Raghunandana Thakura


    Shri Mukunda Dasa, Shri Madhava Dasa and Shri Narahari Sarakara Thakura were three brothers who lived in Shri Khanda. Shri Mukunda Dasa Thakura's son was Shri Raghunandan Thakura. Mukunda Dasa Thakura was the doctor in the court of the muslim king. He was always absorbed in Krishna, whatever work he did.

     An example of this is found in what happened to Mukunda Dasa one day when he went to the court of the king to give him some medical advice. The king was seated on an elevated throne. Mukunda Dasa sat before him, a little lower, on a half-elevated seat, and began inquiring about his health. At taht time a servant came with a large peackock fan to fan the king.  The sight of peacock feathers filled Mukunda with a deep memory of Krishna's pastimes. He fainted.  When the king saw Mukunda laying on the ground he was alarmed.  He thought, "Is he dead?" Gradually they managed to bring him back to consciousness. The king asked him, "What is the nature of your disease?" Shri Mukunda Dasa replied, "I am not greatly ill." The king asked him the cause of his behavior. Hiding his real ailment (separation from Krishna) from the king, Mukunda told him that he had epilepsy and sometimes fainted. He told him, "It is nothing. Don't worry." Although Mukunda Dasa did his best to hide his devotional sentiments from the king, the king could understand that Mukunda Dasa was a highly elevated soul, a perfected being. With great respect he sent Mukunda Dasa home.

     Every year Mukunda Dasa, Madhava Dasa and Narahari Sarakara would go to Jagannatha Puri to take darshan of the holy feet of Shri Chaitanya and to dance and chant in Rathayatra kirtan.  One day, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu affectionately asked Mukunda Dasa, "Mukunda! Betweend you and Raghunandan, who is the father and who is the son?" Mukunda said, "Raghunandana is my father. Through him I have found  Krishna consciousness, so he is really my father." The Lord said, "Your judgement is correct. Whoever gives us Krishna-bhakti is our guru and our father." The Lord ordered Raghunandana to serve the deity, without thinking of anything else.

     When he was a boy, Raghunandan used to make the deity eat laddu.  Shri Uddhava Dasa has described this subject in a very beautiful way:

prakata shri khandavasa nama shri mukunda das

ghare seva gopinatha jani

gola kon karyanatare seva karibara tare

shri rahunandane daki ani

ghare ache krishna-seva yatna kare khaoyaiba

eta boli mukunda chalila

pitara adesha paiya sevara samagri loiya

gopinather sammukhe aila

shri raghunandana ati vayakrama sishumati

khao bole kandite kandite

krishna se premer vashe na rakhiya avasheshe

sakala khaila alakshita

asiya mukunda dasa kahe balakera pasha

prasada naivedya ano dekhi

shishu kahe vap shuno sakali khailo punah

avashesha kichui na rakhi

shuni aparupa heno vismita hridoye punah

ara dine balake kahiya

seva anumati diya varir bahira hoiya

punah asi rahe lukaiya

shri raghunandana ati hoiya harisha mati

gopinathe laddu diya kare

khao khao bale ghana arddhaka khaite heno

samaye mukunda dekhi dvare

ye khailo rahe heno ara na khaila puna

dekhiya mukunda preme bhora

nandana kariya dole gadgad svare bole

nayane varishe ghana lora

adhyapi shri khandapure ardha laddu ache kare

dekhe yata bhagvyavanta jane

abhinna madana yei shri raghunandana sei

ei uddhava dasa rasa bhane

     Shri Raghunandana Thakura made his appearance within this world in Shri Khanda.  In his home he became acquainted with the worship of Shri Gopinatha from an early age. One day his father, Mukunda Dasa, who was a doctor, had to go away on medical business.  He called Raghunandana to his side.  He told Raghunandana to see to it that their deity was served with great care and attention. He told him to be sure and feed the deity.  At the appointed hour, taking the order of his father on his head, Raghunandan went to peform the service.  He took the offering of food into the deity.  Raghunandan was just a little boy. He told the deity: "Eat! Eat!"  When he saw that the offering appeared untouched, he began to cry.  Not being able to resist the child's intense devotion, Krishna ate everything on the plate, leaving no remnants.

     When Mukunda Dasa returned, he asked the boy, "Bring me the prasada remnants of the offering you made earlier." The boy said, "Father, listen. I made the deity eat as you told me to. He left no remnants.  He ate everything on his plate."  Mukunda was amazed at what the child was saying.  Ordering the boy to offer food as before, Mukunda hid himself outside the house and watched through the window.  Raghunandana, then, with great delight, offered Gopinatha a laddu. "Eat! Eat!" he said.  The Lord ate half the laddu. Meanwhile, Mukunda, who was watching from outside, beheld all this in great amazement. He could understand that since the deity had already eaten once, and had not left any remnants, his hunger was satisfied. As a result, he could only finish half the laddu.

     He embraced his son and held him on his lap. His voice was choked with divine emotion. Tears poured from his eyes like rain from a thundercloud. It is said that even today that half a laddu may be seen in Shri Khanda, where it is kept in one of the temples there.

     For the pleasure of that great devotee whose bodily beauty resembles that of Cupid himself, Uddhava Dasa narrates this story.

     The great devotee Shri Abhirama Gopala Thakura and Shri Raghunandan Thakura once danced together in Krishna prema in the house of a devotee in Boro-Dangita.   Shri Raghunandana Thakura's nupura, or ankle-bracelet, opened while he was dancing and fell into a pond in Akai-hatta.  From that time on, the pond has been known as Nupura-kunda.  It is said that at present, in the town of Akaihatta, south of Boro-grama that nupura may be seen in a temple maintained by the local devotees.

     According to certain authorities, Shri Raghunandana Thakura was Kandarpa Manjari. According to others, he was one of Krishna's sons in Dvaraka whose name was Kandarpa. This is on the basis of Kavi Karnapura's Gaura-Ganodesha-dipika.

     Raghunandana Thakura had a son named Kanai Thakura.  The descendants of Raghunandan Thakura's line live today in Shri Khanda.  One of the most famous of them is a person by the name of Panchanana Kaviraja, who was born in the line of Shri Raghunandana.  Raghunandana Thakura was born in the Saka year 1432.

     Quoting from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's commentary on Chaitanya Charitamrita, Bhaktivedanta Swami writes: "Shri Mukunda dasa was the son of Narayana dasa and eldest brother of Narahari Sarakara. His second brother's name was Madhava dasa, and his son was named Raghunandana dasa. Descendents of Raghunandana dasa still live four miles west of Katwa in the village named Shri Khanda, where Raghunandana dasa used to live. Raghunandana had one son named Kanai, who had two sons—Madana Raya, who was a disciple of Narahari Sarakara Thakura, and Vamshivadana. It is estimated that at least four hundred men descended in this dynasty. All their names are recorded in the village known as Shri Khanda.  In the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipikca it is stated that the gopi whose name was Vrindadevi became Mukunda dasa, lived in Shri Khanda village and was very dear to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His wonderful love and devotion for Krishna are described in the Madhya-lila, Chapter Fifteen of the Chaitanya Charitamrita. It is stated in the Bhakti-Ratnakara, Chapter Eight, that Raghunandana used to serve a Deity of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu."

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

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