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The Sixth Vilasa
All glories to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya and all the devotees. Please bestow your benedictions upon this fallen soul. All glories to the merciful listeners. Now hear attentively as I continue this narration.
At an auspicious time, Narottama crossed the Padmavati and entered Shri Kheturi. People from every corner of the village happily flocked to see him. Shri Santosa Datta and others greeted Shri Thakura Mahasaya and arranged accommodations for him in a solitary house. Nevertheless, the house was packed until the evening with enthusiastic villagers eager for his darsana.
In the evening when Narottama was finally alone, he began to think deeply about his devotional service to Shri Krishna. Eventually, by the Lord's arrangement, he finally fell asleep late in the evening. In a dream the son of Saci told him, "O Narottama, in the hope of your coming here, I hid Myself in the form of a metal Deity in the house of an influential landlord. Everyone knows him because he is a rich man with many rice-go-downs, but no one will approach these go-downs because they are full of poisonous snakes. In one of the bigger go-downs I have concealed Myself. Quickly go and open the door of that go-down and bring Me to your house." He then advised Narottama to have more Deities made and then vanished after embracing him.
Narottama excitedly woke to find that it was still dark. He spent the rest of the night performing sankirtana and in the morning quickly completed his daily duties. He then asked various persons if they knew of a rich man who had many rice go-downs which were infested with snakes. Everyone knew the man, and Narottama requested them to take him there. Thus Narottama, along with a few others, went to the rich man's house, who was greatly surprised and happy to receive them. Shri Thakura Mahasaya immediately proceeded straight towards the rice go-down. The rich man was horrified, falling at Narottama's feet he begged with folded hands, "Everyone knows that these go-downs are infested with snakes. Many snake tamers have tried to clear them out but their attempts were in vain. Long ago I gave up hope of getting rid of the snakes and, although I lost considerable money, I was forced to close the buildings down. I could not possibly allow you to go inside. Please tell me, what I can do for you?"
Thakura Mahasaya simply laughed and said, "Don't be nervous, I shall clear it out now. I have very important business to attend to within your go-down. Afterwards you will be relieved and happy to see what I will bring out from inside." Saying this, Thakura Mahasaya undauntedly walked towards the go-down, as the spectators trembled in fear. But when the snakes saw Thakura Mahasaya, they immediately left the go-down and went away. In a trance of love, Narottama opened the door and found Navadvipa Candra with His consort. Their bodies were fully decorated with ornaments and Their brilliant beauty was beyond compare. When Narottama picked Them up and lovingly clasped Them to his heart, he was suddenly jolted as if struck by a bolt of lightening.
Everyone was spellbound to see the Deities and began shouting with joy. Someone remarked, "It is not possible for an ordinary human being to do such a thing." Someone else said, "Who can understand him? Because of his presence our village has become blessed." Another person commented, "If we are fortunate enough, perhaps we can receive his blessings." All of them danced happily, calling out the name of Narottama.
As Narottama carried the Deities, a huge crowd followed along behind him. Upon reaching his house, he placed Shri Gauranga and His consort on a beautiful celestial seat. With unblinking eyes he stared at the Lord crying incessantly. Suddenly a thought came to his mind and began spontaneously singing a beautiful kirtana about the glories of Gaurachandra which he had written but had not yet been heard by others. Narottama sang and danced gracefully, putting the Gandharvas to shame. Even the Yavanas and the wicked souls became mad and sang the glories of Gauranga's pastimes. The sound of kirtana covered the entire world and the demigods showered flowers from the heavens. Gandharvas and Kinnaras remarked with amazement, "Who is that extraordinary person who has suddenly manifested this most sublime and beautiful kirtana? Even we are not familiar with this type of singing. It appears that the dance, music and instruments have all become personified by his singing. Some of the devotees of Chaitanya have this type of extraordinary power. All the devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are worshipable by even the demigods and goddesses." Saying this, they accepting the guise of human beings, came before Narottama and fell at his feet. Thus from that very special day the super-excellent kirtana of Shri Narottama dasa Thakura was inaugurated. On that same day Balarama Vipra and others happily took initiation from Shri Thakura.
With a satisfied heart, Shri Thakura Mahasaya began to serve Gaurachandra and Laksmi Vishnupriya. He appointed Balarama Vipra and others to take charge of the Deities service. As ordered in a dream, he also installed five more Deities.
After this he began to feel anxious about not having heard from Shrinivasa Acarya for so long. He wanted to find out some news, but thought, "Without his permission, how can I send anyone to see him? Yet no one has come from Yajigrama in such a long time. Now, I am at a loss as to what to do." Just as he was thinking in this way a man suddenly arrived from Yajigrama. With great relief Thakura Mahasaya eagerly inquired about events there. The devotee replied, "Everything is fine there, but Acarya Thakura is always thinking of you and missing your association. He regularly visits Shri Khanda and Kantakanagara, and has also gone to Navadvipa. One day when he was in Khanda, Shri Sarkara Thakura spoke with him and again requested that he marry. This time he could not disobey Thakura. Thus he married and settled at Yajigrama, where many scholars and learned persons regularly visit. Now Ramacandra, a learned son of Shri Ciranjiva Sena of Khanda, has become the disciple of Acarya, and many others have also accepted initiation from him.
He has also successfully distributed all of the books of the Goswamis. He sent a message to Shri Vrndavana, and one man brought a reply along with more books written by Shri Jiva Gosvami. Acarya has already distributed these new books everywhere.
Recently Shrinivasa received a letter from Navadvipa, carrying devastating news. Many of the Lord's associates from Santipura and the surrounding areas, who were suffering intensely in the fire of separation, have now left this world. Hearing about the demise of Shri Sarkara Thakura and Shri Dasa Gadadhara, Shrinivasa Acarya sank deep in the ocean of despair. I cannot describe his state of mind. Sometimes we were afraid for of his life. One day being unable to bear the pain of separation, he left for Vrndavana without telling anyone.
The Goswamis were overjoyed to have Shrinivasa's company. They happily sat him down and inquired about his well-being and listened intently to the full account of carrying the manuscripts to Gaura. In this way they happily spent four or five days together.
Around that time, Shri Ramacandra Sena came there to meet Shrinivasa Acarya. When the Goswamis were informed of Ramacandra's scholarly capabilities, they conferred upon him the title of "Kaviraja." The Goswamis eagerly listened as Ramacandra gave a full account of Shrinivasa Acarya's marriage.
Thereafter Shri Jiva Gosvami and the others gladly handed over more books to Shrinivasa Acarya, appointed four Vrajavasis to accompany him, and bade him farewell. Shri Gopala Bhatta, Lokanatha, and everyone there was extremely sad to see him leave. Shrinivasa quickly returned to Gaura and then went to Vishnupura to relieve the king. I heard that he would be coming soon to Yajigrama, so I immediately came here to inform you."
During the course of this conversation, two messengers suddenly arrived with another letter for Narottama from Shri Acarya and Narottama happily read aloud, "I left my house, along with my followers, and went to Kancanagara where I initiated two devotees, who are the bearers of this letter. These two brothers, Shridasa and Gokulananda, are the sons of Dvija Haridasa, a prominent follower of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Being ordered by their father, they accepted initiation from Me." Yesterday I left Kancanagara and started for Vudhuri."
Reading this, Narottama exclaimed, "O, what a wonderful morning for me!" and happily escorted the two messengers to the temple of Shri Gaura. There he introduced them to Balarama Pujari, who gladly brought them maha-prasada.
Thakura Mahasaya then went to inspect whether all the preparations for the forthcoming festival were ready or not. He was happy to find that all the go-downs were full of commodities. He then engaged various persons to specific assignments for further preparations. The next morning he left, along with Devidasa, Gokula and Gauranga and started for Vudhuri.
When Narottama reached Vudhuri someone rushed ahead and announced his arrival to Shri Acarya, who happily hurried out of the house and found Narottama standing there. Narottama fell at his feet, and Shri Acarya Thakura embraced him warmly. He then introduced Narottama to Ramacandra and the other devotees.
Sitting in a quiet place they discussed many topics; Shrinivasa explained how he had met Ramacandra and initiated him, how his marriage had occurred, how Ramacandra received the title "Kaviraja," his journey from Yajigrama to Vudhuri and how he conferred the title of "Kaviraja" upon Govinda. He then inquired about Narottama's well being, and Narottama gradually explained how Shri Santosa Raya and others had became his disciples, how he rescued the Deity of Shri Gaurahari and arranged to have five more Deities carved. how he was making preparations for the forthcoming great festival. Narottama said, "As soon as I received your letter, I decided to hold the festival on the full-moon day of Phalguna." Thereafter they sat together and compiled a list of devotees to invite to the festival and immediately sent out the invitation letter to all the devotees of Lord Gauranga. Narottama also wrote a letter inviting Syamananda from Utkala. Shri Acarya and Narottama then sat together discussing privately. Later, Shri Acarya put Ramacandra under the care of Narottama.
Within a few days, news of Shri Acarya, Narottama and Ramacandra spread like wildfire. In every corner people were speaking about them: "They have mercifully appeared in this world to save the fallen souls from this hellish material existence." Another person said, "Although three separate persons, they are so deeply united that they appear to be one."
After four days had passed Shri Acarya permitted Narottama to return to Kheturi and instructed Ramacandra
and others to accompany him. Upon arriving in Kheturi they immediately went for darsana of Shri Gauranga. There they happily met the disciples of Thakura Mahasaya, who were all abodes of transcendental qualities. Thereafter they inquired about the preparations for the festival and were pleased to find an enormous collection of the necessary commodities. Shri Thakura Mahasaya arranged separate private houses for Ramacandra and the others, where they all waited anxiously for the arrival of Shri Acarya.
Shortly thereafter, when Shri Acarya Thakura, along with Govinda and other devotees, arrived in Kheturi, a wonderful scene ensued as all the Vaishnavas ran out to greet them. They happily escorted Shri Acarya to a beautiful house and then took him for darsana of Shri Gauranga. Upon seeing the Deity along with His consort, Laksmi-Vishnupriya, Acarya was filled with ecstatic love. He then saw the other five Deities and was equally overjoyed to see each one. Shri Acarya then inspected the go-downs, but his mind was constantly distracted by thoughts of Shri Syamananda prabhu. As he was thinking in this way, someone suddenly announced that Syamananda had just arrived from Utkala.
Hearing this, Acarya and his men dashed to welcome him. When Syamananda and his companions entered the house of Shri Acarya, Syamananda could not check his emotions. They embraced, soaking each other with their tears. Acarya then asked about Syamananda's well being. The same emotional scene occurred when Narottama arrived there. Shri Thakura Mahasaya then introduced Syamananda to all the Vaishnavas, and Shri Syamananda in turn introduced Rasikananda and his other devotees. Shridasa, Gokulananda, Vyasa Cakravarti, Ramacandra and Govinda Kaviraja were extremely happy to meet Cattaraja, Ramakrishna, Kumuda and the others. Narottama then took Ramacandra and Syamananda to a beautiful house and said to Rasikananda affectionately, "My dear, Rasikananda, try to manage everything smoothly and peacefully. Be very careful to look after the quests so they do not experience any inconvenience." Rasikananda listened humbly with folded hands and remained quiet. His humility charmed the heart of Narottama.
Thakura Mahasaya and Ramacandra returned to Shri Acarya's place and sent Shri Govinda Kaviraja to take Syamananda to the temple of Shri Gaurasundara. Syamananda was ecstatic to see the beautiful form of the Lord and requested to see the other five Deities. Govinda also showed Syamananda the store rooms. Shri Rasikananda, Purusottama, Shri Kisora and other devotees had brought many items from home to contribute for the festival. Thus their gifts were added to the huge stock. In this way the commodities increased and the store-rooms bulged with goods. Syamananda then went to Shri Acarya's place and together they relished discussions about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In this way that wonderful day came to a close.
In the morning everyone completed their daily duties and began to wonder why Shri Jahnava Devi had not arrived in Kheturi yet. As they were thinking in this way, a brahmana arrived and reported that Shri Jahnava Isvari had just crossed the River Padmavati. Everyone happily scrambled towards the bank of the river to greet Shri Isvari. The news rapidly spread and people came running from all directions. After bowing to her feet, Acarya asked about her well-being. She replied, "Upon receiving your letter we were all extremely anxious to come to Kheturi at once."
At that time when Jahnava had received the invitation to Kheturi, Krishnadasa Atyudara, the elder brother of Suryadasa Sarakhela, was also present there. Hearing about the forthcoming festival, Shrila Raghupati Upadhyaya, Murari, Chaitanya, Jnanadasa, Manohara, Kamalakara Pippalai, Shri Jiva Pandita, Madhava Acarya, Nrsimha Chaitanya Dasa, Kanai, Sankara, Shri Gaurangadasa, Vrndavana, Shri Minaketana, Ramadasa, Nakari, Shri Balarama and others, bowed to the feet of the two Isvaris and humbly said, "We would also like to go to Kheturi." Hearing this Shri Jahnava happily requested Shri Paramesvara dasa to begin preparations for their journey immediately. On the day of Shri Isvari's departure, many Vaishnavas from distant places came to see Shri Isvari and when they came to know about the festival, they also were eager to go along with her. They enthusiastically rushed back to their houses and began preparing for the journey. For this reason the entire party was held up for some time. At the time of their departure they suddenly heard a deep voice speaking to them from the sky saying, "Shrinivasa and Narottama are extremely dear to Me and are empowered by Me to distribute divine love. I am completely bound by their love. In Kheturi you will all see Me dance in the sankirtana along with My companions. The power of My love will drive the three worlds mad and no one will escape. Your journey will certainly be a great success. Everyone is eagerly waiting for you. From Kheturi, you should go to Vrndavana, and when you return from Vrndavana you should distribute pure devotional love to everyone."
Upon hearing this voice, Shri Isvari wept with joy, and all the great personalities assembled there were overcome with happiness. Shri Jahnava consoled Shrivasu devi, Ganga and Viracandra and, chanting the holy names of Gaura Nityananda, she and her party began their journey by boat to Kheturi. Meanwhile, news of Shri Isvari's future trip to Vraja via Kheturi spread everywhere.
After some distance, they stopped the boat and Shri Isvari visited the house of a fortunate merchant who was always absorbed in the glories of Nityananda Prabhu. His love overflowed to have Isvari in his house. Favoring them, Shri Isvari decided to take rest for the day in his house. Raghunatha Khaja, son of Bhagavan and favorite disciple of Jagadisa Pandita, came to meet Isvari at that time.
Early the next morning they started for Ambika, where Shri Hrdaya Chaitanya greeted Shri Isvari. Seeing the Deities there of Nitai Chaitanyacandra, she was filled with ecstatic emotions, and thereafter she, and her companions, took prasada. Shri Jahnava reported everything to Hrdaya Chaitanya who also decided to go to Kheturi. In the meantime, Shri Chaitanyadasa, son of Shri Vamsivadana, came to meet Shri Isvari and also decided to go to Kheturi. At that time one man came from Santipura and reported that Shri Acyutananda, son of Advaita Prabhu, was practically dead due to the unbearable misery of separation from the Lord. His mother, Shri Sita, ordered him to go to Kheturi and thus they planned to start in the morning. Hearing this, Shri Isvari became so happy that she immediately instructed him to tell Acyutananda that he should travel along with her party. Shri Isvari and her companions happily spent that night in the house of Hrdaya Chaitanya Pandita. In the morning she observed Shrimangala Arati and dedicated herself to the feet of Nitai Chaitanya. She then started for Navadvipa.
Reaching the outskirts of Navadvipa, she began to weep thinking of the wonderful pastimes of the Lord. When the favorite associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who were still alive in Navadvipa heard that Shri Jahnava had come to their place, they all rushed happily to meet her. As she got down from the palanquin all the Vaishnavas of Navadvipa bowed to her feet, and she introduced her companions to the Navadvipa devotees. How can that glorious meeting be described? Many of the devotees were bowing at each others feet, while others embraced one another, and still others began to loudly sing the glories to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. A long time passed before they were capable of checking their ecstatic loving feelings.
Eventually Pandita Shripati, brother of Shrivasa Pandita, suggested to Shri Madhava Acarya and others, "I think we should take bath here in the Ganges." Everyone was delighted by the proposal and rushed to take their bath. Meanwhile, Shripati quickly went to Navadvipa and returned with many items. Shri Jahnava Isvari cheerfully fed them and afterwards took something herself.
The party then entered into Navadvipa and went to the house of Shrivasa. Advaita Prabhu's son, Shri Gopala, brother of Acyuta, Shri Kanu Pandita, Vishnudasa Mahasaya, Vanamali dasa and other great Vaishnavas came to greet them. Everyone was jubilant to meet one another. Shrimati Isvari privately spoke to Acyutananda, explaining about the festival. Delighted, he immediately announced to his followers about the up-coming Kheturi festival. Quickly the news spread throughout Navadvipa and everyone was eager to attend the festival. Afterwards they all met in the house of Shrivasa and took their meals. Meanwhile people from all over Navadvipa came running to see the meeting of the Vaishnavas. A long time passed joyfully in this way until eventually the devotees went to bed.
Early in the morning they resumed their journey. Upon arriving in Akaihata, they went to the house of Krishnadasa, the great singer, who quickly arranged food for them. He also prepared himself for going to Kheturi.
The next morning they again traveled on until they reached Kantakanagara. Krishnadasa Thakura was the first to be informed of their arrival and immediately came forward to greet them and brought them to his house. Very shortly thereafter, Shri Raghunandana and his companions arrived there, then Vaninatha and Sivananda came along with others. Vallabha, Chaitanya dasa, Bhagavatacarya, Nartaka (dancer) Gopala, Jita Misra, Raghu Misra, Kasinatha Pandita, Uddhava, Shri Nayanananda Misra and other favorite followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also came there. Everyone was to overjoyed to meet one another and overwhelmed upon seeing the beauty of Shri Gauranga and dasa Gadadhara. Afterwards they tearfully went to see the place where the Lord accepted sannyasa. A long time passed before they were able to calm themselves, eventually they went to take bath in the Ganges.
Meanwhile Shri Yadunandana collected many varieties of sweet for them and after offering them to Shri Gaurangacandra, placed separate plates of sweets in separate rooms. After coming back from the Ganges they very gladly took maha-prasada. On that day, Shri Jahnava Isvari in a happy mood went to cook for the devotees. She cooked various items and then offered them to Shri Gaurangacandra, who very happily accepted them. After sometime, she affectionately distributed prasada to all the devotees. Everyone delightedly relished the prasada which tasted like nectar. Afterwards Shri Isvari took some prasada. After her, Shri Yadunandana and others ate.
Yadunandana, being extremely moved by remembrance of his spiritual master, dasa Gadadhara, began preparing for the trip to Kheturi. He carefully instructed the priest of the temple to be attentive to the service of Shri Gauranga. By the evening all the preparations were complete.
In the meantime, all the mahantas gathered in the courtyard of Shri Gauranga. After observing Shri Gauranga's arati ceremony, they started sankirtana. In this way most of the night passed in glorification of Krishna. Late at night they took a short nap. In the morning, after offering their obeisances at the feet of Gaurachandra, they started out for Kheturi and very soon they crossed the River Padmavati. Shri Isvari sent a messenger to inform Acarya Thakura of their arrival. Excited and happy, Shri Acarya, Shri Thakura Mahasaya and Syamananda all stood together, shining as brilliantly as the sun, expectantly staring at the path waiting for her arrival. Seeing these three exalted souls waiting on the path, Shri Isvari could not contain her emotions and got down from her palanquin, while Shrinivasa and others ran to her and fell at her feet. Shrinivasa and the other devotees then bowed to the feet of Shri Acyutananda and the rest of the devotees. Everyone was overwhelmed with intense loving sentiments; Someone held on to Shrinivasa crying, and someone else embraced Narottama, another devotee could not let Ramacandra out of his embrace, while another person soaked Shri Gokulananda with his tears. One devotee stretched out his arms to greet Shridasa, and another affectionately embraced Syamananda and Govinda Kaviraja.
When the party entered into Kheturi proper, the entire village was submerged in an ocean of happiness. With great care Acarya Thakura escorted the devotees to separate houses and appointed Ramacandra Kaviraja to the service of Raghunatha Acarya and his associates. He appointed Syamananda to the service of Shri Hrdaya Chaitanya. Shri Nrsimha Kaviraja was appointed to serve Shri Chaitanyadasa and some others, and Shri Vyasa Acarya took care of Shripati, Shrinidhi Pandita and their associates. He asked Shri Vallabhi Kanta to serve Krishnadasa and other devotees from Akaihata, and Shri Govinda Kaviraja took charge of serving Shri Raghunandana and his companions. Ramakrishna, Kumuda and their associates were requested to look after Vaninatha, Jita Misra and others. Kaviraja Bhagavan was put in the service of Shri Yadunandana Cakravarti, and Shri Gopiramana and others were appointed the service of the other Vaishnavas. Shrinivasa arranged separate stocks of food for separate houses, and Shri Acarya Thakura and Thakura Mahasaya oversaw everything to assure that all was executed properly. Simply hearing about the arrival of all these great mahantas in Kheturi can fulfill all the desires of the listeners. So hear attentively as I, Narahari, narrate this Narottama Vilasa.