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All glories to Shri Chaitanya! All glories to Sitanatha! All glories to Nityananda, along with all the devotees!
Now listen to the pastimes of Nityananda Prabhu, who went to Bengal on the order of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Uddharana Datta was the object of Nityananda's mercy. He served the Lord day and night. One time Nityananda went to Ambika-kalana and assumed an enchantingly handsome form that astounded even the demigods. Seeing His handsome form, people asked, “Who is this prince?”
At that time Suryadasa Pandita came there and was amazed on seeing the form of Nityananda. Suryadasa submissively inquired, “Please tell me, where is Your residence? What is Your name?”
Uddharana Datta replied, “He belongs to the topmost Radhi brahmana society. He is the crest jewel amongst logicians. He is known as Nityananda, and He lives in the abode of ecstatic love.”
The intelligent Suryadasa then happily said, “Please come to my residence and take rest.”
Nityananda smiled and accompanied him to his house, where the brahmana Suryadasa fed Nityananda with loving care. The village ladies flocked there to see Nityananda, and they all praised His attractive form. They then told the wife of Suryadasa, “He is a suitable husband for your daughters.”
Suryadasa had two daughters—Vasudha and Jahnava—who were both equal to Lakshmidevi. There was no comparison to their beauty and good qualities. Suryadasa was an incarnation of Maharaja Kakudmi, who was advised by Lord Brahma to offer his beautiful daughter, Revati, to Baladeva. His wife was endowed with all the good qualities of a saintly chaste lady. She said to the village ladies, “Please, all of you give your blessings. Who doesn't desire to give their daughter to a nice saintly person? But I don't know what my husband desires in this regard. If he agrees, I would accept it as auspicious.”
At that time the great scholar Suryadasa came there, and the ladies told him, “You have got two marriageable daughters at home. Providence kindly brought their future bridegroom here. Let us hear what you think about this.”
Suryadasa Pandita replied, “If everyone agrees, then I accept.”
After saying this, Suryadasa went out and called his relatives to his house. In that family gathering, Suryadasa humbly said, “After due consideration, please tell me whether I should give my daughters to this visitor.”
Everyone said, “We don't even know where He comes from. A wise man never asks someone whose family and behavior are unknown to marry his daughter. A suitable husband is not easy to find. By giving his daughter to Lord Shiva, Daksha got the head of a goat.”
They discussed at length in this way, and when Nityananda understood their mind, He departed. He went to the bank of the Ganges, where Gauridasa, who was absorbed in ecstatic love, recognized Him. Gauridasa offered obeisances to Nityananda and said, “You have unlimited wonderful pastimes.” Nityananda laughed loudly, and Gauridasa became unhappy to see His disappointment.
Gauridasa was not a ordinary man; he was one of Krishna's dear friends from Vrindavana. My Prabhu, Advaita, called him Subala. He knows all of Radha-Krishna's confidential pastimes. Now that Radha-Krishna have descended in Nadia, the cowherd boys have also come to assist in Their pastimes. Gauranga's intimate devotee, Gauridasa, enjoyed many pastimes with Mahaprabhu during kirtana. He never remained at home without the association of Gaura-Nitai. His friends once requested Mahaprabhu, “Please instruct this boy to get married, for everyone will be happy if he remains at home.”
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “All right. I will do that. Please don't worry, be peaceful.”
That evening Gauridasa Pandita came to Mahaprabhu with a garland. He placed the garland around Mahaprabhu's neck, and his voice was choked in love as he offered obeisances to the Lord. The pure loving sentiments of Vraja awoke in Gauranga. He thus embraced Gauridasa and said, “Come My dear friend.”
Tears incessantly flowed from the eyes of Mahaprabhu, and Gauridasa wiped them away with a piece of cloth. Shri Gaurachandra lost external consciousness and was drowned in the fathomless ocean of Shrimati Radharani's ecstasy. He regained external consciousness after three hours and began to dance while holding Gauridasa's hand.
Nityananda and others cried loudly in ecstatic love, and then all the devotees assembled together to engage in sankirtana. They held a grand festival of dancing and chanting, which I am unable to describe even a portion of.
After sankirtana, Gaura and Nitai sat down together. They called Gauridasa to a secluded place and Mahaprabhu said to him, “Listen, My dearest friend. Please get married and stay at home.”
Gauridasa replied, “Your order is as good as a Vedic injunction. Whoever violates Your order is a rascal. But I cannot live without You, just as a fish cannot live without water.”
Hearing this, Gauranga laughed and looked at Nityananda. Nityananda told Gauridasa, “Make a Deity of Gauranga.”
Gauranga then said, “The worship of one Deity doesn't look good. Install a Deity of Nityananda also, then you will always feel Our presence here. But don't tell others about this confidential discussion.”
Gauridasa became filled with ecstatic love, and he offered obeisances at the feet of Gaura-Nitai. Shri Gauridasa was expert in artistic carving. Indeed, even the greatest craftsman amongst the demigods was not as expert. He joyfully carved the two Deities out of wood in the presence of Gaura-Nitai, and therefore the Deities look exactly like Gaura-Nitai Themselves. Anyone who sees those Deities at once feels ecstatic love.
Gaura and Nitai then both embraced Gauridasa and went off to preach the holy names. In order to install the two Deities, Gauridasa, after due consideration, went to see Advaita Prabhu. He offered his obeisances at the feet of Sitanatha, who welcomed Gauridasa and then affectionately inquired, “My dear boy, why have you come here?”
Gauridasa related everything in detail, and Advaita Prabhu said, “Dear child, you are so fortunate to have carved Deities of Gaura-Nitai. It will be My good fortune to install Them. Go and make arrangements for the paraphernalia.”
On hearing this, Shri Acyuta folded his hands and said, “Please allow me to go to Ambika-kalana. Which mantras will be used in the worship of those Deities? Please tell me the truth, don't keep it a secret.”
Sitanatha smiled and said, “I don't know whether you know, but Lord Krishna Himself has descended in Nadia. He has covered His body with the bodily complexion of Shrimati Radharani, just as a person appears different by wearing different dresses. Therefore Mahaprabhu is worshiped by meditating on the ten syllable Gopala mantra. Worship Radha as the covering of Krishna, and then your worship will undoubtedly be successful. By worshiping Nityananda through the Narayana mantra, your worship will be successful and you will be happy.”
Acyuta humbly replied, “I will certainly do as You instructed. But Narahari Sarakara Thakura, the resident of Shrikhanda, is a reservoir of loving devotion. He is considered a confidential devotee of Shri Chaitanya. Other devotees call him an eternal associate of Krishna. He expressed a different opinion on the worship of Gauranga. Please tell me the reason for this.”
Advaita Prabhu said, “In the ocean of Shri Krishna Chaitanya's love, anything is possible, provided His worship is performed out of pure devotional sentiments. Krishna has firmly promised His devotees that He would reciprocate with their mood of worship.”
Hearing this, Acyutananda became maddened with ecstasy. He then accompanied Gauridasa to Ambika. The two Deities were installed there in a grand festival, which Gauridasa blissfully organized. Gauridasa has deep love for the three Lords and was therefore accepted by Them as Their dearest devotee. How can this confidential truth be known by someone as insignificant as me? I am simply writing a condensed portion of those pastimes on the order of Acyuta Prabhu.
As Nityananda Prabhu was sitting on the bank of the Ganges discussing spiritual topics with Uddharana Datta, the distressed Suryadasa Pandita came there with the dead body of Vasudha. As everyone arranged for her last rites, Nityananda Prabhu came there and said to Suryadasa, “If I bring your daughter back to life, would you promise to give her to Me?”
In the presence of his friends, the Pandita replied, “Yes, if You bring her back to life, I will give her to You.”
Hearing this, Nityananda joyfully chanted the life-giving holy name of the Lord in her ear. Drinking the nectar of the holy name, Vasudha got up to the amazement of everyone present. Then Suryadasa happily took his daughter to his residence, as everyone blissfully chanted the name of Hari.
Someone said about Nityananda, “He must be a great sage.”
Someone else said, “Perhaps He is a demigod in disguise.”
Later, after Suryadasa took Nityananda to his residence, he recognized who the Lord was by His symptoms and became overwhelmed with ecstatic love. Suryadasa considered himself most fortunate as he joyfully gave his daughter to Lord Nityananda in a grand ceremony.
Nityananda Prabhu married Vasudha and accepted Jahnava on the pretext of a wedding gift. Then Nityananda went on to the village of Khadadaha, where He inaugurated the worship of Shyamasundara. Later, after the disappearance of Mahaprabhu, Vasudhamata gave birth to a boy on an auspicious day. This son of Nityananda was always joyful, and His name, Viracandra, became known throughout the world. My Prabhu said He was the expansion of Sankarshana. Everyone who saw Him became enchanted.
I have described just a drop of whatever I have heard from the mouths of the devotees and whatever I have seen. One day, feeling separation from Gauranga, Advaita cried loudly, “Where is the Lord of My life?” Gradually the waves of the ocean of Lord Gauranga's love swelled up and drowned Sitanatha, the wish-fulfilling tree of the devotees.
After three days Advaita Prabhu came to His senses and made up His mind to see Gauranga. He lamented, “Alas, Gauranga! You burn the heart and mind of Your devotees by the fire of separation. You appeared to distribute devotional service, so I will preach jnana to put You in distress. One time I explained jnana and thus attained Your mercy. Now I will again preach dry speculative knowledge to see how You react. If I don't attain Your lotus feet, then I will destroy the world.”
Thinking in this way, Advaita called His disciples by His side. He then instructed them in jnana-yoga in a soft voice, “Jnanis say that jnana is superior to bhakti, for bhakti culminates in the awakening of jnana. For one who serves the Lord by jnana, a transcendental flower plane takes him to the other shore of material existence. Previously, with the help of jnana-yoga, sages attained devotional service and liberation according to their desire.”
In this way Advaita gave various instructions on jnana, and His disciples naturally accepted the words of their guru. Although by His words He appeared to teach jnana, actually He doubled the opportunities for serving Krishna. With deep attachment, He offered tulasi leaves with various sweetmeats to Krishna. As Advaita meditated on Gauranga with closed eyes, the associates of Gauranga misunderstood His motive and wandered around crying.
When Shri Shacinandana heard that Advaita was advocating liberation, the Lord, who is the Supersoul, understood Advaita's mind. In order to fulfill His devotee's desire, Gaura left Purushottama and suddenly came to the house of Advaita.
Smelling the fragrance of Gauranga's body, Sitanatha looked and saw that moving Jagannatha had appeared before Him. On seeing Lord Chaitanya's inconceivable mercy bestowed on Him, Advaita offered humble prayers in great ecstasy. Advaita then offered hundreds of obeisances at the feet of Gauranga and said, “No one is as fortunate as Me in the three worlds.”
Lord Gauranga said, “You are the incarnation of a devotee. You have brought Me here by the strength of Your unalloyed devotion. Actually Your activities are superior to Mine, therefore I have come to fulfill Your desire.”
Gaura then satisfied Advaita Acarya's desire by joyfully eating many different preparations. After finishing His meal, Gaura chewed some betel nut and then rebuked Advaita with a sweet voice, “You gave instructions on jnana-yoga in order to see Me. You didn't care about the living entities' future suffering. If You are eager to see Me, I will come the moment You desire. But please don't teach jnana-yoga anymore. Teach devotional service, so that the living entities may be delivered.”
Shri Advaita said, “I got the benediction according to My desire, now kindly forgive My offense.”
Mahaprabhu said, “Even if a devotee commits millions of offenses, Krishna mercifully forgives him.”
Sitamata came there at that time and was drown in wonderful loving ecstasy by seeing Gauranga. She took Gauranga on her lap and cried aloud. Gaura told her, “I feel very thirsty.”
Hearing this, Sita brought condensed milk, cream, and Ganges water, and in parental affection she personally put them in Gaura's mouth.
In great ecstasy, Gaura enjoyed those items as if they were more palatable than nectar. Then, after encouraging the couple, Gaura disappeared. Sita and Advaita spent the rest of the day intoxicated in love while remembering Gaura's kindness. In the evening Advaita Prabhu controlled His emotions, called His disciples, and said, “Listen, everyone. Previously due to mental imbalance I said that jnana is superior to bhakti. Now after consideration I see that it is not equal to bhakti. One can know the Supreme Lord through jnana, but one can attain Him through bhakti. Many scriptures declare that bhakti is superior to jnana. You should certainly know that the supreme goal of jnana is liberation. But the liberated person ultimately becomes falsely proud and does not serve Krishna. And because of that offense, he again falls down into material existence.
“Therefore bhakti-yoga is the topmost process. One who follows the path of bhakti never falls down. Even Anantadeva cannot fully know the glories of bhakti. The scriptures declare that mukti, liberation, acts as the maidservant of bhakti. Serve Krishna with firm faith and you will easily achieve freedom from material bondage.”
Like this, Advaita Prabhu gave His disciples many instructions on devotional service. All except three of them followed the path of bhakti. Kamadeva Nagara, Agala, and Pagala did not accept Advaita Acarya's instructions. They said, “Listen, Acarya Gosani. There is no limit to Your instructions. One moment You say jnana is superior, and the next moment You say bhakti is superior. We have fixed our minds on the path of jnana.”
Advaita Prabhu said, “If you don't accept My instructions, then I reject you and don't want to see your faces.”
“As You order,” they replied. They then went east, where they began teaching their own philosophy.
I offer millions of obeisances to the pastimes of Lord Gauranga. One can see Gaura's transcendental pastimes through devotional service. Lord Gauranga performs His eternal pastimes wherever His devotees reside, but only the fortunate persons with eyes of devotion can see those pastimes. The Supreme Lord Advaita Prabhu showered unlimited mercy on me, therefore I am able to briefly write about those pastimes.
Praying at the the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha.