Since Sri Dhameshwara was featured on this blog, let’s look closer at Sri Amiya Nimai, another stunning deity of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (the largest deity of Sri Chaitanya in Vrindavan, about 7 feet tall!). His history is a bit more contemporary, and just as touching and miraculous. Read the rivetting tale below…
In the disciple succession of Sri Gopal Bhatta Goswami, Sri Sarvabhauma Madhusudan Goswami got the privilege to worship the self manifested deity of Sri Radha Ramanji in Vrindaban. He was a great scholar of nyaya (Sanskrit grammar), a preacher, a social reformer, and a great devotee. During his life-time, he toured around various parts of India a number of times and thus spread the love of religion of Sri Mahaprabhu very vigorously.
At that time, Shishir Kumar Ghosh, Sri Kedarnath Bhaktivinod Thakur, Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati, Pandit Rasik Mohan Vidya Bhushan, Sri Madan Mohan Malaviya, Sri Haridas Goswami and other learned scholars had close association with him.
His life was completely dedicated to Sri Mahaprabhu. He had unshakable faith in Sri Mahaprabhu and the Holy name. Through Sri Madhusudan’s inspiration, Sri Shishir Kumar Ghosh succeeded in writing books : “Amiya Nimai Charitra” in Bengali and “Lord Gauranga” in English. Through also Madhusudanji’s inspiration, Sri Krishna Gopal Duggal wrote one book on Mahaprabhu’s life in Urdu. Through the inspiration of his own disciples, Sri Madhusudan had Maharprabhu’s deities installed at many places.
In Navadwip, Sri Madhusudan obtained a very old life sized deity of Sri Mahaprabhu, he have the name “Sri Amiya Nimai Gauranga Mahaprabhu” to that deity. By Sri Madhusudan’s command and inspiration his great devotee and disciple, Sri Radha Govinda Goswami, got the same deity installed in Bag Bazar of Kolkata.
Sri Radha Govinda Goswami was born in a high class Brahmin family. His ancestors were great devotees of Sri Mahaprabhu. Sri Radha Govinda Goswami was a highly skilled in music. The only means of his livelihood was the teaching of music. Whatever he earned by this work, he always spent in the service of Sri Mahaprabhu. All the Gaudiya devotees in Kolkata always honored him. In the image of Sri Mahaprabhu, Sri Radha Govinda Goswami did not have the slightest feeling of a deity. He viewed and worshipped it as an actual manifestation of Sri Mahaprabhu.
When Sri Radha Govinda Goswami started growing older and older, he began to worry about the future worship of Sri Mahaprabhu. There was no successor in his family. Once in an infirm helpless condition, Sri Radha Govinda directly asked a question to Sri Mahaprabhu, “In the future, who and how will your service be performed ?” At night in the dream Mahaprabhu told him, “Stop worrying. Soon take me to Vrindaban where your Guru’s son lives”. Upon receiving this order in dream he wrote a letter to his Guru’s son Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami. He explained the order of Sri Mahaprabhu and requested him to arrange to take the deity of Sri Mahaprabhu to Vrindaban. Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami thought : “How will such a big deity be carried over to Vrindaban ? Where will it be seated ? In what way will its service and worship be arranged ?” therefore he expressed some inability, but again Sri Radha Govinda Goswami wrote another letter and repeated his request. This way the exchange of letters continued between both for some time.
One day in the evening, while singing the “Geet Govinda” in front of Mahaprabhu’s deity Sri Radha Govinda Goswami left his body. For the local devotee it was a heart-rending tragedy. All began to worry, “How will the order of Sri Mahaprabhu of carrying away the deity to Vrindaban be executed ? Sri Radha Govinda Goswami had no successor. At once the police came along and sealed the place. Then the local devotees started doing the worship, mentally, and also offered bhoga in front of the locked gate. Shortly after wards, the police unlocked the gate and searched the whole place. The police found the exchange of correspondence between him and Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami concerning Sri Mahaprabhu’s deity and carrying him to Vrindaban and his will was in favor of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami. On the basis of these documents the police wrote a letter to Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami requesting him to take off Mahaprabhu’ deity to Vrindaban. Now Goswamiji had no other alternative so he went to Kolkata. Over there he discussed this matter with his disciples, devotees, Sri Ramdas Babaji Maharaj and others.
In 1936, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami, Sri Ramdas Babaji Maharaj and his followers, and the devotees of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami as well as Sri Mrinal Kanti Ghosh, Sri Tushar Kanti Ghosh, Smt. Brij Bala Ghosh (Amrat Bazar Patrika Group, Kolkatta) accompanied the deity of Mahaprabu to Hathras by a reserved bogey of Toofan Train from Kolkata. At Hathras, the deity of Mahaprabhu was very profusely and heartily welcomed by the devotees. For four days, at Hathras, the deity was worshipped together with other devotional activities like Bhajan discourses etc. After that the deity was brought to Vrindaban by a truck.
About five hundred years ago, Sri Mahaprabhu himself arrived in Vrindaban on the full moon of Kartika. Exactly on the same day, 26th November 1926, on full moon of Kartika, the deity of Sri Amiya Nimai Gauranga Mahaprabhu arrived in Vrindaban. All the devotees and Vaishnavas extended unprecedented welcome by kirtan. Immediately no suitable spot over there was available for installing such a big deity of Sri Mahaprabhu. Outside the main gate of Sri Radha Raman Temple, in the room inside the “Raas Mandal” Mahaprabhu’s deity was seated, and the worship was performed. For about four or five years the worship of Mahaprabhu continued. Shortly afterwards, Sri Shah K.S. Gupta, (Present Servitor of Sri Shahji’s Temple, Vrindaban). His grandmother Smt. Ram Devi constructed two large rooms on the Yamuna bank which was then the garden of Shaji’s temple (also known as Jugal Bagicha). At this location, Mahaprabhu’s deity was seated, and for sixteen years Mahaprabhu remained at that spot.
As the years rolled by, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami thought, “Mahaprabhu must have his own temple where his worship can be conducted smoothly and regularly” Sri Goswami’s one landed property was in Gopinath Bazar, Vrindaban. Over there, around 1954, the construction of one temple was started. a lot of contribution and co-operation for this temple’s construction came from “Amrat Bazar Partika Group Kolkata”. In 1956, the temple was ready, so the deity was installed ceremoniously in his own temple and the function was celebrated very pompously with great rejoicing. Since that day, the worship and service or Sri Mahaprabhu are conducted and carried on continuously and regularly.
After Sri Krishna Chaitanya Goswami, his only son, Sri Vishwambhar Goswami fulfilled and discharged all the responsibilities. After Sri Vishwambhar Goswami’s departure, his sons Sri Padmanabh Goswami and Sri Padmalochan Goswami are sincerely continuing all the responsibilities of making arrangements and conducting worship of Sri Amiya Nimai to the present.
Excerpted and modified from: http://shriradharaman.com/