Category Archives: Remuna

How Gopinatha got the name Ksira-cora

The Name “Ksira-cora” means “one who stole condensed milk”. When Lord Caitanya visited the Gopinatha temple in Remuna, He told the devotees traveling with Him that how the Deity had received that name. Lord Caitanya had heard the story from His spiritual master, Isvara Puri, a disciple of Madhavendra Puri. As related in Caitanya-caritamrta, it is Madhavendra Puri for whom the condensed milk was stolen.

. Rasikananda, a Great Devotee of Lord Gopinatha

Madhavendra Puri was a highly advanced devotee of Lord Krsna. While living in Vrndavana absorbed in remembering the pastimes of the Lord, he saw Krsna appear in a dream and told him that He had been buried for a long time in a jungle nearby. Krsna wanted Madhavendra Puri to dig Him up. Following the Lord’s instruction, with the help of the local people Madhavendra Puri discovered a Deity of Krsna named Gopala.

Madhavendra Puri built a temple for Gopala and served Him for two years. Then again one night Gopala appeared to him in a dream and asked him to go to Orissa to get sandalwood to smear on His body.

On the way to Orissa, Madhavendra Puri stopped at the Gopinatha temple in Remuna. He asked the priest what kind of food was offered to Gopinatha, thinking he could offer the same preparations to his own Deity, Gopala. The priest mentioned the condensed milk (ksira) known as amrta-keli, which was famous because its taste was nectarean.

That evening, while the priest made an offering to the Lord, Madhavendra Puri thought that if the priest were to offer him some of the condensed milk he could taste it and then be able to prepare it for Gopala. He then at once became ashamed for thinking of tasting the Lord’s food during the offering. Feeling he had committed a great offense, he left the temple and went to a vacant marketplace to chant the names of the Lord.

Later that night, the Gopinatha Deity appeared in a dream to the priest and told him He had hidden a pot of condensed milk behind His cloth. Gopinatha told the priest to deliver the condensed milk to a saintly person named Madhavendra Puri. The priest did as told.

Madhavendra Puri felt ecstasy to learn that the Lord had stolen condensed milk for him. After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri kept the pot, and every day he would eat a little piece of it.

Birth place of Sridhar Swami
The literary history of 14th century Sanskrit scholar and saint Sridhar Swami lies in obscurity here at Mayurgram village in Remuna block, around 20km from the district headquarters. He is known to be the earliest writer to hail from Balasore. At present, nothing is found at his birthplace, except a statue.

. How Gopinatha Got the Name Ksira-cora

Sridhar Swami was an acclaimed Sanskrit litterateur and had combined the Advaita teachings of Shankar with the devotion of the Bhagavad Gita. It is believed that he laid the first foundation of the Vaisnava Bhakti movement in Bengal on the basis of Gita during Shankara reign.

His commentary on Srimad Bhagavad influenced other writers of his era, especially the Odia poet, Jagannath Das. It is believed that Das followed Swami’s commentary while composing Bhagavad Gita.

Swami’s childhood is little known, yet according to a researcher, Umakanta Panda, he left his body at Kapilash in Dhenkanal.

“Hardly any literature is found on Swami. The original manuscripts are not found and whatever literature written on him got washed away in floods,” said Ramakanta Majhi, a parishad member in Mayurgram village.

Srila Prabhupada accepted him as a Vaishnava and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta considered him to be from the Vishnu-swami sampradaya. Additionally, Jiva Goswami states in his Tattva-sandarbha that he cites only those portions of the revered Sridhara Swami’s commentary that follow the natural spirit of the Bhagavatam and its Vaisnava conclusions. This is because Sridhara Swami interspersed his Bhagavatam commentaries with monistic advaita interpretations-not as conclusions, but as a tactic to attract the followers of Sankara from their dry cakes of impersonal philosophy to the Bhagavatam’s nectarean descriptions of Krsna-lila. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself greatly appreciated Sridhara Swami’s Bhagavatam commentaries and became very much disturbed when Vallabha bhatta did not show proper respect to Sridhara Swami. This is probably the reason why some sources claim Sridhar Swami belongs to the Sankara Sampradaya even though he was actually a Vaisnava.

Birth Place of Baldev Vidyabhushan
The Remuna area is also the birthplace of Sridhara Svami, the original commentator on Srimad-Bhagavatam. Baladeva Vidyabhusana, a great spiritual master in the line of Lord Caitanya. You can visit their birthplaces if you can find someone to guide you; most of the local people don’t seem to know about these places. Baldev Vidyabhushan was born in the village Athantar (Remuna). Devotees connected with Shyamananda prabhu sampraday of gaudiya vaishnavas hold every year a wonderful celebration on his disappearance festival.

How Gopinatha Got the Name Ksira-cora

ISKCON – Remuna. Recently Iskcon has acquired a beautiful land in Remuna close to Kshirchor Gopinath temple. H.G Mukund chaitanya p (08908006925) can be contacted for making arrangements for stay, Prasad and tour.

How Gopinatha Got the Name Ksira-cora

Rasikananda, a great devotee of Lord Gopinatha

Not long after the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, a king who was a Deity hater was going around and smashing Deities in temples. When the people of Remuna heard he was coming, they hid Gopinatha in a pond three miles away. The king was upset that he could not find Gopinatha, so he struck and partially broke Ramacandi, the Durga deity.

Meanwhile, a great devotee named Rasikananda received an order in a dream to excavate the pond where Gopinatha had been hidden. He recovered the Gopinatha Deity, built a temple for Him, and took charge of His worship.

Rasikananda, a Great Devotee of Lord Gopinatha

Rasikananda was the foremost disciple of Syamananda, who had helped transport the writings of the Gosvamis from Vrndavana to Bengal. Syamananda had spread Krsna consciousness extensively in Orissa, where Rasikananda had become his disciple.

When Rasikananda decided it was time to leave the world, he went into the Gopinatha temple and disappeared. He had been performing sankirtana in the temple courtyard with seven of his associates, and now his associates were so overwhelmed by spiritual separation that they too gave up their bodies and entered the spiritual world.

The samadhis (tombs) of Rasikananda and these associates stand outside the temple. Each spring the people of Remuna hold a twelve-day festival to commemorate the passing of Rasikananda.

Visiting Remuna
The best way to get to Remuna from Calcutta is to take a train from Howrah station to Baleshwar, about a five-hour trip, depending on the train. From Baleshwar one has to travel twelve kilometers to Remuna by taxi, auto riksha or bus.

There’s a small guesthouse at the Gopinatha temple, and there are some good hotels in Baleshwar. You can get prasadam at the Gopinatha temple at midday and in the evening. You reserve your meal by paying in advance. You’ll get a plate of rice, dal, chutney, and two vegetable dishes.

The temple’s famous spiced condensed milk is available, in afternoon and evening, in small, medium, and large pots.

Tumultuous Worship
Evening Arti (worship) at the Ksira-cora Gopinatha temple is spectacular. Just before 7:00 P.M. the curtain draws closed. Two pujaris in the Deity room bang gongs, someone in the courtyard bangs a big drum, and a kirtana group sings and plays mrdanga drums and karatalas (hand cymbals), all together making a tremendous sound. At seven the curtain is whisked open. Everyone outside the Deity room offers obeisances, and the kirtana picks up again with full volume. The pujari offers incense and camphor while a second pujari stands behind him waving a camara (yak-tail whisk). Although the temple always has electricity, during the arati a man holds a traditional torch of oil-soaked cloth.

After the pujari has offered the incense, the curtain is closed while he lights the ghee lamp. Meanwhile the kirtana goes on, and when the door opens, the kirtana becomes intense bang! bang! bang!

The pujari offers the ghee lamp and then water in a conch shell. When he finishes, he walks through the kirtana courtyard, throwing the water on both sides, as all the devotees offer obeisances to get the water on their heads. The arati lasts about ten minutes.

How the Deity Came to Remuna

Sri Kaisranandadeva Gosvami, a disciple of Rasikananda, wrote a book in Oriya, the language of Orissa, telling how the Gopinatha Deity came to Remuna.

How the Deity Came to Remuna

The book relates that in Treta-yuga, more than a million years ago, the Supreme Lord Ramacandra and His wife, Sita Devi, lived for some time at Chitrakut, in north central India. Once during the rainy season a strong storm forced Rama and Sita to take shelter in the asrama of some sages. On seeing many cows in the asrama and hearing their mooing, Lord Ramacandra told Sita, “Seeing all these cows, I’m reminded of My pastimes in Dvapara-yuga.” Lord Rama was referring to His later appearance as Lord Krsna.

Sita Devi said, “What do You mean? Please tell me about those pastimes.”

Lord Rama replied, “Just wait for a week. With an arrow I’ll carve some pictures of those pastimes in a black rock, and you will be able to see them.

“But after four days Sita said, “I can’t wait any longer. Please show me what You’ve done.”

To please her, Lord Ramacandra then showed her the carvings. He had completed a Deity of Gopala Krsna (His back still attached to the stone) and, on the stone itself, drawings of Krsna’s eight principal gopis(cowherd girlfriends) and four maid-servants to the gopis. Also depicted were twelve cows, Lord Balarama wrestling Mustika, Lord Krsna wrestling Canura, and a few other scenes.

Pleased to see all this, Sita began worshiping the Gopala Deity at Chitrakut. After a few days Rama and Sita left, so Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, came and took over the worship of the Deity (a service he was to perform through the rest of Treta-yuga, through Dvapara-yuga, and for several centuries of Kali-yuga).

When Lord Ramacandra returned to India from Lanka after killing the demon Ravana, He stopped for four days at the place now known as Remuna. Sita Devi wanted to bathe there in the Ganges, so Lord Rama shot seven arrows into the ground and brought forth the Ganges. Today that place is called Saptashara, “seven arrows.” A deity of Lord Siva named Gargasvara was later installed there. Near by stands a deity of Durga Devi known as Ramacandi. Because Lord Ramacandra felt pleasure (ramana) at that place, it came to be known as Remuna.

In the thirteenth century King Langula Narasimhadeva from Orissa was traveling to holy places with his queen and many great sages. At Chitrakut they saw the Deity of Gopala. Not knowing that Lord Brahma was coming there daily, the king was astonished that no one was worshiping such a beautiful Deity.

That night the Deity appeared to the king in a dream and asked to be taken to a more populated place. The king decided to take Gopala to Jagannatha Puri.

The king selected some qualified brahmanas to worship the Deity and started for Puri. But when they reached Remuna, a beautiful cowherd village, Gopala again appeared to the king in a dream and asked to be installed and worshiped there. The village people, delighted, gave the Deity large quantities of milk and milk products every day. The queen noticed that the Deity was accompanied by carvings of the eight principal gopis, so she named Him Gopinatha, “Lord of the gopis.”

Tasting the nectar

Last night I was able to fulfill a long-held desire to read the story of Ksira-cora Gopinatha in front of the Deity Himself. By good fortune, someone here had a copy of the Caitanya-caritamrta, and I was able to read that in front of the Deity. Eight devotees arrived from Mayapur today on their way to Puri and they have asked me to read the story to them tonight.

Article from Back to Godhead Magazine.

Remuna is famous for the condensed milk called amrta-keli, which is very sweet. And we enjoy another kind of sweet nectar here the Caitanya-caritamrta. Both of these sweet nectars are enjoyable at Remuna the place of transcendental pleasure. Bhakti Vikasa Swami comes from England but has lived in India for many years. He now teaches Krsna consciousness at the ISKCON center in Baroda, Gujara.