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ADVAITA PRABHU PREACHES JNANA
Advaita Prabhu was always eager to receive the dust of Nimai Pandita's feet, but Nimai always treated Him as His worshipable superior, since He was a Guru-brother of His Guru Isvara Purl. To preserve the sweetness of the human-like pastimes He offered Him all respects as a superior, praising Him and offering obeisances to His lotus feet. Therefore Prabhu Sltanatha used a trick to obtain Nimai's footdust. He began to preach jnana (impersonalist, non-dualist intellectual-ism) from the Yogavasista in Santipura. He told His disciples: "jnana is greater than bhakti. Nothing is greater than jnana — jnanat parataram nahi." The bhaktas could not understand it, and His pupils thought in great distress: "How has Prabhu developed this contradictory idea? That Prabhu who used to say that bhakti is like a great queen, that jnana is undoubtedly the servant of her servant, that jnana bereft of bhakti will not deliver the quintessence, and that jnana brings nothing but misery, like thrashing empty husk, is now telling us: "What is the use of bhakti! The Upanisads say that liberation is avail¬able to those who realise that they are brahman."
Meanwhile in Navadvlpa, Mahaprabhu asked all the bhaktas from Santipura — 'Why is My Sltanatha not coming to Me anymore? Those bhaktas then folded their hands and said: "Prabhu, whom are You talking about? Advaita Acarya-
deva? We are coming to His house, doing klrtana and He
says: "Hey, stop this!" He kicks us out, saying: "Is bhakti greater or is jnana greater? What will bhakti accomplish if
pure jnana is not there? So in a dejected mood we go home, thinking:Whatever has happened to Him? Perhaps it is some independent and inconceivable pastime of Sadasiva?" Gaura then told Srivasa: Go to Advaita Acarya and ask Him: "Is it true what we have heard?" Advaita told Srlvasa: "What's going on? Why are you now here again? Have you left your Gaura to come here? Go to your Gaura and stay there!" Srlvasa asked:Sripada, is it true that you said that jnana is greater than bhaktiV Sitanatha replied: Sure. What is there in bhakti! Without jnana there is no bhakti. First there is jnana, then there is bhakti. Jnana is primary and bhakti is secondary." When Mahaprabhu heard confirmation from Srlvasa that Advaita was really preaching jnana, He said: "Is Advaita preaching jnana! I have to hear it with My own ears. so He went at once from Navadvlpa to Santipura, followed by all of His bhaktas, headed by Nityananda. According to Advaita Mangala', Gauri dasa Pandita reported to Mahaprabhu that when Advaita Prabhu was asked:Are we all God? he replied:Yes, and showed Gauri dasa Pandita His four armed form and later also a six-armed form. Mahaprabhu was amused when He heard it, but pretended to be in the angry mood of Lord Narasirhha and rushed to Santipura, where Prabhu Sitanatha was refuting bhakti as if He were belching up poison from the ocean of milk. Slta-devI was in the kitchen, cooking, when Mahaprabhu stormed in and said:Where is Advaita? Slta-devI: "He is in the temple.Mahaprabhu rushed over there, kicked in the door, and cried out, trembling of anger: "Nadha! What has happened to Your intelligence? You are attracted to a piece of broken glass, and for this You give up a touch-stone? bhakti, bhakta, bhagavan and guru if these four become identical, then where will then remain the beauty and the sweetness of their inter-relationship? I have come to You to hear one thing.Sitanatha: Why one thing? Hear from Me as much as You want!" Mahaprabhu: "Is jnana
greater or bhakti?'' Sitanatha replied: "Chi, chi, is that why You came here? jnana is greater. What is bhakti without jnana!" Sitanatha knew for sure that Prabhu had come to His home to bestow His mercy on Him. Mahaprabhu could not believe it and asked Him three times Nadhdl jnana bodo vd bhakti bodo! (Is monism the best or devotion?) and three times Sitanatha said: 'jnana bodo! jnana bodo! jnana bodo! — Jnana is greater, jnana is greater, jnana is greater." Mahaprab¬hu: "You have brought Me here from My throne in Vaikuntha to inundate the whole world with the nectar-flood of bhakti rasa and now You are saying that jnana is greater? Is bhakti nothing to You?" Saying this, Mahaprabhu dragged Sitanatha out of the temple and began to kick Him on the back with great force. One time, two times, then when He wanted to kick Him for the third time Slta-devI came running from the kitchen to stand before her old husband, saying: "Gaura, what are You doing, beating up an old brdhmana like this? Isn't this a great offense to a brdhmana?'''' Hence it is said that Prabhu Sitanatha is Sriman Mahaprabhu's carana cihna cihnita sevaka, the ser¬vant of Mahaprabhu who is marked by His footprints. Seeing Gaura's passionate attachment to defending devotional principles, the highly fortunate Sri Advaita fainted of ecstatic love. That caused His disciples to lament and the omniscient Sri and Slta-devI to weep of love. After a while Advaita Prabhu regained external consciousness and Visvambhara told Him: "Arey Nadha! If this is Your desire, then why did You pray for Me to appear? The Vedas say that the living entities are mere particles of brahman, just as milk is different and non-different from curd. If the living entity thinks so 'ham (I am God) then that is an offence to Krsna. He will attain liber¬ation for just a while and then return to the material world.Hearing this, bhakta avatara Sri Advaita then saw Krsna in the form of a devotee, with devotional eyes. He held a Murall-flute in His two hands and had a crown of peacock feathers on His head. His whole body was covered by Radha's bodily luster. Although Advaita knew everything about Krsna He fainted of ecstatic love when He saw this siddha rupa (transcendental form). When He regained consciousness, He said: "I have committed an offence, and You have rightly pun¬ished Me. I am lucky to get away with so little punishment. Now I have understood Your reign.
I clearly feel that You are the master and I am the servant again." Saying this, the Lord of Santipura (Advaita) danced in ecstasy. With frowned eye¬brows He then asked the Lord: "Where are all Your praises of Mine gone now? I am not Durvasa Muni, whose rice-remnants You have smeared all over Your body, nor am I Bhrgu Muni, whose footprint You keep on Your chest next to the 3rivatsa-mark! My name is Advaita, Your pure servant, who will eat Your remnants birth after birth! maya is nowhere for those who feel the power of Your food-remnants! You have given Me Your punishment—now give Me the shade of Your lotus feet!" Saying this, the Lord of Santipura fell at Mahaprabhu's feet and placed these feet on His head. Visvambhara respect¬fully raised Advaita and embraced Him, weeping. Seeing Advaita's devotion, Nityananda cried streams of tears like a river, Haridasa fell to the ground and wept and Advaita's wife wept along with all her servants. Advaita's son Acyuta also wept and so Advaita's house was filled with love for Krsna. Visvambhara felt ashamed of beating Advaita and wanted to satisfy Him by offering Him a benediction—'If a person, whether it be a insect, reptile, mammal or bird, commits hun¬dreds of offences to Me, I will offer him My grace if he takes shelter of You even slightly.When Advaita Mahasaya heard this benediction, He clasped Mahaprabhu's lotus feet and and humbly said: "O Prabhu, whatever You say is never false. Listen to My resolve now: "If a person is devoted to Me but does not recognise You, then his devotion to Me will vanquish him. A person in whose mind Your lotusfeet do not enter, meaning that He does not recognise You, is never My devotee. O Prabhu, anyone who serves You is My very life— I cannot tolerate any disrespect to You. If a person offends the Vaisnavas I will not look at him, even if he is My son or My devotee. Whoever worships mil¬lions of gods but ignores You will be somehow vanquished by these very same gods. And these are not My words, but the teachings of the Vedas.This point is proven by the famous story of Sudaksina's death. Sudaksina was the prince of Benares who worshipped Siva in mahd samddhi. Greatly satisfied, Siva told him: "Ask for a benediction. I will give you the power to per¬form destructive Abhicara-sacrifices. If, however, you insult the devotees of Visnu, then that sacrifice will kill you." Not understanding Siva's intention, the prince went ahead with the destructive Abhicara-sacrifice in which he worshipped that selfsame Siva. From that sacrifice a horrible monster, with three hands, feet and heads, whose shanks resembled palm-trees, arose.
The prince ordered the monster to go to Dvaraka and to burn the whole place down.Hearing this order, the great Saiva figure became very unhappy and at once understood that the prince's wishes could never be fulfilled. But, following the prince's request, he did proceed to Dvaraka, where he was at once checked by the Sudarsana-disc, Dvaraka City's faithful guardian. Unable to escape from the Sudarsana Cakra, the great Saiva figure fell at his feet and said: "Durvasa Muni fled from you but could not escape your chase. Brahma, Visnu and Siva could not protect him from you either. O Prabhu, where will I flee from such great Vaisnava power? All glories to you, Prabhu, with the name of Sudarsana! All glories to you, the abode of Krsna, who is as powerful as a second Sahkara! All glories to you, O great disc and leading Vaisnava! All glories to you, who terri¬fies the wicked and saves the saints!" Hearing these praises,the Sudarsana cakra was satisfied and ordered the monster: "Go back to the prince who sent you and scorch him to ashes!" The greatly terrifying monster turned back to KasI and scorched the prince who sent him to ashes. He worshipped Siva to destroy You, O Lord, and so his own sacrifice killed him. Similarly, O Prabhu, I tell You that anyone who worships Me (Advaita=Siva) to transgress You (Mahaprabhu=Visnu) will be scorched to ashes. You are the Lord of My life, You are My treasure, You are My father, My mother and My friend. Whoever transgresses You but worships Me will be beheaded. Anyone who worships Siva and other gods while disobeying You is like someone who cuts down a tree to worship one of its leaves. You are the source of all the demigods, brahmanas, sacrifices, religious principles and anyone who worships them without worshipping You is not worshipable.Hearing these great truths from Advaita, Sri SacTnan-dana roared and said: "Listen everyone, to what I will pro¬claim: Anyone who worships Me but disrespects My devotee is a rascal and I will wipe him out. His worship will be like fire to scorch My body. Anyone who criticises My devotee even once will be vanquished by My holy name, which is like a wish-yielding tree. Everyone in the universe is My servant and anyone who commits violence to others will perish. You are even greater than Myself and I will deal severely with anyone who disrespects You. Even if a sannyasT criticises a blameless man he will fall down and lose all his pious merit." Raising His arms, Gaura told the world: "Everyone chant the holy name of Krsna without criticising anybody! I shall truly deliv¬er anyone who chants the holy name of Krsna without criticis¬ing!" When Mahaprabhu spoke thus, all the devotees chanted jayajayajayal Advaita clasped the Lord's lotusfeet and wept, but Mahaprabhu lifted Him up, took Him to His chest and wept with Him.
Thus the whole world floated in Advaita's prema. Advaita Prabhu told Mahaprabhu: "I have committed a great offence, but now I have received Your order to distrib¬ute devotion." Saying this, He carefully brought in two books and placed them before Gaura and Nityananda. He had written commentaries on Sri Yogavasista and Sri Bhagavad Glta with an astonishing devotional conclusion, and showed His work to Gaura with great respect. Sri Gauranga studied these two com¬mentaries and roared of pure ecstatic love. Melting with affec¬tion He said: "Whoever has written this devotional commen¬tary has churned the ocean of trancendental bhakti. He is the avatara of a devotee and is the very heart of Krsna, and 1 offer millions of obeisances unto His lotus feet." Raising His arms, Prabhu Nityananda exclaimed: "This commentator is praised throughout the worlds!" Hearing this, Sri Advaita Prabhu said: "Everything is possible. It is Krsna's nature to increase the honour of His devotees. By Krsna's grace SarasvatI is eternal¬ly present within the heart of the devotee and reveals devo¬tional truths there. Krsna is very merciful and He redeems the fallen souls—He descends especially to save the conditioned souls." Saying this, Advaita wept in loving ecstasy. Haridasa rumbled deeply the holy name of Hari and Acyuta and others present also went through the motions of pure love, like iner¬tia and so. Then Mahaprabhu and the two Prabhus cried.out loudly in ecstatic love— "Come, come, O conditioned souls! Who should you still be afraid of? We will give everyone the medicine against the disease of maya. Anyone who gets even a drop of this great medicine will easily get immutable loving ecstasy." Visvambhara Mahaprabhu used to call Advaita's very chaste wife Sita 'mother'. Now He told her: "Quickly go to the kitchen and cook something, offer it to Krsna and then I will eat it.Sita ThakuranI, whose heart was totally dedicated to Gaura, went to the kitchen, keeping a piece of cloth before her mouth with great joy while cooking. She cooked many kinds of vegetables, cakes and sweet rice in ghi, that was com-parible to nectar only. She offered everything to Madana
Gopala with tulasl manjaris, and after taking the prasdda off the altar she prepared three seats. The one on the left was for Nitai, the middle one for Nimai and the one on the right was for Advaita to sit on in all humility.
Meanwhile Visvambhara blissfully went to bathe in the Gahga, taking Nityananda, Advaita and Haridasa with Him. Returning to Advaita's abode, Mahaprabhu washed His feet and offered prostrated obeisances unto Advaita Prabhu's home-deity Madana Gopala. Advaita then fell at Visvamb-hara's feet, while Haridasa again fell at Advaita's feet. When Nityananda saw this wonderful fun He laughed. These three persons were like forming the dharma setu, or bridge of reli¬giosity. When Mahaprabhu rose from His prostration, He found Advaita lying at His feet. Carefully He lifted Him up and said 'Visnu, Visnu!'. Holding Advaita's hand He and Nityananda blissfully entered into the dining room. The three Lords — Visvambhara, Nityananda and Acarya Gosai (Advaita) then sat down together to eat, while Haridasa sat down by the door in great humility. He had the power to see all these pastimes from nearby. Slta-devT served prasdda like Annapurna devl. She served Them different kinds of rasa (subjT with a lot of delicious fatty juice). The three Lords were naturally naughty— especially Nityananda was frolicsome like a child. Haridasa was taking his meal at some distance, sitting near the door. As STta Yogesvari (Yogamaya) served prasdda she remembered Lord Hari. The three naughty Lords ate divine rice with ghl, milk and sweet rice. Towards the end of the meal Nityananda became absorbed in a child-like mood and began to laugh and strew rice all over the room. Mahaprabhu said: "Alas, alas!", and Haridasa laughed. Seeing this going on, Advaita pretended to burn in rage and He told Nityananda: "This Nityananda is destroying My caste! Who knows where He comes from, in the company of a drunkard? He has no Guru, but He calls Himself a sannydsT. We do not know for sure in which village He was born and in which caste, and He just sways around here like a drunken elephant. After eating grains from Westerners He comes here to mix with our brdhmana community. Hear Me in truth, O Haridasa— this drunkard Nityananda is spoiling everything!" Saying this, Advaita became angry like Dig-vasa (the naked Siva) and began to dance, clapping His hands and laughing like mad. When Gaura Raya saw Advaita's conduct He began to laugh. Nityananda also laughed and lifted two fin¬gers. Everyone — young or old — had to laugh when they saw Advaita's purely humorous anger. After some time Prabhu Sltanatha regained external consciousness and washed His mouth and the two (Nityananda and Advaita) blissfully embraced Each other. These two men were like Mahaprabhu's two arms. They always love Each other, and They are not averse to Each other for even a moment. Their quarrels are just like the sports of children, and that counts for all playful quar¬rels of Visnu and the Vaisnavas. Thus Mahaprabhu enjoyed His innate bliss, performing Krsna-kirtana in Advaita's Mandir. After staying in Advaita's abode for a few days Mahaprabhu returned to NavadvTpa, taking Nitai and Advaita along. The three met to extend harindma and thus save so many great sinners. Thus they performed so many pastimes that astonished all the people.