KKS – Birth Place of Vasudeva Datta
Another great devotee who was residing here at this place was Saranga Thakura, and he was also an intimate associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu use to come and meet him here and Saranga Thakura was on the bank of the Ganga absorbed in his own, personal bhajan, he was worshipping his deities and chanting the holy name. The smaller Deities are his Deities- Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha. And Saranga Thakura was just totally satisfied and absorbed in his worship. One day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came and said that, “My dear Saranga, your Bakula tree is dying. So what are you going to do about it?” Saranga Thakura said, “I don’t know what to do about it. I have no idea what to do about it. The only idea I can think of is I’m depending on your mercy.” Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced that Bakula tree and it said that although the tree is hollow it is still alive since that time, and it has stayed alive. Thus it is counted as a Siddhi Bakula- tree that has been touched by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally. Saranga Thakura is quite famous because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu mentioned that he should initiate disciples. He said, “But I’m not qualified.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu was not convinced and still wanted him to initiate. Then Saranga Thakura said, “but I cant see anyone who’s qualified” then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu still was not satisfied. So then finally Saranga Thakura said, “all right, I will initiate the first person whom I’ll meet tomorrow.”
So early in the morning he went to the Ganga to take his bath and as he went to take his bath somebody bumped into him- this is the one! But it happened to be a dead body! It was a young boy who apparently had died of snakebite and sometimes it happens that such people come back to consciousness. So it is a practice that if somebody dies of snakebite that they make a raft of banana trees and they place the body on top even with a mosquito net and put it in the Ganga, because sometimes after many days someone wakes up. Anyway, in this case the body bumped into Saranga Thakura. Saranga Thakura touched that body with his lotus foot and immediately that personality came back to consciousness and realized that he was before a great, saintly personality. He came out of the water, offered his obeisances and Saranga Thakura then recited the maha-mantra in his ear and thus in this way he was initiated and he gave him the name Murari Caitanya. Murari Caitanya was a special devotee because he was not afraid of death- he was totally fearless it is said. And he would go up to tigers and slap them in the face- “chant Hare Krsna! Chant!” he would play with snakes on his lap and that wouldn’t face him out at all. Such a devotee was this Murari Caitanya- very ecstatic. Immediately he was on the level of total love of God. He was quite young actually, he was a young boy. So Murari Caitanya got the mercy of a vaisnava and in that way he became uplifted.
That is the way; not through our own service. Yes our own service is required but more so even than depending on the good result of our own service are we dependent upon the blessings of the senior vaisnavas, of the pure devotee. By the blessings of the senior vaisnavas, one advances more- very rapidly, very quickly- and that actually is the major feature. So the house of Vasudeva Datta is nearby. Now it doesn’t exist anymore but there is still a plot of land in the back here where that house was once existing. Here in this temple, his Deities remained and of course we are thinking especially of Vasudeva Datta here because Vasudeva Datta is known for his compassion. How can one be compassionate if one has no sense of the suffering that exists in this world? So in remembering our own suffering and then seeing the suffering of the people in the entire world, then yes, then we can become compassionate.