Disappearance Day of Srila Narottama Dasa Thakur

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In honor of the disappearance day of Srila Narottama das Thakur we are posting one of his famous songs, Sri-Krsna-Caitanya-Prabhu, along with a purport to that song by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. (from the original “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas” songbook). There is also a brief Biography of the life of Narottama Dasa Thakur following song.

Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu
By Narottama dasa Thakura

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu doyā koro more
tomā binā ke doyālu jagat-saḿsāre

My dear Lord Caitanya, please be merciful to me, because who can be more merciful than Your Lordship within these three worlds?

patita-pāvana-hetu tava avatāra
mo sama patita prabhu nā pāibe āra

Your incarnation is just to reclaim the conditioned, fallen souls, but I assure You that You will not find a greater fallen soul than me. Therefore, my claim is first.

hā hā prabhu nityānanda, premānanda sukhī
kṛpābalokana koro āmi boro duḥkhī

My dear Lord Nityananda, You are always joyful in spiritual bliss. Since You always appear very happy, I have come to You because I am most unhappy. If You kindly put Your glance over me, then I may also become happy.

doyā koro sītā-pati adwaita gosāi
tava kṛpā-bale pāi caitanya-nitāi

My dear Advaita Prabhu, husband of Sita, You are so kind. Please be merciful to me. If You are kind to me, naturally Lord Caitanya and Nityananda will also be kind to me.

hā hā swarūp, sanātana, rūpa, raghunātha
bhaṭṭa-juga, śrī-jīva hā prabhu lokanātha

O Svarupa Damodara, personal secretary of Lord Caitanya, O six Gosvamis O Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami! O Lokanatha Gosvami, my beloved spiritual master! Narottama dasa also prays for your mercy.

doyā koro śrī-ācārya prabhu śrīnivāsa
rāmacandra-sańga māge narottama-dāsa

O Srinivasa Acarya, successor to the six Gosvamis! Please be merciful to me. Narottama dasa always desires the company of Ramacandra Cakravarti.

Purport to Song
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
January 11, 1969, Los Angeles, CA,

This is a song composed by Narottama Dasa Thakura. He prays to Lord Caitanya “My dear Lord, please be merciful to me, because who can be more merciful than Your Lordship within these three worlds?” Actually, this is a fact. Not only Narottama Dasa Thakura but Rupa Gosvami also prayed to Lord Caitanya in this way. At the time of the first meeting of Lord Caitanya and Rupa Gosvami at Prayaga (Allahabad), Srila Rupa Gosvami said, “My dear Lord, You are the most munificent of all incarnations, because You are distributing love of Krsna, Krsna consciousness.” When Krsna was personally present He simply asked us to surrender, but He did not distribute Himself so easily. He made conditions–“First of all you surrender.” But this incarnation, Lord Caitanya, although Krsna Himself, makes no such condition. He simply distributes: “Take love of Krsna.” Therefore Lord Caitanya is approved as the most munificent incarnation. Narottama Dasa Thakura says, “Please be merciful to me. You are so magnanimous, because You have seen the fallen souls of this age, and You are very much compassionate to them, but You should know also that I am the most fallen. No one is more greatly fallen than me.” Patita-pavana-hetu tava avatara. “Your incarnation is just to reclaim the conditioned, fallen souls, but I assure You that You will not find a greater fallen soul than me. Therefore, my claim is first.”

Then he prays to Lord Nityananda. He says, ha ha prabhu, nityananda premananda-sukhi: “My dear Lord Nityananda, You are always joyful in spiritual bliss. Since You always appear very happy, I have come to You because I am most unhappy. If You kindly put Your glance over me, I may also become happy.” Then he prays to Advaita Prabhu. Doya koro sita-pati adwaita gosai. Advaita Prabhu’s wife’s name was Sita. Therefore He is sometimes addressed as sita-pati. Thus Narottama Dasa Thakura prays, “My dear Advaita Prabhu, husband of Sita, You are so kind. Please be kind to me. If You are kind to me, naturally Lord Caitanya and Nityananda will also be kind to me.” Actually, Advaita Prabhu invited Lord Caitanya to come down. When Advaita Prabhu saw that the fallen souls were all engaged simply in sense gratificatory processes, not understanding Krsna consciousness, He felt very much compassionate toward the fallen souls, and He also felt Himself incapable of claiming them all. He therefore prayed to Lord Krsna, “Please come Yourself. Without Your personal presence it is not possible to deliver these fallen souls.” Thus by His invitation Lord Caitanya appeared. Naturally, Narottama Dasa Thakura prays to Advaita Prabhu, “If You will be kind to me, naturally Lord Caitanya and Nityananda also will be kind to me.”

Then he prays to the Gosvamis. “Ha ha swarup, sanatana, rupa, raghunatha.” Swarup refers to Svarupa Damodara, the personal secretary of Lord Caitanya. He was always with Caitanya Mahaprabhu and immediately arranged for whatever Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted. Two personal attendants, Svarupa Damodara and Govinda, were always constantly with Lord Caitanya. Therefore, Narottama Dasa Thakura also prays to Svarupa Damodara and then to the six Gosvamis, the next disciples of Lord Caitanya–Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Bhatta Raghunatha Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami. These six Gosvamis were directly instructed by Lord Caitanya to spread this movement of Krsna consciousness. Narottama Dasa Thakura also prays for their mercy.

After the six Gosvamis, the next acarya was Srinivasa Acarya. Actually, Narottama Dasa Thakura was in the disciplic succession after Srinivasa Acarya and was almost his contemporary, and Narottama Dasa’s personal friend was Ramacandra Cakravarti. Therefore he prays, “I always desire the company of Ramacandra.” He desires a devotee’s company. The whole process is that we should always pray for the mercy of the superior acaryas and keep company with pure devotees. Then it will be easier for us to advance in Krsna consciousness and receive the mercy of Lord Caitanya and Lord Krsna. This is the sum and substance of this song sung by Narottama Dasa Thakura.

The Biography of Srila Narottama Das Thakura

Kayastha by caste, Narottama was the son of King Krsnananda Datta. Krsnananda was the Zamindar of Gopalpur Pargana in the Rajsahi district of Bangladesh. His capital was located at Kheturi, about a mile northeast of Prematali on the bank of the river Padma, about a distance of twelve miles northwest of Rampur Boalia. Narayani devi was Narottama’s mother. Narottama was born about the middle of the fifteenth Saka century (Bhaktiratnakara 1.466-468). From his childhood he was extremely attracted to Lord Caitanya. According to some, after the disappearance of his father, Narottama entrusted his elder paternal uncle’s son, Santosa Datta, with the responsibility of the royal duties and left for Vrndavana.

Premavilasa 8 narrates as follows: One day while dancing in kirtana at Kanair Natsala village, Lord Caitanya suddenly began calling out the name, “Narottama, Narottama.” Tears streamed from the Lord’s eyes and He appeared to be restless. After speaking with Nityananda Prabhu the Lord expressed His desire to visit Gaderhat on the bank of the Padma. Mahaprabhu explained to Nityananda that he wanted to deposit the treasure of love of Godhead on the bank of the Padma for Narottama to pick up later. The river Padma then asked the Lord how she would be able to identity Narottama, and the Lord explained that the person whose touch would make her surge up would be none other than Narottama.

At the age of twelve Narottama had a dream in which Nityananda Prabhu appeared to him and commanded that he collect the prema which was left in the custody of the river Padma. Early in the morning Narottama went alone to the river Padma to take his bath. As soon as his feet touched her, the river surged forth. Remembering the words of Lord Caitanya the Padma now transferred the treasure to Narottama. Upon receiving this divine love Narottama’s bodily complexion changed. His parents tried every means by which keep him with them, but Narottama was drunk with the nectar of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda and could not be kept in check. Leaving behind all worldly bondage Narottama rushed for Vrndavana. Premavilasa 11 explains how Narottama was comforted by the divine touch of Rupa and Sanatana Gosvami, and how he received the grace of his spiritual master Lokanatha Gosvami.

After Narottama was initiated by Lokanatha Gosvami, he received all instructions regarding the practice of spiritual life. Narottama was spiritually named Campakamanjari. With the approval of the local Vaisnavas, Jiva Gosvami deputed Srinivasa, Narottama and Syamananda to carry the Gosvamis books to the devotees in Gauda. Although they were properly escorted by protected vehicles and guards, the books were stolen near Vanavisnupur. Srinivasa then sent Narottama to Kheturi and Syamananda to Utkala.

Narottama is widely believed to be the incarnation of Nityananda Prabhu. Narottama established his asrama, named Bhajantuli, about two miles away from the capital of Kheturi. Sometime after his return from Vrndavana, Narottama installed six Deities; Lord Gauranga, Vallabhikanta, Lord Krsna, Lord Vrajamohan, Lord Radhamohan and Lord Radhakanta. On the occasion of this installation ceremony Narottama held a grand festival at Kheturi, which is famous amongst all Vaisnavas.

Narottama was the first exponent of the Garanhati tradition of kirtana. He arranged this musical tradition in a way as to accommodate all parsada (associates) of both prakata and aprakata lila of Lord Gauranga, which gave immense pleasure to the audience. Narottama Thakura was always engaged in the singing the glories of Sri Gaura and Nityananda. Through his preaching many fallen souls were purified. Ramacandra Kaviraja was a very close companion of Narottama throughout his life (see Bhaktiratnakara and Narottamavilasa for details on Narottama’s biography). Among the writings of Narottama, Prarthana and Premabhakticandrika are the most well-known. The brief write-up titled ‘Hatapaltana’ is also attributed to Narottama but the contents do not seem to be in harmony with historical events and thus some believe that it is a fake work. From evidence in older manuscripts Haridasa dasa has concluded that the real author was one Ramesvara dasa. Some argue that Narottama wrote Siddhabhakticandrika, Sadhyapremabhakti, Camatkara candrika, etc., but these are not published works and the few mss. which are available do not seem to be in Narottama’s writing style. Narottama did translate Smaranamangala into Bengali verse. In eleven slokas this work describes the pastimes of Radha Krsna in eight parts of the day (astakaliya).

After taking permission from Narottama, Sri Ramacandra Kaviraja went to Sri Vrndavana, a few months thereafter he breathed his last. When Srinivasa Acarya heard this he could not bear the shock and after a few days he too disappeared. When this news reached Srila Thakura, he was overwhelmed with grief and began singing in a choked voice. He gathered all the devotees around him in the temple of Sri Mahaprabhu and started sankirtana. Slowly the sankirtana party proceeded to the bank of the Ganga. With eyes full of tears, Narottama fell prostrate on the ground and entered into the Ganga to take bath. Sitting knee deep in the water he continued singing loudly, along with Sri Ramakrsna Acarya and Sri Ganganarayana Cakravarti. Narottama requested that they massage his body as he continued singing. As they massaged him, Thakura Mahasaya’s body simply merged with the sacred water of the Ganga. Thus on the fifth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Karttika (Oct.-Nov.) he entered into the eternal pastimes of the Lord.

Text pasted from; Krsna Kirtan Songs

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