'Śrīpāṭa Denuḍa' is a rare article written by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura which was published in Viṣṇupriyā Patrikā, Vol.2 issue 6 in 1890. The Ṭhākura describes a visit to the bhajana-sthālī of Śri Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura in Śrīpāṭa Denuḍa, and sees the dilapidated condition of this holy place.
(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)
One day, during the course of our work, we went to Denuḍa-grāma. The village is not so small. Many bhadra-loka (refined people) live in the village. Wide pathways, ponds and temples to the Devas were visible to our eyes. One gentleman who resided in the village carefully took us all to Śrī Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura’s place of bhajana. It was a permanent brick building, with a pond in front of it. The building is almost in ruins. The pool is almost dry. The mahāntas of that place said that there are two Deities of Śrī Śrī Gaurāṅga-Nityānanda were installed by Śrī Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura, and had been in this building for a long time. There was also the bhajana-pīṭha of Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura.
As the building was about to collapse in a few days, the mahāntas have placed the two Deities in a thatched cottage on the other side of the pond. They further explained that the name of the pond is ‘Yamunā.’ We went to the other side of the pond and took darśana of the Deities in the thatched cottage. Just in front of the cottage, the village dignitary Śrīyuta Ambikā Caraṇa Brahmacārī Mahāśaya took out two books and kept them with us. We opened the two books with bhakti and saw that one book was Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata and the other was the Tenth Canto of the Bhāgavata in Sanskrit. Brahmacārī Mahāśaya said that this Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata was handwritten by Śrī Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura himself. The letters are long prose, like the writings of a brāhmaṇa paṇḍita. There was no name or year on it. A few pages are missing. The Tenth Canto of the Bhāgavata is written on palm leaves. Brahmacārī Mahāśaya said that the local story is that Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu gave this book to Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura. This book was written by the hand of Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita Prabhu and the small commentary contained in it was written by the divine hand of Śrī Śrī Mahāprabhu. As soon as we heard these words, we tried to read the book with special eagerness. The handwriting is extremely complex; it is hard to read. I was able to read some of it. The text is extremely old. I do not understand at what time Dasā Ṭhākura acquired this book. The letters in the commentary are very small and unclear. There is no proof that this is the handwriting of Mahāprabhu. Anyhow, we offered our daṇḍavats to those two books.
In this village there is a Deity of Śrī Śrī Gopīnātha. Brāhmaṇas of the lineage of Śrī Keśava Bhāratī are His servants. The mahāntas of Śrī Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura are from the kāyastha dynasty. They said that their ancestor was a disciple of Dāsa Ṭhākura.
We are extremely sad to see the state of the place of Śrī Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura – who descended and took shelter or Śrī Mahāprabhu’s tāmbūla remnants* in order to nourish the Lord’s līlā, who in his previous form, composed Āryan books such as the eighteen Mahā-Purāṇas, the Mahābhārata, Vedānta-sūtra etc. to spread auspiciousness in the world, who taking birth from the womb of Śrī Nārāyaṇī, followed the path of brahmacarya, and described the Names and līlā of Śrī Śrī Gaurāṅga-Nityānanda in the book Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata which has fully satisfied the Vaiṣṇava world – is it proper that his residence should be like this?
* Translators Note: Tāmbūla is betel-leaf and nuts. Once, Mahāprabhu distributed the remnants of His flower garland and chewed betel nuts to the devotees. The nice of Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura, Nārāyaṇī, received some, and she later gave birth to Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura.
O descendants of Śrī Uddhāraṇa Dāsa Ṭhākura,* you gentlemen that resemble Kuvera, the vyāsa-pīṭha of the Gaura avatāra may soon take on a beautiful form if you cast your glance there. Dāsa Ṭhākura’s place of bhajana can be improved at a very low cost. It seems that it will not take more than two thousand coins to renovate the dilapidated building and repair the Śrī Yamunā pond. At such a low cost as this, you can maintain your everlasting fame. Don’t delay! Go ahead! Śrī Śrī Mahāprabhu will bless you.
* Translators Note: The descendants of Uddhāraṇa Dāsa Ṭhākura are the gold merchant community.
The village of Denuḍa is under Mantreśvara police station in the Burdwan district. The village is seven krośas (12.5 miles) from Śrī Navadvīpa, and two krośas (3.6 miles) from Mantreśvara. And it will be about two krośas from the famous Kāigrāma. From Bhāgīrathī to Mṛjāpur via the Khaḍi river, it is possible to reach the Suṅtrā village ghāṭa in 5 hours through Nādana Ghāṭa. From there, Denuḍa is about one and a half krośas (2.3 miles). Considering the meaning of the word denuḍa, it is assumed that the word devanuta (‘worshipped by the Devas’) became corrupted to denuḍa. When Śrī Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura, the recipient of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu’s affection, manifested the service to Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda at this place, then this area became worshippable by the Devatās and obtained the name Devanuta – what is so astounding about this?