The Supreme Personality of Godhead at Hapamuni


BY: SUN STAFF - 2.9 2019

Lord Visnu at Hapamuni

Among the many transcendental activities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were His famous traveling pastimes through the Jharikhanda forests of Madhya Pradesh. In Caitanya-caritamrta we read about the Lord's journey from Jagannath Puri to Mathura, and back again. While traveling in both directions, Mahaprabhu traversed the jungles of Jharkhanda, where He had engaged in His famous Sankirtana pastimes, which caused all the forest animals to dance in ecstasy to the sound of the Holy Name.

"After attending the Ratha-yatra ceremony of Sri Jagannatha, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu decided to start for Vrndavana. Sri Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami selected a brahmana named Balabhadra Bhattacarya to personally assist Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Early in the morning before sunrise, the Lord started for the town of Kataka. North of Kataka, He penetrated a dense forest and visited many tigers and elephants, whom He engaged in chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Whenever He had a chance to visit a village, He would beg alms and acquire some rice and vegetables. If there were no village, He would cook whatever rice remained and collect some spinach from the forest to eat. In this way the Lord passed through the jungle of Jharikhanda and finally reached Varanasi.

The Lord took His bath at the Manikarnika-ghata at Varanasi. Prakasananda Sarasvati, the leader of the Mayavadi sannyasis, made various accusations against the Lord. In reply, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that they were offenders and that one should not associate with them. In this way the Lord bestowed His blessings upon the brahmana. The Lord visited the twelve forests of Vrndavana and was filled with great ecstatic love. As He toured the Vrndavana forests, He heard the chirping of parrots and other birds."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 17

And in Madhya lila 25, we read:

"After causing all the sannyasis of Varanasi to become devotees, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, before returning to His headquarters at Jagannatha Puri, advised Sanatana Gosvami to go to Vrndavana. The Lord then departed for Jagannatha Puri. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Jagannatha Puri through the great forest of Jharikhanda in central India."

Lord Caitanya's travels through Jharikhanda also took Him to the ancient village of Hapamuni, which is situated in Ghaghara district, approximately 12 km. north of Gumla. Long before Sri Caitanya's visit to Hapamuni, a Mahamaya temple had been constructed there by Gajghat Ray, the 22nd King of the Naga dyanasty of Chhotanagpur, and the son of Raja Mohan Ray. King Gajghat Ray ruled from 869 to 905 AD. Once constructed, the King handed the temple over to the care of his guru, Harinath, who was a Rashtrakuta (Marathi) brahmin.

Mahamaya Temple, Hapamuni

Many years later, sometime between 1391 and 1401 A.D., another Naga king, Raja Shivdasa Karn, installed a Deity of Lord Visnu at the Mahamaya temple, making it forever the heart and soul of Hapamuni. Later still, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited this place, and undoubtedly took darshan of the presiding Deity, Lord Visnu, at His transcendental abode in Jharikhanda.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Himself the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His mood as the perfect devotee, thus engaged in the inconceivably glorious pastimes of visiting Himself, in His Deity forms as both Lord Jagannath and Lord Visnu, traveling back and forth through the forests of Jharikhanda along the way. Is it any wonder the animals of Jharikhanda were dancing in ecstasy?

Devi Mahamaya

As reported in the Ranchi Gazetteer, it appears that some of the local tribals destroyed the original temple at Hapamuni during the Kolh rebellion against their enemies, the Diku. A song by Virmu Ram also memorializes this event. History has it that the local citizens were not against the Mahamaya temple on account of their religion, but rather the destruction of the temple was an unfortunate result of the local fighting.

The ruins of this temple still stand today, near the present Mahamaya Temple.

Temple Ruins at Hapamuni, Ghaghara District of Jharkhanda