Badger, CA May 18, 2003
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[Just after the devotees sang Bhajahu Re Mana by Sri Govinda dasa Kaviraja, Srila Narayana Maharaja gave a short history of the author and also of Sri Ramacandra Kaviraja, the author's brother:]
ha ha prabhu sri acarya prabhu srinivasa
ramacandra-sanga mage narottama dasa.
["Be merciful, O Prabhu Srinivasa Acarya! Narottama dasa begs for the company of Ramacandra." (Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Doya Koro More, by Srila Narottama dasa Thakura)]
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Srila Narottama dasa Thakura prays, "Please give me the association of Ramacandra Kaviraja. Please place me with him."
Narottama dasa Thakura, Srinivasa Acarya, and Syamananda prabhu were associates. Srinivasa Acarya was an exalted acarya. Once he was sitting in an asrama, and nearby were a newly wedded girl and her husband. Approaching the asrama, the carriers of the wedding palanquins thought to stop there for water and cooling shade. They put the palanquins down there and took water. Seeing the wedding party, Srinivasa Acarya said, "This foolish person has obtained a poisonous black snake, and he is keeping it around his neck. That very snake will bite him and he will die, but he does not know this."
Hearing the words of Srinivasa Acarya, the bridegroom at once approached him and said, "What are you saying? I could not understand thoroughly." Srinivasa replied, "He who marries does not know that his wife is a black serpent - a very poisonous snake - and that she will bite him and he will die." The bridegroom's eyes were at once opened, and he told the palanquin carrier, "Return this girl to her father."
As the carrier then began returning the weeping girl to her father's house, that boy told Srinivasa Acarya, "I want to serve you forever. I am giving myself to you; my life is now in your hands." He later became known as Sri Ramacandra Kaviraja. He was a very elevated devotee, a realized soul.
Once, the brother of Ramacandra Kaviraja, named Durgadha, became very sick. Although several people tried to save his life by administering many medicines and by worshipping the demigoddess Durga, still, day by day his health was decreasing and he was now about to die. Ramacandra Kaviraja came to him and asked, "Why are you worshipping Durga? Why aren't you worshipping Krsna, Govinda? Take responsibility for yourself and chant 'Govinda' one-pointedly In this way you'll be cured, your life will be saved, and you'll be happy forever." Hearing this, Durgadha agreed: "Durga couldn't help me". He took initiation from his elder brother and gradually, in three or four days, his illness was cured and his health was restored as if by some magical effect, and he began to do bhajana under the guidance of his guru.
From then on Durgadha became known as Govinda dasa Kaviraja. He was an excellent writer and poet, and after he wrote "Bhajahu re mana, sri nanda-nandana abhaya-caranaravinda re," he sent it to Srila Jiva Gosvami. When Jiva Gosvami heard the bhajana of Govinda dasa Kaviraja, he appreciated it so much that he told him, "Continue to compose kirtanas like these. You are very qualified, so you should compose more and send them to me in Vrndavana." Srila Govinda dasa Kaviraja then composed many poems about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Radha-Krsna.
Abhaya-caranaravinda re. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada gave this name, Abhaya Caranaravinda, to Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.
Bhajahu re mana has been a favorite bhajana in our guru-parampara, and Srila Swami Maharaja used to sing this song, weeping and his heart melting. Bhajahu re mana, sri nanda-nandana abhaya-caranaravinda re. He was meeting with his own name, and he wept. We should also have strong faith in this: bhajahu re mana.
Every one of these songs has a history behind them.