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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Tapan Dā at Rādhākuṇḍa

It is time again for the annual niyam sevā for Kartik in Rādhākuṇḍa and the village fills up again with Bengali Vaiṣṇavas for the month of intense bhakti practises. One of them is my senior Gurubrother Tapan Kumār Adhikārī, who has moved his residence from Ranchi to Asansol recently and travelled here with Viśvānanda Avadhūt. He is staying in Gadādhar Caitanya Mandir on the bank of Śyāmakuṇḍa. He went on Girirāja parikramā alone yesterday and is visiting me now in my kutir at Lalita Kund.

I ask him why Baba worshipped Śiva as Gopeśvara instead of Gopīśvara. He tells me the story of how the gopīs worshipped Kātyāyanī Devi for a whole winter month, when they were just 6 years old and that Bābā considered Gopeśvara to be Kṛṣṇa. He will ask the answer to that question to Kumkum Da when he meets him during the upcoming festival for Bābā’s viraha. Bābā said that Madan Gopāl is spreading out His hand (as Laḍḍu Gopāl) because he begs for the loving gifts of His devotees, the gifts of prema sevā. I ask him if I do not commit aparādha by preaching Bābā’s glories – they are confidential and those who do not understand may criticise him. Bābā himself was also averse to preaching. Tapan Dā quotes Bābā saying that the elephant will walk on even if the dogs may bark around him. He also says that the śiṣya can attract people to the Guru by his strong sādhana and preaching of rāgānugā bhakti, something which Krishna Di and Niranjan Babu both told me too, independently, more than 10 years ago. The flower spreads its sweet fragrance to the connoisseurs who are ready to appreciate it.

I ask if the story of Bābā seeing the sādhus at night when he was deciding whether to marry or to stay celibate (see Satīnāth Datta’s hagiography of Sādhu Bābā on was a real story or a divine vision. Tapan Dā says, as I expected, it was a divine vision. He says about the story that Bābā was immersed in the Gangā while Jñāna Dā went shopping that it was Bābā's own wish, so He could do his sādhana in peace.

Tapan Dā tries to convince me to come with him to Navadwip, very embarrassing because I am so attached to Rādhākuṇḍa that I just want to stay here. I beg him and the didis forgiveness. Tapan Dā tells me some surprising details about himself. He is only 52 years old, 3 years younger than me even, and joined in 1983, a year after me too. He is a brahmin from Katwa (Mau Gram), whose family has been worshipping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa vigraha for the last 300 years. His father, following kula-prathā (family tradition) took dīkṣā from Ānanda Gopāl Goswāmī, so Tapan Dā was not a newcomer to the family. He will get a pension at 60 and he will try to make a kutir at Rādhākuṇḍa at that time.


  1. 8 october in the evening I visit Tapan Da in his room in Gadadhar Caitanya Mandir. He says those who represent Baba are like Bharat who represented Ram in His absence. He also quotes Krishna's disappearance from and return to the Rasa lila. In other words, he predicts a reincarnation of Sadhu Baba after some time. He says the Gopi Gita was sung by all gopis simultaneously (billions of them).
    9 october. Tapan Da is very innocent. He leaves his bag with the 501 Rs. I donated, his mobile phone and his own cash unprotected in his room, which he shares with others. People come and go there all the time. Syamasundar Pandit lectures one hour on Das Goswami because of his disappearance day.

  2. 15 october - roti, dal, subji, kheer, sandesh, dates and pomegranates - on one fire. humble offering on the 25th anniversary of sadhu baba's viraha. plus blessings by mobile phone from sadhu baba's ashram in nabadwip. Distributed sweets to Vaishnavas and gave daksina to Mathura brahmin in the evening. Then more cellphone blessings from Navadwip. At night the mosquitos got the smell of the sweets in my blood and kept me awake. Thus I missed Kunjabhanga kirtan. Anyone for the residue sweets?

  3. “Tapan Dā quotes Bābā saying that the elephant will walk on even if the dogs may bark around him.”

    This can be found in Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa’s ‘ Siddhānta darpana’ (8.1) –

    Karīndre bhrājamāne’pi stuyamāne supuruṣaiḥ
    Bukkanti sārameyāś cet kā kṣatis tasya jāyate

  4. “Though the king of elephants shines brightly, and is praised by good men, the dogs bark at him. Who is harmed by that? [Why should he care?]