Haimāntikī Rāsa Pūrṇimā
[November 27, 2023 is Śrī Haimāntikī Rāsa Pūrṇimā in Vṛndāvana, India. It is also the disappearance day of Śrī Bhūgarbha Gosvāmī, Śrī Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita and Śrīla Sundarānanda Ṭhākura. It is the appearance day of Śrī Nimbāditya. The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of discourses by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on November 6, 2014, November 17, 2013 and November 25, 2015. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
So many holy tithis have come together today.
Today is Śrī Kṛṣṇa's rāsa yātrā called Haimāntikī rāsa. It is always on Pūrṇimā tithi. Rāsa means an occasion where many come together for nṛtya, gīta and ānanda [dancing, singing and rejoicing]. So it is mentioned in one aṣṭa-kāliya-līlā kīrtana, in the sixth yāma, 'gīta-lāsya kaila kata’.
One Prabhu asked how many rāsa-līlās are there? Every Pūrṇimā a rāsa-yātrā is celebrated. Famous among along these is śāradīya-pūrṇimā rāsa, which is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. After that haimantikī rāsa [today] commences and, in this way, rāsa continues.
THE UNIQUE FEATURE OF GAUḌĪYA MAṬHA
It is also the āvirbhāva tithi of Śrī Nimbāditya and tirobhāva tithi of Sundarānanda Ṭhākura [as well as Śrīla Bhugarbha Gosvāmī and Śrī Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita].
Vaiṣṇavas’ āvirbhāva and tirobhāva tithis, both are equally worshipable because they evoke the remembrance of the Vaiṣṇavas. Remembrance of Bhagavān and His devotees is our real wealth, while their forgetfulness is the cause of our distress.
This is the unique feature of Gauḍīya Maṭha. Our parama gurudeva Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura made the Vaiṣṇava panjikā; [everyone is remembered] as long as they consider Bhagavān as eternal and serve Him, irrespective of whether they are in sakhya rasa [friendship] or vatsalya rasa [parental], serving in the mood of viśrambha [intimacy] or gaurava [awe and reverence], there are no such considerations at all. Therefore, it is the principle to remember all Vaiṣṇavas on their āvirbhāva and tirobhāva tithis.
NIMBĀDITYA BECAME NIMBĀRKĀCĀRYA
Nimbārkācārya comes within the four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas. His earlier name was Nimbāditya.
In the vidhi mārga, sandhyā cannot be performed after sunset considering that the sandhi time has elapsed. Once Nimbāditya’s disciples observed that he had not yet performed his sandhyā although it was almost time for sunset. So they alerted him about the situation. Nimbāditya responded, “Can the sun set before I perform my sandhyā? This is never possible.” Saying this, he pointed out to his disciples that the sun was still shining behind the Neem tree. Thus he came to be known as ‘Nimbārka’, ‘nimba’ connotes Neem tree and ‘arka’ connotes the sun.
The name 'Nimbārka Sampradāya' is not mentioned in the scriptures [it is originally known as Kumāra Sampradāya, Catuḥ Sana Sampradāya or Sanakādi Sampradāya. They are worshipers of Rukmini-Kṛṣṇa [Dvārakādhiśa] in the mood of gaurava [awe and reverence]. The mood of the Gauḍīyas is viśrambha [intimacy], without any sort of feelings of reservations.
Our paramagurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura accepted the four sampradāyas and that is the reason why the Deities of four sampradāya ācāryas are installed in small shrines in the main maṭha, Śrī Caitanya Maṭha [Śrī Māyāpura]. Consequently, our Guru Mahārāja, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, also installed the Deity forms of the four sampradāya ācāryas - Madhva, Viṣṇusvāmī, Nimbāditya and Rāmānuja, in this order - in our Purī Maṭha. So today is Śrī Nimbāditya’s āvirbhāva tithi. I pray for his mercy.
SUNDARĀNANDA ṬHĀKURA: CHIEF AMONG THE DVĀDAŚA GOPĀLAS
It is also the tirobhāva tithi of Sundarānanda Ṭhākura, who is Mahāprabhu's devotee. He was Sudāma sakhā in kṛṣṇa-līlā, not Sudāmā Vipra [as it is often mistaken]. Sudāma sakhā’s place of residence is on the way when we walk from Deeg to Kāmyavana. In Śrī Caitanya Bhāgavata [Antya 5.728] there is a mention about him:
prema rasa samudra sundarānanda nāma
nityānanda svarupe pārṣada pradhāna
[Sundarānanda is an ocean of sacred rapture. He is chief amongst the associates of Nityānanda Prabhu.]
He is chief among the twelve gopālas [dvadaśa gopālas].
[Śrīla Mahārāja is reading from the book ‘Gaura Parsihads’ by Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vallabha Tīrtha Gosvāmī Mahārāja; what follows below is its translation taken from its English edition ‘Śrī Caitanya: His Life & Associates’]
He appeared in the village of Maheshpura in Jessore District which is situated fourteen miles east of Majdiya railway station. Near that place is Vetrāvati, a beautiful river with clear water.
His Deities were named Rādhā-Vallabha and Rādhā-Ramaṇa. Their priests later moved these deities to Sayyidabad and installed a wooden deity in Maheshpur.
Sundarānanda never married and thus has no descendants. The descendants of his disciples continue to maintain the site in Maheshpura. Some of his relatives established a temple in Mangaladihi in Birbhum district.
In Vaiṣṇava-vandana it is said:
sundarānanda ṭhākura vandibo baḍo āśe
phutalo kadamba-phula jabirera gāche
With great hope, I worship Sundarānanda Ṭhākura who made a kadamba flower bloom on a lime tree.
[End of reading from the book]
'Jambira' is a type of fruit like orange but it is bigger in size. It has great medicinal value for those who have jaundice. Sundarānanda Ṭhākura made kadamba flowers bloom on a jambira tree and said, “Go and fetch them.” There was a rule that without kadamba flowers worship could not be performed, so he made a kadamba flower bloom on a jambira tree, just like Raghunandana Ṭhākura made two kadamba flowers bloom daily on the kadamba tree in his garden, irrespective of the season. Today is Sundarānanda Ṭhākura’s disappearance day.
ŚRĪLA BHUGARBHA GOSVĀMĪ
It is also tirobhāva tithi of Śrīla Bhugarbha Gosvāmī today. From the external vision, he appeared in the Jessore District, in a village named Tālkoṭhrā [Gaura Parishads book says Tālakharii]. He is a cakravarti brāhmaṇa and his nephew is Śrīla Lokanātha Gosvāmī. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed them to go to Vṛndāvana, fully aware that it would cause them immense pain to witness His pastime of accepting sannyāsa. Hence they were the first Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas to arrive and live in Vṛndāvana.
When they heard the news that Śrīmān Mahāprabhu had already departed for South India, they also went to South India, but then in South India they were informed that Śrīmān Mahāprabhu had already proceeded to Vṛndāvana [Again, by the time they reached Vṛndāvana, Mahāprabhu had already left for Prayāga. Determined to meet with Him, they prepared to set out for Prayāga as well, but Mahāprabhu appeared to them in a dream and instructed them to remain in Vṛndāvana itself.]
Śrī Caitanyadeva said, “By wandering like this you will not achieve anything. You remain where you are and you will meet Me there itself.” Those who visit Vṛndāvana, will come across a small samādhī of Śrīla Bhugarbha Gosvāmī while circumambulating Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara Mandira.
ŚRĪ KĀŚĪŚVARA PAṆḌITA
It is also Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita's tirobhāva tithi. In Jagannātha Purī, when Mahāprabhu would find it difficult to pass through crowds of people untouched, Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita, who was physically strong, would spread out his arms stopping the crowd and make way for Mahāprabhu to pass through easily. This was his service.
And for those began Kārtika vrata niyama sevā on Pūrṇimā tithi, it is their concluding day. Cāturmāsya commences on Śrī Śayana Ekādaśī and concludes on Deva-Uṭṭhāna Ekādaśī. In Hari Bhakti Vilasa it is mentioned, regardless from which tithi you begin cāturmāsya vrata, it will end on Deva-Uṭṭhāna Ekādaśī tithi only, but those who observe Bhīṣma Pañcaka continue till Pūrṇimā tithi. On all these counts, today is the concluding day.