Lochan Dasa Thakura


     Shrila Lochan Das Thakura took his birth in a family of brahmans who lived in a village in the rada-desh, in Mahakumara, near Katwa, in the Burdhaman district of Bengal.  When he was only a little boy, he enjoyed the good fortune of meeting the devotees of Shri Gauranga. His guru was Narahari Sarakara Thakura. In his Chaitanya Mangala, Shrila Lochana Dasa Thakura has written: "My hope of hopes is to be near the lotus feet of Shri Narahari Thakura, to serve and worship him with my very life. The cherished desire of the fallen Locana Dasa is to be allowed by the grace of Narahari to sing the glories of Shri Gauranga.  My Lord is Shri Narahari Thakura, and I am his servant. Bowing and praying before him I beg him to allow me his service. This is my only aspiration."

     Previously in Bengal the poets used to compose sacred songs and verses in different forms of classic rhymes and rythmic meters called Panchali. The Panchali style of composition was especially used for glorifying the Lord.  Shrila Lochana Dasa Thakura used the Panchali form of verse-meter in composing his famous work, Shri Chaitanya Mangala. The Panchali form employs five different kinds of song-styles.

     Shri Lochana Das's father's name was Shri Kamalakara Dasa. His mother's name was Shri Sadanandi.  Lochan Dasa was his father's only son, and so was the darling of his parents.  He spent the better part of his years staying at the house of his grandparents. and there began his studies and his education. At a very young age, Shri Lochana Dasa was married. From early childhood, Shri Lochana Dasa had great attachment for Shri Gauranga and at the same time great detachment from material enjoyment. In the prime of his youth he went to Shri Khanda where he found his gurudeva, Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakur, and took shelter at his lotus feet. He stayed there for some time, and there he was instructed in kirtan.

     The principle source material that was drawn upon by Shri Lochan Dasa Thakura in composing his Chaitanya Mangala was a Sanskrit book by Murari Gupta called Shri Chaitanya Charitamritam. Lochan Dasa Thakura explains this in his Chaitanya Mangala as follows: "That very Murari Gupta who lived in Nadiya composed many Sanskrit verses about the life of Shri Gauranga, which he later arranged in the form of a book. Having heard these verses from Murari Gupta, Damodara Pandit taught them to me, and I memorized them with great delight. As these Sanskrit verses, and the conception of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu imparted to me through Damodara Pandita developed within my mind, it flowed forth from me in the form of these Panchali verses in Bengali, which I write in glorification of the life and pastimes of Shri Chaitanya." (C.M. Sutra-Khanda) In his preface to the Chaitanya Mangala, Shrila Lochana Dasa Thakura offers his prayers to Vrindavan dasa Thakura before proceeding with the narrative. He says, "I offer my prayers of submission to Vrindavana Dasa Thakura with all my heart. The sweet song of his Chaitanya Bhagavata has enchanted the whole world." (C.M. Sutra-Khanda)

     Vrindavan Dasa Thakura's Chaitanya Bhagavata was originally called Chaitanya Mangala. It is said that Shrila Lochana Dasa Thakura and Shrila Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami gave it the name Chaitanya Bhagavata. Krishnadasa Kavriaja Goswami writes: "krishna lila bhagavate kahe vedadvyasa, chaitanya lilara vyasa—vrindavana dasa." Vedavyasa has described the pastimes of Krishna in his Bhagavata.  The Vyasa of Chaitanya Lila is Vrindavan Dasa." From this comparison between Vedavyasa and Vrindavana Dasa, it has been concluded that Kaviraja Goswami is probably responsible for Vrindavan Dasa Thakur's work becoming known as the Bhagavata of Chaitanya Lila, or Chaitanya-Bhagavata.

     There are many pastimes of Shri Chaitanya that have only been touched on briefly by Vrindvana Dasa Thakura.  These are described in detail in the Chaitanya Mangala of Lochana Dasa Thakura.

     The Chaitanya Mangala is divided into four parts: Sutra Khanda, Adi Khanda, Madhyama Khanda and Shesha Khanda. The Sutra Khanda has two chapters, Adi Khanda has seven chapters, the Madhyama Khanda twelve, and the Shesha Khanda three.  The contents of the Adi Khanda are as follows.

       The first chapter in the Sutra Khanda is called Mangalaracharanam, or auspicious invocation. It begins with a song of the glories of Shri Chaitanya and then praises the Vaishnavas who were personal associates of Shri Chaitanya.  After this, Lochan Dasa Thakura offers respects to his gurudeva, Narahari Sarakara Thakura, and prays for his guru's mercy. He offers his obeisances at the lotus feet of the countless devotees and personal associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, known and unknown.  Having prayed for the blessings of guru and vaishnavas, Lochan dasa explains that Murari Gupta had written a book in Sanskrit called the Chaitanya Charitamritam, and that since that book is no longer available, he is giving its essence in the form of Bengali verse called Panchali. He then briefly describes the subjects found in the Adi, Madhya, and Shesha Khandas.

     The second chapter of the Sutra Khanda is called Grantharambha, for here the book actually begins. In this chapter Lochan Dasa relates how he heard from Damodara Pandita the story of Jaimini's Mahabharata recital, wherein he describes a conversation between Narada and Uddhava. In that conversation Narada explained the cause of Krishna's appearance in the golden form of Shri Gauranga.

     One time Narada saw that with the coming of the age of Kali the living beings had fallen into great suffering. He began to worry about how they could be delivered and the principles of dharma restored. Thinking in this way, he decided that only Krishna's descent into this world would deliver the fallen souls and restore the principles of religion. Wanting to appeal to Krishna to descend as an avatara, he set out for Dwaraka dham.  At that time, Krishna was staying in the palace of Shri Rukmini devi.

     Just then, upon learning that Shri Krishna would soon appear on earth in a golden form, with the golden luster and devotional mood of Radharani, Rukminidevi became deeply troubled. Feeling separation from the Lord, she fell at the lotus feet of Krishna and began praising the qualities of Shri Radha—whose devotion was so glorious that Krishna wanted to honor her by assuming her luster and mood.  At that time Narada entered the room.  He explained to Krishna the reason for his trip—that he wanted Krishna to descend to the earth planet in order to deliver the fallen souls. At that time, Krishna revealed to him how in the future he would appear as the son of Sachidevi and Jagannatha Mishra in Nabadwipa dham: in a golden form with all his transcendental associates.

       Having seen that golden form revealed, Narada was overwhelmed with ecstasy.  Constantly thinking of this golden form and the Lord's plans to appear in Navadwipa dhama as Shri Gauranga, Narada the best of munis went to visit Naimisharanya, all the while singing the glories of the Lord.  There, in answer to Uddhava's inquiries about the welfare of the living beings, he explained how in Kali-yuga—the best of all ages because of Shri Gauranga's advent—Krishna would appear in a golden form as Shri Gauranga and perform the kirtan of the holy name of Hari. Narada told Uddhava how the Lord would come to establish the Sankirtana of the holy name of Krishna as the yuga-dharma, the religious principle for the age of Kali. Narada explained the glories of kirtana.

     Thereafter, Narada Muni related to Uddhava the discussion that had previously taken place when he had gone to Kailasa and visited Lord Shiva, the best of Vaishnavas.  There, Narada and Parvati discussed the glories of Mahaprasada, having heard of the glroies of Mahaprasada from Narada, Parvati had performed 12 years of Lakshmi-seva.  By her mercy, Parvait got some of  Laksmidevi's own mahaprasada. and also gave shiva a small bit of that prasada.  Not able to tolerate the dancing of Lord Shiva upon obtaining this Mahaprasada, the earth came before Parvati, begging her to give the Mahaprasada of the Vaishanvas to all the jivas. With this proposal,  Parvati explained how the Gaura-avatara would come in kaliyuga and distribute Mahaprasada to all the fallen souls.

     After this, Narada  went to Brahma and discussed the Gaura-avatara with him. Brahma, the creator, at that time explained to him the essential subject of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, and showed him how the version of the Bhagavatam supported the gaura-avatara. After this, Narada began wandering here and there.  As he went form place to place he became concerned about he sufferings of the jivas.  As he was worrying about the living entities in this way, he came near Jagannatha Puri. There he heard a divine voice disccussing the avatara of Jagannatha. On the order of the divine voice he went to Puri.  From there, the Lord ordered him to go to Goloka. First he came to Vaikuntha. After this, he arrived in Goloka, where he saw many pastimes of the Lord. There he saw the Lord in his golden form as Shri Gaura, and fainted in ecstasy. After this, he went all over the universe, informing all the gods of the news.

     In Shwetadwipa he saw the supernatural pastimes of Balarama, the very figure of service.  After this, all the demigods began taking birth on earth. As previously mentioned by Krishna in his conversation with Rukmini, the Lord, along with Satyabhama, Rukmini, and all his eternal associates from the spiritual world came with the luster and mood of Radharani in a golden form as Shri Gauranga.  He came to spead the sankirtan of the holy name of Krishna. Balarama came as Nityananda, Shiva came as Advaita Prabhu, and other great souls descended as his other eternal associates like Murari, Mukunda, Shrivasa, Raya Ramananda, Ishvara Puri, and Madhavendra Puri.  Lochan Dasa Thakur concludes the chapter by praising the glories of his guru, Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura, and his nephew Raghunandana Thakura.

     The first chapter of the Adi lila of Chaitanya Mangala describes the Janma-lila, or birth pastimes, of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The chapter first describes the advent of the Lord's eternal associates, who appeared in this world before Mahaprabhu Himself.  Lochan Thakura describes the Lord as the remote and immediate cause of creation, the Parabrahman, Shri Narayana Himself.  That Supreme Personality of Godhead descended within the womb of Sachidevi and advented Himself upon this earth. In this way, gradually Sachi's womb grew day by day, and her body assumed a supernatural effulgence. Seeing her wonderful bodily effulgence, everyone was astonished, and thought, "Surely a great personality is about to take birth from the womb of Shri Sachidevi." When her "pregnancy" was in its sixth month, one day Advaita Acharya Prabhu went to the house of Sachidevi and Jagannatha Mishra.  Arriving there, he offered his obeisances to the child in the womb of Mother Sachi and then circumambulated her.  Shacidevi and Jagannatha Mishra could not understand the cause of Advaita's unusal behavior. In this way, Brahma, Shiva, and the other gods came to offer their respects to that Supreme Personality of Godhead who had hidden himself within the womb of Sachidevi, knowing well that he would soon advent Himself in this world to deliver the lowest of men with the highest nectar of Krishna prema.  Detecting their presence, Sachidevi felt great joy. When the heart of Sachidevi was full of mercy for the whole world, that is to say, when the most merciful Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had completely filled her heart, gradually the tenth month came.  After this, taking advantage of an auspicious moment on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna, in the midst of Hari-sankirtana,  Shri Guarachandra appeared like a golden moon from the ocean of the womb of Mother Sachi. In this way, the Lord appeared on earth, and the ten directions were jubilant. The gods and godesses, men and women, eager to  see the moonlike face of the son of Sachi, hurried to the house of Jagannatha Mishra and Sachidevi. In this way, their home was transformed into Vaikuntha.

     Jagannatha Mishra and all the residents of Nadiya who had turned out to see that divine child were all struck with wonder to see his beauty. He had a neck like a lion, arms like the trunks of elephants, and a broad chest. His lotus feet were marked with the auspicious symbols of Lord Vishnu: a flag, a thunderbolt, a rod for driving elephants. Seeing all these wonderful and superhuman manifestations of divinity in the child, the people there were all astonished.  Everyone speculated about his supernatural origin, saying, "He is definitely not an ordinary human."  For eight days, the newborn child and its mother were quarantined, as is traditional for childbirth in Bengal, and on the ninth day a great festival was held.  At that time, all the neighbors were filled with great joy to see the boy, and their attraction for him increased.

     The second chapter of the Adi Khanda describes the Lord's bala-lila childhood pastimes. Here, Lochan das Thakura describes how after six months, the grain-eating ceremony of Shri Gaurasundara was held, and after this the name-giving ceremony was performed. At the appearance of the Lord, the whole world was delighted. Since the Lord gave pleasure to the whole world, the brahmanas said his name should be Vishvambhara. Soon, Vishvambara began to walk, by holding onto Jagannatha Mishra's finger with his tiny hand. The different women in the village  used to decorate him with different ornaments, and they would wonder at the beautiful effulgence that emanated from the child, which was as bright as millions of moons.The moon outside can brighten the darkness of night only slightly, but the moon of Shri Gaurachandra can eliminate all darkness, both within and without.

     Shachidevi would sing to her son while threshing wheat, and at that time, all the demigods and offer prayers to her son. Seeing this, Sachidevi wa quite amazed. Sometimes she would see Gaurahari chanting the glories of Radha-Krishan with the gods and would become astonished and faint. When she heard ankle-bells ringing on the bare feet of her child, again she was bewildered. Sometimes she was afraid that ghosts were causing a disturbance, and sometimes she would look in the mouth of her child, and, beholding the universal form, become completely astonished.

     In this way, gradually Gaurahari grew old enough to play outside, where he astounded his newfound childhood friends with his divine antics.  His playmates were quite attached to him.  Sachidevi would carry the baby Gaurahari in her arms and watch after him carefully as he ran about, to keep him from smashing everything as he played. Once, he explained to Mother Sachi the nature of things pure and impure, instructing her on the aprakrita nature of Krishna, who is master of everything.  While sitting on a heap of broken clay pots soiled with leftovers, he instructed his mother on jnana.  Seeing his mother bewildered, he brought her some coconut fruit. In this way, he performed many childhood pranks. He used to play with puppydogs. When Sachidevi chastised him for playing with a dog, and Gaurahari had to give up his pet, he cried tears of anger before Sachidevi.  At that time, he bestowed a divine spiritual body upon that dog while performing Harikirtana.  The dog went to Vaikuntha, and as Brahma, Shiva, and the other demigods saw the good fortune of the dog they were all amazed. Sachidevi was astonished at the activities of her son, who made her understand his Supreme Position as the Absolute Lord.

     The fourth chapter of the Adi Lila of Chaitanya Mangala describes the Lord's pauganda, or boyhood lila.  Having heard Murari Gupta reciting the yogashastras, the Lord mimicked his gestures and speech, making fun of him and then began to laugh uproariously.  Thus Murari Gupta was enraged and chastised the Lord with words of anger.  In return, the boy, intending to express his contempt for the conclusions of yogis went to Murari's afternoon lunch and urinated on Murari Gupta's plate.  After this, he instructed Murari Gupta on the superiority of Krishna-bhakti. Finally, the author discusses Mahaprabhu's boyhood performance of sankirtana, and relates what he heard from Damodara Pandit of Murari Gupta's notes on the sannyasa of Vishvarupa, the Lord's older brother.  He also relates the lamentation of Sachidevi and Jagannatha upon their son's taking sannyasa.  He also recounts many other pastimes performed by the Lord as a boy.  At that time the Lord's hair-cutting ceremony took place. And soon thereafter, the day of Hate-khare, or the first holding of chalk, came. On that day, to signify the beginning of a child's formal education begins, he is given a piece of chalk and a chalkboard, upon which he is to draw the letters of the alphabet.  Upon beginning his studies, the Lord was overjoyed to meet many new classmates.  On the day that his son's education began, Jagannatha Mishra was very pleased.  That night, however, he had a dream in which a brahmana appeared to him and told him that his son Vishvambhara was Bhagavan Himself.  Who can educate the Supreme Lord, or discipline him as a small boy?  From this, Jagannatha Mishra could understand the supreme position of his child. When his dream broke, he was again overwhelmed with the sentiments of parental love and soon forgot the dream.

     At a particular time, the sacred thread ceremony of the boy was performed.  After this, there is a discussion of the four ages and the yuga-avatara.  In Dvapara-yuga, the Supreme Lord Himself, Shri Krishna the son of Nanda in Vrindavana, makes his appearance on earth.  In Kaliyuga, Shri Krishna, appearing with the luster and mood of Shri Radha, advents himself as Shri Gauranga.  By performing Sankirtana, he establishes the religious principle for the age of Kali: hari-nama-sankirtana. In order to establish the yuga-dharma, he comes as a preacher. Maddened with Krishna-prema, he delivers all souls with the ecstasy of love of God, by moving here and there and distributing divine love.  While in his grihastha-lila, he ordered his mother to refrain from eating grains on Ekadashi, in this way instructed everyone to follow this injunction.

     Gradually, Jagannatha Mishra fell ill, and passed away, entering into the Lord's unmanifest pastimes. At that time, the Lord instructed Sachidevi on the fleeting nature of a man's short life within the material world.  He also explained many other important principles of divine reality to her.  With the passing of her husband, Sachidevi greatly lamented. Gaurahari Himself also lamented the passing of his father.  After this time, he began paying close attention to his studies.

     Chapter four describes the Lord's pastimes of youth and marriage. One day, after school, the Lord was walking home from his teacher's house and at that time he met Vanamali Acarya.  As they talked, the Acharya made the Lord understand that he had just been to see his mother Sachidevi, where he had been making arrangements for the Lord's wedding.  Sachidevi had rebuffed him, and unable to secure her permission for the match, Vanamali was a little unhappy.  In this way, he was returning to his home, downcast. Shri Gaurahari returned home.  Without intimating anything of his conversation with the matchmaker, the Lord informed her of his intentions to wed, saying that she should seek out Vanamali and make the necessary arrangements for the wedding of her son.  She did so, and on the orders of Sachimata, Vanamali Acharya went to Vallabhacharya's house.  There he informed Vallabhacarya of the Lord's intent to wed Vallabhacarya's daughter Lakshmidevi.

     Having made all the arrangements for the wedding, Sachidevi informed all her friends and relatives of the auspicious event and invited them to the occasion. Everyone floated in the waves of the joyful ocean.  In this way, Sachidevi made preparations for her son's wedding. All the residents of Nadia turned out to see the wedding. The relatives saw to it that all the old traditional Bengali wedding customs were followed. The Hindu ceremony of besmearing the bridegroom and bride with a paste of turmeric and then bathing them on the eve of the wedding was performed, as were many other rituals. The place where the wedding was to be performed was cleansed with sanctified water, and all the Vedic purificatory rites were observed. All this took place at the house of Vallabhacharya. At last, with great pomp and grandeur, in the midst of a great assembly of devotees, relatives and friends, the wedding of Shri Gaurahari and Lakshmidevi was performed in the house of Vallabhacarya.  The Acharya himself performed the Vedic wedding ceremony. He offered his new son-in-law sanctified water and arghya to sweeten his lotus mouth. After this, he brought Lakshmidevi up on the wedding stage and presented her to Gaurahari. Finally, the scriptural sacrifice that is performed at weddings took place. After this, the brahmanas were fed sumptuous prasadam at the conclusion of the wedding, and Shri Lakshmidevi was escorted to her new home as the bride of Shri Gaurahari.

     The Fifth Chapter of the Adi Khanda of Chaitanya Mangala describes more of the Lord's pastimes of youth, including his tour of Bengal.  After some time the Lord journeyed down the banks of the Ganges, sanctifying that holy river even further by the touch of his lotus footsteps.  In order to provide for his new family, the Lord set out for East Bengal, where he took up the occupation of teaching. In this way he gave his mercy to the residents of East Bengal who lived on the banks of the Padmavati river.  When he returned to Bengal, he found that Lakshmidevi had been unable to tolerate the pain of his absence. She was bitten by the snake of separation and passed away into the unmanifest pastimes of the Lord.  Sachidevi was heartbroken and was consoled in her lamentation by Gaurahari who glorified the sublime qualities of Lakshmidevi.

     The Sixth Chapter of the Adi Khanda of Chaitanya Mangala describes the arrangements made by Sachidevi for the Lord's second wedding.  Through Dvija-Kashishvara it was arranged that he was to be wed to the daughter of Sanatana Pandita, Vishnupriya devi. Here, the wedding of Vishnupriya and Gaurahari is elaborately described.

      The seventh chapter of the Adi Khanda describes the Lord's journey to Gaya. Some time after the wedding of Gaurahari and Vishnupriyadevi, the Lord, having completed his education busied himself in his teaching work.  One day, he left for Gaya to offer respects to his departed father. As he walked down the road, everywhere, the birds and animals who saw him were stunned with ecstasy upon beholding his lotus feet.  After instructing a brahmana in Krishna-bhakti, the Lord allowed a brahmana to drink the water of his lotus feet.  That brahmana immediately became free from all his bodily distress. At that time, the Lord also instructed how the mysteries of Krishna-bhajana cannot be understood simply on the basis of one's birth in a brahmana family.  At last arriving in Gaya, the Lord performed worship of the devas and pitris, in order to do his duty regarding his departed father. While so engaged, he went to see the lotus feet of the Vishnu Deity. At that time, the Lord met that best of Vaishnavas, Shri Ishvara Puri.  At that time, he prayed for the mercy of Ishvara Puri Prabhu, who, soon thereafter, initiated him in the Krishnamantra.  With this, the Lord's transcendental ecstasy became manifest.   After this,  he went to take darshan of the lotus feet of Vishnu. Upon seeing the Lord's holy feet, Shri Gaurahari was overwhelmed with prema and exhibited his ecstasy by laughing, singing and dancing. Only a few days later, he returned home.

     From this point the first chapter of the Madhya Khanda begins. Here, the author describes the Lord's pastimes as a teacher, and explains how he showed mercy to his students. Praising her good fortune, the Lord showed his grace to Sachimata.  Soon after this he revealedsymptoms of mahaprema at the home of Suklambara Brahmacari. This was the first time that he publicly revealed his absorption in Krishna-prema, by showing the symptoms of great ecstasy, such as swooning, tears shooting from the eyes, hairs of the body standing on end, choking up of the voice, laughing madly, and so on. Performing sublime kirtan, Shri Gaurahari drowned everyone in the waves of bliss. In this way the Supreme Lord appeared as his own devotee in order to glorify the position of Bhakti.

     After this, the Lord began his pastimes of preaching the glories of Shri Krishna prema, engaging many devotees in preaching.  He began organizing all the devotees, beginning with Gadadhara, as well as many devotees from within and wihtout Bengal.  One day the Lord went to the house of  Shrivasa and his brothers. At that time, the devotees could hear the flute of Krishna. At that time the Lord became overwhelmed by the mood of Shrimati Radhika. In the madness of separation, he began laughing and crying. Sometimes he would fall completely silent and his mood became grave. In thiw ay he manifest differing divine moods. At that time, a divine voice siad, "O Vishvambhara! You are the Lord Himself. For the purpose of preaching Krishna-prema, you have descended within this world."

     Later, at the house of Murari Gupta, the Lord would reveal his form as the Varaha avatara.   At that time, Murari offered prayers before the Lord in great ecstasy, and the Lord told him to serve Krishna the son of Nanda, following in the footsteps of the residents of Vrindvana. Murari Gupta wanted to see the form of Shri Ramachandra.  At that time the Lord instructed him on the glories of the holy name of Krishna.  At last, the devatas headed by Lord Brahma appeared before the Lord, praying for Krishna-prema and attained Krishna-prema by the mercy of Shri Gauranga. After this, the kirtan-performer Suklambhara Brahmachari began chanting "Jai Radhe! Jai Govinda!" and attained the mercy of Shri Chaitanya. After this, Lochan dasa Thakura describes the glories of Shri Shri Gaura-Gadadhara.

     In the second chapter of the Madhya Khanda, the author describes the beauty of Shri Gauranga's divine form. The Lord performed a miracle by planting a mango seed that immediately became a mango tree with fully ripened fruit for the satisfaction of the devotees. Whoever ate the fruit of that tree was delivered from the tree of material existence.  The Lord instructed Mukunda Datta on the supremacy of Krishna bhakti, and how one should give up thinking of the body and mind and think only of the worshipable service of Krishna. The Lord gave his blessings to Murari Gupta. The Lord's pastimes of kirtana at the house of Shrivasa Thakura are described. When a foolish brahman remarked that the murti of Shri Krishna is a product of Maya, the Lord jumped in the Ganges with his clothes on, to purify himelf from the offender.

     The third chapter of the Madhya-Khanda describes the glories of Shri Advaita. Here, the author describes the Lord's pastimes with Advaita, how he performed kirtan in the house of Advaita, and how they embraced in ecstasy. A brahman who tried to stop the kirtan of Mahaprabhu by attempting to frighten Shrivasa Pandita was bewildered by the Lord's mayic potency. Also described is how the Lord, in the house of Shrivasa, performed the worship known as Gada-puja, wherein the club of Vishnu is worshiped in order to invoke the Lord's power in smashing the atheists.  This chapter also explains the visit paid by Advaita to Nabadwipa, how Advaita bowed before Shri Gauranga, and danced in ecstasy before him, realizing that his prayers for Krishna's descent had been fulfilled. When Shrivasa Thakura inquired into the glories of Advaita, Mahaprabhu described Advaita-tattva, and advised everyone to worship Shri Hari.

     In the fourth chapter of the Madhyama Khanda, Shri Gaurahari explains the esoteric meaning of "Shrivasa." Murari Gupta's book, "Raghubhirashtaka" is discussed.  The Lord writes "Ramdasa" on Murari's forehead. He reveals himself as Rama and orders Rama Pandita, the brother of Shrivasa Pandita to serve Shrivasa.  The devotees are sent to search for Nityananda.  The Lord meets Nityananda at the house of Nandana Acharya.  The Lord explains the glories of Shri Nityananda and how it is that by Nityananda's mercy one may attain Krishna-prema. At that time, the Lord reveals his six-armed, four-armed, and two-armed forms to Nityananda.

       The fifth chapter of the Madhya-Khanda reveals how, late at night, the Lord was weeping tears of ecstatic love for Krishna.  He discussed his dream with Sachidevi.  The story of how Nityananda Prabhu spent two days at the house of Advaita Acharya is recounted. Nityananda Prabhu's prema is described. The worship by Advaita of Mahaprabhu in the house of Shrivasa Pandita is described.  The meeting of the Lord and Haridasa Thakura.  The author also tells how Nityananda's kaupin was saved by Mahaprabhu, who later had the devotees wear it as a kavacha.  Mahaprabhu's trance and the devotees' separation from the Lord is also described. The ecstasy of the devotees upon the Lord's reawakening is also described.

     The sixth chapter of the Madhya-Khanda discusses the following subjects: How Gaurahari enjoyed pastimes of prema in the midst of the devotees; his meeting with Haridasa Thakura;  His visit at the house of Advaita; his order to Advaita to preach Krishna-prema without any consideration of fitness and unfitness; His order to all the devotees to preach nama-prema and thus deliver everyone; the effects of  nama-bhasa; How the Lord would wander through the streets of Nadiya performing Nama-kirtana; the story of the deliverance of Jagai and Madhai.  After this, the author glorifies the mercy of Shri Nityananda and Shri Gauranga.

     The seventh chapter of the Madhyama-Khanda describes the following subjects: How the Lord cast his merciful glance upon the son of an East Bengal brahmana named Vanamali; the brahmana, and, seeing the Shyamansundra form of the Lord, he offered many prayers to Shri Gauranga. After this, the Lord revealed his Nrishimha manifestation at the house of Shrivasa. He bestowed mercy upon a follower of Shiva.  After a brahman lady touched his feet, he jumped into the Ganges. The Lord gave instructions regarding the worship of Shri Hari.  His mercy towards Shrivasa is described as are Mukunda's prayers, the Lord's manifestation of His Godhood, and Shrivas Pandit's abhishek of Mahaprabhu. The author's glorification of the qualities of Shri Gauranga and his instructions on the worship of Shri Gauranga conclude the chapter.

     The eighth chapter of the Madhyama Khanda describes the following subjects: How the envious brahmana who was stricken with leprosy prayed for forgiveness in order to become freed from the sin of Vaishnava aparadha and was delivered by the mercy of Shrivasa Thakura; how a brahmana was forbidden to enter the Lord's nocturnal kirtan and how the Lord danced in ecstasy when that brahmana then cursed the Lord never to enjoy the pleasures of samsara. How the Lord in the mood of Balarama demanded honey is described. The assembly of devotees at the house of Advaita is described. The visit of the devotees headed by Acharyaratna is recorded. How all of them saw the Lord's manifestation of Balarama and bathed in the Ganges is also described.

     The ninth chapter of the Madhyama Khanda of Shri Chaitanya Mangala records the following subjects: the Lord's manifestation of Varaha; How the devotees headed by Advaita were ordered to preach and perform sankirtana; how the mood and qualities of the gopis was glorified in kirtan; how Shrivasa in the dress of Narada glorified Gadadhara Pandita; a discussion of the divine correlation between Shri Gadadhara and Shri Radhika; Thakur Haridas's visit; the ecstasy of Sankirtana; the Lord's mad manifestation of the mood of Vaikuntha opulence; How the Lord, in the dress of Lakshmidevi rendered service to the Lord in great ecstasy; How the Lord expressed the inner moods of the personality of Godhead.

     The Tenth Chapter of the Madhyama-Khanda of Chaitanya Mangala describes the following: The Lord tells Shrivasa of the different religious principles for the different ages and how Sankirtan is the best religious principle in the age of Kali.  In the mood of Shri Radha the Lord began asking "Where is Vrindavan? Where is Lalita?" in great anxiety. Murari Gupta consoled him, and they all performed kirtana. In a dream Sachidevi sees Gaurahari receive the sannyasa mantra from Keshava Bharati. The Lord's powerful separation from Krishna is described. Worried that the Lord will take sannyasa, the devotees are heartbroken. Mahaprabhu consoles the devotees.

     The Eleventh Chapter of Madhyama Khanda describes the following:  Upon hearing of the Lord's sannyasa, Sachidevi's lamentation; Her entreaty to Gaurahari to remain a grihastha; The Lord's advice to everyone to worship Krishna; His different attempts to console his mother and his revevlation of the divine form of Krishna to her.

     The twelfth chaper of the madhyama khanda discusses the following subjects: The lamentation of Vishnupriyadevi; the Lord's sweet words of pacification to her and his instructions regarding divine reality, as well as his revelation of of his four-handed Narayana form; the visit by  Shrivasa and Murari, the Lord's attempt to pacify them.

     The thirteenth chapter describes the following:  The Lord's attemtp to console the devotees, and his instructions on different truths; with the aim to take sannyasa, he swims across the Ganges and meets Keshava Bharati at Katwa; Sachimata and Vishnupriya faint; Nityananda Prabhu tries to pacify them; Headed by Chandrashekhara Acharya and Damodara Pandit, all the devotees follow Nityananda Prabhu to Katwa where the sannyasa is taking place. The Lord asks for the sannyasa mantra from Keshava Bharati; The Lord first gives the sannyasa mantra to Bharati and then hears it from him; the lamentation of all the devotees at the sannyasa of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; The Lord's attempt to pacify them; the Lord's eagerness for Krishna-bhakti; the giving of the name Shri Krishna Chaitanya; At the conclusion of sannyasa the Lord's wandering half-mad in the Radadesha.

     The fourteenth chapter describes how Chandrashekara returns from Katwa to Nadia bearing news to Sachimata and Vishnupriya; their lamentation; Nityananda Prabhu causes Mahaprabhu to detour to Shantipura; the Lord's vist there; Nityananda's conversation with Sachidevi; the devotees of Nadiya go to the house of Advaita in Shantipur to see the Lord; the Lord's reciprocation of affection with the residents of Nadiya, and their separation.

     The fifteenth chapter describes the Lord's deliverance of all souls through the performance of nam-sankirtan, and how he bestowed upon all the jivas the supreme goal of life. After this his journey to Jagannatha Puri is described as well as the humility of Haridasa Thakura, the exodus of devotees who went to Puri to be with the Lord, His sweet words of consolation, how the Lord used to chant the shloka, "rama-raghava raksha mam," on his way to Puri, how Nityananda Prabhu broke his sannyasa danda, and how the Lord manifest his pastimes of anger with Nityananda after the breaking of his danda.

     The sixteenth chapter of the Madhyama Khanda describes how on the way to Jagannatha Puri, the devotees bathed in a place called Brahma-kunda; how they went to Remuna and had dashan on the Lord there; how the Lord danced before the Gopal deity; how after bathing in the Vaitarani river they had darshan of Varaha-deva; how the Lord went to Yajapura; How the Lord took darshan of a Shiva-linga there; Then, from Brahma-kunda, he  visited Nabhigaya and Shivanagara; how he received the darshan of Kshirodakshayi Vishnu; how in a grove of mangos he took up the question of Shiva Prasada and prayers to Shiva; after this, how he went from Kapoteshwara and bathed in the Bhargavi river; How the Lord fainted before the Jagannatha deities while having darshan there; his visit to the house of Sarvabhauma; How the Lord would go from the house of Sarvabhauma, take a position west of the Garuda Stambha, and  see the deity of Lord Jagannatha; how Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and the Lord discussed Vedanta; How Sarvabhauma was converted; How the Lord revealed his six-armed form to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya.

     From here, the Shesha Khanda begins. The first chapter of the Shesha Khanda describes:  the Lord's kirtan pastimes in which Sarvabhauma took part; the Lord's tour of South India and his journey to Setubandha; his mercy on Vasudeva Vipra, the brahmana who had leprosy; the Lord's visit to Jiyada-Nrishimha and its ancient history; the Lord's meeting with Ramananda Raya on the banks of the Godavari; Ramananda's vision of Mahaprabhu's dual feature as Rasaraja and Mahabhava; the Lord's visit to Panchavati and Shri Rangam; How he bestowed mercy on Trimalla Bhatta; His four month stay in Shri Rangam during the period of Chatur Masya; his meeting with Paramananda Puri; the prayers by Paramananda Puri to Gaura Bhagvan.

     The second chapter of the Shesh Khanda describes the following: How the Lord continued on his South Indian tour and delivered the seven trees that had been standing since the time of Lord Ram; How at Setubandha in great ecstasy, the Lord chanted the names of Rama, Lakshman, Sita, and Hanuman; how the Lord returned to Alalanatha by way of the Godavari; his return to Jagannatha Puri; His visit to Mathura; His meeting with Rupa and Sanatana; How with Balabhadra Bhattacharya, he wandered down the banks of the Yamuna and through the twelve forests of Vrindavana.

     The third and final chapter of the Shesh Khanda of Chaitanya Mangala records how: the Lord returned to Jagannatha Puri; the Lord's trip to Gauda-desha; how he passed through in the Rada-desha; how he stopped in Kuliya; How everyone in Navadwip turned out to see the Lord; How they prayed for His mercy and he bestowed amnesty on all; How, to satisfy his mother's desire, he went to Nabadwipa and instructed her on of Krishna-bhajan; How the Lord went to Shantipura where he visited Shri Advaita; His kirtan there; How the Lord left Shantipura; His return to Jagannatha Puri; How he visited the deity of Jagannatha; how he performed kirtana day and night; How King Prataparudra attained the Lord's mercy; His revelation of the six-armed form to Prataparudra Raja; The Dravidian brahmana who come to visit the Lord, how he was fasting for seven days, and how he  was delivered by the Lord's mercy.

     In the Chaitanya Mangala, Lochan Dasa Thakura mentions the details of certain pastimes not revealed by Vrindvana Dasa Thakura. For example,  Vrindavana Dasa Thakura does not record the conversation that took place between Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Vishnupriya Devi just before the Lord left to take sannyasa. But Lochan Das Thakura describes this as follows:

     "Seeing Mahaprabhu's eagerness to take sannyasa, the moon-faced Vishnupirya-devi said, with her voice choked in emotion, " Tell me, O Prananatha, Lord of my life, and I shall take your order upon my head.  Will you take sannyasa? I have heard this rumor being circulated among the people in general. Hearing this, my heart is broken.  If it is true, I shall enter into fire. You are the treasure of my life. Your beautiful form is always everfresh and newly youthful. Will you give up everything and go away? If am deprived of your association, I might as well give up  my life by drinking poison."

     Hearing the pitiful words of lamentation spoken by Vishnupriya devi, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smiled a little, and spoke as follows: "Listen, O you who are dear as life itself: Please don't be in any anxiety. There is no need to worry at all. What I am about to say is for your own benefit. Please hear me attentively, with your whole mind. Whatever you see in this world is all false; the only truth is Bhagavan and theVaishnavas, without that whatever you see is all illusion. Know this for a fact.  Sons, wives, husbands, ladies, fathers, mothers, and everything else—all these relationships are illusory.  They are temporary and transitional.  In one lifetime we have one set of sons, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers, and in our next life this changes.  Other than the lotus feet of Krishna, we have no real family. Everything else that we see as our family is an illusion of maya. What we see as man and woman is unreal.  Beneath the surface all souls are spiritual energy; the relationship between men and women is an illusory connection of maya. Shri Krishna is the real husband of everyone; he is the master.  Everything else is material, but unfortunately this is not understood by the people in general.  The souls is embedded in a mixture of semen and blood from which it is born into a body composed of stool and urine.  In this way the soul moves upon this earth in ignorance. From boyhood to youth to old age, we suffer different miseries, all the while mistaking the housing of this body as our real self. Absorbed in false ego, we make friends, maintain attachments, suffering abuse, and are gradually cheated by old age. Even hearing the truth, however, still our eyes are blind, and while our suffering  in the material world brings us to tears, we never worship Govinda.

     Fosaking Krishna's service, we maintain these bodies in the material world of birth and death, trapped in the bondage of maya. Mad with false ego we have forgotten our Lord, and so we insure our passage to hell. Your name is Vishnupriya, however. Fulfill the real purport of Vishnupriya, and do not lament for what is false. Remembering what I have said here, cast your worries at a distance, and always think of Krishna within your heart, day and night."

     Having conveyed all these divine instructions to Vishnupriya devi, the Supreme Lord, Shri Gaurasundara revealed to her  His four-armed form, thus making her understand his absolute position. At that time, he told Vishnupriya devi, "You see before you the Supreme Lord, cast your mayik lamentaion away." At this, Vishnupriya devi became joyful within. Her grief and pain vanished, and her heart became blissful upon suddenly seeing the Lord's four-armed form.

     After hearing the instructions of the Lord and seeing his absolute form, Vishnupriya cast off her bewilderment, but her mentality of taking the Lord as her husband was intact.  At that point, she fell at the feet of the Lord and said: "O Lord, please listen to my entreaty.  Falling at your feet again and again, I implore you to accept my humble submission. I am certainly the lowest, having taken birth in this world of samsara; but you are my most dear Lord of life.  This is my only wealth; without you I have nothing. Without your service, I will certainly go down."  Saying this, Vishnupriya devi began loudly weeping, sobbing and sobbing again and again in ever-increasing frenzy of sorrow. Seeing the affliction of someone so dear, the Lord bestowed his merciful glance upon Vishnupriya devi, embracing her with his eyes and so giving her his mercy.

     At that time, the Lord said, "Listen O Vishnupriya devi, and give close attention to my answer to your words. I shall go there and there, but wherever I go, I shall still remain at your place: This truth I have spoken with great determination."

     Upon hearing the order of the Lord, Vishnupriya devi could understand that the Lord is supremely independent. At that time she said, "You must do what makes you happy. Let no one be an obstacle to your divine mission."

     Addressing the Lord in this way, Vishnupriya tearfully averted her eyes from the Lord's glance and fell silent.  Thus went the conversation between the Lord and Vishnupriya, which is painful to hear.  This is reported by Lochan Dasa. 

Lochan Dasa Thakura also sings the glories of Shri Gauranga and Nityananda in the following beautiful song:

 parama karuna pahun dui jana

nitai gaurachandra

saba avatara, sara shiromani

kevala ananda kanda

bhaja bhaja bhai, chaitanya nitai

sudhrida visvasa kori

vishaya chariya se rase majiya

mukha bolo hari hari

dekho ore bhai, tribhuvane nai

emona doyala data

pashu-pakhi jhure, pashana vidore

shuni yar guna gantha

samsare majiya, rahile pariya

se pade nahilo asha

apana koroma, bhunjaye shamana,

kohoye locana dasa

    This song was especially dear to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who translates it is follows:

    "This is a song by Locan dasa Thakura. Locan dasa declares that the two Lords, Nitai-Gauracandra—Lord Nitai and Lord Chaitanya—are very merciful. They are the essence of all incarnations. The specific significance of these incarnations is that prosecuting their way of self-realization is simply joyful, for they introduced chanting and dancing. There are many incarnations, like Lord Rama and even Krishna, who taught Bahgavad-gita, which requires knowledge and understanding. But Lord Chaitanya introduced a process which is simply joyful—simply chant and dance. Therefore Lochan Das requests everyone: "My dear brother, I request that you just worship Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda with firm conviction and faith." Don't think that this chanting and dancing will not lead to the desired goal. It will. It is the assurance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that one will get all perfection by this process. Therefore one must chant with firm faith and conviction.

     But what is the process? If one wants to be Krishna conscious by this process, one has to give up his engagement in sense gratification. That is the only restriction. If one gives up sense gratification, it is sure that he will reach the desired goal. One simply has to chant "Hari Hari!" without any motive of sense gratification.

     Lochan das says, "My dear brother, you just try and examine this. Within the three worlds there is no one like Lord Chaitanya or Lord Nityananda, because Their merciful qualities are so great that They make even birds and beasts cry, what to speak of human beings." Actually, when Lord Chaitanya passed through the forest known as Jharikhanda, the tigers, elephants, snakes, deer, and all other animals joined Him in chanting Hare Krishna. It is so nice that anyone can join. Even teh animals can join, what to speak of human beings. Of course, it is not possible for ordinary men to induce animals to chant, but if Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could inspire animals to chant, at least we can encourage human beings to adopt this path of Hare Krishna mantra chanting. It is so nice that even the most stonehearted man will be melted. It is so nice that even stone will melt.

     But Lochan dasa Thakura regrets that he is entrapped by sense gratification. He addresses himself, "My dear mind, you are entrapped in this sense gratification process, and you have no attraction for chanting Hare Krishna. Since you have no attraction for the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, what can I say? I can simply think of my misfortune. Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, is punishing me by not allowing me to be attracted by this movement."

      Shri Lochan Dasa Thakura was born in Shakabda 1445 and disappeared in 1540.

[This article and more information at  www.stephen-knapp.com]

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