Agradvīpa Śrīpāṭa of Govinda Ghoṣa Ṭhākura


Agradvīpa is situated in the district of Bardhamān. Agradvīpa is a railway station in Howrāh-Kāṭwā section. Three kilometers is the distance from the railway station to the ferry ghāṭa of the Ganges and the Śrīpāṭa is situated on the other side of the Ganges. Or else, one can avail a train from Seāldaha (Seāldaha- Lālgolā section) and get down at Bethuyāḍahari station. Eighteen kilometers from there by road one can go to this Śrīpāṭa by bus.

Agradvīpa is the Śrīpāṭa of Govinda Ghoṣa. They were three brothers- Govinda Ghoṣa, Mādhava Ghoṣa and Vāsu Ghoṣa. They were singers and mṛdaṅga players as associates of Mahāprabhu. They came to the Bengal after Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa. Govinda Ghoṣa was accompanying Mahāprabhu at that time and serving Him. Once in one house, Govinda Ghoṣa cooked for Mahāprabhu and he was serving Prasāda to Him. Mahāprabhu asked for a piece of nut (haritakī) after Prasāda. After lot of searching he managed a piece of nut and gave it to Mahāprabhu. Next day in another’s house after having Prasāda, Mahāprabhu asked the same nut from Govinda Ghoṣa and he immediately gave it to Him. Then Mahāprabhu asked him, “You had given me the nut yesterday very late and how come today you gave Me so fast?” Govinda Ghoṣa replied, “Yesterday I had to search for it and that is why it was delayed. Today I gave it immediately as I kept some with me so that I can serve You better.” Hearing this Mahāprabhu said, “See Govinda, we have left our house and we should not have saving mentality. The desire of saving has not gone from your mind, so you go back home. You carry on your devotional service and perform Saṅkīrtana from your house.” By hearing this Govinda Ghoṣa started crying. It is not possible to disobey the order of Mahāprabhu. At the time Govinda Ghoṣa was ready to leave Mahaprabhu and other devotees for returning to his home, Mahāprabhu told him, “You don’t worry so much. You will obtain Me while you stay at your home.”

Then Govinda Ghoṣa came back to his own home at Agradvīpa with tears in his eyes. He was morose after coming back home. He was remembering the pastimes with Mahāprabhu and crying incessantly. Days were passing by in this way. One day he went for Gaṅgā-bath at dawn. While getting up after taking bath, one piece of big burnt-out wood touched his feet. He thought it must have been used for burning a dead-body. He threw it away at the bank of the Ganges and again took a dip in the water. Then he came back home. He saw a dream at that night where Mahāprabhu was telling him, “Oh! Govinda I had given you My word, that you will get Me at your house. I came near you but you threw Me away thinking this wood was used for burning a dead body.” When the dream was over he woke up and started traveling towards the Ganges with tears in his eyes. He brought that piece of wood and got it carved into the Deity of Sri Gopīnātha. He installed the Deity of Śrī Gopīnātha in a temple at his house courtyard. He started worshiping the Deity very nicely and enthusiastically.

The days were passing by. Gradually the neighbors and his relatives got Govinda Ghoṣa married and in due course of time he begot a son. The son was named Gaurācāṅda. In this way he was serving the Deity very joyfully with his son. Gorācāṅda was growing day by day. One day Govinda Ghoṣa went to a devotee’s house and he told his wife to cook for the Deity which will be offered by their son Gaurācāṅda. At that time Gaurācāṅda was five to six years old. Gaurācāṅda started offering the bhoga and requested Gopīnātha to eat. He knew his father offers the bhoga everyday and Gopīnātha eats. He was a small boy and started requesting the Deity repeatedly to eat. He was saying to the Deity, “Please eat, everyday you eat at the request of my father and today why are you not eating?” And this way he was crying and went on requesting the Deity to eat. Then Gopīnātha told him, “Oh! Gaurācāṅda, I will eat, but you cannot say this to anybody. If you say you will die immediately.” Then Gopīnātha had eaten one part of the bhoga from the plate. After that Gaurācāṅda made the Deity to sleep and came out from the temple with the plate. He told his mother, “I am very hungry, please give me Prasāda.” The wife of Govinda Ghoṣa saw that one part of the Prasāda in the plate is eaten and she thought that her son must have eaten this portion. She asked, “Why part of the plate is empty? Have you eaten this?” Then Gaurācāṅda started crying and told her mother how Gopīnātha had eaten the portion of bhoga at his request. Immediately Gaurācāṅda died.

Govinda Ghoṣa Ṭhākura returned in the afternoon and saw his son dead. He went to Gopīnātha with broken heart and started telling Him with tearful eyes, “Oh! Gopīnātha, what is the benefit I have got by serving You? He was the only son in my family. He died while serving You. Nobody is there to do śrāddha ceremony (final rites) after I leave my body.” Then Gopīnātha replied, “You serve Me as your son, I will perform your śrāddha ceremony in the same way your son is supposed to perform.”

Then Govinda Ghoṣa performed the final rites of his son. His wife started serving Gopīnātha in parental mellows. His wife also left this world after years passed. Govinda Ghoṣa alone continued serving Gopīnātha. In this way Govinda Ghoṣa served Gopīnātha his whole life. Then he also left his body. The disciples, the devotees and the relatives have done his final rites at the bank of the Ganges. Then after coming back they all saw that Gopīnātha was in the same dress with white cloth like the son wears after the father dies. They all were astonished. They remembered that Gopīnātha had promised that He will perform all the needful activities like his son’s. Thus the śrāddha ceremony was performed by Gopīnātha on a particular day and time.

Nowadays, the same pastime is being performed every year in Agradvīpa. On the Kṛṣṇa-ekādaśi-day (eleventh day of waning moon) in the month of Caitra (March-April) a big festival is celebrated on the occasion of Govinda Ghoṣa's passing-away where thousands of devotees gather to make this festival a grand success. There is smṛti samādhi of Govinda Ghoṣa Ṭhākura on the north side of Gopīnātha temple. On that day Gopīnātha is taken at the smṛti samādhi and śrāddha ceremony is performed there. The Deity of Gopīnātha is very beautiful and the temple is surrounded by some tamāla trees.

Every year Gopīnātha goes to the king’s palace at Krishnanagara by boat via Navadvīpa after the śrāddha ceremony gets over at Agradvīpa. Then Gopīnātha comes back again by boat at Agradvīpa temple on the day of Vijayā daśamī after staying some months in the king's palace at Krishnanagara. In this way the worship and service at this Śrīpāṭa is going on.



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