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ADVAITA PRABHU GIVES THE SRADDHA PATRA TO HARIDASA THAKURA
Haridasa Thakura chanted 3 lakhs of harindma each day one lakh within the mind, one lakh softly and one lakh loudly. Only then he would honour sri maha prasdda and relished krishna-topics told him by Advaita Prabhu. Whoever remembers Haridasa's saintly conduct will surely become inclined towards worshipping krishna.As long as Haridasa Thakura lived in Santipura Advaita Acarya would send him prasdda, knowing him to be busy completing his quota ofjapa and reading the devotional scriptures in his cave on the bank of the Gahga. This caused the highly renounced Haridasa to say once: "O Acarya! I am very distressed and embarrassed because I know You are going through so much trouble for my sake! There are so many highborn brahmanas here—why do You leave them to toil for me?" Hearing this, Advaita Prabhu told Haridasa Thakura: "Feeding you is like feeding millions of brdhmanasl I am simply acting according to the scriptural injunctions!" and gave him His srdddha pdtra (remnants of oblations He offered to His ancestors) to eat, thus violating all the local and Vedic injunctions and offending all the brahmanas (who had the right to get the first remnants), who began to criticise Him pro¬fusely. This is narrated in the 24th Chapter of Prema Vilasa:
acarya grhete kori bhiksd nirvdhana; krishna-kotha range
sada rohe duhu jana
ekada haridasa tabe boloye vaccina;
more nitya anna deho kon prayojana
hethaya bosoye yoto kulina brahmana;
tddera tyajiyd more koroho jatana
lauklka acdra tyaji more prlti koro;
lajjd bhoy vast mui tumi yd acdra
eto suni advaitdcdrya boloye vacana
tomdra bhojane koti viprera bhojana
sdstra vidhi mata kdrya kori dcarana;
eto boli srdddha pdtra korilo arpana
hariddse srdddha pdtra dcdrya arpilo;
tdhd heri vipragana bahuta nindilo
tabe to dcarya mane koriyd vicdra;
hariddse prakasite agraha apdra
Advaita Prabhu said: "Haridasa, it is My you accept the prasdda of Sri-Sri Radha-Madana Gopala." Haridasa humbly folded his hands and said: "Sripada! I am a yavana I have no right to accept the mahd prasdda of Sri-Sri Radha Madana Gopala! Only if I can sit at the gate of Radha and Madana Gopala's Mandira as a dog to eat the rem¬nants of the brahmanas I will follow Your order!" So in due course of time Haridasa was served prasdda. All the powerful vaisnava and brahmanas were present when Prabhu Sltanatha personally served the srdddha pdtra, that was destined for the brahmanas, to Haridasa. "What is Gurudeva doing?" Haridasa wondered. Sltanatha said: "I am Veda Pancanana, no one can overrule my order. Feeding you is equal to feeding a hundred brahmanas, no, the result of feeding a hundred brahmanas will be even exceeded by feeding you! Therefore it is my order that you accept this." What could Haridasa do but bow down his head?The brahmanas of Navadvlpa were mostly tantriks accepting SatI mantra. Navadvlpa was the greatest tantra tirtha of Bengal at that time, and our Prabhu Sltanatha is Sadasiva (the husband of SatI). Social rules were so strict at the time that anyone violating them would be ostracised from society. The brahmanas that were seated to take prasdda got up and said: "Advaita, we will not come to Your house any¬more. You are acting against the rules!" Sltanatha said: "What have I done that is against the rules?" "You should have given us the patra (first). We are brahmanas, don't you know?" Sltanatha said: "What was done has been done — what to do now, please accept my rule." The brahmanas replied: "From now on we are finished with you. We will give up all connec¬tion with you and oust you from the samdja (society)!" Prabhu Sltanatha said: "tathdstu — let it be. The Lord is kind upon Me that He rid Me of such bad company.Hearing this criticism, Advaita Prabhu told Haridasa: "Display some divine prowess to benefit these people!", after which Haridasa took away Agnideva. In the whole area nobody could light their fires anymore for the rest of the day.The brahmanas returned home, with their children, grandchildren, nieces, cousins etc. and that evening, when they wanted to take evening prasdda with their sons, grandsons and other relatives their wives were not able to ignite their stoves for cooking, so they could not eat. The housewives went from (brahmana) home to home to borrow fire, but fire was not appearing in any brahmana home of Navadvlpa. The next morning the same thing happened and the brahmanas thought: "What is going on? There is no fire only in the houses of those brahmanas who went to the invitation of Advaita Prabhu." One of the most learned tantrik brahmanas then went into his temple and sat down in meditation at the feet of his ista devatd (Durga), thinking: "What offense have we committed?"Then, on the strength of his tantrik powers his ista devatd (Durga) told him with a divine voice within his heart:
You have committed an offense to my husband (Siva Advaita Prabhu). If you want something to eat tonight, then go to my husband and beg His forgiveness! If He forgives you, your whole life will be blessed and if not, then your whole life will be ruined!" Thus brahmanas came from all over Navadvdpa to Prabhu Sltanatha and prayed to Him: "Ohe Prabhu Sltanatha! Ohe Advaita Acarya! Ohe Sadasiva! Please forgive us our offenses!" (Durga said:) "What higher rule is there than the one proclaimed by my Lord (husband)? What is higher than bhakti.Haridasa, who was whole-heartedly surrendered to his Gurudeva's lotusfeet, thought: "Gurudeva is a vessel of pure devotion, who has the power to oppose that?" If a person upholds the etiquette by considering a person who is a bhakta as primary, then who is able to infringe that? Thus our Advaita Prabhu caused a revolution against the harsh influence of the Kali age by preaching pure bhakti and showing how much power pure devotion has to purify even the yavanas.Hearing the brahmanas' apologies, Advaita sent them to Haridasa, whom they began to praise with choice prayers. Haridasa Thakura then revealed his form of Brahma, taking grass and other articles in his hand, and belched fire from his mouth. When the brahmanas saw this they praised Haridasa Thakura, took him in their midst and took prasada with him46. After this they went home and Haridasa went on to Phuliya.According to 'Prema Vilasa' the brahmanas now became divided between those who opposed Advaita Prabhu and those who supported him. The party that opposed Him was once invited somewhere for prasada, and when they arrived at the venue they saw that Haridasa Thakura, who had not been invited, sat down there in a divine form. This made
them realize Haridasa Thakura's glories. It is described as follows in Advaita Prakasa.Once a rich and high-born brahmana held an auspi¬cious festivity in his house in Santipura. More than a hundred brahmanas joyfully attended the festival, and the host hon¬oured them all and offered them seats. At that point a sannyasT arrived there, who shone like the sun. His body was so radiant that it could be seen in all directions. A radiant paita (brahmin-thread) shimmered prominently on his body. He sat down at the base of a tree and remained silent, while people came from all around to offer their obeisances to him. The blind, dumb and other infirm people came to the sadhu and smeared their whole bodies with his foot-dust. As soon as that foot-dust touched them, their diseases and handicaps were cured. All the invalids began to dance in ecstasy— the blind regained their eyesight, the lame could walk again and the dumb regained their speech. All the high-born brahmanas, atheists and other persons proud of their learning were astonished to see this miracle. They all came to offer their obeisances unto the sadhu's feet and humbly offered him many praises. Humbly they begged him to accept some sadhu sevd (a free meal) from them, but the sadhu replied: "I don't eat anything else but Lord Visnu's prasada. The prasada of Visnu is most pure, whereas foodstuffs not offered to Visnu are like stool and urine. Trie demigods, ancestors and sadhus do not accept anything else but Visnu's food-remnants. Those who ignore this eternal Vedic injunction will surely fall into a foul hell.
The host said: "I have a deity of Narayana in my home— I will offer you His prasada." So be it", the sadhu said and accepted the invitation. Thus he was seated within the assembly of brahmanas, where he shone like the moon sur¬rounded by the stars. The host first offered the sadhu his prasadl grains, and after that the brahmanas took prasada. After the brahmanas had finished eating, Advaita Prabhu, who is the Supersoul, the Guru for the whole universe, and a wish-yielding tree for all devotees, appeared on the scene. Seeing Brahma Haridasa in the midst of this assembly of brahmanas, He smiled slightly and said with a soft voice: "My dear Haridasa, what kind of mood are you displaying now? You are destroying the caste of so many brahmanus.Haridasa replied: "Prabhu, it was not my wish— these brahmanas insisted that I sit with them!" Saying this, he promptly got up to wash his mouth, bowed down to Advaita Prabhu and offered Him many prayers and praises. Seeing this, the brahmanas were highly astonished and acknowledged: "The acarya must be an avatara of Visnu! We ousted Him from the samaja (society) for committing sanga dosa (keeping bad company), but actually this Haridasa has amazing qualities! The body of a devotee of Hari is wholly pure— whoever considers him to belong to a certain caste is commit¬ting a great sin! We have committed great offences at the lotus feet of Sri Advaita, but He has shown us mercy by teaching us a lesson through His devotee." Saying this, the brahmanas folded their hands and came before the acarya, who bestowed them His mercy by showing them His dual form of Mahavisnu and Sadasiva. When the brahmanas beheld this divine form, ecstatic feelings awoke within them and they began to weep, shiver and horripilate like Kadamba-trees. Then they said: "O Lord, we take shelter at Your lotus feet— forgive us our offences and place Your feet on our heads!" They offered pros¬trated obeisances unto Advaita Prabhu, extensively praised Him and partook of the water that washed His feet.Advaita Prabhu said: "O brahmanas, do not fear. The holy name of Hari is endowed with inconceivable potencies. Do either japa or nama sahkirtana of this noma brahma, and all your wishes will be fulfilled." After saying this, Advaita Prabhu returned home, while all the fortunate brahmanas became Vaisnavas.
One day Hari dasa told Advaita Prabhu: "The wicked mlecchas are destroying our eternal religion, destroying our deities, throwing about the paraphernalia for puja, burning and throwing about sacred books like Srimad Bhagavata, taking away the brahmanas' bells and gongs, wiping the tilaka off their bodies, passing urine over the sacred TulasT-tree like dogs, passing stool in the deity-rooms, spitting over someone who is sitting down to do puja and beating up the sddhus, call¬ing them crazy. Thus they destroy all religious observances in an off-hand way. But I know from the scriptures that krishna has a firm resolve to appear whenever and wherever religiosi¬ty is in decline and irreligion appears. Now that time has come. Why then has krishnacandra not appeared yet? How will the Lord protect religious principles? This thought is always agitating my mind."Advaita Prabhu replied: "There is no other cure against this conduct in the Kali age then the appearance of Sri krishna Himself. If He would appear and distribute His holy name the whole world would easily be redeemed." Saying this, Advaita Prabhu roared loudly and Haridasa danced in loving ecstasy. Although Advaita Candra knew the whole truth of the matter, still He took this resolve according to worldly custom.