By ISKCON Mayapur
gadadhara-paṇḍitadi — prabhura nija-sakti
tan’-sabara carane mora sahasra pranati
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the internal potencies of the Lord, of whom Sri Gadadhara Prabhu is the foremost.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.41)
Sri Gadadhara Pandita is one of the five Panca-tattva, who along with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Advaita Acarya, and Srivasa Thakura descended to this world to teach pure devotional service and spread the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krishna. He is sakti-tattva, an incarnation of the internal or pleasure potency of Lord Krishna, and is the personification of love of Godhead.
In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, it is written: “Gadadhara Pandita, the fourth branch, is described as an incarnation of the pleasure potency of Sri Krsna. No one, therefore, can equal him. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (147–53) it is stated, ‘The pleasure potency of Sri Krsna formerly known as Vrndavanesvari is now personified in the form of Sri Gadadhara Pandita in the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.’ Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami has pointed out that in the shape of Laksmi, the pleasure potency of Krsna, she was formerly very dear to the Lord as Syamasundara-vallabha. The same Syamasundara-vallabha was present in Lord Caitanya’s pastimes as Gadadhara Pandita.” (Adi-lila 10.15, Translation and Purport)
It is described that although Sri Gadadhara Pandita was an incarnation of Srimati Radharani, he did not fully exhibit the mood and features of Srimati Radharani. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the combined incarnation of Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani; the internal reason for Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance was Lord Krishna’s desire to experience Srimati Radharani’s transcendental ecstasy of pure devotion. Since Mahaprabhu was exhibiting the mood of Srimati Radharani, Sri Gadadhara Pandita did not manifest this mood in its completeness in order to facilitate the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Sri Gadadhara Pandita was very attached to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu since their early childhood. As children, they were inseparable. Together they attended the school of Gangadas Pandita, and after school they would walk home together, bathe in Ganga together, and do everything together. Gadadhara Pandita could not tolerate being separated from his Lord, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu also could not tolerate being separated from His Gadadhara Pandita.
When Mahaprabhu took sannyasa and left Navadvipa to reside in Puri, most of Mahaprabhu’s associates remained in Navadvipa and visited Him only once a year. However, Gadadhara could not bear to be separated from Lord Caitanya and so he followed Him to Puri and took up residence there. There, he took a vow of ksetra-sannyasa to never leave Jagannatha Puri and began worshiping the Deity of Tota-gopinatha. But Gadadhara’s attachment to Gauranga Mahaprabhu was stronger than any vow or any other consideration. When Mahaprabhu left Puri to travel to Vrindavan, Gadadhara Pandita attempted to follow Him despite his vow of ksetra-sannyasa, and it was only due to Mahaprabhu’s instruction that Gadadhara returned to Puri.
When Mahaprabhu departed from this world, He entered into Gadadhara Pandita’s worshipable Deity, Tota-gopinatha. After Mahaprabhu’s departure, Gadadhara Pandita’s feelings of separation for Him were so intense that he appeared to age prematurely. For many years, Gadadhara Pandita had been serving the Deity of Tota-gopinatha, but eventually it became difficult for him to reach up to garland the Deity. To facilitate the service of Gadadhara Pandita, Tota-gopinatha sat down so that Gadadhara could more easily worship Him. He is the only Deity of Krishna who manifests a sitting position.
Sri Gadadhara Pandita embodies pure love for Krishna, and Vaishnavas can pray to him and worship him in hopes of achieving krishna-prema. In Sridhama Mayapur, devotees at the Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir celebrate the appearance day of Gadadhara Pandita every year by ornamenting the Deity of Sri Gadadhara with opulent and fragrant flower jewelry and decorations and hearing about his glories and pastimes. Just before midday, Gadadhara is worshiped with a maha-abhiseka followed by puspanjali and an opulent bhoga offering, and, all throughout, with the most auspicious congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord.
“No one can describe the characteristics and ecstatic love of Gadadhara Pandita. Therefore another name for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Gadadhara-praṇanatha, ‘the life and soul of Gadadhara Pandita.’” – Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 7.163
“No one can say how merciful the Lord is to Gadadhara Pandita, but people know the Lord as Gadaira Gauranga, ‘the Lord Gauranga of Gadadhara Pandita.’” – Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 7.164
“Gadadhara Pandita is celebrated all over the world for his gentle behavior, his brahminical attributes and his steady love for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 7.166
All glories to Sri Gadadhara Pandita!