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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Nityananda dasa > Prema Vilasa > CHAPTER 5



          All glories to the merciful Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.  My dear listeners, as soon as Shrinivasa entered Khardaha he was filled with ecstatic love and began to dance.  Viracandra prabhu, who was sitting near his mother at that time, suddenly began to tremble.  Noting this, Thakurani said, "Most probably some great Bhagavata has come to our place.  Perhaps it is Shrinivasa of Cakandi which is the cause of your trembling.  I also hear many people calling out the name of Radha Krishna.  My son, these are all auspicious signs, please find out who has arrived here.  If it is Shrinivasa, bring him to me immediately to cool my burning heart."

          At that time Isana came before her and said, "A beautiful boy is waiting outside, crying."  She at once ordered her son to bring him in.  When Viracandra came out of the house and saw the divine beauty of the boy, he at once recognized him to be Shrinivasa and embraced him warmly.  Shrinivasa fell at his feet and Viracandra lifted him up affectionately. When Shrinivasa related his identity, Viracandra said, "You are the most welcome friend.  Providence is most merciful to me to give me the chance to meet such a jewel-like devotee as you." 

          Viracandra brought Shrinivasa into the house where Shri Isvari was waiting anxiously.  Simply upon seeing the boy she was overcome with ecstatic love and began to call out the names of Chaitanya and Nityananda.  Heaving a sigh of relieve she uttered the name of Navadvipa.  While holding Shrinivasa's hand, Viracandra requested his mother to give Shrinivasa permission to go to Vrndavana.  Shri Jahnava said, "Go to Vrndavana as soon as possible and take shelter at the lotus feet of Rupa Gosvami.  It you do not go soon you will not get their darsana.  Go quickly to Vraja and seek the refuge of Gopala Bhatta."  She ordered someone to bring prasadam for Shrinivasa and told Viracandra to write a letter to Abhirama and give it to Isana to deliver.  In the letter she suggested that Abhirama whip Shrinivasa thrice, this was a riddle which no one could understand.  Thereafter, Viracandra gave Shrinivasa the remnants of Isvari's food. Relishing the prasadam, Shrinivasa forgot himself in the ecstacy of love.  Viracandra took hold of Shrinivasa's hands, which brought him back to his senses.  Viracandra also advised Shrinivasa to go quickly to Vrndavana, otherwise he would miss Shri Rupa. 

          Isana then took Shrinivasa to meet Abhirama.  Bowing at the feet of Abhirama, Isana delivered Isvari message requesting Abhirama to bestow devotional love upon Shrinivasa.  Abhirama happily greeted Shrinivasa, offering he and Isana a seat.  He was pleased that Isvari had suggested that he whip Shrinivasa.  But first he decided to test the boy by giving him eight kadis (ancient paise) and request him to spend the money as he saw fit. In this way he would detect whether the boy was detached or not.

          When Shrinivasa received the kadis he considered carefully what should be done with them.  He decided to buy some rice and green bananas.  Sitting on the bank of the river he cooked these items.  Thakura Abhirama then told two Vaishnavas to go to Shrinivasa and become his guests when the boy was about to eat. Obeying Abhirama they devotees went to Shrinivasa just as he was offering the food to Krishna and water for washing the mouth.  When the devotees requested Shrinivasa for some food Shrinivasa was most pleased to have the opportunity to serve the Vaishnavas.  He served all the rice on three plates and requested the Vaishnavas to take prasadam.  They were greatly satisfied and reported to Abhirama that the food served to them tasted just like nectar. Being pleased, Abhirama requested Isana to bring Shrinivasa before him.  Meanwhile Abhirama took his whip and placed it at his left side. 

          When Shrinivasa arrived and bowed at Abhirama's feet, Gosvami whipped him thrice with his own hand.  At that time Malini, the wife of Abhirama, entered the room and caught hold of Abhirama's hands and said, "Stop whipping the boy for he is overcome with divine love, this brahmana boy is filled with the spirit of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu."  Malini then took Shrinivasa into another room and served him with the utmost care.  Shrinivasa spent a very peaceful night in the home of Abhirama.

          The following morning Abhirama instructed Shrinivasa, "Go to Vrndavana quickly and take shelter at the feet of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami.  There you will meet greatly renounced devotees like Sanatana, Rupa, Lokanatha, and Raghunatha dasa.  You will be to achieve everything by the grace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Now you should leave, Narahari Sarkara has been eagerly waiting for you.  After meeting him go to Vrndavana."

          When it was time to depart, Shrinivasa began to cry, expressing his doubt that he would be able to perform and useful service for the Lord.  Abhirama corrected him saying, "You do not know your own self.  You have been blessed by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.  He will help you to spread the sankirtana movement throughout the world.  Now go to Vrndavana without delay.  I also benedict you so that no one will harm you along the way." Feeling reassured, Shrinivasa happily departed.

          When Shrinivasa meet Narahari Sarkara again, Thakura also advised him to start for Vrndavana soon, but first he should take permission from his mother.  Early that evening Shrinivasa went to his house and bowed at the feet of his mother.  Her heart was broken when he requested to leave for Vrndavana.  She did not want to be separated from her beloved son, who was her only shelter.  Thus she forbade Shrinivasa from going.  Shrinivasa, however, was relentless.  repeatedly he requested his mother until she finally gave her consent.  That night he dreamed that he began his journey to Vrndavana.

          Meanwhile, in Vrndavana Shri Rupa Gosvami was becoming very anxious about delayed arrival of Shrinivasa.  Shri Rupa was feeling weak due to the disappearance of his beloved brother Sanatana. He did not know how much longer he could remain in this world. In the morning Shri Rupa went to the tomb of Sanatana.  Sobbing, pitifully he called out the name of Shrinivasa.  From there he went to visit Shri Jiva Gosvami and others who had been living on the banks of the Jamuna.  Seeing them Rupa Gosvami commented, "You are all looking very happy, but I am in great distress.  I do not know why Shrinivasa is taking so long to come to Vrndavana. He was born in a brahmana family simply to fulfill the mission of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.  But now it is urgent that arrive here soon, otherwise I am afraid that I will not meet him."  Holding the hand of Shri Jiva he said, "I believe Shrinivasa has started from Yajigrama last night.  Please watch carefully for his arrival in Vraja."

          In the meantime Shrinivasa began his journey to Vrndavana. Fearing that the associates of Mahaprabhu would leave this world before his arrival in Vraja, Shrinivasa practically ran the whole way to Vrndavana, absorbed in thoughts of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa, Sanatana, and Bhatta Raghunatha.  The fear of not meeting them constantly plagued his mind.  In this way he reached Gadidvara and from there Patna.  Some days he fasted entirely, while on others days he would take small amounts of foot.  When he reached Varanasi he went to the bank of the Ganges and visited the ghata on the river where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had once taken His bath.  Shrinivasa bowed his head to the ghata.  On the western side of the river was the house of Candrasekhara.  Previously Sanatana Gosvami, in the guise of a darvesa, used to wait for the darsana of Mahaprabhu in the western wing of this house.  A tulasi tree was now growing on this spot and Shrinivasa offered his obeisances there.  He then entered into the house where he met an aged Vaishnava.  Shrinivasa bowed at the devotee's feet.  The elderly Vaishnava embraced Shrinivasa and inquired about his identity.  The devotee of overjoyed to meet Shrinivasa and explained that he was a disciple of Shri Candrasekhara, by whose desire he was staying there to look after the house.  He then showed Shrinivasa the seat of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.  Feeling great separation from the Lord and His devotees, the elderly devotee became distraught and fell unconscious.  With the utmost care Shrinivasa helped him to return to come to his senses.  The two spent the entire night discussing the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

          In the morning Shrinivasa took his leave and carried on to Prayaga.  He took his bath in the Triveni and remained there for the day.  When he resumed his journey the following day, a pious gentleman offered Shrinivasa four paise, which Shrinivasa lived off of for two days.  The tiring journey took its toll on Shrinivasa's health and he began to inquire how much further it was to Vrndavana.  When he found out that he was still four days journey from Vrndavana, Shrinivasa took his bath at a well and lay down under a tree, utterly fatigued. 

          At that time five Vaishnavas from Vrndavana happened to pass by.  Finding Shrinivasa completely exhausted, they gave him some dried peas and gur.  After eating, Shrinivasa drank some water and was rejuvenated.  The Vaishnava's and Shrinivasa then chanted happily together for some time.  Shrinivasa enquired from them about Vrndavana and they told him that there he could meet Rupa, Gopala Bhatta, Lokanatha Gosvami, Shri Jiva, and Bhugarbha.  They also reported that Shri Sanatana Gosvami had departed from the world.  With a heavy heart, Shrinivasa bit farewell and continued on towards Vraja.  He arrived at Agra, and from there went to Gokula.  After crossing the river Jamuna he arrived at the house of Nanda. Early the next morning he entered Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna, and visited many holy places there.  Seeing the beauty of Mathura, he was reminded of the descriptions of Vaikuntha as given in the scriptures.  The residents of Mathura were all of cheerful disposition.  Shrinivasa visited Visrama Ghata where he placed the sacred water of the place on his head and sat facing east.  While sitting there he overheard three Vrajavasis passing by talking about the disappearance of Sanatana, then Raghunatha Bhatta, and recently Rupa Gosvami. Unable to believe his ears, Shrinivasa approached the passersby with folded hands and asked what they were talking about.  They replied, "O brother, what can we say?  Vrndavana is  now empty. It is our misfortune that we did not die before al these happenings.  We cannot bear the separation of Shri Rupa Gosvami."

          Shrinivasa was stunned.  Immediately he got up and began walking, lamenting pitifully. "O Providence,  I cannot accuse you, but my ill fate is drowning me in an ocean of misery. Blinded by tears, I am unable to see the path before me." Lamenting in this way, Shrinivasa wandered aimlessly throughout the streets completely oblivious to his surroundings.  Eventually he sat down under a tree and decided that he would simply return home.  It is impossible to describe the miserable condition of Shrinivasa.  Only by the grace of my spiritual master am I able to give some description of this incident.