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Chapter Fourteen: The Lord’s Travel to East Bengal and the Disappearance of Lakshmipriya
This chapter describes Gaura-Narayana’s enactment of a householder’s pastime of serving guests; His visit to East Bengal; the offensive activities of some sinful atheists who imitated the Lord and of a brahma-daitya of Radha-desha-all of them being contemporaries of the author; the disappearance of Lakshmidevi; the inquiries of Tapana Mishra to the Lord regarding the goal of life and the process for achieving it; the Lord’s reply and teachings; and the Lord’s return from Bangladesh.
Nimai Pandita was greatly honored by the wealthy people of Navadvipa as well as by all those who were accustomed to perform religious rituals. In order to establish an ideal example of the principles of household life, the Lord did not encourage the fault of miserliness, rather He showed compassion towards needy and distressed persons. Guests were always properly served at the Lord’s house in Shri Mayapur-Navadvipa. Though the Lord, who is the teacher of people in general, personally displayed the pastimes of a poor householder, He nevertheless constantly endeavored to serve renounced Vaishnava sannyasis. As soon as mother Shaci noticed a shortage of ingredients required for feeding the sannyasis, Gaurasundara would immediately bring from somewhere the necessary ingredients for the service of the Vaishnavas. Lakshmidevi engaged in cooking for the service of the Vaishnavas, and the Lord personally sat with the Vaishnava sannyasis and fully satisfied them by feeding them sumptuously. The principle duty of householders is to serve guests; those householders who do not serve guests are lower than animals and birds. Even if a householder is bereft of wealth due to past karma, he should without duplicity serve his guests with at least some water, a sitting place, and sweet words. Knowing that Shri Lakshmi-Narayana had appeared in Navadvipa, Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Shukadeva, Vyasadeva, and Narada visited the Lord’s house at Shri Mayapur in the guise of sannyasis.
From early morning, Shri Lakshmidevi continually engaged in various services in the temple room, arranged the paraphernalia for worshiping the Lord, and served tulasi. She gave more attention to the service of Shacidevi, her mother-in-law and mother of her Lord, than to the service of tulasi. Shacidevi sometimes saw blazing flames of fire under the feet of her son, and she sometimes smelled the fragrance of lotus flowers throughout her house.
After some time Nimai Pandita went with His students to earn some wealth in Bangladesh, where He stayed on the banks of the Padmavati River. Overwhelmed by the Lord’s ingenious scholarship, innumerable students came to study from Him and within a short time mastered various subjects.
At this point the author says that simply because the Lord went to Bangladesh, the young, the old, and the women there are even today intoxicated in Shri Chaitanya’s sankirtana movement. But sometimes in order to fill their stomachs some atheists declare themselves to be Narayana, or the Supreme Lord, and they thus ruin the people of that country. In Radha-desha also there was a great brahma-daitya who externally dressed as a brahmana but who internally had the nature of a demon and declared himself to be “Gopala.” Due to his cowardliness, however, people called him a hated jackal. There are no greater offenders than those sinful living entities who want to declare themselves or other living entities to be the Supreme Lord instead of declaring Shri Chaitanya, the Lord of innumerable universes, as the Supreme Lord. Moreover, even today it is found that simply by remembering the servants of Chaitanyacandra a living entity attains all auspiciousness.
While the Lord was residing in Bangladesh, Shri Lakshmidevi, being unable to tolerate separation from the Lord, left this world from the bank of the Ganges while meditating on the lotus feet of the Lord. When the people of Bangladesh heard that the Lord was returning to Navadvipa, they brought various gifts for Him. At that time one pious brahmana resident of Bangladesh named Tapana Mishra, who was unable to ascertain the goal of life and the process to achieve it, received instructions late one night in a dream to approach Nara-Narayana in the form of Nimai Pandita, who appeared in the age of Kali to deliver the fallen souls. When Tapana Mishra arrived before the Lord, Shri Gaurasundara instructed him that the only religious process for the age of Kali was shri-krishna-nama-sankirtana, which awards all perfection and which is to be followed by all people of all countries at all times. He further instructed Tapana Mishra to give up all duplicity and always chant the sixteen word, thirty-two syllable maha-mantra with full attention. When Tapana Mishra asked permission to accompany the Lord, the Lord ordered him to immediately go to Varanasi and indicated that they would again meet there and elaborately discuss the goal of life and the process to achieve it. When Tapana Mishra then related the topics of his dream, the Lord forbid him from disclosing those topics to anyone.
Thereafter the Lord returned home from Bangladesh with His wealth and offered everything to His mother. Many students accompanied the Lord to Navadvipa in order to study from Him. Hearing about the disappearance of Lakshmidevi, the Lord imitated ordinary people by exhibiting grief for a short time and then instructed His mother about the temporary nature of this material existence.
Commentary and Chapter Summaries of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.