|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Nityananda dasa > Prema Vilasa > CHAPTER 14|
All glories to Shri Krishna Chaitanya, the reservoir of all transcendental gualities. All glories to Nityananda Prabhu, the life of the Vaishnavas. All glories to Advaita Acarya who has descended to deliver suffering humanity. All glories to Shri Jahnava and Viracandra.
I shall now discuss Shri Acarya Thakura's visit to Shri Khanda. Leaving the carts on the outskirts of the temple boundry, Acarya Thakura entered the temple and bowed before the Deity of Lord Gauranga. At that time Shri Raghunandana happened to come to the temple and welcomed Shrinivasa with a warm embrace. They took their seats and Raghunandana inquired about the theft of the books, as he had heard some news of the incident. Acarya described the details of their journey and the recovery of the books. Raghunandana then informed Shrinivasa that Narahari Sarkara Thakura had recently departed from this world. Shrinivasa cried, lamenting, "Formerly it was Sarkara Thakura who advised me to go to Vrndavana. But now that I have returned I am unable to meet him. O how unfortunate I am." Both Shrinivasa and Raghunandana wept, feeling separation from Sarkara Thakura. That evening they spent the night talking about Krishna. In the morning they sat together in the Nathmandira continuing discussions until Acarya bid farewell and returned to Yajigrama and bowed at the feet of his mother.
Ramacandra, who had been waiting to meet Shrinivasa Acarya, came to his place and found Acarya sitting alone. He offered his obeisances, but was unable to utter a word. Ramacandra placed five coins before the feet of Acarya and bowed again. When Shrinivasa asked his name, he replied, "I am Ramacandra from a Vaidya family of Teliavudhari." Acarya Thakura offered him a seat and requested him to stay there. After some time Shrinivasa asked, "How far is your village from Khetari?" Ramacandra replied that it is about four miles away." Acarya further inquired, "When did you leave your village", and Ramacandra replied, "Four days ago I left home and on the fifth day I had your darshan."
One day Acarya ordered Vyasacarya to discuss with Ramacandra about Vyakarana and literature in verses. Thakura listened patiently to their discussion for a long time. In this debate Ramacandra proved himself to be a great scholar. Shri Acarya was impressed by Ramacandra's genius, although he knew that Ramacandra was proud of his knowledge. Acarya embraced him, and personally began a debate with Ramacandra which went on for a long time, without either of them taking prasad. Acarya was charmed by Ramacandra and considered him blessed by the goddess Sarasvati. From that day Shri Acarya understood that Ramacandra was a jewel amongst devotees.
On another occassion, Shri Acarya again invited Ramacandra to debate with him, which made Ramacandra feel very proud. They continued to speak for considerable time. Thakura told Ramacandra, "If one is intelligent he must inquire as to which scriptures are capable of actually destroying the miseries of human life. When he comes to understand this he must leave aside the reading of any other scriptures except those which can deliver the highest benefit. It is true that all scriptures have literal and educational value, but what is the use of wasting valuable time in studying Tarka Nyaya Sastras? What benefit will be derived from such reading? The Bhagavata should be studied first. It is a mine of transcendental gems and the essence of all knowledge. Personally I prefer to read the Bhagavata. Why should I waste time reading dry, tasteless books?"
Ramacandra replied enthusiastically, "I have come to you for this reason. Please be my teacher, for I have read immumerable books but I have not been able to free myself from doubt. O Acarya Tahkura, please be my guide and give me shelter at your feet." Saying this Ramacandra fell at the feet of Acarya crying. Thakura blessed him, placing his foot on Ramacandra's head. Ramacandra bathed the feet of Shrinivasa and happily drank the water. Shrinivasa then chanted the holy name in the ear of Ramacandra. He then began teaching Ramacandra from all the devotional books written by Rupa and Sanatana. Within one month Ramacadra studied all these books. Shri Acarya remarked, "He who possess such an abundance of good qualities must have accumulated such wealth through his past activities. A proper guru can understand how to utilise such qualities in the service of the Lord." This is the story of an illusturious guru and his illusturious disciple.
One day while Ramacandra was standing nearby Shri Acarya, a letter came from the house of Ramacandra with the news that Govinda Kaviraja was ill. Govinda was the younger brother of Ramacandra, and he had written, "I am ill, please come soon. After two or three days you can return." Ramacandra paid no heed to the leeter and remained with his guru engaged in study. One and a half months passed and again a letter came saying that Govinda was on the verge of death. Govinda explained that his hands and legs had become puffy and swollen. Govinda requested his elder brother to please bring Acarya Thakura along with him, but Ramacandra did not tell Shrinivasa.
Govinda was a worshiper of Mahamaya (goddess Durga). When Govinda was praying to goddess Durga to save his life he heard an oracle say, "O my son, chant the name of Govinda. He is the only saviour and Lord of the three worlds. I have no power to save you from the hands of death. I also worship the lotus feet of Govinda. He was unlimited maidservants like me. He is the Supreme Brahman and no one in the three worlds can understand His unlimited power. The Radha Krishna mantra is the only means for deliverance from the cycle of repeated birth and death."
Hearing these words Govinda became extremely nervous. He called for his guru and requested him to do something, but the guru sat with his head down and said nothing. Govinda then sent for his son, Dvija Simha, and asked him to send five men to bring Acarya Thakura. He wrote a letter to Ramacandra and sent the men with it. After a long journey they reached Yajigrama and asked the villagers for directions to Shri Acarya's house. At his residence they sent one man into the house to inform Ramacandra of their arrival. Ramacandra came out and heard the plea of the men. He then went to Shrinivasa and requested, "Please be king upon my family." Shri Acarya agreed to visit Govinda and they started out on that very day. They halted in a village for the night and continued on the following morning. Some of the men rushed ahead to inform the members of Govinda's family.
Govinda Kaviraja ordered his son to plant banana trees in the village and to decorate everywhere with mango leaves. When Divja Simha came forward to greet the illustrious guests, Shri Acarya inquired who the boy was. Ramacandra explained, "He is the son of Govinda and the servant of your feet."
Upon reaching the house Shrinivasa asked Ramacandra, "What would you like me to do?" To which Ramcandra answered, "How can I give any suggestion to you. You do as you wish." "Well", said Shrinivasa, "the members of your family are also my servants." Saying this he entered the room. Some men helped Govinda to sit up. Govinda managed to fold his hands in respect, but he was to weak to speak. Shri Acarya mercifully placed his foot on Govinda's feet. The relatives of Ramacandra then offered a seat to Shrinivasa, bathed his feet with scented oil, adorned his body with sandalwood paste, and offered him some cooked food and sweets. Shrinivasa ate and then ordered Govinda to eat the remnants of his food. Govinda was helped to eat the food and at once he felt relief from his suffering. Govinda was delighted to find that all signs of illness had left his body.
The next morning Acarya smiling told Ramacandra, "Bathe Govinda with your own hands. After that I shall purify him." Ramacandra did as requested and dressed his younger brother in clean dry clothes. Meanwhile Shrinivasa also took bath. Thereafter, Ramacandra sat with his brother as Shrinivasa poured the nectar of the Hare Krishna mantra into the ears of Govinda, while the Vaishnavas sang in sankirtana joyfully. First he chanted the Krishna mantra and after the Radha Krishna mantra and taught Govinda how to chant the mantras correctly. Govinda bowed at the feet of his preceptor, who lovingly placed his foot on Govinda's head. Govinda now felt as strong as a lion, and happily offered many gifts to his guru. From that day forward Govinda was completely cured of his disease and a fully devoted Vaishnava. Filled with appreciation Govinda said, "Now I can understand that your feet are my only resort. PLease give your blessings so that I may be empowered to describe the transcendental pastimes of Krishna. I would also like to describe the all-auspicous lila of Shri Gauranga." Shrinivasa blessed his disciple saying, "Describe Krishna lila to your hearts content. But first study Bhaktirasamrta Sindu, Ujjalanilamani, and Vasudeva Ghosa's describtion of Shri Gauranga."
Govinda eagerly followed these instructions and soon realised that without the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the pastimes of Krishna will remain a mystery. When Shri Acarya saw that Govinda had grasped the true essence of the scriptures, he happily embraced Govinda. In this way Govindadasa continuously worshiped and meditated on Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for thrity-six years. Then, with great pleasure, Govinda Kaviraja described the Gauralila, as well as Krishnalila. Such episodes would normally be impossible for an ignorant person like myself to describe, but by the mercy of my two masters, Shri Jahnava and Viracandra, I have been empowered to write. Now, listen attentively as I continue this narration.
Shri Thakura Mahasaya was very excited when he heard that Shri Acarya had visited the house of Govinda. At that time Narottama became inspired to hold a huge festival in Kheturi and inagurate the worship of the Deity forms of Gaura Nitai. Thus, with the help of his his relatives, disciples, and also the inhabitants of the village, he organized the building of a temple building. By the mercy of his guru, and through the purity of Narottama's sadhana, all arranged went very smoothly and systematically.
During this time Narottama received news that Shrinivasa Acarya was in Budhari and would soon arrive in Kheturi. Overcome with joy, Narottama burst forth with fresh enthusiasm and vigor, preparing everything for Acarya's arrival. He warned every that they must treat Shrinivasa Acarya with the utmost respect. Narottama then sent Ramacandra Kaviraja and Vyasa to greet Shrinivasa. They had not traveled far before they saw Shri Acarya, and at once fell to the ground bwoing at his feet. Acarya embraced them both and asked about their well being. They happily proceeded to the residence of Narottama. When Thakura Mahasaya spotted Shrinivasa Acarya approaching with Ramacandra on his left and Vyasa on his right, he cheerfully stretched out his arms and ran towards Shrinivasa. Narottama offered his obeisances and Shri Acarya embraced him warmly. At that moment Govinda Kaviraja arrived and fell on the ground at the feet of Narottama. Thakura Mahasya who inquired about the young man was and Shri Acarya explained that he was Govinda Kaviraja, the younger brother of Ramacandra Kaviraja. All of them were very happy to meet each other.
On Ramacandra's request, Shri Acarya took his bath, accepted prasad, then sat down and began speaking about Krishna. Shri Acarya and Thakura Mahasaya also reminisced about their lives in Vrndavana, the stealing of the books, and many other topics. Everyone present listened attentively and were happy hearing this nectarean discussion. In this way the night passed swiftly.
The following morning Shrinivasa Acarya ordered Thakura Mahasaya to return to Khetari to complete the preparations for the fesitval, assuring him that he would also go to Kheturi within five days to inspect everything. He advised Thakura Mahasya to take Vyasa along with him, as he would be a good assistant. Shrinivasa then went to his own village and Thakura Mahasya and Vyasa left for Khetari.
In Khetari, preparations for the forthcoming festival were in full swing. Narottama sent persons out to gather all the necesary material, such as stone for carving the deity of Gauranga. Architects were hired to build new house and rooms for the festivities.
Within a few days Shri Acarya arrived in Kheturi, along with Ramacandra. Thakura Mahasaya and Vyasa greeted them and brought them into the house. I am unable to describe how attentively and lovingly Shrinivasa was cared for in Narottama's residence.
Narottama sent out invitations to all the Mahantas, Adhikaris and Vaishnavas requesting them to attend the festival which would be held on the day of the full moon in the month of Phalguna. Thus millions of devotees assembled at Kheturi and sankirtana began led by Narottama dasa . At an auspicous time the Deity of Lord Gauranga was installed by Shrinivasa Acarya, while all the devotees cheered joyfully, chanting the name of Hari. Thereafter the Deity of Ballavi Kanta was installed.
Everyone present was ecstatic. Seeing the Deities and having the opporotunity to associate with all the Vaishnavas was a most precious occassion for them all. Some of the guests found places to stay in the village, while some lived on the outskirts of the village, and still others stayed in the new houses. Huge quantities of curd, flat rice, bananas, sweets and sugar had been gathered and more than one hundred pots of pancamrta had been collected for the occasion.
Acarya himself performed the ceremony of the abhiseka of the Deities, exactly according to the rules of the sastras. All the Mahantas touched the bodies of the Deities and placed sandalwood paste and garlands on Them. When ecstatic sankirtana began before the Deities, everyone, including family men and people of lower classes converged there to joing in singing and dancing. Devidasa Mahasaya was the first kirtana leader, and Gauranga Ballava Raya played the mrdanga. The Deity of Gauranga ahd been placed by the left side of the Deity of Ballava Kanta, and this was the subject matter of the kirtana of Devidasa. All the Mahantas, Adhikaris and Vaishnavas became mad with ecstacy hearing the beautiful kirtan recitals of Devidasa. Shri Acarya was overwhelmed with emotion, as was Vyasa Acarya and Ramacandra Kaviraja. Thakura Mahasaya danced madly, until he became almost mad with ecstacy. Unable to continue dancing, he rolled on the floor in ecstacy. All the spectators were spell bound, unable to imagine what kind of devotional love Thakura Mahasya possessed. He began to laugh loudly, and his body trembled so violently that one man tried to hold him down. Narottama's lips quivered so rapidly that they feared his teeth would fall out. Sometimes he would fall on the ground resting his hands on his chest. His whole body seemed to stretch and sometimes it would shrivel up as if it had been pierced by thorns. His bodily condition was the result of his exalted spiritual emotions, which also effected others simply by watching. Krishnananda Majumdar and his followers fell on the ground crying due to the condition of Thakura. They all began to cry loudly looking at the face of Narottama. Holding the feet of Narotama, they cried, thanking him for granting them ecstatic devotional love. Krishnananda tearfully said, "My house has become blessed, it has become non-different from Vrndavana. My servants and I shall remain your servants from now on." Many people began to spontaneously give in charity, without realising how much they were giving. But Thakura Mahasaya was not concerned about donations, he continued to stand unmoving on the dias, just like Lord Gauranga. Anyone who witnessed his beauty fell on the ground crying.
Shrinivasa Acarya embraced Narottama with great affection. Observing the grand festival, he thought that only the Supreme Lord Himself could arrange for such a wonderful festival. Praising Narottama he said, "Lord Gauranga will always be with you. He has taken full charge of your life and death."
After the kirtana they all ate sumptuous prasad and returned to their houses to rest.
The last day of the festival they everyone assembled again, and Gokul dasa, a disciple of Thakura Mahasaya, took the initiative of leading the kirtana that day. He began singing with the accompaniment of the mrdanga and his voice delighted the hearts of all. Everyone stopped their conversations and joined in singing. Gokuldasa first sang the glories of Lord Gauranga and then began singing about the pastimes of Krishna. Hearing this, Narottama was greatly moved. With tears streaming down his face soaking his chest, he cried out, "O what a wonderful son you are singing, Gokul." Holding the hand of the singer he said, "O what a song, how divine is the beauty of Krishna and how pure is the love of Radha." In this way his ecstatic emotions grew and he danced blissfully for six hours. throwing himself on the ground again and again. No one was able to hold him. He cried continuously calling out the name of Radha and his body trembled. Seeing his emotional state everyone became frightened. Shri Acarya, also fearing Narottama's life, took his hand and sat on the ground and recited slokas into Narottama's ear from Ujjala Nilamani composed by Shri Rupa. But his efforts were in vain, Narottama's condition did not change. Shrinivasa carried the unconscious Narottama into the room and lay him on the bed. Evetually Narottama regained his external consciousness and spent the rest of the night discussing the pastimes of the Lord.
The next day the devotees all bid farewell to one another. After their departure, Narottama felt great sadness due to separation from the devotees. To pacify him, Shri Acarya sat with Narottama, and called Rmacandra, Shri Vyasa, and others to discuss the pastimes of Krishna. Shrinivasa told Ramacandra to speak and thus he described Krishna lifa for more than one and a hlaf hours. He then requested Narottama to say something about Krishna, and Thakura gladly described the pastimes of the Lord, while everyone listened intently. Everyone became fully abosrbed in Krishna katha as Thakura's inspiration and ecstacy increased. In this way they entire night sped by absorbed in divine happiness.
Shrinivasa Acarya remained there for one month. Until one day he told Thakura Mahasaya that he desired to go to Yajigrama and Vishnupur. He assured Narottama that he would return soon after spending some days with the king of Vishnupura. Mahasaya cried in despair and for two to four days he did not talk to anyone. Shrinivasa ordered Ramacandra to remain staye with Narottama to keep him company. He advised Ramacandra to spend his days with Narottama discussing the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. Ramacandra submissevely complied saying, "From now on we will always remain together. On the day of Acarya's departure Narottama became very emtoional, he gave two mohurs and two sheets pieces of loin cloth to them, and gave Vyasacarya five coins and a loin cloth. I cannot describe the hearbreaking scene which took place at the time of the Acarya's departure.
Ramacandra Kaviraja and Thakura Mahsaya spent their days happily together, discussing Krishna's pastimes, not caring for the passing of days and nights. They went to the river Padmavati to take their baths together, and would play in the water while discussing the Krishna lila.
One day while they were bathing as usual, two brahmanas named Harirama and Ramakrishna came to the river. They happily watched Narottama and Ramacandra as they played in the water, then they too entered the water to take bath. While bathing, the brahmanas discussed complicated spiritual topics. Though Narottama and Ramacandra were both great scholars, they listened quietly as the brahmanas discussed. However, after listening for some time they could no longer remain silent and began contradicting the statements of the bramanas regarding the Bhagavata and Puranas. The brahmans were furious, but checked their anger and tried to defent their position by reciting various slokas. After taking bath Narottama and Ramacandra returned to their houses and the brahmanas accompanied them. They were offered food and seats with the utmost respect. In the evening they all watched the arati ceremony before the Deities with great delight. That night the brahmanas had a debate with Narottama and Ramacandra and were hopelessly defeated. When the brahmanas went to bed they discussed together in hushed tones and decided that Narottama and Ramacandra must be great scholars. They also came to the conclusion that what they had learned for so long from their teachers was all in vain. They appreciated Narottama and Ramacandra's firm conviction in service to God and the sadhus. They were also impressed with the concept that all living entities are eligible to worship Krishna, even if he is a sudra. While discussing these points the brahmanas fell asleep. A Maharaja appeared to them in a drama and told them, "O brahmanas, you are fools. Brahmanism can only be attained by worshipping Krishna. You are very proud of your brahmanism but these two devotees are gurus of your guru. In the morning without hesitation, go and take refuge of the feet of these two exalted devotees. From now on simply worship the Supreme Lord Krishna, all that you have learned previously was wrong. These two devotees have worshiped Krishna birth after birth. Krishna is their guru, and they are His disciples life after life."
In the morning they fell at the feet of Narottama and Ramacandra. Holding their hands the brahmans begged, "We are most unfortuante for we have taken our birth as non-brahmanas. Please be kind and grant us the right of becoming true brahmanas. We are sinful rascals, suffering the miseries of material life. We have wasted our lives running after false teaching-not understanding that the lotus feet of Krishna are the ultimate goal of life. Please help us to attain those feet at the end of our lives. No one but you can save us from hellish existence. Please place your feet on our heads." Ramakrishna lamented, "O Prabhus, allow us to worship your feet life after life." Crying out the names of Narottama and Ramacandra, they threw themselves on the ground.
Narottama and Ramacandra were extremely moved by their sincere plea, and mercifully recited the holy name in the ears of Harirama and Ramakrishna. Crying the two asked, "O lords, what should we do with our lives?" They replied, "Chant the holy name constantly, even while eating and sleeping." Narottama and Ramacandra came out into the compound and began chanting the name of Gauranga. Observing their devotional mood, Ramakrishna and Harirama were also moved by ecstatic love and entered into the kirtana with great humility. After a long time, the two Prabhus ordered them to take their baths in the Ganges and then recited Radha Krishna nama in their ears. The two disciples fell prostrate on the ground at the feet of their gurus. Narottama and Ramacandra placed their feet on the heads of their disciples. They taught their disciples the science of devotional service, and advised them to read the sastra daily.
As directed, the two brahmanas began to study the books of Shri Rupa Gosvami, and eventually thoroughly studed all the scriptures. In this way they attained great heights of spiritual development. Being faithful to the feet of Shri Jahnava and Viracandra, I, Nityananda dasa take pleasure in writing Prem Vilasa.