|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Nityananda dasa > Prema Vilasa > CHAPTER 11|
All glories to the all merciful Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. All glories to the soft hearted Nityananda Prabhu. All glories to Shri Jahnava and Viracandra. All glories to Shrinivasa and Narottama.
Rupa and Sanatana told Narottama to forget his miseries and go to Madhupuri without delay. They advised him to take shelter at the feet of Lokanatha, which would bring him all success. They also instructed him to visit Radha Kunda where he should worship the feet of Raghunatha Dasa.
After receiving these orders, five Gaudiya Vaishnavas suddenly came before Narottama and invited him to travel along with them. Forgetting his pains, Narottama immediately started walking with them.
Along the way, Narottama thought that he should visit Varanasi as it was once visited by Mahaprabhu. Narottama crossed the Ganges and visited the temple of Siva at Rajaghat. He circumambulated the temple and offered his obeisances. On the left side of the ghat was a beautiful house. The house had a door on the eastern side and a tulasi tree on its left. Seeing this, Narottama immediately paid his obeisances, understanding that this had previously been the residence of Sanatana Gosvami. Within the house sat an old Vaishnava. Narottama offered his respects and was warmly welcomed. After clarifying his identity, Narottama took prasadam with the Vaishnava, who happened to be a disciple of Candra Sekharacarya. The devotee explained that he had been ordered to maintain the service of his guru's Deity. Together, they relished discussions about Krishna throughout the night.
In the morning Narottama took his leave. When he reached Prayaga he took a bath, then continued on to Mathura. There he visited the temple of Bhutesvara, the birthplace of Krishna, and took his bath at Visrama ghat.
Meanwhile, in Vrndavana, Shri Jiva received a darsana of Rupa Gosvami in a dream saying, "A very special devotee will be arriving in Vrndavana soon. His name is Narottama of Gadera Hata. You should put him under the care of Lokanatha. He is now taking rest in Mathura." When Shri Jiva awoke, he happily ordered his companions to bring Narottama from Mathura as quickly as possible.
The Vaishnavas found Narottama at the bathing ghat and told him to come with them without delay. Narottama eagerly accepted their guidance and together they rushed to Vrndavana. When they reached the temple of Govinda, Narottama saw the beauty of the temple and fainted on the ground in ecstacy.
Observing his bhava, Shri Jiva decided to take Narottama to meet Shri Lokanatha Gosvami. "Let us go to Gosvami at once," he said, as I am amazed by the wonderful bhava in this young man. Such acute renunciation and devotion at such a young age is inconceivable. His whole body is trembling with ecstacy and his golden complexion reminds me of Gauranga. It is Mahaprabhu's kindness upon me that He has sent me the association of such a devotee. It is certainly my good fortune."
Shri Jiva then brought Lokanatha to the place. When Lokanatha asked where Narottama was, the devotees pointed to Narottama lying on the ground in trance. Lokanatha placed his hand of Narottama's chest and the boy immediately regained consciousness. Narottama quickly fell at the feet of his master, who tearfully picked him up and embraced him saying, "Narottama, I knew that you would come for last night it was revealed to me in a dream. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is extremely merciful to me, His sending you to me is like offering a poor man profuse wealth."
Lokanatha took Narottama to the temple of Govinda**, where Shri Jiva dedicated Narottama to the feet of Lokanatha. When Shri Jiva took Narottama before Govinda, the boy fell unconscious in ecstasy, and had to be carried to the cottage of Shri Jiva. Meanwhile, Lokanatha requested everyone to take prasadam, then called for Narottama to also come. Having returned to his senses, Narottama went for prasadam and explained to Lokanatha Gosvami about the events of his life previously and how he had received divine love form Gauranga. He explained that a golden complexioned child had entered into his body, thus empowering him to visualise Shri Rupa. Narottama said, "But I am here without having any guru, how can I sit you and take prasadam?"
Hearing this Gosvami laughed saying, "You saw with your own eyes that a golden complexioned child entered your body. He is the guru of this universe. Besides Him who else do you want for a guru? He Himself has given you the divine love which most devotees worship and pray for their entire lives. Now what is the use of having another guru? You are blessed with the love of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, you should not be desirous of anything else. It is that love which has allowed you to have the darsana of Govinda."
Narottama replied, "Prabhu, I am a poor man, your order is my only valuable possession. If you permit me, I would like to tell you something."
Gosvami said, "Do not hesitate to tell me anything you like."
"Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as an incarnation, has delivered all types of fallen souls from hellish life," Narottama replied. "He is the only master of this universe, yet He has faith in you as my guru. Mahaprabhu has established the standard; He Himself acted as a spiritual master and also empowered others to act as guru, which has also been done by the companions of Chaitanya. It is the guru's duty to guide the disciple to the right path. I have no guru, so who will guide me on the path of devotion? I am an ignorant fool and am in no position to give you advice, yet I have the audacity to speak."
The other devotees present also petitioned Lokanatha to please accept Narottama as his disciple. Lokanatha laughed and said, "The scriptures have directed that a devotee should perform Harinama continually for one year, until the holy name is firmly established in one's ear and heart." Thus Narottama began chanting the holy name of the Lord with great intensity.
In private Lokanatha explained to Narottama, "Mahaprabhu has ordered His devotees to perform sankirtana because it is the only process in this age for delivering mankind from the clutches of maya. A living entity attains a human form of life only after many lifetimes, thus it is imperative that he receive the proper medicine to permanently cure himself of the material disease. A human being suffers all varieties of miseries life after life, but he does not remember them in his present life. These miseries can be eradicated only through the worship of Krishna. Such a worshiper is known as a devotee and disciple, and he who helps him on the path is known as the guru. A wise spiritual master watches his disciple carefully to see that he is devoted, that he is serving the Vaishnavas, and he is performing Harinama. When a disciple becomes intensely eager for spiritual perfection, his guru bestows his mercy upon him at long last. I am forbidden to have too many disciples for they spoil the efforts of their gurus worship and meditation and thereby his accomplishments. So Narottama, perform sankirtana and you achieve everything."
Accepting the order of Gosvami, Narottama chanted the holy name of the Lord day and night. In the mornings he would visit Gosvami and bow at his feet, at which time Gosvami would ask, "How are you Narottama?" Narottama always replied, "Your mercy has kept me well." Sometimes Narottama would visit Lokanatha at the time when he was taking prasadam, thus he would happily eat the remnants of Gosvami. At other times he would massage the feet of Gosvami. But at all times Narottama was eager to serve his master. Sometimes Narottama enjoyed visiting the places of Krishna's pastimes with Shri Jiva Gosvami.
Narottama took it upon himself to accept the duty of cleaning the place where Gosvami went to evacuate. He swept the place clean and placed clay dust nearby for Gosvami to wash his hands with. Holding the broom in his hand, Narottama would cry, praying for the mercy of Gosvami.
Lokanatha Gosvami was astonished to find the spot cleaned so nicely each day and could not understand who was cleaning the place, although he suspected that no one other than a disciple like Narottama would do such a thing. In this way another year passed.
One day Gosvami decided to find who was cleaning the place where he evacuated. "I want to find out who has been serving me for such a long time," he thought. "I am barely maintaining my life due to separation of Shri Rupa, yet I am guilty of accepting service while living in Vrndavana Dhama."
That night Gosvami went to the usual spot a little earlier than usual and Narottama was already present there. Noticing that someone was standing in the dark, Gosvami asked, "Who are you?" The reply came, "I am Narottama, you servant." Gosvami saw that Narottama was standing holding the broom to his chest. "Why are you doing this," Gosvami asked, "I am very ashamed." Narottama said, "Oh my lord, do not deprive me of doing service for you." Understanding Narottama's sincerity, Gosvami ordered him to bring clay and water for washing his hands. Greatly pleased, Narottama bowed at the feet of Gosvami, who placed his foot on Narottama's head. After bathing in the Yamuna, he took Narottama to his hut, where Narottama washed the feet of Gosvami. Lokanatha sat on a celestial sear for chanting his japa. After a long time, Gosvami called Narottama inside the room. Gosvami collected tulasi, sandalwood paste, flower garlands, kunkuma and kastari and ordered Narottama to sit on his left side. He instructed Narottama to pray to Vilasamanjari to take charge of him forever. "Vilasamanjari is a companion of Manjulali," he explained. Lalita and other sakhis stand on the left side of Krishna, and the Manjaris stand on the left side of Radhika. Worship the Manjaris, then place a garland around the neck of Radha Krishna and apply kunkuma and kastari on their bodies. Then worship the sakhis one by one." In this way Gosvami dedicated Vilasa manjari** to the hands of the sakhis. Lokanatha spoke the Kamavija and Radha Krishna mantra in the ear of Narottama, then ordered him to go to Shri Jiva and bow at his feet. Lokanatha affectionately accepted his disciple, placing his foot on Narottama's head and offered him his feet for washing.
Narottama went to Shri Jiva and bowed at his feet. Shri Jiva embraced him and offered his blessings. Returning to Gosvami, Narottama happily accepted the remnants of his spiritual master's meal.
The following morning, Narottama came before his master requesting that he teach him the process of devotional service. Gosvami explained, "Always remember Radha and Krishna. There are two types of forms of a devotee; accomplished body and sadhaka body. Human features is the best form of worshiping Krishna**. Radha is the empress of Vraja, and Lalita and Visakha are the foremost of her sakhis. Manjaris such as Shri Rupa, Hemanga, Rati, Rasa, Guna, and Manjulali are the confidential servants of Shri Radha. The sakhis live and serve their queen in various places of pastimes such as Nandisvara, Javata, Sanketa, and Varsana."
Narottama asked which mantras he should chant and at what time such meditation should be performed. Gosvami clearly answered his questions, and also described the path of spontaneous devotion (Ragatmika). He explained that Candravali stands on the right of Krishna, and Radha on the left. Candravali's nature is rough, but Radha has a polite disposition.
Narottama asked what he should do at the time when Radha and Krishna are separated. To this Gosvami said that at that time he should try to pacify Shri Radha by singing the glories of Krishna. He explained that he should be especially attentive to the service of Shri Radha when she is in the house of her husband. When Radha and Krishna are together, he should serve joyfully serve Radha by decorating her with sandalwood paste, saffron and kasturi. The process of ragatmika bhakti has been defined by Shri Rupa Gosvami in his books Ujjvala Nilamani and Haribhaktirasamrta Sindhu.
Gosvami then discussed parakiya and svakiya rasa's. Parakiya love is possessed by the sakhis and the Vrajavasis. Svakiya love is possessed by Satyabhama and other queens of Krishna. "I am," said Gosvami, "a follower of svakiya worship. You should taste this rasa being obedient to the sakhis. Oh Narottama, you should fully engage in austerity and meditation. Some regard Vrndavana as Goloka, whereas some regard it as Dvaraka. It is a question of accepting a certain type of abode and in that way a devotee can attain accomplishment.** You will learn everything from me by living in Vrndavana. You should perform all your duties with devotion to Krishna, otherwise your efforts will be in vain."
Gosvami went on to further explain the necessity of taking shelter at the feet of the guru and the sixty four methods of worship and meditation. Narottama then asked about vaidhi raga and the sixty four methods in this connection.
Lokanatha was pleased by Narottama's questions, knowing that if doubts arise in the mind of a devotee then his meditation becomes useless.
According to Shri Rupa's book, those who meditate and worship, but are overly concerned about the results of their acts are said to be following the path of vaidhi. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu empowered Shri Rupa Gosvami to write books on the topic of sadhana bhakti. Rupa sent his books with Mahaprabhu to Purusottama, where Svarupa and Ramananda where ordered to read them. They took great pleasure in reading these books, and Mahaprabhu gave His full approval of the methods of worship and meditation as expounded by Shri Rupa. Thus these instructions are universally accepted.
Shri Rupa Gosvami gave Harinama initiation to Shri Jiva Gosvami, teaching him to give up all tendencies for karma and jnana, and to accept Shri Krishna Chaitanya as the only guru. He taught that every Vaishnava who desires to attain the mercy of Shri Chaitanya must regularly chant Harinama. If a devotee can complete one lac Harinama's in a nama mala**, he will attain the feet of Shri Krishna. He explained that a devotee should carefully chant his rounds, touching his mala to his forehead after completing each round. A devotee must also guard against committing offenses while chanting, otherwise he will certainly suffer misfortune. Lokanatha Gosvami also, pointed out the exemplary behaviour of Shri Rupa Gosvami and Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, who always showed great respect to all Vaishnavas. He advised Narottama to follow their example by offering obeisances to all Vaishnavas. He explained that a devotee is never proud of his seniority in regard to other Vaishnavas.
Narottama very carefully obeyed the instructions of his spiritual master. Day by day, he began advancing towards spiritual perfection. One day when he was lying in his hut half awake, the daughter of a Vaishnava appeared before him and smilingly said, "Dedicate yourself to the feet of your guru and do exactly what he says. Your sincere efforts and austerity have greatly pleased me. Every afternoon I meet Shri Krishna in the kunja where the sakhis serve Him with great care. At this time ksira is offered to Krishna, and Campakalata is the most expert at making this preparation. From now on, it will be your duty to boil the milk for the ksira. I become happy if Krishna is happy."**
Narottama awoke and could not sleep again for the rest of the night. In the morning he hurriedly went to meet his master. After bowing at his feet, Narottama reported everything which he had seen in his dream. Lokanatha Gosvami began to cry in joy and told Narottama, "How fortunate you are, Narottama, for the person you are engaged in meditating upon (Shri Radha) has given you the duty of boiling milk for her Krishna. O my boy, go on worshiping those lotus feet attentively and sincerely."
One day while Narottama was engaged in boiling the milk, he observed the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krishna. While the milk was boiling on the fire, he fed the fire with dry wood to keep it burning. While doing this the milk began to overflow and he tried to save the milk by removing the pot with his bare hands. When Narottama's meditation broke, he saw that his hands were scorched. In great disappointment he began to lament, thinking that he would no longer be able to serve Shri Krishna. Covering his hands with a piece of cloth, he went to see Gosvami and bowed at his feet. When Lokanatha heard the story was extremely pleased with his dear disciple and happily took him on his lap. Shri Jiva Gosvami also showered his mercy upon Narottama and they became intimate friends.
I am unable to fully describe the glory of Narottama's devotional sentiments which he obtained by the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Remaining faithful to the feet of Shri Jahnava and Viracandra, I, Nityananda dasa narrate Prem Vilasa. (111-133)