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All glories to Shri Chaitanya! All glories to Sitanatha! All glories to Nityananda, along with all the devotees!
After Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's disappearance, the two Prabhus were overwhelmed and cried in separation. The various moods that I saw Them manifest are completely beyond my ability to describe. The states They continually displayed were similar to those exhibited by the Vraja gopis in Krishna's absence. Sometimes They fasted, sometimes They ate a little, and sometimes They drank only water for a few days. Due to feelings of separation, Their bodies became fatigued. Sometimes They loudly called out “O Gauranga!” They considered one day to be like a hundred millenniums. One's heart melted on seeing Their condition. Their only enjoyment was chanting and remembering the name of Gauranga, and in this way eight years passed.
One day in Shantipura, as Advaita Acarya was remembering Gauranga's qualities, He became impatient in ecstatic love. At that time a message came from Nityananda Prabhu in Khadadaha requesting Advaita to visit Him. On receiving the message, Shri Advaita quickly prepared Himself to go meet Nityananda.
On the auspicious meeting of Nityananda and Advaita, They embraced each other in great ecstasy. On seeing each other, They became immersed in loving affection and They loudly cried out the name of Lord Gauranga. After some time the two regained Their external senses, and They went and sat together in a solitary place. No one knows what They discussed together for seven days and nights.
On the eighth day, in the association of the devotees, Shri Advaita chanted the qualities of Gauranga with great ecstasy. As Nityananda danced in the middle, He lost all external consciousness while meditating with love on Gauranga's lotus feet. The mahantas [great devotees] also forgot everything external out of love, and while they were in that state, Nityananda Prabhu disappeared. When the mahantas came to their external consciousness and did not see Nityananda, they began searching for Him.
The all-knowing incarnation of the Supreme Lord, Shri Advaita Prabhu, could understand that Nityananda had disappeared from the world. He started lamenting like a madman, “Alas! Please tell Me why You have done such a crazy thing? I am morose and almost dead due to intense feelings of separation from Gaurachandra. Still, I remained alive because I was able to look at Your face. But now that You have left, where can I go?”
Advaita Prabhu lamented in such a way that I am unable to describe. When the devotees came to know about Nityananda's disappearance, they wept bitterly and asked, “Where is Nityananda?”
Virabhadra Prabhu cried and rolled in the dust, while Advaitacandra tried to console everyone. He made arrangements for a great festival and sent invitation letters to all the devotees.
In due course of time, all the mahantas came and Khadadaha again became full of joy. After bathing on the day of the festival, everyone assembled together and began sankirtana. Fourteen mridangas and hundreds of karatalas were played in seven groups of devotees. One devotee danced in each of the groups, while Kuvera-nandana, Advaita, danced in all the groups.
I am unable to describe the ecstatic kirtana that I saw there in fear of increasing the size of this book. When the sankirtana finished, all the Vaishnavas relished discussing the pastimes of Lord Gauranga. Meanwhile, Virabhadra cleaned one place and carefully arranged seating for three persons. They then made up three plates for offering and set them there. Then Virabhadra said to Advaita Prabhu, “I would like to place one request before You. O Gosvami, please fulfill the desire of this boy. Just as Mahaprabhu and the two Prabhus previously sat and ate together, please take Your meals together in the same way here in my house. Let my worthless eyes become perfect by seeing this.”
All the mahantas enthusiastically endorsed his request, and my Prabhu thus went to offer bhoga, first to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. On Gauranga's right, He offered bhoga to Nityananda, and then Advaita Prabhu sat on Gauranga's left. Seeing this, all the devotees chanted the name of Hari.
Viracandra Prabhu offered the bhoga-arati, while gazing on the lotus faces of the Lords. The mahantas all experienced a fresh attraction as they performed kirtana during Gauranga's bhoga-arati. How wonderful was that blissful scene! I am unfortunate, being unable to fully describe it.
In that assembly Virabhadra raised his hands and said, “Dear Vaishnavas, please listen to me. Anyone who arranges a feast should offer bhoga like this to the three Lords. Then carefully take that maha-prasada and offer it to the saintly persons, brahmanas, and Vaishnavas. Feeding these three Lords is as good as a great sacrifice or perfect execution of yoga. Shri Chaitanya, Nityananda, and Shri Advaita are all one and simultaneously different. One who considers these three different will never attain the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya. And without Lord Gauranga's mercy, one will never attain pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and one's rare human birth will be wasted. Any festival in which these three Lords are not offered bhoga is no better than Daksha's sacrifice. The benefit of food distribution will not be obtained, and everything will be spoiled. In the next life he will reside in hell as long as the sun and moon continue to shine.”
Hearing these words from Viracandra, all the Vaishnavas present said, “So be it.” When Advaita Prabhu finished His meal, He got up, washed His mouth, and chewed some betel nut. Viracandra Prabhu then happily distributed the maha-prasada. The brahmanas, Vaishnavas, and mahantas who received the prasada all felt fortunate as a result.
After the festival was finished, Viracandra joyfully began making arrangements according to Advaita Prabhu's instructions. Tumeric and yogurt were mixed and kept in new clay pots, which were decorated with fresh mangoe leaves. New cloth was placed on top of the pots, which were then placed before Advaita Prabhu. Then on the order of my Prabhu, Shri Acyutananda began leading a huge kirtana. Gauranga's followers performed the auspicious Dadhi-mangala ceremony, by breaking a clay pot with yogurt, and then they danced in the mood of the gopas of Gokula.
There was no limit to the joy that they experienced. I write just a fragment about it for my own purification. After the festival, the devotees returned to their residences, and Advaita Prabhu brought us all back to Shantipura. Advaita Prabhu returned to His room in a morose state of mind with nothing other than “Hare Krishna” coming from His mouth.
One day on the order of Advaita Prabhu, I, an insignificant insect, went to bring news from Navadvipa. When I returned to Shantipura, I offered obeisances at the feet of Advaita Prabhu and He asked me, “Ishana dasa, what's the news?”
I replied, “All the residents of Navadvipa are very unhappy after the disappearance of Gauranga. I was fortunate to see Damodara Pandita, and he said to me, `Where do you come from? After the disappearance of mother Shacidevi, Vishnupriya, by her desire, locked herself inside the house, away from the devotees. Now no one can visit her without her permission, and she has taken up a severe vow. She takes bath in the morning and performs her morning prayers. Then she counts her chanting of the holy names with grains of rice. She puts each grain of rice in a clay pot, and she continues chanting like this until sometime in the afternoon. After finishing her chanting, she takes the rice and cooks it with a cloth covering her mouth. She offers that plain unsalted rice to Mahaprabhu with a humble prayer. Lamenting in various ways, she purifies her hands and mouth with water and eats just a handful of that prasada. She then offers the remnants of that rice to the devotees. Who else can perform such a severe vow?'
“This information struck me like a thunderbolt, and I thought of how I could see the mother. At that time Gadadhara dasa, Shri Rama Pandita, and other great devotees came there to take prasada with Damodara. They entered the inner apartment with tears in their eyes. Then with the permission of Vishnupriya, Damodara Pandita took this fallen soul into the inner apartment. Going in, I saw mother Vishnupriya with her body covered with starched cloth, but by great fortune I was able to see her lotus feet. Then, by the mercy of the devotees, I was given some prasada. As a result, I felt fully satisfied and my mind was relieved of all distress. How can I describe the hardship that mother Vishnupriya endures? Who can perform such activities without transcendental potency?”
Hearing this, my Prabhu cried, but then He restrained His lamentation by accepting it as Krishna's will. My heart breaks as I try to describe mother Vishnupriya's condition.
A few days later, as Shri Sitanatha sat in His courtyard reading Shrimad Bhagavatam, a pure Vaishnava came and offered obeisances to Him. Advaita Prabhu asked him, “Where do you come from?”
He replied, “Virabhadra sent me. He is now twenty years old. He has not found a proper guru yet, so he remains uninitiated. He is coming here by boat with a desire to take initiation from You.”
Advaita Prabhu said, “This idea of his is not pure. It is contrary to the desire of his dear ones. Please convey this message to Virabhadra. Tell him to take mantra from mother Jahnava.”
Hearing this, that Vaishnava went to Khadadaha and submitted Advaita's desire to mother Jahnava. Mother Jahnava then sent a devotee to bring Virabhadra, who came and took mantra from mother Jahnava.
Now listen to the account of Advaita's disappearance. My heart breaks while writing this. One day Advaita Prabhu was overwhelmed with maha-bhava, and He called out to Gauranga, “Nimai, where are You?”
After some time Advaita Prabhu came to His external senses and called for His dear sons. He said to them, “Dear sons, please hear My distress. My wicked relations are blaspheming Gauranga, and My heart cannot tolerate it. In order to atone for this I will certainly leave My body. Therefore inform Gauranga's dear devotees about My desire and bring them here.”
Saying this, my Prabhu became stunned. Shri Acyuta quickly sent news to everyone. On receiving Advaita Prabhu's message, Viracandra came to Shantipura along with his devotees. Gauridasa Pandita came from Ambika, and all the devotees came from Navadvipa. Narahari Sarakara Thakura came with his associates, and the great Pandita Kavi-karnapura came. Shyamadasa, Vishnudasa, Shri Yadunandana, and Advaita's other dear disciples all came to Shantipura and offered prayers and obeisances at His feet.
Advaita Prabhu said, “You are all dear to Me. Please carry out this one instruction. My desire is that you preach Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's qualities and teachings as far as you are able. The association of uncivilized nonbelievers who are envious of Gauranga should certainly be given up. Now all of you chant the name of Gauranga and fulfill My long cherished desire.”
On hearing His words, all the devotees were overwhelmed with ecstasy, and they began chanting the name and qualities of Lord Gauranga. Shri Acyuta, Krishna Mishra, Gopala Thakura, Viracandra Prabhu, and Narahari became jubilant. Gauridasa Pandita, Damodara Pandita, and five others danced most charmingly.
Advaita Prabhu was overwhelmed with love on hearing the glories of Lord Gauranga. He joined the sankirtana party and began to dance. Gradually the waves of that ocean of sankirtana began to expand, and Shri Advaita became immersed in that ocean with great ecstasy. His whole body was decorated with all the jewels of ecstatic symptoms. He shed tears and He called out, “Where is Gauranga, My life and soul?”
No living entity can display the wonderful mood that was exhibited by Advaita Prabhu. The devotees surrounded the Lord and cried in ecstasy. Then Advaita Prabhu exclaimed, “I found Gauranga!” All His hairs stood on end, so that His body resembled a kadamba flower. Then all of a sudden He entered the temple of Madana-gopala and disappeared from the vision of mundane people.
The devotees rushed here and there looking for Prabhu, but being unable to see Him, they cried and rolled in the dust. Understanding that Advaita had disappeared, Acyuta cried loudly and said to Gaura's devotees, “There was one branch of the desire tree of Lord Gauranga's ecstatic love remaining after His disappearance, therefore Gauranga's pastimes had not ended. Today, however, Gaura's pastimes have come to an end.”
Hearing this, all the devotees cried incessantly, “O Gauranga! O Nityananda! O bhakta-avatara, Advaitacandra!” Other than these names, nothing came from the devotees mouths. In that lamentation, even stone hearts melted.
Day and night passed with everyone unaware of the external world. The next day everyone took bath in the Ganges, and then Acyuta Prabhu held a great festival. Everyone took maha-prasada and then returned to their residences.
Advaita Prabhu displayed unlimited millions of pastimes in the one hundred twenty-five years that He spent in this world. Those pastimes are an incomprehensible and insurmountable ocean of nectar. What to speak of a wretch like me, even Anantadeva cannot fathom that ocean's limit. I made this most bold endeavor simply for my purification, still I could not touch even a drop of the ocean of those pastimes. I am not learned or intelligent. How have I written this book? I don't know what I have written, my only help was from Providence.
Advaita Prabhu's childhood pastimes have been described in short by Laudiya Krishnadasa. By reading that book the whole world can be purified. Whatever I read and heard from Krishnadasa, whatever I heard from Padmanabha and Shyamadasa, and whatever pastimes I saw with my own sinful eyes I have compiled on the order of Advaita Prabhu in this book. This book was completed in the abode of Shri Lauda-dhama in the year 1568.
I will now briefly describe for the devotees the confidential reason why I came to Lauda-dhama. One day Advaita Prabhu privately told me, “I cannot tolerate separation from Gauranga. I will soon leave the vision of the living entities. Always chant the name of Gauranga and glorify Him. Listen carefully to one more instruction. You are My dear disciple and equal to My son. After My disappearance, do not feel distressed. Preach Gauranga's name at My birthplace. Please honestly carry out this order of Mine.” After saying this, Advaita Prabhu remained silent.
I thought, “If I can fulfill the order of my Guru, then my life will certainly be successful.”
Then, after the disappearance of Advaita Prabhu, Sita Thakurani gave me one instruction, but I cannot understand why. She said, “O Ishana dasa, I have great affection for you. I will be happy if you marry.”
I said, “Mother, please consider what you are saying. I don't have the ability to carry out this order. I am almost seventy years old. Which brahmana will offer his daughter to me?”
Mother said, “Krishna always fulfills the desire of His devotees. Therefore He is called the devotees' desire tree. Go with Shri Jagadananda to the east, and he will take care and get you married. You will preach there about Gauranga and His teachings, and many living entities will be delivered. Your children will be maha-bhagavatas, great devotees. They will distribute the holy names and deliver the living entities from material existence.”
Carrying mother Sita's order on my head, I came east with Jagadananda Raya. I begot children to fulfill the Lord's order and soon came to Lauda-dhama. While staying there, I compiled this book, and in this way I obeyed my Guru's instruction. I have written this book in brief according to His instruction, therefore whatever faults or merits are found in this book are not mine.
I appeal at the feet of those Vaishnavas who read this to forgive the offenses of this fallen soul by your good qualities. I am very old, and I am not learned. I simply offer this book at the feet of Shri Chaitanya. I have written according to my ability, now the devotees may kindly correct it.
The lotus feet of Guru, Krishna, and the Vaishnavas are the essence of devotional life. Therefore I offer millions of obeisances at their feet. These three are one; they are different only in form. They manifest in different forms to deliver the living entities. Earrings and a necklace are different in form, but they are both made of one substance, gold. This is understood by all. These three have descended as oceans of mercy. The feet of these three are my boat to cross material existence. My appeal at the feet of these three is that my innumerable offenses should be forgiven, out of their good qualities, thus confirming their name Patita-pavana, the deliverer of the fallen souls. There is no one so fallen in the three worlds as me, so I appeal that I may ultimately get shelter at their reddish lotus feet.
Praying at the the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha.
mahaprabhu shaci-suta shri gaura-govinda
tanra skandha shri advaita prabhu nityananda
ei tina eka atma mora prana-dhana
ei tenera pade sada rahu mora mana
“Mahaprabhu, the son of Shaci, is Gaura and Govinda. His branches are Shri Advaita and Nityananda Prabhu. These three are one and the wealth of my life and soul. Let my mind always remain at the feet of these three.”
shri chaitanya-nityanandadvaita-candrebhyo namah