Siddha Bakula

Siddha Bakula is located near Gambhira Temple on Bali Sahi road. Siddha Bakula is the bhajana kutir of Haridasa Thakur, the place where he chanted 3,00,000 names of Krishna daily.

There is a small temple featuring a murthi of namacarya Srila Haridas Thakura in a sitting pose chanting japa. The site has extraordinary bakula tree winding and climbing around the courtyard. Tree looks like it exploded or it appears like petrified wood; completely dead. Yet it is wonderfully flourishing with lush green leaves and fragrant flowers. In another temple altar is Sadbhuja Gauranga (six-armed Gauranga) in the middle and Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acarya. There is also a Deity of Lord Narasimhadeva.

Devotees from Gaudadesa came to Puri to see Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during Ratha-yatra. Mahaprabhu welcomed everyone as they arrived in Puri, but He could not see Haridasa. Haridasa had not approached Mahaprabhu, but rather had stayed on the main street, offering his obeisances from afar. The devotees came to Haridasa to inform him that the Lord was asking for him. Haridasa replied, “I am fallen and low-born. I am not qualified to go near the temple. If I can get some place in the garden then I will spend my time there chanting. I do not want the servants of Jagannatha to touch my body. They will be contaminated by touching me”.

Devotees went to Mahaprabhu and told Him these things. Mahaprabhu was very happy to hear of the humility of Haridasa.

At that time Kashi Mishra and the superintendent of the temple came to meet Mahaprabhu. They had arranged accommodation and prasadam for all the devotees who had come from Gaudadesha. Mahaprabhu said to Kashi Mishra. “Near my place there is a flower garden. In this garden there is one solitary house. Can you give Me that house?”

Kashi Mishra replied, “My Lord, everything belongs to You. Why do you have to ask me? Whatever You need just use it.”

Mahaprabhu then came to meet Haridasa. Haridasa was chanting the holy names in great ecstasy. And as soon as he saw Mahaprabhu, he immediately fell at the lotus feet of the Lord and offered his prostrated obeisances. Mahaprabhu picked him up and embraced him. Both were crying with great love for each other. Haridasa said, “O, Lord! Do not touch me. I am fallen, low-class, an untouchable and the greatest sinful person.”

Mahaprabhu said, “I am touching your body that I may become purified. I am not pure as you. At every moment you are taking bath in all tirthas. At every moment you are performing yajna, tapa and charity. Constantly you study the vedas. You are more pure than brahmanas and sannyasis.”

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then took Haridasa Thakura to flower garden behind His own room and requested Haridasa, “Remain here and chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. I shall personally come here to meet you daily. Remain here peacefully, and look at the cakra on top of Lord Jagannath’s temple and offer obeisances. As far as your prasadam, I shall arrange to have that sent here.”

In order to provide shade for Thakur Haridasa, Sri Chaitanya planted a used tooth stick of Lord Jagannath. All of a sudden it grew up and appeared as a great shade tree. Rupa Gosvami recited Lalitha Madhava and Vidagdha Madhava under this tree before Sri Gauranga and his followers. During his stay Sanatana Gosvami lived with Haridasa Thakur here. Haridasa Thakur left his body here and Lord Chaitanya danced in ecstasy here.

In course of time, in order to construct Lord Jagannath’s Rathayatra cart, the then Gajapati Maharaja ordered his officers to cut down the tree here. The next morning the royal officers found the tree hollow and returned without cutting it. The main branch of the tree is petrified, stone to the touch. This is the part that was transformed, so the king would not take it.