Chapter 6 – Bauribandhu Giri the Great Kirtaniya

Bauribandhu Giri, Brajabandhu’s grandfather, father of his two uncles Gopinath Giri and Jagannath Giri, and father of his mother, was a great devotee. He was a very ecstatic kirtaniya and arranged the seva for Gopala Jiu very nicely. If anyone in the village was suffering from a disease, they would approach Bauribandhu Giri for help. Bauribandhu would simply say the name of Gopala, touch the body of the person and that person would be cured.

The Great Kirtaniya

The father of Bauribandhu Giri was Govinda Giri who was himself a great kirtaniya. Bauribandhu Giri did kirtana, but had no formal training with regard to metre and time. This in itself was a very wonderful occurrence. He also defeated other kirtana groups; they were professional kirtaniyas but his kirtana was so much nicer that they were defeated and overcome with his kirtana brilliance. This was the mercy of Sri Gopala Jiu.

Sri Gopala Jiu Joins in the Kirtana

One day in the Gopala temple Bauribandhu was doing kirtana, with the brahmana priest of Gopala, Alekh Panda. Alekh Panda did not know Bauribandhu was feeling great ecstasy and left the kirtana to go and cook prasada for Gopala. Bauribandhu was doing kirtana by himself and he could feel that someone had come into the temple and joined with him in the kirtana but he was in such ecstasy he could not recognize who it was. He was thinking, “Maybe this Alekh Panda is doing kirtana—-this pujari is doing kirtana with me.” But after sometime he saw that no one was there so he called for Alekh Panda. Alekh Panda came from the kitchen and Bauri Giri asked him, “Why did you leave the kirtana?” and he replied, “I left a long time back because I had to cook.” Then Bauribandhu said, “No, no, no, I was not here.” Then Bauribandhu realized that Gopala Jiu with all love had come and joined in that kirtana. Bauribandhu was in such ecstasy he could not see that Gopala Jiu had come and had joined in the kirtana.

Bananas for Gopala

Once, when Bauribandhu Giri was leaving the village of Gadai Giri to go on a trip he engaged a local brahmana to do the puja whilst he was away. He gave the brahmana a large quantity of ripe bananas to offer to Gopala Jiu. On Bauribandhu’s return he came before the deity of Gopala Jiu and noticed that Gopala had a cold. He then turned to the brahmana and said to him, “Did you offer the bananas?” The brahmana replied, “Yes.” Then Bauribandhu asked, “When did you offer them?” Bauribandhu could see that the brahmana had offered all the bananas at once instead of a few at a time, and now Gopala Jiu had a cold. Bauribandhu Giri then went off the Ayurvedic doctor of medicine to offer Gopala Jiu, to heal Gopala’s cold.

Many years later His Divine Grace said that his grandfather was a paramahamsa nitya-siddha whose only business was to chant Hare Krsna and cry before the deity of Sri Gopala Jiu.

Magha-saptami

Whilst Brajabandhu was at Gaidai Giri, his grandfather passed away. This was no ordinary happening. The day before Bauribandhu left his body he declared, “Tomorrow is Magha-saptami.” [Magha-saptami is a very auspicious day, two days after Vasanta-pancami, the appearance day of Visnupriya Devi.] “I must leave my body tomorrow and leave this world.”

On Bauribandhu Giri’s last day on this earth, they placed him under the open sky so he could see the sun, and all the family members were assembled there. He asked his eldest son, “What day is it today?” the eldest son, Gopinath Giri, replied, “Today is Magha-saptami, the seventh day of the bright fortnight. It is an auspicious day. On this day the pilgrims take a bath in Konark and then they go to see Lord Jagannatha at Puri. The pilgrims are on their way to Puri now.” Then Bauribandhu Giri asked his son, “Is the road clear to Puri?” Gopinath Giri looked to the sky and replied, “Yes, the pilgrims left Konark and are now in Puri.” Then Bauribandhu Giri replied, “I will leave my body now. I will go to Jagannatha now.” He requested everyone to do kirtana and left his body on the spot. His son, Gopinath Giri, was holding him on his lap. When he left his body he was 69 years old. Brajabandhu was present at that time and saw his grandfather leave this world with a mighty kirtana going on!

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja: My grandfather was old—approximately 69 years old. I was there when my grandfather left his body; I was a young boy. (This was my maternal grandfather). No one was upset—they all understood. ‘Purusottama Dhama’—‘The road to Jagannatha is clear,’ and he said, ‘Yes, I must go now.’ My grandfather was a very great devotee, a paramahamsa.

Magha-saptami is the day Bauribandhu Giri decided he would leave this world and this is a very auspicious day as it is the appearance day of Sri Advaita Acarya. His Divine Grace would always say that his grandfather was a great devotee, a pure devotee- a paramahamsa. Brajabandhu grew up in very auspicious circumstances, his family members at Gadai Giri were absorbed in Krsna-bhajana.

According to sastra, to be raised in an environment where one has the opportunity to hear the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra and reading of Srimad-Bhagavatam indicates the kind of elevated birth one would find in the life of great devotee, a saint.

Bhagavata-dasa: to witness such a great event, to hear the chanting of Hare Krsna and the recitation of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and to see such a great Vaisnava leave this world at such a young age, meant that Gour Govinda Maharaja was already a great, great devotee from his past life. He could not take such a fortunate birth unless from his past life he was already a great, great devotee.

Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja:…. Today is also this Magha-saptami, the seventh day of the bright fortnight of the month of Magha. This is an auspicious day: Advaita Acarya’s appearance. This is a very important day because Advaita Acarya Prabhu made Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appear. Unless we glorify Advaita Acarya Prabhu, unless we get Advaita Acarya’s mercy, we cannot get the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu—that is definite. We must glorify Advaita Acarya, we must observe His appearance…

After the disappearance of Bauribandhu Giri, his successor as the custodian of the Sri Sri Radha-Gopala Jiu temple and manager of the puja and seva was his eldest son, Gopinath Giri. His Divine Grace would always refer to his two uncles, Jagannath Giri and Gopinath Giri, as great kirtaniyas and as great devotees—pure devotees. His Divine Grace also said of his uncles, “My two uncles—Jagannath Giri and Gopinath Giri, the sons of Bauribandhu Giri, were pure devotees. They had great attachment of kirtana and were greatly attached to the service of Sri Sri Radha-Gopala Jiu.” Brajabandhu had the constant association and mercy of these tow uncles while he was at the Gadai Giri.

Leave a Reply