PANDIT SRI GADADHAR GOSWAMI
A definitive article on Srila Gadadhar Pandit’s paramount sacrifice.
By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Translated from a Bengali article
originally published in Sri Gaudiya Darsan,
Volume 2, Issue 1, 12 August 1956.
Sri Gadadhar Goswami is the highest amongst Sri Gauranga’s intimate associates. As Sri Radhika’s position is, in comparison to all, undisputedly the highest in Sri Krishna’s madhura-lila, so the special audarya-madhura-rasa in Sri Pandit Goswami’s character is the object of the greatest attraction for Sri Gauranga in comparison to all present within Sri Gaura-Krishna’s audarya-lila and His service in audarya-madhura-rasa. The great souls see Sri Radha within Pandit Gadadhar.
Pandit Gadadhar’s appearance is during the summer on Amavasya (the new moon) in Jyaistha, and his disappearance is one month later on Amavasya in Asadh. Pandit Goswami’s life is a special offering of silent and complete self-sacrifice to his beloved. Only those who can taste unprecedented joy by appreciating the wonder within the ornament of contradiction in seeing the bag of a beggar on Laksmi Devi’s shoulder are fit to appreciate the extraordinary glory of Srimat Pandit Goswami’s unprecedented personality. From his childhood, he was very simple, quiet, modest, courteous, devoted to the Lord and the brahmans, and affectionate to friends. Although he is gentle, he is timid; although he is a surrendered soul, he feels offensive; although he is fully realised, he feels inexperienced; and although he is a leader, he is a submissive servant. His attachment to his Lord Sri Gauranga is such that even the glances of Gaurasundar’s ordinary followers make him hesitant and timid. His mad absorption in his Guru, Sri Gaura, made him forget his mantra for worship. Even a little faith in Sri Gauranga attracts his heart from afar, so much so that as an expression of affection he accepts insults as praise from anyone who has such attraction. Sri Pandit Goswami’s character is, in gist, like the neglected figure of one who has given away all one’s wealth and willingly accepted the garb of a beggar.
Sri Gadadhar’s wealth is not external wealth like the kingdom Harischandra sacrificed or the bodies Sibi and Dadhichi sacrificed. It is not like the nurse Panna’s sacrifice of her dear son or the sacrifice of queens like Padmini, who gave up their bodies for the sake of their chastity. It is unlike even Socrates’ sacrifice of his body for the sake of propagating realisation of the soul or Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of his body for the deliverance of the world. For a knower of the soul who is situated in the higher plane, sacrificing the body is a very insignificant notion. Abandoning the wealth of one’s inner body, one’s inherent spiritual wealth, is much more difficult to do. If we can appreciate a liberated soul’s wealth of devotion, and beyond that, the wealth of prema, then only will we appreciate the heartfelt mood within Sri Pandit Goswami’s incomparable gift of the wealth of his heart, and that becomes understandable only by his grace and the grace of his associates. It is not possible for all these esoteric matters to become matters of quick, ordinary understanding. Still, appreciating their importance, we are overviewing them.
Moreover, as the value of a gift is to be ascertained by assessing a gradation between gifts, so the gradation in the worthiness of the recipient of a gift is to be understood. The greatness and result of a giver’s gift will be as great as the gift’s recipient is. According to this conception, there is no comparison to the greatness of both the substance and the recipient of Sri Pandit Goswami’s gift of his heart. This is because the wealth of Sri Radha’s prema is the highest substance, and Sri Krishnachandra as the son of a brahman (Sri Gaurasundar) is the greatest recipient of gifts. While discussing this matter, we are remembering the story of Sri Yajnavalkya. As higher and higher conceptions of the soul were being discussed, and even after the highest conception was introduced, to answer an enquirer’s enquiry about an even higher conception, Yajnavalkya Rsi gravely established the limit of curiosity’s utility.
Although we are unable to realise Sri Pandit Goswami’s greatness, the great souls have preserved their divine understanding of Gadadhar’s identity for us. We, however, as a result of our misfortune, are unable to have faith in that and immerse ourselves in the offence of irreverence. Furthermore, some attribute Sri Radha’s inherent wealth to Nityananda-Baladev or Das Gadadhar, fly the flag of their own speculations, become offenders to the truth, and bar the door to their own perfection (svarup-siddhi). Some, being unable to understand the nature of Gadadhar’s worship of Gaura-Krishna, dress Narayan as an enjoyer and invite Him to enjoy, considering that Visnu Priya’s husband Gaura Narayan has an enjoying mentality. When Sri Krishna is adorned with Radha’s heart, He is Sri Gaura, and when Gaura is apart from Radha, He is Sri Krishna. Only Sri Krishna is the object of worship for madhura and all other rasas. Forms of the Lord such as Sri Rama do not have this qualification. Sri Gaurasundar, the son of a brahman, Sri Krishna Chaitanyadev, the leader of the sannyasis, has never and does never talk or otherwise interact with others’ wives in the mood of a debauchee. Seeing according to that conception that He enjoys what belongs to others (parakiya-sambhoga) is distasteful (rasabhas); it is an offence; it is contrary to the teachings of the great souls; and it is a wicked misconception. In Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat, Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, and the other authoritative works of the great souls, there are no occurrences or allusions to this conception of Gaura the enjoyer (Gaura-nagara-vad) whatsoever, nor can there be. As a chaste wife, when her husband worships the Deity, serves him by helping with his worship, and at that time does not obstruct his worship by conversing with him amorously according to the customs of matrimony, so in the Pastimes of Sri Krishnachandra when He is meditative and dedicated to Sri Krishna’s worship in Sri Radha’s mood—in His Pastimes of worshipping Sri Krishna (Himself) in His form befitting for doing so, Sri Gauranga—Sri Gadadhar, Sri Radhika Herself, lives a life of assistance to Her Master, who is dedicated to worship—this form alone is always manifest in Gadadhar. Sri Radha and Krishna are always in the playful mood of Vraja, and Sri Gadai and Gauranga are always in the benevolent mood of Nabadwip. Sri Radha and Krishna of Vraja’s madhurya are Sri Gadadhar and Gauranga of Nabadwip’s audarya. Their unity is obstructed by thinking otherwise. The common conceptions of practitioners should be abandoned, and the great souls’ path should be strictly followed.
Sri Gauranga is the Deity of prema. Although Sri Krishna is the Deity of prema, because enjoyment is predominant within Him, He does not manifest as the Deity of prema in all respects. Sri Gauranga, however, situated in the rasas of separation (vipralambha) and benevolence (audarya), is the Deity of prema for even the common conditioned souls. Sri Nityananda Prabhu, as the Deity form of Sri Guru, eagerly roams from one soul’s door to another to give that Deity of prema to the sinners. Sri Advaita Prabhu, the Deity of the highest auspiciousness, called the Premavatar Sri Chaitanyachandra, brought Him to the earth, and showed everyone the proper path. Srivas Pandit and the other devotees are the assistants and wealth in the God of prema Sri Gauranga’s sankirtan Pastimes. Sri Svarup, Rupa, Sanatan, Raghunath, Jiva, and so on, as nectarean streams from the fountain of prema, are enlivening the entire world. (This sinner, cherishing faint hope, is a beggar desirous of one drop of that nectar. The mercy of Sri Guru and Vaisnava is his only hope.)
Sri Krishna assumed the form of the Deity of prema, Sri Gauranga, to chant the glory of prema. Understanding that this was possible only by accepting the mood of His beloved, Sri Radha, who is the highest repository of the wealth of prema, He took Her mood. Sri Krishna will and did earnestly worship Sri Radha. But in His Gaura-lila with the devotees, His nature as Sri Krishna, that is, His nature of loving the gopis and becoming subdued by Sri Radha, manifest fully. Gaura’s love for Gadadhar is extraordinary. But His love’s form was reversed. Krishna wore the dress of Radha’s mood, and Sri Radha stood destitute. This is Sri Gadadhar’s form.
During Gaura’s worship of Krishna in Radha’s mood, after Sri Gadadhar offered everything to his beloved, Gadadhar’s bare, glorious form reflected into the vision of the eyes that hankered to see it—into the thirsty vision of the Lord’s intimate associates who hanker for intense prema. The object of worship dressed as the worshipper. The worshipper offered to the object of worship even the fountain of his offerings of worship (his heart) and stood in the glorious posture of sarva-atma-arpana: offering the entire self. Therein, with the desire of attaining the invaluable wealth of the object of worship’s attraction and love for the worshipper, the followers of Sri Gaura, under Gadadhar’s guidance, discovered the unprecedented path and result of service to Sri Gauranga. Gadadhar’s followers tasted Sri Radha’s ecstasy in separation (vipralambha-rasa) in a deeper way.
gadai-gauranga jaya jahnava jivana
sitapati jaya srivasadi-bhakta-gana
“All glory to Gadadhar, Gauranga, Nityananda, Advaita, Srivas, and all the Lord’s devotees!”
Harischandra: A member of the solar dynasty and king of Ayodhya mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures. To keep his promise to Visvamitra of giving the sage whatever he desired, Harischandra gave up his kingdom, sold himself, his wife, and his son into slavery, and underwent extreme hardships. Ultimately he served as a slave operating a cremation ground and was forced to demand payment for the cremation of his own son from his wife, who had become the slave of a wicked brahman. When his virtue had been tested to the extreme, the gods appeared with Visvamitra and blessed Harischandra, his wife, son, and all of Harischandra’s former subjects in Ayodhya with a kingdom in heaven.
Sibi: A benevolent and dutiful king mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures whose virtue was tested by the demigods. Once, a pigeon fell into Maharaj Sibi’s lap and prayed to the king for safety from an eagle who was chasing him. The eagle then came and demanded the pigeon. Maharaj Sibi, having promised to protect the pigeon, eventually appeased the eagle by agreeing to give the eagle a quantity of his own flesh equal to the weight of the pigeon. As he repeatedly cut flesh from his body and placed it onto a scale, the pigeon again and again outweighed the flesh. Lastly the king put himself on the scale, in effect, sacrificing his life to keep his word and set a virtuous example for his subjects. Seeing this, the eagle and pigeon revealed themselves to be Indra and Agni and blessed Maharaj Sibi with a place in heaven.
Dadhichi: a sage mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures who performed austerities, upheld vows, developed a body that was extremely strong, acquired Absolute knowledge, and mastered the chanting of a kavacha (protective mantra) which made him invincible. When Indra and the other gods were threatened by Trasta and Vrtasura, they prayed to the Lord for help. The Lord instructed them to ask Dadhichi Muni for his body and then have Visvakarma make a vajra (supernatural thunderbolt weapon) with the body’s bones. At the gods’ request, Dadhichi discussed the virtue of dedicating oneself to the upliftment of others, began to meditate, offered himself to the Lord, and gave up his body on the spot. Indra later defeated Vrtasura with the vajra made from the bones of Dadhichi’s body.
Panna: a nursemaid who served in the royal palace of the Mewar kingdom during the rule of the Rajput Maharana Sangram Singh in the 16th century. She was in charge of caring for the King’s two young sons, Vikramaditya and Udai, and her own son, Chandan, who was the same age as the second prince. After King Sangram Singh died during his battle with Babur, his distant cousin Banbir attempted to usurp his throne. Banbir killed Vikramaditya, and then came to kill the younger prince Udai. Panna heard news of this, hid Udai in a basket, sent a servant to hide the basket in the forest outside the palace, and placed her own son Chandan in Udai’s bed. Banbir soon entered with his sword drawn, and Panna watched as he killed her son, thinking him to be Udai. Panna cremated Chandan and then escaped in the middle of the night with Udai in the basket. She raised the boy in the Jain kingdom of Kumbhalgadh, and when he matured, Panna revealed his identity. He later returned to Mewar, defeated Banbir, and continued the kingdom’s dynasty.
Padmini: the queen of Chittor during the 13th century who was won by King Rawal Ratan Singh in a svayamvara ceremony. The Sultan Alauddin Khilji heard about Rani Padmini’s beauty and decided to acquire her by force for his harem. He came and laid siege upon Chittor. King Rawal Ratan Singh eventually compromised with Alauddin Khilji by allowing him to once see Padmini’s reflection in a mirror. Thereafter Alauddin Khilji kidnapped King Rawal Ratan Singh. Padmini sent a message to Alauddin Khilji that he could take her in exchange for the King. She came to meet Alauddin and the King with a troop of one hundred and fifty palanquins filled with soldiers hiding inside. When she arrived, the soldiers freed the King, and Padmini safely fled back to Chittor. Later, when Alauddin returned with a stronger army and Padmini came to understand that defeat was imminent, she and all the women of Chittor committed jauhaur, self-immolation in a massive pyre.
Socrates: a Greek philosopher, who propounded, among other things, the conception that the soul is eternal and that the soul’s needs should take precedence over those of the body. Socrates lived under the regime of a materialistic government, which he openly and profoundly critiqued both in writing and in public. He was considered a social gadfly, and eventually he was arrested on the charges of corrupting the minds of the youths of Athens and introducing new ideas about the divine. During his trial, Socrates openly admitted ‘guilt’, and when he was asked what his punishment should be, he replied, “A lifetime pension and free dinner each day in exchange for the services I offer the city of Athens.” Eventually he was sentenced to death, and though his disciples bribed the guards holding him in captivity, he denied the chance to escape to another state and instead requested that the poison hemlock for his execution be brought to him at once. He chose to die in this way to show he had no fear of death, compel others to have faith in the immortality of the soul, and demonstrate that spiritual values should take precedence over material ends.
Yajnavalkya: a disciple of Vaisampayan Rsi, who was a disciple of Krsna Dvaipayan Vedavyas. Yajnavalkya prayed to the Lord in the form of the sun and was enlightened with the Vajasaneyi-samhita of the Yajur-veda, which was then new to human society. He later taught Janaka Raja and served as a priest in the Rajasuya sacrifice performed by the Pandavas under Lord Krishna’s direction. His teachings are found in the Mahabharata, the Upanisads, and the Puranas.