Tota Gopinatha temple
Sri Tota Gopinatha is exquisitely beautiful Deity of Lord Sri Krishna. Tota Gopinatha is also a most unique Deity because He is the only Krishna Deity in the world “sitting down”. Moreover, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu concluded His manifest pastimes here by entering the Gopinatha Deity.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ended His manifested pastimes in Jagannatha Puri by entering into the knee of the Tota Gopinatha Deity.This temple is located by a large white water tower in the Gaurbat Sahi area. It is five minute walk from the Chatak Parbat Purushottam Gaudiya Math temple. The sign on the door says “Shree Tota Gopinathjee,” and there are two stone lions by the door. It is 15 minute walk from Haridasa Thakura’s Samadhi.
Sri Tota Gopinatha graces the centre altar with Sri Radhika playing vina and Lalita sakhi playing flute on His left and right. Being deeply absorbed in syama-rasa – the mellow of satisfying all of Krishna’s conjugal desires – Radhika and Lalita-sakhi appear black. Holding Her kacchapi-vina, Srimati Radharani curiously stands in a three-fold bending form dancing in time with Her beloved syamam tri-bhanga-lalitam. The left altar features Lord Balaram with Revati and Varuni on His left and right. On right altar are Deities of Gaura-Gadadhara and Sri Sri Radha Madana-mohana installed by Mamu Thakura. He is the nephew of Sri Nilambara Cakravati, Lord Gauranga’s grandfather.
Tota Gopinatha has such a charismatic bewitching quality that draws one to His darshana over and over again. Srila Vrindavana Thakura extols His power: “Even an extreme atheist will be changed upon seeing the Deity of Gopinatha.”
At 7am during darshana time, upon request, the pujari can show a small golden streak on Gopinatha’s right knee where Mahaprabhu entered the Lord.
Appearance of Tota Gopinatha:
Gopinatha temple is situated in an area named Yamesvara Tota. While residing here in this peaceful garden of trees and creepers, Gadadhara Pandita recited Srimad Bhagavatam every afternoon. Mahaprabhu attended regularly and heard recount the stories of Dhruva and Prahlada Maharaj 100 times.
One day here, Sri Chaitanyadeva experienced immense separation from Krishna. Crying out, “Where us My Prananatha,” Gauranga started digging the earth to search of His Lord. Feeling the carved stone mukuta of a murthi below the ground, Gaurahari declared, “Gadai, I have found a most precious treasure here. Would you like to accept it?” Noticing the head of a murthi emerging from the sand, Gadadhara helped Gauranga uncover a most beautiful Deity of Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Mahaprabhu named the Deity, Gopinatha, and because He appeared in a garden (tota in Oriya) the devotees called Him, Tota Gopinatha. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu engaged Gadadhara Pandita in Gopinatha’s service by awarding him kshetra-sannyasa.
Why Tota Gopinatha is sitting down?
The Deity of Tota Gopinatha was previously in standing form and was being worshiped by Gadadhara Pandita. But after the departure of Mahaprabhu, Gadai (Gadadhara) felt devastated. His body got bent over from intense agony of separation from his beloved Gaura. Although he was only 47 years old, Gadadhara became lean and thin like an old man. Incapable of lifting his arms, Gadai could neither dress Tota Gopinatha nor offer Him chandana and flower garlands. Gadadhara thought it best to engage another pujari in worshiping the Lord. In a dream that night, Tota Gopinatha appeared and said, “Why do you want to engage another pujari in My seva? I only want you to serve Me.”
Gadadhara replied, “O Prananatha! Due to my condition, I can no longer stand up and serve You properly.” Lord Gopinatha said, “No, I insist that you alone serve Me. If you are finding difficulty, then from tomorrow I will become shorter.” Next morning when Gadadhara entered the Deity room to serve Gopinatha, he saw an amazing sight. The most merciful Lord had sat down in order to receive service from his hands.