Sri Vakreshvara Pandit was Lord Caitanya’s very dear servant and is considered to be the fifth branch of the Lord Caitanya’s tree,
In the Gaura-ganoddesa-Dipika(71) it is stated that Vakreshvara Pandita was an incarnation of Aniruddha, one of the quadruple expansions of Vishnu (Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Aniruddha, and Pradyumna). While some others like Vakreshvara Pandit’s initiated disciple Gopala Guru Gosvami and many others in Orissa, including Dhyan Chandra, a disciple of Gopala Guru Gosvami, says in his books that Vakreshvara Pandit is an incarnation of Tungavidya-Sakhi, an expert singer, and dancer serving as one of Srimati Radharani’s ashta-sakhis.
Vakreshvara Pandit was born in the village of Guptipara near Triveni.
He could dance wonderfully for seventy-two continuous hours. When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu played in dramatic performances in the house of Srivasa Pandita, Vakreshvara Pandita was one of the chief dancers, and he danced continuously for that length of time.
Vakreshvara Pandit was present with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during His pastimes in Navadwipa and after His acceptance of Sannyasa, he accompanied Him to Jagannath Puri. During the time of the Lord’s residence in Puri, he continued to live with Him.
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began His pastimes of congregational chanting of the Holy Name of Sri Hari in Navadwipa, Sri Vakreshvara Pandit was an important singer and dancer in that assembly. It was by his mercy that a Vaishnava, Devananda Pandit was delivered from the wrath of Mahaprabhu. He was also present during the Lord’s journey to Ramakeli.
Deliverance of Devananda Pandit
Devananda Pandit was, at one time, known as the foremost lecturer on the Bhagavat. One day Srivasa Pandit went to hear his discourse and being moved in ecstatic love by hearing the Bhagavatam, he began to cry. A few of the ignorant students of Devananda Pandit, thinking that this was creating a disturbance, removed Srivasa Pandit from the assembly and left him outside. Though this was done in front of Devananda he didn’t restrain his students from this act of disregard to the devotee-Bhagavata. This interesting story of Devananda Pandit unfolds the mystery of how such offense to great devotees can be nullified to achieve mercy of the Lord.
The Two Types of Bhagavatas
There are two types of Bhagavatas – the book bhagavata and the devotee bhagavata. For this reason, Devananda Pandit became implicated in an offense to a great devotee (maha-bhagavata). When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard how his dear devotee, Srivasa Pandit, had been disrespected, He gave many instructions concerning the Bhagavata. He told that those who read the book-Bhagavata but don’t offer respects to the devotee-Bhagavata are simply offenders, though they may read the Bhagavata for eons, they will never attain love of Godhead. The devotee-Bhagavata and the book- Bhagavata are non-different. In order to understand the book-Bhagavata, one must first sincerely serve the devotee-Bhagavata. Therefore Mahaprabhu neglected Devananda and did not bestow His mercy on him.
One evening Vakreshvara Pandit came to perform dancing and chanting of the Holy Name at the house of one devotee from Kulia, across the bank of the Ganga from Nadia. Receiving this auspicious news Devananda proceeded there, and upon seeing the appearance of the symptoms of divine love in the person of Sri Vakreshvara Pandit he became charmed. Gradually a great crowd gathered at that place, and Devananda Pandit, taking a cane in his hand, kept the crowd in order so as not to obstruct the ecstatic dancing of Sri Vakreshvara Pandit.
In this way, Vakreshvara Pandit performed chanting and dancing for two praharas (six hours), on into the night. When he finished dancing and sat down, Devananda came and offered dandavats at the lotus feet of Sri Vakreshvara Pandit, who became pleased with this service and blessed Devananda to attain devotion to Lord Sri Krsna. From that day devotion was awakened in the heart of Devananda by the mercy of Sri Vakreshvara Pandit.
Thereafter when Mahaprabhu came to Nadia to have darshan of his mother and Mother Ganges, He forgave all his previous offenses and blessed him and told Devananda “Since you have served Vakreshvara Pandit so well, I am able to see you here today. Vakreshvara is a manifestation and embodiment of Krishna’s transcendental potency; therefore, whosoever serves him well, immediately attains the lotus feet of Krsna. Sri Krishna’s favorite residence is the heart of Vakreshvara Pandit. Where and when Vakreshvara dances, Krishna Himself is induced to dance at that place. Thus, the presence of Sri Vakreshvara converts anywhere into all the places of pilgrimage, the spiritual abode of Sri Krishna, Vaikuntha.”
Sri Vakreshvara Pandit’s disciple was Gopal Guru Goswami and Gopal Guru Goswami’s disciple was Sri Dhyanchandra Goswami. In his Dhyan Chandra Paddhati – Dhyan Chandra Goswami has written – “the person who was previously very expert in the arts of singing and dancing, the gopi, Tungavidya, is presently renowned in the world as Vakreshvara Pandit. He has appeared on the fifth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashadha (Ashadha -June-July – Vaman masa) and he closed his pastimes in this world on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of the month Ashadha. While Vakreshvara danced, Mahaprabhu Himself would sing and Vakreshvara would catch hold of His lotus feet, saying; “O moon-faced one, give me 10,000 Gandharvas, and let them sing while I dance. Then I will be happy.” Mahaprabhu answered, “You are one of my wings. If I had another (like you) I could fly in the sky.”
– Chaitanya Charitamrta, Adi 10.17.
Sri Vakreshvara Pandit’s worshipable deity is Sri Sri Radha Kanta, whom he worshiped in Kashi Misra’s house in Jagganath Puri, which was also the residence of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (Gambhira). These Deities are still being worshiped there to this day. Sri Vakreshvara Pandit’s samadhi is in the 64 Samadhis area in Vrindavan.
“This year his disappearance falls on 16 July 2021”