Disappearance Day of Shri Ishvara Puri
Ishvara Puri was born in the town of Kumara Hatta on the full moon day of the month of Jyestha to a family of Brahmins hailing from Rarha. Kumara Hatta is in the 24 Paraganas district about two miles from the Halisahar train station. The town is also important for Gaudiya Vaishnavas because Shrivas Pandit and his brothers moved here after Mahaprabhu took sanyassa because they were unable to tolerate all the painful reminders of Him in Navadwip. Their home is not far from the place in the Mukhopadhyaya Para neighborhood where Ishvara Puri was born.
The Mercy of the Spiritual Master
Ishvara Puri is a sannyas name. Though his name prior to taking sannyas is unknown, we do know that his father's name was Shyamasundara Acharya. Ishvara Puri took initiation from Madhavendra Puri, the embodiment of nectarean devotional love. Madhavendra Puri was pleased with Ishvara Puri's guileless, sincere and affectionate service and thus showered him with blessings, so that he too became immersed in the ocean of love for Krishna. If a disciple can satisfy his spiritual master, then he will be fortunate and attain all auspiciousness and the fulfillment of all his desires. On the other hand, if the guru is unhappy with his disciple, then he will only know inauspiciousness.
Mahaprabhu Takes Initiation From Ishvara Puri
Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and has no need of any teacher. Even so, He wishes to teach the world that it is absolutely necessary to take shelter of a bonafide spiritual master. For this reason, He played the role of a disciple by taking initiation from Ishvara Puri when He met him at Gaya. This in itself shows beyond a doubt Ishvara Puri's greatness and importance.
Then the Lord went to Gaya where he met Ishvara Puri. After taking initiation from him, He started to display the signs of love of God, and when He returned to His homeland He began to engage in the pastimes of divine love.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.17.8-9)
(Chaitanya Bhagavata 1.17.49-55)
Mahaprabhu was acting the role of an ordinary mortal, a pilgrim who had come to Gaya to offer the shraddha oblations for His deceased father. On the day that He performed these rituals, He returned to His room and began to cook. When Ishava Puri came and placed his holy feet in Mahaprabhu's room, Mahaprabhu personally served him the rice and vegetables that He Himself had cooked with great satisfaction. In so doing, Mahaprabhu demonstrated most perfectly how to serve the guru.
Ishvara Puri in Navadwip
Ishava Puri had met Mahaprabhu in Navadwip even prior to giving Him the ten-syllable mantra in Gaya. He also met with Advaita Acharya, who had similarly played the role of Madhavendra Puri's disciple. Vrindavan Das Thakur has described this meeting in the Chaitanya Bhagavata.
Once, Ishava Puri passed through Navadwip when Nimai was still engaged in His pastimes as a student. He stayed there for a few months in the house of Gopinath Acharya as his guest. One day he saw Nimai and was most impressed and attracted by His bodily beauty. Nimai invited Ishava Puri to His house to eat and had His mother Sachi cook and serve him Krishna Prasad. Then He and Ishvara Puri began talking about Krishna.
Ishava Puri also met Gadadhar Pandit and was pleased when he saw the depth of his renunciation. He started to affectionately give him lessons from Shri-Krishna-lilamrta, a book of his own composition. Nimai would also come daily to Gopinath Acharya's house to visit Ishava Puri while he was teaching Gadadhar and offer him His obeisances. One day, Ishvara Puripada asked Nimai to correct any mistakes that were in his book. Nimai answered:
"Anyone who finds any fault with a Devotee's description of Krishna is a sinner. If a Devotee writes a poem, no matter how poorly he does it, it will certainly contain his love for Krishna. A fool says 'visnaya' while a scholar knows the correct form is 'visnave', but Krishna accepts the sentiment in either case. If anyone sees a fault in this, the fault is his, for Krishna is pleased with anything the pure Devotee says. You too describe the Lord with words of love, so what arrogant person would dare criticize anything that you have written?"
(Chaitanya Bhagavata 1.11.105-110)
The same incident is described in the Bhakti-ratnakara in the following way:
Look here, this is the house of Gopinath Acharya where Vishvambhara would visit from time to time. Ishava Puri stayed here for a while and composed his book Shri Krishna-lilamrta. He had great affection for Gadadhara Pandit and when he saw the symptoms of love for Krishna in him, he taught him that book.
When Nityananda Prabhu as traveling in the west of India, he incidentally met Madhavendra Puri there. When the two met, they fainted. Nityananda was overcome by love and started to describe Madhavendra Puri's glories while Madhavendra Puri himself embraced Nityananda and wet him with his tears. Ishvara Puripada understood that Nityananda was extremely dear to his spiritual master and so, like his guru's other disciples, held him in great affection and felt a deep love for him.
All glories to Madhava Puri, the ocean of love for Krishna! He was the first shoot of the desire tree of devotion. That first shoot was nourished and grew in the form of Ishvara Puri and from him the thick trunk of Chaitanya lila took shape.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.9.10-11)
Before he left this world, Ishvara Puri sent two of his disciples, Kashishvara and Govinda, to serve Mahaprabhu. Even though they were His godbrothers, Mahaprabhu still obeyed the order of His spiritual master and accepted them as His servants.