Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

The Festival of Panihati, also known as the Chipped Rice Festival of Panihati, is an important annual event in the pastimes of Srila Raghunatha das Goswami and Sri Nityananda Prabhu.

This wonderful pastime took place on the banks of the Ganga at Panihati, which is just north of Kolkata. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his associates enjoyed many transcendental pastimes here.

The chida-dadhi mahotsav symbolises how the Supreme Lord mercifully reciprocated with His devotees by arranging, through Nityananda Prabhu and Raghunatha das, to provide an ecstatic feast of yoghurt and chipped rice, along with various other nectar foodstuffs.

The chipped rice festival took place in summer when it is very hot, so naturally the most cooling of foodstuffs were offered. Cool yoghurt (dadhi) and chipped rice (chida) were offered with sugar, bananas, milk sweets and cakes.

Panihati is located on the banks of the Ganga 10 miles north of Kolkata (North 24-Parganas) in West Bengal India. It is the site of many wonderful spiritual pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His close personal associates.

In this region at this time of year in June, before the onset of the monsoon, it is extremely hot and humid. The most cooling of foods in such a temperature is yogurt, cool yogurt (dahi or dadhi or doi).

In the village of Panihati, Raghunatha das obtained an interview with Nityananda Prabhu who was accompanied by many kirtana performers, servants and others.

Sitting on a rock under a tree on the bank of the Ganges, Lord Nityananda looked as effulgent as the rising sun. Many devotees sat on the ground surrounding Him simply gazing at his face. Raghunatha das offered his obeisances by falling prostrate from a distance, as he considered himself too low to go anywhere near Nityananda Prabhu.  One of the servants of Nityananda Prabhu pointed out, "There is Raghunatha das, offering You obeisances."

The holy tree under which Nityananda Prabhu sat is still in Panihati

Hearing this, Lord Nityananda Prabhu said, "Hey you thief! Now you have come to see Me. Come here, come here. Today I shall punish you," the Lord called him, but Raghunatha das did not go near the Lord. Then the Lord forcibly caught him and placed His lotus feet upon Raghunatha dasa's head. "Arrange for a festival and feed all My associates yogurt and chipped rice." Hearing this, Raghunatha das was overjoyed.

Being the son of the ruler of Saptagram, Raghunatha das arranged for huge quantities of chipped rice, yogurt, milk. sweetmeats, sugar, bananas and ether eatables and placed them all around. As soon as they heard that a festival was going to be held, all kinds of brahmins and other people began to arrive.

Seeing the crowd increasing, Raghunatha das arranged to get more eatables from other villages. He brought 200-400 large, round pots. He also obtained five or seven especially large earthen pots, and in these pots a brahmin began soaking chipped rice for the satisfaction of Lord Nityananda.

In one place, chipped rice was soaked in hot milk in each of the large pots. Then half the rice was mixed with yogurt, sugar and bananas. The other half was mixed with condensed milk and a special type of banana known as canpa-kala. Then sugar, clarified butter and camphor were added. After Nityananda Prabhu had changed His clothes and sat on a raised platform, the brahmin brought before Him the seven huge pots.

On that platform all the most important associates of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, as well as ether important men, sat down in a circle around the Lord. Among them were Ramadasa, Sundarananda, Gadadhara dasa, Murari, Kamalakara, Sadasiva and Purandara. Dhananjaya, Jagadisa, Paramesvara dasa, Mahesa, Gauridas and Hoda Krsnadasa were also there, Similarly, Uddharana Datta Thakura and many other personal associates of the Lord sat on the raised platform with Nityananda Prabhu.

Hearing about the festival, all kinds of learned scholars, brahmins and priests also went there. Nityananda Prabhu honored them and made them sit on the raised platform with Him. Everyone was offered two earthen pots. In one was put chipped rice with condensed milk and in the ether chipped rice with yogurt. All the other people sat in groups around the platform. No one could count how many people there were. Each and every one of them was given two earthen pots, one of chipped rice soaked in yogurt and the other of chipped rice soaked in condensed milk.

Some of the brahmins, not having gotten a place on the platform, went to the bank of the Ganga with their two earthen pots and soaked their chipped rice there. Others, who could not get a place even on the bank of the Ganges, got down into the water and began eating their two kinds of chipped rice. Thus some sat on the platform, some at the base of the platform, and some on the bank of the Ganges, and they were all supplied two pots each by the twenty men who distributed the food.

At that time, Raghava Pandit arrived there. Seeing the situation, he began to laugh in great surprise. He brought many other kinds of food cooked in ghee and offered them to the Lord. This prasada he first placed before Lord Nityananda and then distributed among the devotees. Raghava Pandit said to Lord Nityananda, "For You, Prabhu, I have already offered food to the Deity, but You are engaged in a festival here, and so the food is lying there untouched."

Lord Nityananda replied, "Let Me eat all this food here during the day, and I shall eat at your home at night. I belong to a community of cowherd boys, and therefore I generally have many cowherd associates with Me. I am happy when we eat together in a picnic like this by the sandy bank of the river”. Lord Nityananda made Raghava Pandit sit down and had two pots given to him also.

When the chida-dadhi had been served to everyone, Lord Nityananda Prabhu, meditated on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu manifested Himself there and Lord Nityananda Prabhu stood up.

They then saw how the others were enjoying the chipped rice with yogurt and condensed milk. From each and every pot, Lord Nityananda Prabhu took one morsel of chipped rice and pushed it into the mouth of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as a joke.

In this way Lord Nityananda was walking through all the groups of eaters, and all the Vaishnavas standing there were seeing the fun.

No one could understand what Nityananda Prabhu was doing as He walked about. Some, however, who were very fortunate, could see that Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was also present. Then Nityananda Prabhu smiled and sat down. On His right side He kept four pots of chipped rice that had not been made from boiled paddy. Lord Nityananda offered Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu a place and had Him sit down.

Then together the two brothers began eating chipped rice. Seeing  Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eating with Him, Lord Nityananda Prabhu became very happy and exhibited the eight-fold ecstatic symptoms. Lord Nityananda Prabhu ordered, "All of you, eat, chanting the holy name of Hari. Immediately the holy names "Hari Hari" resounded, filling the entire universe.

When all the Vaisnavas were chanting the holy names "Hari Hari" and eating, they remembered how Krsna and Balarama had similarly eaten in the forests of Vrindavan with their companions, the cowherd boys, on the bank of the Yamuna.

It was Raghunatha das' good fortune that They accepted all these dealings. Who can understand the influence and mercy of Lord Nityananda Prabhu? He is so powerful that He induced Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to come eat chipped rice on the bank of the Ganga. All the confidential devotees who were cowherd boys, headed by Sri Ramadas, were absorbed in ecstatic love. They thought the bank of the Ganges to be the bank of the Yamuna.

When the shopkeepers of the nearby villages heard about the festival, they arrived there to sell chipped rice, yogurt, sweetmeats and bananas. As they came, bringing all kinds of food, Raghunatha das purchased it all. He gave them the price for their goods and later fed them the very same food. People who simply came to see the festival were also fed chipped rice, yogurt and bananas.

After Lord Nityananda Prabhu finished eating, He washed His hands and mouth and gave Raghunatha das the food remaining in the four pots. There was food remaining in the three other big pots of Lord Nityananda, and a brahmin distributed it to all the devotees, giving a morsel to each.

Then a brahmins brought a flower garland and placed it on Nityananda Prabhu's neck and smeared sandalwood pulp all over His body. When a servant brought betel nuts and offered them to Lord Nityananda, the Lord smiled and chewed them. With His own hands Lord Nityananda Prabhu distributed to all the devotees whatever flower garlands, sandalwood pulp and betel nuts remained.

After receiving the remnants of food left by Lord Nityananda Prabhu, Raghunatha das, who was greatly happy, ate some and distributed the rest among his own associates.

Thus was the wonderful festival of dadhi-chida celebrated spontaneously in the hot summer in Panihati.

Nitai Gaur Hari Bol - Hari Hari Bol