|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Nityananda dasa > Prema Vilasa > CHAPTER 12|
All glories to the merciful Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. All glories to Nityananda Prabhu, the transcendental mine of spiritual rasa. All glories to Shri Advaitacandra, the life of those bereft of spiritual wealth. All glories to the devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabu. All glories to Shri Jahnava and Viracandra. Now, listen attentively as continue to narrate the transcendental pastimes of Shrinivasa and Narottama. Unfortunately I am unable to fully describe their glories, as adequate praise would require require millions of mouths and hands.
In due course of time Shrinivasa received the title of Acarya, and Narottama became known as Thakura Mahasaya. They were intimate friends with each other. Eventually they traveled to Gaura together, but before this Narottama spent some time studying under his master. Sometimes he visited Shri Jiva to study the Tattva Sandarbha** under him.
One day Shri Jiva took hold of Narottama's hands and requested him to narrate the incident of burning his hands. Shri Jiva took great pleasure in hearing this pastime and said to Narottama, "From today you shall be known as Shri Vilasa Manjari as you are the image of Vilasa of Shri Rupa Gosvami."** Smiling, Narottama replied, "Now both of us have accomplished names. Shri Rakhika Herself has addressed me as Vilasa Manjari." Shri Jiva embraced Narottama and said, "Who can understand the extent of your austerities? From now on you should be known as Thakura Mahasaya, for you have been benedicted by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to flood the entire universe with love of Godhead."
Now I shall describe the first meeting of Shrinivasa and Narottama. One day Narottama went to see Gosvami. At that same time Shrinivasa also arrived there and bowed at the feet of Lokanatha Gosvami, as Narottama stood by with folded hands. Seeing Narottama, Shrinivasa immediately ran to embrace him saying, "Oh my friend, I am so happy to meet you here in Vrndavana." Narottama said, "I am a poor man, please bestow your mercy upon me. When did you come to Vrndavana?" "I have been here for one year and three months," Shrinivasa replied. "In the month of Vaisakha I took initiation from Gopala Bhatta Gosvami." In this way the two conversed, feeling great pleasure in each other's association.
Smiling Lokanatha Gosvami asked, "Shrinivasa, do you know where this boy has come from?" "Yes", he replied, "He is the son of Krishnadasa Raya of Gadera Hata and his name is Narottama. His association is my life." From that day Shrinivasa and Narottama became the most intimate of friends. They would regularly meet at each other's hut, or at various places in Vrndavana.
Shrinivasa humbly served his spiritual master by cooking for him. At other times he visited Shri Jiva Gosvami to study under his direction, and sometimes he would meditate quietly in his own hut. Shri Jiva taught everything which he had read from Shri Rupa Gosvami to Shrinivasa; he taught Vrajalila, Sandarva, and also explained the annotations given by Shri Rupa.
One day Shri Jiva Gosvami was the portion of Rupa Gosvami's book, Lalita Madhava, which explains that when Krishna went to Mathura, Shri Radha was on the verse of death do to separation from her beloved. Reading this pastime, Shri Jiva was overwhelmed with ecstacy and lost consciousness. When he regained external consciousness, he noticed that all the trees in the kunja had become pale. They were dropping downwards and were shedding drops of water. Greatly surprised, he also noticed a kadamba tree bearing flowers, although it was not the season for kadamba.
Shrinivasa happened to arrive there at that time and Shri Jiva said, "Sit down Shrinivasa, I have a question to ask you." Shrinivasa protested, "Prabhu, am I capable of answering your question?" Shri Jiva replied, "Look at all the creepers in the kunja, they have become pale and are shedding water, although it is not the rainy season. I want to know the reason for this strange phenomena." Unable to comprehend this unusual happening, Shrinivasa said he would think about it and return later.
Shrinivasa returned to his hut and began to meditate of the feet of Shri Rupa Gosvami, hoping to receive some insight on the matter. After some time he returned to the hut of Shri Jiva and presented his opinion with folded hands. "Vrndavana is the place of Krishna's pastimes therefore this unusual happening is definately connected with the Lord's lila. When Krishna returns home from the forest, the trees and creepers become morose and grief stricken. When He again enters the kunja for His pastimes, the trees and creepers become rejuvenated and joyful. When again He leaves the kunja it is not possibelf for them to remain alive."
Hearing this explanation Shri Jiva began to shed tears, for now he realised that the kadamba tree, which had been planted by him, was blossoming with flowers because of his thoughts. He had been thinking of Krishna, although Krishna had gone to Mathura, thus his thinking had helped the tree to blossom. Shri Jiva was so pleased that he offered the title of Acarya to Shrinivasa. In this way Shrinivasa became popularly known as Shri Acarya.
In the evening he took Shrinivasa to the temple of Govinda to observe the arati ceremony. After the ceremony, the priest gave Govinda's flower garland to Shrinivasa, and offered sandalwood paste mixed with saffron on his forehead. Everyone present there cheered the name of Shrinivasa Acarya, and Shri Jiva embraced him lovingly.
Lokanatha Gosvami was also very pleased to hear of Shrinivasa's new title. Shrinivasa went to offer his respects to Lokanatha, who showered his blessings upon him. Thakura Mahasaya also offered congratulations to Shrinivasa.
That night Shri Jiva Gosvami decided that the time had come to fulfill the desire of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As Gauda was devoid of the literature written by the Gosvamis, it was essential that Acarya and Thakura Mahasaya carry the precious books to the devotees in Gauda. Since it was the time of performing the Kartika vrata, Shri Jiva Gosvami decided to hold a grand festival. He send out invitations to all the Vaishnava Mahantas. They responded enthusiastically and quickly assembled at the residence of Shri Jiva Gosvami where they were offered respect befitting to their positions. That very evening, the night of Ekadashi, the cooking began and was compled the following morning. While kirtana was performed, the entire area was cleaned and the offerings were placed before the Deities of Radha Krishna and Gaura Nitai, then offered to Rupa, Sanantan, Raghunatha Bhatta, Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya, and the other associates of the Lord. Thereafter, Shri Jiva ordered Shrinivas to wash the hands of the guests, then requested Raghunatha, Gopala Bhatta, Lokanatha Gosvami and others to take their seats. Shri Acarya expertly sumptous prasad to the full satisfaction of the Mahantas. Meanwhile, Shri Jiva, feeling great separation from Shri Rupa and Sanatana, began to crying. which touched the hearts of everyone present. After finishing prasad and washing their hands, the guests were offered betel leaf. Shri Jiva was very pleased to serve the Vaishnavas in this way, and the Vaishnavas, in turn, were deeply satisfied by his service. The festival continued in the same fashion throughout the following day.
Before the assembly of Vaishnavas, Shri Jiva Gosvami revealed his desire to send the Gosvamis books to Gauda for distribution. He took the opportunity to extole the glories of Shrinivasa Acarya, describing his erudition and devotion, clearly indicating that Shrinivasa was the most competant man for executing this service. He also expressed his hope that Thakura Mahasaya would assist Shrinivasa with this mission. Lokanatha Gosvami happily gave his consent, and Acarya Tahkura and Thakura Mahasaya immedeately agreed to carry out the order, despite their reluctance to leave Vrndavana. The following morning after taking their bath, the Gosvamis offered their blessings to Shrinivasa and Naottama then departed.
Shri Jiva immediately began making arrangements for the forthcoming journey. He sent a letter to a devotee in Mathura requesting his help. The devotee immediately came before Shri Jiva and bowed at his feet. Shri Jiva revealed the travel plans, explaining that the Gosvamis had written a thousand books describing the pastimes of Radha Krishna and these books would be carried to Gauda by Shrinivasa. He asked the devotee to arrange for a suituable cart to be pulled by four strong oxen. He also instructed that the books be carefully covered with cloth to protect them from the rain and sun, and that they be handled with extreme caution. He gave money to the man and ordered him to have everything ready within ten days, and requested that he personally travel along with the cart. The man hubly obeyed the orders of Shri Jiva Gosvami and began to quickly make arrangements for the forthcoming journey. Ten men employed by Shri Jiva to accomapny the cart were introduced to Shrinivasa. Shri Jiva then took Thakura Mahasaya along with him to the house of Syamananda prabhu and said, "O Narottama, this Syamananda was previously under my care. Take him along with you on the journey and after completeing your mission, send him to his own country giving him some allowance for travelling." Jiva Gosvami then explained to Syamananda, "This devotee, Narottama, is my life, behave with him as you would behave with me."
Now I shall narrate the story of Syamananda. He was born in the South to a pious, devotional family. Yet despite his good birth, he was completely detached from material life. Late one night he secretly left his home in search of guru and Krishna. His parents searched in vain for him.
Within a few days he reached the village of Nadadin and then traveled on to Khanakula via Caoyanagara, where he had darsan of the Gopinatha deity. He next evening he reached Amvika and sat in a secluded place there. He was captivated by the gorgeous temple there and the exquisite beauty of the Gaura Nitai Deities. On that particular day a festival was being held in the temple. Arati was being performed, accompanied by sankirtana and distribution of prasad to the Vaishnavas.
That evening, one person found Syamananda sitting in a secluded spot and inquired about his identity. Syamananda explained that he was from the South, and the devotee responded saying that it was the desire of Shri Hrdaya Chaitanya Mahasaya that he come and accept prasada. Thus Syamananda entered the temple courtyard, where he found Hrdaya Chaitanya Thakura sitting amongst some Vaishnavas and speaking about Krishna with great emotion. He bowed at Thakura's feet and respected prasada. Syamananda then began to wonder how he could render service to Thakura.
That evening he slept there and early the following morning he began to sweep the courtyard of the temple, while singing the holy names of the Lord. At that time Hrdaya Chaitanya Thakura arrived there and noted the boys enthusiasm with pleasure. Fropm that day forward the duty of sweeping was his fixed service.
One day Thakura called him and aksed where he had come from, how many members were there in his fmaily, and how he had become indifferent to material life. Standing with folded hands, trembling, the boy replied, "I am alone in this vast world, I am the most unfortunate person. You feet are the only source of happiness for me." Impressed with the boy's devotion and celestial beauty, Tahkura ordered the priest to give him prasada daily. Day and night the boy served in the temple.
Once whiole sitting in the Nathmandira, Tahkura watched the boy performing his duties and asked him smilingly, "Listen my boy, though you have no one in this word, you have the Supreme Lord as your very own. Yet who is your guru?" The boy replied, "Your feet are my only resort. I am the most unfortunate person. O my Lord, be kind to me, who else but you can favor me." From that day forward Thakura showed great affection towards the boy.
One day he humbly requested Thakura, "Prabhu, you are the deliverer of the poor and downtrodden. Be kind upon me and give me initiation." Thus Thakura blessed him by chanting the holy name in his ears. Filled with gratitude the boy bowed at the feet of Thakura again and again, and Hrdaya Chaitanya blessed him by placing his feet on the boy's head. From that day forward he was permitted to serve his guru, which he did with great devotion. He chanted the holy name with deep sincerity, and served the Vaishnavas respectfully. One day Thakura called him just after he had come back form taking a bath in the Ganges and instructed him how to meditate on Krishna, and renamed him Dukhi Krishnadasa.
One day Thakura told Krishnadasa, "Listen to this story about my Guru Maharaja, Gauridasa Pandita. He was extremely dear to both Shri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu. When Mahaprabhu and Nityananda were still alive, Gauridasa Pandita installed Deities of Gaura Nitai. On the occasion of the installation he held a festival and fed many Vaishnavas. Shri Chaitanya and Nityananda Prabhu came to the place to see the two Deities. They ordered Pandita to cook for them, and he happily offered food to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu as well as to the two Deities and requested Them to eat. Thus the four ate all the items together. The two Prabhus told Pandita that They would always be present in his house whenever food was to be offered. This most fortunate Gauridasa Pandita is who I have dedicated my life to."
One day Krishnadasa humbly requested his guru to permit him to go to Vrndavana. Understanding the desire of his disciple, Hrdaya Chaitanya gave his permission. The following morning Thakura bade Krishnadasa farewell, praying intenselly to Shri Chaitanya and Nityananda Prabhu to protect his dear disciple Krishnadasa. He brought a piece of cloth from the Deities of Gaura Nitai and tied it around tghe head of Krishnadasa and Krishnadasa began his journey.
Eventually he reached Visramghat, where he rested for the night. In the morning he began walking towards Vrndavana. After some time he spotted the Cakraved on top of the Govindaji Mandira and immediately fell unconsicous on the ground. After regaining consciousness he rushed to the temple and took darshana of Govinda, crying emotionally. He then went to the bank of the Jamuna and visited Dhira Samira, Vamsivata, Ciraghata, Imlitala. Krishnadasa eagerly went to Govardhana and on to Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. There he met Shridasa Gosvami. When Krishnadasa explained that he was the disciple of Hrdaya Chaitanya Mahasaya whose guru was Shri Gauri dasa Pandita Thakura, Shridasa welcomed him warmly and brought him to meet Krishnadasa Kaviraja. Entering into the room of Kaviraja, he saw a very old Vaishnava, falling at his feet Krishnadasa introduced himself. Kaviraja greeting him happily and inqurired about the well being of Hrdaya Chaitanya and other devotees from Gauda.
Krsndasa returned to Vrndavana and went to the temple of Madana Mohana and fainted upon seeing the beauty of the Deity. He then went to meet Shri Jiva Gosvami. Krishnadasa bowed humbly at his feet, and was unable to take his eyes off Gosvami. When Shri Jiva was very happy to find out that Krishnadasa was a disicple of Hrdaya Chaitanya and joyfully invited him to remain in Vrndavana. "If you are eager to study the scriptures, I shall be glad to assist you", Shri Jiva suggested. Thus on an auspicious day Jiva Gosvami began teaching Krishnadasa and in a short while he became a scholar in all subjects. Under the direction of Shri Jiva, Krishnadasa read Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu and Ujjala Nilamani. He was also taught the method of worship and meditation. After some time Jiva Gosvami gave him Pancamnama of Krishna and Pancanama of Shri Radha and then t he Kamavija. From that time on, Krishnadasa eagerly studied the books of the Gosvamis throughout the day and at night would meditate quietly on the pastimes of Radha Krishna.
One night when Radha Krishna and their confidants danced in Vrndavana, Radha danced with such enthusiasm that the ankle bell on Her left leg fell off without Her knowing. Even Her sakhis did not notice that it had fallen. Radha and Krishna then entered into the Kunja to enjoy loving pastimes as the sakhis peeped throught he windows to observe the divine pastimes. The night came to an end and the sakhis requested Radha Krishna to rise from bed. Radhika, feeling ashamed, left the bed and eve4ryone returned to their own houses, unaware of the lost anklet.
In the morning Dukhi Krishnadasa came to the Rasasthali and found the ankle bell under a leaf. He picked it up and placed it to his forehead. Krishnadasa showed it to Shri Jiva, who at could at once understand who was the owner of the ankle bell. Shri Jiva, overwhelmed with emotion, touched it to his eyes, chest and head. His voice became choked and he fell to the ground. Krishnadasa helped Gosvami to sit up, and Shri Jiva said, "You are most fortunate Krishnadasa, the saffron of Shrimati Radharani's feet have left their mark on your forehead with a dot in the midst of the marks. These are the marks of Krishna's feet and the dot is the mark of Radhika. All the Vaishnavas will be very happy to see it. From today you will be known as Syamananda. I was previously informed by my guru that Syamananda will deliver millions of fallen conditioned souls.
In the morning Shri Jiva Gosvami instructed Syamananda to bring the cart for carrying the Gosvamis books from Mathura. He also ordered him to call Thakura Mahasaya and Shrinivasa Acarya to begin their mission, first taking leave of their master.
Shrinivasa and Narottama went to bid farewell to Lokanath Gosvami with tears in their eyes. Lokanatha advised them not to marry, nor to use oil, or eat boiled food. He instructed to to serve Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Radha Krishna, and all of the Vaishnavas. Gosvami called Shrinivasa before him and placed Narottama in his care. Both of them bowed at the feet of Lokanath and took their leave. They then went to meet Gopala Bhatta Gosvami who told them to carry out their service with great care and follow all the advise of Gosvami. He instructed them to return to Vrndavana again sometime in the future, and then broke down crying in grief. Shrinivasa said, "O my lord what can I say? I have done nothing to serve you. Will I be fortunate enough to see you again?" Shrinivasa and Narottama embraced each other and cried emotionally. How can I describe the devotion of Narottama and Shrinivasa towards their spiritual masters? It is my good fortune that I am able write something of their glories, although I can give only a slight indication of their unlimited good qualities. Being faithful to the feet of Shri Jahnava and Shri Viracandra, I, Nityananda dasa narrate Prem Vilasa.