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Śrī Śivānanda Sena

[July 07, 2024 is the disappearance day of Śrī Śivānanda Sena in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on January 11, 2016. Although we could not find any kathā by Śrīla Mahārāja recorded on this tithi, we are republishing the article released on Nityānanda Trayodaśī, as it is linked to the glories of Śivānanda Sena, in service of Śrīla Mahārāja and all the Vaiṣṇavas. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate flow of content.]

[Each year, 200-300 devotees would visit Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in Jagannātha Purī from Bengal, Kulīna-grāma and Khaṇḍa village. One year, in great happiness they started for Jagannātha Purī, congregationally chanting the holy name of the Lord.

Śivānanda Sena managed the payment of tolls at different places. Maintaining everyone, he guided all the devotees in great happiness. Śivānanda Sena took care of everyone and gave each devotee places to stay. He knew all the paths leading to Orissa. One day when the party was being checked by a toll collector, the devotees were allowed to pass, and Śivānanda Sena remained behind alone to pay the taxes. The party went into a village and waited beneath a tree because no one but Śivānanda Sena could arrange for their residential quarters. (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya, 12.14-18)]


Once while Nityānanda Prabhu was on his way to Purī with Śivānanda Sena’s party, one night, there was an inadvertent delay in the allocation of accommodation and prasādam. Śivānanda Sena was in-charge of all the affairs. Unable to bear His hunger, in an angry mood, Nityānanda said, “I curse Śivānanda’s three sons to die!” Hearing this, Śivānanda Sena’s crest-fallen wife started crying and his nephew Śrīkānta became deeply upset.

As soon as Śivānanda Sena arrived, he went to pay obeisances to Nityānanda, who kicked him. Śivānanda Sena was elated [to receive the touch of Nityānanda’s lotus feet, a rare attainment for even Brahma and the demigods], realizing that he had received unprecedented mercy. [Endnote 1]

Now, did Nityānanda Prabhu not get angry here? No. In reality, He is paramānanda (always blissful). When Nityānanda Prabhu kicked Śivānanda Sena, He made him the exclusive, privileged recipient of His foot dust, which can remove all the miseries of material existence. Otherwise, if he had affectionately given him His foot dust, all other devotees present would have also rushed for it. Who will make you understand this? It is very difficult.

Sometimes, out of anger, a mother tells her son sometimes in anger, “Go and die!” But does she really mean it? On the other hand, if someone else speaks the same words to her son, she will instinctively attack that person. She will say, “I may increase my son’s age to 100 years by speaking these words, but your saying it is inauspicious.” The words are exactly the same so how are the meanings different? In real love, there is both lālana (affection) and tāḍana (chastisement). Without chastisement [or the sense of protectiveness] love is only 50% complete.

What is krodha (anger)? It is born out of kāma (lust). And what is kāma?

ātmendriya-prīti-vāñchā--tāre bali 'kāma'

kṛṣṇendriya-prīti-icchā dhare 'prema' nāma

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 4.165)

[The desire to gratify one's own senses is kāma (lust), but the desire to please the senses of Lord Kṛṣṇa is prema (love).]

ataeva kāma-preme bahuta antara

kāma--andha-tamaḥ, prema--nirmala bhāskara

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 4.171)

[Therefore lust and love are quite different. Lust is like dense darkness, but love is like the bright sun.]

There is a gulf of difference between kāma and prema. Kama is andhatama, which implies not only darkness, but dense darkness. Whereas prema is nirmal bhāskara – like the rays of the sun shining through the clear sky, unobstructed by fog, clouds or dust.

Nityānanda cannot have krodha. But can you understand this by His external behavior? [Did any inauspiciousness befall Śivānanda Sena or his family? Did his sons die? No, in fact they got even more mercy from Mahāprabhu] Upon reaching Purī, Mahāprabhu instructed Govinda to give His remnants to Śivānanda’s sons. [Endnote 2]


Endnote 1:

Śivānanda Sena touched the lotus feet of Nityānanda Prabhu and led Him to His residence. After giving the Lord His quarters, Śivānanda Sena, being very pleased, spoke as follows. "Today You have accepted me as Your servant and have properly punished me for my offense. My dear Lord, Your chastising me is Your causeless mercy. Who within the three worlds can understand Your real character? The dust of Your lotus feet is not attainable even by Lord Brahmā, yet Your lotus feet have touched my wretched body. Today my birth, my family and my activities have all become successful. Today I have achieved the fulfillment of religious principles, economic development, satisfaction of the senses and ultimately devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa." When Lord Nityānanda heard this, He was very happy. He rose and embraced Śivānanda Sena in great love.

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya, 12.26-31)

Endnote 2:

[Arriving in Purī] Śivānanda Sena introduced his three sons to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Because they were his sons, the Lord showed the boys great mercy. Lord Caitanya asked the youngest son’s name, and Śivānanda Sena informed the Lord that his name was Paramānanda dāsa. When Śivānanda Sena introduced the child to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Lord put His toe in the child’s mouth. No one can cross over the ocean of Śivānanda Sena’s good fortune, for the Lord considered Śivānanda’s whole family His own. Mahāprabhu gave an order to Govinda “As long as Śivānanda Sena's wife and children stay in Jagannātha Purī, they must be given the remnants of My food."

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya, 12.44-53)

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