Sri Bhugarbha Goswami & Sri Kashishvara Pandit

BY: SUN STAFF - 18.11 2021

Lord Chaitanya's Sankirtan Party
Chore Bagan Art Studio, Calcutta, c. 1895
British Museum Collection

The Disappearance day of Sri Bhugarbha Goswami & Sri Kashishvara Pandit is observed on November 18th.

Srila Bhugarbha Goswami

lokanathakhya-gosvami shri-lila-maïjari pura

Lokanatha Goswami was known as Lila Manjari in Krishna lila.
(Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 187)

Lokanatha is considered to be Mahaprabhu’s direct disciple and associate. Prior to coming to Nabadwip, he lived in the village of Talakharii in Jessore district in what is now Bangla Desh. Prior to that, he lived in Kacna Paria. His father’s name was Padmanabha Chakravarti and his mother Sita Devi. The Bhakti-ratnakara quotes an old verse which confirms this:

padmanabhatmajam shrimal-lokanatha-prabhum bhaje

I worship Lokanatha Prabhu, the son of Padmanabha, whose life revolved around the wealth of service he possessed in his deity Radhavinoda.
(Bhakti-ratnakara 1.297)

The descendants of Lokanatha’s brother, Pragalbha Bhattacharya are still living in Talakharii. Bhugarbha Goswami was Lokanatha’s closest friend and constant companion. He was Prema Manjari in Vraja
(Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 187).

bhugarbha-thakkurasyasit purvakhya prema-maïjari

According to the Sadhana-dipika, Bhugarbha was Lokanatha’s paternal uncle. The Shakha-nirnayamrita adds the following comments on Bhugarbha Goswami:

gosvaminam ca bhugarbham bhugarbhottham suvishrutam
sada mahashayam vande krishna-prema-pradam prabhum
shrila-govinda-devasya seva-sukha-vilasinam
dayalum premadam svaccham nityam ananda-vigraham

I offer my reverence to the illustrious Bhugarbha Prabhu, who is said to have been born from the bowels of the earth. He bestows love of Krishna; he takes pleasure in the service of Govinda Deva, is compassionate, simple and always joyful.

Bhugarbha Goswami’s initiating guru was Gadadhara Pandit Goswami. He is therefore considered to be Gadadhara’s branch. Sri Bhagavata Das, a fellow disciple of Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami, was also a close friend.

Bhugarbha and Bhagavata Das are branches of Gadadhara Pandit, both of whom went to live in Vrindavan.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi, 12.81)

Lokanatha and Bhugarbha go to Vraja

Lokanatha Goswami renounced the householder ashrama in 1431 of the Shaka era (1510) and came to meet Mahaprabhu in Nabadwip. Mahaprabhu immediately told him to go and live in Vrindavan, telling him that it was his own intention to take sannyas very shortly and go there himself. Lokanatha started to cry when he imagined the Lord with his beautiful curls shorn and the distress the devotees would feel at his departure. When the Lord saw Lokanatha’s anxiety, he embraced him and consoled him with various spiritual instructions and Lokanatha surrendered completely to him. When Bhugarbha saw how unhappy Lokanatha was, he decided to accompany him to Vrindavan. The two companions walked through Rajmahal, Tajpur, Purniya, Lukhnow and many holy places before finally arriving in Braj.

Though he had come to Vrindavan on Mahaprabhu’s order, he constantly felt intense separation from the Lord, shedding copious tears in his desire to see him again. When he got the news that Mahaprabhu had taken sannyas and then gone to Puri and thence to the South on pilgrimage, Lokanatha hurried to Southern India in order to join him. When he arrived in the South, he heard that Mahaprabhu was no longer there, but had gone to Vrindavan. Lokanatha immediately set off for Vrindavan, hoping to see the Lord there, but by the time he arrived, he heard that the Lord was now in Prayag. Lokanatha was disappointed, but still determined to see the Lord and decided to set off again for Prayag.

This time, however, Mahaprabhu appeared to him in a dream and told him to stop running around and remain in Vrindavan and do his bhajana. Not long afterwards, Rupa, Sanatan, Gopal Bhatta Goswamis and others of the Lord’s associates started coming to live in Braj. Their association cheered him immensely.

When Rupa was getting old and unable to walk all the way to Govardhana, he missed being able to see Gopal. When this desire became strong, Gopal came to stay at the house of Vitthaleshvara in Mathura, ostensibly out of fear of Muslim iconoclasts, but actually to show mercy to Rupa Goswami. The deity stayed there for a month, during which time Rupa came for his darshan with Lokanatha and other Gaudiya Vaishnavas. The extent to which Bhugarbha Goswami was dear to Lokanatha is described in Bhakti-ratnakara:

Lokanatha’s affection for Bhugarbha was well known everywhere. They only had different bodies, in spirit they were one.
(Bhakti-ratnakara 1.317)

Gopal Bhatta Goswami was extremely compassionate. Bhugarbha and Lokanatha are a goldmine of virtues.
(Bhakti-ratnakara 6.510)

Lokanatha Goswami worshiped Radha and Krishna in a state of separation, increasing the intensity of his renunciation. He was afraid of the slightest amount of fame. Thus he forbad Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami to write anything about him in the Chaitanya Charitamrita, with the result that only his name can be found mentioned there. Sanatan Goswami has also mentioned his name in the mangalacarana to the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, as well as in that to the Vaishnava-toshani commentary to the tenth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

vrindavana-priyan vande shri-govinda-padashritan
shrimat-kashishvaram lokanatham shri-krishnadasakam

I pay obeisance to Kashishvara, Lokanatha and Krishnadas, to whom residence in Vrindavan is very dear and who have taken shelter of Govinda’s lotus feet.

Lokanatha and Radhavinoda

Lokanatha Goswami constantly travelled through Braj, ecstatically visiting the various holy places where Krishna had engaged in his pastimes. Once, he came to Khadiravana. Then he visited Kishori Kund near the village of Umarao by Chatravana. He was so impressed by the beauty of the site that he stayed there for some time to do his bhajana in isolation. After being engaged in this way for some time, he developed a deep desire to worship Radha and Krishna in the deity form.

The Lord knows the desires of his devotees and feels himself obliged to fulfill them. He came personally to give Lokanatha a deity, telling him that its name was Radhavinoda before disappearing. Lokanatha was astonished to see the deity and then filled with anxiety at the thought that the Lord himself had come and gone. But Radhavinoda cast his sweet glance on Lokanatha and said to him, “I live here on the banks of Kishori Kund in the village of Umarao. I saw your eagerness to serve me and so I came here myself. Who else would have brought me to you? I am very hungry. Quickly prepare something for me to eat.”

When he heard these words, tears began to flow from Lokanatha’s eyes. He quickly started cooking for Radhavinoda and then made an offering which the deity ate with great satisfaction. He then made him a bed of flowers upon which he placed him, fanned him with branches and joyfully massaged his feet. Lokanatha devoted himself in body, mind and soul to Radhavinoda.

He wondered where he would keep the deity, and decided to make a large bag which became Radhavinoda’s temple. He kept his worshipable Lord constantly close to his heart like a necklace. This attracted the people of Braj to Lokanatha and they wanted to built a house for him and his deity, but he refused. He was so renounced that he accepted nothing other than what he absolutely needed for the deity’s service.

Narottama Das becomes Lokanatha’s disciple

After spending some time at Kishori Kund, Lokanatha came to Vrindavan. He learned that Rupa and Sanatan had ended their pastimes in this world and lamented their passing in great sadness. At around this time, Narottama Das, who was the son of the Raja Krishnananda Datta of Gopalpura in Rajsahi (now in Bangla Desh), came to Vrindavan and met him there. When Mahaprabhu told Nityananda to go to Puri, he cried in ecstasy in a place on the banks of the Padmavati river which is now known as Prematila. He buried his love there for Narottama’s later benefit.Years later, when Narottama took his bath in the river at that spot, he was immediately overcome with divine love and decided to cut off all family ties and go to Vrindavan.

Upon his arrival in Braj, Narottama met Rupa, Sanatan and Lokanatha. He received Lokanatha’s special mercy, for he became his one and only disciple. Lokanatha was extremely renounced and had made a vow not to take any disciples. Narottama Das too made a vow - to take initiation from no one other than Lokanatha. Narottama repeatedly asked Lokanatha to give him initiation, but Lokanatha was firm in his refusal. In order to win his favor, Narottama went in the middle of the night to clean the place he used as a toilet. Lokanatha was so surprised to see that the place was being kept clean by someone that he became curious to to find out who it was. One evening, he went and hid there, chanting japa the entire night in wait for the anonymous benefactor.

At midnight, he saw someone engaged in cleaning the place and asked him who he was. When he found out that Narottama, the son of a raja, was engaged in doing such a filthy task, he felt embarrassed and asked him what his purpose was in doing it. Narottama immediately began to cry. He fell at Lokanatha’s feet and said, “My life is useless unless I obtain your mercy.” When Lokanatha saw Narottama’s humility and pain, his resolve to never give anyone initiation softened and gave him the mantras.

This is a perfect example of how one can win over the worshipable deity through honest and selfless service. Narottama Das took initiation from Lokanatha on the full moon day of the month of Shravan. Lokanatha and Narottama engaged in this pastime to show the value of selfless and sincere service to the entire world, but especially to the people of northern Bengal. Lokanatha was a very renounced Vaishnava, but he saw in Narottama someone who not only had a cultured background, but an enthusiasm and taste for dealing with people. As a result, he asked him to go back to his homeland to preach Krishna consciousness.

When one has taken full shelter of the Supreme Lord and is situated on the transcendental platform in full service to the Lord, then he usually has no enthusiasm for engaging in activities for the welfare of people on the bodily platform. When a devotee goes against this principle, such activities increase in prestige. On the order of his spiritual master, Narottama returned to northern Bengal and began to preach pure devotional service and thus delivered the people of that country.

In his collection of songs known as Prarthana, Narottama Das Thakur has written:

After suffering much sadness, O Lord, you brought me to Braj, pulling me by the rope of mercy which you had tied around my neck. Maya and fate forced me back into the well of material existence by cutting loose that rope of mercy.

Lokanatha Goswami left this world somewhere around 1510 Shaka (1588-9 AD) in the month of Asharh, on the eighth day of the dark moon. His samadhi tomb is found in the Radha Gokulananda temple in Vrindavan. His Radhavinoda deity is also being served in the same temple.

Srila Kashishvara Pandit

pura vrindavane cetau sthitau bhringara-bhangurau
shri-kashishvara-govindau tau jatau prabhu-sevakau

Srila Kashishvara Pandit (also Brahmachari or Goswami) was Krishna’s servant Bhringara and Govinda was Bhangura. They became Mahaprabhu’s servants in Gaura-lila. Some Kashishvara was the sakhi Sasirekha.
(Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 137)

Kashishvara Pandit’s home was in the village of Catara in the district of Hooghly, about one mile from the present day Serampore (Shriramapura) railway station. His father was Vasudeva Bhattacharya, a Brahmin of the Vatsya gotra in the li ne of Kanva. He also had the title Chaudhuri. The temple which belonged to Kashishvara Pandit is situated in the neighborhood of Catara village is known as Chaudhuri Paria. He established deities of Gauranga and Sri Radha Govinda. There is an annual festival there on Òola Purnima. Kashishvara Pandit was very powerful physically. Rudra Pandit of Ballabhapura was his nephew.

Kashishvara was Ishvara Puri’s disciple

Kashishvara Pandit was a disciple of Ishvara Puri who had received much mercy from him. For this reason he is counted as one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s branches. Sri Govinda was also Ishvara Puri’s disciple. Both of them devotedly served their spiritual master as long as he was present in this world. Just before he disappeared, he instructed them both to go engage in Mahaprabhu’s service. Govinda was the first to come to Puri to serve the Lord after the disappearance of their guru; Kashishvara travelled throughout India on a pilgrimage before finally coming to Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.

I am a servant of Ishvara Puripada, my name is Govinda. On his order I have come to you. At the time of his departure, my master ordered me: Go to Sri Krishna Chaitanya and serve him. Kashishvara will also come after he has seen the pilgrimage sites. I have come directly to you.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.10.132-4)

On another day, Kashishvara Gosaïi arrived; the Lord greeted him respectfully and gave him a place to stay with him.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.10.185)

The Lord turned to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Sarvabhauma answered that he should most certainly obey the instruction of his spiritual master and so the Lord did as his guru had ordered him and accepted Govinda and Kashishvara Pandit as his personal servants.

sa shushruvan matari bhargavena
pitur niyogat prahritam dvishadvat
pratyagrahid agraja-shasanam tad-
ajïa gurunam hy avicaraniya
(Raghuvamsha, 14.46)

On the order of his father, Parashurama killed his own mother as though she were an enemy. When he heard this, Lakshmana accepted the order of his elder brother Rama, for the orders of a guru are not to be debated.

nirvikaram guror ajïa maya karya mahatmanah
shreyo hy evam bhavatyash ca mama caiva visheshatah
(Ramayana Ayodhya-khanda, 22.9)

I must follow the order of my guru because he is a great soul. You will certainly benefit from this, but even more so will I.

Kashishvara’s service to Mahaprabhu

Whenever Mahaprabhu went to see Jagannath, Kashishvara would use his physical strength to hold back the crowds, allowing the Lord to pass without being touched by anyone.

Ishvara Puri’s disciples were Kashishvara Brahmachari and Govinda. At the time of his departure from this world, he instructed them both to come to Nilachala and to engage in Mahaprabhu’s personal service. The Lord considered them both to be his superiors because they had personally served his spiritual master, but he nevertheless accepted their service because it was his guru’s order. Govinda would engage in personal, bodily service, while Kashishvara would go before him when he went to see Jagannath. He would push people aside to make a path for the Lord so that he could go through the crowd without being touched.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.138-142)

Mahaprabhu joyfully took the devotees to the temple to see Jagannath. Kashishvara led the way, clearing the path, while Govinda followed carrying the Lord’s waterpot.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita Madbhya 12.206-7)

In Puri, the abode of the Supreme Person (Purushottam-dham), when the Lord was dancing in front of Jagannath’s Rathayatra cart, three rings of people would be formed around the Lord in order to hold the people back. The innermost ring consisted of Nityananda Prabhu and other devotees, the second of Kashishvara, Mukunda and others, and the third of King Prataparudra and his bodyguards.

Kashishvara, Mukunda and many other devotees held hand to form a second protective circle.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.13.89)

Kashishvara was one of the seven persons who would serve maha prasad to the devotees after the kirtan at the Rathayatra. The others were Svarupa Damodar, Jagadananda, Damodar, Gopinath, Vaninatha and Shankara.

Kashishvara also participated in some of the Lord’s lilas in Nabadwip, such as the kirtans at Srivasa Angan and bathing in the Ganges. He was also present when the Lord went with kirtan to the house of Shridhara and drank from his iron pot. He, along with the other devotees present, cried to see the Lord’s mercy on that occasion. Govinda, Govindananda, Shrigarbha, Shriman, Jagadananda and Rama were others present on that occasion.
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.23.451)

Vrindavan Das Thakur tells just how dear Kashishvara was to the Lord, calling Mahaprabhu Kashishvara’s heart on one occasion (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.1.6) and the wealth of Kashishvara’s life (Kashishvara-prana-dhana) on another
(Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.24.3).

He was also present when Mahaprabhu went to greet Advaita and the other devotees when they arrived from Bengal. His disappearance day is on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Karttik. According to another opinion, it is on the full moon day of the month of Ashvina, when the Rasapurnima of Radha Krishna is also celebrated.


Excerpted from "Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates" by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj