Paramānanda Purī: Paramānanda Purī belonged to a brāhmaṇa family of the Trihut district in Uttara Pradesh. Mādhavendra Purī was his spiritual master. In relationship with Mādhavendra Purī, Paramānanda Purī was very dear to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya-khaṇḍa, there is the following statement:
- sannyāsīra madhye īśvarera priya-pātra
- āra nāhi eka purī gosāñi se mātra
- dāmodara-svarūpa paramānanda-purī
- sannyāsi-pārṣade ei dui adhikārī
- niravadhi nikaṭe thākena dui jana
- prabhura sannyāse kare daṇḍera grahaṇa
- purī dhyāna-para dāmodarera kīrtana
- yata-prīti īśvarera purī-gosāñire
- dāmodara-svarūpereo tata prīti kare
“Among his sannyāsī disciples, Īśvara Purī and Paramānanda Purī were very dear to Mādhavendra Purī. Thus Paramānanda Purī, like Svarūpa Dāmodara, who was also a sannyāsī, was very dear to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and was His constant associate. When Lord Caitanya accepted the renounced order, Paramānanda Purī offered Him the daṇḍa. Paramānanda Purī was always engaged in meditation, and Śrī Svarūpa was always engaged in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. As Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu offered full respect to His spiritual master, Īśvara Purī, He similarly respected Paramānanda Purī and Svarūpa Dāmodara.” It is described in the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya-khaṇḍa, Chapter Three, that when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu first saw Paramānanda Purī He made the following statement:
- āji dhanya locana, saphala āji janma
- saphala āmāra āji haila sarva-dharma
- prabhu bale āji mora saphala sannyāsa
- āji mādhavendra more ha-ilā prakāśa
“My eyes, My mind, My religious activities and My acceptance of the sannyāsa order have now all become perfect because today Mādhavendra Purī is manifest before Me in the form of Paramānanda Purī.” The Caitanya-bhāgavata further states:
- kathokṣaṇe anyo ’nye karena praṇāma
- paramānanda-purī caitanyera priya-dhāma
“Thus Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu exchanged respectful obeisances with Paramānanda Purī, who was very dear to Him.” Paramānanda Purī established a small monastery behind the western side of the Jagannātha temple, where he had a well dug to supply water. The water, however, was bitter, and therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu prayed to Lord Jagannātha to allow Ganges water to come into the well to make it sweet. When Lord Jagannātha granted the request, Lord Caitanya told all the devotees that from that day hence, the water of Paramānanda Purī’s well should be celebrated as Ganges water, for any devotee who would drink it or bathe in it would certainly get the same benefit as that derived from drinking or bathing in the waters of the Ganges. Such a person would certainly develop pure love of Godhead. It is stated in the Caitanya-bhāgavata (CC Antya 3.255):
- prabhu bale āmi ye āchiye pṛthivīte
- niścaya-i jāniha purī-gosāñira prīte
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to say, ‘I am living in this world only on account of the excellent behavior of Śrī Paramānanda Purī.’” The Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (118) states, purī śrī-paramānando ya āsīd uddhavaḥ purā. “Paramānanda Purī is none other than Uddhava.” Uddhava was Lord Kṛṣṇa’s friend and cousin, and in caitanya-līlā the same Uddhava became the friend of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His uncle in terms of their relationship in the disciplic succession.
Keśava Bhāratī: The Sarasvatī, Bhāratī and Purī sampradāyas belong to the Śṛṅgerī-maṭha in South India, and Śrī Keśava Bhāratī, who at that time was situated in a monastery in Katwa, belonged to the Bhāratī-sampradāya. According to some authoritative opinions, although Keśava Bhāratī belonged to the Śaṅkara-sampradāya, he had formerly been initiated by a Vaiṣṇava. He is said to have been a Vaiṣṇava on account of having been initiated by Mādhavendra Purī, for some say that he took sannyāsa from Mādhavendra Purī. The temple and Deity worship started by Keśava Bhāratī are still existing in the village known as Khāṭundi, which is under the postal jurisdiction of Kāndarā in the district of Burdwan. According to the managers of that maṭha, the priests are descendants of Keśava Bhāratī, and some say that the worshipers of the Deity are descendants of the sons of Keśava Bhāratī. In his householder life he had two sons, Niśāpati and Ūṣāpati, and a brāhmaṇa of the name Śrī Nakaḍicandra Vidyāratna, who was a member of the family of Niśāpati, was the priest in charge at the time that Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī visited this temple. According to some, the priests of the temple belong to the family of Keśava Bhāratī’s brother. Still another opinion is that they descend from Mādhava Bhāratī, who was another disciple of Keśava Bhāratī’s. Mādhava Bhāratī’s disciple Balabhadra, who also later became a sannyāsī of the Bhāratī-sampradāya, had two sons in his family life, named Madana and Gopāla. Madana, whose family’s surname was Bhāratī, lived in the village of Āuriyā, and Gopāla, whose family’s surname was Brahmacārī, lived in the village of Denduḍa. There are still many living descendants of both families.
In the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (52), it is said:
- mathurāyāṁ yajña-sūtraṁ purā kṛṣṇāya yo muniḥ
- dadau sāndīpaniḥ so ’bhūd adya keśava-bhāratī
“Sāndīpani Muni, who formerly offered the sacred thread to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, later became Keśava Bhāratī.” It is he who offered sannyāsa to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. There is another statement about Keśava Bhāratī from the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (117): iti kecit prabhāṣante ’krūraḥ keśava-bhāratī. “According to some authoritative opinions, Keśava Bhāratī is an incarnation of Akrūra.” Keśava Bhāratī offered the sannyāsa order to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the year 1432 śakābda (A.D. 1510) in Katwa. This is stated in the Vaiṣṇava-mañjuṣā, Part Two.
Brahmānanda Purī: Śrī Brahmānanda Purī was one of the associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu while He was performing kīrtana in Navadvīpa, and he also joined Lord Caitanya in Jagannātha Purī. We may note in this connection that the name Brahmānanda is accepted not only by Māyāvādī sannyāsīs but by Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs also. One of our foolish Godbrothers criticized our sannyāsī Brahmānanda Svāmī, saying that this was a Māyāvādī name. The foolish man did not know that Brahmānanda does not always refer to the impersonal Brahman. Parabrahman, the Supreme Brahman, is Kṛṣṇa. A devotee of Kṛṣṇa can therefore also be called Brahmānanda; this is evident from the fact that Brahmānanda Purī was one of the chief sannyāsī associates of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Brahmānanda Bhāratī: Brahmānanda Bhāratī went to see Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu at Jagannātha-dhāma. At that time he used to wear only a deerskin to cover himself, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu indirectly indicated that He did not like this deerskin covering. Brahmānanda Bhāratī therefore gave it up and accepted a loincloth of saffron color, as used by Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs. For some time he lived with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu at Jagannātha Purī.