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Shri Haridas Thakur
All glories, all glories to the friend of the fallen, Shri Gaursundor. All glories to the husband of Lakki debi. He is the Supreme Controller of everyone. All glories to He who descends on this earth to protect His devotees. All glories to His pastimes of sankirtan, the Truth for all time. All glories, all glories to Shri Gauranga in the company of His devotees. By hearing the topics concerning Lord Chaitanya (Chaitanya katha) one attains genuine devotion.
The pastimes of the Adikhanda are like streams of nectar, in which are contained the playful sports of Shri Gauranga, Who bewilders all living entities everywhere.
Thus the hero of Baikuntha, as a householder and the best of the brahmanas, continued to instruct His students though He descended to reveal loving devotion to the Lord. He left this purpose for the time being. This is His independent nature.
The entire world, at that time, was entirely devoid of real piety or any spiritual culture. Rather, everyone was affectionately engaged in the trifling and insignificant mellows of worldly affairs. Even those who sometimes taught BhagavadGita and Shrimad Bhagavatam, never themselves realized the importance of sankirtan and therefore, could not divulge this truth to others.
Only a handful of devotees would meet together, where in each others company they sang the Lord's kirtan while clapping their hands. Even at that, they became the brunt of so much joking;
"What do they hope to accomplish by yelling so loudly? I am that same Supreme Spirit! That is to say, the Supreme Being, that Supremely pure Entity is within me. Why do they think they are calling to Hari. I think this is simply a trick, the real purpose of which is to beg something to eat. We should break their houses and throw them away."
In this way, the inhabitants of Nadiya raised these points of 'reason' amongst themselves. The devotees, however, felt quite sad to hear these abusive remarks. They sought out some gentle and respectable persons to whom they could pour out their woes and receive in turn some amelioration, but nowhere were such persons to be found. Thus they saw this world as a great void and had no other recourse but to simply call out, "Ha Krishna!", while immersed in this vast, shoreless sea of sadness.
Just at this time, Shri Haridas arrived there, his form bearing the full manifestation of devotion to Lord Krishna. Now please hear the narrations of Haridas Thakur's wonderful qualities, which will certainly enable you to attain Krishna by all means and in every respect.
Haridas Thakur appeared in the village of Buron which auspicious good fortune caused that region to be illuminated by the light of Shri Krishna sankirtan. From his very birth he was very deeply devoted to the Holy Names of Shri Krishna. [Buron is in the present district of Satkira, Bangladesh, which was previously a subdivision of Khulna.]
After remaining there for some days, he eventually came to the bank of the river Ganges and remained there at Fulia, near Santipura. Acarja Gosai was in total ecstasy to get his association and roared very loudly, there being no bounds to the bliss he felt. Thus it came to pass that in the company of Adwaitadeba, Haridas spent his time floating in the waves of the ocean of the nectarean mellows of Govinda's Name, Form, Qualities, Pastimes and Service.
[Many people have the mistaken conception that Haridas was exclusively engaged in the chanting of the names of Hari and therefore had not entered into relishing the mellows connected with the loving pastimes of Govinda. The mundane illusionists haven't yet understood that the Name itself is the wish-fulfilling gem and embodied form of rasa (loving mellows). By the power of uttering the Name, one can taste the mellows of devotion to Krishna; it is not possible to do so by any other practice or method. The connoisseur of the Name, Thakur Haridas, is therefore the best of the most eminent of teachers in the matter of showing how to enter into an understanding of the rasasastras (scriptures dealing with the topic of rasa or loving mellows). The emotionally-minded, mundane illusionists, by reason of their offences to the Name, become obsessed with material mellows and therefore never obtain even a trace of information about the transcendental mellows of the Name.]
Haridas thus wandered on the banks of the Ganga, incessantly absorbed with great eagerness in the loud chanting of the Holy Names.
He was the foremost of those who are disgusted with material pleasures and whose only fulfilment is through the Name, which graced the splendour of his most fortunate mouth by taking up residence there. Never for even a moment did he feel any apathy or indifference towards Govinda's Name. By the mellows of devotion, he continually expressed his ecstatic moods in different ways. Sometimes he would begin to dance on his own and sometimes he would make sounds which resembled those of a mad lion. Sometimes he cried very loudly and sometimes he laughed even louder. Sometimes his voice thundered with menacing shouts and sometimes he remained collapsed on the ground, fallen in a faint of ecstatic love. Sometimes he made supernatural sounds; calling to some unearthly abode, and then explained those eulogies in such elevated speech. Tears, standing of the bodily hairs on end, laughing, fainting and perspiration; all of the transformations due to loving devotion to Shri Krishna would exhibit their playful pastimes in his body the moment he began to dance.
The mundane fruitive workers are very zealous to observe the state of their physical bodily health, and so they get averted from the culture of Krishna consciousness. Whereas the opposite occurs in the case of the devotees who are always ready to render some service to the Personality of Godhead. Namely the ecstatic symptoms are visible within their bodies while they engage in excessive and intense dancing. Even the outright atheists were awed to see Thakur Haridas, his body drenched by the flow of ecstasy emanating from his eyes, and they actually obtained great happiness in doing so. Even Lord Brahma and Lord Siva were made very eager to see the strange yet wonderful symptoms of horripilation in the body of Haridas; thrilled with ecstatic rapture, all of his bodily hairs standing on end. The residents of the village of Fulia, many of whom were brahmanas, became overwhelmed by the sight of Haridas and immediately placed their full faith and confidence in him. Thus Prabhu Haridas remained there and engaged in his pastimes of bathing in the Ganga, after which he wandered about, loudly chanting Hari Nam. Gradually word began to spread of his glories.
The Malicious Muslims
When the local Kaji came to know of all this he began to burn with malice and went to the Mulukpati, the administrative head of the province, and narrated to him all about the activities of Haridas.
"There is a Muslim in this area who has taken up the Hindu religion. I think it would be wise to have him brought here for judgement."
The Mulukpati, who was just as sinful as the Kaji, very quickly had Haridas brought there. But what to speak of the Muslims; by the mercy of Shri Krishna, Haridas Mahasoy was not afraid of even eternal time, beyond which there is nothing else as fearful. While uttering "Krishna, Krishna" he immediately set off with his captors and subsequently came into the presence of the Muluk pati. The local inhabitants, having experienced great happiness and excitement at having obtained Haridas within their midsts, were now transported into dire straights and became thoroughly morose at the thought of what might happen to him at the hands of the Yavanas.
News spread far and wide about the arrest of Haridas Thakur. When the inhabitants of the jail, many of whom were respectable gentlemen harassed by the Mohammedans, came to find out that Haridas would be coming amongst them, they felt very glad within themselves.
"Haridas Mahasoy is a great Baisnab; by seeing him the affliction that we are experiencing due to being contained within this jail will be alleviated."
Having appealed to the jail-keepers to let them see Haridas when he came, they now remained waiting and watching for his arrival. Haridas arrived just at that moment and bestowed his merciful glance on all of them while they, in turn, offered their obeisances to him.
Haridas Thakur had a very beautiful appearance. His arms were long and graceful and his eyes expanded like the petals of a lotus flower. The matchless beauty of his moonlike face had an enchanting effect on one's mind. The prisoners greeted him with great reverence and thus experienced the transformations which are concomitant with Krishna bhakti. Prabhu Haridas was very satisfied to see their devotional temperament and so he smiled very mercifully.
He addressed them, "Just remain here as you are." He laughed at his own joking words which were actually a hidden benediction. The prisoners however could not understand his abstruse words and so felt a bit dejected. Haridas therefore explained the meaning of his disguised benediction.
"Because you could not understand the meaning of this benediction that I have conferred upon you all, you are therefore feeling somewhat saddened at heart. You should however understand that it is not my inclination to behave in a vicious manner with anyone. Therefore please try to understand the import of what I have spoken.
At present I have noticed that you are all very much inclined towards Shri Krishna. So it was this that I was referring to when I said, "May you always remain like this."
You should all collectively chant the eternal Names of Shri Krishna and in this way remain absorbed in thoughts of Him. If you call out to Krishna with all your heart and entreat Him most earnestly by calling His transcendental Name then you will remain thinking of Him and will no longer be conscious of the oppression and maliciousness which is being vented against the citizens of this land by the present regime. If you go out into the world only to become absorbed once again in worldly affairs, then what will be the value of that. Due to association with wicked persons you will forget everything about what you are now experiencing. Love of Krishna does not take place if one remains addicted to worldliness. You can know for certain that Krishna remains at a distance from the materialistic senseenjoyers. It is a very troublesome affair for the mind once one enters into worldly life. He becomes entangled in the web of maya; eternal time in the form of wife and sons comes to engage him. By the grace of Providence, a fortunate and virtuous soul happens to get the association of a sadhu and thus he gradually gives up his obsession with worldly matters and takes to the worship of Shri Krishna.
Now if such a fortunate soul again associates with materialists, then he will again become implicated in offensive activity. This is the nature of worldly life. Just try to understand the essence of what I am saying. My blessing was not that you should remain prisoners here but that you should remain absorbed day and night in the chanting of the holy Names of Hari and thus forget entirely about worldly existence. Only as a pretence I blessed you in that way. Don't trouble yourselves about it for even half a second and thus become depressed. What to speak of all of you, I am favourably disposed towards all living entities. I only desire that they should attain steadfast devotion to Krishna. Don't worry. Within two or three days you will all be released from here. I can say this without any reservation. Wherever you remain in worldly life, or if you live here and there without any fixed place of residence, wherever and in whatever condition of life you remain please be careful not to ever lose this understanding of life which I have imparted to you today."
After putting those prisoners on this auspicious path the search for Shri Krishna, Haridas came before the Muslim ruler.
The Mohammedan Governor was captivated to see Haridas's lustrous appearance and so he very respectfully offered him a sitting place. The Governor personally began to question him, "Why, my dear brother! How is it that you have become inclined in this way. Just exactly what are your intentions? Just see how fortunate you are to have been born as a Mohammedan. Then why do you behave with your body and mind as though you were a Hindu. As Muslims we don't take our meals with Hindus or even eat in their presence but you have given up our tradition though you were born in a very reputable Muslim family. If you transgress the duties of the religion that you have inherited by birth only to take up some other practices, then how do you expect to get salvation in the afterlife? The only respite for you now is to recite the Kalma (prayers from the Koran). This will absolve you from the sinful reactions of your debiation from the customary duties and rites of a Mohammedan, which you have unknowingly committed."
Haridas simply smiled to hear the Nawab's words which were nothing but the lure of illusion. He exclaimed, "Aho Bisnumaya! Just see the power of illusion of Lord Bisnu!"
He then replied to him in very sweet speech, "Hear me Bap! There is only one Lord of the Universe, the Master and Proprietor of everyone else. The Hindus and Mohammedans know Him by different names but in the highest interest, from the transcendental viewpoint He is one. This is the version of both the Koran and the Puranas. He is the One Supremely pure, eternal Reality, indivisible and imperishable, without beginning or end, Who is full in Himself and Who is seated within everyone's heart. The totality of living entities, existing within all the worlds, are inspired individually within their hearts by the Supreme Lord, Who causes them to act in different ways. Throughout the entire world, the people of all regions praise His Holy Names and Qualities according to the view of their scriptures. The Supreme Lord accepts the mood of everyone. If anyone shows malice towards another's religion he is actually showing his malice to the Lord Himself, Who is worshipped by that religion. Since He is One, then one becomes envious of the same Supreme Lord that he himself is worshipping. At present I am acting as I have been inspired by that same Supreme Lord. It is sometimes seen that though one is born as a Hindu in a brahmana family, out of his own desire he becomes a Mohammedan. What do the Hindus do to such a person? A man suffers the good or bad results of his own activity. How does it befit me to beat someone who has already killed himself? Is this a matter of righteousness or the means to attain religious merit? My dear Sir, you simply decide. If I am guilty of any crime, then feel free to punish me."
Those Mohammedans were very satisfied to hear Haridas Thakur's statements, which were undeniably based on the truth. Amongst them, only that sinful Kaji requested the Governor, "He should be punished!"
The nature of a bad apple is that it spoils the whole bunch. Thus it was that the vile and wicked Kaji poisoned the others present there and so stained the honour of the whole Mohammedan race.
"Let him admit his mistake and again recite from his own scriptures, otherwise he must be punished fittingly."
The Governor pleaded with Haridas, "My brother! There is nothing to worry about if you will just recite from your own scripture. Otherwise the Kaji's men will beat you severely. Eventually they'll force you to accede, so why unnecessarily should you suffer and also lower your dignity?"
Haridas replied, "The Supreme Lord alone is the Prime Mover. No one can do anything outside of His sanction. Whatever proportionate result is due to one as the consequence of his offences, is awarded by the Supreme Lord Himself. Know this to be a fact, that He alone is dispensing His will. If my body is cut into pieces and even if the life force leaves that body, still I will not give up the chanting of Hari Nam."
When the Mohammedan Governor heard Haridas issue such a powerful statement, He looked at the Kaji and inquired, "What should we do with him?"
The Kaji replied, "He should be bound in chains and then drug through the twenty-two different market places of this kingdom where he is to be severely beaten until death. I can find no other judgement as fitting as this. If after being beaten throughout twenty-two market places, he remains alive, then I will know that the words of the wise men of this country are true."
Calling the bailiff and his footmen the Kaji shouted at them angrily, "In this way he should be beaten, so that his life cannot possibly remain. This is the only means of deliverance for a Muslim who has become a Hindu."
The Governor, who was also sinful by nature, ordered the guards to carry out the instructions of the sinful Kaji. Then those wicked fellows came forward and caught hold of Haridas. They drug him from one bazaar to the next, and in a very angry mood beat him severely and cruelly so that he must certainly die.
Haridas Thakur was engaged in remembrance of Krishna by repeating His Holy Names. He was so much absorbed in the ecstasy of the Name that he was not aware of any physical bodily pain.
When the good natured and upright citizens of that country saw that he was being beaten so severely they felt immense grief. Some of them remarked, "This kingdom will be desolated! Only for this reason honest people are treated in such fashion."
Some of them, in a vehement mood, cursed the king and his councillors while others got up and prepared themselves to physically attack the guards who were beating the Thakur. Someone fell down in front of those guards and while catching hold of their feet entreated them, "I'll pay you something, but please don't beat him so hard!"
Not a tinge of mercy however, could be made to awaken itself within those sinful wretches, who continued in their angry mood, to beat Haridas's body as they drug it from one bazaar to the next.
By the prasad (mercy) of Shri Krishna, Haridas felt not even a pinch of pain within his body though he was being beaten severely; just as Prahlad, who was similarly tortured by the demoniac associates of his father, felt no distress whatsoever, in spite of their torturing. This is the version of all the scriptures. What to speak of Haridas, even ordinary persons who remember him (Haridas), and his exceptional quality of forbearance, can get relief from all their sufferings.
The only anguish Haridas felt was for the vicious culprits who were beating him. "Krishna! Please show some kindness upon these creatures. There is no offence on their part on account of the injury they are trying to inflict upon me."
Though they continued to beat him tenaciously, so that the life force might leave his body, Haridas showed no signs of feeling any pain, due to the absence of his external consciousness. Those Mohammedans were totally astonished and thought to themselves, "Is it possible for any ordinary human being to remain alive even after such a beating as this. Generally people give up their bodies after being beaten in only two or three bazaars. Now we have beaten this fellow in twenty-two market places, yet he still remains alive. Not only he doesn't die but I have sometimes noticed that he is even smiling occasionally. Is he some kind of holy man or what!?" In this way they considered within their minds.
They now addressed him, "Ohe Haridas! You will be the cause of the destruction of all of us! (Now you will be the death of US!) Though we have beaten you so much, still you don't die. Now the Kaji will take our lives for having failed in our duty.
Haridas smiled as he replied to them, "If there will be some difficulty for you in my remaining alive, then I suppose I'll just have to die. Now see for yourselves!" So saying, Haridas entered into a deep trance, or state of internal consciousness. He was endowed with full potencies and so he could render his body completely motionless, without even a sign of breathing.
Again those Mohammedans were totally amazed as they carried his body to the door of the Muluk pati (Muslim Governor) and threw it there on the ground. The Governor ordered them to take the body away and bury it but the Kaji protested, "No, then he will eventually achieve final beatitude. Though he had taken a high birth he has nevertheless engaged in abominable activities. Therefore he should be dealt with in a befitting manner. If he is buried then he will have an auspicious afterlife. Rather, his body should be thrown into the Ganges so that he will suffer perpetually."
When they heard the instructions of the Kaji those sinful Muslim miscreants went to pick up Haridas's body but found that his body had become immovable. While Haridas was absorbed in the ecstasy of deep meditation, Shri Viswambhar had entered into Haridas's body, the result being that his body had now become so heavy that it was not within the power of anyone there to move it, not even a fraction of an inch. Though they were all very strongly built and pushed and pulled from all directions, Prabhu Haridas's body was totally paralyzed and now appeared as though a pillar in a great hall. Totally drowned in the ocean of the pure ecstasy of Krishna consciousness, there was no manifestation whatsoever of any external consciousness in his body. He was not at all conscious of where he was, where was the sky, the earth or the Ganga. Due to the influence of Krishna bhakti, the same capacity for remembrance of Krishna that was observed in Prahlad Maharaja was also now evident in the person of Haridas Thakur. He was not aware of anything other than the presence of Shri Gaurachandra within his heart.
Just as Hanuman, in order to show proper respect to the brahmastra weapon released against him by Indrajit, allowed himself to be bound, so also Haridas allowed himself to be beaten, in order to instruct the people of the world about tolerance and forbearance. "If, as the result of unending misery the life force leaves my body, still I will not give up the chanting of the Holy Names." With Shri Govinda Himself as his protector, who has it within their power to violate the transcendental existence of Haridas Thakur? If one simply remembers Thakur Haridas, all of his own sorrows and suffering are rendered null and void. So what can we understand about the transcendental position of Haridas Thakur? [In other words, if by simply remembering Haridas Thakur one gets free from grief, then we can just imagine his transcendental position and total absence of anguish.]
Verily, Haridas is a controller of this universe due to his exalted position as the foremost follower of Shri Chaitanya Candra. Such it happened that as his body floated in the waters of the Ganga, his external consciousness returned in a flash, due to the influence of the will of the Supreme Lord. Having become again externally aware, Haridas Mahasoy came to the banks of the river and got up out of the water, feeling himself to be thrilled with ecstatic symptoms. This is how he returned to his residence at Fulia nagar, chanting the Holy Names very loudly all the time.
When those Mohammedans came to know of his extraordinary prowess they gave up their feeling of malicious enviousness and their minds were purified. They considered Haridas to be a great Holy man. Thus by offering their salutations they obtained deliverance.
When Haridas saw that Mohammedan Governor again he smiled very mercifully at him to which the Governor humbly replied with folded hands, "Now I have become fortunate enough to know what a great saint you are! You are fixed in the knowledge of the all-pervasiveness of the Supreme, and everyone and everything's existence in Him. Fortified by your total conviction on this point you have now become possessed of His transcendental qualities. Previously whatever yogis or jnanis I had met I found simply to be big talkers; not actually possessed of any perfection; neither were they liberated from material conditioning. All of the mystic perfections however, are very wonderfully displayed in your body. I came here just to meet you. Mahasoy! Please forgive all of my crimes and offences. You are fully equipoised and for you no one is a friend or enemy. Actually there is no one in the three worlds who is competent to know you. Please feel free to wander anywhere you like within the lands under my jurisdiction and thus make this country auspicious by gracing it with your holy presence. I hope that you will once again take up solitary residence in your cave on the banks of the Ganga. According to your desire you can stay anywhere you like. Whatsoever you may desire, please at all times and places feel free to act accordingly."
What to speak of pious and honest men, by seeing the lotus feet of Haridas Thakur even the Mohammedans forgot their own independent existence and became devoted to him. At first this sinful man had summoned up such intense anger, in order that Haridas might be beaten, and now he was offering prayers at his feet, considering him to be a great saintly person. Haridas mercifully bestowed upon him his merciful glance and then proceeded towards his residence at Fulia.
While loudly chanting the Holy Names Haridas arrived at an assembly of the local brahmanas. When they saw him they felt extremely happy, and began to chant loudly, "Hari! Hari!"
To this Haridas responded by dancing in great ecstasy as he gradually became overcome by strange yet wonderful symptoms, such as weeping, trembling, laughing, fainting, erection of the hairs of the body and loud roaring. In an unlimited progression these ecstatic symptoms swept over him, engulfing him in the mellows of ecstatic love and causing him to slip and tumble down to the ground. The brahmanas were floating in an ocean of ecstasy to see such symptoms of intense love. Haridas calmed himself for a moment and sat down with those brahmanas who were also seated in a circle around him.
Haridas addressed them, "Hear me Oh Brahmanas! Please do not feel any affliction on my behalf. It is only due to the fact that I allowed words of blasphemy of the Supreme Lord to enter my ears that He saw fit to chastise me. It is very good for me, and I am very happy that I got by with such a token punishment, in spite of the severity of my sin. Actually the hell known as kumbhipaka is prescribed for those who listen to condemnation of the Supreme Lord Bisnu, a substantial amount of which I have heard with these sinful ears of mine. Now that I have been fittingly punished by Him, I only hope that I never commit such sins again."
So it came to pass that Haridas enjoyed great fun while fearlessly chanting and dancing in the midst of those pious brahmanas. Those Mahommedans who had tried to inflict pain on Thakur Haridas were totally desolated, along with their families, within a number of days.
Living with a snake
Haridas remained in a solitary, hollowed-out hole within the earth at the base of a tree, there on the banks of the Ganga. Here he remembered the Holy Names of Shri Hari at all hours of the day and night. That hole (cave) within the earth became a residence in Baikuntha for him as he chanted the Holy Names 300,000 times daily.
[This cave still exists near Fulia, on the banks of the Ganga. One can reach Fulia by train from Santipur. From there it is a short ricksaw ride to the cave.]
There was however a great, poisonous snake who also lived within that same hole, within the roots of the tree, and who was a great source of anxiety to all other living creatures. Whoever came by to talk with Haridas could not remain there due to experiencing a burning sensation produced by the poison of that snake. Everyone noticed it, but Haridas was not even slightly aware of any such sensation.
Once some of those brahmanas were discussing amongst each other as to why there might be such a source of vexation within Haridas's ashram. Some physicians from that locality then came to find out the cause to be the presence of a snake there.
One of them remarked, "At the base of this hole lives a great snake whose poison creates such a burning sensation that no one else can remain here. Haridas, I'm speaking to you with all certainty. Please leave this place and come to live somewhere else. It is not right to live with snakes. All of us are dependent on you and therefore we are requesting you to abandon this dangerous situation."
They all came to him, individually and in groups, requesting him to take shelter elsewhere, this place having become unfit for his habitation.
Haridas replied to them, "I have been living here for many days but I never noticed the scent of any poisonous fumes here. Since you are all aggrieved at this and none of you can tolerate it, then I will leave from here tomorrow. My dear sirs, if there really is a snake here, then either he or I, one of the two of us will leave here by tomorrow. This is nothing worth worrying about. Now let us hear something about Krishna."
Then something very miraculous happened as they engaged in Krishnakirtan. When that serpent who was living there heard that Haridas was going to leave that place he decided that he should himself leave. So at the beginning of sunset, within the sight of everyone, he slowly slithered out from the inner recesses of that hole and left there for another place. Such an exceedingly wonderful snake it was, very dangerous looking yet beautiful with many different colours: yellow, blue, white and red. When those brahmanas saw the large jewel on his head blazing forth light, they became very afraid and remembered Krishna by chanting His Holy Name, "Krishna! Krishna!"
When however they saw that the snake was gone and there was no more any burning sensation there, then they were very pleased. Their devotion to Haridas increased all that much more; to see his overwhelming spiritual power.
Just see the amazing influence of Haridas Thakur! The snake immediately left that place simply on the strength of his words. Simply by seeing Haridas Thakur one becomes free from the bondage of ignorance. Even Krishna Himself is not prepared to infringe upon the Thakur's words.
There is another very interesting incident which I ask you to listen to with rapt attention, the glories of Haridas Thakur as revealed by the king of the snakes Himself.
The appearance of the king of the snakes, Shri Anantadeb
One day at the home of a well-to-do gentleman, a snake charmer appeared on the scene and began to dance in a variety of fashions. Under the influence of the various mantras he chanted, his associates played the mrdunga and kartals and sang very loudly in a circle around him.
Just at that moment Haridas Thakur happened to arrive there and stood off to one side to watch the dancing of that snake charmer. By the power of those mantras, the king of the snakes, Vasuki himself, entered within the body of that snake charmer and began to dance in great eagerness. His associates now began to sing in a melody which portrayed the unlimited compassion and kindness of the pastimes of Shri Krishna, in subduing and dancing on the heads of the Kaliya serpent.
When Haridas heard the glories of his worshipful Lord being sung, he fainted to the ground where he remained without exhibiting any symptoms of life, even that he was still breathing. After some time however, he got back his consciousness at which point he got up from the ground and roared very loudly. Then he began to dance in great ecstasy. The snake charmer could perceive that Haridas was possessed by an ecstatic trance of love of God and so stood off to one side. Haridas began to roll on the ground while manifesting the ecstatic symptoms of horripilation, tears in the eyes and trembling of the body. He wept loudly while remaining totally absorbed in the Lord's wonderful qualities which he now remembered as a result of hearing the songs of the snake charmer and his troupe. All those present surrounded Haridas and sang in ecstatic joy while Haridas danced. The snake charmer respectfully remained off to one side and watched their fun. Haridas remained possessed by this ecstatic trance for some moments but when he again became externally aware, the snake charmer resumed his dancing.
The people gathered there had become thoroughly delighted to see his trance of ecstatic love. Wherever they saw the impression of his footprints in the earth they picked up the dust from that spot and smeared it on their bodies in great eagerness.
Now one very pretentious brahmana who was present there, began to consider that he would also dance, as he said to himself, "I have understood that these stupid and boorish villagers will give respect to any ordinary fellow if he dances." Thinking in this way he stumbled to the ground as though he was benumbed.
The moment he fell down there where the snakecharmer was dancing, that snakecharmer began to beat him, in a very angry mood. On the sides, on the back, everywhere, even on his head, the lashes of the cane showed no mercy, and there was no escape. That brahmana was completely shattered by the lashes of his cane. Calling out, "Bap! Bap!" he had no other recourse but to flee the wrath of the snakecharmer. Then the snakecharmer could continue to dance to his complete self-satisfaction, though the onlookers who had gathered there were thoroughly amazed, as they wondered within themselves what had just happened.
Finally their curiosity prompted them to ask him, as they continued to stand off to one side while he danced, "Why did you beat that brahmana, and why, when Haridas was dancing did you remain respectfully at some distance?"
Shri Anantadeb, Who was present in the body of the snakecharmer at that moment, replied to their questions as follows, "What you have asked about is a very mysterious matter and though it is actually indescribable I will certainly tell you all about it. When all of you showed such regard to Haridas due to his absorption in ecstatic love, that deceitful brahmana, whose heart was burning with jealousy, feigned as though he had fainted and so fell to the ground in a tumble. Can someone interrupt the happiness I was feeling through dancing, simply on the strength of their enviousness? Because he had the audacity to try to falsely imitate the Thakur, I punished him appropriately. Simply so that others might see him as a great devotee, he has behaved in this way. Just to gain some cheap adoration by making one's position prominent among the people, such deceitful rogues engage in religious activities. Such arrogant fools have no love or affection for Krishna. Only if one is sincere in his motives can he obtain devotion to Krishna. What you saw at first, the dancing of Haridas, is sufficient to release one from material bondage. When Haridas dances, Krishna Himself dances, and so the whole universe becomes purified to see that dancing. It is very fitting that he should be known as Haridas, since Krishna is in fact continuously present in his heart. He is compassionate and affectionate to all living entities and acts only for their benefit. In every birth he descends with the Lord. He is completely free from any offences to Lord Bisnu or the Baisnabs. Even in dreams it cannot be seen that he goes astray in any way. Whoever gets his association for only half a moment, must necessarily also get shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna. Even Lord Brahma and Lord Siva always cherish a desire to have the association of such devotees as Haridas. Just to show the insignificant position of high birth or caste, he has taken his birth in a lower substrata of society, all by the order of the Lord. This is the verdict of the scriptures-, "Even though one takes his birth in a lower caste family, if he is a devotee of Bisnu then he is worshipful. If one takes his birth in an aristocratic family but does not worship Krishna, then what has such a birth accomplished; other than causing one to sink into hellish existence?"
Just in order to bear testimony to these utterances of the Vedas, Haridas Thakur accepted birth in a low caste family."
NOTE:[Except for a few moghul invaders the indigenous population of Bengal were all originally Hindu or followers of Sanatana Dharma. Amongst the lower castes especially, it was seen to be somewhat of an advantage to convert to Mohammedism (Islam) since the government at that time was in the hands of the Muslims.]
Shri Haridas Thakur is an eternally liberated associate of the Lord. The associates of the Lord are worshipful wherever they make their appearance. As Prahlad appeared in a family of demons and Hanuman appeared as a monkey, similarly Haridas appeared amongst the lower castes. The demigods desire to touch the transcendental body of Haridas and Mother Ganges herself longs for the moment when he will immerse his body in her waters. What to speak of touching him, simply by seeing him the fetters of material bondage of the fallen conditional living entities are cut asunder. If one sees someone who has taken shelter of Haridas Thakur, that in itself is sufficient to free one from material bondage. Even if one speaks of the glories of Haridas Thakur with a hundred mouths for a hundred years he will not be able to reach their limit. All of you are blessed. Because of your appreciation of this transcendental personality, Haridas Thakur, something concerning his wonderful qualities has issued forth from my mouth. Simply by saying his name, Haridas, one will be promoted to Krishna's abode.
Having spoken thus, the King of the serpents, Shri Anantadeb, Who was speaking through the mouth of that snake charmer, now fell silent. The virtuous gentleman who had gathered there were very satisfied by his reply to their questions and returned to their homes in a happy mood.
Such are the glories of Haridas Thakur, as have been previously stated by the serpent devotee. Everyone now felt especially affectionate towards Haridas, after being pleased to hear about him from the mouth of that `serpent' (Shri Ananta).
In this way Haridas Thakur remained absorbed in service to Shri Nam Prabhu, though the common people could not understand anything since Shri Gaurachandra had not as yet revealed the glories of devotional service. In all directions and amongst all persons, devotion to Lord Bisnu was highly conspicuous due to its complete absence. Neither did they know of the aims and purpose of performing kirtan. Nowhere had Bisnu bhakti manifested itself and consequently people simply joked about the Baisnabs. What few devotees who were there would simply meet together in secret and sing the names of Krishna while clapping their hands. Even at that the wicked persons became very angry, straining at the reins of their non-existent patience, "These brahmanas will destroy the kingdom! They'll cause a famine! Simply for the purpose of begging something to eat these emotionally unstable people perform kirtan, trying to deceive us by their tricks. Gosai (the Supreme Lord) is resting for these four months (caturmasya, the period when Lord Hari lies down). Calling His name in this loud fashion will be a source of disturbance. If He is awakened He'll be very angry. Then there will be famine. Have no doubt. It will not be otherwise.!"
Someone else said, "If the price of food goes up then I'll go and give them a good thumping on the back of the neck."
Another one chimed in, "On Ekadashi one can stay up all night and loudly chant the names of Govinda but what is accomplished by chanting like this every day?"
In this way the downright atheists and the materialistic karmis, who were situated midstream, ranted and raved about the activities of the devotees. The devotees naturally felt somewhat afflicted to hear these comments but did not give up the chanting of Hari Nam. Haridas also felt very sad within his heart to hear the people slight devotional service in this way. Still, he continued to fill his mouth with the loud chanting of the Lord's Holy Names. The wicked and sinful rascals however could not tolerate to hear this loud chanting of Hari sankirtan.
The Rascal Brahmana
One rascal brahmana from the village known as Harinadi, became very angry upon seeing Haridas and addressed him as follows, "Oye Haridas! What kind of behaviour of yours is this? What is your motive in calling out these names as you do? Rather you should chant silently to yourself. This will be the proper observance of religious duty. What scriptures state that one should call out these names as such? Where have you learned to do like this? Come on, tell us. This is an assembly of scholars. We will all be interested to hear."
Haridas replied, "The fundamental truths concerning this matter, namely the glories of Hari Nam, I think are very well known to all of you. Whatever I am saying or will say I have heard about in fact from all of you. If one chants loudly then the religious merit that accrues to him is a hundred times more than if one simply chants to himself. The scriptures do not attribute any fault to such chanting rather they describe it as a virtuous attribute.
uccaih (uccasvarena) grhitam nam sata gunam bhavet
"If one chants loudly the result is a hundred times greater."
The brahmana inquired, "By loud chanting the religious merit becomes a hundred times greater? What is the cause of this?"
Haridas replied, "Please hear me, sir. The truths regarding this subject matter are discussed in the Vedas and Bhagavatam."
All of the scriptures ran to take shelter in Haridas's mouth, as he began to explain these matters in the happiness of Krishna consciousness.
"Listen Oh brahmana! Whoever in fact hears Krishna Nam, be he beast, bird or a worm, goes to the supreme abode of the Lord, Shri Baikuntha. Since the kirtan of He Whose Name purifies all those who hear along with the chanter himself, then what more can be said about someone who becomes purified by the direct touch of Your lotus feet. He will naturally be able to purify all others in every way." [Bhag.10.34.17]
The birds, beasts and insects cannot chant on their own, but if they hear the Holy Names then they are delivered. If one chants to himself he delivers himself only, but if one chants loudly then he renders the greatest benefit to others. Therefore the scriptures have explained that if one chants loudly the result is a hundred times greater.
"He who chants loudly is indeed a hundred times greater than he who chants to himself, for the one who chants to himself purifies himself, whereas the loud chanter purifies himself as well as the others who hear such loud chanting." [Prahlad Maharaja / Naradiya Purana]
"Thus we see in the Puranas that one who chants loudly is a hundred times better than one who chants to himself. Listen! Oh Vipra, with your full attention to the reason behind this. If I chant to myself then I am myself nourished by this. But by the loud chanting of Govinda's Names any creature who hears is liberated. Though they have tongues, living entities other than human beings cannot produce the sound that comes by uttering Krishna's names. If they can be delivered from an otherwise useless birth then please tell me what could possibly be the fault in such an activity? Someone is interested only in maintaining himself while another supports and nourishes thousands. Between the two, who is superior? This you can understand yourself if you just consider the matter. This is the effective intention of chanting loudly."
Having heard the words of Haridas, that brahmana began to speak very rudely and in an angry mood, "So, all of you have seen before you this, our Haridas. How, at every step, he has destroyed the path of knowledge as we know it. It is stated in the scriptures that at the end of the Kali yuga sudras will comment on the sastras. Why at the end?! I am seeing it just now! In this way you have revealed your real self. Simply to enjoy nice foodstuffs you wander from house to house. If this explanation given by you is not correct, then I will cut off your nose and your ears."
Having heard the words of this despicable and mean-minded brahmana Haridas smiled slightly and replied, "Hari!"
He had nothing more to say then this and so departed from there, all the while singing loudly the Lord's Holy Names. The other members of that assembly, who were also of an evil disposition, remained silent rather than give a proper reply to the heinous remarks of that so-called brahmana. Therefore they also received a share of the sinful reaction inherent in his remarks. Actually they were all raksasas (demoniac); brahmanas in name only; fitting recipients of the tortures meted out by Jamaraj. In this age of ignorance and quarrel (Kali yuga) the raksasas take birth in brahmana families to perpetrate their malicious and malevolent mischief against the virtuous and pious.
"Having taking shelter of the Kali yuga, Raksasas take their births in brahmana families to continue their business of oppressing the rare devotees who are followers of the Sruti (the Lord's instruction).
Baraha Purana (Lord Siva speaking)
The religious scriptures prohibit one from touching, listening to or offering ones salutations to such so-called brahmanas.
"It is needless to say more on this matter; yet all of these brahmanas, who are not Baisnabs, should not, even by mistake, be spoken to or touched."
(Lord Siva / Padma Purana)
"As one should never look upon a dog-eating candala, so also it is never proper to see a brahmana who is not a Baisnab. Whatever caste or class he may take his birth in, a Baisnab is the guru of brahmanas and is the purifier of all the three worlds." [Padma Purana]
One's piety decays away simply by talking to a non-Baisnab brahmana.
Within a matter of days that despicable brahmana contracted a serious disease by which his nose became infected and ulcerous and eventually dropped off. As he had threatened Haridas Thakur, Krishna instead awarded the same punishment to him.
Haridas sadly called out, "Krishna! Krishna!" while breathing a deep sigh to see that the world was so absorbed in materialistic consciousness. For so many days he had been desiring to see another devotee and so he came to Nabadwip Puri. When the devotees saw Haridas, their minds were transported to the outer limits of ecstasy. Acarja Gosai (Adwaita Acarja) kept Haridas with himself and looked after him with more care than he did his own life. He would offer the first prasadam to Haridas Thakur (which is to be offered only to high class brahmanas) after performing Pitr sraddha (worship of his forefathers). All of the Baisnabs were very affectionate to Haridas and showed him very much respect.
This gave the atheists more to talk about and so they continued to tease and torment the devotees with their snide remarks. The devotees in turn mutually discussed this situation amongst themselves. Their only shelter was the Gita and Bhagavat (Shrimad Bhagavatam) upon which they based all of their discussions.
At the time when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu displayed His divine opulences by manifesting His identity as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the courtyard of Shribas Pandit's house, He called his dear devotees to His side, one by one.
"Haridas! When those Mohammedans were beating you I was ready to destroy them with My Sudarshan Cakra, but as you were praying for their welfare I was unable to do anything. Therefore I accepted their blows on My own body. Just see, the scars are still here on My body." [C.B.Madhya 10]
Seeing those marks Haridas fainted in ecstatic love. Regaining his consciousness he began to praise the Lord of his life, "O Lord Viswambhar, Master of the universe, please have mercy on this sinner, who has fallen at Your feet. I have no good qualities and am a vile wretch, rejected by all classes of men. How can I describe Your divine character?"
[C.B. Mad 20]???
Thakur Haridas was present during most of the Lord's pastimes in Nadia, and when the Lord went to Jagannath Puri, Haridas also went and took up residence there. Everyday, after attending Lord Jagannath's mongol aroti, Lord Chaitanya would come to see Haridas Thakur and would bring him some of Lord Jagannath's prasadam. When Shri Sanatana Goswami and Shri Rupa Goswami would come from Brindaban to Puri they used to stay with Haridas Thakur. Haridas, in order to maintain the etiquette, would not go near Lord Jagannath's temple but would offer his obeisances to the Cakra on top of the temple, from a distance. As he was considered to be a Mohammedan by birth, his presence in the temple would be objectionable to those who were caste conscious.
Haridas Thakur lived for some time at Benapol, which is within Jessore district, Bangladesh. Every day and night he would chant three hundred thousand Holy Names. Mahamaya debi took initiation in the maha mantra from Haridas Thakur and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appointed him as the acarja of the Holy Name. His departure from this world, in the presence of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is fully described by Shri Krishna das Kabiraj Gosvami in the Antya lila of Shri ChaitanyaCharitamrita.
Whoever hears or recites this narration (about Haridas Thakur) will obtain shelter at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Gaurachandra.
Brindaban das thus sings the glories of the lotus feet of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and Nityananda Candra, Who are his life and soul. [C.B.Adi 16]