Śrī Vīrabhadra Prabhu
[November 2, 2018 is the appearance day of Śrī Vīrabhadra Prabhu, in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the same tithi on October 17, 2017. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
Today is the āvirbhāva tithi of Śrī Vīrabhadra Prabhu (also known as Vīracandra Prabhu). He is Śrī Nityānanda tanaya [the son of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu by his wife Vasudhā], who appeared in Khardāha.
[saṅkarṣanasya yo vyūhaḥ payobdhi-śāyi-nāmakaḥ sa eva vīracandro’bhūc caitanyābhinna-vigrahaḥ
The expansion of Saṅkarṣaṇa who sleeps on the ocean of milk, Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, has become Vīracandra, who is non-different from Caitanya himself. Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā 67]
In the Vaiṣṇava-vandanā, it is quoted:
vasudhā jāhnavā vande dui ṭhākurānī
yār putra vīrabhadra jagate vākhāni '
ŚRĪ VIRABHADRA PRABHU’S DĪKṢĀ
During the Kheturi festival, Jāhnavā-mātā who is Annapūrṇā [One who provides nectar-like food and nourishing care to the body and soul] herself took up the responsibility of preparing the entire bhoga for the Deities. Being Annapūrṇā, just by her supervision, there would be no scarcity.
So during this great festival of Kheturī when Jāhnavā-mātā was engrossed in rolling lucīs [deep fried Indian breads (purīs) made from refined flour] for Ṭhākurajī's offerings, Vīrabhadra, the son of Nityānanda Prabhu, suddenly arrived in the kitchen. Since it was culturally fitting for women to always keep the head covered [with the loose end of the sārī], especially in front of men, upon finding both her hands engaged in sevā, she spontaneously manifested another hand to pull the veil over her head. Witnessing this, Vīrabhadra [who became awe-struck] took shelter of Jāhnavā-mātā’s lotus feet and became her disciple.
So Jāhnavā and Nityānanda’s sampradāya [disciplic succession] sprang from there. The impact of Śrī Vīrabhadra Prabhu’s preaching was far and wide. [Endnote 1]
We pray for the causeless mercy of Śrī Vīrabhadra Prabhu so that we attain śuddha-bhakti.
The greatest branch coming out of the trunk named Nityānanda is Vīrabhadra Gosvāmī, who also has innumerable branches and sub-branches. It is not possible to describe them all. Although He is the Lord of the creation, Vīrabhadra presented Himself as a great devotee. Although He is transcendental to all Vedic injunctions, He strictly followed the Vedic religion. Although the power of God was operating within Him, He showed no pride. He is the main pillar holding up the edifice of devotional service to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is by the glorious mercy of Śrī Vīrabhadra Gosāi that people all over the world now have the chance to chant the names of Caitanya and Nityānanda. I, therefore, take shelter of the lotus feet of Vīrabhadra Gosvāmī for by his mercy all desires are fulfilled (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 11.8-12).