Vamsidasa Babaji was a siddha-mahatma in the disciplic succession of Sri Narottama Thakura. The name of his diksa-guru was Harilal Vrajavasi and the name of his vesa-guru was Ramananda Vrajavasi. But it was difficult to know that he was siddha, because he lived far away from the world in a solitary place on the bank of Ganga near Baral Ghata in Navadvipa, as if he was renounced by the world, as an idiotic and worthless destitute. But the fact is that it is not the world that had renounced him, but he, who had renounced the world as worthless. He hardly had any worldly possessions. His only possessions were an old kaupina, karanga and kantha. Once Sripada Haridasa Gosvami asked him why he did not wear bahirvasa. He replied, “I live only with ka, which means kaupina, karanga and kantha. I have nothing to do with ba”, which means bahirvasa or outer garment. Bahirvasa brings relationship with the outer world and the people, who are bahiranga, that is those, who are attached to the outer world. My Gaura has asked me not to wear bahirvasa and mix with people who are bahiranga."
Vamsidasa Babaji lived in a world of his own. His world centered round his deities-Gaura-Gadadhara, Nitai, Radha-Krishna and Gopala. For the service of these deities he had two brass pots, some earthen pots, one plate, one glass, some small cups, panca patra, bell and conch-shell and nothing else. Baba passed day and night in the service of the deities and in sweet talks with Them. Early in the morning he went out from his kuti to collect flowers. Then he went for bhiksa. He returned to the kuti about noon and made garlands from the flowers for each of the six deities. After that he started cutting vegetables. He washed each vegetable a number of times. Then he cleaned rice. He examined each grain of rice. If he found any grain from which the husk was not removed, he removed it with his own hand. He did everything slowly, contemplating all the time the lila of Radha-Krishna or Gaura-Nitai, and singing or talking to Them. It was only late in the evening that he could cook and offer bhoga to the deities. He had no consciousness of time. Morning and evening, day and night had no meaning for him. Almost the whole night he kept awake, talking and singing.
Once Sripada Haridasa Gosvami was surprised to see him cooking for the deities at about 9 a.m. He said to him, "Baba! It would be fine, if you prepare bhoga for the deities like this in the morning everyday." He replied, "I do not know morning or evening. Am I their father's servant so to feed them at appointed hours? If They want to eat like that, let Them make Their own arrangements for cooking. Let Gadadhara cook for Gaura. Nitai is avadhuta. He has no caste. He can go and eat anywhere. I do not worry about my Gopala. A milch-cow comes here everyday and gives Him milk. He can live on that. I have to worry about Radha-Krishna. For Them I will have to cook a little rice and vegetables. If I don't, They will go to Vmdavana and do madhukari. "
Vamsidas Baba never locked the door of his kuti when he went out for bhiksa or to bathe in the Gariga. If someone asked him why he did not lock the kuti, he said, "If the owner of the house Himself does not keep a watch and has a soft corner for the thief, what is the use of locking the house? I do not even keep the keys of the lock with me. The lock has three keys. All the three are with the three boys. One is with Gaura, one with Nitai and one with Gadadhara." After entrusting the lock and the keys to the three boys, Baba used to be free from anxiety. If while he was out a cow entered the kuti and turned everything topsy turvy, he would be angry with the boys. If some one stole something from the kuti he would say, "Gaura has a soft c
orner for Nadiyavasis, the residents of His own Dhama. Therefore He gives things away to them. I am after all an outsider." Once a gold necklace, given by someone to Gaura, was stolen, when he had gone out for bhiksa. On returning to the kuti he kept on scolding Gaura and asking Him whom He had given away the necklace, for about two hours. Towards the evening he got a hint. He then went to the house of the theif and asked him for the necklace. The thief pushed him down the verandah of his house. He was hurt. But he did not say anything. But how could Gaura tolerate this? The thief soon died as well as all the other members of his family.
Once Baba had to punish Gaura-Nitai for Their connivance in a theft. The two brass-pots, in which Baba' used to cook for Gaura-Nitai were stolen. How could this happen without the connivance of Gaura-Nitai? So They were punished. Baba scolded Them and did not give Them anything to eat that day. The punishment had its effect The next day someone came quietly and delivered one of those pots. Baba said, "This small pot is Nitai's. He will be fed today. If Gaura wants to eat, He must also bring His pot." Baba always did what he said. He cooked and offered bhoga to Nitai. Gaura drew a long face as He kept looking at Nitai eating. In the meantime another man came and delivered the other pot. Baba then cooked in that pot and offered bhoga to Gaura. When Gaura also had eaten, he said with tears in his eyes, "Do I ever want to punish You? But both of You are so naughty that You must always tease me. You do not know that I have now become old and cannot bear it all. What can I do?"
It is difficult to understand what bhava Vamsidasa Baba had towards Gaura. It sometimes appeared to be sakhya (friendly), sometimes vatsalya (parental) and sometimes madhura, like that of a Nadiya-nagari (lady of Nadiya) towards Gaurariga as Nadiya-nagara (an attractive citizen of Nadiya). If it was basically madhura, it is easy to understand that he sometimes exhibited vatsalya-bhava towards Him and sometimes sakhya, because madhura-bhava includes all other bhavas. According to Haridasa Gosvami his bhava was of Nadiyanagari type, because he used to compose songs of this bhava and sing. He has quoted some of these songs. Two of them are reproduced below:
Towards the end of his life Baba once went to his birth place Majitpur in district Maymansinha. He carried the deities with him. On the way he neither ate, nor slept, nor passed stool or urine. On reaching Majitpur he stayed in a dilapidated temple. After that he went to Vrndavana and Puri. In Vrndavana he stayed on the bank of Yamuna, in Puri on the bank of Narendra Sarovara. He never went inside a temple for darsana. During these travels the sadhus of the Gaudiya Matha rendered great service to him.
kena giya chilama ganga-tire o nagari |
nyana kataksa bane gaura kaila mana churi ||
ami ekhana ki kari o nagari ki kari ||
“O Nagari! How I repent having gone to the bank of Ganga.
Gaura cast a side long glance at me and stole my heart
What shall I do now, O Nagari! What shall I do?”
bala go nagari gaura kallena ki ||
grha gela kula gela mana kela curi |
sajani! ekhana ami ki kari ||
nayana kone, kane kane gaura kallena ki |
ami je prana mari gaura kallena ki ||
“Tell me O Nagari what Gaura has done to me,
He winked and whispered and did,
I do not know what to me.
O Sakhi! Now I know not what to do,
Life is running out of me.
O! What has Gaura done to me?”
Nothing is known about Baba's life as a householder, except that he was married at an early age and his son Haracandra was nine or ten years old when he renounced the world. He went to Navadvipa about the year 1906. The author once tried to see him in 1932, but could not, because the door of his kuti was closed, though he could hear him talking to the deities in Maymansinha dialect. He l
eft the world in 1944.