The History Of Dahi Chida Festival
Panihati Dahi Chida festival is celebrated in West Bengal, near Kolkata in a village called Panihati on the shukla paksha of Trayodati date of Jyestha month because this was when of Sri Nityanand Prabhu and Srila Raghunathdas met. Till now, every devotee and pilgrim has celebrated this festival in Panihati. This is like a meeting of the Lord and the devotees. Sri Raghunath Das Thakur belonged to a well-to-do and rich family, but his only wish was to serve Lord Chaitanya in Jagannath Puri. This wish made him indifferent towards his family or its wealth. Lord Nityanand, who himself is a God, once came to Panihati and sat under a banyan tree near river Ganga surrounded by the devotees. Even though Raghunath Das Swami had already met Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he knew that without getting his guru’s blessings, one never gets the blessing of the Lord.
Yesye prasada bhagwat prasada, yasya prasada na gati kutopi
He knew that Lord Nityananda was the ultimate guru and avatar of Lord Balrama, and his blessings would be the utmost. With hesitation and some distance, he greeted Lord Nityananda. Nityananda’s counsellors told him about the arrival of Raghunath Das. As it is said Lord is interstitial, is everywhere and knows all about the devotees perfectly well. Lord recognized Raghunath Das’ true devotion. The Lord signalled at him and said, ” You are a thief. Now you have come to see me stealthily. Come here; I will punish you today.” Lord held him, kept his lotus feet over his head, and said, ” You are like a thief who, instead of coming near, is going far away from me. Now that I have a hold on you, I will punish you. As a punishment, you will have to prepare an event and, along with me, prepare a meal of Dahi Chida and serve it to all the devotees.” Through this, the Lord teaches that we cannot make the guru and the Lord happy without making Vaishnavas and devotees happy.
The Serving Towards The Lord Nityananda And Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
As instructed by the Lord, Raghunath Das prepared the meal of Dahi Chida with a lot of milk, curd, sugar, camphor, and banana. When it was served to Lord Nityananda, he invoked Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and served him as well. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared there and had his meal with joy. After that, the meal was served to all the devotees. Only some people could see Mahaprabhu, whereas others could not understand to whom Lord Nityananda was serving the meal with so much affection. Whoever heard about this occurrence, be it people from the nearby village or the devotee, saint, or pilgrim living on the other side of the river Ganga, everyone came to be a part of this event. People were sitting on the banks of the river Ganga and those who couldn’t find a place there sat on the river and happily got served as well.
Also Read:- Names of Lord Krishna
Why We Should Also Celebrate This Festival?
We, too, shall celebrate this meeting of The Lord and the devotees in the form of the Panihati Dahi Chida festival with much affection and devotion. We, too, should make our life meaningful by doing our best and engaging in the service of Vaishnavas and God. This festival is also known as the ‘dand’ festival. Many pilgrims celebrate this festival at Panihati in order to receive the Lord’s blessings. This festival is celebrated every year as the remembrance of Sri Nityanand Mahaprabhu’s courtesy bestowed upon Raghunath Das Goswami. From this, we learn that sometimes we make some spiritual efforts; we try to be receptive in devotion but fail. That’s why if we want to proceed in our devotion, the courtesy of our guru, the Lord’s pure devotee, the Lord’s representative, is of the utmost importance.
A Sweet Punishment To Srila Raghunath Das Goswami By Shri Nityanand Prabhu
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had various stories about this place. Sri Raghunath Das Goswami, one of the founders of the Gaudiye Sect, was born 550 years ago in 1495 near Saptgram in Krishnapur. His father, Govardhan Majudar, was a well-known landlord, but still, since childhood, Raghunath Das had no attachment to any worldly desire for money, wealth or fame. During his childhood, he got the company of a great saint like Hari Das Thakur, who used to tell him about the Lord’s name and tales and also told him all about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with his pure devotion; as a result, Hari Das Thakur started longing for God’s love and to meet Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and he did get the opportunity eventually. He wanted to give up everything and go to the abode of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but at that time, Mahaprabhu denied him and told him to go back home and assured him that God would release him from this worldly desire when the time was right. Time passed by, and after two years, Sri Nityanand Prabhu came to Panihati, and this was when Raghunath Das took permission from his father to go to Panihati to meet him.
Sri Nityanand Prabhu was sitting at the banks of the river Ganga under a banyan tree surrounded by his devotees. This was when Raghunath Das greeted him from a distance, but some devotees witnessed this and told Nityanand Prabhu about it and then Nityanand Prabhu called Raghunath Das and punished him for stealthily looking at him. The punishment was to prepare a meal of dahi chida for him and the devotees. Raghunath Das prepared the meal by soaking half the poha in milk and mixing it with mewa and butter in the remaining half. Every devotee present there was served the meal in two portions. After that, Sri Nityanand Prabhu invoked Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his meditation, and he stood upright when he appeared. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took some portion of the meal from each devotee and catered to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Nobody can comprehend Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s courtesy, and Raghunath Das Goswami was indeed fortunate enough that the Lord accepted his devotion. Till then, this delectable tale is celebrated in the form of Chida Dahi festival every year. In some temples of ISKCON, this day meal of Dahi Chida is distributed after the consecration of Sri Sri Nitya. So all of you also visit your nearest ISKCON temples on this important festival and enjoy it by participating.