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Chapter Seventeen: The Lord’s Travel to Gaya
This chapter describes Shri Gaurasundara’s visit to Gaya via Mandara and Punpun, His meeting with Ishvara Puri at Gaya, His bestowing mercy on Ishvara Puri on the pretext of accepting initiation, His manifestation of Himself, His attempts to go to Mathura while being maddened in separation from Krishna, His return home to Navadvipa-Mayapur after hearing a voice from the sky on the way, and the conclusion of the Adi-khanda.
During the time when Shri Gaurasundara was enjoying His pastimes in Navadvipa as the crest jewel of teachers, the philosophies of the atheists and the smartas were being quickly propagated. Even hearing the name of bhakti-yoga was rare. The sinful people went on unnecessarily criticizing the Vaishnavas. Considering that the proper time had arrived to manifest Himself, Shri Gaurasundara enacted the pastime of going to Gaya for performing worldly fruitive rituals in order to refute the atheistic and smarta philosophies as well as to bewilder averse persons. In order to bewilder the atheists, the Lord displayed the pastime of being attacked with fever on His way to Gaya. Thereafter, to exhibit His affection towards His servants and the potency of water that has washed the feet of qualified brahmanas, He drank water that had washed the feet of a brahmana and ended His pastime of having fever. On reaching Punpun, the Lord performed His pastime of worshiping the forefathers and then entered Gaya. He took bath at Brahma-kunda and, after displaying the pastimes of duly respecting His father at that place, He came to Cakraveda and manifested His pastime of seeing the lotus feet of Gadadhara, or Lord Vishnu. After hearing the glories of the lotus feet of Gadadhara from the resident brahmanas, the Lord became decorated with pure ecstatic transformations and thus inaugurated His pastimes of manifesting loving devotional service. By providence, the Lord met Ishvara Puri there. Shri Mahaprabhu revealed to Shri Ishvara Puri that the perfection of visiting Gaya is to meet pure devotees like Ishvara Puri, that seeing Vaishnavas is matchlessly greater than worshiping and offering oblations to the forefathers at Gaya, and that His purpose of traveling to Gaya was to permanently surrender at the lotus feet of a maha-bhagavata spiritual master. Without disturbing the foolish ill-motivated fruitive workers who are bewildered by the three modes of material nature, to teach them that until one receives initiation into Krishna mantras from a bona fide spiritual master he is eligible only for performing fruitive activities, and to simultaneously bewilder the atheists, Shri Gaurasundara exhibited the pastimes of offering various oblations to the forefathers at Gaya according to worldly customs. Thereafter He returned to His room and began to personally cook. At that time Shripada Ishvara Puri arrived there overwhelmed with love of Krishna. The Lord personally served all the foodstuffs that He cooked for Himself to Shri Ishvara Puripada, and by directly serving His spiritual master, Puripada, with His own hands, He displayed the ideal example of serving the spiritual master. On another day, in a solitary place, Mahaprabhu offered obeisances to Ishvara Puri and requested him for mantra initiation. Then the Lord received the ten syllable mantra from His spiritual master and surrendered everything unto his lotus feet. In this way Shri Gaura-Narayana Prabhu, the spiritual master of the entire universe, instructed people who are desirous of love of God. In order to reveal that only a person who has fully surrendered at the lotus feet of his spiritual master and is endowed with transcendental knowledge is qualified to achieve loving devotional service as a result of service to the spiritual master, Mahaprabhu, after receiving initiation from Ishvara Puripada, became overwhelmed with separation from Krishna, loudly cried out “Krishna! Krishna!” and thus exhibited His pastime of becoming most restless. “I will not enter into family life; rather, I will go to Mathura in search of Krishna, who has stolen My heart.” Saying this, the Lord instructed His students who had accompanied Him to Gaya to return to Navadvipa. Being greatly overwhelmed by separation from Krishna, the Lord departed towards Mathura in the early morning without informing anyone, while addressing Krishna, “O dear Krishna, O dear child! Where will I go? Where will I meet Murali-vadana.” After walking a little distance, the Lord heard a voice from the sky saying that the time had not yet arrived for the Lord to visit Mathura. The Lord should distribute loving devotional service in Navadvipa for some time. Hearing this voice from the sky, Gaurasundara stopped His journey and returned to His residence at Gaya, where He took permission from Shripada Ishvara Puri and then returned to Shri Navadvipa with His students. In this way the author has concluded the topics of Adi-khanda. The author, as a servant of Nityananda, discloses that his attempt of writing the biography of Shri Chaitanya is simply due to the order of Shri Nityananda. After personally revealing his attachment for serving his spiritual master, Shri Nityananda, he humbly invites all living entities to accept subordination at the lotus feet of Shri Nityananda Prabhu and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Commentary and Chapter Summaries of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.