03 Dec SRI SARANGA THAKURA & “SRI MADANA-GOPALA TEMPLE”
SRI SARANGA THAKURA & “SRI MADANA-GOPALA TEMPLE” AT “SRI MODRUMADVIPA” ISLAND OF SRI NAVADVIPA-MAYAPUR DHAM
Sri Saranga Thakura is also known as Sarangapani, Sarangadhara or Saranga Murari Caitanya Das. The Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 10.113 describes Saranga Thakura as the seventy-seventh branch of Lord Caitanya’s tree of Bhakti. Gaura Ganoddesa Dipika states, “That person who was formerly the gopi called Nandimukhi in Lord Krishna’s Vraja-lila appeared in the pastimes of Lord Caitanya as Saranga Thakura.”
Sri Saranga Thakura resided in this area, which is now known as “Mamagacchi”, on the banks of the Ganges in Modradrumadvipa in Navadvipa-Mayapur Dham. At present in this place there is a temple of “Sri Madana-Gopala”. The Ganga river used to flow nearby and he would perform his Bhajana while sitting in a secluded place. In the evenings, he would cross the Ganges to go to Mayapur for Harinam-Sankirtana with Gauranga Mahaprabhu and His associates.
Saranga Thakura had vowed never to accept any disciples. But again and again he received messages from within encouraging him to make disciples. On one occasion, after reprimanding Devananda Pandita, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was on His way home, accompanied by Srivasa Pandita. Lord came across Saranga Thakura. Lord Gauranga asked him why he had never initiated any disciples. Sri Saranga replied that he had not found any suitable person. Lord Gauranga blessed him saying, “Whoever you shall choose as a disciple will be most suitable.” Sri Saranga answered, “As you command, I shall initiate the first person I see tomorrow,” and then offered his humble obeisances and took leave of the Lord.
The following morning while taking bath in the Ganges he saw the corpse of a young boy floating in the river. Obeying the order of Lord Gauranga, Saranga gave diksa (initiation) to the dead boy. Upon hearing the diksa-mantra, the boy regained his life. This boy had died of snake-bite on the day he had undergone the sacred-thread ceremony. As was the custom of the time, since he was only a boy, his body was placed on a raft of banana trees and floated down the Ganges river instead of being cremated. By the potency of a pure devotee Sri Saranga Thakura, the boy gradually regained consciousness. Finding himself in the presence of a great soul, bowed down before Sri Saranga Thakura. At last he identified his caste and family background, saying, “My name is Murari. I am your servant. Please have mercy on me!” At that time, Saranga Thakura accepted him as his disciple. It is for this reason that he became famous as Saranga Murari Thakura. After a few days Saranga Thakura trained his new disciple in the worship of his deities, Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha. When the parents of Murari heard that their son was alive they rushed to Sri Saranga to take back Murari, but Murari refused to go with them and vowed to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of Sri Saranga. Later, Murari became well-known as Thakura Murari.
In Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 11.20, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada describes Saranga Thakura as being completely on the transcendental platform, unaware of his external or bodily situation. He would chase tigers in the jungle as if they were cats and dogs. There were many extraordinary activities performed by him, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sometimes in his ecstasy he would slap the cheek of a tiger, and sometimes he would play with a venomous snake. He spent all twenty-four hours of the day completely absorbed in chanting Hare Krishna Maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare | Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare ||
or speaking about Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda. Sometimes he would remain submerged in water for two or three days, but he would feel no bodily inconvenience. Thus he behaved almost like stone or wood, but he always used his energy in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. No one can describe his specific characteristics, but it is understood that wherever Sri Saranga Thakura passed, whoever was present would be enlightened in Krishna consciousness simply by the atmosphere he created.
ENTRANCE TO SRI SARANGA THAKURA’S “MADANA-GOPALA TEMPLE”
“SRI GARUDA” – THE BLESSED CARRIER OF SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD, LORD SRI KRISHNA
SRI SRI RADHA-GOPINATHA (Deities on the right) were worshiped by Sri Saranga Thakura.
SRI SRI MADANA-GOPALA & HIS ETERNAL CONSORT SRIMATI RADHARANI (large Deities in centre). They are the beloved Deities of Vasudeva Datta.
SRI SRI GAURA-GADADHARA (Deities on the left), these are the Deities of Puri Gosvami.
VISVAMBHARA’S SIDDHA-BAKULA TREE
In the courtyard of the Temple there is a “Bakula tree” which is over 500 years old. It is also called “Siddha-Bakula” because of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s (Visvambhara) mercy. [Siddhi means a living entity who is a perfected being and beyond the influence of the material realm].
One day Lord noticed the tree in Saranga’s temple courtyard was dying. So He asked Saranga, “This Bakula tree is dying, so what are you going to do?” Saranga Thakura replied, “Besides Your mercy, I don’t see any hope for this tree.” Then Mahaprabhu embraced this tree, giving it a new life. Today, over 500 years later, although the tree is completely hollow inside, it is still growing in full bloom. During the childhood pastimes, Lord used to rest here when going home from school in Vidyanagara.
BEAUTIFUL SRI SRI GAURA-NITAI RESTING UNDER THE SIDDHA-BAKULA TREE
Maharaj who is worshipping and taking care of SRI SRI MADANA-GOPALA since more than 60 years. He is over 100 years old.
SRI SRI RADHA-MADANA GOPALA
Directions to reach Mamgachhi
#1) Sri Madana-Gopala Temple at Mamgachhi in Sri Modrumadvipa island of Navadvipa-Mayapur Dham is one of the main stopover during “Navadvipa-Mandala Parikrama” which is organized every year about 2 weeks before Gaura-Purnima Festival at Sridham Mayapur. One can visit Mamgachhi by attending Navadvipa-Mandala Parikrama.
#2) Mamgachhi can also be visited by taking a rickshaw from Navadvipa ghat. It will take about 45mins to reach this place. By train one should go north towards Katwa and get down at the second stop Bhandar tikuri, there one can easily ask and find the temple.
Nearby places to visit at Mamgachhi
#1) Sri Vasudeva Dutta’s house: This is 50 meters away from Sri Madana-Gopala temple. Vasudeva Datta was a very liberal Vaisnava who would spent all his money for the worship of his beloved Deity, Madana Gopala, without any consideration of future expenses in spite of the difficulties for his family. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has such affection for Vasudeva Datta, He vowed on 3 separate occasions that He belonged to Vasudeva Datta. He would say, “I am only Vasudeva Datta’s man. My body is meant only to please Vasudeva Datta and he can sell me anywhere.”
#2) Sri Vrindavan Das Thakura’s Birthplace: This is 100 meters from Sri Madana-Gopala temple. Sri Vrindavan Das Thakura was a great Vaishnava acarya. He was last initiated and the dear-most disciple of Lord Nityananda. He was author of Sri Caitanya Bhagavata. The Life and Pastimes of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are very elaborately described in Sri Caitanya Bhagavata.
Harinam in Mamgachhi: http://www.youtube.com/user/MayapurISKCON#p/u/12/fJ5ZclE-g5Y
Glories of Saranga Thakura: www.Gopaljiu.org/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&download=96:bindu-092&id=6:bindu-issues-91-120
His Grace Aindra Prabhu Kirtan during Guara-Purnima festival 2008:
MAYAPUR TV: http://Mayapur.tv
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE |HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE ||