Pishima Goswamini's Gaura-Nitai Deities

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

Mukunda Dutta Das

In a village named Rayapura (Siudi District, Bengal), descendants of Sri Murari Gupta, the eternal associate of Lord Chaitanya, worshiped the Deities of Sri Gaura-Nitai.

These deities of Sri Chaitanya and Sri Nityananda in the form of young boys, were worshiped until there was no one left in Murari Gupta's family to look after Them.

Eventually the jungle overgrew the abandoned temple and the Deities were buried in the depths of foliage and dirt. Many many years later, people began to take their cattle to that area for grazing. Once, a gopa noticed that his most productive cow used to drip her milk into a spot on the ground. Curious, they dug in that spot and found the Deities there. Removing the lovely Gaura-Nitai deities, they saw the words "dasamurarigupta" written on their base.

The Deities were again established in a temple with regular worship. After some time, and according to directions he had received in a dream, one resident of Orissa, Balaramadasa Babaji, came there and began to worship Sri Bala Gaura-Nitai.

By the Lord’s arrangement, around the beginning of the 20th century, a young Brahmin lady named Candrashasi Mukhopadhyaya went to Rayapura on business related to her wealthy family's properties. She happened to be staying near the Gaura-Nitai temple. Taking darshan of the Deities every day, a desire to render service to them arose in her - she wanted to make some payesh (sweet rice kheer) for Their bhoga offering.

She later had a dream in which Gaura and Nitai appeared to her, saying, "Ma, we're very hungry. Feed us some payesh that you've cooked for us." When she later told the temple priest Balaramadasa Babaji about this, he said, "According to Vaishnava sastras, an uninitiated person cannot cook for the Deity." Smt. Candrashasi Mukherjee then accepted diksha mantra from Balaramadasa Babaji and thus she fulfilled her desire to prepare payesh for Gaura-Nitai with her own hands.

That very night, the young boys Gaura-Nitai appeared once again in her dream and pulling on her saree said, "Ma! Please don't go away. If you go away, who will feed us and look after us? You are our Mata. We won't let you go."

Candrashasi affectionately smiled and told Them to let go of her saree pallu, but They wouldn't; from Their repeated tugging at her saree pallu, a piece of it finally ripped and the piece of cloth was in Sri Gaura's hand. Candrashasi's dream broke and she woke up. But she saw that the corner of her saree was indeed torn!

At that very moment, she rose and went to inform Balaramadasa all about her dream. Since the sun had not yet risen the temple wasn't opened yet. Balaramadasa went to the temple to wake the Deities. To the amazement of all present, everyone saw that the piece missing from Candrashasi's cloth was in Gaura's hand.

All the devotees were overcome with joy and everyone praised Candrashasi's good fortune. Candrashasi Ma lost all consciousness of her body and mind and experienced ashta-satvic bhavas, symptoms of transcendental spiritual rapture all at once.

She forgot all thoughts of going back to her native place. The illusions of family, prestige, wealth and so forth were lost. She dedicated herself to serving Sri Gaura-Nitai in the temple as her very life and soul.

On account of her leaving home at such a young age (she was only 20 at the time) to live in the temple along with the Babaji, low-minded people began to talk about their relationship in negative ways and this caused her intolerable mental distress.

One night, after praying repeatedly and having cried her heart out before Gaura-Nitai, she eventually fell asleep in that state. Gaura-Nitai came to her in a dream and putting their arms around her neck They said, "Ma, take us to Vrindavan now – come let us go."

The next day, Chandrashashi Ma took her boys Gaura-Nitai and along with Balaramadasa Babaji moved to Vrindavan. When they arrived there, a devotee lady from Nadiya named Bhakta devi was bathing in the Yamuna and saw Them. She heard their story and respectfully invited Them to her home in Bankhandi-mohalla.

In great joy, Candrashasi began to serve Sri Gaura-Nitai in her home and the blessed Bhakta devi used to assist her. People in the neighborhood called Bhakta "Pishima," (aunt) and so they began to call Candrashasi "Pishima" as well. True to her name, Pishima used to indulge and pamper Gaura-Nitai as if They were her own sons. Gaura-Nitai were greatly pleased by her service.

One day, as she was busily cooking for Them, she noticed indications of her monthly stri-dharma. Going outside of the temple kitchen, she remained in the courtyard looking again and again in the direction of her Boys and crying - "Today I won't be able to offer my own cooking for Their bhoga!"

Thus agonising over the matter, she beheld a vision, even though she was awake. Both brothers, Gaura and Nitai, came and said, "Ma, there's nothing to be sad about. You just do what mothers in your condition usually do. There's no fault in that. Please get up. Take your bath and give us something to eat. We're very hungry. From now on, you'll be free of this impediment." Pishima did as she was told. After that, she never had her monthly period again.

After coming to Vrindavan, Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai began to perform many leelas with the devotees there. Whenever there was a need for something, they would beg, borrow or steal it from anywhere and everywhere. For example, Gaura-Nitai had no shoes. They asked Pishima for them, but as she didn't want Them wandering about (and she couldn’t bear leaving even for a moment) she told Them, "What do You need shoes for? Do you have to go somewhere?" Thus, Gaura-Nitai remained on the watch for some other devotees who might come there.

Once, in the month of shravan, a Bengali lady and her family, traveling from Serpura Beguda came to Vrindavan to see the jhulan festival. They stayed near Gaura-Nitai's temple, in Chidiya-kunja. That day in the mid-morning it was raining. Pishima was sitting on the temple veranda. With her left hand, she was pulling a rope attached to Gaura-Nitai's fan. With her right hand, she was chanting on her japa-mala.

It began to rain very hard. Pishima dozed off. At that time she saw that Nitai had left the temple and was running about the courtyard in the water. Gaura then followed Him. Pishima shrieked, "Oh! What are you boys doing! You'll catch a cold!" This dream was as clear as real life - it seemed as if she saw it while yet awake. But she again began pulling on the pankha and eventually dozed off again.

Meanwhile, Nitai-Gaura had gone to Chidiya-kunja. The woman from Serpura Beguda was taking a nap at the time. Gaura-Nitai went in and sat at the end of the bed. Shaking the bed, they said, "Have you come here to sleep? Get up!"
In her sleeping state, the woman mumbled, "... who are you?"
"Our names are Nitai and Gaura; we're the sons of Pishima of Bankhandi."
The lady was totally confused, "Pishima's kids?” she mumbled.
"People in the neighbourhood just call us Pishima's boys. Everybody in Vrindavan knows we're her boys."
"So why are you here?"
"Look at how our feet are covered with mud. Please give us some shoes."

Upon seeing Gaura-Nitai's extraordinary beauty, the woman became fascinated. She had never before seen such beauty. Waking up suddenly, she began to cry, remembering the two boys. Weeping thus, she left the house, even though it was still pouring rain. On the road, she asked anyone she saw where Pishima's children lived. One Vrajavasi showed her Nitai Gaura's mandira at Bankhandi. The woman went inside. Pishima was still pulling the pankha and chanting japa.

The woman asked, "Is this the house of Pishima's Gaura-Nitai?"
"Yes, mother, this is the home of Pishima's Gaura Nitai. Mataji, why are you crying?"
"Where are your two boys? I want to see them," the highly agitated woman said, trying to be demure and respectful.

Pishima respectfully seated the woman and opened the temple. Taking Gaura-Nitai's darshan in the temple, which exactly resembled the vision in her dream, the woman burst into tears.
She trembled in ecstasy, sobbing, unable to do anything. For a long time she remained fallen on the floor in a state of unconsciousness. Upon coming out of her swoon, she controlled herself and related the whole story of her dream to Pishima.

Pishima then recounted her story of what she had seen. For quite some time, both women remained locked in an embrace, shedding tears of ecstasy. That fortunate woman later made silver shoes for Gaura-Nitai, which remains in Their possession to this day. Sri Nitai and Gaura continue to use them with love.

Once a devotee lady, Prasanna dasi of Serpura Beguda lived in Vrindavan. One day she dreamt that Gaura and Nitai appeared before her decked in all kinds of glittering ornaments. Showing Their lotus feet, which were marked with the flag, goad, and thunderbolt, etc., They said: "Look at all the ornaments We got. But We don't have noopura (ankle-bells). Give us noopura." Upon waking up, Prasanna dasi went to Pishima and narrated the whole story shedding tears of love. Having them made and then putting the golden noopura on Gaura-Nitai's lotus feet, she felt her life blessed.

For some time a Vaishnava sadhu, a very humble, dear servant of the Lord, used to assist Pishima in the seva-puja of Sri Gaura-Nitai. An impure idea arose in his mind. Opening the temple door at night, he stole the ornaments and decamped with them. Next morning, Pishima was horrified to see that the door was opened and the Deities were without Their jewels. She cried, "Oh who could have done this despicable act? Is there anyone so sinful living in this world?"

Overcome with shock and grief, she fell down in the corridor of the temple and remained there, devastated and depressed. She addressed Gaura-Nitai, "Who took your jewelry?” They replied, "Ma, that Vaishnava is very poor, but he fed us brothers so much rabdi. So we gave it to him. Please, don't say anything to him about it."

Pishima was furious over the behavior of her spoilt children. From where would she get more ornaments? She had already given up her own considerable wealth long ago - coming to Vrindavan in beggar's dress, her only possession was now Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. Laughing, she said, "Okay. You can either give Your things to somebody or keep them. What's it to me? If you need something again, then You'll get it from somewhere. You certainly aren't bashful about asking people for anything you want!”

Once in a dream, Gaura-Nitai told Pishima, "Please take us out for Braja-mandala-parikrama." She then got a palanquin readied and assembled some devotees for Harinama-sankirtana and they set out the very next day.

The Deities were extremely happy on this trip. After a month or so, when They were concluding the parikrama and were at the outskirts of Mathura, Pishima went with one devotee, Krishna das, to make arrangements ahead. Mathura dasa followed behind with the palanquin. At that time, there were British soldiers camped in Mathura. Some of the soldiers were curious about the spectacle of the parikrama procession.

Pointing at the palanquin, one of them asked, "What do you have in the palanquin?”
Mathuradasa replied, "Thakur ji is inside." The soldiers sneeringly said, "Let's see your Thakur ji!"
Mathuradasa became afraid – he didn’t want the men to touch the Deities. He replied in a very humble voice, "Just now Thakur ji's darshan won't be possible."

The soldiers pushed him aside and tried to see the Deities. At that very moment, a blinding flash of light emerged from the palanquin, as powerful as thunder, and blasting them away, scorched the eyes of the soldiers. Screaming out, "Oh God!" they all fled in terror.

When Mathura dasa later told the tale to Pishima, she said, "Now my boys are able to take care of Themselves. I'm very happy to know this. Now I have no anxiety."

Pishima thus passed many years, serving her beloved Gaura-Nitai faithfully. Even when she was 100 years old, she continued to take three baths daily in the sacred Yamuna and personally performed Gaura-Nitai's seva herself. But gradually this became difficult for her to continue and so she entrusted the seva-puja to one Gopeshwar Gosvami, a devotee in the family line of Lord Nityananda.

He was a staunch devotee but wasn't very experienced in Deity seva. Thus he happened to bathe Gaura-Nitai in cool water once, at the beginning of the cold season. They caught a cold and Their noses began to drip. But Gopeshwar Gosvami didn't even notice this. Pishima stayed on the second floor most of the time - she could not climb up and down the stairs anymore.

But in the temple below, the Deities were sad because Pishima wasn't there anymore to pamper Them with her maternal attentions. Somehow Pishima sensed this. She came down one day and saw that Gaura-Nitai's eyes were red and Their noses were running. Going near Them, she felt that They were hot. She could not tolerate this. She wiped Their noses with the edge of her saree and called for Gopeshwar Gosvami.

Crying, she said in disbelief, "How could you do this? Bathing Them in cold water in this season?! Now you’ve made Them sick! See how Their noses are running!" She wiped Their noses and showed it to him. Gopeshwar didn't believe her and he told her she was creating a fuss over nothing.

Pishima was beside herself with anger. She indignantly held the other end of her saree to Gaura's nose and then thrust it into his face, saying, "See!" Just then, Gaura's nose began to drip again. This filled the temple with an unprecedented, divine aroma, an ethereal fragrance from beyond this world. Astonished and remorseful, Gopeshwar fell at Pishima's feet and begged forgiveness.

During Pishima's presence, everyone was afraid of incurring her wrath. Everything had to be according to her desire. If anything at all went against her wishes, she would become enraged and no shortcoming in service could be tolerated.

Ten lamps used to be lit above the temple doorway. One day it was Kojgara-purnima (Kartik purnima). After the evening arati, Gopeshwar Prabhu had gone out somewhere, extinguishing the ten lamps, since oil was expensive. That day Gaura-Nitai were not even taken out onto the veranda. In the temple, only one flame was burning, in a large brass ghee lamp.

Pishima was seated on the veranda chanting Hare Krishna. All at once there was a loud sound and the temple was in pitch darkness. Gaura had picked up the lamp and thrown it into a corner of the mandira. Pishima understood the reason for Gaura’s anger. When Gopeshwar returned, she said, "Gopeshwar! You didn't take Gaura-Nitai out on the veranda today. You also put out the ten lamps. Just see - for this reason Gaura in His anger threw away the lamp and is sitting in the darkness. Why do you act like this?"

Pishima had given strict instructions to Gopeshwar Gosvami not to give prasad to anyone who had not given their donation. One day, someone placed two annas before the Deity and requested prasad. Gopeshwar Gosvami neglected Pishima's order, or perhaps he didn't notice the donation, but he gave prasad to that person.

This time too, Pishima was sitting on the veranda chanting japa. She saw that a chandana-grinding stone came barreling out from within the mandira, as if someone had forcefully thrown it. Dashing and knocking against the sides of the veranda, it went into an adjoining room and struck a large pot filled with rice. The pot was shattered, the rice scattered.

Calling Gopeshwar prabhu, Pishima said, "See Gaura's two-anna's worth of anger? He broke my big pot and scattered all the rice. Why do you do things that make Him so angry?" After this incident, Gopeshwar prabhu became more careful in Gaura-Nitai's seva.

When she was 103, Pishima mentioned to Gopeshwar Gosvami that she would soon leave her body. On that very day, in good health, while sitting before Gaura-Nitai, beholding Their beautiful moonlike faces and chanting Their names, she gave up her earthly body and entered the eternal pastimes of the Lord.

Once, after the disappearance of Gosvamini Pishima, Gopeshwar Prabhu became dreadfully ill with smallpox and was bedridden for a month. He eventually lost the power to speak and even fell into a coma. It seemed as if he would die but even in that condition he was able to render service to Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai internally.
Late one night he saw that a fearsome rakshasi was trying to take him away but just at that time Pishima Gosvamini and Gaura-Nitai came to his bedside and the rakshasi disappeared. The greatly merciful Nitai stroked Gopeshwar’s limbs with His transcendental hand and said, "Dada (uncle), if you remain so listless, who will give us anything to eat? Get up! We're very hungry." Shortly thereafter, Gopeshwar Prabhu regained consciousness and coughed up a great deal of phlegm. Sitting up in bed, he felt himself well again.

Srila Gopeshwar prabhu was a brahmacari from his childhood. Before coming to the service of Sri Gaura-Nitai, he used to tour different holy places. It was against his nature to remain in one place for too long. Therefore he initially hadn't wanted to accept the service of Gaura-Nitai. But in the face of Pishima's strong insistence, as well as Gaura-Nitai's desire, he had to accept the seva.

He would personally do all the cooking, offer the bhogas, perform the aratis, all of the sringar, and sing the kirtanas, even up to cleaning the Thakur ji's pots, and all the other services as well. Sometimes, becoming tired of all this work, he would even abusively curse Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai.

Some time after Pishima's disappearance, one day Gopeshwar Prabhu thought, "What is the gain from all of this seva that I have been doing? So many days I have spent doing puja, and nothing to show for it. If I go to do bhajana in seclusion, it will benefit me more."

Thinking in this way, he entrusted the seva to another person and went to Kusum Sarovara with the intent of doing his own bhajana. At midnight on the third day, while seated beneath a bakula tree on the bank of the sarovara, he saw a transcendental vision - it seemed as if Nitai and Gaura were walking towards him. Arriving there, They stood before him and said, "Dada! Today, for three days we haven't had any food or water - chalo!"

Gopeshwar prabhu's bhajana was clearly successfully completed. So he left. One mahatma at Govardhana saw him on the way and said, "Ah, Gopeshwar! Now you've come - last night in a dream Nitai-Gaura said to me that They haven't eaten anything in three days! Listen, bhai, go back to Vrindavan - do Their seva and make Them happy."

Gopeshwar prabhu thought, "Aha! Now these Two are going all over the place slandering me!" His mind filling with indignation, he said to the mahatma, "I will not go to Vrindavan; I'll do bhajana right here!" The mahatma urged him to take prasad and get a little rest. A little later, when his anger had subsided, he was contrite and agreed to return to Vrindavan. As he arrived in the village of Datiya, it was dusk, and it began to rain very hard. With the intention of waiting out the evening there, he stayed in the house of a Vrajavasi.

Meanwhile in Vrindavan, Gaura-Nitai were impatiently awaiting his arrival. As soon as it was morning, a tanga-wala (horse cart driver) who had been searching everywhere for Gopeshwar Gosvami, arrived at the house of the Vrajavasi.

He said, "Where is Gopeshwar Gosvami? I'm here to take him to Vrindavan. I was ordered to do so in a dream." Climbing onto the tanga, Gopeshwar prabhu went to Vrindavan. As soon as he stepped in the doorway of the temple, he smelt a terrible odor. He asked the pujari, "What's that smell?" The pujari answered, "I don't know; for three days I haven't even been able to go into the temple on account of the stench."

Gopeshwar prabhu went into the temple and investigating in every direction, he saw that a dead rat on top of the Deities' mosquito net. He then cleansed the temple and washing and wiping everything, he started the seva again.

Gopeshwar Gosvami was a dear devotee of Lord Chaitanya but he aspired to worship the Lord in sakhya-rasa. During the time of Pishima Gosvamini, Nitai-Gaura had the forms of children, in accordance with her maternal devotion (vatsalya-rasa).

The core of his heart wasn't fully satisfied in the service of Bala-Gaura and Bala-Nitai. As soon as Gopeshwar Gosvami prabhu assumed the seva, an extraordinary thing happened. According to some, Gopeshwar Gosvami had incessantly prayed to Nitai-Gaura, and as a result of his supplications, They gradually began to grow, such that within a few years, They assumed Their present form as full-fledged youths.

Yet others say that when Gopeshwar once told Pishima that he wouldn't be able to worship such small Deities with complete love, she then went to the temple with him and lifting both the brother's chins, raised Them up to Their current dimensions.

The deities are in a very small unmarked temple right across the street from Bankhandi Mahadeva, about three doors down from the intersection of the Loi and Bankhandi bazars.

Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki Jai !!

Jai Jai Sri Radhey !!