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The Acharya of Srimad Bhagavatam

The glorious service of Śrī Raghunāth Paṇḍit in Varāha Nagar.

Today is the day Śrīman Mahāprabhu visited Śrī Varāha Nagar. This Pastime is described in Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat (Antya-khaṇḍa, 5.110–124):

tabe prabhu āilena varāha-nagare
mahābhāgyavanta eka brāhmaera ghare

The Lord then came to the home of an extremely fortune brāhmaṇ in Varāha Nagar.

sei vipra baa suśikita bhāgavate
prabhu dekhi’ bhāgavata lāgilā paite

The brāhmaṇ was highly learned in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, and upon seeing the Lord, he began to recite the text.

śuniyā tāhāna bhakti-yogera pahana
āviṣṭa hailā gaurachandra nārāyaa

Hearing his devout recitation, Lord Gaurachandra became ecstatic.

‘bala bala’ bale prabhu śrī-gaurāga-rāya
hukāra garjana prabhu karaye sadāya

The Lord loudly and repeatedly roared, “Read on! Read on!”

sei vipra pae parānande magna haiyā
prabhu o karena ntya bāhya pāsariyā

As the brāhmaṇ read, immersed in divine ecstasy, the Lord danced and lost external awareness.

bhaktira mahimā-śloka śunite śunite
puna punaḥ āchhāa paena pthivīte

As the Lord heard verses glorifying devotion, He tumbled to the earth again and again.

hena se karena prabhu premera prakāśa
āchāa dekhite sarva-loke pāya trāsa

The Lord manifest such divine love. The sight of His tumbling frightened everyone.

ei mata rātri tina-prahara-avadhi
bhāgavata śuniyā nāchilā gua-nidhi

The Lord, the ocean of qualities, listened to the Bhāgavatam and danced in this way for nine hours of the night.

bāhya pāi’ vasilena śrī-śachī-nandana
santoe dvijere karilena āligana

Eventually, He regained external awareness and embraced that brāhmaṇ with satisfaction.

prabhu bale, “bhāgavata e-mata paite
kabhu nāhi śuni āra kāharo mukhete

The Lord said, “I have never heard such recitation of the Bhāgavat from anyone!

eteke tomāra nāma ‘bhāgavatāchārya’
ihā vinā āra kona nā kariha kārya”

“Your name is therefore Bhāgavat Āchārya. Do not perform any duty other than this.

vipra-prati prabhura padavī yogya śuni’
sabe karilena mahā-hari-hari-dhvani

Hearing the Lord’s befitting title for the brāhmaṇ, everyone cheered, “Hari! Hari!”

ei mata prati-grāme grāme gagā-tīre
rahiyā rahiyā prabhu bhaktera mandire

The Lord visited the houses of devotees in all the villages along the bank of the Ganges in this way.

sabāra kariyā manoratha püra kāma
punaḥ āilena prabhu nīlāchala-dhāma

The Lord fulfilled all the devotees’ desires and then returned to Nīlāchal.

gaua-deśe punar-bāra prabhura vihāra
ihā ye śunaye tāra dukha nahe āra

Anyone who hears about the Lord’s Pastimes during His return to Bengal will never suffer again.

In his commentary on Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmta (Ādi-līlā, 10.113), Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur cites from the above verses and adds:

nirmitā pustikā  yena kṛṣṇa-prema-taragiī
śrīmad bhāgavatāchāryo gaurāgātyanta vallabha
(Gaura-gaoddeśa-dīpikā: 203)

“‘Bhāgavat Āchārya wrote a book entitled Kṛṣṇa-prema-taragiī, and was extremely dear to Śrī Gaurāṅga.’

Bhāgavat Āchārya’s name was Śrī Raghunāth Paṇḍit. His ashram was in the Māli neighbourhood of Varāha Nagar, about three miles north of Kolkata on the bank of Ganges.”

Kṛṣṇa-prema-taragiī was the first full translation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam into Bengali verse. Śrī Raghunāth Bhāgavat Āchārya composed this after receiving the blessings of Śrīman Mahāprabhu during His visit to Varāha Nagar. Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur desired to publish this text but was unable to find a legible authentic copy of it after publicly requesting one in Śrī Sajjana-toaī. It has since been published in numerous editions by the followers of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur.

The following is an excerpt from an article about Śrī Bhāgavat Āchārya by Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur published in 1898 in Volume 9, Issue 12, of Śrī Sajjana-toaī:

“When the associates of Kṛṣṇa and Gaura are examined, it is understood that Śrī Rādhikā’s sakhī Śyāma Mañjarī appeared in the Pastimes of Śrī Gaura as Śrī Bhāgavat Āchārya. In the Pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Śyāma Mañjarī sings songs about Kṛṣṇa (songs about the Pastimes of Śyām) for Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. As Śrī Bhāgavat Āchārya in the Pastimes of Śrī Gaura, he performed his service by reciting Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for Śrī Gaurāṅga; Śrī Rādhā gave him this service in Śrī Kṛṣṇa‘s Pastimes. In the Pastimes of Śrī Gaura, Śrī Gadādhar Paṇḍit Goswāmī took him into his line [accepted him as a disciple] and gave him suitable service to Śrī Gaurāṅga. The special characteristic of Śrī Bhāgavat Āchārya’s service is that when Śrī Gaurāṅga came with His associates to his kuñja in Varāha Nagar, he began to perform his eternal service of reciting Śrīmad Bhāgavatam instead of washing the Lord’s feet, offering the Lord water to drink, and performing the other customary services of a host. The sakhīs’ only duty is the service given by Śrī Rādhā; this principle is shown by this Pastime.”

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