Lately I have been reading about saintly princesses like Mira Bai. Saintly princes are less common because they are more likely to engage in more violent activities like war and family fights. The problem with violence is that it usually brings more violence. At the end of the war, people talk and negotiate, which is something they should have done in the first place. Mira suffered because of war, but her solution was to go to the temple in Dwarka and the Dark One came for her once and for all. Women are the ones who live with the aftermath of war. They are the widows, tend the sick and disabled and build a new world afterwards. This is what makes them the saints of Hinduism: their ability to transcend and transform the misdeeds of others.
On June 21st we celebrate the Appearance Day of another saintly princess, affectionately known as Princess Sachi, daughter of King Naresh Narayan. Her birthplace is Puntiya in the modern day state of Bangladesh in the Rajashahi District. As a child she studied grammar, poetry and the Vedic Scriptures. The one she loved was Madana Gopala, Krishna.
Her parents tried to convince her to get married to some eligible, young prince, but she was not interested. While Mira Bai was forced to marry against her will, Princess Sachi was not forced to do so. It is always better to marry because you have found the right person and because you want to do so. Sometimes it's better to wait until later in life. Love can be a beautiful mystery sometimes. Something deeper happens in your heart that you can not explain, and you know it's the right time for you to marry.
In this case her parents died and she became responsible for governing the kingdom. She decided, after awhile, to ask relatives to govern instead because she wanted to visit holy places in the kingdom, including Jagannath Puri and Vrindavan. In Vrindavan she met Haridasa Pandit who was devoted to Lord Gaurganga and Nityananda. Haridasa became her Guru and she dressed in rages and begged for alms, having renounced her life as a princess. She slept near the Yamuna, swept the temple floor, had darshan and listened to Bhagavatam classes. Haridasa sent another devotee, Lakshmipriya, to live near her. Every day they would circumambulate Govandhana Hill, chanting the Lord's name. Then one day he told her to return to Jagannath Puri to continue her bhajan there and preach the teachings of Sri Chaitanya, who is thought to be by many to be an incarnation of both Radha and Krishna. I have a beautiful picture in my apartment of this vision of Radha and Krishna together surrounding Lord Chaitanya. He started the modern day movement of the chanting of the Maha Mantra and every time I see it I can feel their presence.
At Jagannath Puri she lived at Sarvabhauma's house and taught classes on the Srimad Bhagvatam and engaged in bhajan and worship of Damodara Salagram. Her classes became famous and the King of Puri, Mukuna Dev, attended her classes. Lord Jagannath came to him in a dream and told him to offer her a place on the banks of Sveta (White) Ganges River. The next day he decreed that a holy ghat be dedicated to Sri Sachidevi. She had a dream in which Lord Jagannath told her to bathe in the White Ganges on the day of Varuni-snana for Gangadevi wanted to meet her. On that day she was about to bathe when Gangadevi overflooded and carried her to the Jagannath Mandir. Thousands of devotees followed suit and bathed in the Ganges. The King woke up to all the noise and ordered that the temple gates be opened. Sachidevi was found in the temple and the priests and servants thought she was a thief who wanted to steal the temple ornaments. She was imprisoned for trial. Lord Jagannath appeared to the King in a dream and demanded he release her at once, have the priests and pandas ask her for forgiveness and that the King take initiation into the eighteen syllable Radha-Krishna Mantra. From this day forward she was called Gangamata Goswamini. Mahidhara Swami, a smarta-brahman, wanted to have darshan of her holy feet and on an auspicious day she initiated him into the ten syallable Radha-Krishna Mantra. He then preached the message of the Holy Name and the teachings of Lord Chaitanya in Bengal.
She became one of the greatest teachers of the Holy Name and the message of Lord Chaitanya and people throughout the centuries love to hear her wonderful story. It shows you the power of water to transform everyone's life story. To me water is the Goddess' drink which really has transformed my life. Walk by a river, lake, sea or ocean and you will be immediately healed of all your worries and energized to do good in the world.
JAI SHRI GANGAMATA GOSWAMINI!
JAI SHRI PRINCESS SACHI!