Vamsivadananda Thakura – Biography

vamshi krishna-priya yasit sa vamshi-dasa-thakkurah
Vamshivadanananda Thakur was Krishna’s flute in Vraja.
(Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika 179)
The gopis praised the good fortune of Krishna’s flute, for he was able to constantly drink the nectar of Krishna’s lips. Everything in Vraja is spiritual, i.e., conscious, and so the flute could take human form as Sri Vamshivadanananda Thakur. His life story has been recounted by his grandson, Shrivallabha Das, in the book Vamshi-vilasa. Other books which contain details of his life are Shripata-paryatana and Bhakti- ratnakara, and the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana also gives a brief biography.
Vamshivadanananda Thakur was known by five names in Gaudiya Vaishnava society: Vamshivadana, Vamshidas, Vamshi, Vadana, and Vadanananda. He was a well-known writer of devotional songs. His appearance took place on the day of the spring full moon (in the month of Chaitra) in either 1416 (according to Vamshi-shiksha) or 1427 of the Shaka era (1495 or 1506 AD.).
Vamshivadanananda’s Home in Nabadwip
In the Shripata-paryatana, the following information is given:
The two villages known as Kuliya and Pahariapura were side by side. Vamshivadana, Kavidatta and Saranga Thakur lived there. As the town grew, it was known as Kuliya Pahariapura.
Vamshivadanananda Thakur’s home was in Koladvipa, i.e., the present-day town of Nabadwip which was formerly known as Kuliya Pahariapura. Kuliya had four neighborhoods known as Teghari, Bneciyaria, Bedariaparia and Cinedanga. Shrikara Cattopadhyaya came from Bilvagrama to live in Bneciyaria. Amongst the descendants of Shrikara Cattopadhyaya was Yudhishthira Cattopadhyaya who had three sons: Madhava Das (nicknamed Chakarii), Hari Das (Tinakarii) and Krishnasampatti (Dukarii) Cattopadhyaya. Chakarii Cattopadhyaya was Vamshivadana’s father. His mother’s name was Candrakala Devi. When Mahaprabhu passed through Kuliya on his trip through Bengal which ultimately ended at Kanair Natashala, he stayed at Chakarii Cattopadhyaya’s house for seven days. During this time he gave his blessings to all the residents of Nabadwip and in particular to Devananda Pandit. This information comes from Kavi Karnapura’s Chaitanya-candrodaya Nataka.
It is said that both Mahaprabhu and Advaita Acharya were present when Vamshivadanananda was born. After Mahaprabhu took sannyas, Vamshivadanananda was engaged as Sachi Mata and Vishnupriya’s servant and protector. When Srinivas Acharya came to Nabadwip to see the Lord’s family, Vamshi embraced him emotionally. This is described in the Bhakti-ratnakara:
Though he had not been introduced, Vamshivadanananda guessed that this must be Srinivas. He approached him and asked him who he was. Srinivas told him everything about himself. Vamshivadanananda embraced him and washed his body with his tears. Srinivas wanted to fall to the ground and pay obeisances to Vamshi Thakur, but Vamshi would not let him. He then went and told Vishnupriya Ishvari and Sachi Ma that Srinivas had come. (Bhakti-ratnakara 4.20-24)
Vamshivadanananda Thakur lived as a householder. He had two sons, Chaitanya Das and Nityananda Das. His deity’s name was Pranavallabha. Later, at Vishnupriya Devi’s request, he established the worship of the Mahaprabhu deity. He also worshiped the Gopinath deity of his forefathers. He spent the last part of life in his ancestral village of Bilvagrama. The Bhattacharyas of that village are said to be his descendants.
Ramai Thakur
Vamshivadanananda Thakur’s grandson, the son of Chaitanya Das, was named Sri Ramachandra or Ramai Thakur. He found deities of Rama and Krishna deities at Praskandana Tirtha in Vrindavan [FN: Praskandana Tirtha is the Yamuna ghata which is not far from Dvadashaditya Öila. It is said that when Krishna fought with Kaliya in the middle of the Yamuna, he caught cold in the water. When he came out, all the twelve Adityas appeared simultaneously and warmed him up. Krishna became so hot that he started to sweat. His sweat flowed down and merged with the water of the Yamuna at the place known as Praskandana Tirtha.] and then brought them to Baghna Paria in Burdwan district. They are known ar Sri-Rama-Kanai.
Vamshivadanananda Thakur’s family received the mercy of Jahnava Thakurani. The following comment is found in the Gaudiya magazine (22.30-37):
A Song by Vamshivadanananda
The following is a song written by Vamshivadanananda Thakur:
ara na heriba prasara kapale alaka tilaka kaca
ara na heriba sonara kamale nayana khaïjana naca
ara na nacibe shrivasa mandire bhakata cataka laiya
ara na nacibe apanara ghare amara dekhiba caiya
ara ki du’ bhai nimai nitai nacibe ek thaïi
nimai kariya phukari sadai nimai kothao nai
nidaya keshava bharati asiya mathaya pariila baja
gauranga sundara na dekhi kemane rahiba nadiya maja
keba hena jana anibe ekhana amara gauranga raya
shashurii vadhura rodana shuniya vamshi gariagarii jaya
No more will I see his broad forehead, decorated with tilaka and sandalwood dots; no more will I see his eyes dance like hummingbirds in the golden lotus of his face. No longer will he dance in Srivasa’s house with his sparrow-like devotees; no more will he dance in his own home, while looking upon me.
Will Nimai and Nitai, those two divine brothers ever dance together again? I call out Nimai’s name, but Nimai is nowhere to be seen.
The heartless Keshava Bharati came and threw a thunderbolt on all of our heads. How can we now stay in Nabadwip, now that we cannot see Gauranga here?
Who is there here who can now bring my Gauranga back?
When Vamshi hears his young wife and her mother-in-law crying, he rolls on the ground in his pain.
[Excerpted from "Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates" by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj]