Arati (Worship of Lord Chaitanya)

Introduction -Appearance & family
Shrila Narahari Sarkar Thakur is counted as one of Chaitanya’s branches on the desire tree of pure devotional service. By Mahaprabhu’s desire, he took birth in a physician (vaidya) family, blessing his family by so doing. He was the Lord’s chief associate amongst the residents of the village of Shrikhanda. The Shrikhanda railway station is in Burdwan district four miles west of Katwa. Narahari’s home is about one mile from the station.

Wonderful service to Lord Chaitanya & Nityananda
After their father passed away, Narahari’s older brother Mukunda arranged for him to study in Navadwip. It is said that Mukunda sometimes worked as the Shah’s family physician. Narahari quickly became very learned as well as a connoisseur of the flavors of devotional service. Before meeting Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shrila Narahari Sarakara had written many Sanskrit and Bengali songs glorifying the vraja rasa & pastimes of Radha-Giridhari. When Shrila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami was constantly by the Lord’s side, engaged in His service, Narahari had the good fortune to enter into His association. Narahari Sarkar Thakur’s special personal service was to please Lord Chaitanya by fanning the Lord with the chaamara or yaktail whisk.

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Mahaprabhu’s personal representative & the pioneer of the Krishna consciousness movement, confirmed this in his Gaura-arati:

narahari adi kare camara dhulay
saïjaya, mukunda, vasu ghosha adi gay

“ Narahari and the other residents of Shrikhanda fanned with the camara, while Sanjaya, Mukunda and Vasu Ghosh sang.”

Narahari Sarakara was the only devotee who had the adhikara (right) to do Gaura-kirtana in Gaurasundara’s (Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s) presence. Ordinarily, if anyone would praise Mahaprabhu in His presence, or chant His Holy Name, He would block His ears and call out “Visnu! Visnu!” Narahari, however, enjoyed the special privilege of being able to sing about Mahaprabhu in a very unique mood and with sweet descriptions of His transcendental beauty. 

Shri Shri Gaura Gadadhara Deities of Sarakara Thakura,
Vishakha Math, Puri).Chaitanya)
Shrila Narahari Sarakara wrote several books, including Bhakti-chandrika-patala, Shri-Krishna-bhajanamrita, Shri-chaitanya-sahasranama, Shri-Sachinandanashtaka, Shri-Radhashtaka, etc. All of these are well known and thought of highly by the devotees. Shrila Narahari Sarakara Thakura was as great a singer as he was a poet. He wrote many poems and songs in connection with the pastimes of Sri Gauranga and Sri Nityananda.

He has written a Sanskrit book of songs called Shri Krishna Bhajanamrtam, in which he teaches how to worship Shri Krishna, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu & Shri Nityananda Prabhu. A book of songs called Padakalpataru, describing intense separation from Sri Gauranga has been attributed to Narahari Sarakara Thakura, as have some other books. It is said, “Narahari composed many ambrosial nectarean songs that overflow with the sweetest devotion.” 

Samadhi of Shrila Narahari Sarakara,
 Radha Kund (near Govardhan, U.P.)
Narahari Sarakar Thakur also participated in the Lord’s activities in Puri. He and the other residents of Shrikhanda would come every year with Shivananda Sena (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.1.132). After His pilgrimage to South India, when He had saved so many people by giving them love for Krishna, Mahaprabhu returned to Puri when Nityananda sent his servant Kala Krishna Das back to Bengal to tell everyone of the Lord’s arrival. All the Devotees immediately made arrangements to go to Jagannath Puri to see the Lord. The Khanda-vasis were amongst their number.

Narahari Sarakara disappeared in around 1540 AD. [Not according to his descendants, who say that he lived 100 years until 1578 or so.] in the month of Agrahayan on the Krishna Ekadashi day. Shrinivas Acharya officiated at his funeral ceremony. Nityananda Prabhu’s son Virachandra Goswami and many other important Vaishnavas were in Shrikhanda to celebrate Narahari’s disappearance feast, which is described in Bhakti-ratnakara:

Some people said, “Brothers! Do not leave right away. An ocean of prema will flood over in Shrikhanda in a few days. On the thirteenth day of the waning moon of Agrahayan, when Narahari Thakur disappeared, a great festival will be held here.” (Bhakti-ratnakara 9.512-4)

Though not accessible, his samadhi is in Radha-kunda.