amum pravishatam karyat sahajau nishatholmukau
minaketana-ramadir vyuhah sankarshano’parah
The two brothers Nishatha and Ulmuka entered into the expansions of Nityananda as Minaketan and Rama, etc. (Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 68)
Rama Das, a Devotee of Nityananda
Though the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika here indicates that Minaketan and Rama Das are two different people, it is clear from the Chaitanya Charitamrita and the Bhakti-ratnakara that Minaketan Rama Das is one single individual. Perhaps both Nishatha and Ulmuka, participants in Baladeva-lila, entered into the body of Minaketan Rama Das during Gaura-lila.
He was one of the associates of Nityananda who went to Kheturi with Jahnava Devi. Narahari Chakravarti writes that the three worlds are purified by the sight of Vaishnavas like Minaketan Rama Das:
"The great Devotees all joined together to go to Kheturi. Seeing them, the entire universe is sanctified. Minaketan Rama Das, Abhiram Thakur, Murari Chaitanya, Jnana Das, Mahidhara, Shankara, Kamalakara Pippalai, Nrisingha Chaitanya, Jiva and Kanai Pandit." (Bhakti-ratnakara 10.372-5)
Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami recounts some details about Minaketan Rama Das in his Chaitanya Charitamrita in the course of glorifying Nityananda Prabhu. Just as Nityananda Prabhu was an avadhuta, his follower Minaketan also behaved in the manner of an avadhuta. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur discusses the word avadhuta in his commentary: "The word avadhuta is defined by Shridhara Swami in his commentary to SB 3.1.19 by the words asamskrita-deha, or (one who does not take care of his body) Nityananda Prabhu was an avadhuta, and his disciple was also an eternally perfect, maha-bhagavata paramahamsa like him–beyond the varnashrama system. As a result, none of the characteristics of any of the castes or states of life were manifest in his body. He was completely absorbed in the mood of Vraja and had no consideration whatsoever for the duties of the body." (Anubhashya, 1.5.161)
Rama Das at Jhamatapura
On one occasion, Minaketan Rama Das was invited to attend an all-night kirtan at Krishnadas Kaviraj’s home in Jhamatapura. The other guests were impressed by his appearance and his display of transcendental emotions and came to pay their obeisances to his feet. In his ecstatic mood, he would sometimes hit the person prostrated before him with his flute, sometimes slap him. Occasionally, he would even climb onto some other Devotees’ shoulders. Tears poured from his eyes like the uninterrupted flow of a river. Seeing this, other Devotees’ also felt their eyes fill with tears. All the eight amazing manifestations of ecstatic love appeared in his body. When he shouted the name of Nityananda in this state, all the Devotees felt their hearts fill with a divine ecstasy.
Gunarnava Mishra was engaged as a pujari in Krishnadas’s house. This Brahmin was a kanishtha adhikari and had faith in the Deity but was unable to recognize the Devotee and did not have much enthusiasm to pay him proper respect. Minaketan Rama Das was able to understand that this Gunarnava Mishra had no faith in Nityananda Prabhu and that for this reason he was deliberately ignoring him because he was Nityananda’s disciple. In order to teach the world, Rama Das said, "Just look! A second Romaharshana Suta who did not come forward to show respect when he saw Balaram!" (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.5.170)
Romaharshana was seated on the Vyasasana and engaged in reciting the Bhagavat at the request of the assembled sages in Naimisharanya when Baladeva himself appeared there. All the other sages stood up to show Lord Balaram the appropriate respect, with the exception of Romaharshana. For this, he was punished. Someone who is proud has no authority to speak on the Bhagavat, nor, for that matter, is he authorized to worship the Deity. The Bhagavat is identical to Krishna himself. However, in this case, the pujari Gunarnava Mishra did not object to Rama Das’s chastisement and simply continued in the performance of his service to the Deity.
At the end of the kirtan festival, however, Minaketan Rama Das got into an argument with Krishnadas Kaviraj’s brother. Krishnadas’s brother had strong faith in Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but lacked such faith in Nityananda Prabhu. When Rama Das discovered this, he broke his flute in anger and left the place. The result of this curse was that Krishnadas’s brother was doomed to destruction. Krishnadas Kaviraj himself rebuked his brother, an act which pleased Lord Nityananda who came to him in a dream and told him to go to live in Vrindavan.
The above account reveals how dear Minaketan Rama Das was to Nityananda Prabhu. Nityananda’s followers are like him: they are deliverers of the most fallen and capable of fulfilling all desires.
[Excerpted from “Shri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Shrila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]