Srimati Sita Thakurani Avirbhava Tithi [appearance day] – Saturday, September 11., 2021 [Mayapura, West Bengal, Bharata Bhumi time]





Srila Prabhupada explains the glories of Srimati Thakurani

 advaita-ācārya-bhāryā, jagat-pūjitā āryā,

nāma tāṅra ‘sītā ṭhākurāṇī’

ācāryera ājñā pāñā, gela upahāra lañā,

dekhite bālaka-śiromaṇi

SYNONYMS

advaitaācāryabhāryā—the wife of Advaita Ācārya; jagatpūjitā—worshiped by the whole world; āryā—the most advanced cultured lady; nāma—name; tāṅra—her; sītā ṭhākurāṇī—mother Sītā; ācāryera ājñā pāñā—taking the order of Advaita Ācārya; gela—went; upahāra—presentation; lañā—taking; dekhite—to see; bālaka—the child; śiromaṇi—topmost.

TRANSLATION

One day shortly after Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was born, Advaita Ācārya’s wife, Sītādevī, who is worshipable by the whole world, took her husband’s permission and went to see that topmost child with all kinds of gifts and presentations

PURPORT

It appears that Advaita Ācārya had two different houses, one at Śāntipura and one at Navadvīpa. When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was born, Advaita Ācārya was residing not at His Navadvīpa house but at His Śāntipura house. Therefore, as formerly explained (text 99), from Advaita’s old paternal house in Śāntipura (nijālaya)Sītā came to Navadvīpa to present gifts to the newly born child, Caitanya Mahāprabhu..Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Adi 13.111 :

 vyāghra-nakha hema-jaḍi, kaṭi-paṭṭasūtra-ḍorī

hasta-padera yata ābharaṇa

citra-varṇa paṭṭa-sāḍī, buni photo paṭṭapāḍī,

svarṇa-raupya-mudrā bahu-dhana

SYNONYMS

vyāghranakha—tiger nails; hemajaḍi—set in gold; kaṭipaṭṭasūtraḍorī—silken thread for the waist; hastapadera—of the hands and legs; yata—all kinds of; ābharaṇa—ornaments; citravarṇa—printed with varieties of colors; paṭṭasāḍī—silken sārīs; buni—woven; photo—small jackets for children; paṭṭapāḍī—with embroidery of silk; svarṇa—gold; raupya—silver; mudrā—coins; bahudhana—all kinds of riches.

TRANSLATION

There were also tiger nails set in gold, waist decorations of silk and lace, ornaments for the hands and legs, nicely printed silken sārīs and a child’s garment, also made of silk. Many other riches, including gold and silver coins, were also presented to the child.

PURPORT

From the gifts presented by Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī, Advaita Ācārya’s wife, it appears that Advaita Ācārya was at that time a very rich man. Although brāhmaṇas are not the rich men of society, Advaita Ācārya, being the leader of the brāhmaṇas in Śāntipura, was considerably well-to-do. Therefore He presented many ornaments to the baby, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. But Kamalākānta Viśvāsa’s asking for three hundred rupees from the King of Jagannātha Purī, Mahārāja Pratāparudra, on the plea that Advaita Ācārya was in debt for that amount, indicates that such a rich man, who could present many valuable ornaments, sārīs, etc., thought it difficult to repay three hundred rupees. Therefore, the value of a rupee at that time was many thousands of times greater than it is now. At the present, no one feels difficulty over a debt of three hundred rupees, nor can an ordinary man accumulate such valuable ornaments to present to a friend’s son. Probably the value of three hundred rupees at that time was equal to the present value of thirty thousand rupeesSri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Adi 13.113 :

durvā, dhānya, gorocana, haridrā, kuṅkuma, candana,

maṅgala-dravya pātra bhariyā

vastra-gupta dolā caḍi’ saṅge lañā dāsī ceḍī,

vastrālaṅkāra peṭāri bhariyā

SYNONYMS

durvā—fresh grass; dhānya—rice paddy; gorocana—a yellow patch for the head of a cow; haridrā—turmeric; kuṅkuma—a kind of scent produced in Kashmir; candana—sandalwood; maṅgaladravya—auspicious things; pātra bhariyā—filling up a dish; vastragupta—covered by cloth; dolā—palanquin; caḍi‘-riding; saṅge—along with; lañā—taking; dāsī—maidservant; ceḍī—female attendants; vastraalaṅkāra—ornaments and clothes; petāri—basket; bhariyā—filled up.

TRANSLATION

Riding in a palanquin covered with cloth and accompanied by maidservants, Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī came to the house of Jagannātha Miśra, bringing with her many auspicious articles such as fresh grass, paddy, gorocana, turmeric, kuṅkuma and sandalwood. All these presentations filled a large basket.

PURPORT

The words vastragupta dolā are very significant in this verse. Even fifty or sixty years ago in Calcutta, all respectable ladies would go to a neighboring place riding on a palanquin carried by four men. The palanquin was covered with soft cotton, and in that way there was no chance to see a respectable lady traveling in public. Ladies, especially those coming from respectable families, could not be seen by ordinary men. This system is still current in remote places. The Sanskrit word asūryapaśyā indicates that a respectable lady could not be seen even by the sun. In the oriental culture this system was very much prevalent and was strictly observed by respectable ladies, both Hindu and Muslim. We have actual experience in our childhood that our mother would not go next door to her house to observe an invitation by walking; she would go in either a carriage or a palanquin carried by four men. This custom was also strictly followed five hundred years ago, and the wife of Advaita Ācārya, being a very respectable lady, observed the customary rules current in that social environment.Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Adi 13.114

bhakṣya, bhojya, upahāra, saṅge la-ila bahu bhāra,

śacī-gṛhe haila upanīta

dekhiyā bālaka-ṭhāma, sākṣāt gokula-kāna,

varṇa-mātra dekhi viparīta

SYNONYMS

bhakṣya—foods; bhojya—fried foods; upahāra—presentation; saṅge—along with her; laila—took; bahu bhāra—many packages; śacīgṛhe—in the house of mother Śacī; haila—was; upanīta—carried; dekhiyā—seeing; bālakaṭhāma—the feature of the child; sākṣāt—directly; gokulakāna—Lord Kṛṣṇa of Gokula; varṇamātra—only the color; dekhi—seeing; viparīta—opposite.

TRANSLATION

When Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī came to the house of Śacīdevī, bringing with her many kinds of eatables, dresses and other gifts, she was astonished to see the newly born child, for she appreciated that except for a difference in color, the child was directly Kṛṣṇa of Gokula Himself.

PURPORT

A peṭāri is a kind of big basket that is carried in pairs on the ends of a rod balanced over the shoulders. The man who carries such a load is called a bhārī. This system of carrying luggage and packages is still current in India and other oriental countries, and we have seen that the same system is still current even in Jakarta, IndonesiaBooks : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Adi 13.115 :

sarva aṅga–sunirmāṇa, suvarṇa-pratimā-bhāna,

sarva aṅga–sulakṣaṇamaya

bālakera divya jyoti, dekhi’ pāila bahu prīti,

vātsalyete dravila hṛdaya

SYNONYMS

sarva aṅga—all different parts of the body; sunirmāṇa—well constructed; suvarṇa—gold; pratimā—form; bhāna—like; sarva—all; aṅga—parts of the body; sulakṣaṇamaya—full of auspicious signs; bālakera—of the child; divya—transcendental; jyoti—effulgence; dekhi‘-seeing; pāila—got; bahu—much; prīti—satisfaction; vātsalyete—by parental affection; dravila—melted; hṛdaya—her heart.

TRANSLATION

Seeing the transcendental bodily effulgence of the child, each of His nicely constructed limbs full of auspicious signs and resembling a form of gold, Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī was very much pleased, and because of her maternal affection, she felt as if her heart were melting. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Adi 13.116 :

durvā, dhānya, dila śīrṣe, kaila bahu āśīṣe,

cirajīvī hao dui bhāi

ḍākinī-śāṅkhinī haite, śaṅkā upajila cite,

ḍare nāma thuila ‘nimāi’

SYNONYMS

durvā—fresh grass; dhānya—paddy; dila—gave; śīrṣe—on the head; kaila—did; bahu—with much; āśīṣe—blessing; cirajīvī—live long; hao—become; dui bhāi—two brothers; ḍākinīśāṅkhinī—ghosts and witches; haite—from; śaṅkā—doubt; upajila—grew; cite—in the heart; ḍare—out of fear; nāma—name; thuila—kept; nimāi—Lord Caitanya’s childhood name, derived from the nima (nimba) tree.

TRANSLATION

She blessed the newly born child by placing fresh grass and paddy on His head and saying, “May You be blessed with a long duration of life.” But being afraid of ghosts and witches, she gave the child the name Nimāi.

PURPORT

Ḍākinī and Śāṅkhinī are two companions of Lord Śiva and his wife who are supposed to be extremely inauspicious, having been born of ghostly life. It is believed that such inauspicious living creatures cannot go near a nima tree. At least medically it is accepted that nima wood is extremely antiseptic, and formerly it was customary to have a nima tree in front of one’s house. On very large roads in India, especially in Uttar Pradesh, there are hundreds and thousands of nima trees. Nima wood is so antiseptic that the Āyurvedic science uses it to cure leprosy. Medical scientists have extracted the active principle of the nima tree, which is called margosic acid. Nima is used for many purposes, especially to brush the teeth. In Indian villages ninety percent of the people use nima twigs for this purpose. Because of all the antiseptic effects of the nima tree and because Lord Caitanya was born beneath a nima tree, Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī gave the Lord the name Nimāi. Later in His youth He was celebrated as Nimāi Paṇḍita, and in the neighborhood villages He was called by that name, although His real name was Viśvambhara.: Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Adi 13.117

putramātā-snānadine, dila vastra vibhūṣaṇe,

putra-saha miśrere sammāni’

śacī-miśrera pūjā lañā, manete hariṣa hañā,

ghare āilā sītā ṭhākurāṇī

SYNONYMS

putramātā—of the mother and child; snānadine—on the day of bathing; dila—gave; vastra—cloth; vibhūṣaṇe—ornaments; putrasaha—with the child; miśrere—unto Jagannātha Miśra; sammāni‘-congratulating; śacī—Śacīdevī; miśreraJagannātha Miśra; pūjā—honor; lañā—receiving; manete—within the mind; hariṣa—pleased; hañā—becoming; ghare—home; āilā—returned; sītā ṭhākurāṇī—mother Sītā, wife of Advaita Ācārya.

TRANSLATION

On the day the mother and son bathed and left the maternity home, Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī gave them all kinds of ornaments and garments and then also honored Jagannātha Miśra. Then Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī, being honored by mother Śacīdevī and Jagannātha Miśra, was greatly happy within her mind, and thus she returned home.

PURPORT

On the fifth day from the birth of a child, as also on the ninth day, the mother bathes either in the Ganges or in a sacred place. This is called niṣkrāmaṇa, or the ceremony of coming out of the maternity home. Nowadays the maternity home is a hospital, but formerly in every respectable house one room was set aside as a maternity home where children would take birth, and on the ninth day after the birth of a child the mother would come into the regular rooms in the ceremony called niṣkrāmaṇa. Of the ten purificatory processes, niṣkrāmaṇa is one. Formerly, especially in Bengal, the higher castes observed four months after the birth of a child as a quarantine. At the end of the fourth month, the mother first had to see the sun rise. Later the higher castes, namely, the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas, observed only twenty-one days as a quarantine, whereas the śūdras had to observe thirty days. For the sections of society known as kartābhajā and satīmā, the mother of the child was immediately purified after the quarantine by the throwing of hari-nuṭa, small pieces of sweetmeat, in saṅkīrtana. Śacīdevī and Jagannātha Miśra, with the newly born child, were honored by Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī. Similarly, while Sītā Ṭhākurāṇī was returning home, she was also honored by Śacīdevī and Jagannātha Miśra. That was the system in respectable families of Bengal.Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Adi 13.118 :

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Sri Sita Thakurani is to be worshiped just as much as Sacidevi herself, as the mother of the universe. She is the eternal wife of Sri Advaita Acharya. She was the daughter of Sri Nrishinga Baduri. She was married to Sri Advaita Acharya in Phuliya Nagara.

After their wedding, Advaita Acharya went to Nadiya, to live in Shantipura. Sita Thakurani was always absorbed in vatsalya prema for Sri Gaurasundara Prabhu, and, out of parental concern used to instruct Jagannatha Mishra on how to care for the boy. Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja Goswami has described the birth celebration at the house of Jagannatha Mishra upon the advent of the Lord, giving special attention to the position of Sri Sita Thakurani. Advaita Acharya’s wife, worshipable by all the three worlds was Sita Thakurani. Taking the Acharya’s orders on her head, she had come to take a look at this new child, this jewel of jewels, and to offer him presents.

On the eve of his son’s advent Sri Jagannatha Mishra, seeing the imminent signs of his child’s arrival, sent word to Advaita Acharya in Shantipura that the long-awaited child was being born. Hearing news of the advent of this unprecedented child, Advaita Acharya floated in the waves of ecstasy. With Sri Haridasa Thakura, he went to bathe in the river, and, after much dancing and song, he sent his wife to go quickly to Mayapura in Navadwipa.

According to Gaura-Ganodesha-Dipika, Sri Sita Thakurani is Yogamaya. The Gaura-Parshada-Charitvali says that in Krishna Lila, she was Purnamasi, the mother of Sandipani Muni, grandmother of Madhumangal and Nandimukhi and a disciple of Narada Muni. (Gaura-Ganodesha-Dipika, however, says that Paurnamasi in Krishna-lila became Sri Govinda Acharya in Chaitanya lila.)

In Dvapara-yuga, during the celebration of Krishna’s birth ceremony, she was present in the house of Nanda, and at that time gave Nanda and Yashoda many instructions on how to care for the child. The Caitanya-Caritamrita gives the following account of Sita Thakurani’s visit to the house of Jagannatha Mishra after the birth of the Lord:

“One day, shortly after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was born, Advaita Acharya’s wife, Sitadevi, who is worshipable by the whole world, taking permission of her husband, went to see that topmost child with all kinds of gifts and presents. She brought different kinds of golden ornaments, including bangles for the hand, armlets, neclaces, and anklets. There were also tiger nails set in gold, waist decorations of silk and lace, ornaments for the hands and legs, nicely printed silken saris and a child’s garment, also made of silk. Many other riches, including gold and silver coinds, were also presented for the child. 

Riding in a palanquin covered with cloth and accompanied by maidservants, Sita Thakurani came to the house of Jagannatha Mishra, bringing with her many auspicious articles such as fresh grass, paddy, gorocana, turmeric, kunkuma, and sandalwood. All these presentations filled a big basket. When Sita Thakurani came to the house of Sacidevi, bringing with her many kinds of eatables, dresses, and other gifts, she was astonished to see the newly born child, for she appreciated that except for a difference in color, the child was directly Krishna of Gokula Himself.

Seeing the transcendental bodily effulgence of the child, each of His nicely constructed limbs full of auspicious signs and resembling a form of gold, Sita Thakurani was very much pleased, and because of her maternal affection, she felt as if her heart were melting. She blessed the newly born child by placing fresh grass and paddy on His head and saying, “May You be blessed with a long duration of life.” But being afraid of ghosts and witches, she gave the child the name Nimai. On the day that the mother and son took bath and left the maternity room, Sita Thakurani gave them all kinds of ornaments and garments, and then also honored Jagannatha Mishra. Then Sita Thakurani, being honored by mother Sacidevi and Jagannatha Mishra, was greatly happy within her mind, and thus she returned home.”

From that day on, Sita Thakurani would often come to Mayapura from Shantipura, in order to teach Sacimata how to care for the new baby. She would give her many different instructions on how to raise children. And after helping with the child in this way, she would return to Shantipura. When it came time for the child’s birthday ceremony, Jagannatha Mishra and Sacidevi let the worshipable Sita Thakurani be the first to offer the child his new clothes.

Advaita Acharya Prabhu also had a house in Navadwipa. There he would live from time to time and discuss Krishna-katha with the devotees headed by Srivasa, diving and surfacing in the waves of joy until the break of dawn. After Sri Gaurasundara’s appearance, all the devotees prayed together with Sri Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani that the child might live long in Mayapura and have good fortune.

Sita Thakurani and Sacidevi were of one mind; the baby Nimai was their life and soul. Every day Sita Thakurani would go to the house of Sacidevi and help her with the care and nurturing of the boy. In the house of Jagannatha Mishra, the divine child increased the pleasure of the eyes and minds of all the devotees, just as the waxing moon gradually grows more brilliant with each passing day.

After several years, when Jagannatha Mishra’s son Vishvarupa – Nimai’s older brother – had grown up, he suddenly took sannyasa. The grief and agony of Jagannatha Mishra and Sacidevi upon their son’s leaving was great. Gaurasundara was also dismayed and unhappy at his brother’s separation. At that time Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani consoled Jagannatha Mishra and Sita Thakurani, and helped take care of Nimai.

Srivasa Pandit’s wife Malini Devi also was always very affectionate towards the child, nurturing him and caring for him. She and Sacidevi were of one mind in doing this.

After exhibiting his childhood pastimes, Nimai gradually progressed into his Kishora-lila, or pastimes of youth. After some time, he went to Gaya and revealed his true form and real purpose. Having returned from Gaya he gathered all the devotees at the house of Srivasa Angan for the purpose of beginning kirtan. At that time, Advaita Acharya brought Sita Thakurani from Shantipura to Mayapura, and, having arrived there was the first to worship the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya.

Gradually Sri Gaurasundara began, in Navadwipa, to unfold his kirtan pastimes, wishing to deliver the fallen souls. As time went by he took sannyasa and turned his face towards Vrindavana, and ran off, half mad into the jungle in search for Sri Krishna. Upon hearing this, Sri Sita Thakurani spent four days with Sacidevi, who, plunged in the darkness of separation as if the sun had left the sky forever, lay fallen on the ground like one near death.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, being bound by the ropes of love, was unable to go to Vrindavana, but was drawn to return to Shantipura. When he arrived in Shantipura, Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani felt as if their life has returned. After having fasted for four days, Sri Gaurasundara accepted prasada cooked by the hand of Sita Thakurani.

Previous to taking sannyasa also, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu along with Nityananda Prabhu would, from time to time go to the house of Advaita in Shantipura, where they would have a festival and perform Krishna-nama-lila-kirtan all day and all night. The beautiful nature of this subject has been described by Sri Parameshvari Dasa Thakura in his Sri Pada Kalpataru as follows:

One day the Lord laughed, having arrived in the temple of Sri Advaita and thus the son of Saci took his seat. Along with Nityananda, Advaita sat down, and the two of them began playfully assessing the idea of having a festival. Hearing all this, Sita Thakurani entered smiling. At that time, in sweet words which made the minds of those who heard them blissful, the son of Saci ruled that there must be a great festival. He said, “Listen Sita Thakurani: we shall extend invitations to all the different Vaishnavas who live nearby. Let whoever hears the sound of our song, resounding through the air, come and join us. We shall invite one and all.”Saying this, Sri Gaurachandra gave orders to the devotees saying, “You, invite the Vaishnavas.” “You, ready the mridanga and karatalas.”

“You, prepare sandalwood and aguru for distribution. “Have everything ready at the ghat.””Carrying out these assignments expertly, and after garlanding the devotees with flower garlands, the devotees shall gather together in a circle for an uproarious kirtan.”

Hearing the words of Mahaprabhu, the devotees followed his orders with great affection, collecting garlands, sandalwood, betel, ghee, honey, and milk, and everything else essential for worhsiping the Lord. The different gifts and fragrant articles for the devotees and the Lord were then distributed in the proper ways. The kirtan began at midday. At that time everyone chanted “Hari! Hari!” and the mridanga made the whole kirtan auspicious. Thus, swims Parameshavara Dasa in the rasik pastimes of the Lord.

After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa and went to live in Jagannatha Puri, Sri Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani used to go and visit him each year, bringing their son Achyutananda with them. On one such occasion, Sita Thakurani prepared some of the Lord’s favorite preparations for him and invited Him to their home to take lunch. Simply to increase their ecstasy, the Lord, who was always absorbed in Krishna Nama, honored their invitation and took lunch in the home of Advaita and Sita.

Sita Thakurani, being always overwhelmed with vatsalya-prema treated him as affectionately as if he were her own son. The Lord himself also treated her with the same kind of regard and affection that he had for Sacidevi herself. Sri Sita Thakurani bore three sons, Achyutananda, Krishna Mishra and Gopala Mishra, who were followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

According to Bhakti-Ratnakara, Sri Sita Thakurani’s father was Sri Nrishimha Baduri. Sita Thakurani also had a sister, Sri. According to the Gaura-Ganoddesha-Dipika, Sita Thakurani, the wife of Sri Advaita Acharya, is Yogamaya, and her sister Sri is the prakasha, or manifestation, of Yogamaya. (yogamaya bhagavati, grihini tasya sampratam, sita rupenavatirna, “Sri” namni tat prakashatah

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