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ADVAITA PRABHU TAKES MAHAPRABHU'S FOOTDUST
When Mahaprabhu was in the mood of a devotee He considered Advaita
Acarya His guru and thus gave great pain to His heart. Advaita was thus unable
to serve the Lord, rather, the Lord took the dust of His feet instead. Advaita
always wanted to have the dust from these feet, that He always medi¬tated upon,
on Himself. The only way to get His foot-dust was by stealing it when
Mahaprabhu had fainted out of ecstasy. At those moments Advaita dove at His
feet in prostrated obei¬sance and showered them with His tears. Sometimes He
wiped them or held them on His head and sometimes He worshipped them in pujd,
using six paraphernalia. Only Advaita was able to do this, as He was the object
of Mahaprabhu's great mercy. Advaita was the most prominent associate of
Mahaprabhu and all the Vaisnavas proclaimed: "Blessed is this Advaita.One
day Visvambhara Mahaprabhu was dancing and Advaita wandered around in His
trail. Seeing that the Lord had fainted, Advaita secretly smeared His whole
body with His foot dust. Lord Gaura knew everything and when He contin¬ued
dancing He felt no more bliss. Mahaprabhu said: "Why My heart does not
rejoice anymore? Who committed an offence so that I lost My glee? Some thief
must have robbed Me, and due to that offence I cannot dance anymore. Has someone
perhaps taken My foot-dust? Everyone speak out without any fear!"
Hearing these words from the omniscient Lord, the devotees remained silent out of dread. They were afraid of Advaita's reaction if they spoke out and they were afraid of Mahaprabhu if they did not speak. Understanding their predicament, Advaita said with folded hands: "Listen Nimai-if thieves cannot directly get what they want they must take it in secret. I have robbed You, forgive Me. I will not do it again if it displeases You.Hearing Advaita's words, Visvambhara became very angry and spoke about Advaita's glories in great rage. "You destroy the whole world (as Siva), but still there is no place in Your heart for redress. After the annihilation only I remain, and only after You have annihilated Me also You will feel happy. You do not destroy the renowned ascetics, sannydsis, yogis or jnanls with Your trident, but if someone (like Me) comes to You to become blessed by You, You destroy him by holding his feet. A topmost Vaisnava from Mathura (Gaura as Krsna) has come to see Your lotus feet and thus to attain devotion to Visnu, but You are so merciless that You destroy him instead by taking his foot dust and thus take away his spiritu¬al powers. Krsna has given You all devotion in the universe to relish, but still You steal more of it from very poor places. You show that You have no mercy by trying to destroy the trivial. You are a great robber, for You have stolen My bliss of prema.
In this way Mahaprabhu spoke true words under a pre¬text, hearing which all the bhagavatas (great devotees) floated in oceans of bliss. Mahaprabhu continued by saying: "You have stolen. Do You think that I cannot do the same? Just see how I will steal from a thief." Saying this, Mahaprabhu embraced Advaita and took His foot dust, laughing all the time. Advaita could not protect Himself from this most powerful golden lion Gaura Sirhha, who thus rubbed His own head with Advaita's foot dust. Holding His feet to His chest, Mahaprabhu told Advaita: "Just see, You thief! I have bound Myself to Your chest. You have stolen from Me a hundred times, but if a grhastha like Me takes this (dust) back even once He will be liberated.Advaita replied: "You have spoken the truth, only I did not know that You are a grhastha. My life-airs, mind and body are all Yours. Who will protect Me when You wish to destroy Me? You bestow both joy and pain. Who will grant protection when You wish to punish someone? Narada and others went to Dvaraka to see Your lotus feet, but instead You took the dust of their lotus feet. When You wish to destroy Your devotees, what can they do? You can either protect Me or kill Me whatever You wish.Visvambhara replied: "You are a storehouse of devo¬tion, hence I serve Your lotus feet. Anyone who smears his whole body with Your foot-dust will float in a rasa ocean of krsna prema. No one can attain bhakti unless You bestow it. You should know that I am Yours in all respects. You can sell Me at any price!All the Vaisnavas were astonished to behold the pow¬erful mercy the Lord bestowed on Advaita, and they said:The Lord has truly served this maha purusa (great man) Advaita, and such grace, which is rarely attained even by Sahkara, is millions of times greater than liberation. We are also very fortunate to get the association of such a great devotee— we will also smear this devotee's foot-dust all over our bodies." Joyfully these devotees told Advaita:The sinners must suffer the reactions to their own actions, and the same fate hits those who do not believe the words of the Vaisnavas they perish." Visvambhara got up with a shout of hari bolo! and all His associates surrounded Him and began to sing. In great ecstasy Advaita Acarya began to dance, forgetting everything around Him as if He was mad. Roaring and shouting, the Acarya danced, frowning His eyebrows and running His fingers through His beard.
One day, after speaking to some unbelievers, Mahaprabhu failed to find ecstasy in His &Frta«<3-performance and He told His devotees: "Is it due to speaking with unbe¬lievers or because of committing some offence to you all, I don't know, but please forgive Me and thus save My life." The greatly fortunate Advaita danced with frowned eyebrows and said: "How can You have prema when Nadha has sucked it all up? I don't get prema, nor does Srivasa get it. You are simply having Your loving pastimes with millers and gardeners. We appear unqualified for getting prema, but this avadhuta (Nityananda) has suddenly come and become a storehouse of prema. O Gosai, if You don't bestow prema upon us, I will suck up and absorb all Your prema it's not My fault.Acarya Gosai was mad with love for Lord Caitanya. He had no idea what He was saying or doing. He simply increased the glories of love for Krsna without limit, selling it to the devotees at any price. What is astonishing about Him speaking words with the strength to sell Krsna?Gauracandra increases His devotees' devotion in vari¬ous ways. Who can understand His merciful punishment? Out of sorrow He could not get the joy of prema, while Advaita was having great fun, dancing and clapping His hands. When Prabhu Visvambhara heard Advaita's words He did not reply. Suddenly He ran out of the house and slammed the door behind Him. Haridasa and Nityananda ran after Him. Thinking: "What is the use of a body bereft of prema?', Nimai fell into the Ganges. Seeing this, Haridasa and Nityananda jumped after Him. Anxiously, Nityananda grabbed Mahaprab¬hu by the hair, while Haridasa clasped His feet. When they dragged the Lord back on the shore, He asked them: "Why have you captured Me? Why should I maintain this loveless body?"With tear-filled eyes, Nityananda replied: "You wanted to commit suicide. Do You wish to give up Your body for the words spoken by those You can punish as You please? Must You take away the very life of Your servants for what some of them have said out of loving haughtiness?" Mahaprabhu said: "Listen, O Haridasa and Nityananda! Don't tell anyone that you have seen Me. On My order tell everyone that I have gone into hiding. If you don't do what I say I am not respon¬sible for the outcome." Saying this, Mahaprabhu left for the house of Nandana Acarya, and Haridas and Nityananda fol¬lowed the Lord's order by keeping this a secret. When the devotees got no news from the Lord they became very unhap¬py and took shelter of Sri Krsna. They wept out of paramount, scorching love-in-separation and fell silent, appearing as if struck by a thunderbolt. Advaita, the Lord of Santipura, became greatly upset about what He had done and went home to begin a fast.
Mahaprabhu, meanwhile, arrived in Nandana Acarya's house and sat down on Lord Visnu's throne there. Seeing all auspiciousness coming to his house, Nandana fell on the ground in prostrated obeisance and quickly dressed the Lord in fresh, dry garments. Sri Saclnandana discarded His wet clothes and Nandana served Him with perfumes, sandalwood pulp, garlands, camphor-laced betel leaves etc. This nice serv¬ice made the Lord forget His sorrow and He told Nandana: "Listen, today I will stay in hiding." Nandana replied: "Lord, that will be very hard to do. Where can You hide within this world? You could not remain hidden in everyone's heaft as the Supersoul, for Your devotees have taken You out in Person. How can I hide You, who could not even hide in the Milk Ocean, from society?" Hearing the fortunate Nandana Acarya's words, the Lord laughed and spent the night in his house.The Lord wanted to punish Advaita, but then bestow His grace upon Him later, so He ordered Nandana Acarya: "Bring Srivasa here, alone." Quickly Nandana Acarya went to the house of Srivasa and brought Him before the Lord. When Srivasa saw the Lord he broke into tears of prema. Mahaprab-hu told him: "Don't worry about anything. Tell Me, how is Advaita Acarya?Srivasa replied: "Prabhu, He has been fast¬ing since yesterday. The only thing that is left of Him is His body. Please bless Him by giving Him Your darsana. If it con¬cerned someone other than Advaita we would tolerate it, but I know that You are His very life. Without You, our lives are filled with lamentation and devoid of any purpose. Just as You punished us by leaving us, similarly give us now Your grace by once more appearing before us.When merciful Mahaprabhu heard Srivasa's words He went to Advaita to bestow His mercy on Him also. When He came to Advaita Acarya's house the Lord saw that He had fainted, considering Himself a great offender. He felt He had become too proud due to the mercy He had received from the Lord and His punishment had now made His heavy body shake. When the Lord saw Him in this state He said: "Rise, O Acarya! Look— it is Me, Visvambhara." Out of shame Advaita did not say a word. He just meditated on the Lord's lotus feet with love. Again the Lord said: "Get up, Acarya! Don't worry and return to Your normal activities.Advaita said: "Prabhu, You have already made Me act. You are speaking My external praises and this corrupts My intelligence, so You make Me wayward and proud. You have given everyone an excellent service attitude to You, but You are always showing respect for Me. You think one thing and say another thing. You are My life-airs, My body, My wealth, My mind and everything else. Still You make Me so unhappy by always offering Me respect. Please also give Me a service attitude and keep Me at Your lotus feet as a son of Your maid¬servant.Hearing Advaita's words, Sri Gaurasundara told Him in front of all the Vaisnavas: "Listen O Acarya, and I will tell
You the truth by giving You an example: When the highly positioned and trusted officer of the king goes to see the king all the guards and servants approach him with points and peti¬tions that must be submitted to the king. The officer duly sub¬mits these problems and also collects allowances and disburs¬es the money amongst the king's guards and servants, thus sus¬taining them and their families. However, if the officer becomes corrupt the king has him executed for betraying his position of trust and responsibility. Similarly, Krsna is the king of kings, and Brahma and Siva are His servants, whom He empowers in their chores of creation and destruction. No one can disobey His orders—even LaksmI and Siva can be punished by Him. The Lord, however, is always ready to for¬give the offences of His devotees, and if He sees some devo¬tee committing an offence He will punish him. You are My ser¬vant, birth after birth, so get up, take a bath and continue Your worship. Don't worry anymore and take a meal.When Advaita heard Mahaprabhu's words He was filled with glee and He laughed loudly, hearing He was pun¬ished as a servant. Saying: "O Lord! Now I can proclaim Your majesty!", Advaita began to clap His hands and dance in ecsta¬sy. When He heard the Lord's consolations He was so glad that He forgot about all the pangs of separation that He suf¬fered in the past. Sri Advaita Ray is Lord Caitanya's prema patra (object of His love) and anyone who plays down or slights such a wealth of fortune and love is in maya.