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The Legacy of the Almost Forgotten Saint,
|by Prof. Arundhati Sarkar|
I have watched a photograph of the ruins of Shri Chaitanya's ancestral house in Sylhet district of Bangladesh in a photo essay by Smt Jayati Gupta and I have visited Nabadwip town in West Bengal the very air of which resonates to this day with the memory of his name in the alleys and houses made famous by his association with them. I have also visited Puri of Orissa where he lived for some time and even prayed in the temple of Lord Jagannath at dead of night. The road in Puri down which he used to traverse to bathe in the sea bears a statue of him which I would like to imagine, resembles him to a great extent.
The temple of Sonar Gouranga in Puri exudes calm and serenity and that is how his followers chose to remember him. The Srivas Angina in Nabadwip town stands to this very day as a silent witness to Chaitanya's having attained Divine Ecstasy in singing hymns to God at night while tears streamed down his eyes. Shri Chaitanya is stated to have said that he could not sleep at night as tears streamed down his eyes continuously (for his heart was deeply stirred by Divine love.) It is also said that he entered the garbha-griha of the Jagannath temple at dead of night to pray to the Lord Jagannath.
The PoraMatala in Nabadwip town is associated with Shri Chaitanya running a Sanskrit school in the locality for he was a renowned Sanskrit scholar and Nabadwip town in Nadia district Of West Bengal was an ancient seat of Sanskrit learning. His house too is in Nabadwip though there is a controversy over which is the genuine one. Shri Ramkrishna had also visited Nabadwip and he is said to have stated that he saw a vision of two celestial babes come running to him and enter his body only to vanish.
He had deduced therefore that the original home of Shri Chaitanya was submerged in the Ganges. Nimai (for that is the name by which he is popularly known) along with a brother of his used to swim the Ganges from one bank to the other a number of times. Therefore viewing the Ganges in Nabadwip is a very sacred experience for any human being who felt a tinge of pain for this champion of the Bhakti Movement who is stated to have disappeared suddenly in Puri. Nobody knows for sure what had happened to him and it is useless to speculate. A poet has said that all the sweetness inherent in the hearts of the Bengalis had crystallised in the physical form of Shri Chaitanya. Centuries have elapsed since his disappearance but I felt the power of his presence in both Puri & Nabadwip.
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