All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

Shyamananda Prabhu

References to Shyamananda Prabhu by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, in Affectionate Guidance, Chapter 17: 'In Praise of Srila Narottama Thakur'.

Narottam received instruction from Srila Jiva Goswami, Srila Kaviraj Goswami and many other Goswamis who were there in Vrindavan. He was a great pandit and all the devotees headed by Sri Jiva, recognising his qualification, bestowed upon him the title of 'Thakur'. Narottam Thakur's close associates and peers were Shyamananda and Srinivas.

From the inspiration of Srila Jiva Goswami and the other Vaishnavas, these three great devotees were sent back to Bengal to continue the preaching of Mahaprabhu. The Bengali Vaishnavas were very eager to read the writings of Sri Rupa, Sanatan, Raghunath, Krishna Das Kaviraj, Lokanath Goswami, Gopal Bhatta Goswami, Prabhodananda Saraswati and the other Goswamis; so Narottam, Shyamananda and Srinivas travelled from Vrindavan towards Bengal with many copies of those great books.

Finally they arrived in Vishnupur in the district of Birbhum, Bengal. The King of this region was Raja Bir Hambir, but he was a dacoit (bandit) and was engaged in many robberies in the area. The King had a brahmana astrologer and according to the astrologer's calculations he would know where and when to carry out his next robbery. The astrologer informed the King that on a particular route bullock carts would be passing, carrying many precious jewels, so the jubilant King sent his dacoits to rob the caravan. While Narottam and the Vaishnavas slept, the King's dacoits stole away the chests containing the books of the Goswamis. After much searching, Narottam, Srinivas and Shyamananda in great sorrow could not trace the books.

Srinivas ordered Narottam to return to Kheturi Gram, and Shyamananda went to Midnapur where they began preaching. Srinivas Acharyya resolved to stay and try to find the stolen books. Srinivas heard that in the assembly of Raja Bir Hambir, that night a great pandit would give explanation of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The brahmana in whose house Srinivas was staying, invited Srinivas to accompany him to the meeting. Srinivas agreed.

After hearing the pandit's explanation of the Bhagavatam, Srinivas addressed Raja Bir Hambir saying, "Srimad-Bhagavatam is not child's play. It is the transcendental knowledge descended to this earth for our super benefit; and the explanation given by this man is intolerable, he obviously knows nothing of the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam."

Raja Bir Hambir was greatly surprised at Srinivas' exclamation and asked him, "Then can you explain the Bhagavatam?"

"Yes I can," replied Srinivas and taking his seat on the vyasasan, he spoke for several hours. All those that heard him became greatly moved and they all, including the King, took shelter of his lotus feet.

The King humbly approached Srinivas, "Prabhu, you are indeed a great Vaishnava, please tell me what service I can do for you? Where have you come from? How far have you travelled?"

Srinivas Acharyya told him, "I have come from Vrindavan carrying chests of books written by the Goswamis, but now they are lost, stolen by I know not who, so I remain here searching for them."

With his head bowed Raja Bir Hambir announced, "I am the culprit, I have those books in my home, and every day I have been worshipping them. My astrologer told me that his calculations were true and that the books were actually jewels although they were in the form of books, and so that is why every day I am offering puja." And the King took Srinivas to the books.

The news was sent to Narottam and Shyamananda and in great jubilation Narottam Thakur arranged a grand festival. As well as Narottam, Shyamananda, Srinivas and other noted Vaishnavas, Mother Jahnava Devi—Sri Nityananda Prabhu's shakti—also came there to Kheturi Gram to attend the festival. After properly worshipping Jahnava Devi, Narottam Thakur installed six deities in different temples—Sri Krishna, Vallavi-Kanta, Vraj-Mohan, Radha-Kanta, Radha-Raman, and Gauranga. Elaborate puja arrangements were made, including a month-long festival of Hari-kirttan.

And every day in Narottam's kirttan, those who were fortunate saw Nityananda Prabhu and Mahaprabhu dancing there, such was Narottam's devotion. Those who knew him considered he was the incarnation of Nityananda Prabhu and Mahaprabhu combined.

Although Lokanath Goswami only had one disciple, Narottam gave Krishna-Prema to everyone, and just like Nityananda Prabhu, he did not consider who was fit and who was not. Whoever wanted Krishna-Prema, then Narottam would give it them. He was given this special power by the grace of Mahaprabhu, Nityananda and Lokanath Goswami, Narottam's Gurudev.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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