Ecstatic kīrtans and nectarean discourses on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. All night long this was the typical sight observed in the house of ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍita. Why was ŚrīvāsaĀṅgan chosen? What was its specialty? Dive below to know more.
With hands folded and head finely tilted to its left stands the tall deity of Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita – the fifth member of the Pañca-tattva – at the alter in Śrīdhāma Māyāpur. Hailing from Śrīhaṭṭa[modern day Sylhet], he was the second among the five sons of his father Śrī Jaladhar Paṇḍita, a Vedic Brāhmaṇa. The names of his other brothers were Nalina [the eldest], Śrīrāma, Śrīpati and Śrīnidhi. In due course of time, except Nalina, the others moved in to Navadvip. Over there they became close with Advaita Ācārya and studied Bhāgavatam together. Advaita Ācārya, ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍita and his brothers became close friends with Jagannātha Miśra too. Śrīvāsa Pandit’s wife was Mālinī Devī and together they had a son. Mālinī was also close friends with Śacīmātā, Mahāprabhu’s mother.
During this time, staunch atheists, logicians, and proud Paṇḍit’s were harassing Nādiā, the situation was looking chaotic. Bhakti was followed by not many people. What is going to happen? What’s next? Looking at this scenario Advaita Ācārya and ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍita prayed for the advent of the incarnation of the Lord, so that Vaishnavism can be reignited. And not that late, their prayers were answered and Mahāprabhu took his advent at Jagannātha Miśra’s residence.
Jagannātha Miśra’s residence was not that far away from ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍit’s house. So, every night, Mahāprabhu would enjoy ecstatic kīrtans with his associates at Śrīvāsa’s residence. Once when Mahāprabhu was in the house of Śrīvāsa Pandit, He said “To whom have you performed worship? On whom have you meditated? Now see Him! Look upon the object of your worship! Śrīvāsa!”. Saying this, Mahāprabhu entered the deity room and sat upon the alter and manifested his four handed form. Seeing this ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍita became shocked and prostrated himself and offered Him different prayers. Mahāprabhu was so kind He gave his darshan to him and all the assembled devotees.
Mahāprabhu’s pastimes in ŚrīvāsaĀṅgan are beautifully described by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura in his Śrīmān-Mahāprabhor-Aṣṭa-Kālīya-Līlā-Smaraṇa-Maṅgala-stotram, ‘Auspicious Prayers for Remembering the Eight-fold Daily Pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’. Mahāprabhu’s pastime covers two kālās (time periods) in ŚrīvāsaĀṅgan and they’re as follows:
PERIOD 7 (8:24-10:48 P.M.) : EVENING PASTIMES: In the evening time, the Lord goes to the home of ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍita, accompanied by Śrīla Advaita-candra and other dear associates. Meeting with the multitude of His devotees, He tastes and relishes the nectar of topics concerning Lord Hari, and His mind becomes most agitated with the ecstasies of pure love of Godhead. Then, becoming very lustful to relish the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord, He orchestrates the performance of intensely jubilant saṅkīrtana which attains the summit of passionate glorification of the holy names. I thus meditate on the daily pastimes of Śrī Gaura-sundara.
PERIOD 8 (10:48 P.M. – 3:36 A.M.) : MIDNIGHT PASTIMES: Continuing well into the night, the Lord dances and dances in the courtyard of Śrīvāsa, surrounded by His most intimate devotees. His most ecstatic sing is accompanied by His devotees who are expert in playing rhythms loudly on the mṛdaṅgadrums. He wanders and dances with Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu in the most astonishing way, throughout the night, until just before dawn. Then He returns to His own home, where retires to His bedchamber and falls asleep with His wife. I thus meditate on the daily pastimes of Śrī Gaura-naṭarāja.
Thus, Mahāprabhu would perform such nectarean pastimes in the house of ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍit and as Śrīla Prabhupāda says in his purport to the Pañca-tattva mantra “Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always accompanied by…His marginal potency Śrīvāsa Prabhu.” Thus, ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍita played an important role in all of Lord’s important pastimes. So on this day we pray to ŚrīvāsaPaṇḍita to have mercy on us so that we can serve Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu more and more in an unalloyed manner.