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Shri Isvar Puri
"The disciple of Madhabendra Puri, Shri Isvar Puri, is the best of the ascetic sages. As he is the self-same form of the fruit of Love of God, srngar ras (amorous, passionate, flaming love of Krishna), he is quite competent in expanding and distributing this mellow of Love of God."
In Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Shri Krishnadas Kabiraja Gosvami has explained that the first sprout of the desire tree of devotion was manifested in the person of Shri Madhavendra Puri. That sprout developed into a sapling in the person of Shri Isvar Puri. Then, in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Who was indeed the gardener Himself, that sapling became the trunk of an enormous tree, the desire tree of devotion. [C.C.Adi 9.10-11]
"Shri Isvar Puri appeared in this world on the full moon day of the month of Jyestha. He served very faithfully his guru, Shri Madhabendra Puri, especially during the end of Shri Puripada's life." [C.C. Antya 8.26]
While travelling to various holy places Shri Isvar Puri once came to Nabadwip, but dressed in such a way that no one would notice him. This noble-minded and respectable gentleman remained continually absorbed in the loving mellows of Krishna's pastimes and was therefore extremely dear to Krishna. He was a veritable ocean of compassion. No one could recognize his actual identity due to his outward dress. By the arrangement of Providence he came directly to the temple at Adwaita's house and sat down very demurely, just in front of where Adwaita Acarja was engaged in worshipping the Deity.
Though they might try to, Baisnabs cannot hide their splendourous lustre. Adwaita kept looking at Iswar Puri again and again. Finally he addressed him, "Bap! May I know who you are? I have a feeling that you are a Baisnab sannyasi."
Iswar Puri replied, "I am a very wretched and fallen sudra, come to have the darshan of your lotus feet.
Mukunda Datta, who was also present, could understand that this was in fact a Baisnab sannyasi travelling incognito, and so he contrived to expose him. He began to sing in his very sweet voice, his heart filled with prem, about the character and nature of Shri Krishna. Immediately upon hearing this song of Mukunda's, Iswar Puri fell to earth as though the contents of his heart had spilled there. There was no cessation of the tears flowing from his eyes as this shower of love of God increased in intensity, unrestrained by any external consideration or social convention.
Adwaita quickly got up and rushed forward to pick him up and hold him in his lap, showering his body now with his own tears. There was no checking this flood of love of Krishna which continued to expand unabated. Mukunda was very delighted by all this and so recited another verse in his very high and melodious voice. An incomparable joy took possession of all of the Baisnabas present as they witnessed these ecstatic transformations due to excessive love of God. Subsequently they all came to recognize this great soul as Shri Iswar Puri, the dearmost disciple of Madhabendra Puri. Seeing his intense love for Shri Krishna they remembered the Holy Names of the Lord, "Hari! Hari!"
In this way Shri Iswar Puri wandered about in Nabadwip, beyond the range of perception of the general mass of people who could not recognize him.
One day as Shri Gaursundor was returning home after having conducted his classes, he happened to meet, by the arrangement of Providence, Shri Iswar Puri.
Seeing his very dear servant, Prabhu first offered his salutations. The attractive features of Shri Gaursundor were beyond description and he was the receptacle of many uncommon qualities and characteristics. No one could understand the mystery of his person yet they were all in great awe of him.
Iswar Puri became as though mesmerized while looking at the transcendental body of Mahaprabhu. All of the symptoms of a siddhapurush (high-souled saintly person) were present in his body which appeared so solemn and sedate.
Iswar Puri addressed him, "Ohe Biprabor! What is your name, Oh best of the brahmanas? Which manuscript are you teaching from and what subject are you studying? Where do you live?"
Mahaprabhu very humbly offered His namaskar while some of his disciples replied to Shri Puripad's inquiry that this was the famous, "Nimai Pandit".
Puripad interjected, "You are he!" He was so delighted to make the acquaintance of this person whom he had heard so much about.
Mahaprabhu came forward and bowing his head, humbly requested, "Shripad, please come with Me to My house and be My guest for lunch."
Isvar Puri thought to himself, "What a pleasant demeanour He has!"
As though charmed by some mantra he quietly came along with the Pandit to His home. Arriving there, Mahaprabhu personally washed his feet, while in the Deity room, Saci Mata offered the various preparations that she had prepared for the Lord. Then Mahaprabhu served that prasadam to Shri Isvar Puri and afterwards honoured his remnants.
As Shri Puripad was seated within the temple of Lord Bisnu he began to speak about Shri Krishna which caused him to become totally distracted. The Lord was very satisfied to see this but was nevertheless forced to restrain himself from revealing his own true nature in view of the fallen condition of the people of this world.
Shri Iswar Puri remained in Nabadvip for a few months, staying in the home of Gopinath Acarja. Everyone was very pleased to see him and the Lord Himself used to come every day to visit him.
Gadadhar Pandit was very affectionately loved by all of the Baisnabs whose eyes became wet with tears of love simply by the sight of him. Since his childhood he was very indifferent towards worldly life. Iswar Puri very soon became similarly attached to Gadadhar by the bonds of strong affection. He wanted to teach Gadadhar from one book that he had compiled, entitled Krishna lilamrita.
After completing his classes and his own lessons Nimai Pandit would come every evening to offer his salutations to Shri Puripad. Iswar Puri was always extremely pleased to see Prabhu. Even though he couldn't recognize Him as his worshipful Lord, still he felt very glad to see Him.
One evening he smilingly requested the young Pandit, "You are a very learned scholar. I have compiled one short biography about Shri Krishna. I will recite it before you and you can point out to me any mistakes or errors that you notice. I would be very pleased if you would have time to do this."
Prabhu replied, "If anyone sees any fault in a devotee's description of Krishna then that person is simply a sinful wretch. However a devotee may express his poetic feelings, certainly Krishna is very much pleased. A fool may say "Bisnay", whereas a sober and learned person will say, "Bisnave", though the meaning, unto Lord Bisnu, is understood by our Hero in both instances and so He accepts both the offerings.
murkho vadati visnay dhiro vadati visnave
ubhayostu samam punyam bhavagrahi janardana
Krishna is Bhabagrahi Janardana or One Who accepts the mood of the worshipper and not necessarily the articles offered.
Whoever sees any fault simply sees his own faults; Krishna is very much pleased by whatever a devotee may describe. Therefore, who but some plucky upstart will criticize what has been composed by you under the influence of intense love for Krishna."
Iswar Puri heard the Lord's answer as though his entire body was being sprinkled with drops of nectar. Laughing gently he reassured Him, "It will be no fault of yours if you simply point out wherever some mistakes might have occurred." In this way the Lord used to enjoy some discussions with Shri Iswar Puri each day for an hour or two.
One day while hearing a narration of Shri Puripad's book Prabhu smiled while pointing out one mistake, "This verb has not been conjugated properly." Saying thus he then set out for His own house.
Iswar Puri was also learned in all of the sastras and took great delight in considering all the fine points of philosophy and wisdom. He now began to analyze this grammatical point from various perspectives and so came up with an unlimited number of conclusions.
On another day when Nimai Pandit was present there he explained to Him all of these conclusions. The Lord was very pleased to hear his explanation and therefore left it at that, taking great delight in His servant's victory. It is the conclusion of all the scriptures that the Supreme Lord always acts in such a way that His devotee is glorified.
In this way Iswar Puripad passed some days with Shri Gaurachandra in the happiness of deliberations and discussions on the mellows of education and learning. Gradually however the devotional mellows in his heart made him feel somewhat restless and so he set out on his travels, purifying the holy places and wherever else he came to.
Whoever hears the auspicious narrations of the glorious character of Shri Iswar Puri is granted as his place of residence the shelter of the shade of the lotus feet of the Lord. The great wealth of love of Krishna which was present within the body of Shri Madhabendra Puri was all very happily bestowed by him upon his disciple, Shri Iswar Puri. Having received such love from his guru by the mercy of Krishna, he wandered about very peaceably without any contention in his life.
Thus Brindaban das sings the glories of the lotus feet of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and Nityananda Candra, Who are the Lords of his life.
After passing some days in Nadiya, Isvar Puri continued his tour of the holy places. Meanwhile Mahaprabhu decided to bring His pastimes of learning to a close. Now He desired to reveal His true Self and establish the religion of the age by distributing love of Godhead through the chanting of His Holy Names. So He came to Gaya, ostensibly to offer pinda for His departed father and forefathers, but really to meet Shri Isvar Puri, who happened to also be in Gaya at this time.
After having offered pinda at the various holy shrines, Mahaprabhu finally came to the place where the lotus footprints of Shri Bisnu are enshrined. While taking darshan and hearing the glories of this holy place, Mahaprabhu fainted and fell to the ground overwhelmed by ecstatic love.
By the arrangement of Providence, just then Shri Isvar Puri happened to come to that spot and learned from Shri Candrashekar Acarja what had transpired. After a short time Mahaprabhu regained His consciousness, and upon seeing Isvar Puri He got up to offer His obeisances. Shri Isvar Puri embraced Him and the two of them were drenched by each others tears of love.
Mahaprabhu addressed Isvar Puri, "My journey to Gaya is now successful just by My seeing your lotus feet. If one offers pinda at this holy place then his forefathers become delivered. But simply by seeing you, tens of millions of forefathers get liberation. Therefore your presence is even more auspicious than that of this holy tirtha. All of the holy tirthas pray for the dust of your lotus feet. Therefore, O Puripada, I am praying at your lotus feet that you ferry me across the ocean of material existence and to cause me to drink the nectar from Krishna's lotus feet."
Shrila Isvara Puri replied, "Please hear me Panditji, I have understood that You are an incarnation of the Supreme Lord. This morning I saw a very auspicious dream and now that dream has actually materialized. From the first day I saw you at Nabadwip, I have always thought of You. I get such pleasure by seeing You, as much pleasure as I get by seeing Krishna."
Hearing this, Mahaprabhu smiled and bowing his head replied, "This is my great fortune."
On another day Mahaprabhu approached Shri Isvar Puri and requested that he initiate Him with the divine mantra. "My mind is becoming very restless in lieu of this (initiation)."
Shrila Puripada very blissfully replied, "What to speak of mantras, I am prepared to offer You my very life." [C.B.Adi 17.10]
Thereafter Shrila Isvar Puri initiated Mahaprabhu with the divine mantra.
One morning Isvar Puri came to where Mahaprabhu was staying. Extremely pleased to see him, Mahaprabhu offered His obeisances and invited him to stay for lunch. Isvar Puri replied, "Being able to accept foodstuffs from Your hand is a matter of great fortune for me."
Mahaprabhu Himself cooked and then very carefully served His guru the prasadam. Afterwards He smeared sandalwood paste on his body and put a garland of flowers around his neck. Thus the Supreme Lord Himself taught how one should serve his guru. Without serving the great devotees, it is not possible to receive love of Godhead. Service to the guru is the door to devotion.
On his return from Gaya, Mahaprabhu came by way of Kumarhatta, the birthplace of His guru. As he began to roll on the ground in ecstasy there, the ground became wet with His tears. Finally He collected some dust from that holy place and bound it in the corner of his upper garment, saying, "This dust is as dear to me as My life." Then he set out for Nabadwip.
The birthplace of Shrila Isvar Puri is located within the present town of Halisahar, near the Kanchrapara rail station, on the Sealdah-Krishnanagar line. One should get down at Kanchrapara station and then proceed by rickshaw to Chaitanya Doba. Doba means pond, which is what was created when many followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, following in His footsteps, came here and collected earth from the birthplace of Shrila Isvar Puri.
Thereafter Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa and by the order of His mother came to live at Jagannath Puri. By this time Isvar Puri had already left this world. He sent two of his disciples, Shri Govinda and Kasisvar brahmacari to serve the Lord at Nilacal.
In the Gaur Ganoddesh Dipika it is described that the older brother of Lord Chaitanya, Biswarup, who is none other than the incarnation of Lord Sankarshan, refused to marry and instead accepted sannyasa. After installing His effulgence within Iswar Puri, He made his disappearance.
Nityananda Prabhu, famous as the Avadhut, is directly the incarnation of the potency of that Lord Sankarshan. Though Biswarupa is eternal,
when he disappeared from this planet all of his potencies took shelter
within the avadhut, Lord Nityananda.