|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Narahari Chakravarti Thakura > Bhaktiratnakara > CHAPTER 8|
Glory to Gaura Candra the son of Saci. Glory to Nityananda and Advaita, highly devotional characters. Glory to Gadadhara and Pandit Shrivas. Glory to Vakreswara , Shri Murari and Haridasa. Glory to Gauridasa, Shri Swarupa Damodara and to the companions of Gaura Candra. All glory to the listeners who are full of divine qualities.
Please listen attentively to my narration.
Being a professor of the doctrine of devotion Acarya Thakura humbled the pride of the illusionists. He spent his days with his disciples in Jajigrama, following the path directed by Narottama. He always eagerly anticipated his reunion with Narottama.
The arrival of Narottama Thakura Mahasaya
Shri Thakura Narottama started for Navadvipa with the memory of Gaura in his mind. When he arrived at the outskirts of Navadvipa he remined himself that this Navadvipa was Gauranga's pleasure-ground where the residents spent their days in nama san kirtana. It was here that festivals took place in each and every house of the devotees and the residents cared nought for their daily lives. An unhappy person could not be found in Navadvipa because daily everyone saw Gaurachandra.
Narottama lamented his own fortunate birth because he was not born at the time of Chaitanya's lila and thuse he was deprieved of enjoying divine pastimes in Navadvipa. While thinking of this his miseries overflowed their boundries and he shed tears. Upon entering Navadvipa Narottama was enchanted by the beautiful envoriment. He found that the inhabitants were full of joy and they roamed the streets singing kirtana and harinama. They talked continually about the glory of Gaurachandra and his fantastic dancing, mentioning the names of Gaurahari with his companions. Within the gracious beauty of Nadia the people joyfully shouted the names and glories of Gaurachandra. Simply absorbing the divine beauty of Nadia, Narottama was overwhelmed with emotion and shed tears of joy and love suddenly a grave sensation arose in his mind and Narottama visualised all of Nadia floating in an ocean of misery. He was perplexed by the ominious thought and pondered its source. The very thought paralysed him, so he sat beneath a beautiful and gracious aswattha tree. By the miraculous influence of this holy fig tree Narottama's fatigue was litigated and he regained his patience. As Narottama tried to console himslef, he saw an old brahmin coming his way. He was eager to speak to the brahmin but he checked himself.
The brahmin habitually spent time sitting beneath that tree as it had been a place where Nimai had played. When he saw Narottama, he thought that he must be a devotee of Nimai. Although the old brahmin could barely tolerate the scorching heat of the sun, simply a glance at Narottama cooled the heat of his body. The brahmin was attracted by Narottama's well built form, beautiful complexion and large eyes which shed tears of love. He wanted to inquirw about Narottama 's history.
The brahmin approached Narottama and inquired about his name and his home. Narottama most humbly bowed to him and answered his questions. The brahmin embraced him and they sat beneath the tree together.
The brahmin told Narottama that he could not describe the happy atmosphere of Nadia unless he would be given four or five mouths with which to speak. Unfortunately Nadia had become a barren land from the very day that Nimai left. The inhabitatns of Nadia could not understand what force had driven Nimai to accept the life of an ascetic under the order of his guru Bharati. The brahmin could not bear to think of Nimai's existence as an ascetic not the shaving of his beautiful hair. Since he always thought of Nimai in gorgeous clothes, he could not bear to see him in only a kaupina.
The brahmin went on to say that Nimai had deprieved the inhabitants of Nadia from his sweet association. After visiting all the holy places Nimai had taken up residence in Nilacala and lived there happily with his companions. We residents of Navadvipa got news of Nimai from other people who were in communication with him and the news brought us our only happiness. The sudden death of Nimai in Nilacala was an intolerable shock for the people of Nadia. The favorite companions of Nimai died at the same time, and the miserable condition of the devotees in Nadia was beyond any description. Day by day Nadia sunk into the depth of utter darkness. The worldly disappearance of Shrivas Pandita and others increased that dark atmosphere.
The brahmin felt greatly disheartened when he mentioned the name of Vishnupriya, the wife of NImai who was the embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi and a woman of highly devotional qualities. She had also left the world only a few days before. The disappearance of Nimai burnt the hearts of the residents of Nadia and those who retained any breath were half dead.
The inhabitants of Navadvipa had grown impatient and cried the name of Nimai both while sleeping and while awake. They talked continously about the divine character of Nimai and shed tears in his memory. Even the wicked people of Nadia were disheartened by his absence.
The brahmin denigrated his own position saying that as a sophist he had not recognised Nimai whom he considered simply a human being. According to the Vaishnava scriptures, Nimai was an incarnation of Lord Narayana whose miraculous activities enchanted the whole world. Although the brahmim had known him from his very childhood, he had never recognised him as the Supreme Lord.
The brahmin then told Narottama that under the fig tree where they were sittting Nimai had studied different scriptures enthusiastically. The brahmin compared Nimai encircled with his companions with the moon surrounded by the stars. The brahmin enjoyed remembering that beautiful scene although that memory now gave him pain. He told Narottama tht one day he actually visualised Saci Nandana in Sirukhole by a large number of his disciples. Overwhelmed with joy, the brahmin had fainted on the ground and when he ragained consciousness the vision was gone. But remembering that Nimai and his companions are eternally present in Nadia, the brahmin daily came to the fig tree. It was by the wish of Nimai that the brahmin had met Narottama. He blessed Narottama and offered him his best wishes so that Narottama would remain a favorite devotee of Nimai Cand.
Thakura Mahasaya visits Mayapur
Narottama was impressed by the sweet and affectionate words of the brahmin and he bowed at the brahmin's feet. With eyes full of tears, he requested the brahmin to bless such an ignorant person as himself. The brahmin took him to this chest and wished to be a great devotee. He held Narottama in his arms for sometimes, soaking him with his own tears.
The brahmin informed Narottama that Navadvipa was a large town wherein he would find many companions of Nimai. He directed Narottama to go Mayapur first and pointed out the road. There he would find the house of Saci Jagannatha Misra where Lord Narayana had appeared in the form of Nimai. As directed by the brahmin Narottama strted for Mayapur passing through various villages on the way. He frequently asked for directions and when he last entered Mayapur he inquired humbly about the way to Jagannatha Misra's house. While pointing out the right direction that person began to shed tears and his sorrow was shared by Narottama who also cried.
A Narottama entered the house of Misra he saw a kind-looking brahmacari in white clothes. When the Brahmacari saw Narottama he thought that although his heart had been pierced by misery, he was somehow feeling relief at the sight of this person. The Brahmacari immediately thought that the person must be Narottama Dasa, the faithful companion of Shrinivasa who had come from Vraja with the Gosvami books. He also remembered Narottama Dasa had been attracted by Mahaprabhu in Ramakeli village. The Brahmacari inquired from Narottama about his name and home and Narottama gave the details. The man in white clothes gave Narottama his own identity and then embraced Narottama tearfully. Narottama at once fell on the feet of that man who could not control his tears, he cried loudly lying on the courtyard of the house of Mahaprabhu, and the Brahmacari tried to console him. But Narottama could not control his emotion and remained lying at the feet of Isana the most favorite companion of Prabhu.
Shri Isana took Narottama in a loving embrace and examined his face affectionately. He tearfully told Narottama that it was very kind that he had come at that moment. He told him how he had been able to get news of Narottama from various visiting Vaishnavas. Isana then took Narottama to his room where he met Damodara Pandita. Narottama bowed at the feet of Damodara and the Pandita cordially embraced him. He affectionately told Narottama that they had all been waiting to meet him. damodara told Narottama repeatedly how grateful they were that he had come at that moment beause the disappearance of Mahaprabhu had gradually driven them all towards death. He feared that he might never see Shrinivasa. Then introduced Narottama to Shripati, Shrinidhi and others. Even the deceased companions of Mahaprabhu came to meet Narottama in his dream.
Narottama leaves for Nilacala
Narottama spent a few days and then decided to go to Nilacala. He was sorry to leave Nadia. He went to Mahaprabhu's house and requested Isana Thakura for permission to go to Puri. Isana Thakura encouraged Narottama to travel quickly to Shrikshetra as that place was also moving towards utter darkness. Isana had recently got news from Puri that the mental condition of Gopinatha Acarya and others - according to the intention of Prabhu- had grown quite miserable. He wanted Narottama to meet them, to visit Shri Khanda and Kantaka cities as soon as possible and then to return to Nadia with Shrinivasa and Narottama together. He cherished the hope of meeting Shrinivasa and Narottama together. He also asked Narottama to visit Santipura and Khardaha on his way, for anything undesirable might happen there. After that Isana remained silent and unable to understand Isana's mind, Narottama could not control his tears.
Shrila Narottama visits Santipura
Narottama anxiously left Navadvipa and started towards Santipura. Absorbed in the lila of Sitanatha, Narottama lamented. When he observed the village of Santipura Narottama wept in despair as he knew he would mot see Prabhu Shri Advaita, the Lord of Santipura, who had spent his life there without any attraction for worldly matters. But out of affection for Narottama, Mahaprabhu had already informed Advaita Carya's son Achyutanandana about the arrival of Narottama only the day before. While Shri Achyutanandana was waiting for Narottaa, Shri Mahasaya entered Santipura.
The inhabitants were grief stricken over the worldly disappearance of Advaita Prabhu. When Narottama stopped someone to ask him about the direction towards the Acarya's house, the man burst into tears pointing out the location to Narottama.
Out of kindness and affection Prabhu Sitanatha (Advaita Carya) and his companions appeared before Narottama alhough they were invisible before others. Narottama fainted on the ground in ecstatic love but by the wish of Prabhu he regained his senses quickly. Having composed himself, Narottama entered the temple of the Lord and found that Achyutananda was waiting for him.
Narottama did not have to introduce himself to Achyutananda because the young man had already been given all information about Narottama frol his deceased fater Shri Advaita. Narottama paid his regards to Achyutananda who was by then miserably grief stricken on the death of his father and had grown thin. He impatiently stretched out his hands to embrace Narottama and cried.
Achyutananda told narottama sweetly and affectionately that he would not be able to keep Narottama for a long time as it would cause delay and waste time. Narottama should visit Nilacala candra as early as possible but he should not stay long in Puri for he had many duties to accomplish. Achyutanandana introduced Narottama to other favorite companions of Prabhu Advaita. They cared for Narottama very lovingly and kept him in Santipura for three to four days. Then they gave permission for him to start for Nilacala.
Shrila Narottama in Ambika Kalna
Narottama crossed the river ganges quickly from the village of Harinadi and reached Ambika where he saw the deities of Nitai - Chaitanya. Gauridasa was the devoted worshipper of these deities and Narottama was greatly impressed to see Haridasa's method of worship. Narottama bowed before the deities with tears in his eyes. He got the friendly association of Hrdaya Chaitanya and other favorite followers of Advaita Prabhu. I shall not deliberately make this section of the book longer by giving an elaborate description of their different conversations. The followers of Mahaprabhu affectionately cared for Narottama but advised him to go to Nilacala quickly. At the time of parting they all cried but after dedicating himself to the grace of Nitai Chaitanya, Narottama left Ambika with a heavy heart.
Shrila Narottama in Saptagrama
Narottama visited all the villages where favorite followers of Mahaprabhu lived. He was thrilled to observe the beauty of Saptagram and offered his respects to that village from a distant place. Saptagrama is a place of high religious importance as it was the sadhana Kshetra of seven great ascetics and also the meeting place of three great rivers, namely Shri Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. It was the Vihara Ksretra of Prabhu Nityananda.
Now I will describe Prabhu Nityananda's intention in choosing Saptagram for his pastimes. On the order of Shri Chaitanya deva who was then in Nilacala, Nityananda had to go to Gauradesh. He arrived in Gauradesh from Utkala and glorified the place by giving it the title of the crown ornament of all other holy places. In Shri Chaitanya Candradaya Natika the importance of Gaura has been noted. Gaura was the head ornament of all other holy places, situated in Shri Navadvipa where the incarnation of Shri Gauranga appeared, and in whom the deity of devotion was born in a human feature, i.e. Nityananda Prabhu.
Nityananda wanted to visit many places of religious importance and his pilgrimage has been described in Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata. He visited places on both banks of the Ganges, the holiest of all the holy places, but he cheirshed the hope of visiting Nadia to meet Shri Saci mata. When he reached the village of Panihati with Ramadasa, Gadadhara and other companions, he first visited the house of Ragava Pandita where he started san kirtana with great pleasure. The great devotee Ragava took birth in this village and for that reason it was also an important holy place. According to Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata the particular place where Bhagavata had appeared could gaurantee salvation to any person living within one lakh Yojana distance from it. Hearing news of Nityananda in Panihati, many people came to offer their respects to him. According to Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata that place became a highly holy place where many Vaishnavas came to live. Prabhu Nityananda displayed many miraculous pastimes of divine character to his devotees in Panihati. I am unable to describe the type of activities which Prabhu showed in the house of Dasa Gadadhara.
In Kharadaha, the son of Padmavati danced madly in san kirtana and while worshipping the place of Purandara Pandita, Prabhu showed qualities of devotional love which Lord Brahma is unable to possess. After relieving the miseries of many people in many villages, Prabhu Nityananda went to Saptagram. It was here that Prabhu Nityananda captivated the mind of Uddharan Datta.
According to Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata Prabhu spent some days in the house of Uddharan Datta
which was situated on the bank of the river Tribeni. Uddharan Datta unflatteringly and
sincerly worshipped the feet of Nityananda. Uddharan was considered very fortunate as he
gained the right to care for Nityananda and he remained the servant of Prabhu Nityananda
throughout that life and his following life. From Uddharan's service the entire merchant class
of Saptagram gained enamicapation.
Nityananda was born as an incarnation (avatara) to enamcipate the merchant class and give them the right to worship in loving devotion. Nityananda visited and performed harinama in each and every house of the merchants and the entire merchant class engaged itself in worshipping the feet of Nityananda. The sincerity with which they worshipped Lord Krishna enchanted the world.
Glory to Nityananda Mahaprabhu the enamcipator of the banias, the wretched and ignorant persons. In Saptagram Nityananda performed san kirtana lila with Mahamalla Rai and his other followers. The san kirtana bihara of Nityananda in Saptagram is beyond description. Saptagram was filled with the same ecstasy of joy which had been experienced in Nadia.
Thakura Vrndavana has described the satisfied and happy life of the merchant class. Uddharana Datta gladly and sincerly engaged in the service of Prabhu Nityananda and Saptagram on the bank of the Tribeni river, it became a great place of religious importance. All other places which were visited and captivated by Nityananda also became important in the religious shpere. Uddharan Datta travelled with Prabhu Nityananda to all the holy places. In Santipura Prabhu Nityananda met Shri Advatia Prabhu. From there Nityananda went to Navadvipa.
At that time Prabhu Nityananda was very beautiful and attractively decorated with many ornaments. The sweet sound of his leg ornaments on his gracious feet was sweet beyond description. In the book Shesakhanda-Sutra written by the son of Narayani, a description of the triumph of Shri Nityananda can be found. According to Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata realisation of the lila of Prabhu Nityananda was beyond anyone's capabilities. With ornaments on his gracious feet Nityannda promanaded through Navadvipa as though in Mathura for to him Mathura and Navadvipa were the same. According to Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata Nityananda Prabhu and his followers visited each house in Navadvipa singing Harinama and kirtana. In Navadvipa Nityananda gave much pleasure to Shri Saci mata, and he travelled the whoe world of Nadia with his companions. Narottama delightfully visited the village of Saptagrama of Shri Uddharan Thakur, the great devotee of Nityananda. He asked the villagers about the exact location of Uddharan Datta's house, they cheerfully showed him the direction but informed that bein unable to bear the separation from Prabhu Nityananda, Uddharan Datta had died a few days before. Upon the disappearance of Nityananda Prabhu saptagram had sunk into utter darkness. Narottama lost himself in despondency and with a restless mind he met the followers who were favorite of Prabhu Nityananda.
Narottama meets Shri Vasudha-Janhavi Thakurani
Narottama visited all the holy places on both banks of the Ganges near Saptagram and met the favorite companions of Prabhu Nityananda who lived in these villages. A great pleasure was awaiting him when he entered Khadhara. By the intention of Prabhu Nityananda, Narottama's desire was about to be fulfilled.
As he advanced towards the house of Prabhu he was met by Nityananda's companions who at once took him to Nityananda's house and sent news of his arrival to Shri Isvari. At that time Shri Vasu, Jahnavi and Vira Bhadra were passing their time discussing the nature and behavior of Nityananda Prabhu. They wee overjoyed on hearing the news of the sudden arrival of Narottama. Narottama met them in the inner portion of the house and fell at their feet. The omniscient Vasu-Jahnavi Isvari took him eagerly and affectionately into their confidence. They kept Narottama in their house for few days and passed the time during those days in Krishna Katha.
In ecstatic pleasure they praised Narottama and gave him the title Mahasaya. Narottama then requested permission to go to Nilacala. At the time his departure Shri Jahnavi and Prabhu Virabhadra affectionately gave him many suggestions. Shri Parameswari Dasa gave him the road directions to Nilacala and Mahesh Pandita and others affectionately gave him permission to depart. Narottama stretched himself on the ground, bowing at the feet of all of them and started from Khadhara with a heavy heart.
Narottama's meeting with Shrila Abhirama
On his way to Nilacala Narottama did not forget to visit the houses of great devotees of the Lord who lived in different villages. When he reached Khanakula-Krishnanagara, he fell at that feet of Shri Thakur Abhirama. Shri Abhirama and his wife Shri Malini were also grief stricken due to the separation of Prabhu Nityananda. He and Malini affectionately cared for Narottama but advised him to go to Nilacala as soon as possible. Narottams was impressed by the sincere care that Lord Gopinatha received from Shri Abhirama. He then took his leave from them.
Shrila Narottama in Nilacala
Narottama made it a point to meet each follower of the Lord in each village on his way to Nilacala. After some days he reached Nilacala where Gopinatha Acarya and other devotees had been eagerly awaiting his arrival. Mahaprabhu himself had ordered them to console Narottama when ever he arrived in Nilacala. Gopinatha asked Kanai-Khutarya about the intended time of Narottama's arrival. He was alive only by the wish of Prabhu Gouri but his time was short and he was eager to meet Narottama. They informed Shri Gopinatha that they had already received news of Narottama's emminent arrival in Nilacala from Navadvipa.
Shri Sikhi Mahati and others informed Shri Gopinatha that it was a suitable time to visit Lord Jagannatha. Gopinatha Acarya and his followers started for the temple of Jagannatha and on their way they discussed Narottama and then entered the temple through the Singhadvara gate. Although Gopinatha was emaciated due tot he absence of Mahaprabhu, yet he still looked as radiant as the sun. No doubt, theyare all embodiments of love and kindness which attracted everyone.
Narottama observed them from a distance and began to cry. He was eager to know who they were and a brahmin near him told him that they were all notable companions of Mahaprabhu. When they reached the Singhadwara gate one of them mentioned that he was sure Narottama would arrive on that very day. When Narottama heard that he immediately introduced himself. They simply looked at Narottama who was the image of love and devotion and was shedding tears from his large eyes. One by one they each embraced Narottama emotionally, drenching him with their tears. Although they were miserably grief stricken, nevertheless they became happy tosee Narottama.
They gladly took Narottama with them to the temple of Jagannatha where Narottama was overwhelmed by the divine beauty of Balarama and Jagannatha. He observed that the beauty of the deities was compariable to Kandarpa deva, who were like the cumulus collyrium, silver kunda flowers. He was impressed by Jaganantha and Balarama's large eyes, long hands, the postures in which they stood, the ornaments on their bodies. Subhadra stood between Balarama and Jagannatha and Lord Jagannatha held the Sudar Sahana chakra in his hands. Narottama was spell bound by his darshan of the deities and never even blinked his eyelids. The companions of Mahaprabhu were moved when they understood Narottama's state of mind. Gpoinatha Acarya pacified Narottama and the priest of the temple gave Prabhu's used garlands and prasada to Narottama. Acarya then took the arm of Narottama and led him from the temple of Jaganantha to his own house.
Thakura Narottama visits Tota Gopinatha
All of the companions of Prabhu soon heard about the arrival of Narottama in Nilacala. They suddenly became happy although the disappearance of Prabhu had broken their hearts. Gopinatha Acarya advised a brahmin named Jagannatha to assist Narottama in meeting the rest of the companions of Prabhu. With that brahmin Narottama visited all the places where the followers of Chaitanya lived.
While observing the samadhi of Haridasa Thakura Narottama burst into loud lamentations. He next visited the place of Gadadhara Pandita Gosvami and paid his respects to Gopinatha by bowing at his feet. He cried joyfully to see the rare good qualities of Gadadhara and was moved by the behavior of the associates of Mahaprabhu. When Shri Mamu Gosvami met Narottama he embraced him and told him that at last his desire to meet Narottama had been fulfilled by the grace of Mahaprabhu. Holding Narottama's hand he told him confidental incidents about Mahaprabhu while they sat in a lonely place. He told Narottama that he could not control his own tears when he remembered Tota because it was here that his Praghu Gadadhara had recited Shrimad Bhagavatam sincerely. When Gadadhara would recite the prayers of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, streams of love and devotion flowed from his mouth. Shri Gaurahari, the Lord of Gadadhara, would also listen to his recitions and his method of explaining the verses. Prabhu Nityananda, Shri Advaita, Shri Svarupa Damodara, Vakreswara, Shri Murari Gupta, Dasa Gadadhara, Shri Mukunda and Narahari all used to sit here. Rai Ramananda and other dear associates of Mahaprabhu who were all as brillant as the sun also sat here. No one is capable of describing the beauty of the assembly of devotees ofChaitanya Mahaprabhu. Even the demigods felt ashamed upon seeing it.
During the Ratha Yatra an assembly would always take place here. Gadadhara Dasa used to converse with Khandavasi Narahari while sitting in a solitary place. Shri Gosvami also sat here and spoke to Damodara. Before the arrival of Gopinatha, Prabhu used to stand here at the scheduled time of worship for Gaurachandra.
Shri Mamu Gosvami also told Narottama that his heart was simply crackingat the memory of the beauty of the Shringara and decorations of the deity of Prabhu Gadadhara. Gadadhara Gosvami had only two responsibilities:to live at Kshetra and to worship Gopinatha. But he never wanted to go anywhere away from this place, but when Shri Gauranga decided to leave Kshetra Gadadhra broke his principles, and wanted to go with the Lord. Shri Gauranga used various arguments to prevent him from going along but the son of Ratnavai remained adamant in his decision. According to Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Prabhu treid to prevent him from leaving Kshetra-sannyasa but Gadadhara was determined. His argument was that wherever Prabhu would choose to live, that place would be his Nilacala. Prabhu advised him to remain in Kshetra to worship Gopinatha but Gadadhara Pandita replied that worshipping the feet of Gaurnga would be more important. Mahaprabhu tried to explain that if Gadadhara gave up the service of Gopinatha it would be Mahaprabhu's fault himself. In that way he advised Gadadhra to remain in Puri and continue his service. Pandita Gadadhra admantly replied that it would be his own fault only and that instead of going with Prabhu he would go to visit his mother in Ekeswara. In that way he tried to relieve Prabhu of the responsibility
of his giving up his service to the deity of Gopinatha.
Gadadhara began to travel alone but Mahaprabhu recalled him on his way to Kataka. Out of love for Shri Gauranga Gadadhara had thrown away as a trifle of grass his promise, his KRsna seva, everything. Within his mind Mahaprabhu was satisfied with the devotion of Gadadhara but outwardly he displayed mock anger. Holding Gadadhra's hand Chaitanya told him that his intentions had been fulfilled and he had travelled a long distance from Kshetra. He told Gadadhara that although he had travelled simply for his own happiness Mahaprabhu was feeling sorry to see that he had broken his two vows. Prabhu ordered him to return to Nilacala. After their discussion Prabhu boarded a boat and left Gadadhara behind. When Gadadhara fell on the ground unconscious Mahaprabhu ordered Sarva Bhauma to care for him. On the request of Prabhu Sarva Bhauma and others brought Gadadhara Gosvami back to kshetra where Gadadhara spent his days miserably until Prabhu's return. According to the Karcha written by Shri Swarupa Gosvami, a great ascetic and a great brahmin, Gadadhara Gosvami who was famous by the name of Pandita is no doubt an incarnation of Radha in Shri Gaura Lila. This is the opinion of Narahari Sarkara and all the favorites of Mahaprabhu and Damodara.
In his discussion with Mamu, Narottama learnt that Gadadhara was unable to bear th separtion from Prabhu and thought only of meeting again. When Gaura Sundara returned to Chitra with his associates from Vrndavana Pandita Gosvami went forward to meet his Lord but fainted on the ground in great emotion. Prabhu Nityananda also came from Gauda and payed his respects to the deity of Shri Gopinatha.
According to Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata Shri Nityananda was overwhelmed in ecstatic joy when he observed Shri Murari Mukha in a beautiful standing posture. When Gadadhra came to know that Nityananda had arrived, he stopped reciting Bhagavatam and hurriedly went to meet him. When they looked in each others faces they at once embraced and began to shed tears of joy. They addressed each other and each told the other that on that day his eyes had become purified and his life had become sucessful by getting that association. They lost all worldly feelings and floated in an ocean of decotion and joy. Observing their ecstatic condition, the other companions also cried in joy.
What friendly relations were exchanged between Nityananda and Gadadhara. Gadadhara would not tolerate any person who vilified Nityananda and would not meet anyone who had no love for Nityananda or his followers. Shri Mamu Gosvami admitted to Narottama that he could not control his tears while remembering the glorious past. Mamu remembered that both Gadadhara and Nityananda would sit here and talk about the grace of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. Pandita Gosvami invited Padmavati Nandana to take alms from him. Nityananda Prabhu had brought one maund of rice with him from Gauda for Gadadhara. He had intended to request Gadadhara to cook the rice and after offering it to Gopinatha he would himself feed Gadadhara. Gadadhara gladly accepted the rice and prepared a curry of edible herbs picked from the tota. He also quickly prepared a sour broth of soft tamarind leaces and the sweet smell of the cooked rice filled the air of the tota.
He first offered the cooked items to Gopinatha. Accidently Gaura Rai who was competent to know the minds of others - appeared there and laughingly accused them for not inviting him, stating that he also had a share in those items. He made them understand that he and them were non different. Pandita Gadadhara gladly brought the offered food from Gopinatha to Mahaprabhu. The Lord directed him to distribute the food on three plates and the three of them would dine together. Gaura Hari sat with Nityananda on his right side and Shri Pandita on his left side as they ate.
Shri Mamu Gosvami could not forget the memory of that divine sight. Shri Gaura Candra appreciated Gada's fine cooking, as did Nityananda. Gadadhara was so satisfied with their praise and after washing their mouths they all sat together to rest. The memory of that association will never be forgotten.
Mamu Gosvami also showed Narottama the tattered asana used by Shri Gosvami or sometimes by Gaurahari when he would come down to hear the recitation of Bhagavatam from Shri Gadadhara. He showed Narottama the tear-marks of Mahaprabhu on the pages of the Bhagavatam for Mahaprabhu would cry while hearing it. At last Shri Mamu Gosvami confessed his inability to adequately describe the pastimes of Mahaprabhu and Gadadhara in this tota.
Mahaprabhu's sudden disappearance in the temple of Gopinatha
Shri Mamu Gosvami told Narottama that one day Gaurahari said something to Gadadhara Pandita after which they both began to cry. Their tears were sufficient to liquify hard rocks. Mahaprabhu entered the temple of Gopinatha and did not come out. He disappeared forever and the world sank into utter darkness. Shri Gadadhara Gosvami fell unconscious on the ground and all the Mahantas cried in loud grief. But at that moment the voice of Gaura Gunamani - the great lover of his disciples – consoled them by saying that Shrinivasa, the son of a brahmin who was grief stricken upon getting news of the Lord's disappearance was now on his way to Nilacala. Although Shrinivasa had decided to give up his life, unable to bear the Lord's disappearance, Mahaprabhu had consoled him and he would soon reach Nilacala. He advised Gadadhara Gosvami to compose himself for only he would be able to save Shrinivasa from the depth of his misery. Prabhu's soncolation gave purpose to Shri Gosvami's life and after a few days Shrinivasa reached Tota.
Everyone was impressed with the beautiful loving features, the youthful body and the beautiful eyes of Shrinivasa. Shrinivasa fell at the feet of Shri Gosvami who stretched out his hands eo embrace the boy with tears in his eyes. Shri Gosvami accpeted Shrinivasa affectionately as his own son. When Shrinivasa left for Vrndavana, Shri Gosvami sat here with a determined mind. Day by day his body grew thinner and the earth became wet from his tears. Suddenly one day, with a heavy sigh as hot as a flame of fire, Gosvami left this world.
Shri Mamu Gosvami cried as he described these pastimes to Narottama. He had previously been informed of Narottama's arrival and although his miseries knew no bounds, Narottama's presence was a great relief for him. He advised Narottama to remian patient in every aspect of his life and to tell these pastimes of Mahaprabhu and Gadadhara Pandita to Shrinivasa. He also advised Narottama to leave Nilacala and start for Gauras early as possible for he was responsible for the salvation of the people Gaudadesh. Prabhu Chaitanya had great love for narottama and by his mercy Narottama would bring relief to suffering mankind. He also ordered Narottama to absorb himself in nama sankirtana, for that was the desire of Mahaprabhu. After much discussion, Mamu Gosvami permitted Narottama to leave Nilacala.
Thakura Narottama meets Shri Gopala Guru
Narottama met Shri Gopala Guru in the house of Shri Kasi Misra. He welcomed Narottama affectionately and told him that only by the grace of the Lord he had lived long enough to meet Narottama. In the absence of Mahaprabhu his place had become miserable, He showed Narottama a seat made of grass where Mahaprabhu used to sit, a bed where Mahaprabhu would lie when Shri Govinda would massage his legs. Narottama fell on the ground crying loudly in grief when he saw these.
Shri Gopala guru took him in his arms and they both cried as they held each others hands and arms. After sometime Shri Gopala Guru pacified Shri Narottama and showed him other places where Mahaprabhu would sit or stand or lie in his state of ecstatic meditation. He also described the purely divine character of Shri Vakreswara.
Thakura Narottama in the Gundica temple
With the brahmin, Jagannatha visited the Gundica temple. Jagannatha told Narottama that this was the road used by Shri Nilacala Candra in his festival. It was here that Prabhu danced before the chariot and the whole world was enchanted by his san kirtana. Here Prabhu pushed the chariot with his head, and here he favored Shri Prataparudra. In this tota with his followers, Prabhu had eaten Shri Mahaprasada. Jaganantha also showed Narottama the Gundica temple where Shri Shachinandana performed many lilas. He told him that there was nothing more pleasing that cleaning the floor of the Gundica temple. Shri Chaitanya and his disciples bathed in the Indradumna Saravara which Jagannatha pointed out along with other pastime places of Mahaprabhu. He took Narottama to the house of Acarya where he explained Narottama's intentions. Acarya gladly blessed him but admitted that the was afraid that he would not live long enough to meet Shrinivasa. He asked Narottama to report everything to Shrinivasa and was pleased to hear about the spiritual accomplishments of Shri Syamananda, the disciple of Shri Hrdaya Chaitanya. He expressed his desire to meet Shri Syamananda, which would be possible only if Syamananda went there very soon. Acarya began to shed tears while conversing with Narottama and after sometime Narottama bid farewell to him.
Thakura Narottama's journey to Gauradesha via Utkala
Narottama left Nilacala. Syamananda lived in Utkala and kept himself engaged in nama san sankirtana with his followers. When he heard of Narottama's arrival near his place he at once went to meet him. Whoever saw the divine meeting of Narottama and Syamananda were overwhelmed. Syamananda invited Narottama to his house and the people of Nrisimharpura were happy to meet Narottama. Syamananda and Narottama passed their time together in a lonely place discussing many topics. After informing Syamananda about the news from Shri Kshetra he started for Gauda.
Thakura Narottama in Shri Khanda
Syamananda left for Nilacala and Narottama went to Gauda. Simply observing Shri Khanda, Narottama began to cry. He entered the house of Narahari Sarkara Thakura who was very happy to meet him and told his followers that he had once met Narottama's fther when he occasionally visited Gaura. Narottama's father was the king Krishna Nanda Rai. It was by the wish of Prabhu that Narottama had taken his birth in that house.Mahaprabhu had many plans for Narottama so Narahari Sarkara had been eager to meet. Narottama bowed at the feet of Narottama Thakura and the Thakura cordially embraced him, drenching his body with tears.
He asked Narottama about Shri Kshetra but simply lamented when he heard the miserable condition of the followers of Mahaprabhu which was caused by the Lord's disappearance. Narottama later said that he hoped Mahaprabhu would bless Narahari and fulfil all of his desires. Narahari gave Raghunandana to Narottama as an assistant as they visited the temple of Mahaprabhu. Narottama was overwhelmed with emotion upon seeing the beautiful deity of Mahaprabhu and paid his heartful respects to the deity. In Shri Khanda he met many followers of Mahaprabhu and from there he went to Jajigram.
Thakura Mahasaya at the house of Shrinivasa in Jajigram
Narottama went to the house of Shrinivasa Acarya in Jajigram. Shri Acarya had been sitting with his followers outside his house and he embraced Narottama before Narotama could even bow at his feet. Shri Acarya introduced him to his followers but they spoke together for a long time in a solitary place. He asked Narottama about Navadvipa, Nilacala and other places which Narottama had visited in his travels. They shared mutual sentiments about the incidents that had occured in the various places. Shrinivasa Acarya advised Narottama to go to Khetarigrama a soon as possible where he had many responsibilites. He had to arrange for the worship and care of Shri Vigraha. Shri Acarya assured Narottama tht he would bring his disciples there in a short while but he forbid Narottama to be anxious if he was late in reaching Khetari.
Shri Narottama in Katwa
While entering Kantaka city, Narottama could not control his emotions. Hearing of Narottama's arrival, Dasa Gadadhara was roused from his deep grief and became happy for the oppotunity to meet Narottama. At Dasa Gadadhara's house Narottama stretched himself out on the ground before the feet of Gadadhara. Dasa Gadadhara affectionately embraced him and sat him by his side. As Narottama reported the news from various places, Dasa Gadadhara could not check his own crying. Narottama did not stay there long but continued on his way to Khetari.
When he saw the place from where Mahaprabhu had entered his life of asceticism, Narottama fainted in emotion and wet the ground with his tears. He met the companions of Mahaprabhu there and continued his journey via Radhadesha.
Thakura Narottama in Ekchakragrama
The village called Ekchakara in Radhadesha is the birth place of Prabhu Nityananda Rama. When Narottama entered Ekchakra Prabhu Nityananda appeared before him in th guise of an old brahmin. He showed Narottama the places where Mahaprabhu and his companions used to roam. But Nityananda failed to decieve Narottama who immediately recognised the old brahmin in his true identity. Knowing him to be Nityananda Balarama, Narottama fainted on the ground and tears rolled continuously from his eyes. On the wish of the Lord Narottama controlled his emotions but Nityananda forbid Narottama to tell anyone about this incident. After dedicating himself to the feet of Nityananda Prabhu Narottama circumbulated the whole village of Ekchakra and taking the blessings of Prabhu Nityananda Narottama started for Khetari.
Return of Thakura Mahasaya to Khetari
After taking directions to Khetari from many travellers Narottama soon reached the bank of the river Padmavati. He had to cross the river to reach Khetari where people had already heard about his arrival. The residents of Khetari were very happy to see the loving demeanor of Narottama. One man said that he had never seen another example os suchstoicism. Another man answered that to a Vaishnava all places are equal because in place he has the same duty of uplifting sinners from abomination. Another person said as there were sufficient heretics in Khetari Narottam awould definitely remain there. He realised that Narottama had intentionally returned to deliver those heretics.
Although they made so many predictions each person feared that Narottama might leave on pilgrimage. When they thought like that and began to cry, they received an oracle telling them that Narottama would remain in Khetari to benedict mankind with salvation through the practise of devotion and Harinama. In their joy people bowed again and agian to the feet of Narottama. They found a beautiful calm and quiet place for Narottama who established himself there. Shri Khetari was a large village with many different localities, each with a different name. The name of the capitial is Gopalapura wherein the wealthy people dwelt. The people of Gopalapura always engaged themselves in worldly pleasures. They were neither religious nor spiritually inclined and they had no fear of their grim future. Thakura Mahasaya became seriously anxious for their welfare and intent on their upliftment.
The acceptance of family life by Shrinivasa Acarya Prabhu
Shri Acarya spent his days restlessly in Jajigram. Shri Raghunandana came to Jajigram and took up the task of arranging a marriage for Shri Acarya. Shri Gopala Cakravarty of Jajigram was eager to get his daughter married to Shri Acarya and Shri Raghunandana advised the brahmin Gopaladasa that Shrinivasa would be the most fit candidate for his daughter. Shri Gopala was very happy about the arrangement and took advise from all his friends who gave their unamious support without hestitation.
On the auspicious third day of Krishna Tithi in the month of Vaisakha, Shrinivasa Acarya married the daughter of the brahmin Gopaladasa. Formerly the name of the bride was Draupadi but at the time of the marriage she was given the name Iswari. With her golden complexion, this girl was the image of Vaktidevi in a human form. At the time of the marriage she also took initiation from Shri Acarya and gained divine powers. Shri Gopala also took his initation from Shri Acarya. Two sons of Gopaladasa named Syamadasa and Ramacandra also took their initiation and were named Syamananda and Ramacharanaksha. The inhabitants of jajigram praised the brahmin Gopala for the marriage arrangements and Shri Sarkara Thakura, Dasa Gadadhara and others also praised Shrinivasa.
Acarya Prabhu's teaching of the Gosvami writings
Shrinivasa began to teach his disciples from the books of the Gosvamis. People were impressed by the depth of Shrinivasa's knowledge and his capacity to teach. The sons of Dwija Haridasa, Shridasa and Gokulananda, both knew that when their father went to Vrndavana after the disappearance of Prabhu, he had advised them take initation from Shri Acarya. They decided to carry out his order without delay, and thus they went to Jajigram where they happily met Shri Acarya. The desire of their father became fulfilled as they both sank in the ocean of love and devotion for Radha and Krishna. Shri Acarya asked them their names and intentions in coming to him and after hearing their story Shri Acarya was joyful. When they requested diksha mantra from Shri Acarya, he told them that they would have to wait because they should first study the spiritual lessons and study the books. They began to study under Shri Acarya and people in general were astonished to see their sincere effort.
Ramacandra Kaviraja and Shri Acarya Prabhu
Shridasa and Gokulananda became favorite disciples of Acarya Prabhu. One day Acarya went to a tank in Jajigram which was situated on the western part of his house. As he sat there with his followers he saw abridegroom returning with his new bride on a throne. Shrinivasa was fascinated by the beauty of the bridegroom which could be compared to the beauty of kandarpa. His body was as soft as butter and covered with many ornaments. He had black hair and a golden complexion with a golden ketaki and champak flower. He had a bright forehead and beautiful eyebrows, eyes, nose, ears and cheeks. He had a charming moon-like face, red lips, a broad neck like a lion or a conch. He had a wide chest, well shaped belly and a navel with wrinkles on his belly. He had long arms which stretched down to his knees, fine artistic fingers, a thin waist, beautiful legs and knees. He wore a new dress and excellent dress of silk.
Shri Acarya wondered who he might be. He might be the son of Gandharva or a Aswini Kumara. His form was as beautiful as a demigod, but what was the use of this beauty? It could not be used successfully by the young man unless he dedicated himself to the worship of Krishna. He inquired from one of the companions of the marriage party about the name, caste and home of the bridegroom. He learned that the young man was Ramacandra and he was famous as a great scholar, a king and a poet. He was also a well respected doctor of the Vaidya class who lived in the village Kumara Nagara. Having learnt all the particulars, Acarya smilingly returned to his home.
Ramacandra heard the questions posed by Acarya to his associates and saw Shri Acarya from his throne. He was captiviated by Shrinivasa and eagerly desired to meet him again. He spoke to on one and passed some miserable days in his house. At night he took shelter in a brahmin's house and passed the evening sitting at the feet of Shri Acarya. Again in the morning he went to the house of Shri Acarya and stood before him with tears in his eyes. Like an uprooted tree he fell at the feet of Shrinivasa. Lying on the ground, his body was covered with dust.
Acarya held up both his hands and embraced Ramacandra affectionately. He put his hand on the head of Ramacandra and told him that he must have been a dear friend from his previous life. They now had the opportunity to meet and associate again. He told Ramacandra that he had finally got Narottama's association in the same way. Acarya Shrinivasa said that if Narottama would be his one eye then Ramacandra would be his other and they were both his two hands. On hearing the name of Narottama, Ramacandra felt a natural attraction for him. As he heard the description of Narottama from Shri Acarya, Ramacandra concluded something within his mind which he did not disclose to Shrinivasa. But Shrinivasa could read his mind and assured him that his desire would soon be fulfilled.
He began to teach the Gosvami books to Ramacandra and was enchanted by Ramacandra's capacity to understand. At an auspicious moment he gladly gave Ramacandra diksha in Radha Krishna mantra. As a disciple of Shri Acarya, Ramacandra's mind filled day by day with devotion, increasing his attraction for divine love. These topics have been written by poet Karnapura in his book. He who listens attentively to these topics is sure to attain that divine love. Keeping the feet of Shrinivasa Acarya within his mind Dasa Narahari writes Bhaktiratnakara.