In Srikhanda lived three brothers, Sri Mukunda dasa, Sri Madhava dasa and Sri Narahari Sarkara Thakura. The son of Sri Mukunda dasa Thakura was Sri Raghunandana Thakura. Although Sri Mukunda was the royal physician, he was always absorbed in ecstatic love for Lord Krsna.
SRI RAGHUNANDANA THAKURA
raghunandana seva kare krsnera mandire
dvare puskarini, tara ghatera upare
kadambera eka vrkse phute bara-mase
nitya dui phula haya krsna-avatamse
“Raghunandana is constantly engaged in serving the temple of Lord Krsna. Beside the entrance of the temple is a lake, and on its banks is a kadamba tree, which daily delivers two flowers to be used for Krsna’s service.” [C.c. Madhya 15.128-129]
One day in the midst of the royal court Mukunda dasa saw the King’s peacock-feather fan and fainted due to remembrance of Sri Krsna. When the Badshah questioned him about his behavior, Mukunda tried to conceal his actual condition by stating that he had fallen due to epilepsy. The emperor, however, understood his exalted devotional state and respectfully had him escorted home.
Every year these three brothers came to take darsana of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and to perform kirtana during the Ratha-yatra festival in Puri. Once Mahaprabhu affectionately addressed Mukunda, “Mukunda, between you and Raghunandana, who is the father and who is the son?” Sri Mukunda replied, “Raghunandana is my father! The actual father is he from whom we receive Krsna bhakti.” The Lord said, “You are right.” Then Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Sri Raghunandana to worship the Deity daily.
In his childhood Raghunandana once fed the Deity sweets. This pastime has been beautifully described by Uddhava dasa in his padas. The theme of the song is that by Raghunandana’s earnest prayer, Sri Krsna personally appeared and ate half of the sweet offered. The other half of that sweet is still in Srikhanda temple.
“In the house of Sri Mukunda Das, who lives at Sri Khanda, Lord Sri Gopinath is served with great devotion. One day Mukunda was called out to do some work, and then he instructed his son Raghunandan to worship the deity and asked him to serve the Lord Gopinath that day. He explained to him that this deity is in our family for many generations and thus He has been worshipped by my father and his father and his father on and on, in this way for many years. Just as your mother feeds you and I everyday, so also He has to be fed everyday. Having explained to Raghunandan that this is a very big responsibility and he should be very careful to give his full attention to this service, Mukunda went out. Raghunandan meanwhile having been instructed by his father, collected the items for offering to Sri Gopinathji and entered into the deity room. Raghunandan was at that time barely 5 years old and therefore, when he saw that Gopinath hadn’t eaten the offering after he had imitated how his father offered the bhoga, he became very worried. Ultimately he simply requested Gopinath with tears in his eyes: “Please eat! Eat!” Gopinath became completely subjected by Raghunandan’s simple request, which was made entirely in love, and thus he stealthily ate up everything without leaving any remnants.
After some time Raghunandan’s father, Mukunda, returned and asked his son if he had done as he was told. When his son replied “Yes”, then Mukunda asked him to bring some of the prasadam. Raghunandan replied, “Prasadam? I offered everything just like you told me, and Gopinath ate everything; so what should I bring you now?” Mukunda was completely taken aback. “This boy is not naughty and is always accustomed to speak the truth. I doubt if he could have eaten everything. I wonder what actually happened?”
“Musing on this matter in this way for some time, on another day his curiosity was so stirred tha
t he again requested Raghunandan to offer the bhoga to Gopinath on that day. On this day however, having gone out of the house, he again came in by another way and remained hiding in one place. Raghunandan was very happy to be able to serve Sri Gopinathji again and brought everything into the deity room. As before, he again very insistently persuaded Gopinath to take his meal. As Gopinath had eaten half of a laddu, he espied Mukunda peering out from his hiding spot. He didn’t try to cover up the fact that he had eaten what he had, but neither did he eat anymore. Seeing all this Mukunda was completely immersed in ecstatic love and picked up his son and put him on his lap. He extolled his virtues in a voice trembling with ecstasy, all the while torrents of tears of joy falling from his eyes. Even today, those who are greatly fortunate can still see that half-eaten laddu in Gopinatha’s lotus hand. Thus Sri Uddhava das sings the glories of Raghunandan, who is nondifferent from Madan (Cupid).”
The festival held by Narottama Thakura and Srinivasa Acarya in Kheturi was attended by Sri Raghunandana, who performed kirtana there. Once Sri Abhirama Gopala Thakura and Sri Raghunandana Thakura were performing kirtana and dancing at Badadangi. While dancing, Sri Raghunandana Thakura’s anklet came off and fell into a pond at Akai-hati, which is located approximately 2/3 miles from Badadangi. Since then the pond has been known as “Nupura kunda”. At present the anklet is in the custody of the Mahantas of Badui village, south of Akai-hati.
Sri Raghunandana was Kandarpa manjari in Krsna lila and in Dvaraka lila was Kandarpa, the son of Sri Krsna. The descendants of Sri Kanai Thakura, the son of Sri Raghunandana are still in Srikhanda. Sri Pancanan Kaviraja of Srikhanda was born in this family. Sri Raghunandana was born in the Saka era of 1432. (GGD. 70; CC. 1.10.78; BRK. 13.177-179, 184)