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Vakreshvara Pandit

At the time of Shriman Mahaprabhu's Nabadwipa-lila, as well as at the time of his taking sannyasa and his staying in
Jagannatha Puri, Vakreshvara Pandit was an associate of the Lord. Shri Vakreshvara Pandit's birthplace is near the
Triveni in a place called Guptiparaya. Shri Vakreshvara Pandit was expert in song and dancing. He once danced
continuously for 72 hours. In the Gaura-Ganodesh-Dipika, verse 71, it is stated that Vakreshvara Pandit was an
incarnation of Aniruddha, one of the quadruple expansions of Vishnu. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu played in
dramatic performances in the house of Shrivasa Pandit, Vakreshvara Pandit was one of the chief dancers. When
Caitanya Mahaprabhu first began his Sankirtan-lila Vakreshvara Pandit was a great singer and dancer. When Shri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Ramkeli, Vakreshvara Pandit went with him.
By the mercy of Vakreshvara Pandit Devananda Pandit was delivered. Devananda Pandit had a reputation as a
great scholar of the Bhagavatam from the monist point of view. One day Srivasa Pandit went to hear his Bhagavata
class, and in the ecstasy of Krishna prem began to cry tears of joy upon hearing the holy Bhagavata. At that time, some
of Devananda Pandit's ignorant disciples, feeling that Shrivasa Thakura was disrupting the class, threw Shrivas Pandit
out of the house where the Bhagavatam class was going on. Ignorant of the true position both of the Lord's devotee and
the holy Bhagavata , Devananda Pandit made no protest after seeing this disrespectful treatment of a great Vaishnava
with his own eyes. In this way, he was responsible for Vaishnava-aparadha, an offense at the lotus feet of a pure
devotee.
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu manifest his divinity in Nabadwip in the house of Shrivasa Thakura, it came to his
attention that such an offense had been commited a the lotus feet of that great devotee, Shrivasa Thakura. At that time,
he gave many instructions regarding the position of the book Bhagavata and the person Bhagavata. He said, "If one
studies the book Bhagavata but doesn't respect the devotee Bhagavata, he is an offender. One may study the
Bhagavata in that way for hundreds and hundreds of kalpas without making any progress towards Krishna-prema. The
book Bhagavata and the person Bhagavata are nondifferent. One who is sincere to know the meaning of the book
Bhagavata must serve the devotee Bhagavata. Mahaprabhu was indifferent towards Devananda Pandit and did not
bestow Krishna-prema upon him.
One day Vakreshvara Pandit was in the section of Nabadwip known as Kuliya at the house of a devotee. That
evening Vakreshvara Pandit was singing the glories of the Lord and dancing in ecstasy. Devananda Pandit went there
to find out what was going on, and when he saw Vakreshvara Pandit enveloped in a mood of ecstasy, he became
fascinated by watching him. By and by a large crowd formed, pressing forward to see Vakreshvara Pandit. Shri
Devananda Pandit then pushed the crowd back waving a cane in his hand, so that the divine kirtan and dancing of
Shri Vakreshvara Pandit Thakura was not disturbed. In this way for another six hours into the night Vakreshvara
Pandit continued his intense singing and dancing in divine kirtana. Later, when Vakreshvara Pandit had taken a seat in
order to rest, Devananda Pandit fell before his feet, offering his obeisances in full submission.
Vakreshavara Pandit was very happy with Devananda Pandit and his service, and blessed him, saying, "May you
have love of God." From that day on, Devananda Pandit's Krishna Bhakti grew. One who gets the blessing of a
devotee soon achieves Krishna-bhakti.
After Caitanya Mahaprabhu had stayed in Jagannatha Puri for some time, he returned to Kuliya in Nabadwipa, in
order to visit his mother and see the Ganges. At that time, he gave his mercy to Devananda Pandit. At that time he told
Devananda Pandit: "Because you have rendered service to Vakreshvara Pandit I consider you to be one of my own.
Vakreshvara Pandit is completely empowered by the Lord. He has attained Krishna, and is full in Krishna-bhakti.
Krishna has made his home in the heart of Vakreshvara Pandit, and as Krishna dances within his heart, so
Vakreshavara Pandit himself dances. Whatever place Vakreshvara Pandit blesses with his association becomes a holy
place of pilgrimage more sacred than all the holy places."
In this way Vrindavan Das Thakur writes of the glories of Shri Vakreshvara Pandit. Although Shri Vakreshvara
Pandit had previously lived in Nabadwip, he left Nabadwip for Jagannatha Puri after Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, in
order to better serve the Lord. After this, he lived in Jagannatha Puri. The Caitanya Caritamrita says, "Among the
devotees who accompanied the Lord in Jagannatha Puri, two of themParamananda Puri and Svarupa Damodara
were the heart and soul of the Lord. Among the other devotees were Gadadhara, Jagadananda, Sankara, Vakreshvara,
Damodara Pandit, Thakura Haridasa, Raghunatha Vaidya, and Ragunatha das. All these great devotees had been his
associates from the very begining of the Lord's pastimes, and when the Lord took up residence in Jagannatha Puri they
remained there to serve him faithfully.
It is said that Vakreshvara Pandit later lived in the house of Kashi Mishra. There he established the Radha-Kanta
deities. Shri Vakreshvara Pandit's disciple was Gopal Guru Goswami. Shri Gopal Guru Goswami's disciple
Dhayanachandra Goswami has written a book called the Dhyan Chandra Paddhati. There he has written of
Vakreshvara Pandit: "Previously in Vrindavan he was Tungavidya Gopi who was expert in singing and dancing. Later
that same person appeared in the lila of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and became known as Vakreshvara Pandit. He appeared
within this world as Vakreshavara Pandit on the day of Krishnapanchami in the month of Asharh. He disappeared from
this Earth and entered into the unmanifest pastimes of the Lord on the sixth day of the full moon in the month of Asarh.
"
One of Vakreshvara Pandit's family members was the poet Shri Govinda dev of Utkala, who is known as an Oriyan.
In the year 17, Gaur Era, he compiled a scripture in the Orissan language named "Shri Gaura Krishnodaya." This book
has since been published by the great acarya of the Gaudiya Sampradaya, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
Prabhupada, who recently entered into the eternal pastimes of the Lord. In Gaura Krishnodaya Govinda Das describes
the life of Vakreshvara Pandit. There are many disciples of Vakreshvara Pandit and they are known as Gaudiya
Vaishnavas although they are from Orissa.
Vrindavan Das Thakura has described the great celebration of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's sankirtan rasa in his Caitanya
Bhagavata. There he mentions Vakreshvara Pandit's participation in Mahaprabhu's sankirtan-lila as follows:
"To bless all souls with good fortune, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared on this earth in an enchanting form, which
was like a doll of gold. To awaken the sleeping souls of the age of Kali, he came to distribute the nectar of the holy
name of Krishna. The Lord descended to this earth in the midst of his eternal associates: Nityananda, Advaita Acarya,
Gadadhara, and all His pure devotees. When Caitanya came, the khol and kartals sounded like the thunder of the
clouds within the temple of the Lord. Absorbed in different moods of ecstatic love, Sri Caitanya would order everyone
to chant the holy name of Krishna, saying, "bolo Haribol!" Raising his arms to the sky, the Son of Sachi would dance
in ecstasy. At that time the beautiful Ramai and Shri Raghunandan also danced. Srivasa Thakura and Haridas Thakura
as well as Vakreshvara Pandit, Dvija Haridas, and Shankara Pandit also danced. In this way, again and again glorifying
their activities within this world, floating on the ocean of ecstasy churned by them, Vrindavana Das sings this Caitanya
Bhagavata.
At the time of Rathayatra in Jagannatha Puri, there were four sampradayas. In their midst Vakreshavara Pandit
initiated a new sampradayaof dancing. Shri Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami writes of the glories of Vakreshvara
Pandit:
"Vakreshvara Pandit was the fifth branch of the Caitanya tree. He was a very dear servant of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu. Once in the house of Srivasa Thakura he danced with constant ecstasy for seventy-two hours. Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally sang while Vakreshvara Pandit danced, and thus Vakreshvara Pandit fell at the lotus
feet of Sri Caitanya and said, "O you whose face is as beautiful as the full moon; please give me 10,000 Gandharvas.
Let them sing as I dance, and then I will be greatly happy." The Lord replied, "I have only one wing like you, but if I
had another, certainly I could fly like a bird."
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