All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

History in the Making

dispatch by Sripad Bhakti Kanan Giri Maharaj
with accompanying series of pictures

23 April 2004 Sree Chaitanya Saraswata Krishnanushilana Sangha, Kolkata

Dear devotee readers,
Please accept my humble dandavat pranams.

Attached herewith are photos of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj meeting with Prabhu Nitai Das Raya yesterday. Srila Maharaj spoke to us a little about his association with Prabhu Nitai Das Raya over many years from the time when Srila Maharaj was seventeen years old and Prabhu Nitai Das was twenty-seven — ten years older. Here's what I remember from yesterday morning when Srila Maharaj was speaking about their long time association.

Prabhu Nitai Das is the son of Sriman Sakhi Charan Raya (Sakhi Babu) who was one of the stalwart supporters of the Gaudiya Math during the time of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Srila Govinda Maharaj told us that Sakhi Babu was only educated up to class four but became involved with a salt merchant who was controlling most of the salt supply in India. After some time, that merchant wanted to leave the Bengal part of his business and gave it to Sripad Sakhi Babu. Srila Maharaj said, "Then he became so great!"

In his shop people would come to buy one bag or five bags or twenty bags of salt, like that. Sakhi Babu kept a large hollow ball and when people would come to purchase salt he would request them, "You please give some donation for my Guru Maharaj. You can give ten paisa or char annas (twenty-five paisa) or one rupee or more as you like." In this way he financed so many projects for Srila Saraswati Thakur.

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur began a program named 'Nabadwip Dham Pracharini Sabha' for spreading the glories of Sri Nabadwip Dham. The permanent head of that Sabha is the Maharaja of Tripura and that is continuing until today. Each year they meet at Sri Chaitanya Math. Sakhi Babu was named the first Secretary of that society and his son, Nitai Das, was made the Secretary after him and is still holding that post.

Nitai Das had two other brothers. All the brothers were successful barristers and held other high positions. Nitai Das became a high court magistrate.

One time Srila Sridhar Maharaj was staying in the house of Sakhi Babu who gave him his bed to sleep on. While Srila Sridhar Maharaj was lying down, he would dictate to Srila Govinda Maharaj, who would carefully write down his words which were to be used in the printing of Sri Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu. Sakhi Babu read what Srila Govinda Maharaj had written and was very surprised that Srila Sridhar Maharaj could compose such high standard expressions of Gaudiya theism while lying on the bed and speaking his thoughts. He was also surprised to see that the young Srila Govinda Maharaj had very correct spelling and also wrote very nicely. Seeing this he proposed that Srila Govinda Maharaj write his (Sakhi Babu's) life's story. Srila Govinda Maharaj said it is for this reason that Sakhi Babu told him so much history.

History continues in the making, and in February this year Prabhu Nitai Das Raya's son, Prabir Dasa, prayed to Srila Govinda Maharaj's lotus feet, and Srila Gurudev has since graced him with Harinama and Gayatri initiations.

After fifty-seven years of association between Srila Gurudev and Prabhu Nitai Das Raya and his family, all of us here feel nourished and honored to have met them together at this beautiful Temple in Dum Dum Park, Kolkata.


B.K. Giri Maharaj

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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