associate, Srila Madhava Goswami Maharaja. He had to overcome numerous difficulties to achieve this work, but now deities have been consecrated and their service is being carried out in this temple. He had a two-story building constructed to house the devotees before he himself went to join his spiritual master in the eternal abode. His disciples sought to fulfill his desires and the Supreme Lord also arranged for the beautiful temple to be built where He and His manifest representative, Srila Prabhupad, could be worshiped. This took place on February 5, 1982, on the holy advent anniversary of Srila Prabhupada.</blockquote>


Chaitanya Vani, 22.1 (Jan. 1983). Also in Of Love and Separation (Mandala Media, 2001), p. 8.


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<h3>Sri Purushottam Math</h3>


Saraswati Thakur first established the Sri Purushottam Math at Bhakti Kuti on June 9, 1922, installing a deity of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. He instituted an annual memorial festival at the Math in honor of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Srila Gadadhar Pandit Goswami, whose residence at Tota Gopinath is just next door. On July 17, 1931, he set the foundations for the new temple of the Purushottam Math on land that had been donated by the Maharaj of Mayurbhanj.


The Sri Purushottam Math is currently a branch of the Gaudiya Mission, whose headquarters are at the Bagh Bazaar Gaudiya Math in Calcutta. Service to the deities is being carried out in an effulgent manner, and a new guest house was recently built.


At present there are nine buildings which include, the temple proper, the kirtan mandap, two guest houses, a long building that includes an office and the bhajan kutirs of Sripad Audulomi Maharaja and Sripad Bhakti Prasad Puri Maharaja (Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu), a kitchen, a small goshala, a building where most of the Math residents stay and, on top of a hill, the somewhat dilapidated bhajan kutir of Srila Saraswati Thakur himself.


The devotees here sing many nice bhajans for several hours each morning. As part of their morning sadhana they daily circumambulate Srila Saraswati Thakur's bhajan kutir while singing, "Jaya Radha Jaya Krishna Jaya Vrindavan..."


Things have recently been picking up for this important temple. More funds have come from donors and they have rebuilt and expanded the guesthouse facility. They also plan on re-modeling the bhajan kutir of Srila Bhakti Prasad Puri Maharaja and making it very nice.


I have heard that originally the Math owned a great deal of property but the government took over some of it and have built the present large water tower which stands just due south of the Math.


<h3>Srila Prabhupada in Purushottam Dhama in 1936</h3>


(from Gaudiya magazine, 14.35, 541-545)


At 2 o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday, March 29, 1936, Srila Prabhupada left Cuttack for Puri. He was accompanied by Vasudeva Prabhu, Krishna Kanti Bhakti Kusum, Paramananda Vidyaratna, Sajjanananda Brahmachari, Sundarananda Vidyavinoda and others.


At about 5.30 in the afternoon, Srila Prabhupada arrived at the Puri station where the aged Radha Govinda Das Babaji Maharaj, Tridandi Swami Bhakti Prasun Bodhayan Maharaj, Gadadhar Das Adhikari Bhakti Suhrit, Udaya Babu and many other devotees from the Puri area greeted and garlanded him. The abbot of Puri’s Uttara Parshwa Math, the venerable Govinda Ramanuja Dasji, sent his new motor car to the station, bedecked with flower garlands, as a way of honoring the glorious sun of the Gaudiya Vaishnava world. This is just one of many instances where the abbot has shown his respect for Srila Prabhupada.


Hanuman Khuntia, a worthy descendant of Mahaprabhu’s associate Kanai Khuntia, was among the first to greet Srila Prabhupada once he had arrived at the Purushottam Gaudiya Math. Srila Prabhupada was pleased with Sri Khuntia for his deep faith, the great friendship he has shown the residents of the Math, and for the help he has given to further the preaching of Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s gospel. Srila Prabhupada talked with Khuntia Mahashay for some time, telling him about his various preaching activities and particularly about the meeting he had had in Cuttack with the Diwan (chief minister) of the Cuttack princely state.


The Diwan had been impressed by the transcendental diorama exhibition held in Calcutta, and asked that Srila Prabhupada organize one of the sort for the spiritual education of the people of Cuttack, for such things had never been seen there before. Hanuman Khuntia was excited by the idea of holding such an exhibit in Puri as well.


The purpose of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival at the Purushottam Math was to initiate construction of a temple for Srimati Radharani on the Chatak Parvat. At present, three buildings adorn the Math grounds creating a beautiful sight on the beach: Chatak Kutir, Bodhayan Kutir, and the temple dedicated to the spiritual masters in the disciplic succession, Gaura-Gadadhara, and Vinoda Madhava. One can get a good view of the ocean from everywhere in Purushottam Gaudiya Math because of its high placement on the dunes.


Of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas’ three beloved deities, Madan Mohan, who presides over sambandha-jnana, is already present in Puri as Jagannath Deva. Similarly, Gopinath, who presides over the prayojana-tattva, is present at Tota Gopinath, Gadadhar Pandit’s place of residence just nearby. Now our worshipable Srila Prabhupada has been encouraging his disciples to establish a temple to Radha Govinda, the presiding deities of the abhidheya-tattva. This is especially important to Srila Prabhupada, the stalwart representative of Rupa Goswami in our time, because Govinda was Sri Rupa’s own personal chosen deity. In order to insure that the work starts very soon, Prabhupada came accompanied by his disciples Amritananda Sevavilasa, Paramananda Vidyaratna, and other disciples experienced in construction.


At present, there is one other construction project already going on at the Math, a residence called Sadhu Nivasa, facing the Bodhayan Kutir. Srila Prabhupada has created several groups of devotees to preach the message of Bhaktivinoda Thakur by singing his songs in the villages of Orissa. As a result, whenever news of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival spread through these villages, many devotees, respectable citizens and important people come to Cuttack and then Puri for his darshan. Srila Prabhupada has therefore ordered that a guest house and kirtan hall be constructed in both places.


The devotees have made a garden in front of the Math where various fruits and vegetables, as well as Tulasi Devi, are grown for the service of the deities and the devotees. Yadu Gopal Adhikari (Yadumani Babu) works tirelessly in the garden to keep everything growing. Srila Prabhupada named the garden "Ananda Bag," because it gives all devotees pleasure), or "Yadumani Bag," because it brings pleasure to the Lord of the Yadu dynasty, Sri Krishna.


One elderly monk, Sri Radha Govinda Das Babaji Maharaj, has been preaching the Maha Mantra beloved of Gaura-Nitai and served constantly by Hari Das Thakur. Babaji Mahasaya is a senior Vaishnava and sincere servant of Srila Prabhupada. He is particularly well-versed in the Bhagavatam and Vaishnava philosophy. Babaji Maharaj distributes prasadi sweet rice in the residential neighborhoods of Puri and gets even the little boys and girls to sing the sixteen names and thirty-two syllables of the Maha Mantra. There is little doubt that everyone who hears the nectarean chanting from his lips will be purged of the poison of all the various recently-fabricated rhyming verses that are being sung throughout Orissa instead of the Maha Mantra.


Tridandi Swami Bhakti Prasun Bodhayan Maharaj, Sripada Gadadhar Das Adhikari, Phenapananda Brahmachari and other devotees have also taken Srila Prabhupada’s orders seriously and are attempting to preach Hari katha from door to door in Puri. On March 29th and 31st, Swamiji spoke on Krishna lila with a slide show in the home of Ray Bahadur Girish Chandra Das in Chakra Tirtha. On April 1, he did the same in the house of Satya Das Goswami and on April 2, in the house of the zamindar Hemendra Nath Ray Chaudhuri.


In the evening, Srila Prabhupada listened to his disciples sing the songs of Narottama Das Thakur and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in the Chatak Kutir. Srila Prabhupada created sankirtan associations as a preliminary step to preaching the philosophy of devotion through these songs. He himself especially relished hearing Ananta Vasudeva Brahmachari sing songs like amala harinAma amiya vilAsA from GitAvali and


<center>rAdhA bhajane jadi mati nAhi bhelA

kRSNa-bhajana tava akAraN gelA</center>


<blockquote>“If you have no appreciation for worshiping Radharani, then you have frittered away your chance to worship Krishna.” (Gitavali, Radhashtaka, 8)</blockquote>


On the morning of April 1, the topic of Raghunath Das Babaji of Hati Akhra, a rnounced Vaishnava who lived at the time of Bhaktivinoda Thakur, came up. At the time that Bhaktivinoda Thakur started preaching in Puri, this Raghunath Das opposed his publicly giving discourse on the Bhagavatam since he had not been initiated. Raghunath Das was subsequently attacked by fever and the blessed by a dream, in which Lord Jagannath appeared and told him that he would be cured by medicine given him by Bhaktivinoda Thakur.


Raghunath Das sent a message to the Thakur, who, in the true Vaishnava spirit, came humbly and respectfully to visit him. On his arrival, Raghunath Das said, “You have come. I know that most magistrates (häkim) would normally never come to see a person like me because they think, hä kim? (“Who on earth is he?”). In other words, “I am really something great and this other person is a nobody.”


Raghunath Das then spoke with Bhaktivinoda Thakur for some time and his previous opinion of him completely changed. Raghunath Das’ fever dissipated soon thereafter and from then on he held Bhaktivinoda Thakur in great esteem for the rest of his days. Of course, the sight of a great devotee can cure us of our material disease and give us pure love for Krishna, so this is only a small indication of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's glory.


It is said that this Raghunath Das was formerly a Naga sannyasi who later came into contact with Bhagavan Das Babaji of Kalna, by whose grace he was converted to Gaudiya Vaishnavism.


On April 2, Ray Bahadur Girish Chandra Das came to the Purushottam Math to see Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada told him about the five kinds of eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord Krishna. If we use Hari kirtan or transcendental sound in any way to promote our mundane relationships with other human beings or any kind of other material relationships, then inauspiciousness is the result.


In the course of his talk, Srila Prabhupada discussed the difference between the Chaitanya Bhagavata and the Chaitanya Charitamrita in their accounts of Mahaprabhu’s life. In the Chaitanya Mangala and Chaitanya Bhagavata, the emphasis is on Mahaprabhu’s supreme divinity and transcendence, while in the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Mahaprabhu’s true personality and His personal message for humanity are described in a most fascinating way. The limits of transcendence for those who are speculating on the basis of their mundane sense perception is the undifferentiated absolute. But in the divine transcendence there is a superhuman charm that leads the individual to eternally serve the supreme object of service.


Srila Prabhupada continued to discuss how the Supreme Person is complete (pUrNa), more complete (pUrNatara) and most complete (pUrNatama). He is complete as Maha Vishnu or Narayan, in which form he displays 60 godly qualities. In the more complete form known as the svayaM prakAza, he has 62 such qualities. The most complete form is called svayaM rUpa, and there he has 64 transcendental qualities.


Srila Prabhupada used mathematics and astrological calculations to explain the significance of the numbers 60 and 64 in relation to completeness.


After coming to Purushottam, Srila Prabhupada glorified Gadadhar Pandit Goswami for several days. This is appropriate as he is non-different from Gadadhar. Srila Prabhupada said, “We are surrendered to Gadadhar Pandit. Srila Pandit Goswami used to speak on the Bhagavatam to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his associates on the banks of the Narendra Sarovar. Therefore, we should soon soon establish the Bhagavata Asan or Bhagavata Khanda on the part of the Purushottam Gaudiya Math property that borders the Tota Gopinath temple. There, the discussion and culture of the Srimad Bhagavatam will go on constantly.


In the morning of April 3, Srila Prabhupada’s scholar disciple, Gaura Das Brahmachari came from Kashi Dhama, and Prof. Nishi Kanta Sanyal, M.A., came from Cuttack to visit their spiritual master. As soon as Srila Prabhupada saw them, he said, “Both of you are manifestations of Gadadhar Pandit, so you should always remain here in Puri and discuss the Bhagavatam.”


Srila Prabhupada said that since Mahaprabhu and His associates disappeared from this world, two greatly destructive ideas about the Lord have arisen in Orissa. One is that the preaching of devotion to Lord Vishnu resulted in the weakening of the Orissan empire. The second is the ignorant attempt of a certain Pandit to minimize the supremacy of Srimati Radharani’s sweet loving service in favor of the majestic type of devotion. Prabhupada said that just as there is a stillness after a storm, so after this storm of false ideas, there will once again be peace when the ideas of divine love taught by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spread.


The statement utkale puruSottamAt means that Mahaprabhu’s message of divine love will spread well beyond Orissa’s borders, but that the whole world will take an interest in the doctrine of the Purushottam that is held in Orissa. It means that the teachings of Ramananda, in which the sweetness of Radharani’s service to the Lila Purushottam is supreme above all other spiritual achievements, will be preached throughout the world.


Just as devotees came to Nilachala from all over to take shelter of Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and in order to preach his message, so too, with the coming of Mahaprabhu’s dear associate, Srila Prabhupada, devotees came from Bengal, Assam, Orissa, from the West and from the South just to hear Mahaprabhu’s message.


Nishi Kanta Sanyal and Pandit Gauri Das Brahmachari were not the only ones to arrive on April 3. At midday, Tirupati’s Subregistrar Pantulugaru Y. Jagannathan, Bhakti Tilaka, B.A., arrived at his acharya’s lotus feet. Bhakti Tilak Mahashay is a highly educated Brahmin from Andhra. He has translated Caitanya Sikshamrita into Telegu and all the songs of Çaraëägati into Telegu verse. He is a good speaker and writer in both English and Telegu. Besides him, many other devotees came from Orissa, Bengal and western India in order to participate in the 100-day kirtan festival. We have heard that the two German devotees will also be coming from Mayapur.


<h3>Srila Prabhupada's last visit to Puri</h3>


About two months before entering his eternal abode, Srila Prabhupada went to Puri. He stayed there at his bhajan kutir near the beach. To all those who came to see him, he gave the warning: “Get busy and worship the Lord undeviatingly. Not much time is left.”


His disciples heard him constantly repeat the verses of Rupa Goswami’s first Govardhanäñöakam and those of Raghunatha Das’s Govardhana-väsa-prärthanä-daçakam.


Mahaprabhu Himself used to see Govardhan in the sand dunes by the ocean, and the Yamuna River in the blue waters of the ocean itself. For Him, the gardens in Puri were Vrindavan itself. Overwhelmed with the loving mood of Radha, Gaurasundara was day and night absorbed in the separation from Krishna, uttering the words:


<center>kAhAn mora prANanAtha muralI-vadana

kAhAn karon kAhAn pAn vrajendra-nandana

kAhAre kahiba kebA jAne mora duHkha

vrajendra-nandana binu phATe mora buka</center>


<blockquote>“Where is the Lord of my life, Krishna, the flute player? What can I do to find him? Where is the son of Maharaja Nanda? To whom can I speak to of my distress? Who would understand me? Without the son of Nanda Maharaja, my heart splits in two” (CC 2.2.15-16).</blockquote>


With tears washing over his face, Srila Prabhupada would also recite these verses from the Chaitanya Charitamrita that revealed Mahaprabhu’s heartfelt emotions. In this way he would remain absorbed in Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada remained in his cottage amongst the Puri sand dunes for the appearance day of Madhvacharya, Govardhan Puja, and the disappearance day of Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji. He announced that the refrains from the two añöakas mentioned above were special mantras for worshiping Govardhan Hill:


<center>pratyAzAM me tvaM kuru govardhana pUrNAm </center>


“O Govardhana, fulfill every one of my wishes!”


<center>nija-nikaTa-nivAsaM dehi govardhana tvam </center>


“O Govardhana, please give me residence somewhere near to you!”


Srila Prabhupada left Puri for the last time on December 7, 1936, twenty-four days before his disappearance.



[This message has been edited by Jagat (edited 06-08-2001).]

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<h3>Bhakti Kuti (Iskcon)</h3>


Next to the Satasan Math near the Swarga Dwar is Bhakti Kuti, where Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur lived on and off from 1900-1910, after retiring from government service.


On the outside wall is a marble plaque with the following verse written by Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself:


<center>gaura-prabhoH prema-vilAsa-bhUmau

niSkincano bhakti-vinoda-nAmA

ko’pi sthito bhakti-kuTIra-koSThe

smRtvAnizaM nAma-guNaM murAreH</center>


<blockquote>In order to remember the names and qualities of Krishna Murari, he who is known as Bhaktivinoda has given up everything to come here to the land of Lord Gauranga’s pastimes, taking shelter of a room in this cottage of devotion (Bhakti Kuti).</blockquote>


In 1903, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati regularly read and give discourses on Chaitanya Charitamrita here in the presence of the Thakur. The famous Radha Raman Charan Das Babaji also came to visit Bhaktivinoda Thakur during this time and they discussed devotional doctrines together.


Another famous Vaishnava who visited Bhaktivinoda Thakur at Bhakti Kuti was the Raja of Cossim Bazaar, Manindra Chandra Nandi, who lived in a tent on the seashore and took instruction in devotional service from the Thakur.


Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur established the Purushottam Gaudiya Math in the Bhakti Kuti in 1922 and devotees stayed here until the construction of the new temple in 1931.


However, in the course of time, the Orissan government came into possession of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's house and property. They were put up for auction in 199x and came into the hands of the disciples of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj led by Jayapataka Swami. It is now a branch math of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Unfortunately, the original building constructed by Bhaktivinoda Thakur in 1902 was in such bad shape that it had to be razed and a new building constructed in its place.


A beautiful temple, luxury guesthouse and prasad restaurant have been built on the property.

Any more informaton about Iskcon's involvement or the period between 1931 and 1992 would be much appreciated.

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<h3>Gopinath Gaudiya Math</h3>


Chakra Tirtha,

Puri Orissa.


Bhakti Bibudh Bodhayan writes:


"One day, I was cleaning Srila Guru Maharaj’s Bhajan Kutir in Mayapur when he suddenly expressed his desire to spend the rest of his life in Puri and to give up his body there. So in 1992, after searching for a long time all over the town, we purchased a small piece of land according to our means. But in the end, we were not able to arrange a proper place for him to stay on a permanent basis. Each year Srila Guru Maharaj would come to attend the Rathayatra festival and spend only a few days. We were still trying to arrange a suitable accommodation for him.


"In 1997, Srila Guru Maharaj came to Vrindavan and had a realization about Mahaprabhu’s instruction to Srila Jagadananda Pandit that vrindavane jaiyo na rahio cira kal, which means, “Go to Vrindavan, but don’t stay there permanently.”


"I was there at the time. Guru Maharaj told me that he did not want to disregard Mahaprabhu’s instruction. Again he said, “So arrange my place at Puri, I want to spend the rest of my life time there following Gadadhar Pandit’s Kshetra sannyas.”


"As a unworthy disciple, I arranged a room for him in Puri and then accompanied him there from Vrindavan on May 1, 1997. From 1997 until entering the nitya lila, he was constantly experiencing Sriman Mahaprabhu's different Gambhira pastimes. I would see him talking at night with Lord Jagannath and Mahaprabhu. Sometime I would interrupt him in the middle of his conversations with Lord Jagannath. He would refuse to tell me to whom he was talking, but I understood clearly that he was speaking to Lord Jagannath.


"Gradually, Guru Maharaj installed a deity under an asbestos-roofed shed. He felt unhappy because he was staying on the second floor of a nice building and lying down on a soft bed, while Lord Jagannath was living in austere quarters. He prayed to all of us that we prepare a nice temple for Lord Jagannath and Sri Radha Madan Mohan. Now my dearmost Godbrothers, Sripad Ram Das Prabhu, Sripad Govardhan Prabhu and Sudarshan Prabhus, are going fulfill his desire, to make a nice temple on the beach. It is under construction now. We hope that it will be open in time for his upcoming Vyasa Puja festival."


<h3>Sri Chaitanya Ashram</h3>


This temple was founded by Bhakti Kumud Santa Maharaj. It is located south of Purushottam Math and a little north of the Chaitanya Saraswata Math on Gaurbat Sahi.


<h3>Sri Chaitanya Saraswata Math </h3>


Bidhava Ashram Road, Gaur Batsahi

Puri, Orissa, India

Pin 752001

Phone: (06752) 23413


Sri Chaitanya Saraswata Math is located near the beach a couple of kilometers west of Haridas Thakur's samadhi. It has a nice three story guest house and a beautiful temple which is the home of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. An unusual thing about the deities here is that Nitai is holding a danda (stick, not like a sannyas danda).


The deities and the temple were established by Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaja the disciple of BR Sridhar Maharaja and current acharya of the Chaitanya Saraswata Math on the day of Odhan Sasthi. They have a nice festival every year on this day and invite devotees from many different maths all over Puri.


<h3>Chaitanya Chandra Math</h3>



Puri, Orissa,

Pin 752002

Ph. 06752-24455


This math stands next door to the Gundicha Temple. It is the headquarters of the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission founded by Srimad Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaj.


The math is in the Ai Tota gardens, where Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya showed His mercy to King Prataparudra. During the Rathayatra, Sri Chaitanya came here reciting verses from the Bhagavatam that expressed Sri Radha's longing for Sri Krishna. In the ardor of His love, He almost fell down and the king came forth to hold Him up. Though the Lord was pleased with Prataparudra for his humble service to Lord Jagannath as a sweeper, He feigned anger to warn his followers against coming in close touch with wordly-minded people.


Again, with all humility, the king approached Mahaprabhu reciting the Gopi-gita from Srimad Bhagavatam. This time he received the Lord's blessings through a warm embrace. The place where the Lord embraced Maharaj Prataparudra is where the Sri Chaitanya Chandra Ashram stands.


B. V. Puri Maharaj appeared 1913 in the village Fulta, five kilometers from Berhampur in Orissa’s Ganjam district He came from a family of Ramanuja Vaishnavas, but was initiated by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami in 1936 on Balaram’s appearance day. He took sannyas from H. H. Bhakti Sarvasva Giri Maharaj in 1966 and started the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mission in Kakinada, A.P., in the same year.


The Chaitanya Chandra Gaudiya Math was opened in 1983. The international Krishna Chaitanya Mission has more than twenty branch maths in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Europe.


This math has a nice temple with beautiful Radha Krishna deities and a large guest house. This temple is famous for giving prasadam to large numbers of visiting devotees.


<h3>Sri Nilachala Gaudiya Math</h3>


This math is on Gaurbat Sahi in Swarga Dwar, near Haridas Thakura’s samadhi by the sea (Telephone. 06752-23074). It is part of the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. In Narayan Maharaj’s biography of Bhakti Prajnan Keshav Maharaja, it says that while visiting Puri in 1948, Keshava Maharaj decided to establish a temple in Puri, but was not able to carry out the project himself at that time. His wishes were carried out by his disciples, Tridandi Swamis Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaj and Bhaktivedanta Narayan Goswami Maharaja, who opened the math on Rasa Purnima, at the end of Karttik in 1978.


Currently in charge of the Math is Srila Bhaktivedanta Acharya Maharaja who is assisted by Sachidananda Brahmachari. Deities are Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha-Vinoda Bihariji. The temple welcomes devotees from all over the world, especially during Snana Purnima, Rathayatra and other festivals.

In the biography that Narayan Maharaja wrote about Bhakti Prajnan Kesava Maharaja he says that while he was visiting Puri in 1948 Bhakti Prajnan Kesava Maharaja decided to establish a temple in Puri, but was not able to carry out the project himself.


<h3>Bhaktivedanta Ashram</h3>


Sipasirubuli, Puri

Tel. (06752) 24594


H. H. Gaur Govinda Maharaj helped to arrange for this 40-acre property to be purchased for Iskcon. It sat for a long time with nothing going on under the lack of supervision of the local GBC (Jayapataka Maharaja). Then the devotees got the idea to make it into a kind of grhastha retirement community. They made a time share scheme and sold plots. A number of devotees purchased into it, most notably Vaiyasaki, Dhruva Maharaja and Yadubar Prabhus. Unfortunately, the property was mismanaged. The property sat for a long time with only a couple of devotees staying there. Jayapataka Maharaja has recently installed Gaura Nitai Deities there in a small temple and has sent three or four of his Bengali brahmacharis to take care of things. It is located on the beach a few miles south of town.


<h3>Gaudiya Saraswata Ashram</h3>


This is the name of the amazing temple located north of Haridas Thakur's samadhi on Satasan Road. This temple, which was founded by Srila Saraswati Thakur's disciple Srirupa Siddhanti Maharaja, is very popular. It has beautiful diaromas covering virtually every inch of the temple, grounds and inside of the boundary wall.


The deity worship is very nice here. The temple has nice Radha Krishna deities, many Salagram silas and a Shiva linga on an altar behind Radha Krishna. Siddhanti Maharaja wrote commentaries on several Upanishads which are sold here at the temple. This temple also has nice discourses on the Bhagavat that are attended by many pilgrims.


<h3>Purushottam Gaudiya Math</h3>


The "Purushottam Gaudiya Math" was founded by Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj. It is just next to Haridas Thakur's samadhi (to the north). This temple has a large guest house and deities of Sri Sri Radha Vinode Bihari.

<font color=#999999><small>


[This message has been edited by Jagat (edited 06-26-2001).]

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<h3>Govardhan Math</h3>


Shankaracharya, the incarnation of Lord Shiva, established Govardhan Math, or Bhogavardhan Math, probably near the beginning of the ninth century. One tradition holds that the name bhoga-vardhana results from Shankara’s influence in increasing the amount of food offerings given to Lord Jagannath.


This is without a doubt the oldest math in Jagannath Puri. The ground level of Govardhan Math is several feet below the level of the surroundings. This is also true of several of the Shiva temples, such as Markandeshwar, Lokanath and Yameshwar. These are older than the Jagannath temple.


The present abbot is named Swami Niranjan Deva Tirtha. The math records indicate that 144 different abbots have been heads of the Govardhan Math since its founding.


There is a marble murti of Shankara housed there and a seat (gadi), indicating that this is the residence of the Shankaracharya, or representative of the sampradaya’s founder. The monks at Govardhan Math also worship a deity of Krishna in the form of a cowherd, but since the Shankara school does not accept the eternal nature of the Supreme Lord’s form, they are not recognized as Vaishnavas. There is also a Shiva linga called Ardhanarishwar in the temple.



<h3>Shankara’s role in the establishment of Jagannath Puri</h3>


The Vaishnava scriptures say that Shankaracharya was an incarnation of Lord Shiva who came to bewilder the atheists, to turn them away from Lord Vishnu. In fact, history shows that Shankara played a pivotal role in reinstating Hinduism in India and driving Buddhism out of the subcontinent, thus setting the stage for the revival of Vaishnavism.


Usually, emphasis is placed on Shankara’s philosophical contribution and it is forgotten that he was also the founder of the Smarta school of worship. The essence of Smarta worship is that one worships five gods – Shiva, Vishnu, Ganapati, Surya and Shakti. In the time prior to Shankara, these different Hindu sects were often in conflict with each other, and this syncretic system of worship under the banner of the Advaita philosophy made it possible for a neo-Hinduism or neo-Brahmanism to take shape.


In order to spread his teachings, Shankaracharya set up religious headquarters in the four corners of India: Dwaraka in the west, Rameshwar in the south, Badarikashram in the north and Sri Kshetra in the east. The Govardhan Math historically played a very important role in the affairs of the Jagannath temple until a very recent time. The temple priests have traditionally been Smartas. We hear emphasized again and again that the Jagannath temple is a great center of syncretism.


According to the Madala Panji, when Shankara came to Sri Kshetra, he found no Jagannath deity there. The influence of the Buddhists was very strong and Shankara set about debating with their scholars and defeating them. He heard from local people that Lord Jagannath had been hidden in the Chilika Lake. Using his mystic power, Shankara found the deity under a banyan tree and reinstalled Him in the temple with all the suitable rites. He also installed the deities of Balaram (to represent Shiva) and Subhadra (to represent Shakti) so that “all the sects would be satisfied.”


Madala Panji further states that Shankara placed the Brahma-padartha (Nabhi Brahma) inside Lord Jagannath, and Shalagram Shilas he brought with him from his travels to Nepal in Lord Baladeva and Lady Subhadra. He also established the Nrisingha temple in the compound and there is an image of Shankara at the feet of Lakshmi Nrisingha.


On a pillar of the Jagamohan, there is a depiction of Shankaracharya in painting. A legend has it that before the present temple was built, the Govardhan Math of Shankaracharya was located at the place where the present Jagamohan now stands. The Acharyas of the Math were in charge of Jagannath’s worship. In those days, the sannyasis’ ashram was in Bali Sahi. To allow enough space for the construction of the massive temple, the Govardhan Math was shifted to the ashram in Bala Sahi. The painting of Shankara was left as a memento.


<h3>The continued influence of the Shankara sect</h3>


Only Smarta Brahmins from the settlements and sannyasis of Shankara’s order have the right to sit on the Mukti Mandap council. Even the heads of influential and powerful Vaishnava maths have no such right. In District Collector’s report (in 1805, just after the British took over in Orissa), it was emphatically stated that on all affairs related to the temple, the sannyasis of Shankaracharya’s order must be consulted.


In the Karmangi of Madala Panji, the following directive is found: “Gurus are of three types, First the sannyasis of Shankaracharya’s order. As head of the Govardhan Math, he is also called Shankaracharya. He is the foremost preceptor. He is to receive a pot of Maha Prasad and a plate of Khichuri after offering is made to the goddess Bimala Devi. He has the right to sit within the sanctum of the temple. He is authorized to himself render any service to the deity. The priests of the temple enter service only when he presents them after examination. The priests are to daily serve his personal Nrisingha. He is the original preceptor.”


During the Maratha period (ca. 1750-1800) of influence in Puri, the Ramanandi sadhu Baba Govinda Brahmachari undertook repairs to Jagannath’s Ratna Singhasan. Up until that time, images of Shankaracharya and Padmapada, the first acharya of Govardhan Math, were shifted from the Ratnavedi for the repairs. Before these images could be reinstated, some Vaishnavas snatched them away and threw them into the sea. The Puri Sannyasis petitioned the authorities several times, but they thought it prudent not to take an anti-Vaishnava position at that time, so they were never replaced.


The abbot of Govardhan Math still has a prestigious position as can be inferred from the fact that he is the permanent head (or nayaka) of the Mukti Mandap council. Temple authorities traditionally consult him in religious and ritual matters whenever necessary


Padmapada Tirtha wrote several books glorifying Sri Purushottam, including one called Purusha-vivritti.


<center>na mAtA na pitA na ca sRSTi-hetuH

na cAkRtir vA prakRti-vizeSaH

na ca prapanca-svarUpAnuvRttiH

sa hi vareNyaH puruSottamottamaH</center>


<blockquote>He is not our mother, nor our father. Nor is He the cause of the creation. He is neither formless, nor is He a manifestation of nature. His actions are not dictated by an identity born of material nature. He is the supreme being, the greatest of all conscious entities, the Purushottam. (verse 1)</blockquote>


When Sundarananda first visited Govardhan Math, Madhusudhan Tirtha was the abbot there. Sundarananda was shown the Math’s extensive manuscript library by Madhusudan Tirtha and gave an account of it in the first volume of Vaiñëava-maïjuñä-samähåti.


When Srila Prabhupada visited Puri, he was introduced to Madhusudan Tirtha, with whom he had many philosophical discussions. Tirtha Swami held Srila Prabhupada in high esteem.




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