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Chapter Eleven: Meeting with Shri Ishvara Puri
This chapter describes various subjects like the scholastic pastimes of Nimai Pandita, Mukunda’s chanting the names of Krishna in Advaita’s assembly, Nimai’s sporting pastimes with Mukunda, the godlessness of Nadia, the arrival of Ishvara Puri in Navadvipa, his meeting with Advaita Prabhu, his accepting lunch and discussing topics of Krishna at Gaura’s house, he teaches his own book, Shri Krishna-lilamrita, to Shri Gadadhara Pandita, Nimai’s comments on that book, and enjoying topics of Krishna with Shri Puripada.
Shri Gaurachandra, the husband of Sarasvati, wandered throughout Navadvipa with thousands of students while remaining intoxicated from scholastic mellows. Throughout Navadvipa, no one other than Gangadasa Pandita could properly understand Nimai Pandita’s explanations. According to their mundane mentality, the materialists saw Nimai Pandita in various ways. The atheists saw Him as Yamaraja personified, the materialists saw Him as Cupid personified, and the learned scholars saw Him as Brihaspati personified. Meanwhile, the Vaishnavas eagerly waited with the following hope: “When will the Lord manifest devotional service to Vishnu within this world, which is devoid of devotion to Vishnu?” Many people came to study in Navadvipa, which was the main educational center. Many Vaishnava residents of Cattagrama came and lived in Navadvipa in order to study and reside on the bank of the Ganges. In the afternoon, all the pure devotees would gather at the assembly of Shri Advaita. All the Vaishnavas in the assembly of Advaita felt great happiness in their hearts on hearing the glories of Lord Hari chanted by Mukunda, who was dear to all the Vaishnavas. For this reason the Lord was also very pleased at heart with Mukunda. As soon as Nimai saw Mukunda, He would challenge him with questions in logic, and both would then engage in loving debate. Nimai would also challenge other devotees headed by Shrivasa. Fearing that Nimai would challenge them, they would all run away from Him. Having renounced topics not related to Krishna, the devotees did not love to hear anything except krishna-katha, and Nimai did not ask them anything other than questions on logic.
One day Nimai Pandita was coming on the main road with some students. At that time Mukunda saw Nimai from a distance and immediately tried to escape from His vision. On the pretext of describing the reason for Mukunda’s behavior, Nimai narrated His and His devotees’ glories to Govinda, who was His servant and doorkeeper, saying, “I have not yet revealed the topics of devotional service to Krishna. That is why Mukunda ran away from Me. But he will not do this for long, because I will manifest such pure devotional service and Vaishnava characteristics that even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva will come to My doorstep and roll on the ground.”
Thereafter the author describes the godless atmosphere of Navadvipa at that time. Although the devotees were always engaged in chanting the names of Krishna, the people of Nadia were so averse to Krishna and maddened by enjoyable objects like wealth and children that as soon as they heard the chanting of Krishna’s names by devotees, particularly the four brothers headed by Shrivasa, they ridiculed and teased them. Hearing the blasphemous words from the sinful atheists, the Vaishnavas felt great distress within their hearts and always thought, “When will Shri Krishnacandra appear within this world and eradicate the dearth of kirtana?” When the Vaishnavas informed Shri Advaita about the criticism and blasphemous words of the atheists, Acarya Prabhu vowed, “I will soon induce Krishna, who gives pleasure to the hearts of the devotees, to manifest here in Navadvipa.” By the words of Shri Advaita, the distress of the Vaishnavas was mitigated.
Meanwhile, as Nimai increased Shaci’s joy by remaining absorbed in the pleasure of study, Shri Ishvara Puri one day arrived incognito at Shri Advaita’s house in Navadvipa. By seeing his wonderful effulgence, Advaita Acarya understood that Ishvara Puri was a Vaishnava sannyasi. When Mukunda sang a song about Krishna in Advaita’s assembly, the naturally deep ocean of love for Krishna in the pure heart of Ishvara Puri overflowed. Thereupon everyone came to know that this devoted sannyasi was Ishvara Puri.
One day as Shri Gaurasundara was returning home from teaching, by providence He met Ishvara Puri on the way. The Lord, who is jagad-guru, displayed honor to His devotees by immediately offering obeisances to His servant. Seeing Nimai’s wonderful effulgence, Ishvara Puri inquired about His identity and the subject of His studies. Nimai answered all of Ishvara Puri’s inquiries and then respectfully brought him home for lunch. After Shacidevi cooked and offered foodstuffs to Krishna and fed Ishvara Puri, Ishvara Puri began to discuss topics of Krishna with Nimai. While discussing krishna-katha, Ishvara Puri became overwhelmed with love of God. Ishvara Puri stayed in Navadvipa at the house of Shri Gopinatha Acarya for a few months, and Nimai regularly went to see him. Seeing the devotion of Gadadhara Pandita, who was renounced from his childhood, Ishvara Puri began to affectionately teach him his book, Shri Krishna-lilamrita. Every evening, after studying and teaching, Nimai went to offer obeisances to Ishvara Puri. One day Ishvara Puri requested Nimai Pandita to point out the mistakes in his Shri Krishna-lilamrita and indicated his desire to correct the mistakes under Nimai’s guidance. Hearing his words, the Lord condemned mundane scholarship and spoke the following invaluable nectarean words: “First of all, this book is composed by such a pure devotee as Puripada, and, moreover, it is full of topics about Krishna. Therefore whoever finds faults in this book is certainly an offender. The poetry of a pure devotee, in whatever form it may be, is always pleasing to Krishna. There is no doubt about it. The Supreme Lord never sees any grammatical faults in the statements of His devotees, for He is controlled by devotion and He accepts the sentiments of His devotees. A person who finds faults in the statements of a devotee is himself full of faults. No one is so audacious as to find faults in the descriptions of the Supreme Lord by a pure devotee like Puripada.” But Ishvara Puri repeatedly requested Nimai to point out the faults in his book. In this way Ishvara Puri regularly spent an hour or two with Nimai discussing various subjects. After hearing a verse from Ishvara Puri’s book one day, Nimai Pandita sportingly said, “The verb in this verse should be parasmaipadi instead of atmanepadi 1.” Another day, when Nimai came back, Ishvara Puri said, “The verb that You have not accepted as atmanepadi, I have accepted as atmanepadi.” In order to increase the glories and display the victory of His servant, the Lord did not point out any further faults. In this way, after spending some time enjoying educational pastimes with Nimai, Ishvara Puri left Navadvipa to continue sanctifying the holy places of India.
Commentary and Chapter Summaries of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.