Sri Sri Radha BabaIn 2011-2012, the birth centenary of Sri Sri Radha Baba is being celebrated at His birthplace, Gorakhpur, Kolkatta and Delhi to spread the message of love. In quest of the divine, He came in contact with Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar through Jai Dayalji Goenka, a spiritual personality and the founder of Gitapress.
The life-story of Sri Radha Baba is beautifully showcased in the book 'Preetirasawtar Mahabhavnimagna Sri Radha Baba' by Bankaji.
Hanuman Prasad Poddar or Bhai ji
I would like to mention the most beautiful relationship Bhai Poddarji shared with Sri Radha Baba. Just like Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu revere each other, in the same manner Bhai Poddarji used to respect Sri Radha Baba and vice versa.
Highly revered Sri Radha Baba had the most devout of parents and used to enjoy the Ramlila since childhood. Being a brilliant student, His proficiency in Hindi, English, Bangla and Sanskrit was most remarkable.
A yogbhrasta, He had implicit faith in God ever since His birth on 16-01-1913. During the spiritual journey, He began worshipping Shiva in childhood and was a great Shiva devotee.
Every week Baba would go for sankirtan of Lord Sri Hari, without fail. Having an instinctive flair for music, He had a melodious voice and other divine traits.
The Freedom Movement of India
1928-1931: Sri Radha Baba actively participated in the Freedom movement and went to jail twice during this period. The first time it was for a span of 6 months and then for 5 months!
1.1.1934 – 14.10.1935: Writing letters to God were a part of Sri Radha Baba's daily regime. These were gathered and complied into the book 'Antarvedana' which has 204 pages. Five such letters have been reproduced in the current book 'Preetiraswawtar Mahabhavnigmagna Sri Radha Baba'.
Sri Sri Radha Baba, the Pride of India
12th October, 1935: Finally the moment of truth arrived with Sri Sri Radha Baba renouncing the world. He became the pride of India till His Golokgaman on 13th Oct 1992, exactly 57 years after His rebirth as a Sadhu.
Radha Baba Becomes a Great Devotee of Lord Krishna
1936: At the young age of 23,Sri Radha Baba first met Ramsukhdasji who gave Him the Gita-commentary of Seth Goenkaji to read. Inspired by this book on 'Bhagavad Gita', Sri Sri Radha Baba travelled to Bankura to meet Seth Jai Dayalji Goenka who in turn directed Him to see Bhai Poddarji. It was on 27th Oct, 1936 that both the sublime Saints met each other. But it was the touching of His feet by Bhaiji, which changed Radha Baba's life for all times to come. He became a Bhakti Margi and staunch devotee of Lord Krishna.
In the year 1936 on Sharad Poornima, Sri Sri Radha Baba heard the mahamantra:
Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare
Hare Krishan Hare Krishan, Krishan Krishan Hare Hare
When Sri Sri Radha Baba had seen God-realised Saints like Jai Dayalji Goenka and Bhai Poddarji, could the first ever darshan of Lord Krishna be far behind? It happened in the same year 1936 when Sri Sri Radha Baba was hardly 23 years of age. Earlier He used to chant:
Sohum, Shivohum, Anadohum and Aum but now
His heart was full of prema for Sri Krishna and Radha Rani.
Hanuman Garhi: The place where Sri Sri Radha Baba had the very first darshan of Lord Krishna in 1936.
Banks of Rapti River: The glimpse of saints leads to darshan of Lord Krishna
Gita Press, Gorakhpur
The pride of India,Sri Sri Radha Baba is said to belong to Gita Press which lies to the north of Gorakhpur.
The Radha Bhava
Geeta Vatika: However, the place where Sri Sri Radha Baba attained the gopi bhava in 1937 was Bhai Poddarji's room at Geeta Vatika. Radha Baba was a follower of Vedanta philosophy and very much an intellectual. But after coming into contact with Shri Bhai ji, He followed the path of Braj Sadhana and worshipped Lord Krishna in the Radha Bhava.During his life time, Sri Sri Radha Baba used to always say that it was by only because of the grace of Bhai Poddarji that He switched over to worshipping the sakar form of God, having name, form and qualities.
'Gita Tattva Vivechani'
Bankura: The place where Sri Sri Radha Baba had continuous raasmayi position, is situated in West Bengal. Highly revered Sethji belonged to this place and invariably Sri Sri Radha Baba used to accompany Him to hear the religious discourse on 'Bhagvad Gita'. ( Later the discourses were published as 'Gita Tattva Vivechani' by Gitapress , Gorakhpur.
Sri Radha Baba describes the instruction given to Him by Bhai Poddarji of the final stage of worship, which is to discontinue preachings and concentrate on the gopi bhava of madhurya, the sweet and total commitment and love for Krishna; as mentioned in verse 15 of chapter 44 of Xth Canto of Srimad Bhagwatam. ('Preetirasawtar Mahabhavnimagna Sri Radha Baba',pages 199-203)
An account of the divinity experienced by Sri Radha Baba from 1939-45 at Ratangarh, the ancestral place of Sri Hanuman Prasad Poddarji. It's here that the foundation of books like 'Satsung Sudha Mala' and 'Keli Kunj ' were laid. Keli Kunj is a separate publication which showcases 29 out of 38 lilas in all. Mainly they relate to Sri Radhakund at Goverdhan.('Preetirasawtar Mahabhavnimagna Sri Radha Baba',pages 204-223,
1943: While many thought Poddar ji was sick in 1943, Lord Krishna revealed to Sri Radha Baba that it was actually his sickness which was being taken over by Poddar ji !
And then this page is most vital as it describes the secret incarnation of Supreme Godhead, Shri Radha Krishna.(page 217)
The Playful Dalliances of Shri Radha-Krishna
Manju Shyama, the younger sister of Radha Rani is more vocal than Shri Radha and has the colour of Lord Krishna. Both Sri Radha-Krishna respect her highly as she understands the emotions of both side. Therefore she plays an important in the lilas or playful dalliances of Lord Krishna( Sri Krishna Kripakataksha Stotram's 9th verse ) .
The Manjari Bhava of Radha Baba
Sri Radha Baba regards Himself as the true companion of Manju Shyama ji and hence this manjari-bhava (distributing the love of Krishna as that possessed by the handmaids of Radha) or gopi dasha of Sri Radha Baba is understandable.
How Chakradhar Baba came to be known as Sri Radha Baba: The next few pages reveal the secret why Baba who was earlier famed as Sri Chakradhar Baba became renowned as Sri Radha Baba. The reason being earlier He used to chant the mahamantra
Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare
Hare Krishan Hare Krishan, Krishan Krishan Hare Hare
Chanting Sri Radha-Radha
Thereafter he recited the Sri Radhakrishna Mantra and finally he just chanted Radha-Radha as this pleases Lord Krishna the most. Sri Radha Baba considered Himself a sakhi of Sri Radha and such a bhava is the most sublime of them all.
Then we have a 'Projection of Astral Body 'book. (page 239)
Disclose how the chanting of " Sri Hari : sharnam " saved Radha Baba's father. Actually his father had expired on 9th April, 1943 but did not get mukti or salvation because he had erred by not endorsing renunciation of his son, Sri Radha Baba . (pages 240-242)So Sri Radha Baba arranged for 1.25 lakh japa of " SRI HARI : sharnam "and His father got mukti. In fact , his father got immersed in Sri Bhaguri Rishi ( Kulpurohit of Sri Vrishbhanu Baba just like sage Shandilya is of Nandbaba. )
The next few pages are about helping the poor parents of a marriageable girl. Radha Baba believed in
denhaar kou aur hai , det rahat din rain,
log bharam mope karein , yate neeche nain
which means that God is the real donor whereas we mortals are just distributors of that money ! (pages 243-246)
'Preetirasawtar Mahabhavnimagna Sri Radha Baba,'Pages 251-258
Radhashtami Utsav, At Delhi in 1941 and at Ratangarh from1942 to 1944.
Since 1945 Radha Baba in Gorakhpur. In the year 1945 at Geetavatika, in 1946 at Palri-Bazar, and then stayed at Geeta Vatika from 1947 onwards.
The 33 verses of Surdas ji's meaning were written by Sri Radha Baba but as Bhai Poddarji wanted His name to be published in monthly Kalyan, it got discontinued somehow . In 1952, Poddarji published them as ' Satsung-Sudha' from Gitapress.
Similarly 'Sri Krishna Leela Chintan' contains series of articles published from 1946 onwards in Kalyan for about 10 years. In 1948, revered Baba gave 4 articles for the special Naari-edition later which were published as Brajleela's main woman characters and the headings were :--
Jagajnanni Sri Radha, Mata Yashoda, Mata Rohini and Ashtsakhi.
The first Jagajanni Sri Radha was most dear to Maa Anandmayi and has been published separately so many times.
'Preetirasawtar Mahabhavnimagna Sri Radha Baba'pages 259-268: reveal the divine relationship Sri Radha Baba shared with Thakurjee, Ghanshyam Bhaiya :--
In 1949, Thakur Ghanshyam Bhaiyaji sang exactly the same pada
banyo mor mukut natwar vapu Shyam Sunder kamal nayan
which Sri Radha Baba had thought of. Soon after Ghanshyam ji danced also in the same style as Baba was thinking of.
Another incident shows that Thakur, Ghanshyam Bhaiya placed two garlands on Sri Radha Baba's bed in exactly the same manner as He had seen in His dhyan or Lord Krishna's divine play. Sri Radha Baba was convinced now that Thakur Ghanshyam Bhaiya had vibrations of Lord Sri Krishna.
Pages 273-274: Around the year 1950 when Sri Radha Baba and Thakur Ghanshyam Bhaiyaji wrote a play depicting Sri Kishoriji 's kripa or grace on sage Narada under the inspiration from Bhai Poddarji. On Sharad-Poornima this year, the play was enacted in Geeta Vatika under instructions of both the saints! Devotees reached the heights of elation and ecsatasy, and it seemed as if Sri Radha Rani was performing Herself and others were simply following Her directions.
9th May , 1951-- Goddess Sri Tripura Sundari (Parvati, beautiful goddess of the three cities) also called Sodasi [sixteen],Lalita [she who plays] and Rajarajesvari [queen of queens] She is one of the group of ten goddesses of Hindu belief, collectively called the Mahavidyas) gives darshan to Sri Radha Baba. Sri Radha Rani's parents Kirti Devi and Vrishbhanu ji worshipped Goddess Sri Tripur Sundari, and by Her kripa Sri Radha Rani incarnated in their home. As Sri Radhaji was Isht of Radha Baba, in 1951 , Lord Sri Krishna instructed Him to worship Goddess Sri Tripura Sundari. But the mischievous Lord Krishna did not give Baba any instuctions. Therefore Baba Himself made 1,000 mantras on the basis of Sri LalitaSahstranaam.
Goddess Tripura Sundari
Now started the worship of Goddess Sri Tripura Sundari. At least 1000 lotuses were required daily. As it was difficult to arrange for them, akshat chawal or unbroken rice was a substitute and kumkum was the third alternative. This is how 1 crore mantras were chanted in honour of Goddess Sri Tripursundri for several weeks. And on 9th May, 1951 Goddess Sri Tripursundriji gave darshan to Sri Radha Baba. The anushthaan was successful and finally Baba had the grace of Sri Kishori ji.
Soon after, Baba started the mansic pooja of Goddess Tripur Sundari. Friday used to be the special day of Devi .Once in 1960 when He was at Rishikesh ( Swargashram with Bhai Poddarji ) and could not keep track of Friday, an old lady at Ganga Ghat invariably reminded Him of the weekly -pooja . This is how Goddess Tripur Sundari became the centre-point of Sri Radha Baba's sadhna.
Pages 282-283: Describe that when Sri Radha Baba was doing kirtan of SRI RADHA ....RADHA ..RADHA ..... , an 8 year old girl appeared and attracted all those who were present. Who knows She could be a divine Gopi of Vrindavan or Kishoriji Herself ....Jai Kishoriji ki .... !
Pages 310- 321: Describe Lord Rama's Chitrakoot, pious river Mandakini and a Goverdhan type parikarma of Kamadgiri.
Pages 311-313: Tour of Ayodhya, Namisharnay, Haridwar, Kurukshetra, mazar of Saint Sarmad in Delhi.
Pages 314-317: Ethereal darshan of Yamunaji, Braj-Bhoomi, Vrindavan, Kusum Sarovar while touring Mathura-Braj.
Bhakti Poet, Mirabai
A tour of Ujjain, Meerabai's places in Rajasthan .....Saint Meera Bai
Sri Sri Nathdwara .....let us humbly bow to Bhagwan Vallabhacharyaji for kripa of Sri Nathji or Giriraj Goverdhan ....
The tour of Ajmer, Sidhpur, Dwarka , Joonagarh, Dakor, Nasik, Pandarpur , Kishkindha , Mysore, Kallhasti and Tirupati Balaji.
Darshan of Sri Raman Maharshi Samadhi at Tirvanmallai, Adishankaracharyaji 's birth place Kalri.
Pages 322 onwards: describe further actual pilgrimage sites visited by the duo of Bhai Poddarji and Sri Sri Radha Baba.
A visit to Kanyakumari where the famous Vivekananda rock is situated.
A trip to Sri Rameshwaram, Ma Meenakshi Devi darshan at Madurai, Lord Shiva's darshan at Chidambaram, Ma Arvind Ashram at Pondicherry, Prabhu Sri Jagannathji darshan at Puri ... Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the pilgrimage of entire India got over on 26th April 1956 !
Page 330 describes that divine SRI Radha Radha kirtan in 1956, on the utsav ofRadhashtami! Actually on Sharad-poornima in 1956, Sri Sri Radha Baba took kashtha-maun and this kirtan took place just before this vow of silence. Sri Sri Radha Baba had reached the heights of ecstasy and was chanting with loving tenderness :--
hamaro Dhan RADHA RADHA RADHA
And only a few, internal devotees like Sri Ghanshyam Bhaiyaji were present.
Shri Yamuna Maharani
Baba sang with enthused exultation :--
kalindi , dheere baho, mere priytam utrenge paar
asking Sri Yamujanji to flow slowly as our dearmost Lord Krishna wanted to cross over!