Sri Gadadhara dasa Thakura previously lived at Navadwip. When the Lord went to live at Nilacala Sri Dasa Gadadhara also there to be with Him. Later on Mahaprabhu sent him back with Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Bengal. He first stayed at Eriyadahagram, which is situated on the banks of the Ganges. Then he spent some time in Navadwipa, taking care of Saci Mata and Visnupriya, but after their disappearance he came to live at Katwa, where Mahaprabhu had accepted sannyasa from Kesava Bharati.
He was a very confidential associate of Sri Sri Gaura-Nityananda. In Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika it is stated that he is an incarnation of the effulgence of Srimati Radharani’s body, as well as an expansion of Purnananda gopi. Though he was one of the associates of Nityananda Prabhu, the majority of whom were cowherd boys and thus situated in the mellow of friendship, he was always absorbed in the mood of a gopi.
Once, as he was carrying a pot of Ganges water on his head, he called loudly, “Who wants to buy some milk?” Sometimes he would say, “Here is some first class yogurt. Whoever wants to buy some, come here.” Calling out like this, he would then laugh very loudly.
When Mahaprabhu instructed Nityananda Prabhu to preach in Bengal, He sent Sri Rama dasa and Sri Gadadhara dasa along with Him. [C.C. Adi 11.13,14]
One day Nityananda Prabhu came to Dasa Gadadhar’s temple at Eriyadahagram. In the temple was a very beautiful Deity of Sri Bala Gopala, which Nityananda Prabhu carefully picked up from the altar. While holding Him against His chest, He began to dance in ecstasy. When all of the devotees saw that Gopala had taken shelter of the heart of Sri Anantadeva, they made the heavens resound with the vibrations of “Hari! Hari!” Nityananda Prabhu, who was very robust and heroic, then began to roar very loudly while engaging in His ecstatic dance with Gopalaji.
Then Madhavananda Ghosa began to sing some songs describing Krsna’s dan-lila (from Dan-keli-Kaumadi). Hearing his sweet voice and the poetic descriptions of Krsna’s dan-lila, Nityananda exhibited all of the ecstatic symptoms within His body simultanously as He danced like one intoxicated. The gestures He exhibited while dancing were like slashes of lightning; His limbs moved with unparalleled grace. His expressive eye movements, His sweet smiling and eruptive laughter, and the shivering and quaking of His head, provided a feast for the devotees’ eyes and ears. Bringing His two beautiful lotus feet together, He would then jump in such a way as to completely captivate ones mind. Whomever He would look at would find themselves floating in an ocean of the mellows of love of Krsna, and by His merciful glance they forgot about the existence of their physical body. The level of devotion that is sought by great yogis and munis was attained that day by the ordinary men and women of that place, as they relished the remnants of Lord Nityananda’s love for Krsna.
Someone as fat as an elephant becomes so thin and weak if he fasts for three days that he can barely walk. However, by the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, one small child of that village didn’t eat anything for one month, yet his movements and behavior were like those of a lion. Such was the mysterious influence of Nityananda Prabhu, though no one could understand His activities due to the Lord’s yogamaya potency. Nityananda Prabhu thus enjoyed various pastimes at the temple of Gadadhar dasa Thakura.
In Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Sri Vrindavana dasa Thakura has described the glories of Dasa Gadadhara in this way: “Nityananda Prabhu was personally present within the body of Sri Gadadhara das; such are his glories.”
Amongst Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s associates, no one wanted to go near the Mohammedan Kazi for fear that he might lose his caste. Simply by looking at the face of a Mohammedan, a Hindu would lose his name in society. It was Dasa Gadadhara who had the power to influence the notorious Kazi, and so he bestowed his merciful glance upon him. Even at their first meeting, he was able to lift that Kazi beyond the limits of his caste and creed, and thus those limitations completely fell away.
One day Sri Gadadhara dasa Thakura, intoxicated in ecstatic love while chanting the Holy Names of Hari, came to the house of the Kazi at Eriyadahagram and began to call him. The Kazi, in a fit of anger, came storming out of his internal apartment, but upon seeing the transcendentally serene appearance and mood of Dasa Gadadhara Prabhu, he became stunned. His anger softened and his expression became friendly. The Kazi inquired, “Thakur, why have you come just now?”
Dasa Gadadhara Thakura answered, “I should like to have a few words with you.”
“Yes, whatever you have to say, just speak up.”
“Sri Sri Gaura-Nityananda have appeared on this earth to distribute the nectar of the Holy Names to all classes of men, from the highest to the lowest, even to the most sinful, despicable persons. Why haven’t you accepted this sweet treat? Why haven’t you taken up the chanting of these nectarean Holy Names?”
“We’ll accept it tomorrow.”
“Why tomorrow?! Today you should accept. I have come here today to deliver you from the depths of ignorance and sin by the power of these Holy Names. So you please take this supremely auspicious Harinama. I will deliver you from all your sinful activities this very day.”
Having listened to Gadahara dasa Thakura’s sweet speech, the Kazi
became a little bewildered. He began to laugh and said, “Tomorrow I’ll say Hari.”
When he heard the two syllables ‘ha’ and ‘ri’ emanate from the Kazi’s mouth, Dasa Gadadhara Thakura became overwhelmed in the happiness of ecstatic love and exclaimed, “Tomorrow?! Sir, you said Hari just now! All of your sins have fled far away. You have become supremely pure.” Saying this he began to dance in ecstasy.
The Kazi, having been purified by the transcendental vibration of Hari, took shelter at das Gadadhara Thakura’s lotus feet. In this way, das Gadadhara Thakura delivered many sinful, wicked yavanas and other such people.
He disappeared on the eighth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Kartik.
Eriyadaha gram is reached from Calcutta by bus from Esplanade. Gadadhara dasa Thakura’s samadhi-mandir and the samadhi of the hair of Lord Caitanya shaved off by the barber Madhi Sil when He accepted sannyasa are united within the same tomb at Kesava Bharati’s ashrama at Katwa.
Sri Dasa Gadadhara Thakura established a temple at the place where Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa, and the Deity of Lord Gauranga was personally installed by him. This deity is one of three Deities which were carved from one Nimba tree as per the order of Sriman Mahaprabhu, which he communicated to Narahari Sarkar Thakura and the bhakar (deity-maker) on the same night through the medium of their dreams. The next day, when the two met and learned that they had both had the same dream, they could understand that they should carry out the Lord’s instruction immediately. The other two Deities are at Sri Khanda. There is also a Deity of Balarama (Nityananda) who is about half the size of Mahaprabhu and who came later on. Thus the Deities here are known as Sri Sri Nitai-Gauranga.
There is a local anecdote concerning this Deity of Balarama. He is said to have once been worshiped by Mineketana Rama dasa, who used to carry this Deity of Balarama with him wherever he went. Mineketana Rama’s body was very strongly built, so he would carry Balarama upon a simhasana mounted on his back. The simhasana itself weighed perhaps twenty kilos. When he became somewhat advanced in years and it was difficult to carry the simhasana, he entrusted the worship of his Balarama to the pujari of Lord Gauranga here.
There is another story that claims that as Mineketana was a non-Bengali, his native tongue was a non-Bengali dialect. In his language, the word for hair was awa. Thus the name of the place where Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa became Katwa, literally meaning ‘cutting hair’ or ‘the place where Prabhu’s head was shorn of its beautiful locks.’ The previous name of this place was Kantak Nagar, supposedly given by Saci Mata. Kantak means thorn. The disciple of Dasa Gadadhara was Yadunandana Cakravarti. The present sevakas of this temple are his descendents. This is a very nice temple where many of the local people attend the arati ceremonies and classes on the devotional scriptures. There is a railway station at Katwa. From there one should go by ricksaw to Gauranga Bari.