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Gopinath and the half-eaten laddu: the story of Raghunandan Thakur

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raghunandan-feeding-gopinath-780x528.jpgToday is the disappearance day of Raghunandan Thakur.

Raghunandan was born in Shri Khanda, West Bengal, but he was a Brajwasi in his previous life. In fact, he was the incarnation of one of Shri Krishna’s sakhas. His father, Mukunda Das, was the incarnation of Vrinda Devi, the goddess of Vrindavan forest.

One day Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave Mukunda a half-chewed piece of His paan. Mukunda fed the prasad to his wife. The next day, on Vasant Panchami, Raghunandan was born.

Mukunda was a doctor. Once day around noon, when Raghunandan was still a small child, someone needed urgent medical treatment. Mukunda had to leave home quickly.

Mukunda prepared a plate of food for his beloved Deity, Gopinath, and offered it to him. He told his Raghunandan to keep an eye on the offering to make sure no mice or bugs crawled on Gopinath’s food, or that nothing else untoward happened.

“I will be back soon!” said Mukunda.

Raghunandan kept a close eye on Gopinath, expecting to see him eat his lunch. When Gopinath did not eat, Raghunandan got upset.

“Gopinath! Why won’t you eat? Do you only eat when my father feeds you? Don’t you love me at all?” saying this Raghunandan burst into tears.

Gopinath too started to cry and said, “O Raghu, don’t you know I am yours!”

“If you are mine, then please eat! You must be very hungry!” said Raghunandan.

“I am eating! See?” said Gopinath, and began to eat. Gopinath ate everything on his plate and did not leave a single crumb. Raghunandan was very happy.

When Raghunandan’s father returned home, he asked Raghunandan to bring him Gopinath’s prasad.

“Papa, there is nothing left! Gopinath ate it all,” said Raghunandan.

Mukunda was shocked. It seemed impossible that his son was telling the truth. But Raghunandan never lied. Mukunda decided to get to the bottom of the mystery by hook or by crook.

The next day, Mukunda pretended to go out again for some urgent business and asked Raghunandan to feed Gopinath again. But instead of leaving, he hid behind the door.

Mukunda watched intently as Raghunandan picked up a laddu from the plate and put it in the hand of Gopinath. “Eat, Lala, eat!” he said, and Gopinath took a big bite.

Just at that moment, Gopinath noticed Mukunda watching him from behind the door. He froze like a statue with the half-eaten laddu still in his hand.

Mukunda was overwhelmed and he embraced his son, kissing him again and again as tears of joy flowed from his eyes.

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once asked Mukunda, who is the father, you or Raghunandan? Mukunda said, certainly Raghunandan is my father, and I am his son, for I have learned so much from him about bhakti.

When Raghunandan was eight years old, his father took him to see Mahaprabhu in Nilachal (Jagannath Puri). As soon as Raghunandan bowed at Mahaprabhu’s feet, this beautiful verse spontaneously flowed from his mouth:

“O my Golden Gauranga! How sweet is your form, from which hundreds of streams of lustre flow. Even Cupid feels jealous of your beauty, by which you easily steal the heart of anyone who sees you even once. Please bless me that the image of you in your dancing pose remains in my heart forever.”

Mahaprabhu and his divine associates were amazed and blessed the child.

By Mahaprabhu’s orders, Raghunandan served Gopinath till the end of his life. Due to his great devotion, at least two flowers bloomed every day on the kadamb tree in his yard, even though kadamba flowers only bloom in the rainy season. He would offer these special flowers to Gopinath.

Once a great Vaishnav named Abhiram Goswami came to have darshan of Raghunandan. The two great souls embraced when they met and started to dance in ecstasy. One of Raghunandan’s anklets flew off his foot as he danced, and landed near the house of his disciple Krishna Das in Akaihat some two miles away. A Kund appeared on the spot where it landed. The Kund was named Nupur Kund, and it can still be seen even today.

Raghunandan left this world whilst singing kirtan in the company of saints.

Sadly, Gopinath of Srikhanda was kidnapped (stolen by robbers) on October 27th 1987. It is unknown where he is now. This image was published in the yearly magazine Dhimahi by Shri Jeevsharan Das Babaji, the Mahant of Ekchakra Nityananda Janmasthan (Birthplace of Nityananda Prabhu).

If anyone has any information pertaining to the location of Raghunandan’s beloved Gopinath, please contact us on private message.


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