Sri Gadadhar was the consant companion of Mahaprabhu from the time of their childhood. His father’s name was Sri Madhva Misra and his mother’s name Sri Ratnavati-devi. They lived very near the house of Sri Jagannatha Misra in Mayapura. Ratnavati-devi thought of Saci-devi as her own sister, and always used to visit her.
During their childhood, Sri Gaura Hari and Gadadhara would play together, sometimes at Mahaprabhu’s house and sometimes at Gadadhara’s house. They both studied together at the same school. Gadadhara was a few years younger then Nimai. Nimai couldn’t remain without Gadadhara even for a moment and Gadadhara likewise couldn’t stand to be separated from Nimai.
In the Gaur-ganoddesa-dipika, it is described that that person who in Vraja was the daughter of Sri Vrsabhanu Raja, namely Srimati Radharani, is now celebrated as Sri Gadadhara Pandita.
Srila Svarupa Damodara has written in his diary: avani sura bavah Sri Panditakhyo jatindrah / sa khalo bhavati Radha Srila Gauravataro.
Sri Vasudeva Ghosa Thakura has also written:
Agam agocar gora akhil brahma-par, veda upar, najane pasandi mati bhora Nitya-nityananda CaitanyaGovinda Pandit Gadadhar Radhe Caitanya yugala-rupa kebol raser kup avatar sadsiva sadhe Antare nave-ghana bahire gaura tanu yugalrupa parkase Kahe Vasudeva Ghose yugal bhajan base janame janame rahu asa
“Lord Gaurasundara, who is beyond the perview of the scriptures, beyond the entire Brahman, and above even the Vedas, can never be known by the atheists whose intelligence is dull. Lord Nityananda is His eternal self. Lord Caitanya is Lord Govinda Himself and Pandita Gadadhara is none other than Sri Radha. The divine couple, who are present in Sri Caitanya, are a well of rasa. Advaita Acarya (Sadasiva) has prayed for His descent.
Within He is blackish but of a golden hue without, the manifestation of the divine couple. Thus Vasudeva Ghosa sings of the beauty of this divine couple – Sri Gaura-Gadadhara – in whose worship he has been completely subjugated. He prays that he will desire to serve them birth after birth.”
In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta we likewise find:
Panditer bhav mudre kahan na jay gadadhar pran nath nam hoila jay panditer krpa prasad lehan na jay gadai gauranga kari sarvaloke gay
“The emotions and expressions of Pandita Gadadhara are not possible to describe. Another name of Lord Gauranga is the ‘Lord of the life of Gadadhara.’ Who can understand what mercy has been bestowed upon him? Their glories are sung by everyone as Gadai- Gauranga.”
During the time when Sri Isvara Puri was present for a few months in Navadwipa at the house of Sri Gopinath Acarya, he taught Gadadhara from the book he had composed, Sri Krsna Lilamrta.
Gadadhara was from his very childhood very serene, patient, calm, quiet, fond of solitude and very renounced. Nimai Pandit during the time of His precocious youth would ask his fellow studentsmeaningless, fallacious questions in logic. Gadadhara however, was not especially fond of this pastime, and therefore he sometimes used to remain at some distance from Nimai. But Nimai wouldn’t allow him to get away. He would tell him – “Gadadhara! In a very short time I’ll become such a Vaisnava that Lord Brahmaand Lord Siva themselves will come to My door.”
Sri Gadadhara Pandita was very affectionate towards Mukunda datta. Whenever any Vaisnava came to Navadwipa, Mukunda would inform Gadadhara and they would both go to have darsana. One time Pundarika Vidyanidhi came from Cattagram to Navadwipa and Mukunda invited Gadadhara to come along and meet him. Gadadhara was very excited to meet such a Vaisnava and thus the two of them happily set out together to take advantage of sadhu-sanga with the famous Pundarika Vidyanidhi.
However, when Gadadhara saw that Pundarika Vidyanidhi dressed and acted like a wealthy materialist, he lost whatever reverence he had previously felt even before speaking with him. Gadahara thought to himself, “How can a Vaisnava look and act as if he was so addicted to sense enjoyment?”
However, Mukunda knew the real character of Pundarika Vidyanidhi, and he could also sense the doubts in the mind of Gadadhara Pandita. Thus he recited some slokas from the Srimad Bhagavatam in a very sweet voice. When Pundarika Vidyanidhi heard his beautiful recitation of these slokas, in a fit of ecstasy he began to cry while calling, “Krsna, Krsna”, and finally fainted dead away on the floor. [Chaitanya Bhagavat. Madhylila 7.78-79].
Gadadhara now felt very remorseful in his mind. He thought to himself, “Because I have ignorantly considered this highly advanced soul to be an ordinary materialist, what an offense I have committed! In order that I might be saved from the reaction of this offense, I think the only solution is to accept initiation from him.”
Gadadhara Pandita submitted his proposal to Mukunda, who presented it to Pundarika Vidyanidhi with a full account of the pandita’s high qualifications. “Hearing this proposal, Pundarik became very happy. ‘Providence has bestowed upon me a great jewel; certainly I will accept him. You shouldn’t have any doubt about that. It is the result of many lifetimes of good fortune that one gets a disciple like this.'” [Chaitanya Bhagavat. Madhylila 7.117-118]. On an auspicious day, Sri Gadadhara Pandita received the divinemantra from Pundarika Vidyanidhi.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, upon going to Gaya Dham, first began to manifest Krsna-prema. There he enacted the pastime of accepting the shelter of Sri Isvara Puri. After returning to His house He began to exhibit a new life.
Day and night He floated in the ocean of love of Krsna. Gadadhara, upon seeing the Lord showering of tears in love for Krsna, also began to cry in ecstatic love. From this time, Gadadhara Pandita was always at Mahaprabhu’s side.
One day Sri Gadadhara brought some pan to Sri Gauranga, Who, in an exuberance of emotion asked him, “Gadadhara! Where is that beautiful blackish boy Who is dressed in yellow garments?” After asking this, He began to shed tears.
Gadadhara couldn’t immediately think of what to say. He finally respectfully suggested, “He is in your heart.” Hearing this, Mahaprabhu began to tear at his chest with his nails, but Gadadhara quickly grabbed his hands. Prabhu said to him, “Gadadhara! Let go of My hands. I cannot remain a moment more not seeing Krsna.”
Gadadhara replied, “Just try to be a little patient and calm Yourself. Krsna will come any minute now.”Hearing this, Mahaprabhu became somewhat composed.
Sacimata heard all this from a distance and then came running there. Being very pleased with Gadadhara, she declared, “Though He is just a boy, He is very intelligent. I am frightened to go before my son when He is in these moods. But Gadadhara has very cleverly pacified him.”
“Sacimata told Gadadhar, ‘Gadadhara! You must please remain with Nimai always. If you stay with Him then I won’t have to worry.”
One day, Sri Gadadhara, having heard that Mahaprabhu will speak Krsna-katha at Suklambara Brahmacari’s house, went there and sat down inside. Meanwhile, Mahaprabhu arrived outside on the verandah and began to speak about Krsna to an audience of devotees there; Gadahara Prabhu listened from within the house. Soon Mahaprabhu became totally absorbed in the ecstacy Krsna-prema, which quickly spread to the assembly of devotees. For some time they continued to taste the mellows of love of Krsna together and then becalmed themselves.
Gadadhara, however, couldn’t restrain his ecstacy. With his head bowed down, he continued to cry very loudly. Hearing his pitiful sobbing, Mahaprabhu inquired, “Who is crying within the room?” Suklambara Brahmacari replied, “Your Gadadhara.”
Mahaprabhu exclaimed, “Gadadhara! You are so pious and virtuous. Since your very childhood you were so devoted to Krsna. My life has been wasted. Due to my previous evil activities I cannot get the association of the Lord of my life, Sri Krsna.”
Saying this Prabhu embraced Gadadhara in great love.
When Mahaprabhu began His pastimes in Navadvipa, Gadadhara was his chief companion. Radha-Krsna of Vraja are now sporting on the banks of the Ganga as Gadai-Gauranga, and the cowherd boy-friends of Vraja are assisting in His pastimes of kirtana.
One day after roaming throughout the town of Navadwipa, Mahaprabhu came to a forest and seated Himself there. Then He began to remember His pastimes in Vraja. Mukunda began to sing the purva-vag (courtship) songs in a very sweet voice while Gadadhara collected some flowers from that forest and after stringing a garland placed it on Prabhu’s neck. Previously, in the way that Sri Radha used to decorate Sri Krsna, Gadadhara began to dress Prabhu in that exact same manner. Some were singing beautiful songs, while others began to dance in a very graceful style. Then Sri Gaurasundara taking Gadadhara by His side seated Himself on a dias at the base of one tree, while Adwaita Acarya began to offer arati. Nityananda seated Himself on Prabhu’s right side and Srivasa Pandita began to decorate everyone with flower garlands. Narahari was fanning that Divine couple with a whisk made from the tail hairs of forest cows. Suklambar decorated them all with sandalwood paste while Murari Gupta recited the premdhani. Madhava, Vasudeva, Purusottama, Vijaya, and Mukunda began to sing songs in the various ragas.
Then Prabhu closed his pastimes in Nadiya and as per his mother’s request he took up his residence at Nilacala. Gadadhara also went there to live at this time. He engaged himself in the service of Sri Tota Gopinatha. Mahaprabhu would very often visit His dear friend Gadadhara and lose Himself in discussions on the topics of Sri Krsna. The temple of Sri Tota Gopinathji is located near the ocean at Yameshvar.
When Lord Caitanya traveled to Sri Vrindavana, Gadadhara, not being able to bear separation from Him, wanted to go also but Mahaprabhu reminded him of his vow of Ksetra-sannyasa (by which he was to remain constantly in Sri Ksetra in the service of Sri Gopinatha) and sent him back.
Sri Gadadhara Pandita would regularly recite Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri Gaurasundara, along with His associates, would listen.
Then one might ask a question, if Lord Chaitanya is Radha and Krsna combined, where is the necessity for the appearance of Gadadhara Pandit?
The answer to this is that it has been explained that Mahaprabhu is Krsna in search of the loving sentiment of Radha for Krsna. Sri Gadadhara Pandita represents that bhava personified, and thus he has appeared to be at the side of Mahaprabhu to assist him in his search. In this explanation, Gadadhara gives his unalloyed love to Lord Gauranga willingly.
It has also been explained that Krsna has stolen the bhava of Radha and appears as Mahaprabhu, Radha Krsna combined. Gadadhara represents that which is left of Radha after Krsna steals her bhava. The mood is that seeing that neither Sri Radha nor Sri Krsna appear on the purnima tithi (full moon), but when The Divine couple combine as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, this appearance in the world occurs on the Purima in Navadwipa.
Sri Gadadhara pandit appears on the new moon and leaves the world on the same day. New moon means no moon – dark moon or Amavasya tithi. He also appeared in a land that is desert-like, dry and vacant in contrast to the lush Ganga basin of Navadwipa.
All of this indicates the condition of the heart or nature of Sri Gadadhara. He is thus feeling empty, and lets everyone know about it too. It is said that what remains in him is the bhava of Rukmini, who is Radha’s expansion in Dvaraka. Thus his surface mood in Gaura lila is like that of a dakshine (right wing) gopi rather than a vama (left wing) gopi (Vama type is little aggressive in nature, and fights with the lover). However, to prove Gadadhar’s dedication as right-wing He is submissive to the extreme (daksina type tolerates everything whatever comes, only with a defensive attitude he stands. That is daksina path, that is as in Srimati Rukmini Devi. So when the spirit of Radharani of that opposing nature was drawn out by Mahaprabhu, then what remains is compared like that of Rukmini, as a passive seer, without any power to assert, only onlooker. Onlooker and bearing everything, a very pitiable condition. The idea is to awaken kindness and sympathy from everyone).
“What is he and what is she and what is her position now. And how her lover has taken up everything from her, looted everything from her, leaving her as a beggar wandering in the street. So much looted. Radharani when looted to such a degree by Krsna, that becomes Gadadhara, the pitiable figure. The wealth of course cannot go forever. She is the proprietor, owner cannot be far off. After a long time, that must come to her again, one day. And those that are helping her in her day of distress, they will get how much remuneration at that time. When she will get back all property.”
Just as in Vraj Srimati Radharani is the Queen and proprioter of everything, so Gadadhara is master of everything, but still here He has given everything to His master, and thus in one sense He is empty. This mood of His being empty is unique, he is playing in such a way, as His part or play, as Gadadhara Pandita. His is the highest position of self-sacrifice.
“Nimai Pandita showed His character as an aggressor, impertinent, and an extraordinary genius. Gadadhara Pandita was just the opposite. He had some natural inclination, that was in His submission and total dedication towards Nimai Pandita. And Nimai Pandita also had some special attraction for Gadadhara Pandita. But Gadadhara Pandita could not face Nimai Pandita directly. Some sort of shyness He felt about Nimai Pandita. So, this is what we know about Gadadhara Pandita. Gadadhara Pandita had very intimate relationship with Mahaprabhu, in which the acaryas, Swarupa Damodara, Rupa, Sanatana, Kaviraja Goswami, Raghunatha Dasa, all of them, could see Radharani and Rukmini both in his personality, and according to that we can try to understand him.”
It is true that Gauranga Mahaprabhu is Vrajendranandana Krsna, within Him, as is the case with svayam bhagavan Krsna, all of His expansions are present. Thus as Gaura-Narayana He consorts with Rukmini in Her appearance as Laksmipriya devi. Furthermore, just as Vrajendranandana Krsna never leaves Vrndavana, similarly Sacinandana Gaura Krsna never leaves Navadvipa Dhama.
Thus the lila of Mahaprabhu in Puri, which is representative of Dvaraka, is imbued with aisvarya (opulence) not found in Nadiya (Bengal). Indeed this aisvarya is said to have weighed heavily on Gadadhara Pandita and influenced His loving sentiment of bhava. Srila Krsna dasa Kaviraja Goswami says of Gadadhara in Puri Dhama that because He was influenced by aisvarya-jnana of Gauranga, He was, as Srila Prabhupada comments further, always submissive (daksina-nayiki). He could not be angered by Mahaprabhu even when Mahaprabhu tried to anger Him and see the mood of Radha (vama-nayiki) in Him.
Krsna dasa Kaviraja pointed out that even as Krsna in the form of Mahaprabhu tried to anger Gadadhara (Radha) He could not draw out this sentiment from Him because he maintained a temperament like that of Rukmini’s (daksina-nayiki) due to the fact that Mahaprabhu had already stolen the vama-nayiki aspect of Radha from him. Indeed, Svarupa Damodara Goswami asked Gadadhara why He did not reproach Mahaprabhu and instead tolerated Mahaprabhu’s criticisms of Him. To this Gadadhara replied, prabhu svatantra sarvajna-siromani tanra sane ‘hatha’ kari,–bhala nahi mani, “The master is independent. He is the topmost omniscient person. If I speak on an equal level with Him, this will not be good for Me.”
The above opinion is one that is shared by the late Om Visnupada Bhakti Pramode Puri Goswami. In his book, ‘Heart of Krsna’ that contains a series of articles originally written in Bengali during the manifest presence of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, Puri Goswami Maharaja states, “That which is left over after the bhava and luster of Radha has been plundered by Krsna is Gadadhara Pandita.”
It is stated that no one loves Lord Gauranga more than Sri Gadadhara. Yet even though He takes much abuse and neglect from Gauranga, still He cannot leave Him. His necessity and dependency is very great. The understanding is that without Mahaprabhu She/He is transcendentally incomplete, thus He/She wants to get His/Her bhava back from Krsna to again become complete, the complete united whole Radha-Krsna. To unite Gaura with Gadadhara (Radha Krishna) is the highest ideal of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
The worship of Gaura-Gadadhara is in madhurya-rasa so is not for the kanistha adhikari on the beginning stages of devotional service where one strives to follow the principles and avoid offences, rather this is for advanced devotees who are already steady (nistha) in Krsna consciousness and getting a genuine taste (ruchi). Then in transcendental view They are worshipped like Radha and Krishna. Thus Sri Gadadhara pandit is like Sri Radha standing next to the Gaura (Krsna) who has stolen Her/His bhava (love), and She wants it back. When They are united, then the divine couple Radha-Krsna/Gaura-Gadadhara are present. Sometimes the devotees will see them as Radha-Krsna, and sometimes as Gaura-Gadadhara according to that pure devotee’s mood. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written an arati song for Gaura-Gadadhara describing Radha-Krsna. This is the internal reality. It is all very esoteric and not to be imitated. Who can understand such wonderful and intimate pastimes, thus we use ordinary terms to try to explain them but these mellows are not ordinary.
When Vakresvara pandita came to live at Puri, he would accompany Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Advaita Acharya and other devotees to Tota Gopinath to hear Gadadhara Pandit give discourses on the Bhagavatam.
One should hear the book Bhagavatam from the devotee Bhagavatam.
One who thinks, “I understand the Bhagavatam” does not really know the Bhagavatam’s central meaning. On the other hand, an ignorant person who takes shelter of the Bhagavatam will directly perceive its meaning. The Bhagavatam is pure love, it is the incarnation of Krishna himself. It recounts Krishna’s most intimate activities. After recounting the Vedas and the Puranas, Vedavyasa felt unsatisfied, but as soon as the Bhagavatam manifested on his tongue, his mind was immediately satisfied. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.3.514-8)
smara gaura-gadadhara keli kalam
bhava gaura-gadadhara paksa caram
srnu gaura-gadadhara caru katham
bhaja godruma-kanon kunja-vidhum
[Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura]
“Remember Gaura-Gadadhara during the time of Their pastimes, Meditate on Gaura-Gadadhar, the Divine couple, the par-excellence of beauty. Hear beautiful discussions on the topics of Gaura-Gadadhara, and worship them in the forest grove of Godruma, bathed in the light of the moon.”
gadadhar pandit prabhu age bosi
pare bhagavat – sudha dhale rasi rasi [B.R. 3/107]
After enacting His pastimes on this planet for forty-eight years, it was seen by witnesses that Sri Gaurasundara entered into the body of Sri Tota-Gopinathji, who was the Deity in Puri on the Nilachala beach served by Sri Gadadhara Pandita.
nyasi siromani cesta bujhe sadya kar
akasmat prithini karila andhakar
pravesila ei gopinatha mandire
hoila adarsan, punah na aila bahire
In the diary of one Orissan devotee, Mahaprabhu is said to have first went missing inside the Gundica Mandira. Then the devotees began to comb the four directions in search of their Beloved Lord. Finally, outside of Tota Gopinatha Mandira, at Yameswar, the outer garment of Mahaprabhu was found lying on the ground.
There’s a story in connection with Sri Gadadhar Pandit that when He was very old and trying to render service to Tota-Gopinath that He couldn’t any more reach to put the garland around the neck of the Deity. To reciprocate with His loving service the Deity knelt down to accept the flower garlands of His beloved Gadadhar, Who is none other than His beloved Srimati Radharani incarnate as mentioned previously.
To this day the Deity of Tota-Gopinath in the temple remains in a kneeling position to accept the eternal service of His beloved Gadadhar. A slight crack which is still to be found near the right knee of Sri Gopinathji is the spot where Mahaprabhu is said to have entered the Deity.
His appearance is on the amavasya (new moon) of the month of Vaisakha.
Sri Gadadharastakam by Srila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami
I worship the greatly learned and exalted spiritual master, Srila Gadadhara Prabhu, who appears very splendid, engaged in the Lord’s devotional service. He always performs pastimes in Vraja, where he is very prominent among the gopis, who are very dear to Lord Hari. Lord Caitanya, the Son of Saci is the dear Lord of Gadadhara Prabhu, who is preaching the service of Radha and Krsna.
I worship the greatly learned spiritual master, Srila Gadadhara Prabhu. He is expertly absorbed in meditation on the nine rasas of devotional service, beginning with ujjvala-rasa (conjugal love), and he dances in the waves of the amazing ocean of devotional service to Lord Caitanya. He preaches the path of raganuga-bhakti (spontaneous devotional service), and He is a fit person to attain residence in the transcendental land of Vraja.
I worship the greatly learned spiritual master, Srila Gadadhara Prabhu. The best of those who are devoted to the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya, the Son of Saci-devi, offer respecful obeisances to him and treat him with great importance, and he is very dear to Lord Krsna, Who is seated in the middle of the lotus flower which is his heart, assuming His golden form of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He preaches that Lord Mukunda has assumed the golden form of Lord Caitanya, and he returns the living entities to their constitutional position as servants of the Lord.
I worship the greatly learned and exalted spiritual master, Srila Gadadhara Prabhu. It is only because of him that the truth of the exalted devotional service performed by the intimate associates of Krsna in the forests and groves of Vrndavana has been revealed. He is preaching the ecstatic love attained by the gopis, and he is indeed a personification of the mellows of devotional service. The saintly devotees take shelter of his lotus feet, and he teaches the truth of spiritual life to the living entities.
mahaprabhor maha-rasa-prakasanagkuram priyam sada
vrajagganadi-bhava-moda-karakam bhajamy aham
gadadharam supanditam gurum prabhum
I worship the greatly learned spiritual master, Srila Gadadhara Prabhu. He is very dear to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and it is as if he had sprouted from the manifestation of the Lord`s ecstatic love. He is always adorned with the garments of ecstatic love of Godhead, and He delights Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu by arousing in the Lord the ecstatic emotional love experienced by the gopis of Vraja.
I worship the greatly learned spiritual master, Srila Gadadhara Prabhu, who expands the mellows of devotional service and whose lotus feet are worshipped by the kings of the brahmanas. Among his confidential associates, he reveals his actual form as Srimati Radharani. He distributes the nectar of the ecstatic mellow of the gopis conjugal love, strictly following the instructions of all the devotional scriptures.
I worship the greatly learned spiritual master, Srila Gadadhara Prabhu. With delight he is giving the devotional service of Lord Caitanya which reveals the nectarean ocean of the most exalted mellows of devotional service, along with the nectar flowing from the lotus feet of the gopis, headed by Srimati Radharani, who is most dear to Krsna. Gadadhara Prabhu is decorated with the eight transcendental ecstatic symptoms of sattvika-bhava,and he is distributing devotional service to his worshippable Lord Krsna.
I worship the greatly learned spiritual master, Srila Gadadhara Prabhu. Even a conditioned soul, whose mind becomes anointed by the colorful waves of spontaneous devotional service as delineated by Srila Gadadhara Prabhu, quickly attains the highest level of devotional service. He becomes like a maddened bumble bee whose mind is anointed with the mellow of ujjvala-rasa (conjugal love).
maha-rasamrta-pradam sada gadadhara-astakam pathet tu
“These eight verses glorifying Srila Gadadhara Prabhu distribute the nectat of the most exalted mellow of devotional service, and they are like a festival for the gopis of Vraja. If one regularly reads these verses and serves the lotus feet of Srila Gadadhara Prabhu, who is an incarnation of Srimati Radharani, then he will become qualified to attain the jewel of pure devotional service for the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya,the son of Sacidevi.”