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All glories to Shri Chaitanya! All glories to Sitanatha! All glories to Nityananda, along with all the devotees!
One day Sita opened the door of her mind to Advaita Prabhu saying, “I have not seen Gaurachandra for many days. My mind and soul always cry for Him. When will I be fortunate enough to see Gaura's handsome face? When will I offer a favorite article to Gaura? Then my heart, which is burning due to separation from Gaura, will be pacified. When will I again and again drink the nectarean topics about Gauranga and give up the burning desire for material enjoyment? Now I have disclosed the miserable condition of my mind. If You have affection for me, please help me find relief.”
After disclosing her mind, Sita cried out of love. Advaita Prabhu said to her, “Your life is glorious.” Just then, Advaita became intoxicated with love. He repeatedly roared out the name of Gauranga. Then Advaita said, “One who has fully dedicated his life to Lord Chaitanya is certainly the most fortunate person. One whose hairs stand on end after hearing the name of Gaura is known as the topmost devotee. One who sheds tears on chanting the name of Gauranga is an eternally liberated devotee.”
Saying this, He roared deeply and chanted and danced with raised arms. After some time Sitanatha came to His external senses. He then consoled Sitadevi by describing Gauranga's transcendental qualities. At that time a Vaishnava came and offered obeisances to Advaita Prabhu. The Vaishnava then delivered a message sent by Shivananda Sena. He said, “O Sitanatha, please listen attentively. Shivananda Sena has sent me to You. He will take all of Gauranga's followers to Purushottama to attend Ratha-yatra. Nityananda Prabhu, Shrivasa Pandita, Gadadhara, and others have already assembled.”
Hearing that message from the devotee, Advaita Prabhu and Sita prepared themselves for going. The most chaste Sitadevi joyfully took all of Gaura's favorite articles with her. Gopala dasa, who dedicated his life to Gauranga's service, also went to see Gaura.
By the mercy of Shri Guru and the Vaishnavas, I, the lowest of men, also went along as a servant. The meeting between Advaita Prabhu and Gauranga's followers increased the ocean of bliss, as devotees offered obeisances and embraced each other. They all happily engaged in sankirtana and visited various holy places on their way to Nilacala.
On hearing of their arrival, Gaurachandra went in great ecstasy with His local devotees to greet them. When the Bengal devotees saw Gauranga coming from a distance, they were overwhelmed with love and proceeded on while loudly chanting the holy names. The ecstasy in that meeting between Shri Krishna Chaitanya and His devotees cannot be described.
The devotees surrounded Gauranga as they danced and chanted the holy names in ecstatic love of God. All the devotees easily drown in the waves of the great ocean of Mahaprabhu's love. Eventually they began to swim in the Gangalike current of the tears flowing from their eyes.
Nityananda Prabhu was intoxicated with love as He chanted Hare Krishna and danced with raised arms. Advaita Prabhu's ecstasy cannot be described. He loudly called out, “I will subdue all the atheists!”
While Lord Jagannatha mounted His chariot, Gaura, in the mood of the gopis, recited the following verse:
bahu-kale tore kala laga pailan
antare rakhimu bhari nahi chadi ban
“I am seeing You after a long time. Now I will keep You in My heart and not let You go.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sang this song in the ecstasy of love of Godhead, and the two Prabhus broadcast its meaning. Gradually the waves of His ocean of ecstasy swelled up, and as a result all the devotees became decorated with various ecstatic symptoms. Then, as the Lord became absorbed in the kirtana, feelings of maha-bhava awoke within Him and He fell unconscious.
When that verse was again recited, He regained His external consciousness and embraced Nityananda Prabhu. Nitai held the Lord's two hands and sweetly danced around Advaita, who said, “It is difficult to understand the drama between You two.”
Gaura and Nitai replied, “You are the director of the drama.”
They affectionately embraced each other, and then the three Lords cried as They chanted the name of Hari. Then They exclaimed, “Come, everyone! Don't fear. Let us chant the name of Hari and dance. In this way we will cross the ocean of material existence.”
Hearing this, the devotees began dancing. Some of them cried in ecstasy and some roared out. At that time, Gopala dasa, the son of Advaita, enchanted the entire world by dancing with his arms raised. Then, while dancing, he suddenly fell unconscious. Even after the devotees chanted to him for a long time, he did not regain consciousness. When Sitanatha saw Gopala dasa lying there practically dead, He cried out in distress, “Alas, Krishna! What have You done?”
At that time Shri Shacinandana repeatedly called out, “Wake up, Gopala!”
When He by whose mercy the whole world has consciousness orders one to awaken, who can remain unconscious? By a drop of Shri Chaitanya's mercy, Gopala dasa awoke and said, “I am the servant of Lord Chaitanya.”
Gopala then loudly called out “Shri Krishna Chaitanya!” and the devotees remarked, “He is the incarnation of a devotee.”
Gauranga affectionately embraced Gopala and bathed him with tears of love. In ecstatic love, Shri Advaita took Gopala in His arms and then danced around, chanting “Hari Hari!” Nityananda lovingly brushed the dust off Gopala's body, and the devotees took the dust from his feet.
The glories of Gopala dasa are unlimited. An insignificant soul like me can hardly describe a fragment of them. Everyone chanted the name of Hari as they saw Lord Jagannatha's Ratha-yatra festival. It is not possible to describe the joy they experienced. All the followers of Gauranga rolled in the dust in ecstasy.
At the end of the festival maha-prasada was purchased and honored. After discussing spiritual topics, they returned to their own residences.
Please listen now to this wonderful story. One day Sitanatha said to Sitadevi, “Day and night I feel distressed about not being able to entertain Gauranga to My heart's content. Whenever I invite Gauranga to My residence, many sannyasis always accompany Him. Gaura gives most of the food to the sannyasis and then He eats. Thus My cherished desire is frustrated.”
Sitadevi said, “This is also my heart's desire. If we can get Gaura to come alone, then we will be satisfied. If we can entertain Him with His favorite foods, then my long cherished desire will be fulfilled.”
At that time a wonderful event took place. The daylight suddenly became covered by dark clouds. As they watched, a strong wind started blowing and a frightening shower of hail began falling from the sky. No one could understand that due to the desire of Shri Chaitanya, no one could leave their house.
At that time, Gauranga, who resides in everyone's heart, left His room to fulfill His devotees' desires. When Sita and Advaita saw Gaura come alone to their residence, they began floating in waves of love. Sitadevi and Advaita Prabhu are both reservoirs of nectarean love for Gauranga. They have unlimited faith in the Lord. I know them as eternal associates of the Lord.
As Gauranga arrived, they both quickly got up and loudly welcomed the Lord, “O Gaura, our life and soul! Please come. You are the all-knowing bee of the lotus heart of the devotees. You are a vast nectarean ocean of mercy.”
Saying this, they offered Gaura a nice sitting place and made various arrangements for His service. I, an insignificant insect, went to wash the feet of Gauranga. But Gaura told me, “Wait, wait. A brahmana is nondifferent from the body of Vishnu.”
I said, “Alas! How unfortunate I am! I am unqualified to serve the feet of Gauranga. My desire to attain those feet, which are worshipable by all, beginning with Anantadeva, is like the desire of a child to touch the moon.”
Then I thought, “Krishna is an ocean of mercy, and He has descended to deliver the fallen atheists. Why won't He be kind to a fallen soul like me? If I fall at His feet crying, then He will be merciful to me. This brahmana thread is an obstruction to my service to the Lord, and by nature it is a source of false pride. That is why Vaishnavas give it up.” Thinking in this way, I broke my thread.
Seeing this, my Prabhu smiled and said, “O Ishana, why did you destroy this symbol of the brahmanas' religious principles? The sacred thread of the brahmanas purifies their mind and fixes their heart in the Absolute Truth.”
Advaita Prabhu then gave me another sacred thread, and in distress I said to Him, “What is the use of a thread that impedes my service to Gauranga?” Then I began to cry, saying, “Please don't deprive me of the Lord's service.”
Seeing me lamenting, Advaita Prabhu repeatedly said, “It is not proper to put a devotee in distress.”
Mahaprabhu was silent on hearing Advaita Prabhu's words. Advaita then told me, “Ishana, go and serve the Lord's feet.”
On hearing this, I was drown in an ocean of joy. By the mercy of the Guru, I received the order to serve Lord Gauranga. What cannot be achieved by millions of lifetimes of pious activities can easily be obtained by the mercy of Shri Guru. The glories of the mercy of the Guru and the Vaishnavas are unlimited. When even Lord Brahma cannot estimate the extent of that mercy, how can an insignificant person like me?
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then went to the dining room. He cheerfully sat down on a clean seat and said, “Come and sit, Acarya.”
My Prabhu said, “Give up your clever tricks, Gaura. Today You will eat all the food that has been offered. Then I promise to let You go.”
Mahaprabhu smiled and then began to eat, as mother Sita attentively served Him. She offered the Lord such a variety of vegetable preparations and cakes that I am unable to describe them all. Sitadevi affectionately served Gaura all of His favorite preparations, which Gaura happily ate.
Gaura said, “Acarya, I am unable to remember when I've eaten so much.”
Acarya smiled and said, “Listen, Nimai, Your clever tricks are not unknown to Me. Three potencies constantly reside on Your tongue—the devotees' glories, saintly instructions, and humble prayers.”
Hearing this, Mahaprabhu remembered Vishnu. He then cleaned His hands and mouth and took some betel nut. On Advaita Acarya's request, Gaura then lay down to rest. At that time the hail storm stopped.
Shri Krishna Chaitanya descended to perform uncommon pastimes and thus bestow eternal happiness on His devotees. There is no comparison to Krishna's mercy; even personalities like Maha-Vishnu cannot estimate its limits. The Vedas proclaim that Krishna and His pure devotees are nondifferent. The desire of Krishna's devotee is automatically fulfilled on its own accord. When the devotees desire something, then Krishna's desire for that awakens.
When will I become fortunate to receive the merciful shelter of the Guru and the Vaishnavas? When will the nectarean ocean of Gaura's love drown my senses so that I may be freed from all sins?
Previously, Narada and other prominent devotees served Krishna or Radha and attained perfection. Others worshiped Radha and Krishna and attained spiritual bodies and the eternal abode of Vrindavana. But no one could ever see the combined form of the two—Lord Shri Krishna, the reservoir of all pleasure, and Shrimati Radharani, the personification of ecstatic love of Godhead. That combined form of the Lord, Gauranga, has preached and delivered the living entities in this glorious age of Kali.
Anyone who sees, serves, or worships that form of the Lord easily attains the rarest treasure of pure love of Godhead. No one had previously ever heard of such a merciful incarnation, who is the reservoir of Lord Krishna's manifestations. Gauranga revealed the glories of Vaishnavas' remnants and delivered a dog with the holy name.
A great devotee of the name Shivananda Sena was famous throughout the world as a dear servant of Lord Gauranga. In his house lived one dog, which became purified by eating the Vaishnavas' remnants. When Shivananda came to Purushottama-kshetra, by some good fortune the dog came along. That dog was later freed from material bondage by the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The dog chanted Hare Krishna and attained its spiritual body.
Therefore the remnants of Vaishnavas are certainly spiritual. If someone eats even a small portion of those remnants they attain devotional service. The glories of the dust of the Vaishnava's feet are also unlimited. By touching even a grain of that dust one can cross over the ocean of material existence. Seeing a Vaishnava is as good as seeing Lord Vishnu, and feeding a Vaishnava is as good as feeding Krishna. Lord Krishna has stated, “My devotee is greater than Me.” One can be relieved from the offense to a Vaishnava by sincerely serving that Vaishnava; there is no other means of deliverance. Even Krishna cannot free one from such offenses. But if by some good fortune the Vaishnava becomes compassionate, then the offender is certainly freed from the offense. When the pure devotee is empowered by the sweet will of Krishna, Krishna is automatically purchased by him. One who is a servant of Krishna naturally delivers the living entities by teaching them through his example. And now Radha and Krishna have mercifully taken the form of a devotee for the benefit of the living entities.
By the mercy of Gauranga, the son of Shivananda Sena exhibited great knowledge of the scriptures at an early age. He became well-known as Kavi-karnapura, and in this way Shri Shacinandana's pastimes astonished the entire world.
Now I will describe the service I rendered to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for one is delivered simply by remembering Him. By the lionlike Shri Advaita Prabhu's mercy, the rarest service was given to this fallen soul. The reddish lotus feet of Shri Gauranga are most delicate, and only lotuslike hands are fit to massage those feet. Then this insignificant soul said to Shri Chaitanya, “Please be merciful and instruct this soul who is devoid of devotion.”
Gauranga smiled and sweetly said, “Listen, Ishana, to the teachings given in the scriptures. Learn the principles of religion from a bona fide devotee. Chanting the holy names of the Lord is the topmost principle of religion. The glories of chanting the holy names are greater than those of performing austerities and penances. One who chants the holy names becomes free from all offenses. But if someone in the renounced order speaks intimately with a woman, his religious principles are destroyed. Those who worship various demigods cannot have unalloyed faith in Krishna.”
I consider one who hears or reads this instruction from the lotus mouth of Shri Krishna Chaitanya to be most fortunate. I offer unlimited obeisances to the feet of Gauranga, who taught the entire world by banishing His dear devotee.
Chota Haridasa used to sing like a Gandharva. He had dedicated his life to the service of Gauranga, so he was a topmost devotee. He begged some rice for the service of Lord Gauranga and then exchanged it for some better rice. When Gauranga saw the rice, He inquired, “Where did you get this rice, Haridasa?”
Haridasa replied, “I got it from mother Madhavi. I exchanged some other rice for this rice.”
Gauranga then said, “What sort of activity is this? You have violated the principles of the renounced order. Although Madhavi is a highly chaste pure devotee, who has implicit faith in her Guru and the Vaishnavas, how can the religious principles of the renounced order be upheld if you talk to women? For this reason I reject you from My association.”
Hearing this, Haridasa cried profusely. He offered obeisances to Gaura and then departed. All the devotees were struck with wonder. No one can understand the deep meaning of Gauranga's pastimes except His devotees. After this incident, Advaita and the other devotees returned to Bengal. They all felt depressed in separation from Lord Gauranga. There is no limit to the pastimes of Gaura and His followers, I am describing just a small fragment.
Praying at the the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha.