T oday is the disappearance day festival of Srila Vrindavan das Thakur, the author of Sri Caitnaya Bhagavata. At MODADRUMA DVIPA of Navadvipa dham is the birthplace and ancestral home of Srimati Malini devi, wife of Srivasa Pandit. Sri Vrindavan Das Thakura’s mother’s name was Sri Narayani Devi. Narayani Devi was the daughter of Srivas Thakura’s brother. When Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed his divinity in the house of Srivasa, showing his true self to the assembled devotees there, Narayani devi was only a four year old girl. In the Caitanya Bhagavata it is written: “The golden moon, Sri Gauranga, revealed himself as the soul of all souls. At that time he ordered Narayani to chant the name of Krishna. Although she was only four years old she became mad with love of God. And crying, “O Krishna!” she swooned in ecstasy. As she laid on the ground in a trance of bliss, her eyes filled with tears, overwhelmed with divine love.”
Narayani Devi’s son was Vrindavana Das Thakura. In the Caitanya Bhagavata he has written of how Narayani was the object of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s affection: “As a result of her great piety, Narayani would get whatever remnants the Lord might leave after eating. Although she was only an unschooled little girl, the Lord would favour Srivas Thakur’s niece by giving her the leftovers of food touched by His holy lips.” Indeed it was by the mercy of the Lord Caitanya that Vrindavan dasa Thakura took birth in the womb of Narayani. Sri Gauranga and Sri Nityananda were the very life and soul of Vrindavana dasa Thakura.
TRANSCENDENTAL SISTERS RE-APPEAR
Gaura Ganodesa Dipika describes that Narayani was previously Kilimbika, the younger sister of Lord Sri Krishna’s nursemaid Ambika. It is also explained that Ambika became Malini Devi, the wife of Srivasa Pandita. Therefore, Ambika and Kilimbika reappeared in Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s pastimes as Malini Devi and Narayani Devi, in their same roles as maidservants.
NARAYANI DEVI – FAVORED BY LORD SRI CAITANYA MAHAPRABHU
Narayani Devi was just 4 years old when Gauranga Mahaprabhu bestowed Krishna-prema upon her. She was staying with Srivasa Pandita and Malini Devi at Srivasa Angan. One day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly appeared there in the mood of the Supreme Lord shouting, “I am Him! I am Him!” He burst into Srivasa Pandita’s temple room and revealed Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead to the shaken and thunderstruck Srivasa Pandita. Mahaprabhu then called for everyone in Srivasa Pandita household, including Narayani. After assuring everyone there was nothing to fear from Chand Kazi’s soldiers, Gauranga Mahaprabhu divulged His plans to defeat the Kazi and his ban on Harinam Sankirtan. first, as the Supersoul, He would change the Kazi’s heart. Then, if necessary, He would defeat all the Kazi’s priests to establish supremacy of chanting the Holy Name: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. And to prove that supremacy, He would make all people and animals chant Hare Krishna in sublime ecstasy. Seeing Narayani, Gaurahari then said, “Narayani! Chant Krishna’s name and cry in ecstasy.” At this, little Narayani became agitated with spiritual emotions and cried out, “O Krishna,” while rolling around, absorbed in Krishna-prema.
Gaurahari always gave Narayani special attention whenever He saw her, and personally gave her betel nut remnants from His mouth. Sometime after Mahaprabhu left Mayapur, Narayani married and moved to another village. She was pregnant when her husband suddenly died and this is when Malini Devi brought her to Mamgachhi to live.
LITERARY INCARNATION FOR MAHAPRABHU’S PASTIMES
Sri Vrindavan Das Thakura is an incarnation of Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa. Vedavyasa wrote the Vedas. He then wrote Srimad Bhagavatam the mature fruit of the Vedas that describes Lord Krishna’s pastimes. Then, as Vrindavan Das Thakura, Vyasdeva wrote Sri Caitanya Bhagavata (previously known as Caitanya Mangala); it describes Krishna’s pastimes as Gaurahari in Navadvipa-Mayapur. This most enchanting rendition of Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s pastimes gives the conclusion of Srimad Bhagavatam – Bhakti, the devotional service to Lord Sri Krishna.
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wrote in his commentary to Caitanya Bhagavata, “At the ancestral home of Malini Devi, Vrindavan Das played as a small boy growing up. There he was nourished and cared for just like a valuable gem.” Vrindavan Das Thakura took initiation from Lord Nityananda at 16 years of age and went travelling and preaching with Him. When they were in Denur, in the district of Burdwan, Lord Nityananda told him to stay and preach there and so he never personally saw Lord Caitanya. He went to the first Gaura-Purnima festival at Kheturi-grama, accompanying Sri Jahnava Devi, the eternal consort of Lord Nityananda.
Srila Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami shows his supreme homage and gratitude by honoring Vrndavana Dasa Thakura with the appellation “Vyasa“ in the Caitanya-Caritamrta Antya 20.82: “Vrndavana Dasa Thakura is Lord Nityananda’s favourite devotee. And therefore he is the original Vyasadeva in describing the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” As Srila Vyasadeva told Sri Krishna’s pastimes in Bhagavatam and other Puranas,Srila Vrndavana Dasa Thakura described Caitanya lila in Caitanya Bhagavata.
The humble heart of Krishna Dasa Kaviraja pours out more praises of Vrindavan Dasa Thakura: “Hearing Caitanya Bhagavata destroys all misfortune. By reading Caitanya Bhagavata one will understand the glories of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda. And he will attain the highest perfection of knowledge-pure love of Krishna. “Since such a wonderful book could not be written by a human being, it seems that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself has spoken it through the mouth of Srila Vrindavana Dasa Thakura. I offer millions of respectful obeisances to the lotus feet of Vrindavana Dasa Thakura. By compiling such a valuable book he has delivered everyone from the cycle of birth and death.” (Caitanya-Caritamrta Adi 8.33-42)
Sri Vrindavan Das Thakura’s samadhi is in the 64 Samadhis Area of Sridham Vrindavan.