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All glories to Shri Chaitanya! All glories to Sitanatha! All glories to Nityananda, along with all the devotees!
After a few days Shri Shacinandana went to Gaya to offer oblations to His forefathers. He devotedly offered oblations at the feet of Gadadhara [Vishnu], and then He met Ishvara Puri there.
On seeing Puriraja, Gaura offered His obeisances, and Ishvara Puri respectfully embraced Nimai. As Ishvara Puri spoke, Vishvambhara listened, and they passed the whole night thus engaged in topics of Krishna. They both became intoxicated drinking the nectar of those topics, and they began to dance and cry in ecstasy as if they were mad.
The next day at an auspicious moment Ishvara Puri initiated Mahaprabhu into the chanting of the ten-syllable Krishna mantra. When Gaura chanted that mantra, He saw Lord Krishna manifest before Him. On seeing that wonderful form, Shri Shacinandana became mad and cried with ecstatic love. Gaura offered His obeisances to Ishvara Puri and repeatedly said, “Out of great compassion you have delivered this fallen soul!”
Ishvara Puri said, “I know who You are. Please don't be so humble. You have descended on earth to teach the living entities devotional service. You are the independent Supreme Lord. Who is not bewildered by the display of Your illusory energy? You were astonished to see Your own confidential reflection in the mirror of that mantra. Just as a child enjoys seeing its reflection, Your loving sentiments aroused while seeing Your own reflection. You have covered Yourself with the complexion of Radha's form, and You relish Your own sweetness in the mood of Radha.”
Hearing this, Mahaprabhu remembered Vishnu and said, “O Guru Maharaja, what are you saying to this unworthy soul? Through your devotional vision you always see nothing other than the eternally blissful form of Lord Krishna.”
In ecstatic love, Puriraja did not hear what Gaura said, he simply raised his arms and danced, while roaring in laughter. He subdued his loving symptoms on seeing people gathering around, then he felt himself fortunate as he warmly embraced Gaura.
Vishvambhara then traveled on to Kumarahatta, Ishvara Puri's sacred birthplace. After Gaura glorified Kumarahatta, He offered obeisances to Ishvara Puri and departed. Eventually Mahaprabhu returned to Navadvipa, whereupon all His dear friends and devotees came to see Him.
Seeing Gauranga, His friends smiled and said, “Dear Nimai, why are You dressed differently? You have marked the twelve parts of Your body with tilaka and written the name of Hari on Your limbs. Why have You marked Your body with the signs of the conch and disc?”
On hearing His friends, Gaura replied, “Don't laugh at Me. You should know the importance of marking the body with tilaka. The scriptures state that one who worships the Lord but does not mark his body with tilaka or wear tulasi neck beads achieves no result. Therefore these should be accepted as proper dress. According to great sages, this dress has unlimited potency. Wearing proper dress is the cause of purifying the mind. This tradition comes through the disciplic succession and is therefore most worshipable. By proper decorating the body in this way the living entity can attain liberation even while residing in the material world. Putana attained the supreme abode by dressing properly.”
The devotees' sharklike minds drown in the ocean of ecstasy, and they said to themselves, “Gaura has completely changed His mood.”
Gaura's dearmost Gadadhara Pandita then asked, “What did You do in Gaya?
Mahaprabhu replied, “Gaya-dhama is the topmost holy place where the lotus feet of Vishnu are worshiped. Lord Hari is the friend of the helpless and the reservoir of compassion. He delivers the living entities through the impression of His lotus feet. By seeing the impression of Vishnu's lotus feet on the head of Gayasura, one attains the supreme destination, which is difficult for even the demigods to attain. One who offers oblations at the feet of Lord Hari delivers his ancestors from both the mother and father's side of the family. The Lord bestows His mercy in many places and in many ways, but it is manifested only unto those fortunate persons who have firm faith in the Lord.”
While Mahaprabhu spoke, feelings of ecstasy arose in Him and He began crying, oblivious to everyone present. Gaura then loudly called out the name of Krishna, and the devotees said, “The Lord is glorified!”
The devotees also began to cry upon seeing Mahaprabhu's manifestation of love. Then they all began chanting the holy names of the Lord. As the kirtana gradually expanded the waves of love, Gaura and Gadadhara danced in ecstasy. Shrivasa exclaimed, “Now that love of God has manifest in Gauranga, we will certainly flourish.”
When Nimai's students heard that He had returned from Gaya, they all returned to their studies. Some studied grammar and some studied philosophy, but Gaura glorified Krishna in all of His explanations. The students asked, “Vidyasagara, what are You saying?”
Mahaprabhu replied, “Don't doubt what I said. The four Vedas all describe the name of Krishna as the sound incarnation of the Absolute Truth. I have no other explanation on this subject.”
Acyutananda manifested renunciation on hearing these explanations, and he joined Gauranga in chanting Krishna's glories. The other most fortunate students also developed renunciation through Acyutananda's instructions.
Seeing Mahaprabhu's ecstatic love, the devotees went to Shri Advaita and informed Him of the situation. Although Advaita Acarya knew everything about Gaura, when He heard about Gaura's activities He was filled with love and said to the devotees, “Listen and I will tell you something confidential. I took a vow of daily reading Bhagavad-gita to understand its meaning. Then one day while reading a particular verse some doubt arose. Although I meditated for some time, the meaning was still not clear. I fasted and then lay down. Then, in a dream, someone appeared before Me. He smiled and said, `Get up Acarya! Why are You fasting?' He told Me the meaning of the verse, and I was astounded. When I opened My eyes, I saw Vishvambhara standing before Me. And as I looked at Him, He disappeared. I then understood that Nimai was the Supreme Lord. Just as by seeing smoke one can understand the existence of fire, by seeing divine qualities one can understand the existence of God. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a great ocean of love. How can He hide the waves of that ocean? The pastimes of the Lord follow religious principles. He acts according to those religious principles and then teaches them to others.”
As Advaita Prabhu spoke, He became absorbed in great ecstasy and declared, “I will inundate the entire world with loving devotion to the Lord!” He roared again and again so that people in general were struck with wonder and the devotees became jubilant.
Saintly persons thus came to understand that Krishna had appeared on earth to bless everyone with the gift of love of God. They all came together and blissfully chanted the holy names. They laughed, cried, and danced with a commotion that resembled the rumbling of clouds.
Now listen to the glorious pastimes of Lord Nityananda. By hearing these pastimes the living entities can awaken their dormant love of God.
Nityananda appeared in the glorious village of Ekacakra, in the tract of land known as Radha-desha. Vasudeva appeared as Hadai Pandita, and his son, Nityananda, was always blissful. Nityananda's mother, Padmavati, was a jewel amongst chaste ladies. Advaita Prabhu said that she is nondifferent from Rohini. Shri Nityananda Prabhu appeared on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon in the month of Magha [January-February] 1473.
Nityananda is directly Balarama of Vraja, and He appeared to distribute loving devotional service to the Lord. He left home on the pretext of associating with a sannyasi, and after visiting many holy places He went to Vrindavana. After staying there for some time, Nityananda became joyful upon understanding that Gauranga had appeared. Therefore He came to Navadvipa and remained in the house of Nandana Acarya.
Understanding that Nityananda had arrived in Navadvipa, Vishvambhara confidentially told the devotees, “A great personality, who is like a desire tree, has arrived to distribute the fruit of devotional service. Let us go meet Him. On seeing Him, you will understand His greatness.”
All the devotees became curious, and they joyfully followed Mahaprabhu. They arrived at the house of Shri Nandana Acarya and were astounded on seeing Nityananda. Nityananda had a huge transcendental body that shone like millions of suns. He was grave by nature, and His forehead was beautified by tilaka that shone like the moon. His neck was decorated with tulasi beads, and His smiling lotus face was most beautiful. He appeared as the crest jewel of sannyasis and the source of all compassion.
Seeing His eternal associate, Baladeva, Vishvambhara and the devotees offered their obeisances. When the effulgence of the sunlike Gaura fell on the moonlike Nityananda, it caused an uninterrupted expansion of the soothing light of nectarean love of Godhead. Seeing the symptoms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Gaura, Nityananda was stunned in ecstatic love. And when Gaura Raya saw Nityananda stunned in ecstasy, He thought of some way to reveal His identity.
Gaura had one devotee recite a verse from the Shrimad Bhagavatam, and Nityananda fell unconscious in ecstasy. When He regained consciousness He cried, laughed, and danced like a madman. Sometimes He cried out “I found Krishna!” and sometimes tears flowed incessantly from His eyes. Love of God rained from the cloud of Nityananda and caused tears of devotion to flow like the Ganges from the eyes of the devotees. Thus the waves of Gaura's ocean of love swelled up and drowned His sharklike mind.
After some time everyone calmed down, and Shri Gauranga humbly said to Nityananda, “You have purified Me with a shower of mercy from the cloud of Your pure devotion. You roared like millions of lions out of Your desire to inundate the world with love.”
Nityananda smiled and gently said, “The supreme goal can be explained in the following way: The ocean of Your love is the original cause of the cloud. The attraction of Your sunlike mercy is the secondary cause. Thus the confidential truth about You is manifest through Your devotional ecstasy.”
From that day on Nityananda Prabhu joined Shri Shacinandana and the devotees in the daily performance of sankirtana. Then one day Shri Advaita considered how Krishna has appeared in Navadvipa to preach devotional service. “I will preach that speculative knowledge is superior to devotional service and see how the Supreme Lord reacts.”
Thinking in this mysterious way, Shri Advaita Acarya began to cleverly preach the philosophy of Yoga-vashishtha. He said to His students, “Speculative knowledge is superior to devotional service. There is certainly nothing superior to speculative knowledge.”
The students became unhappy to hear this and thought to themselves, “How has Prabhu developed this contradictory conclusion? Previously He said that speculative knowledge is without a doubt the servant of the servant of Bhakti Maharani. Knowledge without devotion cannot take one to the supreme destination, just as thrashing empty husk cannot produce grain, but only labor. Now He says, `What is the use of devotional service? The scriptures state that one attains liberation by knowing that one is Brahman.'”
Meanwhile, in Navadvipa, Vishvambhara could understand the mind of Advaita Acarya. He took Nityananda and came quickly to Shantipura, after showing mercy to a drunkard on the way.
When Advaita Acarya understood that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had arrived, He became determined and explained speculative knowledge in sweet language. Thus as Shri Chaitanya and Nityananda arrived at Shri Advaita Acarya's residence, refutations on devotional service were coming from the lips of Sitanatha just as poison came from the ocean of milk.
Taking the role of a teacher, Lord Gauranga began shaking in anger, and He loudly addressed Advaita Acarya, “What happened to Your intelligence? You have given up a touchstone to respect a piece of glass. People say that You induce others to take up devotional service, but now I see that You have become a thorn in the side of devotional service. I will kill You and then establish devotional service. Who in the three worlds has the power to stop Me?”
Saying this, in the mood of Nrisimhadeva, Mahaprabhu threw Advaita Acarya from His seat to the ground. On seeing Gaura's deep attachment to protect devotional service, the most fortunate Advaita Acarya fainted in ecstasy. All the students there exclaimed, “Alas! Alas!” and the all-knowing Shri Sita began crying out of love.
After some time Advaita Prabhu regained His external senses and Vishvambhara said to Him, “O Nada, if You have such a desire in Your mind, then why did You call Me here? The Vedas say that the living entities are counted among the parts of the Supreme Brahman, but there is a great difference just as there is between yogurt and milk. The living entity commits an offense by considering himself identical with the Supreme Brahman. Although one may achieve liberation in this way, it is temporary, and again one falls into material existence.”
Advaita Acarya, the incarnation of a devotee, then saw Krishna, who had appeared as His own devotee. His two-armed form was covered with the luster of Radha's body. He was holding a flute and His head was decorated with a peacock feather.
Although Advaita knew the truth about Krishna, on seeing His original form He fell unconscious in ecstasy. When He came to His senses, He said, “I committed a great offense, but now I have received Your order to distribute devotional service.”
Saying this, Advaita brought two books and placed them before Gaura and Nityananda. Advaita Prabhu had written a commentary on two books—Shri Yoga-vashishtha and Shri Bhagavad-gita. Both of those wonderful commentaries delineate the path of devotional service. Advaita Prabhu respectfully showed those books to Shri Gauranga, who read them both and became saturated with pure love. He proclaimed, “Whoever has written the commentary on these books has nicely churned the transcendental ocean of bhakti. He is the incarnation of a devotee and as good as Krishna. I offer millions of obeisances to His lotus feet.”
Raising His arms, Nityananda Prabhu said, “This commentator is glorified throughout the world.”
Shri Advaita Acarya said, “It is Krishna's nature to always give credit to His devotee, therefore anything is possible. By the grace of Krishna, Sarasvati of the spiritual world appears in the heart of a devotee to reveal the science of devotional service. Krishna is the most magnanimous deliverer of the fallen souls. Indeed, He descends for the purpose of delivering the living entities.”
Saying this, Advaita Prabhu cried in ecstatic love, and Gaura and Nityananda danced in ecstasy. Haridasa loudly chanted the name of Hari, and others, headed by Acyutananda, were stunned in pure love of God.
Then Mahaprabhu and the two Prabhus, overwhelmed with loving devotion, repeatedly and loudly called out, “Come, everyone, come! Who do you have to fear? We are giving everyone the proper medicine for the material disease. By taking just a drop of this medicine you will easily attain ecstatic love of God!”
The devotees who heard this developed pure love, and they all began to congregationally chant the holy names of the Lord.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the inconceivable desire tree of pure love, and those two Prabhus are the main branches of that tree. Spiritually there is no difference between these three. They are different only in form, just like Rama, Nrisimha, and other incarnations have some slight differences. One has manifested Himself as a devotee, one as an expansion of a devotee, and one as an incarnation of a devotee. All three are reservoirs of transcendental loving exchanges. Their roaring was equal to the sound of the Vedas, and Their chanting of the holy names delivered the entire world.
After performing sankirtana for some time, They discussed how to establish the religion for this age. Meanwhile, mother Sita, who dedicated her life for the service of Gaura, joyfully cooked in the kitchen with her mouth covered with a piece of cloth.
Sita cooked many vegetables, spinach, and cakes. She prepared many drinks and sweet rice cooked with ghee that was comparable with nectar. I, a fallen soul, brought water for her cooking. She displayed unflinching motherly love to me.
Then the foods were decorated with tulasi-manjaris and offered to Shri Madana-gopala. After the offering was finished, three sitting places were prepared. Nitai sat on the right, Nimai sat in the middle, and Advaita humbly sat on the left. Sitadevi served Them just like goddess Annapurna.
The three Lords were served with various palatable dishes, and Ishana dasa begged for the remnants. After the meal, Mahaprabhu spoke with the two Prabhus, and then They all went to Navadvipa.
Together, the three propagated the holy names and delivered many abominable, sinful persons, including Jagai, Madhai, and the Kazi. Thus They performed most wonderful pastimes which amazed everyone. I am unable to write the details of all these pastimes. I am simply giving some indication.
Praying at the the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha.