|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Nityananda dasa > Prema Vilasa > CHAPTER 16|
All glories to Shri Gaurachandra, Shri Advaitacandra, and all the devotees of Gaura. All glories to Gadadhara and Nityananda Prabhu, the life of Shri Jahnava. All glories to Viracandra, the personification of love. Holding the feet of Shri Jahnava and Viracandra, I, Nityananda dasa write all that I know, hoping to achieve all perfection in life by obtaining the mercy of Shri Gauranga. I am the only son of my parents who used to live in Khanda. I do not know why Shri Thakurani showered her mercy upon me and took me into her confidence. She favored me immensely by taking me with her everywhere. Twice Prabhu (Viracandra?) personally explained to me how the mission of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would continue in this world: "When I am no longer in this world, who will distribute love of Godhead? Accept Narottama and Shrinivasa as the personifications of love, describe their transcendental characteristics and propagate their message of devotion with sincerity." Since it is the direct order of Prabhu, what can I do but write as I have been instructed. Thakurani also directed in this connection and gave me the courage to write. I therefore offer my obeisances and apologize at the feet of the devotees for having the audacity to write as I am certainly unqualified to do so.
Shri Rupa Gosvami and his followers accepted the lives of ascetics and resided in Vrndavana. There they strickly followed the methods of worshiping Krishna as described in the sastras. The disciple of Shri Rupa, Shri Jiva Gosvami, also gave up everything and went to Vrndavana. ???Dasa Govsmi and Kaviraja were ordered to remain in family. They were instructed to remain preach the message of Lord Chaitanya and serve all the Vaishnavas while residing in Gauda. According to the Vaishnava Gosvamis, he who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna...........??worshiping as an ascetic in household life?? The confidants of Shri Radha disregarded the local customs and gave up all household duties to surrender to Shri Krishna.....(two pages of garbled philosophy)
Now listen attentively as I describe Jahnava Thakurani's trip to Vrndavana. When Thakurani decided to go to Vrndavana I was eager to accompany and thus requested her to take me along. By her mercy I was allowed to travel with her. Although the journey was very difficult for Thakurani, she remained equipoised throughout the trip. Upon reaching Vrndavana, she she became ecstatic with love and wept emotionally. She immediately went to the cottage of Shri Rupa Gosvami who happily greeted her and escorted her to all the holy places of Vrndavana. All the Gosvamis accompanied them and relished discussing the various pastimes which had occured in each of the sacred places. She took darsana of Govinda, Gopinatha and Madana Mohana. Thakurani then gathered many items and organized a grand festival, and with my own eyes I watched as all the Govamis happily relished prasada.
One day while sitting in the cottage, Thakurani said to Shri Rupa Gosvami, "Tell me about the transcendental qualities of Sanatana, Lokanath, and Gopala Bhatta." Shri Rupa happily said, "Sanatana is my elder brother, how can I describe his exalted qualities? He is like my master. From him I have learned everything. Lokanath is a great ascetic and extremely dear to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He follows strict principles of renunciation and lives alone in seclusion. My dear friend Gopala Bhatta is a versatile genius, Mahaprabhu is his very life. Bugarba Acarya is a man of extraordinary qualities and a favorite disciple of Gadadhara Pandita. All of these great devotees are very kind to my worthless self. O respected Thakurani, what shall I say about myself. There is no one as useless as me."
Hearing these humble statements, Thakurani replied, "You have been directly empowered by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, I have come here only to see you. I have seen all the places in Vrndavana, now I would like to hear about the books you have written. Please make me happy by reciting the Lord's pastimes as you have written them in the Bhaktirasamrts Sindhu, Vidagddha Madhava, Danakeli Kaumudi and Lalita Madhava. The Bhagavata is silent about some particular pastimes which I am eager to hear about. Please bring your books and read to me."
Shri Rupa Gosvami brought his books and all the Gosvamis, along with Thakurani, took their seats to listen. Thakurani's heart swelled with devotional sentiments as Rupa Gosvami described how Radha and Her confidants use to pass through the kunjas decorated with golden crowns and carrying pots of butter, curd, and milk. Krishna would suddenly stop them and request Radha to give Him everything they were carrying. Radha and associates laughed at Him, and Krishna forcefully took their pots and ate everything. Lalita sakhi protested, retorting, "I shall report You to king Kandarpa." And Radha called out indignantly, "O Krishna, I am the daughter of Vrsabhanu and I know that you are the son of Nanda. You keep your cows in the forest and play the flute, and Your only business is to steal the curd and milk of the gopis. You also have the habit of talking to the gopis and touching their bodies. I am going to tell the king about all of Your pranks." Saying this Radha suddenly became shy and entered into the kunja in a huff.
Krishna intentionally played on his flute and its sweet sound stole the minds and hearts of the gopis. Radha fell unconscious and upon awakening asked Lalila, O my dear sakhi, who in the three worlds is the most beloved of Krishna?" Lalita replied, "Everyone knows that You are Krishna's favorite." Hearing this Visakha said, "I think that the flute is actually Krishna's favorite as it is always tasting the nectar of Krishna's lips." Hearing this Radhika said, "Then I shall give up my life and become a flute in my next life. Now I will go to the Kalpataru tree at Govardhana and express my desire."
Hearing this wonderful description from Shri Rupa, Thakurani began to weep ecstatically and fell to the ground. What more can I say about the sweetness f these topics. No one could remain attached to materialistic life after listeneing to Shri Rupa's beautiful description of the divine pastimes of the Lord. His voice was sweet and charming like that of a cuckoo.
In this way Thakurani spent many joyfully days in Vrndavana Dhama. One day she went to visit Madan Mohana and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Deity. His curved eyebrows were just like the bow of the god of love (Cupic). Yet she begant to think that the beauty of Krishna was eclipsed as He did not have Shri Radha standing by His left side. No one other than Madan Mohana could understand her mind. That night Madan Mohana appeared before Thakurani and told her smilingly, "What do you think Jahnava? Just return to your home and eventually all your desires will be fulfilled. There you can arrange for to have a Deity of Radhika made and then send Her to me. Then only will your desires be fulfilled. Do not be sorry for desiring in this way. It is also My desire to have Shri Radha by My side. I shall be waiting for you."
Upon awaking Thakurani became worried about how she would be able to carry out the Lord's order, yet she did not tell anyone what had transpired. That day she told the Gosvamis that she wanted to visit Radha Kunda again. They all gladly accepted her wish and in the morning Thakurani went to the kunda. There her mind became calm. She visited the place of Raghunath dasa Gosvami. He fell flat before her and she told him, "I have been very eager to meet you." Krishnadasa Kaviraja also paid his respects, and they all sat down to discuss the pastimes of Krishna. Together they happily circumambulated the Kunda together.
One morning, towards the break of dawn, I heard Raghunath dasa Gosvami suddenly laugh. I asked him inquired from him and asked about the glories of the kunda. He told me, "Vrndavana is meant only for the pastimes of Radha Krishna. Krishna's pastimes and His abode are non-different. This kunda is where Radhika and Krishna perfomred wonderful pastimes." Saying this he halted, being moved by ecstatic emotions. Again I requested him to tell me more. He said, "Krishna is eternal, this place is eternal and all ???Be careful while residing here and visiting various sacred places. If you read the books of Rupa Gosvami you will become familiar with all the pastime of Krishna. Radha and Krishna eternally perform their transcendental pastimes in Vrndavana, but they cannot be observed by all. Only the confidants of Radha and Krishna can see the wonderful parakiya pastimes." Raghunath then went on the explain, "The distances between Vrndavana and the bank of the kunds is about eight crosas and Govardhana is two crosas from the kunda. From Vrndavana, Sanketa is eight crosas and Nadiswara is two crosas. Yavat is one crosa from Vrndavana, and Radha and Krishna travel between these places twice or thrice daily."
I inquired how it was possible for Radha Krishna and their associates to travel such distances daily. Gosvami replied, My dear Nityananda dasa, according to sastra, Vrndavana is just like a lotus. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained that Vrndavana is reveals itself in two way, that is open and closed. In use to close itself in pleasure (vilasa) and open itself in sport (lila). Only the favored devotees of Krishna can understand the true nature of Vrndavana."
"O Prabhu," I said, "who will favor me so that I may understand these transcendental topics?" Raghunath replied, "Sport is meant by eternal Krishna and his eternal companions and divine accomplishments are meant by accomplishments through religious austerities and through divine favors (???). Mahaprabhu is non-differnet from Vrajendra Kumara and His companions are the eternal associates of Krishna. All of the associates of Mahaprabhu are directly empowered by Him and are always abosrbed in the the transcendental pastimes of the Lord and engaged in His devotional service. Religious austerities are practised by Vaishnavas in order to attain such divine consciousness."
Eager to understand more I asked, "O prabhu, kindly explain to me how a Vaishnava can attain perfection in spiritual life?"
Raghunath dasa replied, "I shall take you to Shri Rupa who has written many books in which he has described the various practices of devotional service. I know you will be satisfied by hearing his description as Shri Rupa was directly empowered by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to write numerous authentic books by through which he will preach the message of Mahaprabhu throughout the world. You have seen how humbly he bows to the feet of Thakurani. What can an ignorant person like myself say about his such an exalted character (who is speaking??) My whole life has passed in vain as I have not performed austerity and engaged in devotional service. Kindly bless me that my mind may be fixed upon the lotus feet of Gauranga at all times."
Holding the hands of Raghunath, Thakurani began to cry. Raghunath begged, "Please accept me as your servant. As I have taken my birth in a rich family, how can I ask you for your blessings to attain the feet of Shri Chaitanya. Yet I dare to request that you be kind upon this useless soul who has not worshiped your feet for even a single day."
Thakurani replied, "Please do not speak like this, I feel ashamed. It is you who must bless me that I may become as humble as you. I am a worthless woman who has no understanding of love and devotion. I simply pray that I may have the opportunity for your association again in the future. Please help me to fulfill this desire."
She paid her respects to the Kunda, praying that someday she may have a permanent residence on its bank. Raghunath dasa and Thakurani both cried at the time of bidding farewell.
Jahnava Thakurani returned to the cottage of Rupa Gosvami in Vrndavana and reported to him all that had transpired at Radha Kunda. She stayed there for two days and visited the temple of Madana Gopala. At night when Thakurani and Rupa Gosvami sat together, Thakurani asked Rupa, "Have you written anything about the sixty-four items of devotional service in your books? What is the process of properly practising and how can I avoid offenses in this regard?" Thakurani listened happily as Rupa clearly explained everything.
One day she announced before all the Gosvamis that she had decided to leave Vrndavana and return to her own country, which saddened the hearts of everyone. She went to the temple of Madan Mohana and asked His permission to leave. As soon as she finished her prayer, the flower garland of Madana Mohana feel from His nect. The priest of the temple gave it to Thakurani and she happily wore it around her neck. Again and again she prayed to Madana Mohana to allow her the chance to return and worship His lotus feet.
On the eve of her departure all of the Gosvamis revealed their minds to Thakurani, and when she departed they followed her for a long way. On her way out of Vrndavana she stopped at the temple of Govinda where she told the Gosvamis, "I am very unhappy to leave your association. PLease pray to the Lord that I may come here again and relish your company."
Sanatana Gosvami humbly said, "I am a worthless rascal who has spent his whole life in useless activities. Please bless me that I may attain the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu."
Thakurani protested, "Do not be so humble. It is I who am always praying for your blessings."
Rupa Gosvami also addressed Thakurani, "Please help me to dedicate my life to the feet of Gauranga." Lokanath Gosvami said, "There is no one as helpless as me. What qualities do I possess that Gauranga should favor me? Your are the most fortunate lady for you have attained the mercy of Gaura, but what about me who has nothing to hope for in this life?" In this way all of them expressed opened their hearts of Jahnava Thakurani.
Thakurani also revealed her mind to them, "Now listen to my sorrow. All of you must pray to Krishna that I may come again to Vrndavana soon and meet all of you." As they walked along together they all cried unable to bear the thought of separation. At last Rupa Gosvami requested, "Please send Shrinivasa Acarya to Vrndavana." Thakurani told Rupa, "Shrinivasa is now in his own country. He is the sole successor of the property of Mahaprabhu's love. I shall try my best to meet him and send him to Vrndavana very soon." Thakurani then finally bid farewell and for the rest of the journey sang the praises of the Gosvami of Vrndavana.
One day I asked her, "How will I be able to get the remnants of food from the Vaishnavas. I know that great power lies in the water which has washed the feet of the Vaishnavas."
"That is an interesting point," she replied. "Touching the feet of the Vaishnavas, drinking the water that has washed their feet, and eating the remnants of the Vaishnavas food are all very important items for advancing in spiritual life. He who accepts these items becomes eligible for attaining the service of the Lord. You must worship a pure Vaishnava if you desire to advance spiritually. Anyone who tries to avoid this process will never gain the favor of Mahaprabhu. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never allowed anyone to drink the water which washed his feet, yet sometimes devotees tried to do so against His will or without Him knowing. Prabhu even forbade Govinda from doing so, yet the Lord glorified the devout Kalidasa Mahasaya, knowing that he was accustomed to drinking the water from the feet of all Vaishnavas regarless of their position.
Once when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was washing His feet near the Simha-dvara entrance in Nilacala, Kalidasa took the opportunity to drink the water which bathed the Lord's feet. After he drank a handful, the Lord forbade him to take anymore, fearing it would be harmful for His disciple to take to much. Mahaprabhu explained that according to the sastras, a guru can give the water of His own feet to his disciples."
In this way Thakurani traveled, discussing various spiritual topics. One day she said to me, "Do not get married as you have heard the verdict of all the Mahajanas that family life may be an obstruction on the path of devotional life. When one becomes involved in wordly activities he tends to become charmed by sense pleasures and affections, and thus forget the path of devotion and worship. Sometimes a person may pose as a virtuous man but in time he proves himself incompetent and becomes a laughing stock. If one triese to give up material life and is sincere in his devotion to his spiritual master, he is sure to attain the favor of Krishna. Some get this favor in this life and some in the next, so why allow your mind to be distracted during this life. Remember my boy, that all Vaishnava Gosvamis are the eternal companions of Krishna and thus you must behave humbly with them. You should regard your gurus, Krishna and the Vaishnavas all the same. Some accept devotion to the Vaishnavas as superior, while others regard themselves as superior to the Vaishnavas. The later will never receive the blessings of his guru. Even though you may possess many devotional qualities, you should never ruin your service by becoming proud."
Eventually Thakurani reached her home country where she was happily greeted by Viracandra Raya in Khanda. Prabhu Viracandra bowed at her feet and eagerly inquired about the well-being of everyone in Vrndavana. As Thakurani described her visit she was overcome with ecstasy simply by remembering Shri Vrndavana Dhama. Narahari, Shri Mukunda, Shri Raghunandana and others listened to her narration and wept joyfully, oblivious to everything else. Turning to Narahari Sarkara, Thakurani requested that he find Shrinivasa and send him to Vrndavana as soon as possible.
In the morning Jahnava started for her home along with Narahari and the others. At the time of her departure she advised me to return to my home and strictly follow the instructions she had given me: "Follow my advise and remain with these devotees. This will make me happy. You should always remain in the association of devotees, and in the future I shall call for you to accompany me again on pilgrimage." Thakurani then departed.
After a few days later Narahari arrived with Shrinivasa Acarya who was so extremely charming in appearance. Raghunandana and the other devotees there happily greeted him. He explained to Thakurani that he had been living with his parents in Cakhandi. She then told him, "When I visited Vrndavana, Shri Rupa Gosvami told me all about you. It is his instruction that you leave for Vrndavana as soon as possible." That day I saw Shrinivasa with my own eyes and was amazed by his sincerity in carrying out the orders of Shri Rupa.
Jahnava Thakurani had one disciple named Shri Chaitanya dasa who was known to everyone as Aulia. He went to Vrndavana and relished the joy of being in the Dhama. There he visited the residence of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, who inquired if he knew anything aout Shrinivasa Acarya.
Aulia replied. "My house is twelve crosas from Vinsupura where I lived happily under the rule of King Vira Hamivira, who is a disciple of Shrinivasa Acarya. The king offered villages, land and wealth to Shri Acarya and requested him to settle in his land. In the month of Phalguna Shrinivasa was married and thus far has no issue. Although Gaderahat is quite a distance away from my place, I also heard many things about Thakura Mahasaya. I'm told that he arranged for a grand festival for Mahaprabhu in Kheturi. He is completely indifferent to worldly pleasures and family life, and is always abosorbed in serving the Vaishnavas."
After some time Chaitanya dasa returned to Khanda and reported everything to Shri Rghunandana who then went to Shri Isvari to give an account of the Gosvamis in Vrndavana. Chaitanya dasa then went to meet the king who eagerly inquired about Shri Jiva Gosvami's well-being. The king bowed to him with folded hands and longingly asked, "When shall I be able to meet him? Chaitanya dasa and the king then went to the place of Thakura Mahasaya who gladly welcomed them and offered them seats. Aulia told him all about his journey to Vrndavana and Thakura Mahasaya eagerly listened and asked many queswtions about Vrndavana and the Gosvamis. Taking the hands of Chaitanya dasa, Thakura lamented, "How unfortunate I am, I fear that I may never see the lotus feet of my eternal guide and master again."
The eternal message of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was destined to be broadcast by Shrinivasa Acarya who was directly empowered by the Lord. Thus Shrinivasa could not disobey the order of Shri Rupa Gosvami who was Shrinivasa's guru. Shrinivasa was well aware that Shri Rupa was no ordinary man.
I have written these descriptions according to the directions of my spiritual master. Those who are virtuous will listen intently to this divine pastimes. I, Nityananda dasa, write this book Prem Vilasa by the mercy of Shri Jahnava and Viracandra Prabhu. (218-238)