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The Seventh Vilasa
All glories to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya and all the associates of the Lord. Please bestow your mercy upon this fallen soul. All glories to the merciful listeners. Kindly listen attentively to this narration.
As news of the Kheturi festival spread throughout the country, everywhere people were heard speaking about it: "O brother, Shri Kheturi has become beautified by the association of the devotees, It is now the most fortunate village on the earth and is the abode of eternal joy." Everyone in Shri Kheturi; men, women, aged and even the children could not check their tears upon seeing the assembly of devotees. Someone said, "Many more Vaishnavas have arrived today, they look as effulgent as the brilliant sun." Another person commented, "By the power of these Vaishnavas even the atheistic offenders feel compelled to utter the name of Krishna." Someone else remarked, "Shri Santosa is certainly the most fortunate King, just see how carefully he has arranged accommodations for all the devotees." Others said, "The King is very attentive to the well-being of all mankind." Some one else commented, "The flower-men have been told to supply beautiful garlands, while others were requested to prepare sandalwood paste. The instrumentalists have been ordered to begin playing on the Sukla Pancami day of Phalguna." Everywhere bustling preparations for the festival were under way, as people chattered excitedly in anticipation: "The king has invited all the neighboring kings to the abhiseka ceremony." "Tomorrow is the auspicious full moon day, exactly the appropriate time for the Deities to be installed in the temple." Other's said, "Thakura Mahasaya has transformed this land. Previously the area was overrun with wicked thieves and rogues who knew nothing about religion. Neither could they understand what the results of their inauspicious behavior would be. These ignorant people were accustomed to severing the heads of goats, lambs and buffaloes. Some of them were even so degraded that they would dance with the heads of men fixed on the top of their swords. Such persons were accustomed to indulge in intoxication and illicit sex. Yet, by the influence of Narottama, even such atrocious persons have become exempt from the results of their sinful activities." In this way, the glories of Narottama where sung continually throughout the town. People came from far and wide carrying all varieties of commodities for the imminent festival. Everyone who entered into Kheturi was immediately freed from all distress. The association of Shri Thakura Mahasaya soothed the hearts of all.
In the evening one devotee told Acarya that many kholas and karatalas had been made and stocked in a suitable place, and requested that he come to inspect them. Shri Acarya, along with Gauranga, Gokula and Devidasa happily went to inspect the instruments. They first worshipped the instruments while chanting the names of Gaura Nityananda. Thereafter they went to see Shri Isvari and informed her about the abhiseka ceremony.
In the morning, when all the mahantas had finished their morning duties, Shri Acarya and Thakura Mahasaya came to them and offered them beautiful new clothes.
Meanwhile, King Shri Santosa Raya noted with pleasure that all the arrangements for the opening ceremony were complete. The gorgeous canopy which had been hung in the courtyard increased the charm of the festival arena. Many seats were arranged for the mahantas under the canopy, and the wide courtyard of the temple was tastefully decorated with innumerable banana trees, coconuts, flowers, mango twigs, and pitchers filled with water. Seeing that the arrangements were complete, Shri Acarya personally informed her Holiness Jahnava Mata, and she came and sat in her private seat. At the request of Shrinivasa, all the Mahantas took their seats. The atmosphere in the courtyard was most pleasing, as the mahantas chatted mildly amongst themselves. Shri Acarya then requested their permission to begin the auspicious abhiseka ceremony.
Having received the blessings of all, Shrinivasa performed the bathing ceremony and other rites swiftly, in accordance with the instructions given by Shrila Rupa Gosvami. After completing the bathing, Shrinivasa revealed the names of the Deities as had been prophesied in his dream. He then placed the Deities on the throne in the following order: Shri Gauranga, Vallabhi Kanta, Shri Braj Mohan, Shri Krishna, Shri Radha Kanta, and Shri Radha Ramana. He worshipped the Lords, performed arati and offered their Lordships sumptuous food. The bhoga was removed after some time and the place was thoroughly cleansed. Shrinivasa then placed a garland around the neck of each Deity. He then gave the offered garlands and sandalwood paste to the mahantas, who happily wore the garlands and smeared their bodies with the paste-while gleefully shouting out the glories of the Lord.
Meanwhile the musical instruments played melodiously and it appeared that the evils of the world were minimized simply by that sound. Permission was then given to Shri Thakura Mahasaya to begin sankirtana. His heart full of joyful anticipation, Shri Thakura told Devidasa to get ready. Devidasa, Vallabha, Gokula and Gauranga quickly gathered their instruments and entered the courtyard. Standing in front of Devidasa, Narottama's appearance charmed the hearts of all. The tilaka on his forehead and the tulasi beads around his neck appeared to glitter brilliantly. Narottama called out to Gaura, Nitai, Advaita and others, then bowed to all the mahantas. Smiling brightly, he began sankirtana in a soft voice, accompanied by the karatalas. His body was drenched in sweat mixed with tears of joy. The sound of drums joined in, mingling with the voices of the singers, creating celestial music. Unable to control himself, Raghunandana began to chant the glories of the Lord at the top of his voice, roaring like an enraged lion. At that moment, Shri Acarya gave Raghunandana garlands and sandalwood paste which he at once touched to the drums and cymbals. Totally immersed in the ecstasy of transcendental love, Raghunandana smeared the body of Narottama with the sandalwood paste, garlanded him with flowers and embraced him warmly. He also extending the same treatment to the other devotees present. They all bowed at the feet of Raghunandana and started to sing the preamble, beginning at a low pitch and gradually increasing until finally the atmosphere became so surcharged that everyone marveled at the occasion.
Charmed by the marvelous voice of Narottama, the mahantas commented that Narottama was certainly directly empowered by the Lord to act as the custodiam of transcendental music. Thinking in this way, they all embraced Narottama and began to dance with him jubilantly. The sandalwood paste on their bodies and the flowing garlands added extra luster to the occasion. At this point, Gauranga and His associates could no longer remain unmoved and thus personally appeared at the scene. The atmosphere was suddenly surcharged with emotion and the devotees entered into a state of trance as they beheld the appearance of Shri Chaitanya, Lord Nityananda, Advaita, Shrinivasa, Gadadhara, Murari, Svarupa, Haridasa, Vakresvara, Jagadisa, Gauridasa. The son of Saci began to dance ecstatically with Shri Acyutananda and the others. Similarly, Shri Nityananda danced with Narottama, Shri Advaita danced with Ramacandra and others, while Pandita Gadadhara danced with Shrinivasa Acarya. The whole assembly thus became caught up in the mood of great ecstasy and innumerable associates of the Lord including Shrivas Pandita, Murari Gupta, Svarupa, Haridasa, Suklambaar Brahmacari, Vasudeva Datta, Vakresvara Pandita, Gadadhara Dasa, Mukunda, Narahari, Gauri Dasa Pandita, Nakula Brahmacari, Jagadisa, Suryadasa, Acarya Nandana, Shrinatha, Mahesa, Jodu, Madhusudana, Govinda, Madhava Basurai, Ramananda, Vijaya, Dhananjaya Datta, Sanatana, Rupa, Raghunatha, Kasisvara also began to dance.
It seemed that the visible and invisible had convened at that place as everyone sang and clapped their hands along with the throbbing beating of the drums. Glancing in every direction the Lord showered His love on all present and in reciprocation the devotes chanted the names of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. The promises which the Lord had made to Narottama in his dream were now realized to the amazement of the devotees. Who can understand the inconceivable potency of the Lord?
Suddenly the Lord and His associates disappeared from the scene, and immediately everyone's trance was broken. The devotees lamented piteously, feeling intense separation from Gaura, Nityananda, Advaita, Shrivasa, Gadadhara, Murari, Haridasa, Vakresvara Pandita, Narahari, Gauradasa and the others. Shri Acyutananda and others began to ask themselves if indeed it had actually taken place or whether they had simply been dreaming. Narottama, Shrinivasa, Ramacandra, Syamananda and others, fell to the ground. Grief stricken, they cried out to the Lord. Even the non-believers who attended the festival simply out of curiosity or seeking some entertainment or fun, left the area as changed men. The brahmana Vaninatha was first to regain consciousness. Seeing the devotees lying in various stages of collapse, he and others immediately began to nurse the devotees and gradually they returned to external consciousness.
Her Holiness Jahnavi Devi told Narottama and Shrinivasa that she fully appreciated their [?[ and advised them to hold it. She then told them that according to the scriptures it was time to play fagu, with coloured powder. Shrinivasa and Narottama then went to meet all the other mahantas who praised the two acknowledging them as eternal associates of the Lord. Shri Nityananda expressed His satisfaction by stating that neither He, nor anyone else present, would ever forget the wonderful experience which the festival afforded them.
Shrinivasa and Narottama then invited the mahantas to participate in the play and this idea was greeted with everyone's full approval. Shri Santosa Raya brought pots filled with different kinds of scented fagu. Narottama, with the help of Ramacandra, gave the first pot of fagu to Her Holiness. Together they entered the temple and placed it on the body of the Lord. Then Shri Acyutananda, Raghunandana, Shrinidhi, Kasinatha, Hrdaya Chaitanya, Jogu and others put fagu on the body of Shri Gauranga, Radha Kanta, Shri Vallabha Kanta, Shri Brijamohana, Shri Radha-Ramana. While playing some of the devotees recited poetry, while others chanted the glories of the Lord's Vrndavana and Navadvipa pastimes. In this way everyone was totally absorbed in chanting, dancing, reciting the Lord's glories and engaging in the fagu festival. Thousands of people joined in and the fagu thrown about was sufficient to cover the sky. This continued until evening when everyone attended the arati of the Lord and chanted His glories. After some time they all assembled in the courtyard where Shri Acarya carefully performed the necessary rituals observing the birthday of the Lord. To mark the occasion the Vaishnavas conducted all night kirtanas to the accompaniment of various percussion instruments.
In the morning everyone performed their morning ablutions. Her Holiness bathed with tepid water and said her daily prayers. Then along with Shrinivasa she went along to the kitchen to make sure it was stocked with all the necessary requirements. Smiling, she said to Shrinivasa, "I wanted you to know the ingredients needed for the cooking and now I see that everything is ready. How did you know that I intended to cook everything with my own hands?" Saying this she sat down on a stool and began to prepare everything very carefully. Very quickly she prepared rice as well as various vegetable preparations and placed them with great care in trays and pots. She then presented these foodstuffs as an offering to the Lord.
Absorbed in ecstatic devotion, she watched lovingly as the Deities of Gauranga, Vallabha Kanta, Radha Mohana, Radha Kanta, Radha Krishna and Vraja Mohana all partook of her mouthwatering preparations with great relish. After this, as was the custom, she then came out and closed the door. After waiting for some time she again entered the sanctum of the temple, removed the preparations, offered water for washing the mouths of the Lords and then offered the betel nuts. After this offering Shrinivasa distributed the offered foodstuffs among the mahantas, who ate it all with great satisfaction. Next they all went to the Rajabhoga arati of the Lord, after which the performing priest presented them all with garlands of Tulasi leaves. The priest then placed the Deities to rest on soft beds and covered Their bodies with beautiful soft cloth and began to fan them with a yak tail fan. After doing so for some time he then came out, closed the door and offered his obeisances on the ground while reciting prayers.
Thereafter Shrinivasa invited everyone to take prasada in the courtyard of the temple and then he cleaned the dust from the area and all the mahantas sat in a circle. One devotee provided the banana leaf plates, while other devotees came around with salt, clarified butter, curd and milk. Her Holiness was very pleased to see such an assembly of devotees and ordered that the prasada be served promptly. The preparations included fried leafy vegetables, rice, soup, sour soup and condensed milk, and everyone was served to their full satisfaction. The aroma and the taste of the food was so tantalizing that everyone ate much more than they needed and Shri Acyutananda remarked, "I cannot understand how I ate so much." Shripati, Shrinidhi and Vaninatha replied that it was all by the grace of Her Holiness that this was possible. Shri Raghunandana and others remarked that they would never again receive the same pleasure from eating as they had received on this auspicious occasion.
Shrinivasa and Narottama then went to Her Holiness and requested, "You have worked very hard, now it is our desire that you sit down and take prasada."
She replied, "My great desire is that I want to feed you all first and then I shall eat. For my sake please go and sit in the courtyard along with the others." Shri Acarya and others then went and sat in the courtyard and they were served the feast in the same way as was before mentioned. Wit great affection, Her Holiness personally served prasada thus making everyone eat to their heart's content. As the devotees happily ate they talked amongst themselves happily: "This is heavenly cooking, has anyone ever eaten such a fried leafy vegetable in all their life?" In this way they praised her culinary expertise and when they finished Raghunandana and a few others went to retire. Shrinivasa then ate in the company of Narottama, Ramacandra, Govinda dasa, Rama Krishna, Mukunda, Gokulananda, Vyasa, Syamananda, Shri Krishna Vallabha, Devidasa, Bhagavan, Nrsimha, Gokula, Karnapura, Kisora, Rasikananda, Gauranga Thakura, Gopirama and others. After finishing, they all washed their hands and took betel nuts. Shri Acarya then made a seat for Her Holiness and she happily took a small quantity of each of the items that had been prepared. Then with the help of Syamananda, Shri Acarya fed many other men and finally Balarama the priest and a few others were the last to partake.
After eating, her Holiness bathed in tepid water in a private place and her personal attendant, a brahmana lady, wiped her body gently with a fine cloth. Jahnava Mata had a slim figure and a golden complexion and was overcome by intense feelings of separation from her beloved Lord. Another lady brought her Holiness a set of clean clothes. After changing and washing her mouth, her Holiness took some betel nut while sitting on a sheet on the ground. As tears of gratitude rolled down her cheeks, she affectionately told Narottama, "Today I have made my eating complete." Shrinivasa and Syamananda also came before Jahnava Mata and she said in a sweet voice, "We don't think we should stay here any longer. I consider it best to start for Vrndavana tomorrow morning. To this Shri Acarya replied, "Though it pains us to hear this, I have nothing to reply. I know that there is nothing I can say to change your decision. The festival has now come to close so how can I object to the journey." Her Holiness simply smiled in reply to this remark. Then, on Shrinivasa's request, she lay down on the sheet to rest for awhile.
Shrinivasa, Narottama and Syamananda went to another place where they also took some rest. Thereafter they proceeded to the residence of Shri Acyutananda where all the mahantas where assembled and discussing topics of Shri Krishna's life. Pleased to see their three hosts, the mahantas requested Shri Acarya, "We are sorry but we must now beg your permission to go. We would like to depart." The Acarya replied, "What you have decided cannot be changed. If early tomorrow morning you arise and prepare your own food that will be convenient for us." The mahantas were amused by his suggestion and agreed to it and then returned to their respective lodgings.
Shri Acarya, along with Narottama and Syamananda went to the abode of the Lord along with Shri Santosa Rai and others and Shri Acarya told them everything. He who derives pleasure from hearing these pastimes will no doubt have all his desires fulfilled. Please listen attentively to Narottama Vilasa as told by Narahari.