I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Kåñna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee, devotional incarnation, devotional manifestation, pure devotee and devotional energy.
The pure devotee mentioned in the above verse is Srivas Pandit. One amongst the celebrated Pancatattva, he assisted Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His pastimes. He is also the incarnation of Narad Muni, the celebrated devotee of the Lord, who always sings the glories of the Lord while playing on his Vina.
He appeared in 1456 at Srihatta and was older to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by 30 years. His father’s name was Jaladhar. Srivas Pandit had three brothers by name – Srirama Srinidhi and Sripati. Among them Srirama was Pravat Muni’s incarnation.
Srivas’s wife’s was Malini devi.
Through the power of devotion he knew that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was about to appear in Navadvip and hence he and his family shifted to Navadvip.
Srivas angan the pastime place for Gauranga
Lord Krishna was born in Mathura but performed His most intimate pastimes in Vrindavan. Similarly Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in the house of Jagannath Mishra but He performed His most intimate pastimes in the house of Srivasa Thakur.
Every night Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and His dearest friends would enjoy ecstatic kirtans here and taste the mellows of Vrindavan. Hence in Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes naam sankirtan was the Ras lila and Srivas angan was the Ras sthali.
The first civil disobedience movement
Srivas angan is also called Khol bhangar danga i.e. the place where the drums were broken. Chand Kazi, the city magistrate, broke the mridanga here after receiving complaints about the loud chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
Panca-Tattva with Mridanga at Srivas angan
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then led a huge nagar sankirtan party to Chand Kazi’s house that stretched for miles. This is believed to be the first civil disobedience movement in the history. The Lord then convinced Kazi and Kazi confirmed that he and his entire dynasty would never again create any obstacle in the Sankirtan Movement of Mahaprabhu.
One day in the house of Srivasa Thakura, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu sat down on the bed of Viñnu, and all the devotees worshiped Him with the Vedic mantras of the Puruña-sükta. The Lord remained in ecstasy for twenty-one hours. This is also called the Mahaprakash lila in which the Lord showed his supreme form to all his devotees.
Mahaprabhu displaying Mahaprakash Lila
Passing away of Srivas Thakur’s son
This incident is described as follows by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amåta-pravaha-bhañya. One night while Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was dancing with His devotees at the house of Srivasa Thakura, one of Srivasa Thakura’s sons, who was suffering from some disease, died. Srivasa Thakura was so patient, however, that he did not allow anyone to express sorrow by crying, for he did not want the kirtana going on at his house to be disturbed. Thus kirtana continued without a sound of lamentation. But when the kirtana was over, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who could understand the incident, declared, “There must have been some calamity in this house.” When He was then informed about the death of Srivasa Thakura’s son, He expressed His regret, saying, “Why was this news not given to Me before?” He went to the place where the son was lying dead and asked him, “My dear boy, why are you leaving the house of Srivasa Thakura?” The dead son immediately replied, “I was living in this house as long as I was destined to live here. Now that the time is over, I am going elsewhere, according to Your direction. I am Your eternal servant, a dependent living being. I must act only according to Your desire. Beyond Your desire, I cannot do anything. I have no such power.” Hearing these words of the dead son, all the members of Srivasa Thakura’s family received transcendental knowledge. Thus there was no cause for lamentation. This transcendental knowledge is described in the Bhagavad-gita (2.13): tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati. When someone dies, he accepts another body; therefore sober persons do not lament. After the discourse between the dead boy and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, funeral ceremonies were performed, and Lord Caitanya assured Srivasa Thakura, “You have lost one son, but Nityananda Prabhu and I are your eternal sons. We shall never be able to give up your company.” He pacified the family by bringing the boy back to life. The boy said that “I was living in this house as long as I was destined to live here. Now that the time is over, I am going elsewhere, according to Your direction. I am Your eternal servant, a dependent living being. I must act only according to Your desire. Beyond Your desire, I cannot do anything. I have no such power.” Hearing these words of the dead son, all the members of Srivasa Thakura’s family received transcendental knowledge. Thus there was no cause for lamentation. [CC Adi 17.229, Purport]
The story of Gopal Chapal
One night while kirtana was going on inside Srivasa Thakura’s house, a brahmana named Gopala Capala, placed all the paraphernalia for worshiping the goddess Durga outside Srivasa Thakura’s door.
In the morning when Srivasa Thakura opened his door he saw this paraphernalia.
Srivasa Thakura called for all the respectable gentlemen of the neighborhood and smilingly addressed them as follows.
“Gentlemen, every night I worship the goddess Bhavani. Since the paraphernalia for the worship is present here, now all you respectable Brahmanas and members of the higher castes can understand my position.”
As the gentlemen knew the exalted position of Srivasa Thakura, they condemned the doer.
After three days, leprosy attacked Gopala Capala, and blood oozed from sores all over his body.
Since leprosy is an infectious disease, Gopala Capala left the village to sit down on the bank of the Ganges. One day, however, he saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu passing by and begged for His mercy.
Hearing this, Caitanya Mahaprabhu chastised him saying
“O sinful person, envious of pure devotees, I shall not deliver you! Rather, I shall have you bitten by these germs for many millions of years. You have made Srivasa Thakura appear to have been worshiping the goddess Bhavani. Simply for this offense, you will have to fall down into hellish life for ten million births.I have appeared in this incarnation to kill the demons and, after killing them, to preach the cult of devotional service.”
After saying this, the Lord left to take His bath in the Ganges, and that sinful man did not give up his life but continued to suffer.
When Sri Caitanya, after accepting the renounced order of life, came back to the village of Kuliya, upon His return that sinful man took shelter at the Lord’s lotus feet. The Lord, being merciful to him, instructed him to first beg mercy from Srivasa Thakura, and then if he gets Thakura’s blessings and does not commit such sins again, he will be freed from these reactions.
Then the brahmana, Gopala Capala, went to Srivasa Thakura and took shelter of his lotus feet, and by Srivasa Thakura’s mercy, he was freed from all sinful reactions.