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THE ANNUAL PILGRIMAGES TO NILACALA
After Mahaprabhu settled down in Purl, it was Advaita Prabhu who led the annual pilgrimage of the Bengali devotees to see the Lord during the four months of the rainy season, and to attend the annual Ratha-Yatra festival. Gopala dasa went along, Sivananda Sena organised and managed the journey, Nityananda Prabhu, Srivasa Pandita, Gadadhara, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Haridasa Thakura, Vakresvara Pandita, Isana Nagara and many others were going along, and the most chaste Slta devi most blissfully took all of Mahaprabhu's favorite dishes with herMahaprabhu had prasada sent to Advaita in advance, as far as Katak (Cuttack), saying time and again: "I was reclinŽing in the ocean of Milk when Nadha's roars woke Me up from My mystic slumber. I descended to earth for this Advaita." All the other bhaktas and mahantas (devotee-chiefs) also respectŽed Advaita Sirhha as the Supreme Lord. When Mahaprabhu heard that Advaita had arrived He came forth with His dear devotees to meet Him at Atharo Nala bridge. When He saw Advaita from a distance He got tears in the eyes and offered prostrated obeisances unto Him. Sri Advaita did exactly the same thing. As He offered prostrated obeisances unto Mahaprabhu He wept, trembled, roared, perspired, horripilat-ed and fainted.When Mahaprabhu saw Advaita, He lifted Him up and took Him to His chest, showering Him with His tears of ecstatic love. Advaita offered His obeisances again and recited a verse in Sanskrit. In ecstasy He had forgotten all the rules and paraphernalia for doing puja to the Lord. Bereft of external consciousness Advaita Sirhha simply roared: "I have brought Him! I have brought Him!" Everyone, even the non-devotees, chanted hari haril, and everyone offered obeisances to Advaita for having brought Sri Caitanya down to earth. In the tumultuous klrtana that followed, Nityananda embraced Advaita and both men began to dance and sing in ecstasy, like mad lions. Sriman Mahaprabhu danced in the middle of a cirŽcle of singing devotees. On Lord Jagannatha's order thousands upon thousands of garlands and offerings of sandalwood pulp appeared and Mahaprabhu offered the first garland to Sri Advaita Sirhha During the subsequent Ratha Yatra procession, Gaura, in the mood of the gopis, sang the following pada (song):
bahu tole tore kala lago pailam
antare rdkhimu bhori ndhi chart bdm
"I yearned for You for so long, and now I have attained You. I will keep You in My heart and never let You go." Mahaprabhu sang this song in ecstatic love and the two Prabhus revealed (the meaning of) its divine syllables. Gradually the ocean of ecstasy surged and the devotees wore jewel-like ecstatic symptoms like inertia, stupor etc., on their bodies. Then, as Sri Gaurahga attained the stage of mahd bhdva, He fell on the ground unconscious in the middle of the sahklrtana. When the above pada was sung again, Sri Caitanya regained His consciousness, stretched out His arms and embraced Nityananda, who held His two hands with His own two hands and lifted Him up. Both then flanked Advaita Prabhu and danced sweetly around Him. Advaita Prabhu said: "It is difficult to know the weight of Your joyful sports." Gauraand Nitai replied: "You are Yourself the stage manager of this play", and They embraced Each other. The three Lords wept and sang "hari hari\" Sometimes They said: "Come, O condiŽtioned souls, don't fear anymore! Just sing the holy name of Hari, dance and sing, and thus You will cross the ocean of mundane existence." Hearing this, the devotees began to dance. Some wept out of love and some roared. At this point Gopala, Advaita Prabhu's son, fainted. Caitanya Caritamrta (Adi 12, 20-26) narrates.In great ecstatic love Gopala danced in the klrtana that took place before Mahaprabhu within the Gundica temple. As he danced so wonderfully, different ecstatic symptoms appeared on his body, and the two Lords (Advaita and Mahaprabhu) blissfully exclaimed 'Hari bol!'. Then, as he danced, Gopala fell to the ground in an ecstatic swoon. Greatly aggrieved, Advaita Acarya took His son on His lap and tried to revive him by repeating the Nrsirhha-manfra. Although the Acarya recited different mantras, the boy did not regain conŽsciousness. Thus the Acarya began to weep in great distress. Then Mahaprabhu kept His hand on the boy's heart, chanted 'Hari Hari' and said 'Get up, Gopala!" When the boy heard the Lord's words and felt His touch he got up. Everyone present then blissfully chanted Hari-nama.Who will remain unconscious when He by Whose power the whole universe is conscious, orders one to awaken? When Sri Gopala dasa awoke, by even a drop of mercy from Sri Caitanya, he roared and said: "I am Lord Caitanya's serŽvant!" The devotees then declared: "He is the bhakta avatdra (incarnation of a devotee)!" Melting with affection, Gora held Gopala, embraced him and sprinkled him with His tears of love. In great ecstatic love Sri Advaita embraced His son Gopala, and danced around with him, singing 'hari hari!'With great love Nityananda wiped his body and all the other devoŽtees took the dust from Gopala's feet. Thus the glories of Sri Gopala dasa Prabhu are boundless.