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Chapter Twelve: The Lord’s Wandering Throughout Navadvipa
This chapter mainly describes Shri Gauranga’s wandering the streets of Navadvipa, His discussing scriptures on the bank of the Ganges, and His manifestation of various opulences.
Among the best of teachers, learned scholars, and Bhattacaryas of Navadvipa, none could stand before or defeat Nimai in debate. In the company of His disciples, Nimai wandered the streets of Navadvipa like an independent Lord. One day by providence Nimai met Mukunda on the path and asked him why he stayed away from Him, and then Nimai also told Mukunda that if he could not answer His question He would not leave him alone. Knowing that Nimai had knowledge of only grammar, Mukunda resolved to silence Him by asking Him questions on alankara. Nimai, however, pointed out various alankaric faults while totally breaking Mukunda’s poetic talent to pieces. Seeing Nimai’s unlimited knowledge, Mukunda was astonished and resolved, “If such an intelligent person became a devotee of Krishna, I would never leave His association.” On another day, when Nimai met Gadadhara Pandita, He asked him the symptoms of liberation. When Gadadhara told the Lord the symptoms of liberation according to the conclusions of the nyaya-shastras, the Lord pointed out various faults. When Gadadhara Pandita said, “Mitigation of excessive misery is the symptom of liberation,” Mahaprabhu, the master of Sarasvati, refuted it. Every afternoon Nimai discussed the shastras with students on the bank of the Ganges.
Although the Vaishnavas were greatly pleased to hear the Lord’s wonderful explanations of the scriptures, they thought that if such a learned person as Nimai became a devotee of Krishna, then everything would be successful. The devotees prayed in this way: “Let Nimai have attachment for Krishna.” Out of love, some blessed Him, saying, “Let Nimai attain devotion to Krishna.” Whenever Nimai saw the devotees headed by Shrivasa, He manifested the pastime of offering obeisances, thus demonstrating by His own behavior that devotional service to Krishna is awakened only by the blessings of devotees. According to their respective mentality and qualification, various people saw the Lord in various ways. Even the Yavanas were attracted to the Lord when they saw Him. Nimai taught His students grammar in the Candi-mandapa hall within the courtyard of the fortunate Mukunda Sanjaya of Navadvipa.
One day the Lord manifested transformations of ecstatic love on the pretext of a disorder of winds. Being illusioned by Yogamaya, the Lord’s friends and relatives, who have natural affection for Him, applied various medicinal oils on the Lord’s head. Sometimes the Lord, who always enjoys pastimes, proudly and loudly disclosed the truth about Himself. When by His own sweet will the Lord manifested a return to His normal state, everyone there happily chanted the names of Hari. At that time the residents of Nadia, whose only life and soul was Shri Gaura, joyfully distributed clothes and other items to the poor and distressed.
After sporting in the waters of the Ganges with His students at noontime, the Lord would return home, worship Lord Krishna, offer water to tulasi, circumambulate her, and then accept foodstuffs given by Lakshmipriya. After glancing towards yoga-nidra for some time, He would again leave for teaching. On His way, He would talk and joke with the residents of Navadvipa.
One day, on reaching the house of a weaver, Nimai asked for some cloth and accepted what was given without payment. Another day Nimai went to the house of some cowherd men and asked for some yogurt and milk. Addressing the Lord as mama, or uncle, the cowherd men joked with Him in various ways and gave Him plenty of yogurt and milk free of charge. The Lord also revealed the truth about His own identity on the pretext of joking with them. One day the Lord accepted various divine perfumes from the perfume merchant, one day He accepted a garland of various flowers from the florist, and one day He accepted betel nuts and similar spices from the pan merchant; in this way the Lord pleased them by accepting their free gifts. Being overwhelmed on seeing the matchless beauty of the Lord, everyone offered Him various free items. On another day when He arrived at the house of a conch merchant, the conch merchant gave Gaura-Narayana a conch and offered his obeisances. He did not ask any payment in exchange.
One day the Lord went to the house of an astrologer and asked about the details of His previous birth. As soon as the astrologer began to chant the Gopala mantra in order to calculate the Lord’s horoscope, he immediately saw various pastimes of Krishna and wonderful forms of the Lord in his meditation. While seeing those wonderful forms, the astrologer opened his eyes and saw Gaurahari before him and then again entered into his meditation; but by the influence of the Lord’s internal potency, he could not recognize the Lord. Struck with wonder, he thought, “Perhaps a demigod or someone expert in mantras has come here in the guise of a brahmana to test me.”
One day the Lord went to the house of Shridhara and asked him, “Though you are serving the husband of Lakshmi, why are you bereft of food and clothes? And why is your house old and broken? Why are ordinary people who worship Durga and Vishahari so materially prosperous?” In reply, Shridhara said, “A king living in a palace and eating palatable foodstuffs and a bird living in its nest in a tree and eating whatever it finds in various places both pass their time in the same way. There is no difference in their enjoyment of happiness, because everyone enjoys their respective fruits of karma.” In this way, on the pretext of joking, the Lord disclosed the glories of a devotee and daily obtained banana shoots, bananas, and banana flowers free of charge from Shridhara. The Lord revealed the truth of His own identity while disclosing the glories of Shridhara. He indicated that He belonged to a family of cowherds and that He was the controller of the Ganges and other energies. Then, as the Lord returned home from the house of Shridhara, His students also returned to their homes after the completion of their studies.
One day when the Lord saw the full moon in the sky, He became absorbed in the mood of Shri Vrindavanacandra, and in that mood He began to play wonderfully on a flute. No one other than Shacidevi could hear the sound of that flute. After hearing that sweet sound, Shacidevi came out of the room and saw Nimai sitting at the door of the Vishnu temple. As Shacidevi approached she could no longer hear the sound of the flute but she saw the moon directly manifest on her son’s chest. In this way Shacidevi regularly saw unlimited opulences of Lord Gaura.
One day when Shrivasa Pandita met the Lord on the pathway, he asked Him, “Nimai, why are You wasting time by not engaging Your mind in the worship of Krishna? What will You gain by studying and teaching day and night? People study only for the purpose of understanding devotional service to Krishna. If that is not achieved, then what is the benefit of such useless education? Therefore, do not waste anymore time. You have studied enough. Now, without wasting another moment, begin worshiping Krishna.” Hearing these words from the mouth of His devotee, the Lord said, “O Pandita! You are a devotee; by your mercy, I will certainly be able to worship Krishna.”
In conclusion, since the author, who is the king of devotees, did not take birth during the Lord’s scholastic pastimes, he humbly laments that though he was bereft of experiencing this happiness, he nevertheless begs for the mercy of Gaurasundara and prays that remembrance of the transcendental pastimes of Gaura be ever illuminated in his heart in every birth. Wherever Shri Gaurasundara and Nityananda enact Their pastimes with Their associates, the author’s only prayer is to remain with Them as Their servant.
Commentary and Chapter Summaries of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.