Śrī Abhirāma Ṭhākura
[April 12, 2023 is the disappearance day of Śrī Abhirāma Ṭhākura, in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt from a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the same tithi on April 18, 2017 and May 2, 2013. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
Today is a very special day, for it is the disappearance day of Abhirāma Ṭhākura. Vaiṣṇavas’ appearance and disappearance days are equally significant because both stimulate their remembrance within our hearts and herald auspiciousness. By observing such tithis, all inauspiciousness goes away. Without their mercy we can never get liberated from this material world. So it is necessary to observe Vaiṣṇavas' tithis.
Abhirāma Ṭhākura appeared at Khānākula-kṛṣṇanagar, where a temple now stands which houses the Deities he worshiped. Nearby is also a pond with a Bakula tree next to it. [This place is known as Siddha-bakula-kuñja. It is believed that Abhirāma Ṭhākura used to like sitting beneath this tree]
Abhirāma Ṭhākura possessed great strength. One very unique feature about him was that he had an incredible whip named Jaya-maṅgala. Anyone who was struck by this whip would be immediately overcome with kṛṣṇa-prema. To this day, that whip is preserved in a box at the temple in Khānākula-kṛṣṇanagar and it is displayed for public viewing on Abhirāma Ṭhākura’s disappearance day. Śrīla Prabhupāda, my parama-gurudeva, visited this place and mentioned it in his commentary (anubhāṣya) to Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. All the information pertaining to the glories of this place and how to access it has been mentioned therein; those who have read this commentary would be aware.
Once Śrīnivāsa Ācārya approached Abhirāma Ṭhākura to borrow his copy of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, but found that the script was smudged with the latter’s tears. Having heard that there was another copy of the Bhāgavata in the possession of Gadādhara Paṇḍita, he went to Jagannātha Purī, only to discover that this copy too had met with the same fate – the script being smudged by the incessant tears of Gadādhara Paṇḍita who wept in separation from Mahāprabhu. Thus Śrīnivāsa Ācārya returned once more to Abhirāma Ṭhākura, who at that time, lashed Śrīnivāsa Ācārya with his whip twice after which his wife interrupted, exclaiming, “He is just a child, he won’t be able to bear so much prema!”
Abhirāma Ṭhākura is an eternal associate of the Lord. He is full of kṛṣṇa-prema. In fact, just by his touch or glance he could award kṛṣṇa-prema. Then why did he use his whip to bestow kṛṣṇa-prema? Comprehension of such pastimes is beyond our mind and intelligence. It can only be concluded that Vaiṣṇavas have unique ways in which they bestow their grace.
So we remembered his life and glories today. I pray at his lotus feet that if even an insignificant drop of his hari-bhakti manifests in my heart, then my human birth will be successful. What makes our lives successful? One’s life is successful when one attains kṛṣṇa-bhakti, when one obtains the audience of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. 'janama saphala tā’ra, kṛṣṇa daraśana jā’ra, bhāgye hoiyāche eka-bāra' – that person’s birth is successful if, by good fortune, he has Kṛṣṇa’s darśana just once.