The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Santipura

BY: SUN STAFF - 19.2 2020

Lord Chaitanya's Transcendental Sankirtana Pastimes

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 132.

The holy town of Santipura, home of Sri Advaita Acarya and the place of many transcendental pastimes during Lord Chaitanya's lila, is often mentioned with respect to one of the sankirtan parties who joined the Lord for Jagannath's Rathayatra:

"There was another party that came from Santipura and was formed by Advaita Acarya. Acyutananda was the dancer, and the rest of the men were singers."

Given that today we are reporting on the glorious start of Lord Jagannath's annual rathayatra to Gundica Temple, we will include the story here for the pleasure of the devotees. From Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 13, texts 29 to 56 with Bhaktivedanta Purports:

"As the car stood still, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gathered all His devotees and, with His own hand, decorated them with flower garlands and sandalwood pulp.

Paramananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati were both personally given garlands and sandalwood pulp from the very hands of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This increased their transcendental pleasure.

Similarly, when Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu felt the touch of the transcendental hand of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, They were both very pleased.

The Lord also gave garlands and sandalwood pulp to the performers of sankirtana. The chief two performers were Svarupa Damodara and Srivasa Thakura.

There were altogether four parties of kirtana performers, comprising twenty-four chanters. In each party there were also two mrdanga players, making an additional eight persons.

When the four parties were formed, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, after some consideration, divided the chanters.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Haridasa Thakura and Vakresvara Pandita to dance in each of the four respective parties.

Svarupa Damodara was chosen as the leader of the first party and was given five assistants to respond to his chanting.

The five who responded to the singing of Svarupa Damodara were Damodara Pandita, Narayana, Govinda Datta, Raghava Pandita and Sri Govindananda.

Advaita Acarya Prabhu was ordered to dance in the first group. The Lord then formed another group with Srivasa Thakura as the chief man.

The five singers who responded to the singing of Srivasa Thakura were Gangadasa, Haridasa, Sriman, Subhananda and Sri Rama Pandita. Sri Nityananda Prabhu was appointed as a dancer.

Another group was formed consisting of Vasudeva, Gopinatha, and Murari. All these were responsive singers, and Mukunda was the chief singer.

Another two persons, Srikanta and Vallabha Sena, joined as responsive singers. In this group, Haridasa Thakura [the senior] was the dancer.

The Lord formed another group, appointing Govinda Ghosh as leader. In this group the younger Haridasa, Visnudasa and Raghava were the responding singers.

Two brothers named Madhava Ghosh and Vasudeva Ghosh also joined this group as responsive singers. Vakresvara Pandita was the dancer.

There was a sankirtana party from the village known as Kulina-grama, and Ramananda and Satyaraja were appointed the dancers in this group.

There was another party that came from Santipura and was formed by Advaita Acarya. Acyutananda was the dancer, and the rest of the men were singers.

Another party was formed by the people of Khanda. These people were singing in a different place. In that group, Narahari Prabhu and Raghunandana were dancing.

Four parties chanted and danced in front of Lord Jagannatha, and on both sides were two other parties. Another was at the rear.

There were altogether seven parties of sankirtana, and in each party two men were beating drums. Thus fourteen drums were being played at once. The sound was tumultuous, and all the devotees became mad.

All the Vaisnavas came together like an assembly of clouds. As the devotees chanted the holy names, tears fell in great ecstasy like rainfall from their eyes.

When the sankirtana resounded, it filled the three worlds. Indeed, no one could hear mundane sounds or musical instruments other than the sankirtana.

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wandered through all seven groups chanting the holy name, "Hari, Hari!" Raising His arms, He shouted, "All glories to Lord Jagannatha!"

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu then exhibited another mystic power by performing pastimes simultaneously in all seven groups.

Everyone said, "Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is present in my group. Indeed, He does not go anywhere else. He is bestowing His mercy upon us."

Actually, no one could see the inconceivable potency of the Lord. Only the most confidential devotees, those in pure, unalloyed devotional service, could understand.

Lord Jagannatha was very pleased by the sankirtana, and He brought His car to a standstill just to see the performance.

King Prataparudra also was astonished to see the sankirtana. He became inactive and was converted to ecstatic love of Krsna."

In the first group, Damodara Svarupa was appointed chief singer, and the responding singers were Damodara Pandita, Narayana, Govinda Datta, Raghava Pandita and Govindananda. Sri Advaita Acarya was appointed as a dancer. The next group was formed, and the chief singer was Srivasa Thakura.

In the third group, Mukunda was appointed the chief singer. This party was composed of Vasudeva, Gopinatha, Murari, Srikanta and Vallabha Sena. The senior Haridasa Thakura was the dancer.