Sivananda Sena, the twenty-fourth branch of the tree of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was an extremely confidential servant of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Everyone who went to Jagannatha Puri to visit Lord Caitanya took shelter and guidance from Sri Sivananda Sena.
Sivananda Sena was a resident of Kumarahatta, which is also known as Halisahara, and was a great devotee of the Lord. About one and a half miles from Kumarahatta is another village, known as Kancadapada, in which there are Gaura-Gopala Deities installed by Sivananda Sena, who also established a temple of Krishnaraya that is still existing. Srila Sivananda Sena was a great householder. He was the father of Paramananda Sena, who was also known as Puri dasa or Kavi-karnapura. Paramananda Sena wrote in his Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (176) that two of the gopis of Vrindavana, whose former names were Vira and Duti, combined to become his father.
Srila Sivananda Sena guided all the devotees of Lord Caitanya who went from Bengal to Jagannatha Puri, and he personally bore all the expenses for their journey. This is described in the Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila, Chapter Sixteen, verses 19 through 27. Srila Sivananda Sena had three sons, named Caitanya dasa, Ramadasa and Paramananda. As mentioned above, this last son later became Kavi-karnapura and wrote the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika. His spiritual master was Srinatha Pandita, who was Sivananda Sena’s priest. Due to Vasudeva Datta’s lavish spending, Sivananda Sena was engaged to supervise his expenditures.
This great devotee joined the unmanifest pastimes of the Lord on the second day of the bright fortnight in the month of Ashadha. His samadhi is in the 64 Samadhis Area.
Mahaprabhu blessed Sivananda’s son – Kavi Karnapura
After spending four months in the Lord’s association, the devotees from Bengal were preparing to leave when Mahaprabhu told Sivananda that he should name his next son Puri dasa.
Sivananda became very happy and with the blessings of Mahaprabhu, returned to Gauda.
After a few months a son was born and the astrologer gave him the name Paramananda.
The next year Sivananda and the devotees visited Puri. As usual Sivananda arranged for their boarding and food and the devotees eventually arrived in the presence of the Lord. Along with the devotees, Sivananda happily participated in singing and dancing before the Ratha of Sri Jagannatha Deva. One day Sivananda and his wife came to Mahaprabhu and the little child fell down at the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu and fixed his eyes on the reddish feet of the Lord. A bit amused, Mahaprabhu gently placed His toe in front of the little boy, who began to suck the toe with great pleasure.The devotees present were filled with joy and began chanting the holy name.This child later became the poet Kavi Karnapura Gosvami.
Once Lord Caitanya appeared within the body of Nakula Brahmacari at Ambika.Upon hearing this Sivananda went to Ambika but instead of meeting Nakula, he remained hidden.Hoping to test the authenticity of Nakula brahmacari, Sivananda thought “If that brahmacari calls me by name and speaks out my Istamantra, then I will be convinced that the omniscient Lord Gauranga has truly entered his body. It happened as Sivananda desired; the brahmacari called him and spoke out his Istamantra.
Lord Caitanya accepts prasada at Sivananda’s house
Once Lord Caitanya, without manifesting Himself physically, partook of food presented by Nrsimhananda in the house of Sivananda. Not having personally seen the Lord, Sivananda was uncertain of this incident. However, the next year when visiting the Lord in Puri, Lord Caitanya mentioned the time which He had come to accept prasada at Sivananda’s house, thus clearing up Sivananda’s doubts.
Sons of Sivananda Sena
Omniscient Lord Gauranga satisfies Sivananda
Sri Sivananda Sena actually experienced Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s features of sakshat, avesa and avirbhava. He once took along a dog while on his way to Jagannatha Puri, and it is described in the Antya-lila, First Chapter, that this dog later attained salvation by his association.
Caitanya dasa, the eldest son of Sivananda Sena, wrote a commentary on Krishna-karnamrita that was later translated by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his paper Sajjana-toshani. According to expert opinion, Caitanya dasa was the author of the book Caitanya-carita (also known as Caitanya-caritamrita), which was written in Sanskrit. The author was not Kavi-karnapura, as is generally supposed. This is the opinion of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Sri Ramadasa was the second son of Sivananda Sena. It is stated in the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (145) that the two famous parrots named Daksha and Vicakshana in krishna-lila became the elder brothers of Kavi-karnapura, namely Caitanya dasa and Ramadasa. Karnapura, the third son, who was also known as Paramananda dasa or Puri dasa, was initiated by Srinatha Pandita, who was a disciple of Sri Advaita Prabhu. Karnapura wrote many books that are important in Vaishnava literature, such as the Ananda-vrindavana-campu, Alankara-kaustubha, Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika and the great epic Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka.
Nityananda Prabhu Punishes Shivananda
Sivananda, however, was extremely happy and said, “Lord, at last I know that you have accepted this wretched soul as Your servant.
Once while going to Jagannatha Puri, all the devotees had to stay underneath a tree, without the shelter of a house or even a shed, and Nityananda Prabhu became very angry, as if He were greatly disturbed by hunger. Thus He cursed Sivananda’s sons to die. Sivananda’s wife was very much aggrieved at this, and she began to cry. She very seriously thought that since her sons had been cursed by Nityananda Prabhu, certainly they would die. When Sivananda later returned and saw his wife crying, he said, “Why are you crying? Let us all die if Sri Nityananda Prabhu desires.” When Sivananda Sena returned and Srila Nityananda Prabhu saw him, the Lord kicked him severely, complaining that He was very hungry, and asked why he had not arranged for His food.