All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj
Page prepared for the devotee children by Parama Bhakti Dasi
Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj appeared in this world (was born) probably around 1750 in a village in a part of India which is now Bangladesh. He was born in a wealthy family.
Later in his life he was initiated by Jagadananda Goswami. His guru was in the line of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. One of our very great Acharyas.
Srila Jagannath Das Babaji was a perfect devotee. In the holy place, Vrindavan, he had a little hut, a bhajan kutir. He would sometimes chant there for three days and nights, without stopping. He wouldnt even eat or sleep either.
He was very famous, everyone knew what a perfect devotee he was.
In 1880, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur came to Vrindavan and met him for the first time. Srila Jagannath Das Babaji taught Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur many things. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur arranged to work close by where Srila Jagannath Das Babaji lived, so he could visit him often. Srila Jagannath Das Babaji was very pleased to see Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakurs enthusiasm for preaching the Holy Name of Krishna.
Later, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji went to Koladwip. This is a part of Nabadwip where our beloved Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur had been looking for the exact birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for quite some time. He was chanting one day on the roof when he all of a sudden saw an unusual light across the River Ganges. It was so bright, he couldnt ignore it. This was the sign he had been waiting for, for so long. After a long investigation he found the spot. Only Tulasi plants would grow there and the Muslim people who lived there were scared because they saw light and heard sounds coming from that spot. They decided to stay away from that place.
Then Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur asked his spiritual master, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj to come to that spot.
He was already very old at that time and his personal servant, Bihari Das, would carry him in a basket on his back, because he couldnt walk anymore. But when he arrived at the spot, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji jumped up in the air and began to dance ecstatically while calling the Names of the Lord loudly.
The holy birthplace, the Yogapitha, of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was finally found!
On the banks of the holy River Ganges, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji used to do bhajan (singing and chanting the Holy Name of the Lord). You can still find his bhajan-kutir (little hut/house) there and his Samadhi, his tomb.
The body of the Acharyas is not cremated (burned) like the body of other Vaisnavas. Their bodies are considered to be spiritual and by building a Samadhi, we can still continue to remember and serve them every day.
Srila Jagannath Das Babaji also ordered Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur to build a hut close to his bhajan-kutir, so the devotees could stay close by.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakurs son and when he was just twelve years old he was already an expert in jyoti-shastras and vedic astrology (calculating the position of the stars and planets).
When Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj heard about this he asked him to make a proper Vaisnava calendar. On this calendar you find all the important days of the year, including the appearance and disappearance days of great Vaisnavas, Ekadasi days (days where we fast from grains and beans) and other festive days.
Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj was very happy with the end result.
When Srila Jagannath Das Babaji was very old, and nearly blind, many people came to visit this great devotee and they would give some donation, some money, to him. His servant kept it carefully in a bag. One day he asked his servant: "Bihari, how many rupees have I got?"
Bihari gave some rupees to Srila Jagannath Das Babaji, but he kept twelve rupees aside. He wanted to use the money to do something for his master. But Jagannath Das Babaji, even though he was nearly blind, knew twelve rupees were missing and said: "Bihari!, why did you keep twelve rupees aside? Give me all the rupees!" Bihari smiled and gave his master all the rupees. It was about two hundred rupees. He then told Bihari to go to the sweet-shop and buy rasagullas, and to give them to the cows in Nabadwip Dham.
When Jagannath Das Babaji was living in a tent on the banks of the holy river Ganges, there was a dog living close by who had just had puppies. The dog would lick the prasadam from his plate.
When Bihari caught the dog he wanted to chase him away.
But Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj said: "Bihari, if you want to chase these dogs away, then also take my plate away, because I wont eat anymore either."
Bihari said: "But Guru Maharaj, they are unclean, these dogs!"
Then Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj said: "No, they are not, they are inhabitants of the holy Dhama. You are not allowed to mistreat them."
Around that time many people would go around and read the holy Scriptures like the Srimad-Bhagavatam and ask for money in return. Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj was very much against that.
He said no one should listen to people who ask money to read the holy Scriptures or to sing the Holy Name of the Lord. To ask money for that, he said, is a big offence to the Holy Name of Krishna.
Srila Jagannath Das Babaji stayed in this world for about 125 years. He was always talking, singing and chanting the Holy Name and telling everyone about his Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj ki jaya!
Prepared by Parama Bhakti Dasi for Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math: