Vrindavan. 2015.09.20 (Padmanabh Goswami, Vrindavan Today): Sri Sarvabhauma Madhusudan Goswami was a devotee in the disciplic succession of Srila Gopal Bhatt Goswami and a worshiper of Shri Radha Ramanji in Vrindavan. He was a scholar of nyaya and Sanskrit grammar, a preacher and a social reformer, and he was famous as a great devotee. During his lifetime, he toured several times around India spreading the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Madhusudan Goswami had close relationships with many great saints and scholars of his time, including Shishir Kumar Ghosh, Sri Kedarnath Bhaktivinode Thakur, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Pandit Rasik Mohan Vidyabhushan, Sri Madan Mohan Malaviya, and Sri Haridas Goswami.
Madhusudan Goswami was completely dedicated to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He and his disciples installed many deities of Mahaprabhu in different places. It is said that it was partly due to Sri Madhusudan Goswami’s inspiration that Sri Shishir Kumar Ghosh wrote his famous books, Sri Amiya Nimai Charita in Bengali and Lord Gauranga in English. He is also credited with inspiring Sri Krishna Gopal Duggal in his Urdu language book on Mahaprabhu’s life.
In Nabadwip, Sri Madhusudan Goswami obtained a very old, life-sized deity of Mahaprabhu, whom he named “Sri Amiya Nimai Gauranga Mahaprabhu.” On Sri Madhusudan’s order, his disciple Sri Radha Govinda Goswami installed the deity in a temple in Kolkata’s Bagh Bazar district.
Radha Govinda Goswami was born in a high-class brahmana family, and his ancestors were great devotees of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. A highly-skilled musician, he lived by teaching music. Whatever he earned, he spent in the service of Mahaprabhu. Radha Govinda Goswami did not see Amiya Nimai as a deity. In his dealings with the Lord, he viewed and worshipped Him as a living manifestation of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
As Radha Govinda Goswami started growing older, he began to worry about the future worship of Amiya Nimai. There was no successor in his family. Once, in a helpless condition, Sri Goswami Ji asked Mahaprabhu, “In the future, how and by whom will Your service be performed?”
That night, Mahaprabhu came to him in a dream and said, “Stop worrying. Take Me to Vrindavan where your guru’s son lives.”
After receiving this order from the Lord, Sri Radha Govinda Goswami wrote a letter to his guru’s son, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami. He explained the instruction Mahaprabhu had given him, and requested, “Please arrange to take Amiya Nimai to Vrindavan.”
Krishna Chaitanya Goswami thought, “How can such a big deity be carried to Vrindavan? Where will the Lord be seated? How can His service and worship be arranged for?” In this way, he expressed his inability to Sri Radha Govinda Goswami. Again, Radha Govinda Goswami wrote and requested him to arrange for His worship. Like this, letters were exchanged between them for some time. Then one evening, while singing Gita Govinda in front of Amiya Nimai, Sri Radha Govinda Goswami left his body. It was a heart-rending tragedy for the local devotees. Everyone began to worry, “Radha Govinda Goswami has no successor. How will Mahaprabhu’s order to bring the deity to Vrindavan be fulfilled?”
Because there was no successor to Radha Govinda Goswami, the police came and sealed off the temple. The devotees then started performing the worship mentally, and offered bhog (food) in front of the locked gate. After a short time, the police unlocked the gate and searched the temple. They found the letters exchanged between Radha Govinda Goswami and Krishna Chaitanya Goswami concerning bringing Amiya Nimai to Vrindavan. They also found a will that left the service of Amiya Nimai to Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami. Based on these documents, the police wrote to Krishna Chaitanya Goswami and requested him to bring Amiya Nimai to Vrindavan. Having no other alternative, Goswami Ji went to Kolkata. There he discussed the matter with the local devotees.
In November of 1936, a group of devotees, including Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami, Sri Ramdas Baba Ji Maharaj of Path Bari, and others brought Amiya Nimai from Kolkata to Hathras in a reserved coach of the Toofan train. Amiya Nimai stayed at Hathras for four days, during which time the devotees worshiped Him with bhajans, Hari-katha, and various other devotional activities. After that, the deity was brought to Vrindavan by truck.
When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu originally came to vrindavan, He arrived on the full moon day of the month of Kartik. On that same day, 26 November 1926, the full moon day of Kartik, the deity of Sri Amiya Nimai Mahaprabhu arrived in Vrindavan. All the Vaishnavas of Vrindavan assembled and extended an unprecedented welcome with tumultuous kirtan. As there was no suitable place immediately available to install such a large deity of Mahaprabhu, Amiya Nimai was temporarily worshiped outside the main gate of the Radha Raman Temple, in an area known as the raas-mandal. Amiya Nimai stayed there for four of five years.
Then, Sri Shah K.S Gupta, the present servitor of Sri Shah Ji Mandir, Vrindavan, and his grandmother Srimati Rama Devi, constructed two large rooms on the bank of the Yamuna in what was then the garden of Shah Ji’s temple, also known as Jugal Bagicha, and the deity was shifted there. For approximately sixteen years, Amiya Nimai remained at that spot.
As the years passed, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami thought, “Mahaprabhu must have His own temple where His worship can be conducted smoothly and regularly.” Sri Goswami had a property in Gopinath Bazar, Vrindavan. There, around the year 1954, construction of a temple was started for Amiya Nimai. Much help towards the temple’s construction came from the Amrita Bazar Patrika publication group in Kolkata. The temple was finished in 1956, and Amiya Nimai was ceremoniously installed with great pomp and rejoicing. Since that day, Mahaprabhu’s worship and service has been carried on continuously and regularly.
After the departure of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami, his only son, Sri Vishwambhar Goswami took over the responsibilities of Amiya Nimai’s service. After Sri Vishwambhar Goswami, his sons Sri Padmanabh Goswami and Sri Padmalochan Goswami are sincerely continuing the service.
Special Festivals in Amiya Nimai’s Worship
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Appearance Day (Gaur Purnima):
This festival is celebrated for four days. On the first day, Vaishnavas perform adhivas kirtan. On the second day, learned men recited Sri Chaitanya Charitamarta and other scriptures. On the third day, the pastime of Mahaprabhu’s birth is recited, and then an elaborate abhisek (bathing ceremony) of Mahaprabhu is conducted. Following that, prasad is distributed amongst the devotees. Then, on the last day, there is a feast for the Vaishnavs. In the evening, there is a kirtan procession around the town carrying a painting of Mahaprabhu.
Disappearance Day of Haridas Thakur:
On this day, Mahaprabhu is dressed in the same mood He manifested on the occasion of Haridas Thakur’s disappearance. That day, Mahaprabhu went as a sannyasi beggar and collected alms and organized a feast for Haridas Thakur in Jagannath Puri. Thus, Amiya Nimai is dressed as a sannyasi on this day and carries a begging-bag in His hand. Special khichari bhog is offered to Mahaprabhu and distributed among the devotees.
Arrival of Mahaprabhu in Vrindavan:
During His manifest pastimes in this world, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu first came to Vrindavan on the full moon day of the month of Kartik. Mahaprabhu then visited various places in Vrindavan connected with the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. This festival is conducted every year in remembrance of those pastimes.
The program goes on for four days. On the first day, adhivas kirtan is performed by the followers of the late Ramdas Baba Ji Maharaj. These devotees come all the way from Nabadwip, Kolkata, and Puri to participate and extend their full cooperation for the festival. On the next day, learned scholars recite aloud various scriptures. On the third day, a kirtan is performed telling the story of Akrur coming to Vrindavan. This particular subject is chosen because Mahaprabhu came to Akrur Ghat one day before his arrival in Vrindavan. After this, a feast is given to all of the Vaishnavas. On the fourth day, which the full moon day of Kartik month, Mahaprabhu’s pastimes of arriving in and touring Vrindavan are disussed. Then in the afternoon a kirtan procession goes out to the places in Vrindavan that Mahaprabhu visited on the day He first arrived. During this procession, many verses are sung that describe what Mahaprabhu felt when he saw the various pastime places of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. Then, after returning to the temple, prasadam is distributed to all of the devotees.
In the month of Shravan (July-August) from the day of Pavitraropani Ekadasi up to the full moon day, Amiya Nimai is daily pushed on a swing.
The day after the full moon, Amiya Nimai is dressed up as Srimati Radharani.