Śrīpāṭa of Śrīla Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita
Kālanā is situated in Bardhamān district. One can reach this Śrīpāṭa by getting down at Ambikā Kālanā railway station in Bandel-Kāṭwā route. It is situated at a distance of two kilometers towards east from the station.
Here is the Śrīpāṭa of Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita. In a previous pastime, Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita was Subala Sakhā and he was one of the Twelve Gopālas. Gaurīdāsa and Sūrydāsa Sarkhela were two brothers. Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita took permission from Sūryadāsa Sarkhela to leave Śāligrāma and started living in a lonely place in Ambikā Kālanā.
The temple is beautified here by the presence of Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi Deities. One can see the Deities here for a moment so the Deities don’t go away from the temple alongwith the devotee having pure devotion to the Lord. This arrangement is introduced so that nobody can focus on the Deities for long and thus They won’t be attracted to a pure devotee. Gaura-Nitāi Deities are very pleasing to the eyes and They take away the mind of the visitors at a moment’s view. Mahāprabhu’s own hand written Śrī Śrī Gītā and a paddle have been preserved in this temple. Fortunate people can have daraśana of these. Once Mahāprabhu came to Kālanā and told Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita, “I went to Śāntipura. Coming to Harinadī village, I crossed over the Ganges by boat and reached here. I hand over this paddle to you; you deliver the people from this material-river with the help of this paddle.” This has been described in Bhakti-Ratnākara (7/35, 36 and 39)-
gaṅgā pāra hailu naukā bāhiye baiṭhāya
ei laha baiṭhā ebe dilāma tomāya
bhava-nadī haite pāra karaha jībere
prabhu datta gītā’ baiṭhā prabhu-sannidhāne
adyapiha ambikāya dekhe bhāgyabāne
It is an astonishing pastime about the installation of Gaur-Nitāi Deities in the house of Gaurīdāsa. Once upon a time, Gaura and Nitāi stayed in the house of Gaurīdāsa. Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita lamented in separation when They wished to leave. It is described by Kṛṣṇadāsa in his poetry-
ṭhākura paṇḍitera bāḍī gorā nāce phiri phiri
nityānanda bale hari hari
kāndi gaurīdāsa bale paḍi prabhura pada-tale
kabhu nā chāḍibe mora bāḍī
āmāra vacana rākha ambikā nagare thāka
ei nivedana tuā pāya
yadi chāḍe yābe tumi niścaya mariba āmi
rahiba se nirakhiyā kāya
tomarā ye duti bhāi thāka mora ei-ṭhāñi
tabe sabāra haya paritrāṇa
punaḥ nivedana kari nā chāḍiha gaurahari
tabe jāni patita-pāvana
prabhu kahe gaurīdāsa chāḍaha emata āśa
pratimūrti sevā kari dekha
tāhāte āchiye āmi niścaya jāniha tumi
satya mora ei vākya rākha
eta śuni gaurīdāsa chāḍi dīrgha niḥśvāsa
phukāri phukāri punaḥ kānde
punaḥ sei dui bhāi prabodha karaye tāya
tamu hiyā thira nāhi bāndhe
kahe dīna kṛṣṇadāsa caitanya-caraṇe āśa
dui bhāi rahila tathāya
ṭhākura paṇḍitera preme vandī hailā duijana
bhakata vatsala teñi gāya
ākula dekhiyā tāre kahe gaura dhīre dhīre
āmarā thākilāma tora ṭhāñi
niścaya jāniha tumi tomāra ei ghare āmi
rahilāma ei dui bhāi
eteka prabodha diyā dui pratimūrti laiyā
āila paṇḍita vidyamāna
cāri jane dāṅḍāila paṇḍita vismaya bhela
bhāve aśru bahaye nayāna
punaḥ prabhu kahe tāre tora icchā haya yāre
sei dui rākha nija ghare
tomāra pratīta lāgi tora ṭhāiñ khāba māgi
satya satya jāniha antare
śuniyā paṇḍitarāja karilā randhana kāja
cārijane bhojana karilā
puṣpa mālya vastra diyā tāmbulādi samarpiyā
sarva aṅge candana lepiyā
nānāmate paratīta karāiyā phirālya cita
doṅhāre rākhila nija ghare
paṇḍitera prema lāgi dui bhāi khāya māgi
doṅhe gelā nīlācalapure
Gorā was dancing here and there at the house of Ṭhākura Paṇḍita and Nitāi was resounding Hari Hari. Gaurīdāsa was crying by falling at the feet of prabhu and telling Them not to leave his house. Keep my words and stay at my house. This is my request. If You leave, I shall die. If You stay back only then I will know that You are the deliverer of the fallen souls. Prabhu said, ‘Don’t be hopeful about this, you keep Our Deities. This is true that I will be present in that Deity.’ Hearing this, Gaurīdāsa again started crying. Again the two brothers consoled him and They stayed there. They were captured by the love of Ṭhākura Paṇḍita. Slowly Gaura spoke, 'By seeing your eagerness I stayed back. Know for sure that we brothers are staying in your house.’ By consoling him in this way, They brought two Deities resembling exactky like Them. When four of Them stood there, the Paṇḍita was astonished and his eyes were full of tears in emotion. Again Prabhu told him, ‘You keep in your house whichever pair you like. Know for sure in your heart that We will eat by asking you at your place for your pleasure.’ Hearing this, the Paṇḍita cooked for Them and all four of Them ate. He decorated Them with flowers, garlands, clothes and offered betel-leaf etc. Their body was smeared with sandalwood paste. They somehow convinced him and changed his mind. He kept the resembled Deities in his house. The two brothers used to eat by asking due to Paṇḍita’s deep love for Them. The other two brothers went to Nīlācalapura.
In this way, Gaura Nitāi were staying in the house of Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita in the form of Deities in subordina- tion of his pure love. Paṇḍita used to cook varities of rice; vegetables etc very nicely and offer to the Deities. Once, They were not accepting the offerings and by observing this Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita said in a sensitive loving voice, ‘If You are not happy by eating, then why should I cook all these items?’ The two Prabhus laughed and replied, “You work so hard for cooking. We feel bad seeing that. Don’t cook so many items, cook only in brief.” By hearing this Paṇḍita said, ‘Alright, I will cook only some pot-herbs and some fat rice from tomorrow.’ Such is the loving exchange between the master and the servant.
One day Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita desired to decorate the Deities with golden ornaments. Next day, when he opened the door of the temple, he saw both Prabhus were decorated with various clothes and ornaments. By seeing this, Gaurīdāsa became absorbed in love. Then Mahāprabhu told him, “Oh! Gaurīdāsa, you please offer us ornaments made of flowers everyday and We will be pleased with that.” Thus the two brothers Gaura-Nitāi were seen in the the house of Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita.
Once, the full-moon day of Phālguna (February- March) was approaching. Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita went to some other place by handing over the responsibility of worshiping Gaura-Nitai to his chief disciple Hṛdayānanda. He told, ‘There should not be any defect in worshiping Gaura-Nitāi, I shall come back in time.’ The spiritual master wanted to test the disciple. The full-moon day was fast approaching, but the spiritual master was not coming back. Seeing this, Hṛdayānanda arranged every thing for the festival and sent invitation letters to all the Vaiṣṇavas. Suddenly, Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita returned a day before the full-moon day and saw that his disciple Hṛdayānanda had made all the arrangements for the festival. He was pleased internally but outwardly he expressed his anger and said, ‘You acted independently while I am still alive. Then you perform the festival somewhere else independently.’ Then Hṛdayānanda tried to humbly make him understand. But Gaurīdāsa did not wish to hear anything. Then, seeing no alternative, Hṛdayānanda brought all the arrangements to the bank of the Ganges and arranged the festival under a tree.
On the other hand, the Paṇḍita sent another disciple named Baḍugaṅgā for lunch offering to the Deities and he saw the Deities were not there in the temple. Immediately this was informed to the spiritual master, Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita, and he went to Hṛdayānanda’s program with a stick in his hand. It is described in Bhakti Ratnākara (7/437-443)-
calilena gaṅgā-tīre yathā saṅkīrtana
dekhe dui prabhu tathā karaye nartana
dui bhāi dekhi’ paṇḍitera krodhāveśa
alakhite giyā kaila mandire praveśa
caitanya-candrera ei adabhuta vilāsa
praveśe hṛdaya hṛde- dekhe gaurīdāsa
hṛdayera hṛdaye caitanya-cānde dekhi
nivārite nāre aśru animiṣa āṅkhi
vāheye krodhāveśa chila-tāhā bhuli’ gelā
paḍila hātera yaṣṭhi-tāhā nā jānilā
premera āveśe bāhu pasāriyā dhāya
hṛdaye karaye kola ullāsa hiyāya
hṛdayera prati kahe-'tui dhanya dhanya
āji haite tora nāma hṛdaya-caitanya’
He went to the bank of the Ganges where Saṅkīrtana was being performed and he saw that the two brothers were dancing. The two brothers saw Paṇḍita's anger and They entered the temple unseen. This was the wonderful pastime of Caitanyacandra Who entered into the heart of Hṛdayānanda and Gaurīdāsa saw this. By seeing Caitanyacandra in the heart of Hṛdayānanda, he could not contol his tears. His eyes had a steadfast gaze. He forgot his anger which was externally exhibited and he did not realize that the stick in his hand fell off. He extended his arms in emotion with love and embraced Hṛdayānanda with joy. He told Hṛdayānanda, ‘You are glorious and from today your name is Hṛdaya Caitanya.’
In this way Hṛdayānanda's name became Hṛdaya Caitanya. All the Vaiṣṇavas sounded Haribola. Then the Guru and the disciple completed the festival. Gurudeva handed over all the responsibilities of the temple to Hṛdaya Caitanya. In this way, Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi became bound eternally by their loving devotional service.
At the entrance to the temple a thousand year old tamarind tree is seen and it is nicely fenced and concreted. The footstool of Mahāprabhu is present at the root of the tree. In this place itself once Gaurīdāsa first met with Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu. He handed over the paddle and the manuscript of His own hand wriiten Gītā to Gaurīdāsa. At present, this tamarind tree looks very beautiful. The disappearance day of Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Śrāvaṇa (July-August). A little far from the house of Gaurīdāsa Paṇḍita the house of Sūryadāsa Sarkhela is situated. Very beautiful large Deities of Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nitāi are present there.The Deities of Sūrydāsa Sarkhela and his two daughters Jāhṇavā and Vasudhā are there in the adjacent room. There is a grinding stone under a Kula (a type of berry) tree outside the temple and on this the louts foot-print of Nityānanda Prabhu is present. The worshipers of this place claim that Nityānanda Prabhu’s marriage took place here and Nityānanda Prabu stood on this grinding stone after the marriage. But according to Bhakti- Ratnākara book, the marriage took place in Śāligrāma.
In Ambikā Kālanā, a little far from the Śrīpāṭa of Gauridāsa Paṇḍita, the Pāṭabāḍi (place of worship) of Bhagavāna Dāsa Bābājī is situated where Nāma-Brahma is worshiped.
Duḥkhī Kṛṣṇa Dāsa, resident of Dhārendrā became a disciple of Hṛdaya Caitanya. He became a very learned person in his young age. He came to Ambikā Kālanā from Dhārendrā Bāhādurpura on pilgrimage tour and he was charmed by seeing the Deities of Gaura-Nitāi. He became the disciple of Hṛdaya Caitanya at that time. After spending a few days in Ambikā Kālanā he took permission from his Guru, Hṛdaya Caitanya, and went to Vṛndāvana. He studied devotional books under Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī in Vṛndāvana. Later, he was renamed as Śyāmānanda Prabhu.