Five lessons to be learnt from the ‘Festival of Punishment’

The Panihati Chida-dahi festival teaches the qualities that we should develop to attain the shelter of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

panihati festival


Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was the son of Govardhana Majumadara, a rich zamindar,  who was the younger brother of Hiranya Majumadara. Both Hiranya Majumadara and Govardhana Majumadara were so rich that their annual income amounted to Rs. 12,00,000 at that time. Practically all the brahmanas residing in Nadia were dependent on the charity of Hiranya and Govardhana.

In spite of this aristocratic family background, Raghunatha dasa was not interested in material pleasure. He was totally detached from the desire to enjoy the vast property of his father and luxurious family life as a householder. His only desire was to attain the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


Raghunatha dasa wanted to leave home and join Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to serve His mission. But he was unable to do so. He tried many a time to run away from home. Seeing his tendency to leave home, his father and uncle engaged bodyguards to watch over him. However, he escaped in the darkness one day, but his father located him in a distant place and brought him back. This became almost a daily affair. Every time Raghunatha ran away from home, his father again brought him back.  But Raghunatha dasa was resolute in his attempts to take shelter of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Seeing this behavior of her son, Raghunatha dasa’s mother spoke to his father: “Our son has become mad. Just keep him by binding him with ropes.”

His father, being very unhappy, replied to her as follows:

“Raghunatha dasa, our son, has opulences like Indra, the heavenly King, and his wife is as beautiful as an angel. Yet all this could not tie down his mind. How then could we keep this boy home by binding him with ropes?”



Raghunatha dasa learnt that Sri Nityananda Prabhu was staying with His associates in the village of Panihati. He decided to meet Lord Nityananda. Taking his father’s permission he reached Panihati. Lord Nityananda was sitting on a rock under a tree on the banks of the River Ganges and He was surrounded by many devotees. Seeing the effulgence of the Lord, Raghunatha dasa offered his obeisances from a distance. When Lord Nityananda came to know of this, He asked him to come closer and forcibly caught him and blessed him by placing His lotus feet upon his head.

Serving Vaishnavas


Sri Nityananda Prabhu called Raghunatha dasa a thief for not coming near and paying his obeisances. In a humorous attitude He ordered him, as a way of punishment, to arrange for a festival and feed all His associates yogurt and chipped rice. Sri Raghunatha dasa was pleased to serve Lord Nityananda and all other devotees by arranging the feast.

He immediately sent his own men to the village to purchase chipped rice, yogurt, milk, sweetmeats, sugar, bananas and other eatables. When the news spread that a festival was going to be held, a large number of brahmanas, learned scholars and other gentlemen arrived there to take part in the festival. Everyone was given two earthen pots. One pot contained chipped rice mixed with yogurt, sugar and bananas and the other pot had chipped rice mixed with condensed milk, bananas, sugar, ghee and camphor.

When the feast was served to all, Lord Nityananda induced Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in meditation to come and eat chipped rice. All the Vaishnavas and others relished the feast offered by Raghunatha dasa.

Dependency on the Mercy of the Spiritual Master

The day after the festival, Nityananda Prabhu blessed Raghunatha dasa saying that he would very soon attain the shelter of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus Raghunatha dasa was able to overcome all the impediments and he became one of the most confidential servants of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and attained the shelter of His lotus feet.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than Sri Krishna. Sri Nityananda Prabhu is an incarnation of Sri Balarama and He represents the guru-tattva. Without taking shelter of the spiritual master one cannot attain the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.

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