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We do not get any information about Sri Chaitanya's leaving of the physical body at the end of His Divine Play. There are different descriptions of merging with Jagannathdeva and with Tota Gopinath. What is the most authentic description of His leaving the physical form? Please reply citing proper source.

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Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya was Sri Krishna Himself according to many (including me). Within a span of just around six years, He got the entire Bengal and many other parts of India flooded by the bhakti movement and Naama-sankirtana. He influenced the lifestyle, the language, the literature, the art and culture in the entire Bengal and even outside.The famous Shaakta/Vaishnava/Vedantic saints of Bengal like Sri Ramprasad Sen, Sri Kamalakanta Chakraborty, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Mahendranath Bhattacharya, sri Radharaman Charandas Babaji --all accepted Mahaprabhu as Sri Krishna Himself. As per our scriptures, the birth, and the leaving of body of such great Incarnations all are Divine and are just Their plays. Remembering this, we try to go to the events recorded regarding His leaving of the mortal coil.

There are basically following four beliefs regarding Mahaprabhu's demise (most probably on 14 June 1534). Most of them are mentioned in 'knaaha gele tomaa paai by Dr. Jaydev Mukhopadhyay ( Praachi Publications, Ist edition, 2010). Sri Dhyana Chandra Das, the then Pontiff of the Puri Radhakanta Math (popularly known as the Gambhira -Math, where Mahaprabhu spent the last eighteen years of His earthly life) wrote the foreward of this book and another introduction of the book was written by Pundit Hemangabhushan Das, a famous vaishnava scholar from Puri.

  1. He entered into the sea and disappeared (most probably. This is just a hearsay, shown in the famous bengali movie 'Nilaachale Mahaprabhu' made in 1953).

  2. He entered into the Gundicha (known popularly as Maasir Bari, its in fact the Paurnamaasi Devi's) temple at Puri and merged with the idol of Sri Jagannath. Sri Jagannath Dev stays for seven days there after the Ratha-Yatra). One of His recognised biographers, Sri Lochan Das, writes :

tritiya prahar vela ravivaar dine/jagannath lin prabhu hoioa aapane// meaning that Prabhu merged with Lord Jagannath on Sunday in the evening.

This 'merging' could very well be taken as 'allegorical' or 'symbolical', but he mentioned that : He , becoming very eager entered into the temple and the doors got shut on their own. Such miraculous disappearance is found in the hagiographies of Sant Mira Bai, Sant Tukaram, Sant Kavir etc). By the way, according to the Chaitanya-Mangala of Lochan Das, Mahaprabhu foretold His disciples on the previous day that He is going to leave His body on the next day at night around 11 PM. (Ibid. page 75).

A similar incident is recorded by an Odia poets Sri Divakar Das in His 'Jagannathaa-Charitamrita (Ibid. page 29) and the 'Sunya-Samhitaa' by Achyutaananda (Ibid.page 29). The latter by the way was very close to Mahaprabhua and was a very renowned saint of Odissa. According to some, this incident took place NOT at the Gundicha temple, but at the Puri Jagannath (main) temple.

An alternative view is that it occured at the Tota Gopinath temple, where He merged with the deity of Gopinath, as a well known hearsay among the Vaishnavas refer to (Ibid.page 117). The Bhakti-Ratnakar of Ghanashyam Das also supports the view that Mahaprabhu left the earth at the Tota Gopinath temple (Ibid. page 117). According to the Chaitanya-Chakra by Vaishnava Charan Das, His body was buried inside the Gopinath temple (Ibid. page 117).

  1. He died because of septosemia caused by an injury in right ankle caused by a piece of brick. This is recordede by Jayananda , a close disciple of Sri Chaitanya, in his 'Chaitanya-Mangal' (Uttar Khanda,page 150).According to him, Mahaprabhu left His body on Sasthi tithi after the Ratha-Yatra. He mentions that the body remained visible after His leaving the body. He was buried at the Tota Gopinath temple.

  2. He was killed by the pandaas and the gate-keepers of the Puri Jagannath temple.Famous historians and scholars Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen and Dr. Nihar Ranjan Ray support this view

Now let us focus on the informations we get in His most accepted biographies like Sri Chaitanya-Charitaamrita : We all know that Mahaprabhu appeared on earth responding to the intense call of Sri Advaita Acharya. Just a few days before His 'disappearance', Advaita sent him a letter of four lines in a symbolic language by a messenger. The letter read

baulke kahio loke hailo baul/baulke kahio haate naa bikaay chaaul.Baulke kahio kaaje naahiko aaul/baaulke kahio iha kohiaachhe baaul. The meaning is impossible to be comprehended. A literal translation could read like : Say the mad-man that people have become mad. Say the mad-man that rice is not selling in the marketzplace. Say the mad-man that no work is left. Say the mad-man that this mad-man has told this.

Hearing this, Mahaprabhu just opined :" I have to obey His order" and became silent and totally had withdrawn Himself from all activities just after hearing this message (Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya, sloka 19-20).He foretold that His end will come very soon (Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya, slokas 30 -33).When He was asked the meaning, He told with a smile that the Acharya knows how to welcome (AvAhana) and to bid farewell (Visarjana). Avaahana and Visarjana --these two words are used in case of the Deities only by the way. It is recorded in the Sri Chaitanya-Charitamrita that Mahaprabhu continued to remain totally in-drawn" henceforth and He left His mortal coil within few days.

Now we should look at the events that happened just before and after the 'disappeance' of Mahaprabhu as thses are of extreme importance to identify how He left His mortal coil.

Dr. Professor Dinesh Chandra Sastri, Tarkavedantatirtha and a recipient of the famous 'Ravindra-Puraskar' draws our attention to the following facts ( Ibid. page vi -vii):

  1. Ray Ramananda, a close disciple and intimate friend of Mahaprabhu warned Him by a letter that such and such of His devotees are actually spies of Govinda Vidyadhar (We would read more about this person later).

  2. After Mahaprabhu entered the temple, the temple-doors were was closed for seven hours which is unprecedented in the history of the Jagannath temple. (Reference:Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen's 'Chaitanya and his age' , page 259-265).

  3. Vaishnava Das, a devotee of Mahaprabhu and a local poet of Odissa writes that the he saw with his own eyes that the body of Mahaprabhu was lying on earth beside the Garuda-stambha (Ibid. page 75).

  4. The same poet records that Raja Prataparudra orderd to bury the body of Mahaprabhu with due respect and by chanting the Hari-Naama. Dr. Sen thinks that the temple was closed for seven hours because Mahaprabhu's body was being buried and the doors were opened only when the concerned team was sure that no trace of His being buried is left in the garva-griha.

  5. Raja Prataprudra became unconscious by this bolt from the blue (as narrated by Lochana Das in Chaitanya-Mangal) and soon fled from Puri to Bhuvaneswar (as narrated by the Odia poet Vaishnab Charan Das in his 'Chaitanya-Chakda') and Nama-sankirtana was stopped at Puri. For almost fifty years , nama-samkirtana was totally halted entire Odissa and Bengal. This is mentioned by Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen in his famous book 'Chaitanya and his age, (page 259). He writes : For fifty years after the Tirodhan of the great teacher, the vaishnab community lay exervated by the great shock.Their kirtana music, which had taken the whole Country by surprise, stopped for a time after the melancholy went and was not heard for nearly half a century in the great provinces of Bengal and Odissa.'.

  6. All close disciples and companions of Mahaprabhu left Puri immediately after His demise, never to return.

  7. Two boys of King Prataparudra were made kings of Odissa , one by one, (Kalua Dev and Kakharua Dev) and both were killed soon. Within a year after the demise of Mahaprabhu, Govinda Vidyadhar, who was a great conspirator against Prataprudra and aspired to possess the thrown of Odissa, was actually able to take possession of the royal throne and became the king of Odissa. Prabhat Mukerjee writes in 'The History of Medieval Vaishnavism in Orissa :"Assasination, rebellion and struggle for power brought about internal anarchy (chapter 11, page 177).

Prataparudra by the way was a very very renowned and powerful king. He defeated the Nawab of Gaud (Bengal) and took Chandragiri in possession. In 1509, He defeated Ismail Gazi, the Commandant of Nawab Alauddin Hosain and spred his kingdom upto the banks of the river Krishnaa .The area of his kingdom was huge.But after becoming Mahaprabhu's disciple, both he and Ray Ramananda immersed in spiritual practices obeying Mahaprabhu's order (He wordered Prataprudra : Stop all activities except worship of Sri Krishna, :Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata, Chapter 5, sloka 200) and were therefore compelled to neglect their material responsibilities (Prataparudra says : I can not rule except the grace of Lord Gaurhari. If He does not shower Hs grace on me, I shall resign and become a begger and yogi : Sri Chaitanay Charitamrita, Madhya khanda, chapter 12, slokas 9-10). This led to the fequent attacks from the Muslim Sultan of Bengal and the king of Andhra. His kingdom sqeezed remarakably, He lost possession of many forts and the residents of Odissa started feeilng very insecured. Prataprudra was so much subdued that he had no way except offering 'sandhi' and ruin the life of her adolescent daughter being forced to present her to Krishnadev Ray, the king of Bijayanagar (Ibid., page 101-2).

If Mahaprabhu's leaving of body was outwardly as glorious as merging with the deity of a temple, His authentic biographies would not hesitate to record that with due importance.In the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas, the demises of various incarnations and gods have been described. No need to hide this was to be felt.The case is opposite with Mahaprabhu.His companions would not have left Puri immediately and the Nama-sankirtana would not have to be stopped for fifty years.All these also happened most probably because Parataprudra became powerless and Govinda Vidyadhar was in power.

Dr.Nihar Ranjan Ray, a famous historian concluded in a long letter to Dr. Jayadev Mukhopadhaya on 5 August 1976 that ' Mahaprabhu was murdered secretly and no trace of His body was left.And this caused the preaching of three now well known rumours.(Ibid, page 1).

So we can conclude that His leaving of body was not a normal one. Either He left His body beside the Garuda stambha or was killed brutally close to that place. As I wrote in the beginning, He was the Almighty Himself and this should be viewed as part of His Divine Play.

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