top of page
_DSC4110 (1).jpg

The Glories of Srinivasa Acharya



Today is very auspicious as it is the appearance and disappearance day of three great personalities: Srila Srinivasa Acharya’s appearance, Srila Madhavendra Puripada’s appearance and Sri Parameshvari Prabhu’s disappearance. This day is also known as Vaishakhi-purnima and as Buddha-purnima. On this day we also celebrate Sri Radha-Ramana’s appearance. Now I would like to glorify the life history and contributions of Srinivasa Acharya.


Srinivasa Acharya’s father’s name was Gangadhara Bhattacharya (who became subsequently known as Chaitanya dasa) and his mother’s name was Lakshmi-priya. He lived in a village called Sakhindi on the banks of Bhagirathi Ganga. When Gaurasundara was performing madhya-lila, navadvipa-lila, especially His receiving sannyasa pastime, He came to Kantakanagara, to Keshava Bharati. At that time Gangadhara Bhattacharya was present there to see the pastime of the Lord accepting sannyasa.


With tearful eyes, everyone watched how they shaved Mahaprabhu’s beautiful hair during His shaving ceremony. It is described that when they began to shave the Lord’s head, everyone started crying. The barber even fell unconscious once or twice.


Later, when Chaitanya dasa reached Nilachala, the all-knowing Lord Gaurasundara gave His blessings, “You will have a son by the name of Srinivasa.”


vaiśākhī pūrṇimā divā rohiṇī-muhūrta

śubhakṣaṇe lakṣmīpriẏā prasavila putra


Bhakti-ratnakara (Dvitiya taranga, 156)


In Bhakti-ratnakara, it is described that Chaitanya dasa, by the blessings of Mahaprabhu, obtained Srinivasa Acharya, and this great personality within Lakshmi-priya’s womb was greatly celebrated and glorified.


She is not to be confused with Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s wife— who was also named Lakshmi-priya, the Lord’s first wife. His second wife was Visnu-priya.


Bhakti-ratnakara also describes that on the Purnima day, Lakshmi-priya gave birth to a son. The ceremony and marriage arrangement of the couple determines the qualities of the child. For this reason, Lakshmi-priya’s father, Balarama Vipra, checked with an astrologer and prepared an astrological chart with calculations. It was predicted that in the month of Vaishakha on the Purnima day, in the Rohini nakshatra, constellation, during the morning, a great personality will appear.


Some are born as good people and some not so good; the type of person that is born depends on their astrological birth calculations. There are 27 constellations. The Rohini constellation is believed to be very good, and Purnima is also very good. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared during Purnima, under the Rohini constellation. His golden complexion was very beautiful, and He had a very finely shaped nose and elongated eyes— very few people have this feature. Also, His arms came below His knees, just like Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. When the Lord grew up, He was known by the name of Gaura.


There are thirty three characteristics and according to these characteristics, one can tell how great a personality is going to be. All thirty three characteristics were found in Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His first hair-shaving ceremony and giving of brahmanical thread, all the varnas have this, apart from the shudras. Although in some shastras, scriptures, it is written that for shudras, this can be done. What age should brahmanas have their sacred thread ceremony? From the age of five. So His brahmanical samskaras are being done and His study of shastras was going on. In a short time, Gaurasundara became an expert in all the shastras.


One day, Srinivasa Acharya’s father left his body. After his father’s disappearance, Srinivasa performed nama-sankirtana and prayed as he went on pilgrimage to take darshana of all the holy places.


śuni īśvarīra icchā haïla dekhite śrīnivāsa gelena śrī-īśvarī sākṣāte

prema-dhārā netrete bahaẏe nirantara dharaṇī-loṭāñā kaila praṇati vistara

Bhakti-ratnakara (Chaturtha taranga, 40-41)


He prayed to have the opportunity to touch the lotus feet of Vishnu-priya, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s wife.


When his desire was fulfilled and he touched Vishnu-priya’s lotus feet, she blessed him. While in Navadvipa, he also had darshana of many devotees, like Murari Gupta, Abhirama Thakura and other Vaishnavas, and he offered dandavat-pranamas. Before travelling to Vrindavana, Srinivasa Acharya would stay in the home of Abhirama Thakura who was in possession of a special whip.


The whip was called Jaya Mangala, and just by being touched/whipped by Jaya Mangala, one would obtain prema. So Srinivasa visited Abhirama Thakura, who then whipped him three times and Srinivasa was overcome with prema.

premāveśe punaḥ se cābuka sparśāite śrī-mālinī-devī āsi dharilena hāte

Bhakti-ratnakara (Chaturtha taranga, 141)


At that time, Malini-devi said, “Do not touch him with the whip any longer.” In this way, Srinivasa Acharya attained Abhirama dasa’s blessings.


Thereafter, Srinivasa Acharya arrived in Vrindavana. He took the shelter of Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami who gave him diksha-mantras. Srinivasa Acharya then lived at Radha-kunda. Gopala Bhatta Gosvami instructed him, “Go to Jiva Gosvamipada and learn Srimad-Bhagavatam and all other literatures of our Gosvamis.”


In gaura-lila, there is Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Shyamananda Prabhu and Srila Srinivasa Acharya. All had different gurus: Narottama accepted diksha from Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Shyamananda Prabhu from Sri Hridaya Chaitanya, and Srinivasa Acharya from Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. However, all three of them took shelter [shiksha] at the lotus feet of Srila Jiva Gosvami.


It is written that the diksha-guru is the rupa of the Lord, and shiksha-guru is the svarupa of the Lord. And there is no difference between Bhagavan’s svarupa and His rupa— the Lord’s form and His identity are the same. The body of God is also transcendental, sach-chit-ananda:


īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ

sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ

anādir ādir govindaḥ

sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam


Brahma-samhita (5.1)


[Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.]


The Lord Himself said, “My pastimes, My appearance and disappearance are transcendental.” From the outside it may seem that the Lord appears as an ordinary person, but His body is completely transcendental, and there is no difference between the possessor of the body and the body.


In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, Srila Gurudeva commented on this in a very nice way. There is no difference between diksha- and shiksha-guru. There are some specialities which are also mentioned in this book. Thus, in this way, Shyamananda, Narottama and Srinivasa, all took shiksha and diksha from maha-bhagavatas.


After studying under Sri Jiva Gosvamipada, Jiva Gosvami instructed them, “Go and preach.” Once you have learnt some shastra, what do you need to do? You need to preach. With this knowledge, what should we do? We should give it to others in charity. A knowledgeable person is respected in all countries, whereas a king is only respected in his own country. A king may possess many great opulences, like an army, however, he is only worshipped in his own kingdom. A sadhu, however, is respected and honoured in all countries— there is no comparison between a king and a saintly person. According to Niti-shastra, a learned person can travel anywhere, to any country, and his glories will be respected.


After reading and studying the six Gosvami’s literatures, like those of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Jiva Gosvamipada instructed his three shiksha disciples, “Go and preach on the basis of these books.” Thus, they left with these precious books. In those days, there were no buses or other forms of transport, there was only a bullock cart. So, on the back of a bullock cart, they loaded all the books and packed them nicely, writing on the outside of the cart: Very Precious Treasure Inside. Yesterday, Maharaja mentioned how they actually wrote ‘Supreme Treasure’ on the cart.


Then they reached one town, where there was a king who was also a great dacoit named Vira Hamvira. After reading the side of the cart as it went by, he thought,“They are bringing such wealth through my land,” and decided to rob their treasure. So Vira Hamvira’s gang followed them, and once Narottama, Shyamananda, Srinivasa took rest, the thieves stole all of their treasure and ran away. The next morning, when they awoke, they realised that everything was gone. They searched everywhere, but could not find their treasure.


It was then decided between them that Shyamananda Prabhu would continue on his preaching mission and he travelled towards Orissa. Narottama dasa Thakura went towards Manipura. For this reason, today we find that in Manipura, there are many devotees, followers, of Narottama dasa Thakura— he preached there extensively.


And Srinivasa Acharya vowed not to leave that village until he found the missing books. Thus, he began to recite Srimad-Bhagavatam there in such a sweet and melodious voice, especially when he came to read Gopi-gita or Bhramara-gita. He spoke in such a sweet manner that everybody hearing became attracted.


One day, Vira Hamvira attended one of Srinivasa’s hari-kathas and after hearing him speak, Vira Hamvira, who previously was the great thief, now surrendered at the feet of Srinivasa Acharya. Vira Hamvira told Srinivasa, “On the cart it was written that a great treasure was inside, but when we opened it, we saw there was nothing but pages and pages of books.” Vira Hamvira then returned them and took shelter at the feet of Srinivasa Acharya, becoming his disciple.


There are many transcendental pastimes which have been written in our shastras and granthas. An example of a pastime was when, on one such occasion, Srinivasa Acharya was performing nama-sankirtana for seven days continuously and became completely immersed in samadhi, performing a pastime in the spiritual realm. Others did not realise that he was actually in samadhi. However, his very dear disciple, Ramachandra Kaviraja could understand what was occurring.


At that time, Narottama dasa Thakura, who also recognised what was happening, said, “Your spiritual master cannot be disturbed at the moment.” Ramachandra Kaviraja then replied, “Okay, my Gurudevа is in samadhi. Nobody should disturb my body or his body.” Then, by his mystic ability, he chanted and left his gross body and entered Vraja-dhama. There, in his eternal gopi form, Ramachandra saw that on the other side of the Yamuna, all the eternal associates of Srimati Radhika were looking for Her nose ring.


In Vraja, one of the signs of a chaste lady is a nose ring. So, how could Srimati Radhika go anywhere without Her nose ring? For this reason, everyone there, Lalita, Vishakha, everyone, was looking for Her nose ring. Then, Ramachandra Kaviraja dived into the Yamuna, and in the middle of a sweet lotus flower, he found Srimati Radhika’s beautiful nose ring. He then gave it to his Gurudevа, who then passed the nose ring to Guna Manjari, meaning Gopala Bhatta Gosvami.Guna Manjari gave the nose ring to Rupa Gosvami in his eternal form of Rupa Manjari. Rupa Manjari handed it to Lalita, who then placed the nose ring on Srimati Radhika. This pastime has been described by Vaishnavas.


Despite being Ramachandra’s senior and in the position of guru, Narottama dasa Thakura very humbly, and with loving affection, sang how he desired for the association of Ramachandra Kaviraja. We cannot compare who is guru and who is shishya— this is out of our range and not our subject matter. In the kirtana:Je Anilo Prema Dhana Koruna Pracur’, who is it being written for?


Narottama sings, “Ramachandra sanga mage narottama dasa.”


Narottama dasa Thakura is humbly aspiring for the association of Srinivasa Acharya’s disciple, Ramachandra Kaviraja.


vāñchā-kalpa-tarubhyaś ca

kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca

patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo

vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ


[Jaya Srila Srinivasa Acharya ki jaya!]



Date: 26 May 2021 Location: Mathura


 

Translation: Ananga-mohana dasa (U.K.) [Hindi to English]

Transcriber: Sanatana dasa (USA) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA)

Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia), Ragalekha dasi (Holland) Proofreading: Chandrika dasi (UK)

77 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page