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The Lord Eats Suklambara's Rice
Text 1 Glory, glory to Lord Chaitanya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead! Glory, glory to the dear devotees of Lord Chaitanya!
Text 2 Accompanied by His devotees, Lord Chaitanya always performed sankirtana in Navadvipa.
Text 3 At night, and behind closed doors, Lord Chaitanya performed kirtana. Outsiders could not enter.
Text 4 One day, as Lord Chaitanya danced in Shrivasa's house, Shrivasa's mother-in-law hid in the house.
Text 5 Shrivasa Pandita and the other devotees did not know this. She hid behind a large basket in a corner.
Text 6 By hiding how can one become fortunate at heart? Persons who have only a little good fortune do not have the power to see Lord Chaitanya's dancing.
Text 7 Dancing and dancing from room to room, Lord Chaitanya said, "Why am I not ecstatic?"
Text 8 As the Supersoul in the hearts of all beings, Lord Chaitanya knew everything. Even though He knew, He acted as if He were eager to know.
Text 9 Dancing again and again, He finally said, "I am not happy. Is someone hiding here?"
†Everyone searched the whole house. Shrivasa personally looked in every room.
†Saying, "There is no outsider here", he resumed the kirtana. Still, Lord Chaitanya did not feel ecstasy.
†Again Lord Chaitanya stopped and said, "I do not feel happy. Lord Krishna is not merciful to Me today."
†All the devotees became very afraid at heart. They said, "But for us, no one is here.
†"Perhaps one of us committed an offense, and that is why the Lord is not happy at heart."
†Again Shrivasa went through the house. This time he saw his mother-in-law hiding.
†Overcome with love for Lord Krishna, Shrivasa became like a wild man. Shrivasa wasn't a materialist, an outsider. Why did he become proud and angry?
†It was because of Lord Chaitanya's words that Shrivasa's body trembled. On Shrivasa's order, the mother-in-law was grabbed by the hair and thrown outside.
†Only Shrivasa knew this had happened. No one else knew. At that moment Lord Chaitanya became ecstati as He danced.
†Lord Chaitanya said, "Now I feel the ecstasy in My heart." Smiling, Shrivasa Pandita sang in the kirtana.
†Then circle of Vaishnavas blissfully sang a tumultuous kirtana.
†The fair lion that was Lord Chaitanya blissfuly danced. Powerful Lord Nityananda danced with Him.
†Who has the power to see Lord Chaitanya's pastimes? Only when the Lord gives the right to see them can a person see them.
†Every day Lord Chaitanya performed hari-nama sankirtana. Not everyone could see these pastimes.
†Another day Lord Chaitanya danced and danced, but did not feel ecstasy. He looked in the four directions.
†Lord Chaitanya said, "Why am I not happy today? Did I commit an offense? To whom?"
†Advaita Acarya was naturally devoted to Lord Chaitanya. He thought Himself a servant of Lord Chaitanya. He never thought Himself anything else.
†When Lord Chaitanya sat on the Deity-throne, Advaita placed the Lord's feet on His head.
†When Lord Chaitanya displayed His divine powers and opulences, Advaita floated in an ocean of bliss.
†Then Lord Chaitanya would declare, "Nar#a, You are My servant. At those times Advaita felt limitless joy.
†No one has the power to understand the inconceivable nature of Lord Chaitanya. One moment He grasps the Vaishnavas' feet.
†Then He places a blade of grass between His teeth. Then He weeps. Then He calls out, "O father Krishna! You are My very life!"
†When He wept, even the stones broke into pieces. Always thinking Himself a servant of Lord Krishna, Lord Chaitanya enjoyed pastimes.
†Before everyone, Lord Chaitanya would break apart the idea that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As if He did not already know everything, He asked,
†"I must have acted badly. Tell me what I did. If I acted badly, I will die in a moment.
†"Krishna is My life and My treasure. He is My duty. O My brothers, You are My friends birth after birth.
†"My goal is to serve Lord Krishna. I have no other goal. All of you please teach Me how to serve Him. If you don't, then My heart will go astray."
†Frightened, the devotees drew back. No one breathed. No one spoke.
†At other times, the Lord would give orders to the devotees. At those times the devotees were able to touch the Lord's feet.
†Seeing the Vaishnavas, Lord Chaitanya would think Himself their servant. Standing up, He would respectfully touch the dust of their feet.
†At this the Vaishnava would feel unhappy at heart. That is why the Lord would then embrace them.
†Lord Chaitanya always thought Advaita Acarya His spiritual master. At this Advaita would feel very unhappy.
†Advaita was not able to serve Lord Chaitanya directly. While Lord Chaitanya slept, Advaita would grasp the Lord's feet.
†In His heart He meditated on Lord Chaitanya's feet. Advaita always desired to serve Lord Chaitanya directly. That was His constant desire.
†Although He did not have the power to serve Him directly, Advaita yearned to serve Lord Chaitanya. Therefore Advaita resorted to stealing the dust from Lord Chaitanya's feet.
†When Lord Chaitanya fainted in ecstati love, Advaita approached the Lord's feet.
†Offering dandavat obeisances, Advaita fell before the soles of the Lord's feet. With the tears from His eyes, Advaita washed Lord Chaitanya's feet.
†When Lord Chaitanya fainted in ecstasy, on His own head Advaita wiped the Lord's feet. Offering dandavat obeisances, He worshiped the Lord.
†Only because he had attained Lord Chaitanya's great, great mercy could Advaita act in these ways.
†Therefore Advaita was the first of the Vaishnavas. All the Vaishnavas affirmed, "Advaita is very fortunate."
†Wicked persons do not understand the secret of Lord Advaita's transcendental glories.
†One day Lord Chaitanya danced, and Advaita happily followed Him.
†Then Lord Chaitanya fell unconscious. Seeing this, Advaita anointed His limbs with the dust of the Lord's feet. Then He hid.
†Lord Chaitanya was perfectly aware of all these wonderful activities. Then Lord Chaitanya began dancing again. Dancing and dancing, He did not feel happy.
†Lord Chaitanya said, "Why is it not revealed to My heart? Whom have I offended, that now I do not feel joyful?
†"What was stolen from Me. Who stole it? Because of this offense, I have no power to dance in ecstasy.
†"Did someone touch the dust of My feet? Tell the truth. Don't worry. This I tell to you."
†Hearing the words of He who is the Supersoul present in everyone's heart, the devotees became afraid. Silent, no one spoke.
†If they spoke, they were afraid of Advaita's response. If they did not speak they would die. Understanding their dilemma, Advaita folded His hands and said,
†"If a thief cannot take directly, he will take when no one is looking.
†"I am the thief. Please forgive My transgression. If it displeases You, I will not do it."
†Advaita's words made Lord Chaitanya angry. On the preText of angry words Lord Chaitanya described the glories of Advaita.
†He said, "You destroy everything, and even then You feel no remorse in Your heart.
†"Then, when everything is destroyed, You won't be happy unless You destroy Me also.
†"You kill the ascetics, sannyasis, yogis, and philosophers. Whom do You not kill with Your trident?
†"When people grasp Your feet to attain the goal of life, You respond by killing them.
†"A certain sincere Vaishnava who lives in Mathura has come to see the glory of Your feet.
†"After seeing You, how can anyone attain devotion to Lord Vishnu? Whatever devotion he attains, Your eternal potency will take away.
†"When You touch the dust of a person's feet, You destroy him. Without mercy You destroy him.
†"Lord Krishna has given to You all the devotion that exists in the countless universes.
†"Still You ro‚ from a small person who has little. There is no mercy in Your heart. You ro‚ from the poor.
†"You are a hoodlum. You are the greatest of robbers. You have robbed My happiness of love for Lord Krishna."
†In this way, on the preText of criticizing Him, Lord Chaitanya praised Advaita Acarya. Hearing the Lord's words, all the devotees floated in bliss.
†Then Lord Chaitanya said, "You have robbed Me. Can I not ro‚ You? Look! Look! I will ro‚ from the robber."
†After speaking these words, Lord Chaitanya grasped Advaita's feet and, laughing and laughing, took the dust that was there.
†Advaita had no power to defeat the fair lion of Lord Chaitanya. On His own head Lord Chaitanya rubbed Advaita's feet.
†Holding to His own chest Advaita's feet, Lord Chaitanya said, "Look! Look! I have tied up the thief. I have imprisoned Him in My heart.
†"A hundred times You robbed Me. I am the master of the house. Now, in one time, I reclaim all that was robbed from My house."
†Then Advaita said, "What You say is true. You are the master of the house. I did not understand anything.
†"My life, intelligence, mind, and body are all Your property. Lord, if You kill someone, who can protect him?
†"You give happiness, and You also give suffering. If You punish someone, who can protect him?
†"Narada and the sages went to Dvaraka City to see the life's treasure that is Your feet.
†"Then You would take the dust from their feet. What could they do then? That I ask You.
†"When You take the dust of his feet, what can Your servant do?
†"How can Your servant give the dust of his feet to You? Who can disobey Your command?
†"It is not right for the Supreme Lord to act in this way. You will destroy me, and You think it is funny.
†"You may either protect Me or destroy Me. Lord, You will do whatever You wish."
†Then Lord Chaitanya said, "You are the keeper of the storehouse of devotional service. That is why I serve Your feet.
†"Anyone who anoints his body with the dust of Your feet will float in the nectar of pure love for Lord Krishna.
†"If You do not give it, no one can attain devotional service. Please know perfectly well that, "I am Your property."
†"You can sell Me as You like. Lord, I tell You the truth."
†In their hearts all the devotees meditated on Lord Chaitanya's great mercy to Advaita.
†They said, "The Lord has truly served Him. Therefore Advaita is a very exalted person. Ten million liberations are not equal to a small fragment of the mercy Advaita has attained.
†"Even the demigod Siva never attained mercy like the mercy Advaita attained from Lord Chaitanya."
†"We are fortunate to associate with such an exalted devotee. The dust of this devotee's feet we place on all our limbs."
†The devotees were very happy to praise Advaita. Because of their past misdeeds, the sinners feel unhappy to hear Advaita's glories.
†Everything I have now said is true. They who have no faith in the Vaishnavas' words will perish.
†Lord Chaitanya stood up and said, "Haribol!" Then the devotees around Him in the four directions began to sing.
†Overcome with bliss, forgetting all else, and now become like a wild man, Advaita Acarya danced.
†Placing His hand on His beard and knitting His eyebrows, Advaita Acarya, the master of Santipura, loudly roared. Then He began to dance.
†Day and night everyone happily sang, "Jaya Krishna! Gopala! Govinda! Vanamali!"
†††† 101-Text 102
†When Lord Chaitanya danced, powerful, glorious, and ecstati Lord Nityananda carefully watched from every direction, He held His arms out, ready to catch Lord Chaitanya if He fell.
†Filled with ecstati love, Lord Chaitanya danced. What tongue has the power to describe Him?
†Fulfilling the desires of His heart, Balarama and Sarasvati sing the Lord's glories.
†One moment Lord Chaitanya fell unconscious. The next moment He trembled. The next moment He humbly placed a blade of grass between His teeth. The next moment He was wild and arrogant.
†The next moment He laughed. The next moment He sighed. The next moment He became morose. In this way Lord Chaitanya manifested the symptoms of ecstati love.
†One moment Lord Chaitanya sat in a virasana posture and laughed uproariously.
†In this way He gave His mercy to everyone and made everyone fortunate. Then the all the Vaishnavas became plunged in an ocean of bliss.
†Seeing Suklambara Brahmacari before Him, Lord Chaitanya, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, gave His mercy.
†Please hear the story of Suklambara. He lived in Navadvipa, where the Lord Himself was born.
†Suklambara was very peaceful and dutiful. No one could understand that he was a very great devotee of the Lord.
†Carrying a small satchel over his shoulder, he begged alms from house to house in Navadvipa. Day and night chanting, "Krishna!", he wept.
†The people thought him an ordinary beggar. They did not understand him. He begged alms even from the poorest persons.
†Each day the brahmana Suklambara begged alms, offered the food he had received to Lord Krishna, and then ate the remnants Lord Krishna left.
†By Lord Krishna's blissful mercy, he never knew poverty. At home he always chanted, "Krishna!"
†Who has the power to understand a person who has received Lord Chaitanya's mercy. One one who has himself received Lord Chaitanya's mercy can understand.
†Suklambara was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. He was like poverty-stricken Sudama brahmana, who lived in ancient times.
†He was always present when Lord Chaitanya danced. That was Lord Chaitanya's special mercy to him.
†His satchel still over his shoulder, the brahmana Suklambara happily danced. Watching him, Lord Chaitanya and all the Vaishnavas smiled.
†Entering the mood of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Chaitanya sat down. His satchel over his shoulder, the brahmana Suklambara danced, wept, and laughed.
†Watching Suklambara, merciful Lord Chaitanya said, "Come here. Come here." Then the merciful Lord said to him,
†"Birth after birth you are My poverty-stricken servant. Giving Me everything, you remain a beggar.
†"At every moment I wish to accept what you offer. If you do not give, then by force I take and eat.
†"I Dvaraka I forcibly took your rice and ate it. Have you forgotten? Goddess Lakshmi grabbed My hand."
†After speaking these words, Lord Chaitanya thrust His hand into Skulambara's satchel and began to chew handful after handful of rice.
†Suklambara said, "Lord, all is lost! These are all broken pieces of rice!"
†The Lord said, "I eat your broken pieces of rice, but I do not desire even nectar when it is offered by persons who are not My devotees."
†The Lord is blissful and independent. He is His devotees' life. Who can stop Him from eating His devotees' rice?
†Seeing the Lord's mercy, all the devotees placed their heads in their hands and wept.
†Not knowing where they were, they fell to the ground and wept. Seeing the Lord's mercy, everyone was overcome.
†Then arose a very blissful kirtana of Lord Krishna's names. From children to elders, everyone sang and wept.
†Some humbly placed a blade of grass between their teeth. Some bowed down. Some said, "Lord, please never abandon me."
†Saintly Suklambara rolled on the ground. The king of Vaikuntha had happily eaten his rice.
†The Lord said, "Listen. Listen, Suklambara Brahmacari. I always enjoy pastimes in Your heart.
†"What you eat is what I eat. When You walk about collecting alms, I also walk about.
†"I descended to this world to give devotional service and pure love (prema-bhakti,. Birth after birth you are My affectionate servant.
†"Now I give you devotional service and pure love. Please know for certain: `Devotional service and pure love are My life breath'."
†Hearing this blessing given to Suklambara, the circle of Vaishnavas made a great sound of "Jaya! Jaya! Hari!"
†What fortunate person knows the nectar heart of the devotees? Even though they are servants of Goddess Lakshmi's husband, they still go begging from house to house.
†Goddess Lakshmi's husband, Lord Chaitanya, ate the rice Suklambara brahmana had begged from ten homes.
†In the Vedas the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is a great treasure-house of transcendental virtues, describes the rules of offering, with mudras, food to Him.
†If these rules are not followed, the Lord will not accept anything. Still, when He comes to His devotee's doorstep, the Lord pounds those rules into powder.
†Suklambara's rice is the proof of this. Therefore love and devotion are the life-breath of all rules and regulations.
†Orders and prohibitions are all servants of love and devotion. Anyone unhappy with this will perish.
†Vedavyasa affirms that love and devotion are at the root of all rules and regulations. Lord Chaitanya showed how this is true.
†Suklambara brahmana did not do any mudras. He did not even make an offering. Still, the Lord ate his rice with great care.
†Persons blinded by sense pleasures do not understand the heart of all this. Persons intoxicated by wealth, family, and children do not understand the Vaishnavas.
†Lord Krishna never accepts the opulent worship and offerings of fools who, seeing them only as poverty-stricken people, mock the Vaishnavas.
†This is described in the following words of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (4.31.21):
na bhajati kumanishinam sa ijyam
†††† harir adhanatma-dhana-priyo rasa-jnah
sruta-dhana-kula-karmanam madair ye
†††† vidadhati papam akincaneshu satsu
†††† "The Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes very dear to those devotees who have no material possessions but are fully happy in possessing the devotional service of the Lord. Indeed, the Lord relishes the devotional activities of such devotees. Those who are puffed up with material education, wealth, aristocracy, and fruitive activity are very proud of possessing material things, and they often deride the devotees. Even if such people offer the Lord worship, the Lord never accepts them.*
†"Lord Krishna is the life-breath of the materially impoverished devotees." This all the Vedas sing. Lord Chaitanya personally showed the truth of this.
†Anyone who hears this story of how the Lord ate Suklambara's rice will attain pure love and devotion for Lord Chaitanya's feet.
†The two moons Shri Krishna Chaitanya and Shri Nityananda are my life and soul. I, Vrindavana dasa, sing the glories of Their feet.