Srila Prabhupada explains the glories of Sri Devananda Pandita
compiled by Yasoda nandana dasa
bhāgavatī devānanda vakreśvara-kṛpāte
bhāgavatera bhakti-artha pāila prabhu haite
bhāgavatī devānanda—Devānanda, who used to recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; vakreśvara-kṛpāte—by the mercy of Vakreśvara; bhāgavatera—of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; bhakti-artha—the bhakti interpretation; pāila—got; prabhu haite—from the Lord.
Devānanda Paṇḍita was a professional reciter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but by the mercy of Vakreśvara Paṇḍita and the grace of the Lord he understood the devotional interpretation of the Bhāgavatam.
In the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-līlā, Chapter Twenty-one, it is stated that Devānanda Paṇḍita and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya’s father, Viśārada, lived in the same village. Devānanda Paṇḍita was a professional reciter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not like his interpretation of it. In the present town of Navadvīpa, which was formerly known as Kuliyā, Lord Caitanya showed such mercy to him that he gave up the Māyāvādī interpretation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and learned how to explain Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in terms of bhakti. Formerly, when Devānanda was expounding the Māyāvādī interpretation, Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura was once present in his meeting, and when he began to cry, Devānanda’s students drove him away. Some days later, Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed that way, and when He met Devānanda He chastised him severely because of his Māyāvāda interpretation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. At that time Devānanda had little faith in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as an incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, but one night some time later Vakreśvara Paṇḍita was a guest in his house, and when he explained the science of Kṛṣṇa, Devānanda was convinced about the identity of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus, he was induced to explain Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam according to the Vaiṣṇava understanding In the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, verse 106, it is described that he was formerly Bhāguri Muni, who was the sabhā-paṇḍita who recited Vedic literature in the house of Nanda Mahārāja. cc adi-lila 1.151
pañca-dina dekhe loka nāhika viśrāma
loka-bhaye rātre prabhu āilā kuliyā-grāma
pañca-dina—continuously for five days; dekhe—see; loka—people; nāhika—there is not; viśrāma—rest; loka-bhaye—on account of fearing the crowds of men; rātre—at night; prabhu—the Lord; āilā—went; kuliyā-grāma—to the place known as Kuliyā.
For five consecutive days all the people gathered to see the Lord, and still there was no rest. Out of fear of the crowd, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu left at night and went to the town of Kuliyā [present-day Navadvīpa].
If one considers the statements of the Caitanya-bhāgavata along with the description by Locana dāsa Ṭhākura, it is clear that present-day Navadvīpa was formerly known as Kuliyā-grāma. While at Kuliyā-grāma, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bestowed His favor upon Devānanda Paṇḍita and delivered Gopāla Cāpala and many others who had previously committed offenses at His lotus feet. At that time, to go from Vidyānagara to Kuliyā-grāma one had to cross a branch of the Ganges. All of those old places still exist. Cināḍāṅgā was formerly situated in Kuliyā-grāma, which is now known as Kolera Gañja.
kuliyā-grāme kaila devānandere prasāda
gopāla-viprere kṣamāila śrīvāsāparādha
kuliyā-grāme—in that village known as Kuliyā-grāma; kaila—showed; devānandere prasāda—mercy to Devānanda Paṇḍita; gopāla-viprere—and to the brāhmaṇa known as Gopāla Cāpala; kṣamāila—excused; śrīvāsa-aparādha—the offense to the lotus feet of Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura.
The specific acts performed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu at this time were His showing favor to Devānanda Paṇḍita and excusing the brāhmaṇa known as Gopāla Cāpala from the offense he had committed at the lotus feet of Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura.
pāṣaṇḍī nindaka āsi’ paḍilā caraṇe
aparādha kṣami’ tāre dila kṛṣṇa-preme
pāṣaṇḍī—atheists; nindaka—blasphemers; āsi’-coming there; paḍilā—fell down; caraṇe—at the lotus feet of the Lord; aparādha kṣami’-excusing them of their offenses; tāre—unto them; dila—gave; kṛṣṇa-preme—love of Kṛṣṇa.
Many atheists and blasphemers came and fell at the lotus feet of the Lord, and the Lord in return excused them and gave them love of Kṛṣṇa. ccml 1. 153-154
tāhāṅ haite āge gelā śivānanda-ghara
vāsudeva-gṛhe pāche āilā īśvara
tāhāṅ haite—from there; āge—ahead; gelā—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu proceeded; śivānanda-ghara—to the house of Śivānanda Sena; vāsudeva-gṛhe—to the house of Vāsudeva Datta; pāche—after this; āilā—came; īśvara—the Lord.
From the house of Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura, the Lord went to the house of Śivānanda Sena and then to the house of Vāsudeva Datta.
’vācaspati-gṛhe’ prabhu yemate rahilā
loka-bhiḍa bhaye yaiche ’kuliyā’ āilā
vācaspati-gṛhe—at the house of Vidyā-vācaspati; prabhu—the Lord; yemate—as; rahilā—stayed there for some time; loka-bhiḍa bhaye—due to fear of crowds of people; yaiche—just as; kuliyā āilā—He came to Kuliyā, the present city of Navadvīpa.
The Lord remained some time at the house of Vidyā-vācaspati, but then, because it was too crowded, He went to Kuliyā.
The house of Vidyā-vācaspati was located at Vidyānagara, which was near Koladvīpa, or Kuliyā. It was here that Devānanda Paṇḍita was residing. This information is found in Caitanya-bhāgavata (Madhya-līlā, Chapter Twenty-one). In Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka, the following statement is given about Kuliyā. Tataḥ kumārahaṭṭe śrīvāsa-paṇḍita-vāṭyām abhyāyayau: “From there the Lord went to the house of Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita in Kumārahaṭṭa.” Tato ’dvaita-vāṭīm abhyetya haridāsenābhivanditas tathaiva taraṇī-vartmanā navadvīpasya pāre kuliyā-nāma-grāme mādhava-dāsa-vāṭyām uttīrṇavān. evaṁ sapta-dināni tatra sthitvā punas taṭa-vartmanā eva calitavān: “From the house of Śrīvāsa Ācārya, the Lord went to the house of Advaita Ācārya, where He was offered obeisances by Haridāsa Ṭhākura. The Lord then took a boat to the other side of Navadvīpa to a place called Kuliyā, where He stayed seven days at the house of Mādhava dāsa. He then proceeded along the banks of the Ganges.”
In the Śrī Caitanya-carita-mahā-kāvya, it is stated, anyedyuḥ sa śrī-navadvīpa-bhūmeḥ pāre gaṅgaṁ paścime kvāpi deśe, śrīmān sarva-prāṇināṁ tat-tad-aṅgair netrānandaṁ samyag āgatya tene: “The Lord went to the eastern side of the Ganges at Navadvīpa, and everyone was pleased to see the Lord coming.”
In the Caitanya-bhāgavata (Antya-khaṇḍa, Chapter Three), it is stated, sarva-pāriṣada-saṅge śrī-gaurasundara ācambite āsi’ uttarilā tāṅra ghara: “The Lord suddenly came to Vidyānagara with a full party and stayed there in the house of Vidyā-vācaspati,” Navadvīpādi sarva-dike haila dhvani: “Thus throughout Navadvīpa, the Lord’s arrival was made known.” Vācaspati-ghare āilā nyāsi-cūḍāmaṇi: “Thus the chief of all the sannyāsīs, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, arrived at the house of Vidyā-vācaspati.” As further stated:
ananta arbuda loka bali’ ’hari’ ’hari’
calilena dekhibāre gaurāṅga śrī-hari
patha nāhi pāya keho lokera gahale
vanaḍāla bhāṅgi’ loka daśa-dike cale
lokera gahale yata araṇya āchila
kṣaṇeke sakala divya pathamaya haila
kṣaṇeke āila saba loka kheyā-ghāṭe
kheyārī karite pāra paḍila saṅkaṭe
satvare āsilā vācaspati mahāśaya
karilena aneka naukāra samuccaya
naukāra apekṣā āra keho nāhi kare
nānā mate pāra haya ye yemate pāre
hena-mate gaṅgā pāra ha-i’ sarva-jana
sabhei dharena vācaspatira caraṇa
lukāñā gelā prabhu kuliyā-nagara
kuliyāya āilena vaikuṇṭha-īśvara
sarva-loka’hari’ bali’ vācaspati-saṅge
sei-kṣaṇe sabhe calilena mahā-raṅge
kuliyā-nagare āilena nyāsi-maṇi
sei-kṣaṇe sarva-dike haila mahā-dhvani
sabe gaṅgā madhye nadīyāya-kuliyāya
śuni’ mātra sarva-loke mahānande dhāya
vācaspatira grāme (vidyānagare) chila yateka gahala
tāra koṭi koṭi-guṇe pūrila sakala
lakṣa lakṣa naukā vā āila kothā haite
nā jāni kateka pāra haya kata-mate
lakṣa lakṣa loka bhāse jāhnavīra jale
sabhe pāra hayena parama kutūhale
gaṅgāya hañā pāra āpanā-āpani
kolākoli kari’ sabhe kare hari-dhvani
kṣaṇeke kuliyā-grāma–nagara prāntara
paripūrṇa haila sthala, nāhi avasara
kṣaṇeke āilā mahāśaya vācaspati
teṅho nāhi pāyena prabhura kothā sthiti
kuliyāya prakāśe yateka pāpī chila
uttama, madhyama, nīca,–sabe pāra haila
kuliyā-grāmete āsi’ śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya
hena nāhi, yāre prabhu nā karilā dhanya
“When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu stayed at Vidyā-vācaspati’s house, many hundreds and thousands of people went to see Him and chant the holy name of Hari. It was so crowded that people could not even find a place to walk; therefore, they made room by clearing out the jungles near the village. Many roads were automatically excavated, and many people also came by boat to see the Lord. So many came that it was difficult for the boatmen to get them across the river. When Vidyā-vācaspati suddenly arrived, he made arrangements for many boats to receive these people, but the people would not wait for the boats. Somehow or other they crossed the river and hurried toward the house of Vidyā-vācaspati. Due to this great crowd, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu secretly went to Kuliyā-nagara. After the Lord left Vidyānagara, however, all the people heard news of His leaving. They then accompanied Vācaspati to Kuliyā-nagara. Since the news of the Lord’s arrival was immediately broadcast, large crowds arrived and greeted Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with great jubilation. Indeed, when the crowd went to see Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, it increased ten thousand times in number. No one could say how many people crossed the river to see Him, but many hundreds of thousands made a great tumult when crossing the River Ganges. After crossing the river, everyone began to embrace one another because they heard the good news of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s arrival. Thus, all the inhabitants of Kuliyā, the sinful, intermediate, and spiritually advanced, were delivered and glorified by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.”
As stated in Caitanya-bhāgavata (Antya-khaṇḍa, Chapter Six):
khānāyoḍā, baḍagāchi, āra dogāchiyā
gaṅgāra opāra kabhu yāyena ’kuliyā’
As stated in Caitanya-maṅgala:
gaṅgā-snāna kari prabhu rāḍha-deśa diyā
krame krame uttarilā nagara ’kuliyā’
māyera vacane punaḥ gelā navadvīpa
vārakoṇā-ghāṭa, nija vāḍīra samīpa
In the commentary of Premadāsa it is said:
nadīyāra mājhakhāne, sakala lokete
jāne, ’kuliyā-pāhāḍapura’ nāme sthāna.
Śrī Narahari Cakravartī, or Ghanaśyāma dāsa, has written in his Bhakti-ratnākara:
kuliyā pāhāḍapura dekha śrīnivāsa
pūrve ’koladvīpa’-parvatākhya–e pracāra
In a book named Navadvīpa-parikrama, also written by Ghanaśyāma dāsa, it is stated: kuliyā-pāhāḍapura grāma pūrve koladvīpa-parvatākhyānanda nāma. Therefore one can conclude that the present-day city of Navadvīpa and the places known as Bāhirdvīpa, Kolera Gañja, Kola-āmāda, Kolera Daha, Gadakhāli, etc. were known as Kuliyā, but the so-called Kuliyāra Pāṭa is not the original Kuliyā. cml 16.207.