|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Chaitanya Charitamrta > ANTYA-LILA|
Upon Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s return to Jagannatha Puri, Svarupa Damodara immediately sent news of His arrival to the devotees in Bengal. Mother Sachi was very happy to receive the news, as were all the other devotees, and soon after they assembled at Shivananda Sena’s house in order to begin their journey to Nilachala.
Shivananda Sena organized the trip, and along the way, he maintained everyone and provided them residential quarters. This time a dog followed the party, and Shivananda Sena treated it just like one of the devotees and gave it food along the way. One day, when the devotees had to cross a river, the Orissan boatman would not allow the dog to board his boat. Becoming very unhappy at the thought that the dog might have to remain behind, Shivananda Sena paid the boatman ten pana of conch shells to take it across the river.
Another day, while Shivananda Sena was detained by a toll-collector, his servant forgot to supply the dog with its usual cooked rice. That night, when Shivananda Sena returned and sat down to take his meal, he inquired from the servant whether the dog had been fed. Upon learning that the dog had not been supplied food in his absence, Shivananda Sena became very anxious and immediately sent ten men to search for it. Then, when the men returned without success, Shivananda Sena became very unhappy and fasted that night.
The next morning, Shivananda Sena had the men once again look for the dog, but since it could not be found, they had to continue their journey without it. All the devotees were astonished to see Shivananda’s attachment for the dog, and thus they walked toward Jagannatha Puri in great anxiety.
Upon their arrival at Nilachala, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu met the devotees as usual. Thereafter, He took them to the temple of Lord Jagannatha and accepted His lunch in their company. As previously, the devotees were provided with residential quarters. Then, the next morning, they came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
When the devotees arrived at Kashi Mishra’s house, they were astonished to see that the very same dog that had accompanied them was now sitting a little apart from the Lord. The Lord was engaged in throwing pieces of green coconut pulp to the dog, and while doing so, He smiled in His own way and said, “Chant the holy names of Rama, Krishna, and Hari.”
The devotees were amazed to see the dog eating the coconut pulp and chanting, “Krishna, Krishna”. Because of his natural humility, Shivananda Sena immediately came and offered his obeisances to the dog, just to counteract his offenses. The next day, however, no one saw that dog, for it had obtained its original spiritual body and departed for the kingdom of God, Vaikuntha.
Meanwhile, after arriving in Vrindavana, Rupa Gosvami became inspired to write a drama about Lord Krishna’s pastimes. Then, after composing the introductory verses, Rupa Gosvami departed for Bengal, and along the way he made some notes and began writing the action of the drama.
Upon reaching Bengal, Anupama died, and because of the resultant delay, when Rupa Gosvami reached Navadvipa, he found that the devotees had already left for Jagannatha Puri. Being very anxious to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Gosvami departed alone, and along the way he rested for the night at a place known as Satyabhama-pura, near Kataka. In his sleep, Rupa Gosvami dreamed that a celestially beautiful woman came before him and ordered, “Write a separate drama about me, and by my mercy it will be extraordinarily beautiful.”
After awakening, when Rupa Gosvami thought about the dream, he concluded, “It is the order of Satyabhama that I write a separate drama for her. I had intended to describe, in one work, the pastimes that Lord Krishna had performed while at both Vrindavana and Dvaraka. Now, however, I shall divide them into two dramas.”
While absorbed in thinking like this, Rupa Gosvami quickly reached Jagannatha Puri, and he first of all went to Haridasa Thakura’s cottage. With great affection, Haridasa Thakura told Rupa Gosvami, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has already informed me that you would come here.”
Every day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to visit Haridasa Thakura, after seeing the upala-bhoga ceremony at the temple of Lord Jagannatha. Thus, it so happened that as Rupa Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura were conversing, the Lord arrived there. Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Gosvami immediately fell flat onto the ground, while Haridasa Thakura informed the Lord, “This is Rupa Gosvami offering You obeisances.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu picked up Rupa Gosvami and embraced him, and then He sat down with His two devotees and talked with them for some time. When the Lord inquired about Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami replied, “When I arrived at Prayaga, I learned that Sanatana had already departed for Vrindavana, by way of the public road. Since I took the path that goes along the banks of the Ganga, we did not meet. Then, after arriving in Bengal, my younger brother, Anupama, passed away.”
Finally, after allotting Rupa Gosvami his residence, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu departed. Then, the next day, the Lord took all His associates and once again came to see Rupa Gosvami. As the Lord introduced all the devotees to him, Rupa Gosvami offered his obeisances unto their lotus feet, and in turn, they mercifully embraced him. At this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu, “You should both bestow Your mercy wholeheartedly upon Rupa Gosvami, so that he may become powerful enough to describe the transcendental mellows of devotional service.”
Every day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would take whatever prasada He received from the temple of Lord Jagannatha, and deliver it to Rupa Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura. After talking with them for some time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would depart in order to perform His noontime duties, and upon receiving the mercy of the Lord in this way, Rupa Gosvami would feel unlimited happiness.
After performing the pastime known as Gundicha-marjana, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to a nearby garden at Aitota, and enjoyed a picnic along with His associates. When Haridasa Thakura and Rupa Gosvami saw how the devotees were having prasada and chanting the holy name of the Lord, they became greatly pleased. Then, when they received remnants of the Lord’s food from Govinda, they began to dance in ecstasy after honoring it.
The next day, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to see Rupa Gosvami, being omniscient, He spoke as follows: “Do not attempt to take Krishna out of Vrindavana, for He does not go anywhere else at any time. The Krishna known as Yadunandana is Vasudeva Krishna, an expansion of the Krishna who is the son of Nanda Maharaja. Yadukumara Krishna performs His pastimes at Mathura and Dvaraka, but Krishna the son of Nanda Maharaja never leaves Vrindavana.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu departed to perform His noontime duties, leaving Rupa Gosvami in a state of astonishment. Rupa Gosvami then thought, “Satyabhama had ordered me to write two dramas, and this has been confirmed by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Formerly, I wrote only one composition encompassing all the pastimes of Lord Krishna, but now I shall divide it into two plays. I will meditate upon this deeply, and then compose two separate invocations and introductions, as well as two distinct sets of events.”
During Ratha-yatra, Rupa Gosvami saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dance in front of Lord Jagannatha. Then, when he heard the Lord recite a particular verse while dancing, Rupa Gosvami immediately composed another verse that expressed its meaning.
The Lord had recited this verse: “That very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is once again my lover. These are the same moonlit nights in the month of Chaitra, and the same fragrance of Malati flowers is there. Sweet breezes are once again blowing from the kadamba forest, and in our intimate relationship, I am the same beloved. Still, my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva, under the Vetasi tree. That is my ardent desire.”
Rupa Gosvami composed the following verse: “My dear friend, I have now met My dearly beloved Krishna here at Kurukshetra. I am the same Radharani, and once again We are meeting. This is very pleasant, but I would rather be underneath the trees in the forest on the banks of the River Yamuna. I wish to hear the vibration of Krishna’s sweet flute within the groves of Vrindavana.”
Only Svarupa Damodara knew the reason Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had recited the aforementioned verse as He danced before Lord Jagannatha, and he used to quote other verses that would enhance the Lord’s enjoyment of transcendental mellows. However, Rupa Gosvami could also understand the meaning of this verse, and after composing his own verse, he wrote it down on a palm leaf. Then, after sticking the leaf somewhere in the roof of his cottage, Rupa Gosvami went to bathe in the sea.
At this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to meet Rupa Gosvami at his residence, and when He saw the palm leaf stuck in the roof, He looked at it. After reading the verse, the Lord became overwhelmed with ecstatic love, and just then, Rupa Gosvami returned. Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Gosvami fell flat in the courtyard to offer his obeisances. Then, when Rupa Gosvami got up, the Lord spoke to him as follows, after giving him a mild, affectionate slap: “My heart is very confidential. How did you understand My mind in this way?”
After saying this, the Lord firmly embraced Rupa Gosvami and then departed for the residence of Svarupa Damodara, taking the verse with Him. After giving Svarupa Damodara the verse to examine, the Lord asked, “How could Rupa Gosvami have known My heart?”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “I can understand that You have already bestowed Your causeless mercy upon Rupa Gosvami. Otherwise, no one could have understood the confidential purport.”
The Lord then explained, “Rupa Gosvami met Me at Prayaga. Knowing him to be a suitable person, I naturally bestowed My mercy upon him by endowing him with My transcendental potency. Now, you should also instruct him, especially about the transcendental mellows.”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “As soon as I saw the unique composition of this verse, I could understand that You had bestowed very special mercy upon Rupa Gosvami. ‘Phalena phala-karanam anumiyate’, By seeing a result, one can understand something of its cause.”
When the four months of the rainy season came to an end, the devotees who had come from Bengal returned home. Rupa Gosvami, however, remained at Jagannatha Puri under the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.
One day, while Rupa Gosvami was engaged in writing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly appeared, and so he and Haridasa Thakura immediately fell flat on the ground to offer their obeisances. After embracing them both, the Lord sat down with them, and then inquired from Rupa Gosvami, “What kind of book are you writing?”
While saying this, the Lord held up one of the manuscript’s palm leaves, and upon examining it, He became very pleased, saying, “Rupa Gosvami’s handwriting is just like rows of pearls.”
While reading the manuscript, the Lord came upon the following verse that immediately caused Him to become absorbed in ecstatic love: “I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Krish-na’ have produced. When we chant the holy name, Krishna, it appears to dance within our mouth. At that time we wish we had many, many mouths, and when the holy name enters our ears, we desire many millions of ears. When the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and as a result, all of the senses become inert.”
Upon hearing the Lord recite this verse, Haridasa Thakura became very jubilant, and while dancing, he praised its meaning. Finally, after embracing Rupa Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura, the Lord departed in order to bathe in the sea and perform His noontime duties.
The next day, after visiting the temple of Lord Jagannatha as usual, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu met Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara. Taking them with Him, the Lord went to see Rupa Gosvami, and on the way he recited the two important verses that were composed by him. Indeed, just to examine the hearts of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Ramananda Raya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began praising Rupa Gosvami’s transcendental qualities with such great pleasure that it appeared as if He possessed five mouths.
When Haridasa Thakura and Rupa Gosvami saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrive, along with His intimate associates, they immediately fell to the ground like sticks and began offering prayers at their lotus feet. Thereafter, when the Lord seated Himself in an elevated place, along with His associates, Rupa Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura sat beneath them on the ground. Although everyone repeatedly requested Rupa Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura to come and sit on the same level as the Lord’s other associates, they adamantly refused to do so.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ordered him to read his verse about Radharani’s meeting with Krishna at Kurukshetra, Rupa Gosvami simply remained silent because of great shyness. Svarupa Damodara then recited the verse, and after hearing it, all the devotees were highly astonished. Ramananda Raya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then told Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “Without Your special mercy, it would not have been possible for Rupa Gosvami to have described Your internal feelings.”
Ramananda Raya then admitted, “In the same manner, You previously empowered my heart so that I could express elevated and conclusive truths, to which even Lord Brahma has no access.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Rupa, please recite that verse from your drama which, upon being heard, makes all people’s unhappiness and lamentation go away.”
When the Lord persisted in making this request, Rupa Gosvami finally recited his description of the results of chanting the holy name of Krishna. Upon hearing this verse, all of the devotees, and especially Ramananda Raya, became filled with transcendental bliss and were struck with wonder. Indeed, everyone admitted that they had never before heard such a sweet glorification of the holy name of the Lord.
Ramananda Raya then inquired, “What kind of drama are you writing? We can understand that it is a veritable mine of conclusive statements.”
Svarupa Damodara replied for Rupa Gosvami, “He wanted to compose a single drama about the pastimes of Lord Krishna enacted at Vrindavana, Mathura and Dvaraka. Although he began in that way, now, according to the order of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he has divided the composition into two plays called Vidagdha-madhava and Lalita-madhava, both of which wonderfully describe emotional love of God.”
Ramananda Raya then said, “Please recite the introductory verse of Vidagdha-madhava, so that I can hear and examine it.”
At Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s urging, Rupa Gosvami recited the verse as follows: “May the pastimes of Lord Krishna reduce the miseries of material existence and nullify all unwanted desires. The pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are just like sikharini, a mixture of yogurt and sugar candy. They overpower the pride of even the nectar that is produced on the moon, for they distribute the sweet fragrance of the loving affairs of Shrimati Radharani and the gopis.”
Ramananda Raya then said, “Now, please recite the verse glorifying your worshipful Deity.”
After hearing this, Rupa Gosvami hesitated, for he was embarrassed, due to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s presence. The Lord encouraged him, however, saying, “Why are you ashamed? You should recite the verse, so that the devotees can hear the good fruit of your writing.”
Rupa Gosvami recited the verse as follows: “May the Supreme Lord, who is known as the son of Shrimati Sachidevi, be transcendentally situated in the innermost core of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has descended in the age of Kali, out of His causeless mercy, to bestow what no incarnation has previously given, the most elevated mellow of devotional service, that of conjugal love.”
Because the verse describes His personal glories, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately expressed his disapproval by claiming it to be an exaggeration. However, all the devotees greatly appreciated the verse, and they expressed their gratitude to Rupa Gosvami for having recited it. Ramananda Raya then inquired further about various aspects of the drama, and when Rupa Gosvami replied by quoting the verses that he had composed, one after another, all of the devotees became highly astonished. Some of these verses are as follows:
Shrimati Radharani thought: “Since I have heard the name of a person called Krishna, I have practically lost all My good sense. Then, there is another person who plays His flute in such a way that, after I hear the vibration, intense madness arises in My heart. Then again, there is still another person to whom My mind becomes attached when I see His beautiful luster in His picture. Therefore, I must be greatly condemned, for I have become simultaneously attached to three persons. Because of this, I think that it would be better for Me to die.”
Shrimati Radharani said, “O dearly beautiful, Your artistic lovliness is now firmly impressed within My mind. Because You are now living within Me, wherever I wish to run. Due to being agitated by impressions of You, I find that You are blocking the way.”
Shrimati Radharani told her constant companion, Vishakha: “My dear friend, if Krishna is unkind to Me, there will be no need for you to cry, for it will not be because of any fault of yours. I shall certainly have to die, and so please do one thing for Me. To observe My funeral, place My body with its arms embracing a tamala tree like creepers, so that I may remain forever in Vrindavana, undisturbed. This is My last request.
Lord Krishna once repented, “Upon hearing of My cruelty, the moon-faced Radharani may tolerate it, in spite of Her grief. Then again, She may turn against Me, or indeed, being afraid of the lusty desires invoked by the bow of formidable Cupid, She may even give up Her life. Alas! I have foolishly uprooted the soft creeper of Her desire, just when it was ready to bear fruit.”
Paurnamasi, the grandmother of Radharani, told Lord Krishna, “You are just like an ocean, and the river of Shrimati Radharani has reached You from a long distance, leaving behind the tree of Her husband, breaking through the bridge of social convention, and forcibly crossing over the hills of elder relatives. Because of Her fresh feelings of love, that river has now reached Your shelter, and yet You are trying to turn Her back by the waves of unfavorable words. How is it that You are exhibiting this contrary behavior?”
After hearing Rupa Gosvami recite these, and many other verses, Ramananda Raya said, “Your poetic expressions are like continuous showers of nectar. Now, kindly let me hear the introductory portion of the second drama.”
Rupa Gosvami replied, “In your presence, which is just like brilliant sunshine, I am as insignificant as the light of a glowworm. Indeed, it is impudent for me just to open my mouth before you.”
Rupa Gosvami then recited the introductory verse of Lalita-madhava. However, when Ramananda Raya next inquired about the second introductory verse, Rupa Gosvami became somewhat hesitant.
Still, he recited the verse as follows: “The moonlike Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as the son of Mother Sachi, has now appeared on the earth, in order to propagate devotional service unto Himself. He is the emperor of the brahmana community, and He possesses the power to drive away all the darkness of ignorance and control the minds of everyone. May that rising moon bestow all good fortune upon us.”
Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was inwardly very pleased to hear this verse, externally He angrily said, “Your exalted poetic descriptions of the mellows of Lord Krishna’s pastimes are like an ocean of nectar. Why then have you put in this false prayer about Me? It is just like mixing in a drop of detestable alkali.”
But, Ramananda Raya objected, saying, “It is not alkali- it is a particle of camphor that Rupa Gosvami has put into the nectar of his exalted poetic expression.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “My dear Ramananda Raya, you may be very happy to hear these poetic expressions, but I feel greatly ashamed, knowing that people in general will joke about them.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “Instead of joking, people will feel great pleasure upon hearing such poetry, for the initial remembrance of the worshipful Deity invokes good fortune.”
Thereafter, Ramananda Raya made further inquiries about the drama, Lalita-madhava, and so Rupa Gosvami quoted some of its verses. After hearing everything from Rupa Gosvami, Ramananda Raya praised the superexcellence of his poetic expression before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as if he had thousands of mouths.
Ramananda Raya exclaimed, “This is not a poetic presentation, it is a constant shower of nectar. Indeed, it is the essence of all ultimate realizations, appearing in the form of plays. Rupa Gosvami’s wonderful descriptions of loving affairs will plunge the heart and ears of everyone who hears them into a whirlpool of transcendental bliss. What is the use of an archer's arrow, or a writer’s poetry, if they penetrate the heart but do not cause the head to spin? My dear Lord, without Your mercy, such poetic expressions would be impossible for an ordinary living entity to write.”
The Lord then replied, “I met Rupa Gosvami at Prayaga, and became very attracted to him because of his exalted qualities.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu praised Rupa Gosvami’s use of metaphors and other literary ornaments, and said that without such poetic attributes there is no possibility of preaching transcendental mellows. The Lord then requested all His personal associates to bless Rupa Gosvami so that he would be able to continuously describe the pastimes of Vrindavana, which are full of emotional love of Godhead.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told Ramananda Raya, “Rupa Gosvami’s elder brother, Sanatana Gosvami, is such a wise and learned scholar that there is no one equal to him. Sanatana Gosvami’s renunciation of all material connections is just like yours, and humility, detachment and learning exist within him simultaneously. I empowered both of these brothers to go to Vrindavana, in order to expand the bhakti literature.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus, if You like, You can make even a wooden doll dance. I see that all of the truths regarding transcendental mellows that You expounded through my mouth are all explained in the writings of Rupa Gosvami. Being very merciful to Your devotees, you want to describe the transcendental pastimes of Vrindavana, and anyone who is empowered to execute this task can bring the entire world under Your control.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Rupa Gosvami and asked him to offer prayers at the lotus feet of all the devotees present. Advaita Acharya, Nityananda Prabhu and all the other devotees embraced Rupa Gosvami in turn, and indeed, after having witnessed the Lord’s extraordinary mercy upon him, they all felt highly astonished.
After the Lord had departed, along with His associates, Haridasa Thakura embraced Rupa Gosvami and said, “There is no limit to your good fortune, and no one can understand the glories of what you have described.”
Rupa Gosvami replied, “I do not know anything. Whatever words I have uttered are those that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu caused me to speak.”
In this way, Rupa Gosvami passed his time in Haridasa Thakura’s close association by discussing Lord Krishna’s pastimes in great happiness. After the Dola-yatra festival, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bade Rupa Gosvami farewell, saying, “Now, go to Vrindavana and stay there. You may send your elder brother Sanatana here. Excavate the lost holy places of pilgrimage and establish the devotional service of Lord Krishna and its transcendental mellows. Rest assured that I shall go to Vrindavana once again.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Rupa Gosvami, who in turn placed the lotus feet of the Lord upon his head. Then, after taking leave of all the devotees, Rupa Gosvami began his journey back to Vrindavana by way of Bengal.
In His incarnation as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Krishna descended to deliver all the living beings within the three worlds. The Lord delivered some of the fallen souls by directly meeting them (shakshat-darshana), some by empowering a pure devotee (avesha), and others by appearing in a form not visible to everyone (avirbhava). People not only came from all over India to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri, but from various planets all over the universe. Taking the forms of human beings, the demigods, Gandharvas, Kinnaras, and residents of sapta-dvipa, came to Nilachala, and after seeing the Lord they all became Vaishnavas and chanted and danced in ecstatic love.
Some people, however, could not go and directly meet the Lord, being overly entangled in material activities. Therefore, to deliver such persons, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally entered the bodies of pure devotees, and thus empowered them with so much of His own devotion, that all others became Vaishnavas just by seeing them.
One such empowered devotee was Nakula Brahmachari, who resided at a village known as Ambuya-muluka. Desiring to deliver all the people of Bengal, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu entered Nakula Brahmachari’s heart, and thus he became exactly like a man haunted by a ghost. While continually exhibiting the symptoms of ecstatic love, Nakula Brahmachari would sometimes laugh and sometimes cry. Sometimes he perspired, and sometimes he made thundering sounds like a cloud. Nakula Brahmachari’s body shone with the same luster as that of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and he displayed the same absorption in ecstatic love of Godhead, and thus people came from all over Bengal just to see him. Nakula Brahmachari would advise everyone he met to chant the holy name of the Lord, and simply by seeing him, people became overwhelmed with love of Godhead.
When Shivananda Sena heard people say that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had entered the heart of Nakula Brahmachari, he went to see him with doubts in his mind. There were large crowds of people, continually coming and going, so that it was difficult to even catch a glimpse of Nakula Brahmachari. Desiring to test his authenticity, Shivananda Sena remained at a distance, thinking, “If Nakula Brahmachari personally calls for me and tells me my worshipful mantra, then I shall understand that he is truly inspired by the presence of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
Then, all of a sudden, in his inspired state, Nakula Brahmachari announced, “Shivananda Sena is staying somewhere apart. Go and bring him.”
Immediately, people began running here and there, calling out, “Shivananda! Whoever is named Shivananda, please come here, for Nakula Brahmachari is calling for you.”
Upon hearing this, Shivananda Sena quickly went and offered obeisances to Nakula Brahmachari, and sat down near him. Nakula Brahmachari then said, “I know that you are doubtful, so please hear this evidence with great attention. You are chanting the Gaura-gopala mantra composed of four syllables, and thus you should give up your doubts once and for all.”
In this way, Shivananda Sena developed full confidence that Nakula Brahmachari was filled with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s presence, and so he offered him much respect and devotion.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu always appeared at four places in His avirbhava manifestation- the household temple of Mother Sachi, wherever Nityananda Prabhu danced, the house of Shrivasa Pandita during sankirtana, and the house of Raghava Pandita. The Lord appears because of His attraction for the love of His devotees, for that is His natural characteristic.
One year, a nephew of Shivananda Sena named Shrikanta Sena, went alone to Jagannatha Puri, being very eager to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord bestowed His causeless mercy upon Shrikanta Sena, and allowed him to remain in His association for about two months.
Then, as Shrikanta Sena was about to return to Bengal, the Lord told him, “Forbid the devotees to come here this year, for in the month of Pausha (December-January), I shall personally go to Bengal and meet them. Please inform Shivananda Sena that I will certainly visit his house, and assure Jagadananda Pandita that I will accept his offerings of food.”
When Shrikanta Sena returned home and delivered the Lord’s message, all of the devotees were very pleased to hear the news. Advaita Acharya had been just about to depart for Jagannatha Puri, along with the other devotees, but upon receiving the Lord’s order, He desisted, as did Shivananda Sena and Jagadananda. Finally, when the month of Pausha arrived, Jagadananda and Shivananda collected all kinds of paraphernalia for the Lord’s reception, and every day they anxiously waited until evening for His arrival. However, when the month almost ended without the Lord’s coming, the two became very morose.
Then, one day, Nrisimhananda Brahmachari came to Shivananda Sena’s house. After being respectfully seated, he noticed the great unhappiness of the two devotees. Thus, Nrisimhananda inquired, “For what reason do I see that you are both so despondent?”
Shivananda Sena replied, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu promised to come to my house this month. Why has He not arrived?”
Nrisimhananda Brahmachari then declared, “Just be happy and rest assured that I shall bring Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu here, three days from today!”
Shivananda Sena and Jagadananda Pandita were well aware of Nrisimhananda Brahmachari’s great influence and love for the Lord, and thus they felt confident that his words would not prove false. Actually, his original name was Pradyumna Brahmachari, and the name Nrisimhananda had been given to him by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself.
After meditating for two days, Nrisimhananda informed Shivananda Sena, “I have already brought Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Panihati, and tomorrow at noon He will arrive at your home. Therefore, please bring all kinds of ingredients, so that I can personally cook and offer the food to the Lord. Rest assured that I am telling you the truth. Bring everything I ask for as quickly as possible, because I wish to begin cooking immediately.”
Shivananda Sena hastily procured whatever was requested of him, and then early the next morning, Nrisimhananda Brahmachari began cooking varieties of food. Upon finishing, he made three separate plates, for Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Lord Nrisimhadeva, his worshipful Deity.
After putting the plates on the altar, Nrisimhananda began to meditate upon offering the food, while sitting outside the temple door. Then, in his meditation, Nrisimhananda Brahmachari saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu quickly come, sit down, and eat all three offerings, without leaving any remnants. Upon seeing this, Nrisimhananda became overwhelmed with transcendental ecstasy, and tears flowed profusely from his eyes.
Nevertheless, he expressed dismay by saying, “My dear Lord, what are You doing? You are eating everyone’s food! I know that You are identical with Lord Jagannatha, and so I have no objection to Your eating His offering. But, why are You taking the food that was intended for Lord Nrisimhadeva? I think that Lord Nrisimhadeva desires to fast this day. However, if the master does not eat, how will the servant continue to live?”
Although Pradyumna Brahmachari felt great jubilation to see how Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was eating everything, he manifested disappointment just for the sake of Lord Nrisimhadeva. Being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is identical with both Lord Jagannatha and Lord Nrisimhadeva, and since Pradyumna Brahmachari was deeply eager to understand this transcendental fact, the Lord revealed it to him by practical demonstration. Finally, after eating all three offerings, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu departed for Panihati, where He very happily saw all the varieties of food that were being prepared in Raghava Pandita’s house.
Shivananda Sena then inquired from Nrisimhananda, “Why are you expressing such disappointment?”
Nrisimhananda replied, “Just see the behavior of your Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for He alone has eaten the offerings intended for all three Deities. Now, as a result, Lord Jagannatha and Lord Nrisimhadeva remain fasting.”
Upon hearing this, Shivananda Sena was not sure whether Nrisimhananda Brahmachari’s explanation was an expression of ecstatic love, or whether his statement was factual. While Shivananda was thus perplexed, Nrisimhananda ordered him, “Bring more food, so that I can once again cook for Lord Nrisimhadeva.”
Shivananda Sena quickly brought more ingredients, and so Pradyumna Brahmachari once again cooked and offered the food to Lord Nrisimhadeva. The next year, Shivananda Sena went to Jagannatha Puri as usual.
Then, one day, while praising Nrisimhananda Brahmachari’s transcendental qualities, in the presence of all the devotees, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Last year, in the month of Pausha, Nrisimhananda offered Me varieties of food. Everything was so good, I must admit that never before have I tasted such nice sweets and vegetables.”
Upon hearing this, all of the devotees were struck with wonder, and Shivananda Sena became confident that the incident had actually occurred. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to appear, being influenced by the pure love of His devotees.
There was a gentleman living in the association of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri named Bhagavan Acharya, who was a very learned scholar and first-class devotee of the Lord. Being an incarnation of a cowherd boy, Bhagavan Acharya was always fully absorbed in thoughts of his fraternal relationship with the Lord, and his dealings with Svarupa Damodara were also very friendly. Bhagavan Acharya was fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and sometimes he would invite the Lord to his house for lunch. Although it was the general practice of those who invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to offer Him Jagannatha prasada, Bhagavan Acharya personally prepared varieties of food at home for the Lord to eat.
Even though his father, Shatananda Khan, was an expert statesman, Bhagavan Acharya was not at all interested in politics, but instead was practically like a sannyasi. Bhagavan Acharya had a brother named Gopala Bhattacharya, who went to Benaras to study Vedanta philosophy and thereafter came to Jagannatha Puri. When Bhagavan Acharya took his brother to meet Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord did not derive any pleasure from seeing him, for He knew that he was a Mayavadi. Still, simply because of Gopala Bhattacharya’s relationship with Bhagavan Acharya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu feigned pleasure at meeting him.
Then, one day, Bhagavan Acharya said to Svarupa Damodara, “My brother, Gopala, has come here after having completed his study of Vedanta philosophy. Let us all get together and hear his commentary.”
Out of love, Svarupa Damodara somewhat angrily replied, “You have lost your intelligence in Gopala’s association, and thus you are eager to hear Mayavada philosophy. When a Vaishnava voluntarily listens to the Shariraka-bhasya commentary of Shankaracharya, he gives up his Krishna conscious attitude that the Lord is the master and the living entity is His servant, and instead considers himself to be the Supreme. Indeed, the Mayavada philosophy presents such a jugglery of words that even a maha-bhagavata, a first-class devotee who has accepted Krishna as his life and soul, sometimes changes his decision after hearing it.”
In spite of Svarupa Damodara’s strong protest, Bhagavan Acharya argued, “We are all fixed at the lotus feet of Krishna with our very hearts and souls, and so the Shariraka-bhasya cannot influence us.”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “Nevertheless, when we hear the Mayavada conception that Brahman is truth and the universe of maya is false, we gain no actual spiritual understanding. And, upon hearing the Mayavadis preach that the individuality of the living entity is only imaginary, and that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is under the influence of maya, the devotees’ hearts certainly become greatly pained.”
After hearing this, Bhagavan Acharya remained silent, having become greatly ashamed and fearful. Then, the next day, he asked his brother, Gopala Bhattacharya, to return to his village.
One day, after having invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch, Bhagavan Acharya summoned Chota Haridasa, a devotee who used to sing for the Lord, and spoke to him as follows: “Please go to Madhavadevi, the sister of Sikhi Mahiti, and ask her for one mana of fine, white rice.”
Madhavadevi was an elderly lady who always performed austerities, and was very advanced in devotional service. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted her as having formerly been an associate of Shrimati Radharani, and indeed, in the entire world, there were just three and a half people who were His most intimate devotees. The three were Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, Ramananda Raya, and Sikhi Mahiti, and the half a person was Sikhi Mahiti’s sister, Madhavadevi.
After begging the rice from Madhavadevi, Junior Haridasa delivered it to Bhagavan Acharya, who was very pleased to see its fine quality. Thereafter, with great affection, Bhagavan Acharya cooked varieties of food that he knew were dear to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and he also obtained some maha-prasada from the Jagannatha temple. At noon, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to accept the offerings of Bhagavan Acharya, He first of all appreciated the fine rice.
The Lord asked, “Where did you get such nice rice?”
Bhagavan Acharya replied, “I got it by begging from Madhavadevi.”
The Lord then inquired about who had gone and brought the rice, and in reply, Bhagavan Acharya mentioned the name of Chota Haridasa. Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took His lunch, and then, after returning to His residence, He gave the following order to Govinda, “From this day on, do not allow Chota Haridasa to come here.”
When Junior Haridasa heard that he had been excluded from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s association, he became extremely unhappy, and thereafter, he began to fast. No one could understand why Chota Haridasa had been forbidden to approach Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so Svarupa Damodara and other confidential devotees came and inquired from the Lord, “What great offense has Junior Haridasa committed, so that he can no longer come to Your door? He has been fasting for three days.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I cannot tolerate seeing the face of a person who has accepted the renounced order of life and yet still talks intimately with women. So strongly do the senses adhere to the objects of their enjoyment, that even a wooden statue of a woman can attract the mind of a great saintly person. One should not sit closely even with one’s mother, sister or daughter, especially in a secluded place, for the senses are so strong that they may attract even a person who is advanced in knowledge. There are many persons with little in their possession who accept the renounced order of life simply to live like monkeys. They go here and there, engaging in sense gratification and talking intimately with women.”
After saying this, the Lord entered His room, and upon seeing Him in such an angry mood, everyone remained silent.
The next day, all the devotees came to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and submitted the following appeal at His lotus feet: “Junior Haridasa has committed a small offense. Therefore, O Lord, please be merciful to him. He has certainly learned his lesson and so in the future he will not again deviate from the strict principles of sannyasa.”
However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “My mind is not under My control. It does not like to see anyone in the renounced order of life who talks intimately with women. You should all tend to your respective engagements and give up this useless talk, for if you speak like this again, I will go away, and thus you will never see Me here again.”
Upon hearing this, all of the devotees covered their ears with their hands, and then, after getting up, they silently went about performing their respective duties. The Lord also departed to perform His noontime duties, and no one could understand this transcendental pastime.
The next day, all the devotees approached Paramananda Puri and requested him to pacify the Lord. Paramananda Puri then went alone to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence, and the Lord, after offering His obeisances, seated him very respectfully by His side.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then inquired, “What is your order? For what purpose have you come here?”
Paramananda Puri then requested Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to become merciful toward Junior Haridasa. In reply, the Lord said, “Your holiness, please hear Me. You had better remain here with all the devotees and give Me permission to go to Alalanatha. There, I will remain with only Govinda.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then called for Govinda, and after offering obeisances to Paramananda Puri, He got up in order to depart at once. In great haste, Paramananda Puri went in front of the Lord, and with great humility, persuaded Him to come back and sit within His room.
Paramananda Puri then said, “My dear Lord, You are the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus You can do whatever You like. Who can order You? All of Your activities are for the benefit of people in general, but we cannot understand them, for Your intentions are very deep and grave.”
After saying this, Paramananda Puri returned home, and thereafter, all the devotees went to see Junior Haridasa.
Svarupa Damodara then advised him, “My dear Haridasa, kindly hear us, for we all wish you well. Please believe this. At present, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is persisting in His angry mood, because, after all, He is the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead. At some future time, however, He will surely become merciful, for at heart He is very kind. Still, at present the Lord is unrelenting, and so if you persist as well, then His persistence will certainly increase. You had better go bathe and have prasada, and then in due course of time, the Lord’s anger will surely subside.”
In this way, Svarupa Damodara induced Junior Haridasa to break his fast, and after thus reassuring him, he returned home. By seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s behavior toward Chota Haridasa, a mentality of fear grew among the devotees, and as a result, they completely stopped talking with women, even in dreams. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to visit Lord Jagannatha in the temple, Junior Haridasa would watch Him from a distance, and in this way, one complete year passed, and yet, there was no sign of the Lord’s mercy upon him.
Then, at the end of one night, Chota Haridasa offered his obeisances to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and departed for Prayaga without informing anyone. Thereafter, having conclusively decided to attain shelter at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, Junior Haridasa entered deep into the water at Triveni, and thus gave up his life.
Immediately after giving up his material body in this way, Chota Haridasa went to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his spiritual body and received His mercy. Thereafter, in his spiritual form, which resembled that of a Gandharva, Junior Haridasa used to sing at night for the Lord to hear. However, since he remained invisible, no one except Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu knew of this.
Then, one day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired from the devotees, “Where is Haridasa? Now, you may bring him here.”
The devotees replied, “One night, at the end of one full year, Junior Haridasa went away, and no one knows where he has gone.”
While listening to the devotees lament, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu mildly smiled, and all of them were astonished to see this.
One day thereafter, Jagadananda, Svarupa Damodara, Govinda, Kashishvara, Shankara, Damodara and Mukunda went to bathe in the sea. While there, these devotees could hear Junior Haridasa singing in the distance, as if calling them in his original voice. All the devotees then made the following guess: “We cannot see Haridasa’s form, but we can hear his sweet singing. Therefore, he must have committed suicide by drinking poison, and as a result of this sinful act, he has become a brahmana ghost.”
Svarupa Damodara protested, however, saying, “This is false reasoning. Junior Haridasa chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra throughout his entire life, and he served the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Moreover, he was very dear to the Lord, and he has died at a holy place. Therefore, Haridasa could not have become degraded. He must have attained liberation. This is one of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, and so you will all come to understand it later on.”
A devotee returned to Navadvipa from Prayaga and told everyone the details of Junior Haridasa’s suicide. Upon hearing the story, Shrivasa Thakura and the other devotees were very surprised. Then, at the end of the year, the devotees traveled to Jagannatha Puri as usual, and thus they met Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in great happiness.
When Shrivasa Thakura inquired, “Where is Junior Haridasa?” the Lord replied, “A person is sure to achieve the results of his fruitive activities.” Then, after Shrivasa Thakura related what he had heard about Haridasa’s suicide, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smiled as if pleased, and said, “If, with sensual intentions, one looks at women, this is the only process of atonement.”
Thereafter, Svarupa Damodara and the other devotees concluded that since Junior Haridasa had committed suicide by drowning at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna, he must have ultimately attained shelter at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.
From this pastime, the following lessons should be understood:
Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is an incarnation of mercy, He gave up the company of one of His personal associates so that pseudo-devotees would not be able to use Haridasa’s fault as an excuse to live as devotees, and at the same time have illicit sexual connections.
By chastising Junior Haridasa, the Lord taught Acharyas how to maintain high standards in their institutions.
The Lord taught that a devotee should be free from sinful activity, and He showed how the renounced order of life should be strictly observed.
The Lord practically demonstrated how much havoc can be created by even a slight deviation from the strict principles of devotional life.
The Lord exhibited great mercy toward His devotee by correcting even a slight offense, and at the same time, He showed the extent of Junior Haridasa’s devotion for Him.
This pastime illustrates the benefit of dying at a holy place, and
It was shown that even though a pure, or faithful devotee may fall down, he nonetheless ultimately gets the chance to go back to Godhead, by the mercy of the Lord.
In Jagannatha Puri there lived a young boy who was born of Orissan brahmana parents, and then lost his father at an early age. This boy had very beautiful bodily features, and his behavior was extremely gentle. Every day, he used to visit Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for the Lord was his very life and soul. After offering his obeisances, the child would talk very freely with the Lord, and the Lord also reciprocated in a very friendly manner.
However, the boy’s intimacy with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord’s mercy toward him, was intolerable to Damodara Pandita. Indeed, with great endeavor, Damodara Pandita repeatedly forbade the brahmana’s son to visit Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. However, in spite of Damodara Pandita’s warnings, the boy could not bear to remain at home and not see the Lord, and so he nonetheless came every day. It is the nature of any young boy to go see a person who treats him very affectionately.
Damodara Pandita could not tolerate the idea of the brahmana’s son visiting the Lord, and yet, since the boy ignored his restrictions, there was nothing he could do, and so he became very unhappy. One day, the boy came as usual, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very affectionately inquired from him about all kinds of news.
Then, after some time, when the boy left, the intolerant Damodara Pandita impudently spoke as follows: “Everyone says that You are a great Acharya, because of Your instructions to others, but now we will see what kind of teacher You are. Talk of Your character and reputation will soon spread throughout the town of Purushottama, and so just imagine how your position will be greatly impaired!”
Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu knew that Damodara Pandita was actually a pure and simple devotee, He said, “My dear Damodara, what nonsense are you speaking?”
Damodara Pandita replied, “My dear Lord, You are the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus beyond all criticism, and can act as You like. Nevertheless, since the entire world is impudent, people tend to say anything and everything, and there is no stopping them”
“My dear Lord, You are a learned teacher, and so why don’t You consider how this boy is the son of a widowed brahmani. Why are You so affectionate toward him? Although the boy’s mother is perfectly austere and chaste, she has one natural fault- she is a beautiful young girl, and You, My Lord, are a handsome young man. Because people will certainly whisper about You, why should You give them such an opportunity?”
After saying this, Damodara Pandita became silent and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smiled, being very pleased at heart. Although, as a staunch devotee, Damodara Pandita could not tolerate criticism of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he himself criticized the Lord in his own way, and this was not very good. However, the Lord knew that it was due to his simplicity that Damodara Pandita dared to criticize Him. He thus thought as follows: “This impudence is also a sign of pure love for Me. Indeed, I have no other intimate friend like Damodara Pandita.”
While thinking in this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu departed to perform His noontime duties.
The next day, after calling Damodara Pandita to a solitary place, the Lord said, “My dear friend Damodara, you had better go to Nadia and stay with My mother. Beside yourself, I cannot see anyone to protect her, for you are so strict that you do not hesitate to caution even Me.”
“You are the most neutral among My associates, and this is very good, because without being impartial, one cannot protect religious principles. For this reason, you can do whatever I cannot, since you are able to chastise even Me, and so what to speak of others. Please stay under the shelter of My mother’s lotus feet, for no one will be able to behave independently in front of you. Then, from time to time, you may return here to Jagannatha Puri to see me.”
“Offer My mother millions of obeisances on My behalf, and assure her that I am quite happy here, for that will also give her happiness. Tell her that I have sent you to Bengal, just to inform her of My activities, and in this way, pacify her mind.”
“In addition, remind My mother of one most confidential incident, by delivering to her the following message: ‘I come to your house again and again, in order to eat all the sweets and vegetables you offer Me. You know that I come and eat the offerings, but because of external separation, you consider it to be a dream.’ ”
“ ‘During the last Magha-sankranti, you cooked many varieties of food for Me. Then, as you were offering them to Lord Krishna in meditation, I suddenly appeared there, and so your eyes filled up with tears. In great haste I ate everything, and upon seeing this, you felt great happiness. Then, the next moment, after wiping the tears from your eyes, you saw that the plate was empty. At first, you thought, “I dreamt that Nimai came here and ate everything.” Then, due to the bewilderment that is caused by external separation, you thought, “Perhaps I did not even offer the food to Lord Vishnu”. Thinking in this way, you went into the kitchen to look at the cooking pots, and you discovered that all of them were still full. Thus, you once again offered the food after cleaning the altar.’ ”
“ ‘My dear mother, in this way, I again and again come and eat everything that you offer to Me, for I am attracted by your pure love. Only because of your order am I living at Nilachala. Nevertheless, you pull Me near to you because of your great love for Me.’ ”
The Lord then told Damodara Pandita, “Remind Mother Sachi of this incident again and again, and worship her lotus feet on My behalf.”
After this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ordered that some Jagannatha-prasada be brought. Then, he divided it into separate packages for Damodara Pandita to deliver to His mother and other devotees. In this way, Damodara Pandita went to Nadia and stayed under the care of Sachimata. Everyone knew that he was very strict in his practical dealings and so, out of fear, no one dared to do anything independent. Damodara Pandita used to verbally chastise every devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whom he found to be deviating even slightly from proper behavior, and in this way, he established the proper etiquette. Indeed, simply by hearing about Damodara Pandita’s verbal chastisements, atheistic principles and ignorance depart.
One day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu met Haridasa Thakura as usual, and in the course of their discussion, He inquired as follows: “In this age of Kali most people are bereft of Vedic culture, and therefore they are called yavanas. Indeed, such people are always engaged in killing cows and destroying religious principles, and thus they perform all kinds of sinful acts. How will these yavanas be delivered? To My great unhappiness, I cannot see any means for their salvation.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My dear Lord, do not worry, for there is no cause for Your unhappiness. Since the yavanas are accustomed to exclaiming, ‘ha rama! ha rama!’ (how horrible! how horrible!), they will very easily become delivered by this namabhasa chanting. A devotee who is advanced in ecstatic love of God exclaims, ‘ha rama! ha rama!’ (O my Lord Ramachandra!), and the yavanas do the same thing unintentionally. Just see their good fortune!”
“The chanting of the holy name to indicate something other than the Lord is an example of namabhasa. Even when the holy name of the Lord is chanted in this way, its transcendental potency is not lost, as we see from the life of Ajamila. There is also a reference in the Nrisimha Purana of a mleccha who cried out ‘ha rama!” again and again in great distress while being killed by the tusks of a wild boar. By doing so, he attained liberation.”
“The word ‘rama’ consists of two syllables, ‘ra’ and ‘ma’, and it can deliver the inoffensive hearer from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, or whether the syllables are joined or separated. For example, if one says ‘halam riktam’, the spiritual potency will act, because he has somehow or other uttered the word ‘hari’, even though the syllables are separated. Similarly, one receives the benefit of chanting the holy name of Lord Rama by saying ‘raja-mahishi’, provided there are no offenses.”
“The holy name of the Lord acts just like the sun. Just as a slight appearance of sunlight dissipates the darkness of night, so, a slight appearance of the holy name of Krishna (namabhasa) can eradicate all one’s sinful reactions. Thus, by even the faintest rays of the effulgence of the Lord’s holy name, one can attain liberation. However, if one uses the chanting of the holy name of the Lord for material benefit, the desired result will not be achieved very soon.”
While listening to Haridasa Thakura, the namacharya, or authority on the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s happiness increased. Still, as a matter of course, He further inquired as follows: “On this earth there are innumerable living entities, some moving and some not moving. How will the trees, plants, insects and other such living beings be delivered from material bondage?”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My dear Lord, the deliverance of all moving and nonmoving living entities takes place only by Your mercy, and indeed, this has already been granted by You. You have loudly chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and everyone has benefited by hearing it. The moving living entities who have heard Your sankirtana, have already been delivered from material bondage, and after the nonmoving entities, like trees, hear Your chanting, there is an echo. Actually, it is not an echo, it is the kirtana of the nonmoving living entities. Although inconceivable, this is possible by your mercy.”
“Indeed, as the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is congregationally chanted throughout the entire world, all of the moving and nonmoving living entities dance in ecstatic love. I have heard from Balabhadra Bhattacharya about the incidents that took place in the Jharikhanda forest. Then, when Vasudeva Datta submitted his plea for the deliverance of all living entities, Your Lordship accepted it.”
“My dear Lord, You have assumed the form of a devotee just to deliver all the fallen souls of this world. By loudly chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, you have liberated all moving and non-moving living entities from material bondage.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “If all the living entities become liberated, then the entire universe would remain vacant.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My Lord, as long as You are situated within the material world, You will send all the developed moving and non-moving living entities to the spiritual world. Then again, You will awaken those living entities who are not yet developed, and engage them in activities. In this way, more moving and nonmoving living entities will come into existence, and thus the universe will become filled as before.”
“Previously, when Lord Ramachandra departed from this world, He took with Him all the living entities of Ayodhya and then filled it once again with other living beings. Similarly, by descending in Vrindavana, Lord Krishna freed all the living entities within the universe.”
“My Lord, by descending as an incarnation at Navadvipa, You have also set in motion a plan to deliver all the living entities within the universe, but no one can understand how You are acting. Someone may say that he understands the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but as far as I am concerned, Your pastimes are just like an ocean of nectar. What to speak of conceiving how great that ocean is, I cannot even understand one drop of it.”
Being highly astonished upon hearing all of this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu thought, “These are actually My confidential pastimes. How could Haridasa Thakura have understood them?”
With great satisfaction, the Lord then embraced Haridasa Thakura, but outwardly, he avoided further discussion of these subjects. It is a characteristic of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that, although He wants to cover His opulence, He cannot do so before His devotees. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then went to His personal associates and began glorifying Haridasa Thakura’s transcendental qualities as if He possessed hundreds of mouths. No one can describe all of the innumerable and unfathomable attributes of Haridasa Thakura, but still, one may say something about them just to purify himself.
After leaving home, Haridasa Thakura stayed for some time in a forest near the village of Benapola. After constructing a small cottage there, Haridasa Thakura planted a tulasi plant in front of which he chanted the holy name of the Lord 300,000 times daily, throughout the entire day and night. For his bodily maintenance, he used to go to the house of a brahmana and beg for some food, and he was so spiritually influential that all of the neighboring people worshiped him.
However, the landholder of that district, named Ramachandra Khan, was very envious of Vaishnavas, and a great atheist. For this reason, Ramachandra Khan could not tolerate the great respect offered to Haridasa Thakura, and so he hoped to find some way to defame him.
Finally, when he could not find even the slightest fault in Haridasa Thakura’s character, Ramachandra Khan called for some local prostitutes and said, “There is a mendicant residing nearby named Haridasa Thakura. I want all of you to devise some means to deviate him from his vows of austerity.”
Thereafter, one very young and beautiful girl from among the prostitutes was selected, and she promised, “I shall attract Haridasa Thakura’s mind within three days.”
Ramachandra Khan then said, “My constable will go with you, and as soon as he catches Haridasa with you, he will arrest him and bring both of you to me.”
The prostitute replied, “First let me have union with Haridasa Thakura once, and then the second time, I will take your constable so that he can arrest him.”
That night, after dressing in a most attractive fashion, the prostitute went to Haridasa Thakura’s cottage in great jubilation. After offering her obeisances to the tulasi plant, she went to the cottage door and offered obeisances to Haridasa Thakura.
Then, while exposing part of her body to his view, the prostitute sat down in the doorway and spoke as follows, with a very sweet voice: “My dear Thakura, you are so handsomely built, and your youthful age is just beginning. Who is the woman who could control her mind after seeing you? I am very eager to have union with you, and indeed, my mind has become most greedy for this. If I do not obtain you, then I shall no longer be able to maintain my body and soul together.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “I shall certainly accept you without fail, but you must first of all wait until I have finished my chanting of the holy name of the Lord on my beads. Until that time, please sit and listen to the chanting. Then, I shall certainly fulfill your desire.”
Thereafter, the prostitute remained seated as Haridasa Thakura continued chanting throughout the entire night, until the light of dawn appeared. At that time, the prostitute stood up and left. Later, when she met Ramachandra Khan, she said, “Today, Haridasa Thakura promised to enjoy with me, and so tomorrow I shall certainly have union with him.”
The next night, when the prostitute came to him, Haridasa Thakura gave her assurances as follows: “Last night you were disappointed and so please excuse my offense. Now, kindly sit and hear the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra until my rounds are completed. Then, I shall certainly accept you, and your desire will be fulfilled
After offering her obeisances to the tulasi plant and Haridasa Thakura, the prostitute sat down in the doorway, and as she listened to the chanting, she also began to say, “O my Lord Hari”.
When the light of dawn appeared, the prostitute appeared to be very restless, and so Haridasa Thakura told her, “I have vowed to chant ten million names of the Lord in a month, and I am now almost finished. In fact, I thought that I would complete my vow today, and I tried my best to do so by chanting all night. Tomorrow, I shall certainly finish my chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and then it will be possible for me to enjoy with you in full freedom.”
Thereafter, the prostitute went and informed Ramachandra Khan of the news. Then, the next evening, she came to Haridasa Thakura’s cottage somewhat earlier. After offering her obeisances to the tulasi plant and Haridasa Thakura, she sat down as usual at the threshold of the cottage, and while listening to the holy name of the Lord, she also began to chant, “Hari, Hari”.
Haridasa Thakura then told her, “Today it will be possible for me to finish my vow. Then, I shall satisfy all of your desires.”
Once again the night ended as Haridasa Thakura continued chanting the holy name of the Lord, but by his association, the prostitute’s mind had been transformed. Having become purified of all sinful reactions, she fell at Haridasa Thakura’s lotus feet and confessed that Ramachandra Khan had induced her to break his vow.
She then pleaded, “Because of accepting the profession of a prostitute, I have performed unlimited sinful activities. My lord, please be merciful to me and deliver my fallen soul.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “I already knew everything about the conspiracy of Ramachandra Khan. He is simply an ignorant fool, and thus his activities do not make me feel unhappy. On the very day that Ramachandra Khan began plotting against me, I would have immediately left this place, but because you came to me, I stayed for three days just to deliver you.”
The prostitute then said, “Kindly become my spiritual master and instruct me how to act so that I can gain release from the miseries of material existence.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “Go home without delay and distribute all of your possessions to the brahmanas. Then, come back to this cottage and remain here forever in Krishna consciousness. Chant the Hare Krishna mantra continuously, and render service to the tulasi plant by watering her and offering prayers. In this way, you will very soon attain shelter at Lord Krishna’s lotus feet.”
After instructing the prostitute about the process of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, Haridasa Thakura stood up and left, while continually chanting the holy name of the Lord.
Thereafter, the prostitute went and distributed all of her household possessions to the brahmanas. Then, after shaving her head, she remained in that cottage, wearing only a single piece of cloth, and according to the order of her spiritual master, she began chanting the holy name of the Lord 300,000 times daily, throughout the entire day and night. She worshiped the tulasi plant, and instead of taking regular meals, she ate whatever she received as alms and fasted if nothing came to her.
Thus, by eating frugally and sometimes fasting, the former prostitute conquered her senses, and as soon as her senses were under control, she began to exhibit the symptoms of ecstatic love of Godhead. Because of this, she became a celebrated devotee, and due to her great advancement in Krishna consciousness, many stalwart Vaishnavas used to come and see her. Upon witnessing her sublime character, everyone became highly astonished, and thus they glorified the wonderful influence of Haridasa Thakura, and offered obeisances to him.
Because he induced the prostitute to disturb Haridasa Thakura, Ramachandra Khan caused the seed of this offense unto the lotus feet of a Vaishnava to fructify. This seed later on became a tree, and Ramachandra Khan had to eat its bitter fruit. Ramachandra Khan was by nature an atheist, but after committing the offense against Haridasa Thakura, he became just like a demon.
Meanwhile, after arriving at Bengal from Jagannatha Puri, Nityananda Prabhu began to tour all over, for the purpose of preaching Krishna consciousness. One day, the omniscient Lord came to Ramachandra Khan’s house and sat down on the altar of the Durga-mandapa.
When Ramachandra Khan saw how his Durga-mandapa and entire courtyard were filled with crowds of men, he sent out a servant who relayed the following message to Nityananda Prabhu: “My dear sir, Ramachandra Khan has sent me to accommodate You in the house of some common man. Perhaps You could go to a spacious cowshed (goshala), for there is not enough room here in the Durga-mandapa for You and all Your followers.”
When Nityananda Prabhu heard this, He laughed out loud and then angrily exclaimed, “Ramachandra Khan is right! This place is unfit for Me. It is just suitable for cow-killing meat-eaters.”
After saying this, Nityananda Prabhu departed in a very angry mood, and just to punish Ramachandra Khan, He did not even stay in that village. Ramachandra Khan ordered the servant to dig up the dirt where Nityananda Prabhu had sat, and smear cow dung mixed with water all over the Durga-mandapa and courtyard, to purify the area. Still, even after doing this, Ramachandra Khan’s mind could not attain peace.
Ramachandra Khan’s business practices were questionable, and he avoided paying taxes to the government. Therefore, the Mohammedan finance minister angrily came to Ramachandra Khan’s house, and after taking up residence in the Durga-mandapa, he killed a cow and cooked the meat in that very place. He arrested Ramachandra Khan, along with his wife and sons, and then proceeded to plunder the entire village for three continual days.
Finally, after destroying Ramachandra Khan’s caste and position in this way, and taking away all of his wealth and followers, the Mohammedan finance minister departed, along with his assistants. Still, out of fear, the entire village remained deserted for many days thereafter. Whenever an advanced devotee is insulted, for one man’s fault, the entire place becomes affected.
Meanwhile, Haridasa Thakura walked until he came to the village of Chandapura, (later known as Krishnapura), where he stayed at Balarama Acharya’s house. Balarama Acharya was the family priest of Hiranya and Govardhana Majumadara. Due to receiving his favor, Balarama Acharya was very attached to Haridasa Thakura, and thus he took are of all his needs with great care and attention. Haridasa Thakura was given a cottage in a secluded place, and he came daily to Balarama Acharya’s house to accept prasada. At this time, Raghunatha dasa was a schoolboy, and he used to come and see Haridasa Thakura every day. Naturally, Haridasa Thakura was very merciful toward him, and as a result, Raghunatha dasa later on attained shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Regular discourses were held at the residence of Hiranya and Govardhana, and one day, Balarama Acharya very humbly invited Haridasa Thakura to come there. Upon seeing Haridasa Thakura arrive, the two Majumadaras immediately stood up and then fell at his lotus feet, to offer obeisances. There were many learned scholars, brahmanas and respectable gentlemen in that assembly, and Hiranya and Govardhana were also greatly learned.
As the two brothers very respectfully offered Haridasa Thakura a sitting place, everyone began to speak about his exalted qualities as if they each possessed five mouths. Hiranya and Govardhana were very pleased to hear this talk, and then, when it was mentioned how Haridasa Thakura chanted 300,000 holy names daily, the learned scholars began to discuss the glories of the holy name of the Lord.
Some of them said, “By chanting the holy name of the Lord, one is freed from all the reactions to sinful activities.” Others said, “Simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one becomes liberated from material bondage.”
Haridasa Thakura then protested, “These two benedictions are not the true result of chanting the holy name of the Lord. If one actually chants the holy name without offenses, his ecstatic love for the lotus feet of Lord Krishna is awakened. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is said, ‘When a person is actually advanced, and takes pleasure in chanting the holy name of the Lord, who is very dear to him, he becomes agitated and thus sometimes laughs, sometimes cries, and sometimes chants loudly and dances, without caring for outsiders.’ ”
“Liberation and the destruction of sinful reactions are two concomitant by-products of chanting the holy name of the Lord. ‘As the rising sun immediately dissipates all the world’s darkness, so the holy name of the Lord, even if chanted only once without offenses, dispels all of one’s sinful reactions.’ ”
Haridasa Thakura then requested, “O learned scholars, please explain the meaning of this verse.”
However, the audience responded, “It would be better if you explain the meaning of this important verse.”
Haridasa Thakura said, “Even before the sun rises in the morning, it dissipates the darkness of night with its dawning light, and thus all fear of thieves and ghosts immediately vanishes. Then, when the sun actually becomes visible, everything is clearly manifest and people begin performing their morning religious activities and other duties.”
“Similarly, the first glimpse of offenseless chanting of the Lord’s holy name immediately dissipates all reactions to sinful life. Then, when one is actually on the platform of offenseless chanting, there awakens ecstatic loving devotional service at the lotus feet of Krishna. Liberation is thus the insignificant result derived from a mere glimpse of the awakening of offenseless chanting. An example of such an effect of namabhasa is seen in the life of Ajamila. Liberation, which is unacceptable for a pure devotee, is very easily offered by Lord Krishna.”
There was a person named Gopala Chakravarti staying at Hiranya and Govardhana’s house, in their employ. As the chief tax collector, it was his duty to collect 12,00,000 coins and deposit them in the Emperor’s treasury. This caste brahmana had very handsome bodily features, and he was very learned and youthful. However, he could not tolerate hearing the statement that one can achieve liberation by glimpsing the awakening of the pure chanting of the Lord’s holy name.
Becoming very angry, Gopala Chakravarti immediately began criticizing Haridasa Thakura as follows: “O learned scholars, just hear the conclusion of this emotional devotee. After many millions of births, when one becomes complete in transcendental knowledge, one may still not attain liberation, and yet this man says that it can be obtained simply by awakening a glimpse of the holy name of the Lord.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “Why are you doubtful? Shastra clearly states that one can attain liberation simply by a slight glimpse of offenseless chanting. For the devotee who enjoys the transcendental bliss of devotional service, liberation is most insignificant, like the water contained within the hoofprint of a calf.”
Gopala Chakravarti then said, “If one is not liberated by such namabhasa chanting, then I shall certainly cut off your nose.”
Haridasa Thakura accepted this challenge by saying, “If, by namabhasa, liberation is not available, then I shall certainly cut off my own nose.”
After hearing Gopala Chakravarti’s challenge, everyone gathered there became very agitated, and while getting up from their seats, they made a tumultuous noise. Hiranya and Govardhana immediately went and began chastising Gopala Chakravarti, and Balarama Acharya told him, “You are a foolish logician. What do you know about the devotional service of the Lord? Since you have insulted Haridasa Thakura, you have put yourself in a very dangerous position, and so you should not expect anything auspicious.”
The two Majumadaras immediately dismissed Gopala Chakravarti from their service, and then, as Haridasa Thakura got up to leave, they went along with the other members of the assembly and fell at his lotus feet.
While smiling, Haridasa Thakura spoke to them as follows, in a very sweet voice: “None of you are at fault. Indeed, even this ignorant so-called brahmana is not to be blamed, for he is accustomed to dry speculation and logic One cannot understand the glories of the holy name of the Lord simply by mundane logic and argument. Now, all of you please return home and do not be sorry that I have been insulted. May Lord Krishna bestow His blessings upon you all.”
After returning home, Hiranya and Govardhana ordered that Gopala Chakravarti never again be admitted into their house. Then, within three days, Gopala Chakravarti was attacked by leprosy, and as a result, his highly raised nose melted away and fell off. Although his toes and fingers were as beautiful as golden campaka buds, they also gradually withered away, and upon seeing Gopala Chakravarti’s condition, everyone became highly astonished. While considering the wonderful influence of Haridasa Thakura, everyone glorified him and offered him obeisances.
Although Haridasa Thakura did not take the brahmana’s offense seriously, the Supreme Personality of Godhead could not tolerate it, and thus arranged for him to suffer the consequences. It is a characteristic of a pure devotee that he excuses any offense committed by an ignorant rascal. However, the characteristic of Lord Krishna is that He cannot tolerate blasphemy of His devotees.
Haridasa Thakura was unhappy to hear about how Gopala Chakravarti had been attacked by leprosy. Then, after informing Balarama Acharya, Haridasa Thakura went to Advaita Acharya’s house at Shantipura. When Haridasa Thakura offered Him obeisances, Advaita Acharya immediately embraced him in return and showed him great respect.
Advaita Acharya then made a cave-like dwelling for Haridasa Thakura in a secluded place by the side of the Ganga. Every day, Haridasa Thakura came to Advaita Acharya’s house for prasada, and the two of them happily passed their time tasting the sweet nectar of Krishna-katha. Advaita Acharya also took this opportunity to instruct Haridasa Thakura about the real meaning of Bhagavad-Gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam, in terms of devotional service.
Once, Haridasa Thakura said, “My dear Advaita Acharya, every day You give me alms of food. What is the necessity of this? You are living here in the society of great and aristocratic brahmanas, and yet without fear or shame You adore a lower-class man like me. Thus, Your behavior is most uncommon. But, because of this, I fear that You will be put into a bad light in the eyes of society, and thus sometimes I am afraid to even talk with You. Therefore, please do me a favor and protect me from society’s blame.”
Advaita Acharya replied, “My dear Haridasa, do not be afraid, for I shall behave strictly according to the principles of shastra. Since feeding you is equal to feeding ten million brahmanas, please accept this sraddha-patra.”
Advaita Acharya was always absorbed in thoughts of how to deliver the fallen souls of this world, and for this purpose, He vowed to cause Lord Krishna to descend. Similarly, Haridasa Thakura chanted in his cave on the banks of the Ganga with the intention of causing Krishna to appear. It is because of the devotional service of these two persons that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu incarnated within this world to deliver the holy name of the Lord and ecstatic love for Krishna.
One evening, as Haridasa Thakura was sitting in his cave, loudly reciting the holy name of the Lord, a beautiful woman appeared in the courtyard. The light of the full-moon night made the waves of the Ganga sparkle, and all directions were clear and bright.
Having a tulasi plant placed upon a clean altar in front, the dwelling of Haridasa Thakura was so beautifully situated that whoever saw it became astonished and satisfied at heart. The luster of the woman’s body was so brilliant that it tinged the entire area with a yellow glow. The sweet scent of her body perfumed all directions, and the tinkling of her ornaments was startling for the ear to hear.
Upon her arrival, the woman first of all offered her obeisances to the tulasi plant, and then, after circumambulating tulasi devi, she came to the entrance of Haridasa Thakura’s cave.
With folded hands, she offered obeisances unto the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura, and then spoke to him as follows, in a very sweet voice: “My dear friend, you are the well-wisher of the entire world, and in addition, you are so handsome and qualified. I have come here to have union with you, and so kindly be merciful upon me. Please accept me, for it is a characteristic of all saintly persons that they are kind to those who are poor and fallen.”
After saying this, the beautiful woman began to display various sensual poses, the seeing of which would cause even the greatest philosopher to lose his patience. Haridasa Thakura was immovable, however, for he was deeply determined to remain fixed in Krishna consciousness.
Then, being very merciful toward her, Haridasa Thakura addressed the woman as follows: “I have been initiated into a vow to perform a great sacrifice by chanting the holy name of the Lord a prescribed number of times daily. As long as my vow is unfulfilled, I do not desire anything else, and so only upon completing my chanting do I gain the opportunity for performing some other activity. Please sit down at the door and listen to the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Then, as soon as I finish, I shall satisfy you according to your desire.”
Thereafter, Haridasa Thakura continued chanting until the light of dawn appeared, and so the woman got up and departed. For three consecutive days, she approached Haridasa Thakura in this way and exhibited various feminine poses that would bewilder the mind of even Lord Brahma. However, since Haridasa Thakura was always absorbed in thought of pleasing Krishna’s senses instead of his own, the woman’s attempt to divert him was no more effective than crying out in a desolate forest for help.
At the end of the third night, the woman addressed Haridasa Thakura as follows: “My dear sir, for three days you have cheated me by giving me false promises, because I see that throughout the entire day and night, your chanting is never finished.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My dear friend, what can I do? Since I have made a vow, how can I give it up?”
Then, after offering her obeisances to Haridasa Thakura, the woman said, “I am Mayadevi, the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I came here just to test you. Previously, I captivated even the mind of Lord Brahma, and so what to speak of others. Your mind alone I have failed to attract, and thus you are the foremost devotee.”
“Simply by seeing you and hearing you chant the holy name of Krishna, my consciousness has become purified. Now, I also want to chant the holy name of Lord Krishna. Please instruct me about the ecstasy of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.”
“Due to the incarnation of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, there is now a flood of the eternal nectar of love of Godhead. All living entities are floating in that inundation, and thus the whole world feels immense gratitude toward the Lord. Anyone who does not float in this flood of love of Godhead is most condemned, for such a person cannot be delivered for millions of kalpas.”
“Formerly, I received the holy name of Lord Rama from Lord Shiva, but now, due to your association, I am greatly eager to chant the holy name of Lord Krishna. The holy name of Lord Rama certainly gives liberation, but the holy name of Krishna not only transports one to the other side of the ocean of nescience, but at last delivers one ecstatic love at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. Therefore, please give me the holy name of Lord Krishna. Make me most fortunate so that I can also float in the inundation of love of Godhead that has been inaugurated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
After saying this, Mayadevi worshiped the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura, who in turn initiated her by saying, “Just chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.” Finally, after being instructed by Haridasa Thakura, Mayadevi departed with great pleasure.
During the advent of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, even such personalities as Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, and the four Kumaras, took birth upon the earth, being allured by ecstatic love for Krishna. All of them, including Narada and Prahlada, came here as if human beings, and by chanting and dancing together, they floated in the inundation of love of Godhead. Lakshmi also came in the form of a human being, and, what to speak of others, even Lord Krishna Himself personally descended, in order to taste the nectar of love of Godhead in the form of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. What then is so astonishing if the maidservant of Krishna, His external energy, begs for love of Godhead? Without the mercy of a pure devotee, and without the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, love of Godhead cannot be possible.
When Rupa Gosvami returned to Bengal after having stayed with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri, Sanatana Gosvami departed from Mathura, to go and see the Lord. While walking alone through the Jharikhanda forest in central India, sometimes he fasted, and sometimes he would eat. However, because of drinking polluted water, and due to fasting, Sanatana Gosvami was attacked by a disease that afflicted him with oozing sores all over his body that itched.
Being greatly disappointed because of this, Sanatana Gosvami thought as follows: “I am of a low caste, and my body is useless for engaging in devotional service. When I go to Nilachala, I shall not even be able to see Lord Jagannatha, nor shall I be able to visit Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at His residence, for I have heard that it is very close to the temple. The servants of Lord Jagannatha are always going here and there, tending to their duties, and if they happened to touch me, that would be a great offense on my part. Therefore, during the Ratha-yatra festival, I will give up this useless body by throwing it under the wheels of Lord Jagannatha’s chariot in the presence of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This will certainly be the highest benediction of my life.”
Having made this resolution, Sanatana Gosvami finally arrived at Jagannatha Puri, and by asking directions from the people, he came to the residence of Haridasa Thakura. When Sanatana Gosvami offered obeisances at his lotus feet, Haridasa Thakura embraced him in return, for they had been previously acquainted.
Knowing that Sanatana Gosvami was very eager to see the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Haridasa Thakura said, “The Lord will be coming here very shortly.”
At that very moment, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived there along with His associates, after having seen the upala-bhoga offering to Lord Jagannatha. Upon seeing the Lord, Haridasa Thakura and Sanatana Gosvami immediately fell down flat like sticks, to offer their obeisances. Then, when the Lord lifted up Haridasa Thakura and embraced him, the latter said, “Here is Sanatana Gosvami, offering his obeisances.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very surprised to see Sanatana Gosvami, and He immediately came forward to embrace him. Sanatana backed away, however, and said, “My dear Lord, please do not touch me, for I am the lowest of men. Besides that, I have infections all over my body.”
Still, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Sanatana Gosvami by force, and thus the moisture that oozed from the itching sores touched His transcendental body. The Lord introduced all the devotees to Sanatana Gosvami, who in turn offered his obeisances unto the lotus feet of all of them. After this, the Lord sat down on a raised platform with His associates, while Haridasa Thakura and Sanatana Gosvami sat beneath them on the ground. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired about his wellbeing, Sanatana Gosvami replied, “Everything is auspicious because I have seen Your lotus feet.”
When the Lord asked about all the Vaishnavas of Mathura, Sanatana Gosvami informed Him of their good health and fortune. Then, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Sanatana, “Rupa Gosvami stayed here for ten months and departed for Bengal ten days ago. Your brother Anupama has passed away. He was a very good devotee who had firm faith in Lord Ramachandra.”
Sanatana Gosvami said, “My birth is very low because my family commits all kinds of sinful acts, and yet, without hatred, You have accepted me as Your servant. Indeed, only by Your mercy is there good fortune in my family.”
“From the very beginning of his childhood, my younger brother, Anupama, was a great devotee of Lord Raghunatha, and he worshiped Him with fixed determination. He continually chanted Lord Rama’s holy name and meditated upon His glorious activities by hearing and chanting Ramayana.”
“Anupama always remained in the company of Rupa and myself and thus he heard Shrimad-Bhagavatam and talks of Lord Krishna from us. Then, one day, we tested him by speaking as follows: ‘Dear Vallabha, please hear from us. Lord Krishna is supremely attractive and His beauty, sweetness and pastimes of love are all unlimited. Engage yourself in Lord Krishna’s devotional service, along with us, and in this way we three brothers can always stay together and enjoy discussing His transcendental pastimes.’ ”
“In this way we encouraged Vallabha again and again, and because of our persuasion and his respect for us, his mind turned somewhat toward our instructions. Thus, Vallabha replied, ‘My dear brothers, how can I disobey your orders? Initiate me into the Krishna mantra so that I may perform devotional service unto Him.’ ”
“However, that night, Vallabha thought, ‘How shall I give up the lotus feet of Lord Raghunatha?’ and while doing so, he stayed up the entire night crying. Then, the next morning, he came to us and submitted the following plea: ‘I have already sold my head at the lotus feet of Lord Ramachandra, and I cannot withdraw it, for that would be too painful. Therefore, please be merciful and order me in such a way that life after life I may serve Lord Raghunatha’s lotus feet. It is impossible for me to give up His lotus feet, for even when I think of doing so, my heart breaks.’ ”
“Upon hearing this, we both embraced Anupama, and then encouraged him by saying, ‘You are a great saintly devotee, for your determination in devotional service is fixed.’ ”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “Formerly, there was a similar incident when I examined Murari Gupta and found his determination to be just like this. Glorious is that devotee who does not give up the shelter of his Lord, and glorious is that Lord who does not abandon His servant. If, by chance, a servant falls down and goes elsewhere, glorious is that master who captures him and drags him back by the hair.”
“My dear Sanatana, it is very good that you have come to Jagannatha Puri. Now, stay here in this room with Haridasa Thakura. Both of you are very expert in understanding the emotional ecstasies of Lord Krishna’s devotional service. Therefore, you should pass your time together relishing the taste of Krishna-katha and the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.”
Having said this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu got up and departed. Then, through Govinda, He sent prasada to Sanatana Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura. In this way, Sanatana Gosvami stayed under the care of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and while seeing the chakra on top of the Jagannatha temple, he would offer his obeisances.
Every day, the Lord would go and meet these two stalwart devotees, and discuss with them topics regarding Lord Krishna for some time. The offerings made to Lord Jagannatha were of the very highest quality, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to bring this prasada and deliver it to Haridasa Thakura and Sanatana Gosvami.
One day, while meeting these two devotees, the Lord suddenly spoke as follows: “My dear Sanatana, if I could attain Krishna by committing suicide, then I would gladly give up millions of bodies without a moment’s hesitation. However, you should know that one cannot achieve Krishna merely by giving up his material body. The awakening of one’s dormant love for Krishna is the only means of attaining Him, and such ecstatic love is invoked only by the process of devotional service, and not by any other means. Acts such as suicide are impelled by the mode of ignorance, and are sinful. As long as one is under the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance, it is not possible to understand Krishna.”
“It is a fact that due to feelings of separation from Krishna, an exalted devotee sometimes desires to give up his life. However, by such ecstatic love he attains Krishna’s audience, and thus the devotee cannot give up his body.”
“The following statement of Rukmini from Shrimad-Bhagavatam serves to illustrate how one who is deeply in love with Krishna cannot tolerate separation from Him, and thus desires his own death. ‘O lotus-eyed one, if I do not receive Your mercy, then I shall observe vows that will reduce the duration of my life. Indeed, I shall give up bodies for hundreds of births, if it is not possible for me to attain You.’ ”
“My dear Sanatana, give up your nonsensical desire, for it is unfavorable for gaining shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. Just engage yourself in hearing and chanting, for then you shall soon achieve Krishna’s shelter without a doubt. A person born in a low family is not unfit for discharging devotional service. Nor is one fit to render devotional service simply because of having taken birth in an aristocratic family of brahmanas.”
“Anyone who takes to devotional service is glorious, whereas a non-devotee is always condemned and abominable. Thus, there is no consideration of one’s family status with regards to devotional service. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always favorable to the humble and meek, whereas aristocrats, learned scholars, and wealthy persons are invariably proud of their positions.”
“Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, and at the same time avoids the ten kinds of offenses, he can very easily attain the treasure of love of Godhead.”
Sanatana Gosvami was exceedingly astonished to hear Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu speak like this, and so he thought, “The Lord, who is the knower of everything- past, present and future- has not approved of my decision to commit suicide, and thus he has forbidden me to do so.”
Sanatana Gosvami then fell to the ground, and after touching the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he said, “My Lord, You are the omniscient, merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead. Exactly like a wooden doll, I dance as You make me. I am not only lowborn, but am the most condemned person, for I have all the characteristics of a sinful man. If You keep me alive, what is the profit?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “Your body is My property. You have already surrendered to Me, and thus you no longer have any claim of proprietorship over your body. Why do you want to destroy another’s property? Can’t you consider what is right and what is wrong?”
“Your body is My principle instrument for executing many necessary functions. You will have to ascertain and explain the basic principles of devotional service, and the characteristics of a devotee. In addition, you will have to establish centers for the cultivation of Krishna consciousness, excavate the forgotten places of pilgrimage, and teach people how to properly accept the renounced order of life.”
“Mathura-Vrindavana is My very dear abode, and I would like to do many things there to preach Krishna consciousness. However, by the order of My mother I am staying here, in Jagannatha Puri, and thus I cannot remain at Vrindavana. For this reason, I must accomplish all these tasks through your body, and yet you want to give it up. How can I tolerate this?”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, my Lord. No one can understand the deep plans within Your heart. A wooden puppet dances and sings according to the directions of a magician, but it does not know how it is chanting and dancing. My dear Lord, as You cause a person to dance, he dances accordingly, although He does not know how he dances, and who is making him dance.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “My dear Haridasa, this gentleman wants to destroy the property that belongs to another. One who is entrusted with someone else’s property does not distribute it or use it for his own purposes. Therefore, please tell Sanatana not to do such an unlawful thing.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “We are falsely proud of our capabilities. However, unless You inform us, we cannot understand Your deep intentions, nor through whom You wish to execute them. My dear Lord, since You have accepted Sanatana Gosvami, there can be no one as fortunate as he.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Haridasa Thakura and Sanatana Gosvami and then left to perform His noontime duties.
After the Lord’s departure, Haridasa Thakura embraced Sanatana Gosvami and exclaimed, “No one can find the limit of your good fortune, because Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has accepted your body as His own property! My dear Sanatana, whatever the Lord cannot accomplish at Mathura with His own body, He wants to execute through you.”
“Any task which the Supreme Personality of Godhead wishes someone to perform will certainly come out successful. Because Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wants you to write books that establish the conclusive truths regarding devotional service, you are greatly fortunate. On the other hand, my body could not be used in the service of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in spite of its having taken birth in the land of India, and thus it is completely useless.”
Sanatana Gosvami objected to this, saying, “O Haridasa Thakura, who is equal to you? You are one of the personal associates of the Lord! Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared just to propagate the importance of chanting the holy name of the Lord. However, instead of personally doing so, the Lord is preaching through you.”
“You are chanting the holy name of the Lord 300,000 times daily, and at the same time you are informing everyone of the importance of such chanting. Some devotees behave very well but do not preach the mission of Krishna consciousness, whereas others preach but do not behave properly. However, you simultaneously perform both duties in relation to the holy name of the Lord, and thus you are the most advanced devotee, and the spiritual master of the entire world.”
As usual, the devotees from Bengal came to Nilachala, to remain with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during the four months of the rainy season. When Sanatana Gosvami saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dance in front of Lord Jagannatha during Ratha-yatra, his mind became highly astonished.
The Lord introduced Sanatana Gosvami to all His associates, and requested him to offer each of them obeisances in a befitting manner. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did this just to make Sanatana Gosvami an object of the devotees’ mercy, and indeed, Sanatana became very dear to all of them, because of his exalted qualities. When the devotees returned to Bengal, Sanatana Gosvami remained at Jagannatha Puri, under the care of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Sanatana Gosvami came to Jagannatha Puri during the month of Vaishakha (April-May), and during the next month, Jyaistha, the Lord tested him.
One day, at noon, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to the garden of Yameshvara (Lord Shiva), to accept prasada at the request of the devotees. At this time, the Lord called for Sanatana Gosvami, who became overwhelmed with joy upon receiving the invitation.
Although at noon the sand on the beach was as hot as fire, Sanatana Gosvami went that way, and because of his ecstasy, he could not even feel that his feet were burning. Upon arriving at the garden of Yameshvara, Sanatana Gosvami found that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was already resting after having finished His lunch. Govinda supplied Sanatana Gosvami with a plate of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s remnants, and after eating them, he approached the Lord.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then inquired, “By which path did you come here?”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I came by way of the path that goes along the beach.”
The Lord asked, “How could you walk on the beach when the sand is so hot? Why didn’t you take the path that goes in front of the Simha-dvara, and which is very cool? The hot sand must have blistered the soles of your feet so that now you can hardly walk. How could you tolerate this?”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I hardly felt any pain and I was not even aware that my feet were being blistered by the hot sand. I have no right to pass by the Simha-dvara, for the servants of Lord Jagannatha are always coming and going there without cessation. If I were to touch one of them, I would be ruined.”
The Lord was very pleased to hear this statement and so He replied, “My dear Sanatana, although you are the deliverer of the entire universe and even demigods and great sages become purified by your touch, you wish to preserve the proper etiquette, for that is the characteristic of a Vaishnava. Indeed, maintenance of the Vaishnava etiquette is the ornament of a devotee. If one transgresses the laws of etiquette, people make fun of him, and thus he becomes vanquished both in this world and in the next. My dear Sanatana, by observing the proper etiquette, you have greatly satisfied My mind. Who else but you could show such a wonderful example?”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Sanatana Gosvami, and so the moisture that oozed from his itching sores became smeared all over the Lord’s body. Sanatana Gosvami had tried to forbid Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so, after being forcibly embraced by the Lord, he felt very distressed. Thereafter, both master and servant returned to their respective residences, and the next day, Jagadananda Pandita came to see Sanatana Gosvami.
While discussing various topics regarding Lord Krishna, Sanatana Gosvami submitted to Jagadananda Pandita the cause of his distress as follows: “I came here just to diminish my unhappiness by seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but the Lord did not allow me to execute the plan I had decided upon. Although I repeatedly forbid Him to do so, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraces me, and thus His body becomes smeared over with the discharges from my itching sores.”
“In this way, I am committing offenses at the lotus feet of the Lord, for which I shall certainly not be delivered. At the same time, I am unable to see Lord Jagannatha, and that also gives me great unhappiness. I came here for my benefit, but now I see that I am getting the opposite result. Because of this, I do not know what I should do.”
Jagadananda Pandita replied, “The most suitable place for you to reside is Vrindavana. The Lord has already ordered both you brothers to situate yourselves in Vrindavana, and so, by going there, you will certainly attain all happiness. Your purpose in coming to Jagannatha Puri has already been fulfilled, for you have seen the lotus feet of the Lord. Therefore, after seeing Ratha-yatra, you should depart.”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “You have given me very good advice. I shall certainly go to Vrindavana, for that is the place that the Lord has given me for my residence (prabhu-datta-desha).”
Thereafter, Sanatana Gosvami and Jagadananda Pandita went to perform their respective duties.
The next day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to see Haridasa Thakura and Sanatana Gosvami as usual. When Haridasa Thakura offered his obeisances, the Lord lifted him up and embraced him in ecstatic love. Sanatana Gosvami had offered his obeisances from a distant place, and so the Lord called for him again and again. Out of fear of committing further offenses, Sanatana Gosvami refused to come forward, however, and so the Lord quickly went and approached him. Although Sanatana Gosvami tried to back away, the Lord caught hold of him by force and embraced him.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat down with his two devotees, Sanatana Gosvami addressed Him as follows: “I came to Jagannatha Puri for my benefit, but I see that I am getting just the opposite result. I am unfit for rendering devotional service, and thus I simply commit offenses, day after day.”
“By nature I am lowborn and a contaminated reservoir of sinful reactions. When You touch me, it is certainly a great offense on my part. Over and above this, although blood oozes from my infected sores, You embrace me by force so that Your body becomes smeared with the moisture.”
“My dear Lord, You do not have even the slightest aversion to touching my body, which is in such a horrible condition, but because of my offense, everything auspicious for me will be vanquished. Since there is nothing beneficial for me here, please order me so that I can return to Vrindavana after seeing the Ratha-yatra festival. I have consulted with Jagadananda Pandita, and he has advised me to return to Vrindavana.”
Upon hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spoke as follows, in a very angry mood, “Jaga is only a new boy, and yet he has become so proud that he considers himself competent to advise a person like you. In matters of spiritual advancement, and even in ordinary dealings, you are on the level of his spiritual master, and yet, without understanding his own position, he dares to give you advice.”
“My dear Sanatana, you are fit to be My advisor, for you are a great authority, and thus Jagadananda’s instructing you is but the impudence of a naughty boy.”
While Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was thus chastising Jagadananda Pandita, Sanatana Gosvami fell at His lotus feet and said, “Now I can understand the fortunate position of Jagadananda Pandita, and my own misfortune as well. My dear Lord, You are making Jagadananda drink the nectar of affectionate relationships, whereas, by offering me prayers, You are forcing me to drink the bitter juice of nim and nisinda. It is my misfortune that You have not accepted me as one of Your intimate relations, but after all, You are the completely independent Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
After hearing Sanatana Gosvami’s statement, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt somewhat ashamed. Just to satisfy him, the Lord spoke as follows: “My dear Sanatana, please do not think that Jagadananda Pandita is more dear to Me than you. It is simply a fact that I cannot tolerate transgressions of the standard etiquette. You are a greatly experienced authority on shastra, whereas Jaga is just a young boy. Indeed, there are many instances where you have convinced even Me about principles of ordinary behavior and devotional service.”
“Jagadananda’s advising you was intolerable for Me, and therefore I chastised him. I offer you praise not because I consider you to be outside of an intimate relationship with Me, but because you are actually so qualified that one is forced to glorify you. Because one has affection for many different persons, various types of ecstatic love awaken, according to the particular nature of each relationship.”
“My dear Sanatana, you consider your body to be horrible and obnoxious, but this is a material conception. Because you are a Vaishnava, your body is completely spiritual.”
“Even if your body were material, I still could not neglect it, for a sannyasi should never make mundane distinctions in terms of good or bad. Because anything conceived of as being without a relationship with Krishna is illusory, the material distinction between so-called good and bad is only a mental concoction, and thus actually does not exist. ‘The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater.’ ”
“Since I am in the renounced order of life, it is My duty to remain equipoised, without making any distinctions. For this reason, I cannot reject you, for by doing so I would deviate from My occupational duty.”
Haridasa Thakura then objected, “My dear Lord, what you have said deals with external formalities, and thus I cannot accept it. We are all fallen, but You have not rejected us, due to Your well-known quality of being very merciful.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smiled and said, “Listen, Haridasa and Sanatana, for I will now speak the truth about how My mind is attached to you. I think of you both as My little boys who are to be maintained by Me. The maintainer never takes seriously any faults that he may find in his dependents.”
“I never conceive of Myself as deserving any respect, but out of affection, I consider all of you to be just like My own children. When a baby passes stool and urine on the mother’s body, she never hates the child, but instead, she takes great pleasure in cleaning him. Indeed, the stool and urine of the little child appear to her to be just like sandalwood paste. Similarly, when the foul moisture oozing from Sanatana’s sores touches My body, I do not feel any hatred for him.”
Haridasa Thakura then said, “My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and are most merciful to us. No one can understand what is within Your deeply affectionate heart. You embraced the leper Vasudeva, whose body was completely infested with worms, and thus You made him become as beautiful a Cupid. We cannot understand the waves of Your mercy.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “The body of a devotee is never material, and so it should always be considered transcendental. At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders himself to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna accepts him as being as good as Himself. In this way, the devotee’s body becomes transformed into spiritual existence, and in that transcendental body, the devotee renders service unto the lotus feet of the Lord.”
“Lord Krishna had somehow or other manifested these itching sores on Sanatana’s body, and then sent him here just to test Me. If I had been repulsed by Sanatana Gosvami, and thus had failed to embrace him, Krishna would surely have chastised Me for My offenses. Sanatana Gosvami is an associate of Lord Krishna, and so there could not be any bad odor emanating from his body. Indeed, the first time that I embraced him I smelled the aroma of catuhsama, a mixture of sandalwood paste, camphor, aguru, and musk.”
“My dear Sanatana, do not be aggrieved, for I actually derive great pleasure from embracing you. Stay with Me at Jagannatha Puri for one full year, and then I shall send you to Vrindavana.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once again embraced Sanatana Gosvami. Immediately, all of Sanatana Gosvami’s oozing sores disappeared, and his entire body became endowed with a complexion resembling the color of molten gold.
Upon seeing this wonderful transformation, the greatly astonished Haridasa Thakura exclaimed, “My Lord, this is all Your pastime! You made Sanatana Gosvami drink the foul water in the Jharikhanda forest. Then, after generating itching sores all over his body, You examined him. No one can understand Your transcendental pastimes!”
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to His residence, after having embraced the two devotees once again, Sanatana Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura began describing the Lord’s transcendental attributes in great ecstatic love. Then, after the Dola-yatra festival, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fully instructed Sanatana Gosvami about what to do in Vrindavana, and bade him farewell. The scene of separation that took place when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sanatana Gosvami took leave of one another is so piteous, however, that it cannot be described herein.
Sanatana Gosvami had taken notes from Balabhadra Bhattacharya about all the villages, rivers, and hills where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had performed His pastimes, and then he traveled to Vrindavana by the same forest path that the Lord had previously traversed. Thus, while on the way, Sanatana Gosvami met all of those persons who had become devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and whenever he came to a place where the Lord had performed a specific pastime, he immediately became filled with ecstatic love.
Sanatana Gosvami reached Vrindavana before Rupa Gosvami, who had been delayed in Bengal for one year while distributing his accumulated wealth to his relatives, the brahmanas, and temples. Finally, after finishing his business and situating his relatives properly, Rupa Gosvami returned to Vrindavana with a fully satisfied mind.
Thereafter, Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis began executing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s will by collecting many revealed scriptures. Then, from the evidence of shastra, they gradually excavated the forgotten pilgrimage sites and established temples for the worship of Lord Krishna.
Sanatana Gosvami compiled many books, such as Bhagavatamrita; a commentary on the tenth canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam called Dasama-tippani; and the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, from which one can understand the full extent of Vaishnava duties and behavior. Rupa Gosvami also wrote many books, the most famous of which is Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, and altogether he compiled 100,000 verses.
The son of Rupa Gosvami’s younger brother, Shri Vallabha, named Shri Jiva Gosvami, was a greatly learned scholar who also wrote many books, of which the sat-sandharba is prominent. Altogether Shri Jiva Gosvami compiled 400,000 verses, and from his works one can gain a conclusive understanding of devotional service and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When Shri Jiva Gosvami wanted to go to Mathura from Bengal, after having renounced everything, he requested permission from Shrila Nityananda Prabhu. In consideration of his relationship with Rupa and Sanatana, Lord Nityananda placed His lotus feet upon Jiva Gosvami’s head. Then, after embracing Jiva Gosvami, Nityananda Prabhu gave the following order: “Yes, go soon to Vrindavana. That place has already been awarded to your father and uncles by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so you should go there without delay.”
One day, Pradyumna Mishra, a resident of Shrihatta, came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After offering his respects, Pradyumna Mishra very humbly submitted the following petition: “My dear Lord, I am a cripple-minded householder, and the most fallen among men. Still, somehow or other, by good fortune, I have received the shelter of Your lotus feet, which are rarely even seen. I wish to constantly hear topics concerning Lord Krishna, and so please be merciful and tell me something about Krishna.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I do not know anything about Krishna-katha. I think Ramananda Raya is the only person who knows the subject, for it is from him that I hear topics concerning Lord Krishna. It is your great fortune that you are inclined to relish Krishna-katha, and so you had better approach Ramananda Raya and hear from him. Not only yourself, but anyone who has awakened a taste for hearing Krishna-katha is to be considered extremely fortunate. One who simply executes his duties properly according to the system of varna and ashrama, but does not develop attachment for hearing and chanting about Krishna, is certainly laboring fruitlessly.”
As advised by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Pradyumna Mishra went to Ramananda Raya’s residence. After being seated by a servant, Pradyumna Mishra was unable to see Ramananda Raya present, and so he inquired about him.
The servant replied, “There are two girls who are extremely beautiful, youthful, and expert in dancing and singing. Ramananda Raya has taken them to a secluded place in the garden, to teach them how to dance according to the songs that he has composed for his drama, Jagannatha-vallabha-nataka. Please sit here and wait for a few moments. Then, as soon as Ramananda Raya comes, he will certainly execute whatever it is that you desire.”
As Pradyumna Mishra remained seated, Ramananda Raya took the two dancing girls to a solitary place. Then, with his own hands, he massaged their bodies with oil and bathed them. After having cleansed their entire bodies, Ramananda Raya dressed and decorated the two young girls, and all the while he remained unchanged and unagitated. Indeed, while touching the young girls, Ramananda Raya was just like a person touching wood or stone, for his body and mind remained completely unaffected.
Shrila Ramananda Raya used to act in this way because he thought of himself in his original position as a maidservant of the gopis. Thus, although externally appearing to be a man, internally, Ramananda Raya considered himself to be a maidservant, and the two girls to be gopis. The greatness of the devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is exceedingly difficult to understand, and among them, Shri Ramananda Raya is unique, for he has shown how one can extend his ecstatic love of Godhead to the extreme limit.
Ramananda Raya proceeded to direct the two girls how to dance in such a way as to express the deep meanings of his songs. He taught them how to express the symptoms of various ecstasies with the movements of their faces, eyes, and other bodily parts. By means of the feminine poses and dance movements taught to them by Ramananda Raya, these girls were able to precisely exhibit all of the various expressions of ecstasy before Lord Jagannatha, for His pleasure.
After giving the two devi-dasis their lessons, Ramananda Raya fed them sumptuously with prasada and then sent them home, unnoticed by others. Every day, Ramananda Raya trained the two girls how to dance, as aforementioned. Who among the tiny conditioned souls, whose minds are always absorbed in thoughts of material sense gratification, can understand the mentality of Shri Ramananda Raya?
When Ramananda Raya was informed of Pradyumna Mishra’s presence, he immediately went and offered his obeisances to him with great respect. Then, with great humility, Ramananda Raya said, “Dear Sir, you arrived here long ago, but no one informed me of this. Therefore, I have certainly become an offender at your lotus feet. My entire home has become purified because of your arrival. Now, kindly order me, for I am your servant. What can I do for you?”
Pradyumna Mishra replied, “I came here simply to see you. Now that I have purified myself by seeing Your Honor, I will take my leave.”
Because it was late, Pradyumna Mishra did not say anything more. The next day, when Pradyumna Mishra came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord inquired, “Have you heard talks about Lord Krishna from Ramananda Raya?”
In reply, Pradhyumna Mishra described the activities of Ramananda Raya. After hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spoke as follows: “I am a sannyasi, and I certainly consider Myself to be renounced. However, what to speak of seeing a woman, if I even hear a woman’s name I feel changes in My body and mind. Therefore, one can just imagine how extremely difficult it is to remain completely unmoved at the sight of a woman.”
“Now, please hear about Ramananda Raya, in spite of the fact that his activities are so uncommon that they should not be spoken of. Although the two dancing girls are very young and beautiful, Ramananda Raya personally massages their bodies and then dresses and decorates them with ornaments. In this way, Ramananda Raya naturally sees and touches the private parts of their bodies, and yet, his mind remains unchanged. Therefore, it is to be understood that his mind is as steady as wood or stone, for even while touching young girls and teaching them how to physically express ecstatic emotions, it remains unaffected.”
“The authority for such acts is the prerogative of Ramananda Raya alone, for I can understand that his body has been completely transformed into a spiritual entity. Therefore, he alone, and no one else, can understand the position of his mind.”
“However, I can make a guess, in terms of the descriptions that are found in shastra. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is said, ‘When one hears, with great faith, the pastimes of Lord Krishna such as His rasa dance with the gopis, the disease of lusty desires in his heart and the agitation caused by the three modes of material nature are immediately nullified and he becomes sober and silent.’ ”
“If a person, while following in the footsteps of the authorized Acharyas, hears and speaks about the rasa-lila of Lord Krishna, and is always absorbed in such thought while serving the Lord day and night within his mind, he is to be considered an eternally liberated associate of the Lord, possessing a completely spiritualized body. Although he is visible to material eyes, he is spiritually situated, and all of his activities are transcendental.”
“Shrila Ramananda Raya is situated on the platform of spontaneous love of Godhead. Because he is established in his spiritual body, his mind is not materially affected. I hear topics about Krishna from Ramananda Raya, and so if you also desire to hear Krishna-katha, approach him once again. You can mention My name, saying, ‘Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has sent me here to hear from you about Lord Krishna.’ Go quickly now, while he is available.”
Taking the Lord’s advice, Pradyumna Mishra immediately went to see Ramananda Raya. After offering his visitor respectful obeisances, Ramananda Raya said, “Please order me. For what purpose have you come here?”
Pradyumna Mishra replied, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has sent me to hear Krishna-katha from you.”
Just by hearing this, Ramananda Raya immediately became absorbed in ecstatic love, and then he very blissfully spoke as follows: “On the order of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, you have come here to hear about Krishna. This is certainly my great fortune, for how else would I gain such an opportunity?”
Ramananda Raya then took Pradyumna Mishra to a secluded place and inquired, “Which topics concerning Lord Krishna do you wish to hear about from me?”
Pradyumna Mishra replied, “Kindly tell me about the very same subjects that you discussed at Vidyanagara. You are an instructor of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so what to speak of others. I am but a beggar brahmana and you are my maintainer. I do not know how to properly inquire, nor do I understand what is actually good or bad. Seeing how I possess such a poor fund of knowledge, please speak about whatever you ascertain to be for my benefit.”
Thereafter, Ramananda Raya spoke on various topics concerning Lord Krishna, and as a result, the ocean of transcendental mellows became agitated. Ramananda Raya personally posed numerous questions, and then answered them himself by quoting the conclusive statements of shastra.
In this way, the entire day passed, and because the speaker and the hearer were both absorbed in transcendental ecstasy, they completely forgot about their bodily consciousness. How then could they perceive that the day had reached its conclusion? Only when the servant informed him, “The day has already come to an end”, did Ramananda Raya finish his discourses about Lord Krishna.
After offering great respect to Pradyumna Mishra, Ramananda Raya bade him farewell. Pradyumna Mishra then said, “I have become very satisfied”, and began to dance in ecstasy.
After returning home, Pradyumna Mishra bathed and ate his meal. Then, in the evening, he went to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and in great happiness he worshiped the Lord’s lotus feet. The Lord then inquired, “Have you heard topics about Lord Krishna?”
Pradyumna Mishra replied, “My dear Lord, You have made me become extremely obliged to You because You have drowned me in a nectarean ocean of Krishna-katha. Indeed, I cannot properly describe the discourses of Ramananda Raya, for he is not an ordinary human being. He is fully absorbed in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord.”
“There is one thing that Ramananda Raya said to me: ‘Do not consider me to be the speaker of these talks about Krishna, for like a stringed instrument, I simply vibrate whatever Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu causes me to speak. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally speaks through my mouth, for the purpose of preaching Krishna consciousness. Who can understand this pastime of the Lord?’ ”
“What I have heard from Ramananda Raya is like a nectarean ocean of Krishna-katha, and even Lord Brahma could not comprehend it all. My dear Lord, You have made me drink this transcendental nectar, and thus I am sold to Your lotus feet, life after life.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Ramananda Raya is a reservoir of humility, and thus he has given the credit for his words to another person. This is a natural characteristic of those who are advanced in devotional service- they do not personally speak of their own good qualities.”
Although Ramananda Raya was externally a householder, engaged in money matters, he was not under the control of the six kinds of bodily change- lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness, and envy- and he used to advise even sannyasis. Just to demonstrate the transcendental attributes of Ramananda Raya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent Pradyumna Mishra to him so that he could hear discourses about Krishna.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, knows very well how to demonstrate the good qualities of His devotees. The Lord does this in various ways, by acting just like an artistic painter, and He considers the results to be His personal profit.
There is another wonderful characteristic of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In order to vanquish the false pride of so-called renunciates and learned scholars, He spreads real religious principles through a shudra, or low-born person. For this reason, the Lord made Ramananda Raya, a grihastha born in a lower-class family, the speaker, and Himself, as well as the brahmana, Pradhyumna Mishra, the hearers.
Similarly, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited the glories of the holy name of the Lord through Haridasa Thakura, who was born in a Mohammedan family. In addition, He exhibited the essence of devotional service through Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, who had practically been converted into Mohammedans.
The pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are just like an ocean of nectar, of which even one drop can inundate the three worlds. O devotees, relish daily this nectar, for by doing so, one can merge himself in the transcendental bliss and complete knowledge of devotional service.
A brahmana from Bengal wrote a drama describing the characteristics of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and then brought the manuscript to Jagannatha Puri, hoping to induce the Lord to hear it. Being acquainted with Bhagavan Acharya, the brahmana took up residence at his house. The brahmana first of all induced Bhagavan Acharya to hear his drama, and then many other devotees joined in listening. After hearing it, all of the devotees praised the drama, saying, “very good, very good”, and expressed their desire that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also hear it.
It was the custom that anyone who composed a song, verse, poem, or other literary composition, would first have to bring it to Svarupa Damodara to hear. Then, if it passed Svarupa Damodara’s test, it could be presented for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pleasure. If there was any hint of an overlapping of transcendental mellows (rasa-abhasa), in a manner contrary to the principles of devotional service, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could not tolerate it, and thus He would become very angry. For this reason, the Lord would never hear anything, unless Svarupa Damodara had first of all approved it. This was the regulative principle.
Therefore, Bhagavan Acharya approached Svarupa Damodara and said, “A good brahmana has written a drama about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that appears to be exceptionally well composed. You first of all listen to it, and then if you think that it is acceptable, I shall request Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to hear it.”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “My dear Bhagavan Acharya, you are certainly a very liberal cowherd boy, and thus sometimes the desire awakens within you to hear any kind of poetry. In the writings of poets who are ignorant of the Vaishnava conclusions, there are inevitably instances of contradictory sentiments, and so no advanced devotees like to hear them. A so-called poet who has no knowledge of transcendental relationships, and their overlapping, can never present the proper conclusions of devotional service. Indeed, such a poet who does not know how to properly present the pastimes of Lord Krishna is condemned, and the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are even more difficult to understand.”
“When one hears the poetry of a person who has no transcendental knowledge, and thus writes about the relationships between men and women, it simply causes unhappiness. On the other hand, when one hears the words of a devotee who is fully absorbed in ecstatic love of Godhead, it causes great happiness. The standard for writing dramas has been set by Rupa Gosvami. If a devotee simply hears the introductory portions of Rupa Gosvami’s two dramas, his transcendental pleasure becomes enhanced.”
Despite this explanation of Svarupa Damodara, Bhagavan Acharya still pleaded, “Kindly hear the drama just once, and then you can judge whether it is good or bad.”
For two or three days, Bhagavan Acharya persisted in his request, and so finally, Svarupa Damodara actually became a little curious to hear the drama written by the brahmana from Bengal.
After Svarupa Damodara and the other devotees seated themselves, the poet recited his introductory verse as follows: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead has assumed a golden complexion, and has become the soul of the body named Lord Jagannatha, whose blooming lotus eyes are widely expanded. Thus He has appeared in Nilachala, and has brought dull matter to life. May that Lord, Shri Krishna Chaitanya, bestow upon you all good fortune.”
When everyone present heard this verse they praised the poet, except for Svarupa Damodara, who requested, “Kindly explain this verse.”
The poet replied, “Lord Jagannatha is a most beautiful body, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is exceptionally grave, is the owner of that body. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has appeared here at Nilachala to spiritualize the entire dull material world.”
After hearing this, everyone expressed their happiness, except Svarupa Damodara, who was very displeased.
In great anger he told the poet, “You are a fool, and have brought misfortune upon yourself, because you have no knowledge of the two Lords, Jagannathadeva, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, nor have you any faith in them.”
“Lord Jagannatha is completely spiritual and full of transcendental bliss, and yet you have compared Him to a dull, destructible body composed of the inert material nature. In addition, you have conceived of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be different from Lord Jagannatha, and thus on the level of an ordinary living being. Instead of knowing Him as the supreme fire, you have accepted Him as a mere spark. Because of your offense against Lord Jagannatha and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, you will certainly attain a hellish destination.”
“Although you do not know how to describe the Absolute Truth, you have nonetheless dared to try and do so, and therefore you must be condemned. Being in complete illusion, you have distinguished between the body and soul of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this is a great offense.”
“There is never a distinction between the body and the soul of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord’s personal identity and His form are of the same spiritual nature, which is full of bliss, and thus there is no distinction between them. Lord Krishna, the Absolute Truth, is full of transcendental ecstasy, and He is the master of the material nature. The tiny conditioned soul, on the other hand, is the servant of that energy, and thus he undergoes all sorts of tribulations.”
Upon hearing this explanation, everyone present was struck with wonder and admitted, “Svarupa Damodara has spoken the truth. The brahmana from Bengal has committed an offense by wrongly describing Lord Jagannatha and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
After hearing Svarupa Damodara’s chastisement, the Bengali poet became very ashamed, fearful, and astonished. Indeed, he felt just like a duck in the midst of white swans, and so he remained silent.
When he saw the poet’s unhappiness, Svarupa Damodara, who was by nature very kind-hearted, advised him as follows, for his benefit: “If you want to understand Shrimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a self-realized Vaishnava and hear from him. You will be able to understand the purport of Shrimad-Bhagavatam when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
“You should regularly associate with the devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for only then will you understand the true nature of devotional service. If you follow in the footsteps of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates, your learning will become successful, and thus you will be able to write about the pastimes of Lord Krishna without material contamination.”
“Due to ignorance, you have composed something irregular, and thus you have committed offenses. Still, the goddess of learning, Sarasvati, has utilized your words to offer her prayers to the Supreme Lord. Formerly, when Jarasandha, Sishupala, and even King Indra wanted to chastise Lord Krishna, mother Sarasvati similarly offered her prayers through their words.”
“Although your intended meaning is blasphemous, the verse can be accepted in another way. There is no difference between Lord Jagannatha and Krishna, but here Lord Jagannatha is fixed as the Absolute person appearing in wood. To deliver all of the conditioned souls of this world, that same Krishna has descended and is moving as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. By visiting Lord Jagannatha one becomes freed from material existence, but not everyone from all over the world can come to Nilachala. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, however, moves from country to country, personally or through His representatives, and thus He delivers all the people of the world.”
“This is the meaning that is intended by mother Sarasvati, and thus it is your good fortune to have described Lord Jagannatha and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in this way. Sometimes it so happens that a person who wants to chastise Krishna utters the holy name, and thus the holy name becomes the cause of his liberation.”
After hearing this explanation from Svarupa Damodara, the Bengali poet took a piece of straw between his teeth and fell at the feet of all the devotees, in order to take shelter of them. The devotees then accepted his association. and while explaining his very humble behavior, they introduced him to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thereafter, by the mercy of the devotees, the poet from Bengal gave up all other activities and remained with them at Jagannatha Puri.
After meeting Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Shantipura, Raghunatha dasa returned home, and as the Lord had instructed, he began acting just like a materialistic man, instead of an artificial renunciate. Internally, Raghunatha dasa was completely renounced, but externally he acted just like a first-class business manager, and upon seeing this, his parents became highly satisfied.
Formerly, a Mohammedan had been posted as the tax-collector (chaudhuri) at Saptagrama. However, by making some agreement with the government, Hiranya, the uncle of Raghunatha dasa, was appointed tax-collector, and thus the Mohammedan chaudhuri became very envious of him. Hiranya dasa was collecting 20,00,000 coins from the local landholders, and thus, according to the law, he should have deposited 15,00,000 coins in the government treasury. However, Hiranya dasa was only depositing 12,00,000, keeping an extra profit of three lakhs. Upon seeing this, the Mohammedan chaudhuri, who was a Turk, informed the Treasury department of the discrepancy.
Thereafter, the Mohammedan chaudhuri came to Saptagrama, along with the minister-in-charge, desiring to arrest Hiranya dasa. However, since Hiranya dasa had gone out of town, the chaudhuri arrested Raghunatha dasa instead. Every day, the Mohammedan would chastise Raghunatha dasa, saying, “Bring your father and his elder brother here, otherwise, you will be punished.”
Indeed, the chaudhuri wanted to beat Raghunatha dasa, but as soon as he saw the boy’s face, his mind changed and so he desisted. Besides this, the Mohammedan was afraid to beat Raghunatha dasa because he belonged to the Kayastha community, and was thus very influential among the people.
Meanwhile, Raghunatha dasa thought of a clever means to escape, and so he addressed the Mohammedan chaudhuri as follows, in a very humble voice: “Dear sir, my father and his elder brother are like brothers to you. It is natural for brothers to sometimes fight among themselves, but then soon after, they once again engage in very friendly dealings. For this reason, I am sure that even though you three brothers are fighting today, tomorrow you will sit down together in peace.”
“Just as I am my father’s son, so I am also yours. I am your dependent and you are my maintainer. It is not very good for the maintainer to punish his dependent. Of course, you know all this, for you are very learned in shastra and are just like a living saint.”
The Mohammedan’s heart softened upon hearing Raghunatha dasa’s appealing voice, and indeed, he began to cry so that tears glided down his beard. The Mohammedan chaudhuri then told Raghunatha dasa, “You are my son from this day forward. Today, by some means or other, I shall have you released.”
The chaudhuri then released Raghunatha dasa, after informing the finance minister. After doing so, he spoke to Raghunatha dasa as follows, in a very affectionate voice: “You father’s elder brother is less intelligent. He enjoys a profit of eight lakhs coins, and since I am also a shareholder, he should give me some portion. Now, go and arrange for me to meet your uncle. Let him do whatever he thinks best, and I shall abide by his decision.”
Thereafter, Raghunatha dasa arranged a meeting between the chaudhuri and Hiranya dasa, and the matter was peacefully settled. In this way, for one full year, Raghunatha dasa acted very expertly in managing the family affairs.
The next year, however, after hearing of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s return from Mathura, Raghunatha dasa once again decided to leave home. Although he got up alone one night and departed, his father caught him in a distant place and brought him back home.
This became practically a daily affair, and so Raghunatha dasa’s mother addressed her husband as follows: “Our son has become mad. Keep him at home by tying him up with ropes.”
Being very aggrieved, Govardhana dasa replied, “Raghunatha dasa has opulence like Indra, and his wife is as beautiful as an Apsara, and yet his mind has still not been captivated. How then could we keep him at home merely by binding him with ropes? Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has fully bestowed His mercy upon our son. Who can keep at home such a madman of Shri Chaitanyachandra?”
Then, one day, after coming to some decision within his mind, Raghunatha dasa went to see Nityananda Prabhu at Panihati. While sitting upon a rock by the side of the Ganga, Lord Nityananda appeared to be as effulgent as thousands of rising suns. Seated upon the ground, surrounding the Lord, were innumerable kirtana singers, servants and other devotees, and upon witnessing the wonderful influence of Nityananda Prabhu, Raghunatha dasa became highly astonished.
As he remained at a distant place, a servant informed Lord Nityananda, “There is Raghunatha dasa, offering You obeisances.”
Nityananda Prabhu then called to Raghunatha Dasa, “You are a thief. Now, since you have come here to see Me, I shall punish you. Come here, come here.”
Although summoned in this way, Raghunatha dasa did not approach Nityananda Prabhu. The Lord then got up and forcibly caught hold of Raghunatha dasa and placed His lotus feet upon his head. Lord Nityananda is by nature very merciful and funny.
He told Raghunatha dasa, “You are just like a thief, because instead of coming near, you remain at a distance. However, now that I have captured you, I shall punish you. I hereby command you to hold a festival and feed all of My associates dahi (yogurt) and chira (flat rice).”
Upon hearing this, Raghunatha dasa became greatly pleased, and he immediately sent his servants to the village to purchase all kinds of food. As soon as word spread that a festival was being held, innumerable brahmanas and other gentlemen came there, and upon seeing how the crowd was increasing, Raghunatha dasa arranged to get more food from neighboring villages.
In addition, he had two or four hundred large clay pots brought, as well as seven especially large pots in which a brahmana began soaking flat-rice for the satisfaction of Lord Nityananda. First, all of the chira was soaked in hot milk, and then half of it was mixed with dahi, sugar and bananas. The other half was mixed with condensed milk and a special type of banana called champa-kela, and then sugar, ghee, and camphor were added.
After changing His clothes, Nityananda Prabhu sat down on a raised platform, and the brahmana brought the seven huge pots and placed them before Him. All of the Lord’s principle associates sat surrounding Him on the raised platform, and among these were Ramadasa, Gadadhara dasa, Murari, Sadashiva, Hoda Krishnadasa and Uddharana Datta Thakura. Indeed, the Lord’s associates were so numerous that no one could properly count them. In addition, Nityananda Prabhu honored all the brahmanas and learned scholars who came there by having them sit along with Him on the raised platform.
Thereafter, everyone was given two clay pots, by twenty servers- one containing chira and dahi, and the other, chira and condensed milk. People sat in groups all around the raised platform, and some of the brahmanas who could not find any space on the platform went to the banks of the Ganga with their two clay pots. Some people could not even find room on the shore and so they went into the water and began eating their two kinds of chira.
At that time, Raghava Pandita arrived there, and upon seeing the situation, he began laughing due to great surprise. He then brought many varieties of food cooked in ghee, and offered them to Lord Nityananda. Later, the remnants were distributed to all the devotees.
Raghava Pandita then said, “My dear Lord, I have prepared so many varieties of food at my house, and have offered them all to the Deity. But, because You are engaged in a festival here, all the prasada is simply lying untouched.”
Lord Nityananda replied, “Let Me eat all of this food now, and then tonight I shall dine at your house. I belong to a community of cowherd boys, and so I am happy to have a picnic like this on the sandy banks of the river, along with My associates.”
Lord Nityananda had Raghava Pandita sit down, and He ordered that two pots of chira be served to him. After everyone had been given prasada, Nityananda Prabhu summoned Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in meditation. As soon as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived, Nityananda Prabhu stood up, and together, the two Lords began to observe how everyone was enjoying their two kinds of chira.
Then, from each and every pot, Nityananda Prabhu took a morsel of chira and pushed it into Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mouth as a joke. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also took a morsel of food and pushed it into Nityananda Prabhu’s mouth and laughingly make Him eat it. In this way, Lord Nityananda walked through the various groups, so that all of the devotees were able to enjoy watching the fun. However, no one could really understand what Nityananda Prabhu was doing as He walked about, except for some very fortunate few who could see that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was also present.
Nityananda Prabhu then smilingly sat down next to four of the large pots of chira, and offered Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu a sitting place. Together, the two brothers began eating, and while watching Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu take prasada, Nityananda Prabhu became exceedingly happy and exhibited various manifestations of ecstatic love. Lord Nityananda then ordered, “All of you chant the holy name of the Lord, Hari, as you eat.”
Thus, all directions immediately became filled with the resounding vibration of “Hari, Hari”. At that time, the devotees were reminded of how Krishna and Balarama used to enjoy eating lunch while sitting on the banks of the River Yamuna, along with Their companions. Indeed, all of the confidential devotees, who were cowherd boys, headed by Ramadasa, were fully absorbed in ecstatic love, and thus considered the banks of the Ganga to be the banks of the Yamuna.
Shopkeepers from all the neighboring villages came to sell chira, dahi, sweets, and bananas, having heard about the great festival. Raghunatha dasa purchased everything, and not only gave the merchants the price of their goods, but later on fed them prasada that had been made from the very same ingredients. Thus, every person who came to see the humorous things that were going on was given chira, dahi, and bananas.
When Nityananda Prabhu finished eating, He washed His hands and mouth. Then, He gave Raghunatha dasa whatever was left in four of the large clay pots. Whatever was remaining in the other three pots was distributed to all the devotees by a brahmana, so that each person got a morsel. A brahmana garlanded Nityananda Prabhu and smeared sandalwood paste all over His body, and a servant came and offered the Lord betel nuts, which He smilingly accepted. Then, with His own hand, Nityananda Prabhu distributed to the devotees whatever flower garlands, sandalwood paste and betel nuts remained.
After receiving the prasada from Nityananda Prabhu, Raghunatha dasa very happily ate some, and distributed the rest to his associates. Nityananda Prabhu then rested for awhile, and in the evening, He went to Raghava Pandita’s temple, where He began performing sankirtana.
First of all, Nityananda Prabhu induced all the devotees to dance, and then He Himself joined in, and by doing so He inundated the entire world with ecstatic love. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was observing His dancing, and Nityananda Prabhu could see this, although others could not. The sweetness of Nityananda Prabhu’s dancing, like that of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s cannot be compared to anything within these three worlds.
After dancing for some time, Nityananda Prabhu rested, and so Raghava Pandita came and requested Him to take his meal. When Nityananda Prabhu sat down with all His associates, He made a place on His right side for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to sit. Then, when Raghava Pandita saw how Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu actually came and sat down at the place that had been provided for Him, he felt great happiness.
Raghava Pandita first of all brought prasada for the two Lords, and then he distributed prasada to all the devotees. There was cooked rice that surpassed the taste of nectar, and innumerable varieties of vegetables, sweets, and cakes. Indeed, whatever was prepared and offered to the Deity by Raghava Pandita was just like the essence of nectar, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came again and again just to eat such prasada. When Raghava Pandita offered food to the Deity, he always made a separate plate for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Every day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ate at Raghava Pandita’s house, and sometimes the Lord gave him the opportunity to see Him.
Raghava Pandita distributed prasada to the two Lords with great attention, and They ate everything without leaving any remnants. Raghava Pandita brought so many preparations for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu that no one could understand exactly what they were. Indeed, it is a fact that the supreme mother, Shrimati Radharani, personally cooked at Raghava Pandita’s house. Shrimati Radharani had received a benediction from Durvasa Muni that whatever she cooked would become sweeter than nectar. This was the special feature of Her cooking- it was very aromatic and pleasing to look at, and the taste was sweeter than nectar.
All the devotees then requested Raghunatha dasa to sit down and have prasada, but Raghava Pandita told them, “He will eat later.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu ate with great satisfaction, and all the devotees filled themselves up to the brim. After eating, the two Lords washed Their hands and mouths, and then Raghava Pandita decorated Them with flower garlands and sandalwood paste. Raghava Pandita also offered Them betel nuts, and after worshiping Their lotus feet, he distributed to the devotees all the remaining garlands, sandalwood paste and betel nuts.
Being very merciful to Raghunatha dasa, Raghava Pandita gave him the plates containing the remnants of the two Lords’ food, and said, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has eaten this. If you eat His remnants, you will be released from the bondage to your family.”
The next morning, after bathing, Nityananda Prabhu went and sat down, along with His associates, beneath the same tree as the day before. Raghunatha dasa went there and worshiped His lotus feet.
Then, through Raghava Pandita, Raghunatha dasa submitted the following petition unto the Lord: “Although I am the lowest of men, and the most fallen, sinful, and condemned, I desire to attain shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Like a dwarf trying to catch the moon, I tried to leave home many times, but each time I attempted to give up my family relationship, my parents kept me bound up.”
“My dear Lord, no one can attain the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu without Your mercy. On the other hand, if You are merciful, then even the lowest of men can obtain that shelter. Although I am unfit and greatly afraid to submit this plea, I nevertheless request You, O Lord, to be especially merciful unto me by granting me shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Placing Your lotus feet upon my head, give me the benediction that I may achieve the fulfillment of my desire without difficulty.”
After hearing this, Lord Nityananda smiled and said to the devotees, “Raghunatha dasa’s standard of material happiness is equal to that of Indra, the King of heaven. However, because of the mercy that has been bestowed upon him by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he does not have even the slightest attraction for material enjoyment. Now, let every one of you also be merciful toward Raghunatha dasa and benedict him so that he may very soon attain shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
“One who has experienced the fragrance of the lotus feet of Lord Krishna does not value even the standard of happiness that is available in Brahmaloka, and so what to speak of ordinary heavenly enjoyment. In his youth, King Bharata renounced his attractive wife, affectionate children, and opulent kingdom, exactly as one gives up stool after excreting it, for he was very eager to gain the association of Lord Krishna.”
Lord Nityananda then called for Raghunatha dasa to come near. After placing His lotus feet upon Raghunatha dasa’s head, Nityananda Prabhu said, “Because you arranged a feast by the side of the Ganga, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came just to show you mercy. By His causeless mercy, He ate the chira and dahi, and after watching the devotees dance, He once again took prasada.”
“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came here personally just to deliver you, and so now you can rest assured that all the impediments meant for your bondage have been destroyed. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will accept you and place you under the care of His secretary, Svarupa Damodara. Return home, now, and rest assured that you will become one of the Lord’s most confidential servants. Very soon, without impediment, you will attain the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
Nityananda Prabhu had all of the devotees bless Raghunatha dasa, and in return, Raghunatha dasa offered his obeisances unto their lotus feet. After taking leave of Lord Nityananda and the devotees, Raghunatha dasa privately consulted with Raghava Pandita. Raghunatha dasa then secretly delivered one hundred gold coins and about seven tolas of gold into the hand of Nityananda Prabhu’s treasurer, telling him, “Please do not speak about this to Nityananda Prabhu now. When He returns home, kindly inform Him of this presentation.”
Thereafter, Raghava Pandita took Raghunatha dasa to his home, and after inducing him to see the Deity, he offered him a garland and sandalwood paste. Raghava Pandita also gave Raghunatha dasa a large quantity of prasada to eat on his way home.
Raghunatha dasa then said, “I want to give some money for worshiping the lotus feet of all the great devotees, servants and subservants of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Therefore, as you think fit, please give twenty, fifteen , twelve, ten or five coins to each person.”
With great humility, Raghunatha dasa placed one hundred gold coins, and about two tolas of gold, before Raghava Pandita. Raghava Pandita then made up a list showing how much money would be given to each and every devotee. Finally, after taking the dust from the lotus feet of Raghava Pandita, Raghunatha dasa returned home, feeling greatly obliged to Nityananda Prabhu because of having received His merciful benediction.
After returning home, Raghunatha dasa no longer went into the interior of his house, but slept in the Durga-mandapa outside. The watchmen kept alert guard over him, however, and so Raghunatha dasa continually thought about various means of escaping their vigilance.
Just at this time, all the devotees of Bengal were preparing to depart for Jagannatha Puri. Raghunatha dasa knew that he could not accompany them, however, for they were so well known that he would immediately be caught.
Then, one night, while Raghunatha dasa was laying down in the Durga-mandapa, Yadunandana Acharya came there when only four dandas (about one hour and 36 minutes) remained until sunrise. Yadunandana Acharya was Raghunatha dasa’s spiritual master, and his family priest as well. Although born in a brahmana family, Yadunandana Acharya had accepted Vasudeva Datta, a non-brahmana, as his spiritual master. Yadunandana Acharya had been formally initiated by Advaita Acharya, and by His order he accepted Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as his life and soul.
As Yadunandana Acharya stood in the courtyard, Raghunatha dasa went and fell at his feet to offer obeisances. One of Yadunandana Acharya’s disciples had been worshiping the Deity, but then he unexpectedly left that service.
Yadunandana Acharya told Raghunatha dasa, “I have come to request you to induce this brahmana to resume his service, for there is no one else available.”
After saying this, Yadunandana Acharya took Raghunatha dasa with him and went out, and because all of the watchmen had fallen fast asleep, no one knew of this. Yadunandana Acharya’s house was east of Raghunatha dasa’s, and while going there, the two talked.
Then, about halfway along the path, Raghunatha dasa said, “I shall go to the house of that brahmana, and after inducing him to resume his service, I will send him to you. Now, please go home without anxiety, and rest assured that, following your order, I shall convince the brahmana.”
After receiving Yadunandana Acharya’s permission, Raghunatha dasa thought, “This is the greatest opportunity that I have gotten to leave home, because there are no servants or watchmen with me.”
While thinking like this, Raghunatha dasa quickly proceeded toward the east, and although he sometimes looked back, no one was following him. While meditating upon the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, Raghunatha dasa left the general path and proceeded quickly along the lesser used one. Thus, instead of going from village to village, Raghunatha dasa traveled through the forest.
After walking about forty-eight kilometers the first day, Raghunatha dasa arrived at a milkman’s cowshed. When the milkman learned that Raghunatha dasa had been fasting, he gave him some milk. After drinking the milk, Raghunatha dasa lay down to rest for the night.
Meanwhile, when the servants and watchmen awoke and found Raghunatha dasa missing, they went and inquired about him from Yadunandana Acharya. Yadunandana Acharya replied, “He has already taken my permission and returned home.”
Thereafter, a tumultuous sound arose as everyone cried out, “Raghunatha dasa has gone away!”
Raghunatha dasa’s father then ordered, “All of the devotees have departed for Jagannatha Puri in order to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Raghunatha dasa has surely gone with them, and so ten men should immediately go catch him and bring him back home.”
Raghunatha dasa’s father wrote a letter to Shivananda Sena, begging him with great humility to return his son. Then, at Jhankara, the ten men caught up with the party of Bengali Vaishnavas. After delivering the letter to Shivananda Sena, the men inquired about Raghunatha dasa, and then returned to Saptagrama. Upon seeing the ten men return home without their son, Raghunatha dasa’s father and mother became filled with anxiety.
After spending the night in the cowshed, Raghunatha dasa got up early the next morning, and instead of continuing east, he turned to the south and proceeded on. At Chatrabhoga, Raghunatha dasa took the path that went from village to village, instead of travelling on the royal road.
Without caring for food, he walked day and night. Indeed, hunger was no impediment for Raghunatha dasa because his mind was concentrated upon obtaining shelter at Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. Sometimes, Raghunatha dasa ate a little fried grains, sometimes he cooked, and sometimes he drank milk. However, during the twelve days it took Raghunatha dasa to reach Jagannatha Puri, he ate only on three days.
When Raghunatha dasa came to where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was staying, he saw the Lord sitting along with His associates, headed by Svarupa Damodara. While remaining at a distance, Raghunatha dasa fell onto the ground in the courtyard, to offer his obeisances.
Mukunda Datta then announced, “Here is Raghunatha dasa”, and as soon as He heard this, the Lord called for and welcomed him. Raghunatha dasa came and clasped the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and in return, the Lord stood up and embraced him out of His causeless mercy.
Thereafter, Raghunatha dasa offered prayers at the lotus feet of all the devotees, and due to having seen the Lord’s special mercy upon him, they embraced him in return.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told Raghunatha dasa, “The mercy of Lord Krishna is stronger than anything else. The Lord has delivered you from the bondage to materialistic life, which is like a hole into which people pass stool.”
Within his mind, Raghunatha dasa replied, “I do not know who Krishna is. I simply know that Your mercy, O Lord, has saved me from my family life.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued: “Your father and uncle were just like brothers to My maternal grandfather, Nilambara Chakravarti, and so I consider them to be grandfathers. Because of this relationship, I can joke about them in this way.”
“My dear Raghunatha dasa, your father and his elder brother are just like worms in the stool that is found in the ditch of material enjoyment, for the poison of material enjoyment is what they consider to be happiness. Although your father and uncle are very charitable toward the brahmanas, they are not pure Vaishnavas. Still, they are almost like Vaishnavas and so can be considered kanistha-adhikaris.”
“Although they are ignorant of the higher principles of Vaisnavism, they nonetheless cannot be considered vishayis, or blind materialistic enjoyers. Those who are attached to materialistic life, and thus are blind to self-realization, are forced to act in such a way that they remain bound to the cycle of repeated birth and death, caused by the reactions of their fruitive activities.”
“My dear Raghunatha, by His own free will, Lord Krishna has delivered you from such a condemned materialistic life. Therefore, the glories of Lord Krishna’s causeless mercy cannot be properly expressed.”
Upon seeing how skinny and dirty Raghunatha dasa had become because of traveling and fasting, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s heart melted with causeless mercy.
The Lord then said, “My dear Svarupa Damodara, I entrust Raghunatha dasa unto you. Please take care of him as if he were your own son or servant. There are now three Raghunathas among My associates- Vaidya Raghunatha, Bhatta Raghunatha, and this Raghunatha dasa, who from today onward should be known as the Raghu of Svarupa Damodara.”
Saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu grasped Raghunatha das’ hand and entrusted him into the hands of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Svarupa Damodara then embraced Raghunatha dasa again and again, and said, “My dear Lord, whatever You order is accepted by me.”
The Lord then mercifully told Govinda, “On the way, Raghunatha dasa has undergone hardships and has fasted for many days. Please take good care of him for some time, so that he may eat to his full satisfaction.”
The Lord then told Raghunatha dasa, “Go now and bathe in the sea. After that, see Lord Jagannatha in the temple, and then return here to take your meal.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu got up to perform His noontime duties, and Raghunatha dasa met with all the devotees present there. The devotees had been astonished to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s great mercy upon Raghunatha dasa, and so they highly praised his good fortune.
Raghunatha dasa then bathed in the sea, and afterwards he went to the temple. After seeing Lord Jagannatha, he returned to Govinda, who provided him with a plate of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s remnants, which he very happily ate.
Raghunatha dasa stayed under Svarupa Damodara’s care, and for five days he ate the remnants of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s food, which were given to him by Govinda. Then, beginning from the sixth day, Raghunatha dasa began standing at the Simha-dvara, in order to beg for alms after the pushpanjali ceremony, in which flowers are offered to Lord Jagannatha.
After finishing their prescribed duties, the numerous servants of Lord Jagannatha, who were known as vishayis, would return home for the night. If they would see a Vaishnava standing by the Simha-dvara and begging alms, out of compassion, they would arrange for the shopkeepers to give him something to eat. Thus, it was the long-standing custom that any devotee who had no other means of subsistence would stand at the Simha-dvara, to receive alms from the servants of Lord Jagannatha. By living in this way, a devotee could be free to chant the holy name of the Lord throughout the entire day, and see Lord Jagannatha to his heart’s content.
Renunciation is the basic principle sustaining the lives of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotees, and upon seeing such renunciation, the Lord becomes extremely satisfied.
Govinda informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “Raghunatha dasa no longer takes prasada here. Now, he stands at the Simha-dvara, where he receives some alms.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to hear this, and He replied, “Raghunatha dasa has done well, for he has acted suitably for a person in the renounced order of life. A sannyasi should always chant the holy name of the Lord, and he should sustain his life by begging alms.”
“One in the renounced order of life should not depend upon others, for if he does so, Krishna will neglect him and he will not attain perfection. If a sannyasi is eager to taste various types of food, his spiritual life is lost, and he becomes a servant of the tongue. One who has become subservient to the tongue, and thus goes here and there for the satisfaction of his belly and genitals, cannot attain Krishna.”
The next day, Raghunatha dasa inquired from Svarupa Damodara, “I do not know why I have given up household life. Therefore, kindly instruct me. What is my duty?”
Raghunatha dasa never spoke a word directly to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but instead, he informed the Lord of his desires through Svarupa Damodara and Govinda.
The next day, Svarupa Damodara informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “Raghunatha dasa has this to say at Your lotus feet: ‘I do not know the goal of life. Therefore, please give me instructions about my duty from Your transcendental mouth.’ ”
While smiling, the Lord told Raghunatha dasa, “I have already appointed Svarupa Damodara as your instructor, and so you can learn from him what your duty is and how to discharge it. I do not know as much as he does.”
“Nevertheless, if you want to receive My instructions with faith and love, then you can ascertain your duty from the following words. Do not talk like people in general, nor hear what they have to say. You should not eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely. Do not expect any honor, but offer all respect to others. Always chant Lord Krishna’s holy name, and within your mind, render service unto Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana.”
“I have briefly given you instructions. Now, you can receive all the details from Svarupa Damodara. One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor, but is always prepared to give respect to others, can very easily constantly chant the holy name of the Lord.”
After hearing this, Raghunatha dasa offered prayers at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and in return, the Lord very mercifully embraced him. Then, once again, the Lord entrusted Raghunatha dasa into the hands of Svarupa Damodara, so that he could render very confidential service along with him.
At this time, the devotees from Bengal arrived at Jagannatha Puri, and the Lord greeted them with great feeling. As previously, the Lord cleansed the Gundicha temple along with His devotees, and then had a picnic feast in the garden.
During Ratha-yatra, when Raghunatha dasa saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dance in front of Lord Jagannatha, he became struck with wonder. When Raghunatha dasa met all the devotees from Bengal, Advaita Acharya showed him great mercy.
Shivananda Sena then informed Raghunatha dasa, “Your father sent ten men with a letter, requesting me to send you back. They met up with us at Jhankara, but after receiving no information about you, they returned home.”
Thereafter, when the devotees returned to Bengal, Raghunatha dasa’s father heard of their arrival and so immediately sent a man to meet Shivananda Sena.
The messenger inquired, “Did you happen to see anyone in the renounced order of life in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s association? The person I am referring to is the son of Govardhana Majumadara, named Raghunatha dasa. Did you see him at Nilachala?”
Shivananda Sena replied, “Yes, Raghunatha dasa is staying with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and he is a very famous personality. Who has not heard of him? Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has placed him under the care of Svarupa Damodara, and indeed, Raghunatha dasa has become just like the very life and soul of all the devotees.”
“Raghunatha dasa chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra throughout the entire day and night, and he never gives up the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, even for a moment. He is supremely renounced, and thus he does not care a bit for eating and dressing. After seeing the Pushpanjali, when ten dandas (four hours) of the night have passed, Raghunatha dasa stands at the Simha-dvara to beg for some alms. If someone gives him something he eats it, and at other times he fasts or chews fried grains.”
The messenger returned to Govardhana Majumadara and related to him all that he had heard about Raghunatha dasa. Upon hearing of Raghunatha dasa’s renunciation, his mother and father became very unhappy, and so they decided to send some men and goods to Jagannatha Puri for his comfort. For this purpose, Raghunatha dasa’s father immediately sent four hundred coins, two servants, and one brahmana to Shivananda Sena.
However, Shivananda Sena informed them, “You cannot travel to Jagannatha Puri on your own. When I go there next year, along with the devotees, you may also accompany me. Now, please return home.”
The next year, when Shivananda Sena went with the devotees to Jagannatha Puri as usual, the two servants and brahmana cook accompanied him, taking with them the four hundred coins. Although Raghunatha dasa refused to accept the money or men sent by his father, one of the servants and the brahmana decided to remain at Jagannatha Puri.
After some consideration, Raghunatha dasa started inviting Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his residence twice in a month. Because it cost 640 kaudis to provide prasada on such occasions, Raghunatha dasa would take just that much money from the servant and brahmana who had been sent by his father. In this way, Raghunatha dasa invited the Lord for two years, but then he suddenly stopped.
After not receiving any invitation for two months, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked Svarupa Damodara, “Why has Raghunatha dasa stopped inviting Me?”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “I think that within his mind Raghunatha dasa has considered as follows: ‘I invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by accepting money from materialistic people, and so I know that the Lord cannot be satisfied. Indeed, my consciousness is contaminated because of accepting things from people who are only interested in material profit. Thus, by this sort of invitation, I am only earning some kind of material reputation. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepts my requests because He knows that a foolish person like me would become unhappy if He did not do so.’ ”
Svarupa Damodara continued, “After considering all these points, Raghunatha dasa has stopped inviting You.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smiled and replied, “When one eats food offered by a materialistic man, his mind becomes polluted, and thus it is impossible for him to think of Lord Krishna properly. When one accepts an invitation from a person who is infected by the mode of passion, both the one who offers the food, and the person who accepts it, become mentally contaminated. Because of Raghunatha dasa’s eagerness, I accepted his invitation for many days. Now, however, it is very good that he has given up the practice on his own initiative.”
After some days, Raghunatha dasa gave up his habit of standing near the Simha-dvara. Instead, he began to beg for alms from a free food distribution booth.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard this news from Govinda, He asked Svarupa Damodara, “Why does Raghunatha dasa no longer stand at the Simha-dvara and beg for alms?”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “Raghunatha dasa felt unhappy while begging alms at the Simha-dvara, and so now he goes at noon and takes food from the charity booth.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “Raghunatha dasa has done the right thing, for begging alms at the Simha-dvara resembles the behavior of a prostitute.”
“Such a person thinks, ‘Here comes someone who will give me something. This person gave me something last night. Now, another person is coming my way, and so perhaps he will give me something. That person passed by and did not give me anything, but maybe the next person will.’ ”
“In this way, a sannyasi gives up his neutrality and depends upon the charity of others, thus adopting the profession of a prostitute. On the other hand, if one fills his belly by eating whatever food he receives from the free distribution booth, there is no chance of further unwanted talk, and he becomes free to chant the holy name of the Lord without anxiety.”
At this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once again bestowed His mercy upon Raghunatha dasa by giving him a stone from Govardhana Hill and a garland of small conch shells called a gunja-mala. Previously, Shankarananda Sarasvati had brought these two items from Vrindavana and presented them to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord was extremely happy to receive these two uncommon items, and while chanting, he would put the gunja-mala around His neck.
The Lord used to put the Govardhana-shila to His heart, or sometimes to His eyes. Sometimes He would smell it and sometimes He would place it on His head. As a result, the stone from Govardhana Hill was always moist with the tears from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s eyes, and the Lord would often say, “This stone is directly the body of Lord Krishna.”
For three years, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu kept the Govardhana-shila and gunja-mala.
Then, being greatly satisfied with the behavior of Raghunatha dasa, the Lord delivered both items to him, and instructed, “This stone is the transcendental form of Lord Krishna, and so you should worship it with great eagerness. Worship the Govardhana-shila in the mode of goodness, for by doing so, you will surely attain ecstatic love for Krishna without delay. For such worship, all that you need is a pot of water, a few flowers, and some tulasi manjaris. This is worship in complete goodness, when it is preformed with absolute purity. With faith and love, offer eight soft tulasi manjaris, each having two leaves, one on either side of the flower.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally offered Raghunatha dasa the Govardhana-shila with His transcendental hand, and according to the Lord’s advice, Raghunatha dasa began worshiping the stone in great jubilation. Svarupa Damodara gave Raghunatha dasa the necessary paraphernalia- two cloths, each about six inches long; a wooden platform; and a water-pot.
Thereafter, while worshiping the Govardhana-shila, Raghunatha dasa could see Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, directly in the stone. While thinking about how he had received the Govardhana-shila directly from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s hands, Raghunatha dasa remained always overflooded with ecstatic love. Indeed, the amount of transcendental bliss that Raghunatha dasa enjoyed, simply by offering water and tulasi manjaris, is impossible for anyone to achieve even by worshiping the Deity with all kinds of opulence, employing the sixteen kinds of paraphernalia.
Then, after Raghunatha dasa had worshiped the Govardhana-shila for some time, Svarupa Damodara told him, “Now you should begin offering eight kaudis worth of khaja and sandesha. If you offer the Govardhana-shila these first-class sweets with faith and love, they will become just like nectar.”
Thereafter, Govinda began supplying these costly sweets to Raghunatha dasa under the order of Svarupa Damodara.
Having received the Govardhana-shila and gunja-mala from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Raghunatha dasa could understand the Lord’s intention as follows. “By giving me the Govardhana-shila, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has offered me a place near Govardhana Hill, and by offering me the gunja-mala, He has given me shelter at the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani.”
Raghunatha dasa enjoyed boundless transcendental bliss because while forgetting everything external, he served the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with his body and mind. Who can understand the transcendental qualities of Raghunatha dasa, for his strict regulative principles were exactly like lines on a stone? Raghunatha dasa spent more than twenty-two hours each day chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and remembering the lotus feet of the Lord. In other words, he ate and slept for no more than one-and-one-half hours, and that also was neglected on some days.
Raghunatha dasa never touched anything to wear except a small torn cloth and a patchwork chaddar, and whatever he ate was only to keep his body and soul together. Indeed, throughout his entire life, Raghunatha dasa never allowed his tongue sense gratification.
While eating, Raghunatha dasa would reproach himself as follows: “If one’s heart has become cleansed by perfect knowledge, and if one has understood Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he has gained everything. Why should such a person act like a debauche by trying very carefully to maintain his material body?”
Indeed, the topics concerning Raghunatha dasa’s renunciation are wonderful to hear about.
Lord Jagannatha’s prasada is sold by shopkeepers, and that which is not bought decomposes after two or three days. All of this decomposed food is then fed to the cows from the Tailanga district that are kept near the Simha-dvara. However, because of the rotten odor, the cows hardly eat it.
At night, Raghunatha dasa would collect some of the decomposed rice, and after bringing it home he would wash it with ample water. Taking the hard inner portion that remained, Raghunatha dasa ate it with salt. One day, Svarupa Damodara saw this, and so he smilingly asked Raghunatha dasa for a small portion.
After eating it, Svarupa Damodara said, “Every day you eat such nectar, and yet you never offer any to us. Where is your character?”
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard the news from Govinda, He went to Raghunatha dasa the next day and said, “What nice things are you eating? Why don’t you ever offer some to Me?”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu forcibly took a morsel of the decomposed rice and ate it. Then, when the Lord was about to take a second bite, Svarupa Damodara caught His hand and forcibly took the food away, saying, “This is not fit for You.” However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu responded, “Of course, every day I eat many varieties of food, but I have never tasted such nice prasada as that which Raghunatha is eating.”
The next year, all the devotees of Bengal came to visit Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as usual. Then, a learned scholar named Vallabha Bhatta arrived at Jagannatha Puri, in order to meet the Lord. When Vallabha Bhatta offered his obeisances, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced him in return, accepting him as a great devotee.
Then, after being seated by the Lord with great respect, Vallabha Bhatta very humbly spoke as follows: “I have wanted to see You for a long time, and now Lord Jagannatha has fulfilled my desire. One who receives Your audience is fortunate indeed, for You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. ‘One can immediately purify his entire house simply by remembering exalted personalities, and so what to speak of directly seeing them, touching their lotus feet, washing their lotus feet, or offering them places to sit.’ ”
“The fundamental religious practice in this age of Kali is the chanting of Lord Krishna’s holy name, and unless empowered by Krishna, one cannot propagate the sankirtana movement. You have widely spread the Krishna consciousness movement, and thus it is evident that You have been empowered by Lord Krishna. There is no doubt about this. You have distributed the holy name of Krishna throughout the entire world, and whoever sees You becomes immediately absorbed in ecstatic love for Krishna. Without being especially empowered by Krishna, one cannot manifest ecstatic love for Krishna, for He is the only one who can bestow it.”
“Bilvamangala Thakura has written: ‘There may be many all-auspicious incarnations of the Lord, but who other than Shri Krishna can bestow love of God upon the surrendered souls?’ ”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “My dear Vallabha Bhatta, you are a learned scholar, whereas I am a Mayavadi sannyasi, and thus I was completely ignorant about the subject of Krishna-bhakti. Nevertheless, My mind has become purified by the association of Advaita Acharya, who is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because He is unparalleled in the understanding of shastra and devotional service, He is called Advaita Acharya. Indeed, He is such a great personality that, by His mercy, He can convert even the meateaters into Vaishnavas. Who then can estimate His spiritual potency?”
“Lord Nityananda Prabhu, the avadhuta, is also directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He is always intoxicated with the madness of ecstatic love. Indeed, He is an ocean of love for Krishna.”
“Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya knows the six philosophical treatises perfectly, and thus he is the spiritual master of the entire world. He is also the best of devotees, and so he has been able to show Me the limit of devotional service. Only by his mercy have I understood that devotional service to Krishna is the essence of all mystic yoga.”
“Shrila Ramananda Raya is the ultimate knower of the transcendental mellows derived from Lord Krishna’s devotional service. By his mercy I have understood that ecstatic love for Krishna is the highest goal of life.”
“The servant, friend, superior, and conjugal lover, are the shelters of the transcendental mellows called dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and shringara. There are two kinds of bhava, or transcendental emotion- with an understanding of the Lord’s full opulence (aisvarya-gyana-yukta), and pure uncontaminated emotion (kevala).”
“One cannot achieve shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna, the son of Maharaja Nanda, simply by knowing His opulence. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, is only accessible to those devotees who are engaged in spontaneous loving service.”
“In pure Krishna consciousness, a friend mounts upon Krishna’s shoulders, and mother Yashoda binds the Lord. When mother Yashoda saw the entire universe within Krishna’s mouth, she was certainly astonished for the time being. Nevertheless, she continued to consider the Lord as her son, for even if a pure devotee sees Krishna’s opulence, he does not accept it. Therefore, pure love for Krishna is more exalted than consciousness of the Lord’s opulence.”
“Ramananda Raya is extremely aware of the transcendental mellows, and he is incessantly absorbed in the ecstasy of love for Krishna. It is impossible to describe Ramananda Raya’s knowledge and influence, for only by his mercy have I understood the unalloyed love of the residents of Vrindavana.”
“By the association of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, I have understood Vrindavana’s transcendental mellow of conjugal love, for he is its personification. The unalloyed love of the gopis and Shrimati Radharani is without any trace of material lust, for their only purpose is to satisfy Krishna.”
“During the day, the gopis think as follows: ‘O dearly beloved! Your lotus feet are so soft that we place them gently on our hard breasts, fearing that they will be hurt. Similarly, our minds are always filled with anxiety as You roam about on the forest path, for we are afraid that Your tender feet may be wounded by the small stones and other sharp objects.’ ”
“Being obsessed with pure love, the gopis sometimes chastised Krishna as follows: ‘O dear Krishna, we have neglected the order of our husbands and other superiors, in order to come to You, being attracted by the sweet music of Your flute. You are a great cheater, however, for who else would give up the company of young girls like us in the dead of night?’ ”
“The conjugal love of the gopis is the most exalted form of devotional service, surpassing all other methods of bhakti. Therefore, Krishna felt obliged to say, ‘My dear gopis, I would not be able to repay you for your spotless service, even with a lifetime of Brahma. Therefore, please let your own glorious activities be your compensation.’ ”
“There was no greater devotee than Uddhava, and yet he desired to become just a blade of grass in Vrindavana, in order to receive the dust from the lotus feet of the gopis upon his head. I have learned all of these transcendental truths regarding the loving affairs of Lord Krishna and the gopis from Svarupa Damodara.”
“Haridasa Thakura, the Acharya of the holy name, is the most exalted of all the devotees, for every day he chants 300,000 holy names of the Lord. I have heard about the glories of the Lord’s holy name from Haridasa Thakura, and by his mercy I have understood them.”
“Acharyaratna, Acharyanidhi, Gadadhara Pandita, Jagadananda, Damodara, Shankara, Vakreshvara, Kashishvara, Mukunda, Vasudeva, Murari, and many other devotees have descended in Bengal to preach the glories of the holy name of Krishna and the value of love of God. It is from all of them that I have learned about the meaning of devotional service to Lord Krishna.”
Knowing Vallabha Bhatta’s heart to be full of pride, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had spoken in this way, just to hint at how one can really learn what devotional service is. Indeed, for a long time, Vallabha Bhatta had been thinking, “I am a great Vaishnava. Having learned all of the conclusions regarding Vaishnava philosophy, I can understand the meaning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and explain it very well.”
However, by hearing about the glories of all these devotees from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Vallabha Bhatta’s pride was cut down. Becoming very desirous of meeting them, Vallabha Bhatta inquired, “Where do all of these Vaishnavas live, and how can I see them?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Although some of these devotees reside in Bengal and other places, they have come here to see the Ratha-yatra festival. Therefore, you will have the opportunity of meeting them.”
Then, with great submission and humility, Vallabha Bhatta invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his house for lunch. The next day, when the devotees came to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence, the Lord introduced Vallabha Bhatta to each and every one of them. Vallabha Bhatta was astonished to see the luster of the devotees’ faces, and indeed, in their presence, he appeared to be just like a glowworm.
Vallabha Bhatta then brought a great quantity of Lord Jagannatha’s maha-prasada and sumptuously fed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees. All of the Lord’s sannyasi associates sat on one side, and on either side of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu. The Lord’s other associates sat in front and in back of Him, and the devotees from Bengal sat in lines in the courtyard. Vallabha Bhatta was highly astonished to see all of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotees, and with great devotion he offered his obeisances unto the lotus feet of each and every one of them.
Svarupa Damodara, Jagadananda, Kashishvara, Shankara, Raghava Pandita, and Damodara Pandita took charge of distributing prasada. While eating, the devotees chanted the holy names of the Lord, and the swelling vibrations filled the entire universe. When everyone finished eating, Vallabha Bhatta brought a large quantity of garlands, sandalwood paste, spices, and betel nuts, and by worshiping all of the devotees with this paraphernalia, he became extremely happy.
On Ratha-yatra day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu divided the devotees into seven sankirtana parties as usual. Advaita Acharya, Nityananda Prabhu, Vakreshvara Pandita, Shrivasa Thakura, Raghava Pandita, Haridasa Thakura, and Gadadhara Pandita danced in the seven groups, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, while chanting “Hari bol” wandered from one party to another. Fourteen mridangas resounded along with the congregational chanting, and in each group, the dancer’s ecstatic love inundated the entire world. Upon seeing all this, Vallabha Bhatta became completely astonished, and he actually lost himself while being overwhelmed by transcendental bliss.
Then, as previously, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ordered the others to stop dancing, and He personally began to dance. When Vallabha Bhatta saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s beauty, as well as the awakening of His ecstatic love, he concluded, “Here is Lord Krishna without a doubt.”
One day thereafter, Vallabha Bhatta went to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence and submitted a request at His lotus feet, “I have written a commentary on Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Would Your Lordship kindly hear it?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I do not understand the meaning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and indeed, I am not even a suitable person to hear about it. I simply sit and try to chant the holy name of Lord Krishna, and although I continue throughout the entire day and night, I cannot complete my prescribed number of rounds.”
Vallabha Bhatta said, “I have tried to very elaborately describe the meaning of Lord Krishna’s holy name. Therefore, kindly hear my explanation.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I do not accept many different meanings of the holy name of Krishna. I only know that Lord Krishna is Shyamasundara and Yashodanandana. The only purport of the holy name of Krishna is that He is dark like a tamala tree and that He is the son of mother Yashoda. This is the verdict of all shastra, and thus I conclusively know these two names. I do not understand any other meanings, nor have I the capacity to do so.”
Being omniscient, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could understand that Vallabha Bhatta’s explanations of Krishna’s name and Shrimad-Bhagavatam were all useless, and thus He did not care for them. After the Lord rigidly declined to hear his commentary, Vallabha Bhatta returned home very morose. Indeed, his faith in and devotion for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu changed.
Because Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not take Vallabha Bhatta very seriously, none of the residents of Jagannatha Puri agreed to hear his explanations. Feeling very ashamed, insulted, and unhappy, Vallabha Bhatta went to Gadadhara Pandita’s house again and again and maintained a relationship with him by showing him affection in various ways.
Approaching Gadadhara Pandita with great humility, Vallabha Bhatta pleaded, “I have taken shelter of you, my dear sir, and so kindly be merciful and save my life. Please hear my explanation of Lord Krishna’s holy name, for by doing so, the mud of shame that has come upon me will be washed away.”
In this way, Gadadhara Pandita fell into a dilemma, for since Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had already declined to hear Vallabha Bhatta’s explanations, if he were to do so, then the Lord would surely be displeased. Although Gadadhara Pandita did not want to hear it, Vallabha Bhatta began reading his commentary with great insistence.
Since Vallabha Bhatta was a learned brahmana, Gadadhara Pandita could not forbid him, but within himself he prayed, “My dear Lord Krishna, please protect me from this danger, for I have taken shelter of You. Sir Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is present in everyone’s heart, and thus He certainly knows my mind. For this reason, I do not fear the Lord, but His associates are extremely critical.”
Thereafter, although Gadadhara Pandita was not in the least at fault, some of the devotees thought that he had compromised with Vallabha Bhatta, and so they showed some affectionate anger toward him. Every day, Vallabha Bhatta continued coming to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence, just to engage in unnecessary arguments with Advaita Acharya, Svarupa Damodara, and other great personalities. However, all of the conclusions that were eagerly put forward by Vallabha Bhatta were forcefully refuted. Indeed, whenever Vallabha Bhatta entered the society of devotees, he appeared just like a duck in the midst of a flock of white swans.
One day, Vallabha Bhatta said to Advaita Acharya, “Every living entity is prakriti, or female, and thus considers Krishna to be her husband. It is the duty of a chaste and devoted wife not to utter her husband’s name. In spite of this, all of you chant Krishna’s name. How can this be considered a religious principle?”
Advaita Acharya replied, “In front of you is Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the personification of religious principles. If you ask Him, He will give you the proper reply.”
Upon hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Vallabha Bhatta, you do not know religious principles. Actually, the first duty of a chaste woman is to carry out her husband’s order. It is Krishna’s order that one should chant His name incessantly. Therefore, one who is chaste and adherent to the husband, Krishna, must chant His holy name. Following this religious principle, a pure devotee chants Krishna’s holy name, and as a result, he receives the fruit of ecstatic love for the Lord.”
After hearing this, Vallabha Bhatta was speechless, and so he returned home greatly unhappy. There, he began to think as follows: “Every day I am defeated in the assembly of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s associates. If, by chance, I can one day come out victorious, then it would be a great source of happiness, and all my shame would go away. By what means shall I successfully establish my statements?”
The next day, Vallabha Bhatta came to the assembly of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as usual. After offering his obeisances unto the Lord, he sat down. Then, with great pride, Vallabha Bhatta said, “In my commentary on Shrimad-Bhagavatam I have refuted the explanations of Shridhara Swami, for I cannot accept them. Whatever Shridhara Swami explains is done according to the circumstances, and thus he is inconsistent and cannot be accepted as an authority.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smilingly replied, “One who does not accept the swami (husband) as an authority, I consider to be a prostitute.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared exceptionally grave, and all the devotees derived great satisfaction from hearing His statement. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu descended as an incarnation for the benefit of the entire world. By His various hints and refutations, the Lord corrected Vallabha Bhatta just as Lord Krishna had formerly cut down the pride of Indra, the King of heaven. An ignorant person cannot recognize his actual profit. Due to material pride, he sometimes considers gain to be loss. However, when his false pride is cut down, then he is actually able to see his true benefit.
After returning home that evening, Vallabha Bhatta thought, “Formerly, at Prayaga, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted my invitation and was very kind to me. Why has He changed so much here at Jagannatha Puri? Because of being very proud of my learning, I am thinking, ‘Let me come out victorious’. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is trying to purify me by nullifying this false pride, for it is a characteristic of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that He acts for everyone’s benefit. Being falsely proud, I advertise myself as a greatly learned scholar. Therefore, it is His great favor that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu criticizes me in order to cut down my false pride. The Lord is actually acting for my benefit, although I interpret His words to be insults. This is exactly like the incident in which Lord Krishna cut down Indra, the great puffed-up fool, to correct him.”
Thinking like this, Vallabha Bhatta approached Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the next morning. While offering many prayers, Vallabha Bhatta surrendered at the Lord’s lotus feet, seeking His shelter.
He then admitted, “I am a great fool and thus I foolishly tried to demonstrate my learning in front of You. My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and You have shown me great mercy, just befitting Your position, by cutting down my false pride. But, I am such an ignorant fool that I interpreted as insults that which was actually meant for my benefit.”
“My dear Lord, You have cured the blindness that had been caused by false pride, by smearing my eyes with the ointment of Your mercy. My dear Lord, I have committed many offenses and so kindly excuse me. I seek Your shelter and so please be merciful unto me, by placing Your lotus feet upon my head.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “My dear Vallabha Bhatta, you are both a highly learned scholar and a great devotee. Wherever there are these attributes, there cannot be a mountain of false pride. However, you dared to criticize Shridhara Swami, and wrote your commentary on Shrimad-Bhagavatam without accepting his authority. That was your false pride.”
“Shridhara Swami is the spiritual master of the entire world, for it is by his mercy that we can understand Shrimad-Bhagavatam. I therefore accept him as My spiritual master. Whatever one may write due to false pride, trying to surpass Shridhara Swami, will simply carry a contrary meaning, and thus no one will pay attention to it. On the other hand, one who comments on Shrimad-Bhagavatam by following in the footsteps of Shridhara Swami, will be accepted and honored by all.”
“Therefore, put forward your explanations by following in the footsteps of Shridhara Swami. Giving up your false pride, just worship Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Abandoning all offenses, chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and very soon you will achieve shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord.”
Vallabha Bhatta then requested, “My dear Lord, if You are actually pleased with me, kindly accept my invitation once again.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Vallabha Bhatta’s invitation, just to fulfill his desire, for the Lord is always very eager to see everyone in the material world happy.
Jagadananda Pandita’s pure and very deep ecstatic love for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu can be compared with the love of Satyabhama for Krishna. Just as Satyabhama continually quarreled with Krishna, Jagadananda Pandita was accustomed to provoking loving quarrels with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus there was always some disagreement between them.
Gadadhara Pandita’s pure ecstatic love for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was also very deep, and was like that of Rukminidevi, who was especially submissive to Krishna. Previously, when Lord Krishna joked with Rukmini, just to make her angry, she took His words seriously, and thus a great fear awakened within her mind. Sometimes, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also desired to see Gadadhara Pandita exhibit affectionate anger. However, because of Gadadhara Pandita’s knowledge of the Lord’s opulence, his anger was never aroused. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would sometimes display apparent anger for this purpose, it simply aroused a great fear within Gadadhara Pandita’s heart.
Vallabha Bhatta was accustomed to worshiping Krishna in His childhood form, and thus he had been initiated into the Bala-gopala mantra. However, in the association of Gadadhara Pandita, his mind became converted, and thus he dedicated his mind to worshiping Kaishora-gopala, Krishna as a youth.
For this reason, Vallabha Bhatta wanted to be initiated a second time by Gadadhara Pandita, but the latter refused, saying, “The work of acting as a spiritual master is not possible for me. I am completely dependent upon my Lord, Gaurachandra, and so I cannot do anything without His order. My dear Vallabha Bhatta, your coming here is not appreciated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus He sometimes verbally chastises me.”
Thereafter, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu finally became pleased with Vallabha Bhatta, and accepted his invitation, the Lord sent Svarupa Damodara, Jagadananda Pandita, and Govinda to call for Gadadhara Pandita.
Then, on the way back, Svarupa Damodara told Gadadhara Pandita, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to test you, and therefore He appeared to neglect you. Since there was no fault on your part, why didn’t you retaliate against the Lord by reproaching Him? Why did you fearfully tolerate all His criticism?”
Gadadhara Pandita replied, “Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is completely independent, and He is the topmost omniscient personality. It would not be proper for me to talk to Him as if I were His equal. I can tolerate whatever He may say, bearing it upon my head, for I know that He will automatically become merciful to me after considering my faults and attributes.”
Thereafter, Gadadhara Pandita went and fell down crying at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. While smiling slightly, the Lord embraced Gadadhara Pandita, and then spoke with very sweet words so that others could hear. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “ I wanted to agitate you, but you did not become disturbed. You did not retaliate against Me by saying anything in anger, but rather, you tolerated everything. Your mind was not at all deviated by My tricks. Instead, you remained fixed in your simplicity, and so in this way, you have purchased Me.”
No one can describe the characteristics and ecstatic love of Gadadhara Pandita, and thus another name for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Gadadhara-prananatha, “the life and soul of Gadadhara Pandita.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was actually always merciful within His heart, but He was sometimes externally negligent of His devotees. We should not be preoccupied with His external feature, however, for if we do so, we shall be vanquished.
Another day thereafter, Gadadhara Pandita invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for prasada, and so the Lord and His personal associates had lunch at his home. At that time, Vallabha Bhatta received permission from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus his desire to take initiation from Gadadhara Pandita was fulfilled.
Once, a sannyasi named Ramachandra Puri came to Jagannatha Puri in order to see Paramananda Puri and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Knowing Ramachandra Puri to be a disciple of Madhavendra Puri, Paramananda Puri offered him obeisances when they met. In return, Ramachandra Puri strongly embraced Paramananda Puri, and then Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also offered His obeisances. When Ramachandra Puri responded by embracing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he remembered Lord Krishna. The three sannyasis talked for some time, and then Jagadananda Pandita extended an invitation to Ramachandra Puri.
Thereafter, a large quantity of Jagannatha maha-prasada was brought. After eating sumptuously, Ramachandra Puri spoke as follows, with a desire to find fault: “My dear Jagadananda, please eat whatever food is left over.”
Then, with great eagerness, Ramachandra Puri seated Jagadananda Pandita and began to personally serve him. Again and again, Ramachandra Puri made Jagadananda Pandita eat very sumptuously.
After Jagadananda Pandita finished eating, however, and had washed his hands and mouth, Ramachandra Puri criticized him as follows: “I had heard that the followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eat more than necessary, but now I have directly seen this to be a fact. Feeding a person in the renounced order of life too much breaks his regulative principles, for when a sannyasi overeats, it indicates that he does not possess even a trace of renunciation.”
It was the characteristic of Ramachandra Puri that he would first of all induce someone to eat more than necessary, and then criticize that person for doing so. Formerly, when Madhavendra Puri was at the last stage of his life, Ramachandra Puri came to where he was staying. At that time, Madhavendra Puri was chanting Lord Krishna’s holy name, and sometimes he would cry out, “O my Lord, I did not achieve shelter at Mathura.”
Ramachandra Puri was so foolish that he fearlessly dared to instruct his spiritual master as follows: “If you are in full transcendental bliss, then you should continually remember Brahman without deviation. Why are you crying?”
Upon hearing this, Madhavendra Puri became very angry, and he rebuked Ramachandra Puri by saying, “Get out, you sinful rascal! O my Lord Krishna, I could not reach You, nor could I attain Your abode, Mathura. I am dying in my unhappiness, and now this rascal has come here to give me more pain. Go wherever you like, but never again show yourself to me! If I die while seeing your face, I shall not be able to achieve the destination of my life. I am already greatly unhappy because of dying without having achieved Lord Krishna’s shelter, and now this condemned rascal has come here to instruct me about Brahman.”
Madhavendra Puri thus denounced Ramachandra Puri, and because of this offense, material desire gradually appeared within him. One who is attached to impersonal philosophy and dry renunciation has no relationship with Lord Krishna. His only occupation is criticizing others, especially Vaishnavas.
Ishvara Puri, the spiritual master of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, performed menial service for Madhavendra Puri, and while doing so he used to clean up his spiritual master’s stool and urine with his own hand. Ishvara Puri always chanted the holy name and pastimes of Lord Krishna for Madhavendra Puri to hear, so as to help him remember the Lord at the time of death.
Being very pleased with his disciple, Madhavendra Puri embraced Ishvara Puri and gave him the benediction that he would become a great devotee and lover of Lord Krishna. As a result, Ishvara Puri became just like an ocean of ecstatic love for Krishna, whereas Ramachandra Puri became a dry speculator and critic of everyone else.
Ishvara Puri received the blessings of Madhavendra Puri, whereas Ramachandra Puri received his rebuke. Therefore, these two disciples serve as illustrations as to what happens when one becomes the object of a great personality’s benediction and punishment. In this way, Madhavendra Puri instructed the entire world, by presenting these two examples.
While passing away from the material world, Madhavendra Puri chanted the following verse: “O my Lord! O most merciful master! O master of Mathura! When shall I see You again? Because of not being able to see You, my agitated heart has become unsteady. O most beloved one, what shall I now do?”
In this verse, Madhavendra Puri instructs everyone how to achieve ecstatic love for Krishna by feelings of separation. Madhavendra Puri sowed the seed of ecstatic love for Krishna within the material world and then departed. That seed later on became a great tree in the form of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
While Ramachandra Puri remained at Jagannatha Puri, there was no certainty about where he would take his meal, for he often appeared at some place uninvited. It cost four panas of kaudis (one pana equaled 80 kaudis, or small conch shells) to invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and this would provide lunch for three people, including the Lord and sometimes Govinda and Kashishvara. If someone was prepared to pay this fixed price, he would invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus every day the Lord would have His meal at a different place.
Ramachandra Puri concerned himself with gathering all sorts of information about how Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu followed His regulative principles- how He ate, how He slept, and about whatever else He did. Because Ramachandra Puri was only interested in finding faults, he could not appreciate Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s transcendental qualities. And yet, although Ramachandra Puri’s only concern was criticizing others, he could not find a single fault in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s behavior.
At last, however, he discovered a supposed discrepancy and then declared, “How can a person in the renounced order of life eat so many sweets? If one eats sweets, controlling the senses becomes very difficult.”
In this way, Ramachandra Puri blasphemed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in front of everyone, and yet he still came and visited the Lord daily. Upon meeting Ramachandra Puri, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would offer him respectful obeisances, considering him to be a Godbrother of His spiritual master. The Lord knew that Ramachandra Puri was criticizing Him in front of others, but still, He continued to offer him respect with great attention.
One morning, Ramachandra Puri came to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence, and upon seeing many ants there, he said, “Last night there was sugar candy here, and thus so many ants are wandering about. Alas, this renounced sannyasi is attached to such sense gratification!”
After saying this, Ramachandra Puri got up and left. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had heard rumors about Ramachandra Puri’s blasphemy, but now He directly heard one of his fanciful accusations. Ants are generally seen crawling about here, there and everywhere. However, since Ramachandra Puri was looking for imaginary faults, he took it that there must have been sweets in the Lord’s room, and thus he dared criticize Him.
After hearing this criticism, some doubtfulness and apprehension entered the Lord’s mind. He then called for Govinda and instructed him as follows: “From today on, the rule will be that I shall accept only one-fourth of a pot of Lord Jagannatha’s prasada, and five gandas (one ganda was equal to four kaudis) worth of vegetables. If you bring any more than this, you will not see Me here anymore.”
When Govinda relayed this message to the devotees, they all felt as if their heads had been struck by thunderbolts. Everyone then condemned Ramachandra Puri, saying, “This sinful man has come here and taken away our lives!”
That day, a brahmana extended an invitation to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. However, when Govinda accepted only five gandas worth of vegetables and one fourth a pot of rice, the brahmana struck his head with his hand and exclaimed in great despair, “Alas! Alas!”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ate only half of the prasada, and Govinda ate whatever remained. Thus, both the Lord and the servant ate only half of what they required, and upon seeing this, the other devotees gave up eating. The Lord then told Govinda and Kashishvara, “You may both take alms elsewhere, to fill your bellies.”
In this way, some days passed with everyone merged in unhappiness, and upon hearing the news, Ramachandra Puri went to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
After the Lord had offered obeisances unto his feet, Ramachandra Puri smiled and said, “It is not the business of a sannyasi to gratify his senses. He should simply fill his belly by some means or other. However, I have heard that You have cut Your eating in half. Indeed, I see that You have become very skinny. Such dry renunciation is also not the duty of a sannyasi.”
“A sannyasi must eat enough to maintain his body, but at the same time, he should not gratify his senses materially. In this way, a sannyasi becomes perfectly advanced in spiritual knowledge. In Bhagavad-gita, it is explained that a yogi should not eat too much nor too little, nor should he sleep too much nor too little, and thus he surmounts the pangs of material existence.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very humbly replied, “I am just like an ignorant boy, and thus I am like your disciple. It is My great fortune that you are instructing Me like this.”
After hearing this, Ramachandra Puri got up and left. The next day, Paramananda Puri and other devotees approached Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
With great humility and submission, Paramananda Puri said, “My Godbrother, Ramachandra Puri, is by nature a bad critic. If You give up eating because of his words, what is the profit? It is Ramachandra Puri’s practice to first of all induce one to eat more than necessary, and then criticize him by saying, ‘You eat so much! How much money do you have in your treasury? Because you induce sannyasis to eat so much and thus spoil their religious principles, I can understand that you possess no spiritual advancement.’ ”
“My dear Lord, it is Ramachandra Puri’s business to always inquire about how others are eating and conducting their daily affairs. Thus, the two kinds of activity that are rejected in shastra, namely praising and criticizing others, constitutes his daily occupation. Lord Krishna instructed Uddhava: ‘One should see that, because of the combination of the material nature and the living entities, the universe is acting uniformly. Thus, one should neither praise nor blame the characteristics or activities of others.’ ”
“Of the two above-mentioned rules, Ramachandra Puri strictly observes the former rule, and thus carefully abandons praise. And yet, although he knows that the latter injunction is more important, he neglects it by criticizing others. In the nyaya-shastra it is stated, ‘Between the former rule (purva-viddhi), and the latter rule (para-viddhi), the latter is more important.’ ”
“Even when there are hundreds of good qualities, a critic does not consider them. Rather, he attempts by some trick to point out a fault in those attributes. One should certainly not follow the principles of Ramachandra Puri, but because he is causing us great unhappiness, I also have something to say against him.”
“My dear Lord, why have You given up proper eating just because of Ramachandra Puri’s criticism? Please accept invitations as before, for this is the request of us all.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Why are you all angry at Ramachandra Puri? He is expounding the natural principles of sannyasa life. Why are you accusing him in this way? For a sannyasi to indulge in satisfying his tongue is a great offense, since the duty of one in the renounced order of life is to eat only as much as is needed to keep his body and soul together.”
Thus, in spite of the devotees’ fervent requests, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued to accept only two panas of kaudis (160 small conch shells) worth of food, and that was eaten by two, and sometimes three men. When a brahmana whose cooking could not be accepted invited the Lord, he would pay two panas of conch shells and purchase Lord Jagannatha’s maha-prasada. When a brahmana whose cooking could be accepted invited the Lord, he would purchase some prasada and prepare the rest at home.
However, even on those days in which others had invited Him, if Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was requested to take lunch at the home of Gadadhara Pandita, Bhagavan Acharya or Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, He would accept their invitations as if He had no independence.
The Lord actually descended to give happiness to the devotees, and thus He behaved in whichever way fit the time and circumstances. Because of His full independence, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sometimes behaved just like a common man, and at other times, He manifested His godly opulence.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sometimes accepted Ramachandra Puri as His master, considering Himself to be a servant. At other time, however, without caring for him, the Lord would see Ramachandra Puri as being no better than a piece of straw. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu behaved beyond the restriction of anyone’s intelligence, which is just befitting the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus whatever He liked, He did.
Finally, after some time, Ramachandra Puri left Jagannatha Puri, so that he could continue to travel to various holy places of pilgrimage. The devotees had considered Ramachandra Puri to be just like a great burden on their heads. Thus, when Ramachandra Puri left, all the devotees felt extremely relieved and happy, as if a big stone had suddenly fallen from their heads onto the ground. After the departure of Ramachandra Puri, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted invitations as usual, and so everyone else also began to happily accept prasada without hindrances.
If one is rejected by his spiritual master, he becomes so fallen, that, like Ramachandra Puri, he commits offenses even to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not consider the offenses, Ramachandra Puri’s character instructed everyone about the result of offending the spiritual master.
People from all over the three worlds used to visit Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and whoever saw Him received the transcendental treasure of love for Krishna. The inhabitants of the seven higher planetary systems, including the demigods, Gandharvas and Kinnaras, as well as the residents of the seven lower planetary systems, including the demons and Nagas, all came to Jagannatha Puri in the dress of human beings. Prahlada Maharaja, Bali Maharaja, Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami, and many other illustrious personalities came to visit Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and upon seeing Him, they became practically unconscious in ecstatic love for Krishna.
Crowds of people would congregate outside Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence, and if unable to see the Him, they would create a tumultuous sound. The Lord would then go outside and tell the people, “Chant Hare Krishna”, and upon seeing Him, everyone would become overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Krishna.
One day, some people excitedly came to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and informed Him, “Gopinatha Pattanayaka, the son of Bhavananda Raya, has been condemned to death by the King’s eldest son, and as a result, he has been raised onto the changa.”
“The changa consists of a raised platform, underneath which is placed stationary upright swords, onto which the condemned man is pushed to this death. O Lord, Bhavananda Raya and his entire family are Your servants, and so it is quite befitting for You to rescue his son. Only if You protect Gopinatha Pattanayaka, will he be saved.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “Why is the King chastising him?”
The people explained, “Gopinatha Pattanayaka is the government treasurer, serving at a place called Malajathya Dandapata. Once, however, after he collected the taxes and deposited the money in the treasury, it was found to be 200,000 kahanas (one kahana was equal to 1280 kaudis, or conch shells) short, and so the King demanded this sum from him. Gopinatha Pattanayaka then informed the King, ‘I do not have any money that I can give you at the moment. Please give me some time to do some business, so that I can gradually repay the money that I owe the treasury. And, for the present, I have ten or twelve good horses that you can take for a proper price.’ ”
“After saying this, Gopinatha Pattanayaka brought the horses, and so the King sent his eldest son, along with some friends and ministers, to value them. Although this prince knew very well how to evaluate the worth of horses, he purposely gave reduced quotations. When he heard the prices decided upon, Gopinatha Pattanayaka became very angry.”
“This prince has a personal idiosyncrasy of turning his neck and facing the sky, looking here and there, again and again. Knowing the King to be always very kind to him, Gopinatha Pattanayaka fearlessly criticized the prince, saying, ‘My horses never turn their necks or look upwards, so the price for them should not be reduced.’ ”
“Upon hearing this criticism, the prince became very angry. After coming before his father, he made false allegations as follows: “This Gopinatha Pattanayaka is not willing to pay back the money that he owes the government. Instead, he is squandering it on some pretext. However, if you so order, I can place him upon the changa and realize the money in this way.’ ”
“The King replied, ‘You can adopt whatever means you think best, for any way in which you can somehow or other realize the money is all right with me.’ ”
The people then concluded their story: “The prince went and put Gopinatha Pattanayaka onto the changa’s platform, and placed swords underneath upon which to throw him.”
After hearing all this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, while displaying some affectionate anger, “Gopinatha Pattanayaka does not want to pay what is due the King. What is the fault if the King wants to punish him? Gopinatha Pattanayaka is in charge of collecting taxes on behalf of the government, but without even fearing the King, he misappropriates the money by squandering it to see dancing girls. An intelligent person should perform his government service, and then, after paying the treasury what is due, spend whatever money is left over.”
Just then, another person arrived, bringing the news that Vaninatha Raya and his entire family had been arrested. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “The King must recover whatever is due the government. I am a sannyasi, what can I do?”
The devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara, then fell at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and pleaded, “All the members of Ramananda Raya’s family are Your eternal servants. Now, since they are in danger, it is not befitting that You show indifference toward them in this way.”
After hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spoke as follows, in a very angry mood: “It is all of your opinion that I should go to the King and beg money from him by spreading My cloth. Of course, a sannyasi or a brahmana may beg for up to five gandas, but why should he be granted the inappropriate amount of 200,000 kahanas conch shells?”
Then, another person arrived, saying that Gopinatha Pattanayaka had already been put onto the platform so as to be thrown down upon the points of the swords. After hearing this, the devotees once again appealed to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
However, the Lord replied, “I am a beggar, and so it is not possible for Me to do anything about this. If you want to save Gopinatha Pattanayaka, then you should all pray together at the lotus feet of Lord Jagannatha, for He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the possessor of all potencies. The Lord can act freely, and thus do and undo whatever He likes.”
Meanwhile, a government officer named Harichandana Patra approached the King and said, “After all, Gopinatha is your faithful servant. To condemn a servant to death is not very good behavior. His only fault is that he owes some money to the government. Therefore, if Gopinatha is killed, the government will simply be the loser, for it will never recover the money. It would be better for you to take his horses at a proper price and then let him gradually repay the balance. Why are you unnecessarily killing him?”
With an air of surprise, the King replied, “I did not know about all this. Why should Gopinatha’s life be taken? I only want the money from him. Now, please go there quickly and adjust everything accordingly.”
When Harichandana went and informed the prince of the King’s desire, Gopinatha Pattanayaka was immediately taken down from the changa. Gopinatha Pattanayaka was then informed that the King demanded the money owed to the government, and wanted to know how it would be paid. He replied, “Please take my horses for a proper price. Then, gradually, I shall repay the balance when I am able to do so. Without consideration, you were going to take my life. What can I say?”
Thereafter, the government took Gopinatha Pattanayaka’s horses for a fair price, and a time limit was set for the balance payment. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then inquired from the messenger who relayed this news, “What was Vaninatha Raya doing when he was arrested and brought there?”
The messenger replied, “He was fearlessly and incessantly chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. He counted the chanting with the fingers of both hands, and after finishing one thousand mantras, he made a mark on his body.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to hear this. Kashi Mishra then arrived at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence, and the Lord addressed him with some agitation as follows: “I cannot stay here any longer, and so I shall go to Alalanatha. There are so many disturbances here that I cannot even get some rest.”
“All of Bhavananda Raya’s family members are engaged in government service, and yet they misappropriate the government’s revenue by spending it in various ways. Then, when they are punished for failing to pay the government its due, people come to Me to have them released. When the King put Gopinatha Pattanayaka on the changa, messengers came here four times to inform Me of the incident. What is the fault on the part of the King? All he wants is the government’s money!”
“As a beggar sannyasi I wish to live alone in a solitary place, but these people come and tell Me about their unhappiness, and thus disturb Me. Today, Lord Jagannatha has saved Gopinatha Pattanayaka from death, but if tomorrow he does not pay what is owed to the treasury, who will give him protection? When we hear about the activities of materialistic persons, our minds become agitated. There is no need for Me to stay here and become disturbed in this way.”
Kashi Mishra caught hold of the Lord’s lotus feet and replied, “Why should You become agitated by these affairs? You are a renounced sannyasi, and so what connections do You have? One who worships You for some material purpose is certainly devoid of all knowledge. If one engages in devotional service for Your satisfaction, as a result, he will increasingly awaken his dormant love for You. However, if one engages in Your devotional service for some material purpose, he should be considered a first-class fool.”
“It is only for Your sake that Ramananda Raya resigned from his post as the governor of Rajamahendri, and Sanatana Gosvami gave up his ministerial position. It is for Your sake alone that Raghunatha dasa gave up his family relationships. Although Raghunatha dasa’s father sent him money, he did not accept it, due to having received the mercy of Your lotus feet. Instead, he eats by begging alms from the free food distribution centers.”
“Gopinatha Pattanayaka is a good gentleman, and he does not desire any material benefit from You. It was not Gopinatha who sent all those men to release him from his plight. It was his friends and servants who informed You, for they knew Gopinatha to be a soul completely surrendered unto You. Gopinatha Pattanayaka is a pure devotee who worships You only for Your satisfaction. He does not care for his personal happiness or distress, for that is the business of a materialist. One who engages in Your devotional service without deviation, desiring only Your mercy, will very soon attain shelter at Your lotus feet.”
“My dear Lord, kindly remain here at Jagannatha Puri and henceforward, no one will approach You about material affairs. If You want to give protection to Gopinatha Pattanayaka, then Lord Jagannatha, who saved him today, will also do so in the future.”
After saying this, Kashi Mishra departed, and then, at noon, King Prataparudra came to his residence. Indeed, whenever the King stayed at Purushottama, he would go to Kashi Mishra’s house every day without fail, in order to massage his lotus feet and hear about the opulence of Lord Jagannatha’s service. That was his regulative principle.
As Maharaja Prataparudra massaged his feet, Kashi Mishra began to inform him of something by giving a hint as follows: “My dear King, please hear of one uncommon piece of news. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wants to leave Jagannatha Puri and go to Alalanatha.”
Upon hearing this, the King became very unhappy and inquired about the reason. Kashi Mishra explained, “When Gopinatha Pattanayaka was put onto the changa, all of his servants went to inform Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
“Hearing of this, the Lord became very disturbed, and He angrily chastised Gopinatha Pattanayaka as follows: ‘Because he is mad after sense gratification, he acts like a government servant, but then spends the revenue for various sinful activities. The government money is more sacred than the property of a brahmana, and so one who misappropriates it for personal sense gratification is most sinful, and is liable to be punished by the King. This is the verdict of all shastra.’ ”
“ ‘The King wanted to recover the government money without enforcing any punishment, and thus he is certainly a very religious man. However, Gopinatha Pattanayaka is a great cheater, for not only does he withhold the government’s revenue, but he solicits My help for his release. This is a greatly sinful affair, and thus I cannot tolerate it here. For this reason, I shall leave Jagannatha Puri and go to Alalanatha, where I can live peacefully without having to hear about the affairs of materialistic people.’ ”
Upon hearing this statement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, King Prataparudra felt very pained at heart. He then said, “I shall gladly give up all that is due from Gopinatha Pattanayaka if Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stays here at Nilachala. In fact, if I could get an interview with the Lord for even a moment, I would not care for a profit of millions of chintamani stones, and so what to speak of the small sum of 200,000 kahanas. To say nothing of this tiny amount of money, I am prepared to sacrifice everything at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, including my very life and kingdom.”
Kashi Mishra then said, “It is not the Lord’s intention that you forfeit the payment. He only feels unhappy because Gopinatha’s whole family was troubled.”
Maharaja Prataparudra replied, “I have no desire to give pain to Gopinatha Pattanayaka and his family. In fact, I did not even know about his being put onto the changa, so as to be thrown down onto swords and killed. He sneered at Purushottama Jana, and so the prince tried to scare him as punishment. Now, go personally to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and with great attention keep Him here in Jagannatha Puri. Meanwhile, I shall cancel Gopinatha Pattanayaka’s debt.”
Kashi Mishra said, “Excusing Gopinatha Pattanayaka will not make Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu happy, for that is not His desire.”
However, the King replied, “I shall absolve all of Gopinatha Pattanayaka’s debt, but do not speak of this to the Lord. Simply let Him know that all of Bhavananda Raya’s family members are my very dear friends. Since Bhavananda Raya is worthy of my worship and respect, I am always affectionate toward his sons.”
After offering his obeisances to Kashi Mishra, the King returned to his palace and called for both his eldest son and Gopinatha Pattanayaka.
The King then told Gopinatha, “I have cancelled the debt that you owe the treasury, and the place known as Malajathya Dandapata is once again given to you for collections. However, make sure that you never again misappropriate the government revenue. Just in case you consider your salary to be insufficient, henceforward it will be doubled.”
Thereafter, the King re-appointed Gopinatha Pattanayaka to his post by offering him a silk cloth, and then said, “Go to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and return home with His permission.”
Gopinatha Pattanayaka achieved royal opulence as a result of a mere glimpse of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy. Therefore, no one can calculate the full value of the Lord’s mercy.
Gopinatha Pattanayaka was placed upon the changa to be executed, and all of his money had been confiscated. And yet, the situation suddenly became reversed, so that all of his debts were cleared and he was re-instated in his government post. On the one hand, Gopinatha Pattanayaka could not pay his debt even by selling all his possessions, but on the other hand, his salary was doubled, and he was honored with a silk cloth.
It was not Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s intention that Gopinatha Pattanayaka be excused, nor was it His desire that his salary be doubled nor that he be re-appointed as collector for the government. Indeed, when the messenger had informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu about Gopinatha Pattanayaka’s plight, the Lord had become somewhat agitated and dissatisfied. The Lord had no intention of awarding His devotee material opulence, and yet, simply because of His being informed of the situation, such a result was obtained.
Kashi Mishra then went and informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of the King’s intentions. However, when He heard Kashi Mishra’s description of how he had induced the King to excuse Gopinatha Pattanayaka by describing His unhappiness over the matter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu objected. The Lord said, “Kashi Mishra, what have you done! Indirectly you have made Me take a contribution from the King!”
Kashi Mishra replied, “My dear Lord, whatever Maharaja Prataparudra has done was entirely without reservation. Kindly listen to me now as I repeat the King’s statement: ‘Please speak to the Lord in such a way that He may not think, “For My sake the King has forfeited 200,000 kahanas of kaudis.” Inform Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that all of Bhavananda Raya’s sons are especially dear to me. Because I consider them to be like my very own family members, I have appointed them as collectors in various places. Even though they use the government’s money to eat, drink, plunder and distribute as they like, I do not take such things very seriously. I made Ramananda Raya the governor of Rajamahendri, and yet there is practically no account of whatever money he collected and distributed while in that position.’ ”
“ ‘In the same way, as collector, Gopinatha generally spends two to four hundred thousand kahanas as he likes. He collects some, deposits some, and then spends the rest as he likes, but I do not take this very seriously. He was put into trouble this time because of a misunderstanding with the prince, who thus created a dangerous situation without my knowledge. In actuality, I consider all of Bhavananda Raya’s sons to be just like my relatives. It is because of this intimate relationship that I have absolved Gopinatha Pattanayaka’s debt, although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu does not know the fact.’ ”
After hearing this statement disclosing the King’s mentality, the Lord became very satisfied. Bhavananda Raya then came there, along with his five sons, and fell at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.
The Lord picked up and embraced Bhavananda Raya, who then spoke as follows: “My Lord, all of my family members are Your eternal servants. You have saved us from a great danger, and thus You have purchased us for a proper price. You have demonstrated Your love for Your devotees, just as when You previously saved the five Pandavas from great danger.”
Gopinatha Pattanayaka, his head covered with the silk cloth, then fell down at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and said, “The King has cancelled my debt, and has also reappointed me to my original post by presenting me this silk cloth and doubling my salary. I was put onto the changa, but then, instead of being killed, I was honored.”
“My Lord, this is all Your mercy. While on the changa, I began meditating upon Your lotus feet, and it is the power of that remembrance that has yielded these results. Now, being struck with wonder upon seeing such a reversal, the general populace is glorifying the greatness of Your mercy.”
“However, My Lord, I know that such attainments are not the principal results of meditating upon Your lotus feet. The material opulence that I have received are very flickering, and thus they have been caused by simply a slight glimpse of Your mercy. Your real mercy has been granted to Ramananda Raya and Vaninatha Raya, for You have awarded them detachment from all material opulence. I think that I have not been favored by such mercy. Therefore, kindly bestow upon me Your pure mercy, so that I may also become renounced. Now, I am no longer interested in material enjoyment.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “If you adopt the renounced order of life and lose interest in earning money, then who will take charge of maintaining your large family? Whether you are involved in material activities or become completely renounced, you five brothers are My eternal servants, birth after birth.”
“Now, please obey just one order from Me. First of all, pay whatever is due to the King, and afterwards you can spend the balance for religious and fruitive activities. But, do not spend even the slightest amount for sinful activities, because this will make you the loser both in this life and the next.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Bhavananda Raya and his sons, and then bade them farewell. Upon witnessing the Lord’s extraordinary mercy upon Bhavananda Raya’s family, all the devotees were astonished, and while departing, they loudly chanted the holy name of the Lord. However, no on could really understand Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s behavior.
When the devotees had requested the Lord to bestow His mercy upon Gopinatha Pattanayaka, He had displayed apparent indifference. Then, without making any direct request of either Kashi Mishra or the King, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu awarded so much benefit to Gopinatha Pattanayaka, that His mercy was clearly demonstrated. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s intentions are so deep that one can understand them only if he has complete faith in service to His lotus feet.
The next year, the devotees from Bengal journeyed to Jagannatha Puri as usual. Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had ordered Him to remain in Bengal, Nityananda Prabhu also accompanied the party, being impelled by ecstatic love.
Indeed, it is a symptom of real love that one sometimes breaks the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to associate with Him. During the rasa dance, Lord Krishna had asked all the gopis to return home, but they neglected His order so that they could remain with Him. Krishna is certainly pleased when one carries out His order, but if one sometimes disobeys His order due to ecstatic love, that gives Him millions of times greater happiness.
Raghava Pandita also came with the party, taking bags full of food that had been very nicely prepared by his sister, Damayanti.
Do not neglect sukuta because it is a bitter preparation. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu derived more happiness from eating Damayanti’s sukuta, than from drinking panchamrita. Being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu extracts the purpose from everything. Because of accepting Damayanti’s affection for Him, the Lord derived great pleasure even from the dried bitter leaves of sukuta.
Having a natural love for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Damayanti considered Him to be an ordinary human being. She thought that He might become sick, due to overeating, for this causes an excess of mucus within the stomach. Damayanti believed that eating sukuta would cure the Lord’s disease, and in return, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to accept these affectionate sentiments.
In this regard, there is a verse by the poet, Bharavi: “A dear lover strung a garland and placed it upon the shoulder of his beloved, in the presence of her co-wives. She had raised breasts and was very beautiful. Although the garland was stained with mud, she did not reject it, for its value lay not in material things, but in love.”
Damayanti made sweet balls from powdered coriander and anise seeds, cooked with sugar. She also made sweets with dried ginger, for the purpose of removing mucus. All such preparations were put into small cloth bags.
She made one hundred varieties of achara (pickles), and cheese that would remain fresh for a long time. Damayanti powdered fried grains of rice, moistened that powder with ghee, and then cooked it in sugar water. To this, she added camphor, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, and other spices, and then rolled it into balls that were very palatable and aromatic.
Indeed, it would not be possible to mention, even in the span of a lifetime, the names of all the wonderful preparations that Damayanti cooked, for she made thousands of varieties. Damayanti prepared these foods under the direction of her brother, Raghava Pandita.
Damayanti took earth from the River Ganga, dried it, powdered it, strained it through a fine cloth, mixed in aromatic ingredients, and then rolled it into small balls.
Some of the preparations that she made were put into thin clay pots, and others were put into small cloth bags. Larger bags were then carefully filled with the smaller ones, and each bag was attentively wrapped and sealed. These bags became famous as Raghavera jhali, and were carried by three bearers. Makaradhvaja Kara was the superintendent of these bags, and he kept track of them with great attention, as if they were his very life.
It so happened that the devotees from Bengal arrived at Nilachala on the day when Lord Jagannatha enjoys pastimes in the lake known as Narendra-sarovara. After Lord Govinda (the vijaya-vigraha who goes out when there is need of taking Lord Jagannatha somewhere) had boarded His boat, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came there, along with His personal associates, to see the jubilant pastimes. Then, the devotees from Bengal also arrived at Narendra-sarovara. Thus, there was a great meeting as all of the devotees fell at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In turn, the Lord lifted each and every one of them up and embraced them.
On the shore of the lake there was music, singing, chanting, and dancing, because of the Lord’s water pastimes. Then, when the Bengali devotees began their sankirtana, chanting and crying loudly in ecstatic love, the sounds mixed together to create a tumultuous vibration that filled the entire universe.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu entered the water along with His devotees and began His pastimes in great jubilation. After some time, Lord Govinda returned to the temple, and so Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees accompanied the procession.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to His residence, after visiting the temple, He called for a large quantity of Lord Jagannatha’s maha-prasada, which He then distributed to the devotees so that they could eat sumptuously. Then, after talking with the devotees for some time, the Lord had them go to the residences that they had occupied the previous year.
Raghava Pandita delivered his bags of prasada to Govinda, who kept them in a corner of the dining room. Govinda emptied all the bags from the previous year, and put them in another room, so that they could be used for storing other goods.
The next day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took His personal associates to see Lord Jagannatha at the time of His rising from bed early in the morning. After seeing the Deity, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began His all-encompassing sankirtana (beda-sankirtana).
The Lord formed seven groups, in which the principal dancers were Advaita Acharya, Nityananda Prabhu, Vakreshvara Pandita, Acyutananda, Shrivasa Pandita, Satyaraja Khan, and Narahari dasa. The congregational chanting made such a tumultuous roar, filling the entire sky, that all the residents of Jagannatha Puri came running to see the performance. King Prataparudra also came there, accompanied by his staff, and he watched the kirtana from a distance, while the queens observed the chanting and dancing from the palace roof. Indeed, it appeared as if the entire world had begun to tremble, due to the forceful vibration created by the kirtana.
After some time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu desired to personally dance, and so the seven kirtana parties spread out in seven directions, chanting and beating upon their mridangas. While the Lord began dancing in the center with great ecstatic love, He remembered the following line in the Orissan language, and so He had Svarupa Damodara sing it: “Let my head fall at the lotus feet of Lord Jagannatha, in the kirtana hall known as Jagamohana.”
Simply by hearing this verse, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s great ecstatic love became aroused, and as He danced, the surrounding people floated in the water of His tears. While raising His arms, the Lord shouted, “Chant! Chant”, and so the people responded by loudly singing the holy names of the Lord.
The Lord then suddenly fell to the ground, unconscious, and His breathing appeared to have completely stopped. Then, the Lord once again rose to His feet while making a loud sound, and the hair on His body stood up like the thorns on a simula tree. As the Lord continued to dance, His body sometimes appeared to be swollen, and at other times it seemed to be thin. From every pore, the Lord bled and perspired, and with a faltering voice, He could only utter, “jaja gaga pari mumum…” All of the Lord’s teeth shook, as if separated from one another, and thus it appeared as if they would fall out onto the ground.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s transcendental bliss only went on increasing, and thus even at mid-afternoon, the dancing had not ended. Because the ocean of transcendental bliss had overflowed, everyone present forgot their body, mind and home.
Nityananda Prabhu then found a way to end the kirtana by gradually stopping the chanters, one after another. Finally, only one group continued chanting very softly, with Svarupa Damodara leading, and thus, in the absence of a tumultuous sound, the Lord returned to His external consciousness. Nityananda Prabhu then informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu about the fatigue of the chanters and dancers, and so the Lord finally stopped the kirtana.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then took all of the devotees with Him and went to bathe in the sea. Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had lunch, along with His devotees, and at last, He requested them to return to their residences to rest.
After the devotees had left, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lay down in the doorway of the Gambhira, and so Govinda came to massage His legs. It was a long-standing rule that when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu laid down to rest after lunch, Govinda would come and massage His legs. Then, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would fall asleep, Govinda used to go and eat the remnants of the Lord’s food.
However, this time, the Lord lay down in such a way that He occupied the entire doorway, so that Govinda could not enter the room. Because Govinda could not reach the Lord’s legs unless he entered the Gambhira, he requested, “Please turn to one side, so that I may come into the room.”
The Lord replied, “I do not even have the strength to move My body.”
Again and again, Govinda submitted his request, but each time, the Lord replied, “I cannot move.” Then, when Govinda pleaded, “I want to massage Your legs”, the Lord said, “Do it or don’t do it. It just depends upon your mind.”
Finally, after considering the matter carefully, Govinda spread the Lord’s outer cloth over His body and then entered the room by stepping over Him. Thereafter, Govinda massaged Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s legs as usual, and by also pressing His waist and back very gently, He made the Lord’s fatigue go away. As Govinda massaged His body, the Lord slept very soundly for about forty-five minutes, and then He awoke.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw that Govinda was still sitting by His side, He became somewhat angry and said, “Why have you stayed here for so long today? Why didn’t you go and take your meal after I fell asleep?”
Govinda replied, “While lying down, You blocked the entire doorway, and so there was no way for me to go out.”
The Lord then asked, “If that is so, then how did you enter the room? Why didn’t you go out the same way and take your lunch?”
Govinda mentally replied, “My duty is to serve, even if I must commit offenses or go to hell. I would not mind committing thousands of offenses for the service of the Lord, but I greatly fear committing even a glimpse of an offense for my own self.”
While thinking in this way, Govinda remained silent. Usually, Govinda would go and take his lunch after the Lord had fallen asleep, but on this day, he continued the massage, in consideration of the Lord’s fatigue. Also, how could he leave? When Govinda thought about crossing over the Lord’s body, he considered it to be a great offense. Actually, the Lord is very interested in manifesting the exalted qualities of His devotees, and it is for this reason that He engineered the previous incident.
The Bengali devotees remained at Jagannatha Puri for the four months of the rainy season, and the Lord observed the Gundicha-marjana and Ratha-yatra festivals along with them. All of the devotees had desired to give Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu something to eat, and thus each one of them had brought a certain type of prasada to Jagannatha Puri.
While entrusting their offerings to Govinda, the devotees had requested him, “Please make sure that the Lord eats this.”
All of these preparations were very costly, and of innumerable varieties. When Govinda presented them to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he would say, “This prasada has been offered by such and such devotee.” The Lord did not actually eat these offerings, however, but simply said, “Keep it in storage.”
In this way, the food kept accumulating until it filled up a corner of the room, and there was enough to feed one hundred people. Again and again, the devotees eagerly questioned Govinda, “Did you give Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the prasada that was prepared by me?”
As a result, Govinda had to tell lies. Then, one day, he addressed the Lord as follows, in a voice that was filled with disappointment: “Many respectable devotees, headed by Advaita Acharya, have made a great endeavor to entrust me with varieties of food for Your Lordship. However, You do not eat these offerings, and again and again they question me. How long can I go on cheating these devotees? How shall I become freed from this dilemma?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Why are you so foolishly unhappy? Bring to Me now all that the devotees have given you.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat down to eat as Govinda served Him one preparation after another while announcing the names of the persons who had offered them. The hard sweetballs, many varieties of sweet drinks, and all of the other preparations were at least one month old, and yet none had become stale or tasteless. Indeed, by the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, all of the food had remained fresh.
Within a short time, the Lord had eaten enough for one hundred men, and then He asked, “Is there anything left?”
Govinda replied, “Now only the bags of Raghava remain.”
The Lord said, “Let them be, and I shall see them later on.”
Then, the next day, while having lunch in a secluded place, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu opened the bags of Raghava and began inspecting their contents, one after another. While tasting a little of each preparation, the Lord praised the food for its flavor and aroma.
Thereafter, throughout the entire year, the Lord ate whatever remained. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had lunch, Svarupa Damodara would serve Raghava’s preparations to Him, little by little, and sometimes the Lord would eat a bit at night. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu certainly enjoys the food that is prepared by His devotees with faith and love.
During the four months that the devotees from Bengal remained at Jagannatha Puri, those who were of the brahmana caste, such as Advaita Acharya, Acharyaratna, Acharyanidhi, Nandana Acharya, Raghava Pandita, and Shrivasa Thakura, invited the Lord to their homes for food that they prepared themselves and then mixed with Lord Jagannatha’s maha-prasada. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted these invitations, He sometimes went alone, and sometimes He went along with His associates.
When Vasudeva Datta, Gadadhara dasa, Murari Gupta, the inhabitants of Kulina-grama and Khanda, and many other devotees who were not brahmanas by caste would invite the Lord, they fed Him by purchasing Lord Jagannatha’s maha-prasada. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu observed the etiquette that was current, but still, on principle, He accepted invitations from all His devotees.
Shivananda Sena had brought his eldest son, Chaitanya dasa, to Jagannatha Puri, and when he introduced the boy to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord inquired about his name. When He heard that the boy’s name was Chaitanya dasa, the Lord said, “What kind of name have you given your son? It is very difficult to understand.”
Shivananda Sena replied, “He has received the name that appeared to me from within”, and then he invited the Lord to lunch. Soon thereafter, Shivananda Sena brought very costly maha-prasada of Lord Jagannatha, and so the Lord and His associates sat down to have lunch. Just to honor Shivananda Sena, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ate more than necessary, however, and thus He felt some dissatisfaction within His mind.
The next day, Shivananda Sena’s son, Chaitanya dasa, extended an invitation to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and because he understood the Lord’s mind, he arranged for a different kind of menu that would counteract the heavy meal of the previous day. Chaitanya dasa offered Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu yogurt, limes, ginger, soft bada and salt, and upon seeing this, the Lord was very pleased.
The Lord then said, “This boy knows My mind, and so I am very satisfied to have accepted his invitation.”
After saying this, the Lord ate rice mixed with yogurt and then gave Chaitanya dasa His remnants.
When the four months of the rainy season came to an end, some of the devotees still had not been able to invite the Lord for lunch, because of the heavy schedule, that included the fixed dates of Gadadhara Pandita and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. After Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bade them farewell, the Bengali devotees departed, while those who were the constant companions of the Lord remained with Him at Jagannatha Puri.
One day, Govinda went in great jubilation to deliver the remnants of Lord Jagannatha’s food to Haridasa Thakura. However, upon his arrival, Govinda saw that Haridasa Thakura was lying down on his back and chanting his rounds very slowly. Govinda said, “Please rise and take your maha-prasada.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “Today I shall observe fasting for I have not yet finished my prescribed number of rounds. How then can I eat? On the other hand, you have brought me maha-prasada, and so how can I neglect it?”
After saying this, Haridasa Thakura offered prayers to the maha-prasada and then ate a little portion.
The next day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went and inquired, “My dear Haridasa, are you well?
Haridasa Thakura offered his obeisances unto the Lord and replied, “My body is all right, but my mind and intelligence are not well.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “Can you ascertain what your disease is?”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My disease is that I cannot complete my prescribed number of rounds.”
The Lord then said, “Now that you have become old, you may reduce the number of rounds that you chant every day. You are already liberated, and thus there is no need for you to follow the regulative principles very strictly. Your role in this incarnation is to deliver the people in general, and you have done this sufficiently by preaching the glories of the holy name in this world. Therefore, please reduce the fixed number of times that you chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My Lord, kindly hear my real plea. I was born in a low family, and thus my body is most abominable. I always engage in low work, and thus I am the lowest and most condemned of men. I am unseeable and untouchable, and yet You have accepted me as Your servant. This means that You have rescued me from a hellish condition of life, and elevated me to the Vaikuntha platform.”
“My dear Lord, You are the fully independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus You act by Your own free will, causing the whole world to move as You like. By Your mercy, You have made me dance in various ways. For example, I was offered the sraddha-patra and ate from it, even though I was born in a family of meat-eaters.”
“My dear Lord, I have had one desire for a very long time, for I think that quite soon You will bring to a close Your pastimes within this material world. I wish that You do not show me the closing chapter of Your pastimes. Therefore, before that time comes, kindly let my body fall down in Your presence. I wish to place Your lotuslike feet upon my heart and see Your moonlike face. With my tongue I shall chant Your holy name, ‘Shri Krishna Chaitanya’, and in this way I wish to give up my body. Let this lowborn body fall down before You, for You can make possible this perfection of all my desires.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Haridasa, Krishna is so merciful that He must execute whatever you want. However, you should know that whatever happiness is Mine is simply due to your association. It is therefore not fitting for you to go away, and thus leave Me aside.”
While catching hold of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, Haridasa Thakura replied, “My dear Lord, do not create an illusion! Although I am so fallen, You must certainly show me this mercy.”
“My Lord, there are millions of respectable devotees who are fit to sit on my head. They are actually helpful in Your pastimes. In comparison, if an insignificant insect like me dies, then what is the loss? My Lord, You are always affectionate toward Your devotees. I am just an imitation devotee, but nevertheless, I wish that You fulfill my desire. This is my expectation.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu assured Haridasa Thakura that He would return the following day, after visiting Lord Jagannatha. Then, since it was time to perform His noontime duties, the Lord got up, and after embracing Haridasa Thakura, He went to take bath in the sea.
The next morning, after visiting the temple, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu hastily came to see Haridasa Thakura, taking all of His devotees with Him. When the Lord arrived, Haridasa Thakura offered his obeisances unto Him as well as unto all the Vaishnavas.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “My dear Haridasa, what is the news?”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “My dear Lord, whatever mercy You can bestow upon me.”
Hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately began a resounding sankirtana performance in the courtyard, and Vakreshvara Pandita was appointed the chief dancer. Headed by Svarupa Damodara, all of the devotees surrounded Haridasa Thakura, while ecstatically chanting the holy name of the Lord.
Then, in front of all His leading associates, such as Ramananda Raya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began describing the transcendental qualities of Haridasa Thakura , and as He did so, it appeared as if He possessed five mouths. Indeed, the more the Lord described Haridasa’s attributes, the more His great happiness increased. After hearing about these transcendental qualities from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, all of the devotees present became struck with wonder, and with great reverence they offered their obeisances unto the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura.
Haridasa Thakura then had Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sit down in front of him, and he fixed his eyes, like bumblebees, upon the lotus face of the Lord. He then took the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and placed them upon his heart, and made the dust from the feet of all the devotees the ornament on his head.
Haridasa Thakura began chanting, “Shri Krishna Chaitanya”, again and again, and while drinking the sweetness of the Lord’s moon-like face, tears constantly glided down from his eyes. It was while chanting the holy name, “Shri Krishna Chaitanya”, that Haridasa Thakura gave up his air of life and left his material body.
After witnessing the wonderful death of Haridasa Thakura by his own will, which was just like that of a great mystic yogi, everyone remembered the passing away of Bhisma.
The devotees’ chanting of the holy names, “Hari” and “Krishna” was tumultuous, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu picked up Haridasa Thakura’s body and placed it upon His lap. Then, while holding Haridasa Thakura’s body in His arms, the Lord began dancing in the courtyard with great ecstatic love. Because of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s overwhelming ecstasy, all the devotees completely lost themselves as they chanted and danced, being swept away by the waves of transcendental love.
After the Lord had danced for some time, Svarupa Damodara reminded Him of the other rituals that needed to be performed for the body of Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa Thakura’s body was then raised onto a carrier, which resembled an airplane, and carried in procession to the sea, accompanied by the sankirtana of the devotees. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced in front of the carrier, and the other devotees chanted and danced behind.
Upon reaching the sea, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bathed the body of Haridasa Thakura, and then declared, “From today onward, this sea has become a great place of pilgrimage.”
Everyone drank the water that had touched the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura, and then they smeared the remnants of Lord Jagannatha’s sandalwood paste over his body. A hole was dug in the sand, and finally, the body of Haridasa Thakura was lowered into it, along with remnants from Lord Jagannatha, such as silk ropes, sandalwood paste, food, and cloth.
As the devotees continued chanting, and Vakreshvara Pandita danced in jubilation, these articles were placed upon the body of Haridasa Thakura. Then, with His own transcendental hands, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu covered Haridasa Thakura’s body with sand while chanting “Hari bol! Hari bol!”
After the body of Haridasa Thakura was completely covered with sand, a platform was constructed, and then a fence was built around it for protection. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the devotees danced and chanted all around the platform, and because of their tumultuous roar, the entire universe became filled with the vibration.
When kirtana was finished, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bathed in the sea, along with the devotees, and while doing so they all swam and played in great jubilation. Then, after circumambulating the samadhi of Haridasa Thakura, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu proceeded toward the Simha-dvara. Gradually, all the residents of Jagannatha Puri joined in the procession, and the combined sound of the kirtana could be heard throughout the entire town.
At the Simha-dvara, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spread His cloth and began to ask for prasada from all the shopkeepers. The Lord told them, “I am begging prasada so that a great festival can be held honoring the passing away of Haridasa Thakura. Please give Me alms.”
All of the shopkeepers immediately came forward with big baskets of prasada and jubilantly delivered them to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Svarupa Damodara stopped them, however, and so the shopkeepers returned to their stalls and sat down along with their baskets. Svarupa Damodara then sent the Lord to His residence, and kept with him four devotees and four servant carriers. He then told the shopkeepers, “Give me just four handfulls of prasada, from each and every item.”
In this way, varieties of prasada were collected, and after being packed up they were carried on the heads of the four servants to the residence of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Besides whatever Svarupa Damodara brought, Vaninatha Raya and Kashi Mishra sent large quantities of prasada.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then made all of the devotees sit down in rows while He personally began distributing the prasada along with four other men. The Lord was not accustomed to taking prasada in small quantities, and so He put on each plate enough for at least five men.
Svarupa Damodara then requested the Lord, “Please sit down and watch. With these men to assist me, I shall take charge of distributing the prasada.”
Thereafter, Svarupa Damodara, Jagadananda, Kashishvara, and Shankara began distributing the prasada, but all of the devotee would not begin, as long as the Lord had not started eating.
Since Kashi Mishra had invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch that day, he personally went and served the Lord, making him eat with great attention. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat along with Paramananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati, and when He began to eat, so did all of the devotees. Because Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu kept telling the distributors, “Give them more! Give them more!” everyone became filled up to the neck.
When the devotees finished eating, they washed their hands and mouths, and then Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally decorated each of them with a flower garland and sandalwood paste.
Being overwhelmed with ecstatic love, the Lord offered the following benediction, which the devotees heard with great satisfaction. “Anyone who has seen the festival honoring the passing away of Haridasa Thakura, anyone who has chanted and danced here, anyone who offered sand onto the body of Haridasa Thakura, and anyone who came to take prasada, will achieve the favor of Lord Krishna very soon. There is such wonderful potency just in seeing Haridasa Thakura.”
“Being merciful upon Me, Krishna gave Me Haridasa Thakura’s association, but now, being independent in His desires, the Lord has broken that association. When Haridasa Thakura desired to leave this material world, it was not within My power to detain him. Simply by his will, Haridasa Thakura gave up his life and went away, exactly like Bhisma had previously done. Haridasa Thakura was the crown jewel on the head of this world. Thus, without him, this wold is now bereft of its valuable ornament.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told everyone, “Chant, ‘Jaya jaya Haridasa!’ Chant the holy name of the Lord, Hari!” and while saying this, He personally began to dance. In response, all of the devotees chanted, “All glories to Haridasa Thakura, who revealed the importance of chanting the holy name of the Lord!”
Finally, after some time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bade farewell to all the devotees. Then, with mixed feelings of happiness and distress, He went to rest. From the incident of Haridasa Thakura’s passing away, and the great care in which Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu commemorated it, one can understand just how affectionate the Lord is to His devotees.
The next year, when the devotees from Bengal assembled for journeying to Jagannatha Puri, Nityananda Prabhu joined them, even though Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had forbidden Him to do so. Shrivasa Thakura was accompanied by his wife, Malini, as well as his three brothers, and Acharyaratna also came with his wife. Shivananda Sena was accompanied by his wife and three sons. Altogether, the party numbered two or three hundred devotees.
First of all, the devotees went and took permission from Sachimata, and then, in great happiness, they started their journey while chanting the holy name of the Lord.
One day, when the party was held up by one of the numerous toll collectors along the way, Shivananda Sena, who managed all such affairs, stayed behind to pay the fee, while the other devotees were allowed to go on ahead. Toll booths were set up by the local Zamindars to collect taxes for the upkeep of the roads in their jurisdiction. When the party reached the next village, the devotees waited beneath a tree, because only Shivananda Sena could arrange for their residential quarters.
Meanwhile, Nityananda Prabhu became very upset, and so He began calling Shivananda Sena ill names. Nityananda Prabhu complained, “Shivananda Sena has not arranged for My residence, and I am so hungry that I could die. Because he has not yet come here, I curse Shivananda Sena’s three sons to die.”
Upon hearing this, Shivananda Sena’s wife began crying, and just then Shivananda Sena returned from the toll booth. While crying, Shivananda Sena’s wife informed him, “Lord Nityananda has cursed our sons to die, because His residential quarters have not yet been provided.”
Shivananda Sena replied, “You crazy woman! Why are you needlessly crying? Let my three sons die for all the inconvenience we have caused Nityananda Prabhu.”
After saying this, Shivananda Sena approached Lord Nityananda, who immediately stood up and kicked him. Being very pleased at having been touched by Nityananda Prabhu’s lotus foot, Shivananda Sena quickly arranged for His residence at the house of a milkman. Then, after touching Nityananda Prabhu’s lotus feet, Shivananda Sena led Him to His residence.
There, with great pleasure, Shivananda Sena spoke as follows: “My dear Lord, today You have accepted me as Your servant and have properly punished me for my offenses. Because Your chastising me is actually Your causeless mercy, who within the three worlds can understand Your real character? The dust of Your lotus feet is not attainable even by Lord Brahma, and yet Your lotus feet have touched my wretched body. As a result, today, my birth, family, and activities have all become successful. Today, I have achieved the fulfillment of dharma, artha, kama, and ultimately, devotional service unto Lord Krishna.”
Nityananda Prabhu was very pleased to hear this, and after getting up, He embraced Shivananda Sena with great love. Thereafter, being very satisfied with Lord Nityananda’s behavior, Shivananda Sena arranged residential quarters for all the other devotees, headed by Advaita Acharya.
It is one of the characteristics of Nityananda Prabhu that He exhibits a contradictory nature. When He becomes angry and kicks someone, it is actually for that person’s benefit. Shivananda Sena’s nephew, Shrikanta, the son of his sister, felt offended by Lord Nityananda’s behavior. Because of this, he remarked as follows, in the absence of his uncles: “Shivananda Sena is well known as one of the associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and yet Nityananda Prabhu has asserted His superiority by kicking him!”
After saying this, Shrikanta, who was only a boy, left the party and traveled alone to Jagannatha Puri. Upon arriving at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence, Shrikanta offered his obeisances unto the Lord, while still wearing his shirt and coat. Therefore, Govinda told him, “My dear Shrikanta, first of all take off these garments.”
However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately interrupted and said, “Do not bother him. Let Shrikanta do as he likes, for he has come here in a distressed state of mind.”
Upon hearing this, Shrikanta could understand Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to be omniscient. Thus, when the Lord inquired from him about all the devotees, he described them without mentioning how Lord Nityananda had kicked his uncle.
Thereafter, all of the devotees from Bengal arrived and met Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as usual, although the women saw the Lord from a distance. Shivananda Sena introduced his three sons to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord showed them all great mercy. When the Lord inquired about his youngest son’s name, Shivananda Sena informed Him that it was Paramananda dasa.
Previously, when Shivananda Sena had visited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, this boy was in the womb of his mother. At that time, the Lord had instructed Shivananda Sena, “When this child is born, give him the name Puridasa.”
After his return to Bengal, Shivananda Sena’s son was born, and in accordance with the Lord’s order, he was given the name Paramananda dasa. The Lord jokingly called him Puri dasa, and when Shivananda Sena introduced the child to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord mercifully put His toe in the boy’s mouth. No one can cross over the ocean of Shivananda Sena’s good fortune, for the Lord considered his entire family as His very own.
After taking lunch in the company of all the devotees, and washing His hands and mouth, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave the following order to Govinda: “As long as Shivananda Sena’s wife and children remain here at Jagannatha Puri, make sure that they are given the remnants of My food.”
There was a confectioner named Parameshvara Modaka, who lived near the parental home of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When the Lord was a boy, He used to visit Parameshvara Modaka’s house, again and again, and the confectioner would supply Him with milk and sweets. He came with the party from Bengal to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that year, and when he offered obeisances unto the Lord, he said, “I am the same Parameshvara.”
Upon seeing him, the Lord very affectionately questioned him, and then said, “Parameshvara, may you be blessed. It is very good that you have come here.”
Since he had been affectionate toward the Lord since His childhood, Parameshvara unwittingly informed Him, “Mukundara Mata has also come here.”
Because a sannyasi is restricted from even hearing a woman’s name, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu momentarily hesitated. Due to his life-long affectionate relationship, Parameshvara did not even think twice about informing the Lord of his wife’s arrival. And, because of affection, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not say anything to object. An intimate relationship sometimes makes a person overstep formal etiquette, and so Parameshvara actually pleased the Lord at heart by his simple and affectionate behavior.
When the four months of the rainy season came to an end, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called for all the devotees and requested them to return to Bengal.
At this time, the Lord spoke to them with very sweet words as follows: “All of you come here to see Me every year, and this certainly must give you great trouble. I would like to forbid you from doing this, but I enjoy your company so much that My desire for your association only goes on increasing.”
“I ordered Nityananda Prabhu not to leave Bengal, but He has transgressed this command to come and see Me. What can I say? Out of His causeless mercy upon Me, Advaita Acharya has also come here. Because of His affectionate behavior, I have become so obligated to Him that it has become impossible for Me to liquidate the debt.”
“All of My devotees leave aside their homes and families, and just to see Me, they travel by a very difficult route and come here in great haste. There is no trouble for Me, because I remain here at Jagannatha Puri. This is the great favor that all of you have bestowed upon Me.”
“However, I am a sannyasi without any money. How can I clear My debt for the favor that all of you have shown Me? I have only this body and thus I surrender it unto you. Now, if you like, you may sell it anywhere you wish, for it is your property.”
When the devotees heard these sweet words from the mouth of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, their hearts melted, and they began shedding incessant tears. The Lord then caught hold of His devotees, and while embracing them, He also began to cry.
Being unable to depart, the devotees remained at Jagannatha Puri for five or seven more days. Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu then submitted the following words at the lotus feet of the Lord: “The entire world is naturally obligated to You because of Your transcendental attributes. And yet, You bind Your devotees even more tightly with Your sweet words. Under the circumstances, who can go anywhere?”
Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu pacified all the devotees and bade each of them farewell. The Lord then specifically advised Nityananda Prabhu, “Please do not come here again and again. You will have My association in Bengal.”
As the devotees began their journey crying, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu morosely returned to His residence.
The previous year, Jagadananda Pandita had returned to Nadia on the order of the Lord, so as to remain in the association of Sachimata. Upon his arrival, Jagadananda Pandita offered prayers at the lotus feet of Sachimata, and then he gave her the cloth and prasada of Lord Jagannatha. Jagadananda Pandita also offered Sachimata obeisances in the name of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and he informed her of all the Lord’s submissive prayers at her lotus feet.
Sachimata was very pleased to see Jagadananda Pandita, and as he talked about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, she listened to him day and night.
Jagadananda Pandita said, “My dear mother, sometimes the Lord comes here and eats all of the food that you have offered. Then, after eating, He says, ‘Today mother has fed Me up to the neck. I go and eat the food that My mother offers, but she considers this to be a dream.’ ”
Sachimata then said, “I wish that Nimai would eat all the nice vegetables that I cook. That is my desire. Sometimes I think that Nimai has come here and eaten them, but afterwards, I conclude that I was only dreaming.”
In this way, Jagadananda Pandita and Mother Sachi talked day and night about topics concerning Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Jagadananda Pandita also met the other devotees in Nadia, and they were all very happy to see him. After meeting Advaita Acharya, Jagadananda Pandita went to visit Vasudeva Datta and Murari Gupta, and they were so pleased to see him that they kept him in their homes and would not allow him to leave.
While hearing many confidential narrations about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from the mouth of Jagadananda Pandita, Vasudeva Datta and Murari Gupta forgot themselves in great happiness. Indeed, this was the experience of every devotee at whose house Jagadananda Pandita visited.
Jagadananda Pandita remained at Shivananda Sena’s house for some time, and together they prepared about sixteen seers of scented sandalwood oil. The aromatic oil filled a large pot, and it was with great care and endeavor that Jagadananda Pandita brought it to Jagannatha Puri.
As he handed over the pot to the care of Govinda, Jagadananda Pandita requested him, “Please rub this oil on Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body.”
Thereafter, Govinda informed the Lord, “Jagadananda Pandita has brought some scented sandalwood oil, and it is his desire that Your Lordship apply a little to Your head so that the blood pressure that is caused by bile and air will be reduced. He prepared a large jug of the oil in Bengal, and with great care and attention he has brought it here.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “A sannyasi has no use for oil, and especially a perfumed one like this. Therefore, take it away at once. You can deliver the oil to the temple of Lord Jagannatha, where it can be burned in the lamps. In this way, Jagadananda’s labor in making the oil will prove to be perfectly successful.”
When Govinda relayed the Lord’s message to Jagadananda Pandita, he simply remained silent and did not give a reply. Then, after ten days had passed, Govinda once again informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “It is Jagadananda Pandita’s desire that Your Lordship accept the oil.”
Upon hearing this, the Lord angrily replied, “Why not engage a masseur to apply the oil as well? Have I taken sannyasa to enjoy such happiness? If I were to accept this oil, it would bring about My ruination, and all of you would laugh. If someone passed Me on the road and smelled this oil on My head, he would consider Me to be a dari sannyasi, a tantric mendicant who keeps women.”
After hearing this, Govinda remained silent. Then, the next morning, Jagadananda Pandita went to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The Lord told him, “My dear Pandita, you have brought Me some oil from Bengal, but since I am in the renounced order of life, I cannot accept it. Deliver the oil to the temple of Lord Jagannatha, so that it can be burned in the lamps. In this way, your labor in preparing the oil will become fruitful.”
Jagadananda Pandita replied, “Who told You all of these false stories? I never brought any oil from Bengal.”
After saying this, Jagadananda Pandita took the jug of oil from the Lord’s room and threw it down in the courtyard, in front of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, smashing it to pieces. After doing this, Jagadananda Pandita returned to his residence, bolted the door, and lay down.
Three days later, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to his door and said, “My dear Jagadananda Pandita, please get up, for I want you to personally cook My lunch today. I am going now to see Lord Jagannatha in the temple, and I shall return here at noon.”
After saying this, the Lord departed. Jagadananda Pandita then got up from his bed, took a bath, and began cooking varieties of vegetables.
At noon, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived there, having finished his mid-day duties. Jagadananda Pandita washed the Lord’s lotus feet and then offered Him a sitting place. Jagadananda Pandita had cooked fine rice, mixed it with ghee, and then piled it high on a banana leaf. All around the rice were placed varieties of vegetables in pots made from banana bark, and there were also cakes, kheer, and maha-prasada of Lord Jagannatha.
The Lord then said, “Put down another leaf with a serving of rice and vegetables, so that you and I may take our lunch together today.”
Indeed, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu kept His hands over His plate because He did not want to accept the prasada until Jagadananda Pandita had also eaten. However, with great love and affection, Jagadananda Pandita said, “My dear Lord, please take prasada first, and then I shall eat later on. I will certainly not refuse Your request.”
Thereafter, the Lord accepted His lunch with great happiness. While tasting the vegetables, He spoke as follows: “Even when you cook in an angry mood, the food turns out very tasty. This shows just how much Lord Krishna is pleased with you. Because He will personally eat the food, Krishna makes you cook so nicely. Since you offer such nectarean rice to the Lord, who can estimate the limit of your good fortune?”
Jagadananda Pandita replied, “He who will eat has cooked all this. As far as I am concerned, I have simply collected the ingredients.”
Jagadananda Pandita continued to offer Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all kinds of prasada, and out of fear, the Lord did not say anything, but continued to happily eat. Indeed, Jagadananda Pandita eagerly forced the Lord to eat so much that He ate ten times more than on ordinary days. Again and again, the Lord wanted to get up, but Jagadananda Pandita kept feeding Him more and more. The Lord did not forbid this, but kept on eating, because he was afraid that Jagadananda Pandita would fast if He were to stop.
At last, however, the Lord said, “My dear Jagadananda, you have already forced Me to eat ten times more than I am used to. Now, please stop.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stood up and washed His hands and mouth, while Jagadananda Pandita brought a garland, spices, and sandalwood paste. After accepting these, the Lord sat down and said, “Now, you must eat in front of Me.”
Jagadananda Pandita replied, “My Lord, please go and rest, and I shall have my lunch after making some arrangements. Ramai Pandita and Raghunatha Bhatta helped cook, and so I want to give them some rice and vegetables.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told Govinda, “You remain here, and when the Pandita has actually eaten, come and inform Me.”
After Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had departed, Jagadananda Pandita told Govinda, “Go quickly and massage the Lord’s lotus feet. You can tell Him, ‘The Pandita has just sat down to have his meal.’ I shall keep some of the Lord’s remnants for you, and so, after He falls asleep, come back and take your portion.”
Jagadananda Pandita distributed the Lord’s remnants to Ramai, Nandai, Govinda and Raghunatha Bhatta, and then he personally took prasada. Meanwhile, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent Govinda, telling him, “Go and see whether Jagadananda Pandita is eating, and then quickly return here to let Me know.”
When Govinda saw that Jagadananda Pandita was actually taking prasada, he returned and informed the Lord, who then became peaceful and went to sleep. The affectionate loving exchanges between Jagadananda Pandita and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued in this manner, exactly like the dealings between Satyabhama and Lord Krishna that are described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
The unhappiness in separation from Krishna that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt exhausted His mind and reduced the structure of His body. Then again, when He sometimes felt ecstatic emotions, the Lord’s body would once more become developed and healthy.
Because the Lord was very thin, when He lay down to rest upon the dry bark of plantain trees, it caused His bones to ache. The devotees felt very pained at heart to see this, and indeed, it became almost intolerable for them. Jagadananda Pandita then thought of a remedy. He acquired some fine cloth and dyed it with red oxide. Jagadananda Pandita then filled this cloth with cotton from a simula tree, and in this way, he made a soft quilt and a pillow.
When he presented these to Govinda, Jagadananda Pandita said, “Request the Lord to lie down upon this.”
Jagadananda Pandita then told Svarupa Damodara, “Today, I request you to personally persuade Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to lie down on the bedding that I have prepared for Him.”
Thereafter, when it was time for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to rest, Svarupa Damodara stayed nearby. However, when the Lord saw the quilt and pillow, He immediately became angry and inquired from Govinda, “Who has made this?”
When Govinda named Jagadananda Pandita, the Lord became somewhat fearful, but still, after having the quilt and pillow put aside, He lay down as usual upon the dry plantain bark.
Svarupa Damodara then said, “My Lord, I cannot contradict Your supreme will, but if You do not accept this bedding, Jagadananda Pandita will feel great unhappiness.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “You should bring a nice bed for Me to lie upon . Jagadananda Pandita wants Me to enjoy material happiness, but because I am a sannyasi, I must lie down on the floor. For Me to use a bed, quilt or pillow would be very shameful.”
When Svarupa Damodara went and related this conversation to him, Jagadananda Pandita became very unhappy. Then, Svarupa Damodara thought of another plan. First, he collected a large quantity of dry banana leaves and then he tore them into very fine fibers with his fingernails. With this, he filled up two of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s outer garments, and thus he made some bedding and a pillow. Finally, after much endeavor on the part of the devotees, the Lord agreed to accept these. Although everyone was very happy to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lie down on this bedding, Jagadananda Pandita was inwardly very angry, and externally he appeared displeased.
Formerly, Jagadananda Pandita had desired to go to Vrindavana, but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not grant him permission. Now, while concealing his anger, Jagadananda Pandita once again requested the Lord for permission to go to Mathura.
With great affection, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “If you are angry with Me when you go to Mathura, you will become just like a beggar and simply engage in criticizing Me.”
Jagadananda Pandita then grasped the lotus feet of the Lord and said, “I have desired to visit Vrindavana for such a long time, but I could not depart without Your approval. But, now you must grant me permission, so that I can go there without delay.”
Because of affection for Jagadananda Pandita, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would not permit him to depart. However, again and again Jagadananda insisted, and finally, he submitted the following plea to Svarupa Damodara Gosvami: “For a very long time I have wanted to go to Vrindavana. However, I cannot depart without the Lord’s permission, which He denies me by saying, ‘You are simply going there because you are angry with Me.’ Naturally, I have a desire to see Vrindavana, and so please very humbly request permission on my behalf.”
Thereafter, Svarupa Damodara Gosvami submitted this appeal at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: “Jagadananda Pandita intensely desires to go to Vrindavana, and thus he begs for Your permission, again and again. My Lord, You allowed him to go see Mother Sachi in Bengal, and so You may similarly permit him to visit Vrindavana and then return here.”
Because of Svarupa Damodara’s request, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu granted His permission. After calling for Jagadananda Pandita, the Lord instructed him as follows: “You can go as far as Varanasi without encountering any difficulty, but beyond that you should be very careful to always travel in the company of kshatriyas. As soon as the plunderers see a Bengali walking alone on the road, they arrest him, take away all his possessions, and then force him to engage in their service.”
“When you reach Mathura, stay with Sanatana Gosvami, and offer your respectful obeisances unto the feet of all the leading devotees there. Do not mix freely with the residents of Mathura, however, but simply offer them respect from a distance. Because they are on the platform of spontaneous devotional service in parental affection (raga-marga), whereas you are on the platform of devotional service in opulence (vidhi-marga), you cannot adopt their behavior and practices.”
“Visit the twelve forests of Vrindavana with Sanatana Gosvami, and indeed, do not leave his association for even a moment. Stay at Vrindavana for only a short while, and then quickly return here to Jagannatha Puri. Do not climb Govardhana Hill to see the Deity. Also, inform Sanatana Gosvami that I will come to Vrindavana for a second time, and so he should arrange a place for Me to stay.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Jagadananda Pandita, who in turn worshiped the Lord’s lotus feet. Then, after taking permission from all of the devotees, Jagadananda Pandita departed.
By traveling on the forest path, he soon came to Varanasi, and when Tapana Mishra and Chandrashekhara met Jagadananda Pandita, they were able to hear from him many topics concerning Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
At last, Jagadananda Pandita reached Mathura, and when he met Sanatana Gosvami, both were very happy to see each other. After taking a tour of the twelve forests of Vrindavana, concluding at Mahavana, Jagadananda Pandita and Sanatana Gosvami remained at Gokula.
They stayed together in Sanatana’s cave, but every day Jagadananda Pandita went and cooked for himself at a nearby temple. Sanatana Gosvami begged for alms, by going door to door in the vicinity of Mahavana, and sometimes he took prasada from a temple or from a brahmana’s house. Sanatana Gosvami carefully attended to all of Jagadananda Pandita’s needs, and by begging, he brought him all kinds of things to eat and drink.
One day, Jagadananda Pandita invited Sanatana Gosvami to have lunch with him in the nearby temple. As Jagadananda Pandita was engaged in cooking, Sanatana Gosvami arrived there, and around his head was a cloth that had formerly been given to him by a great sannyasi named Mukunda Sarasvati. Jagadananda Pandita assumed that the reddish cloth must have been a gift from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so, upon seeing it, he became overwhelmed with ecstatic love.
When Jagadananda Pandita asked, “Where did you get that reddish cloth on your head?” Sanatana Gosvami replied, “Mukunda Sarasvati gave it to me.”
Upon hearing this, Jagadananda Pandita immediately became very angry, and he picked up a cooking pot with the intention of striking Sanatana Gosvami. Knowing Jagadananda Pandita very well, Sanatana Gosvami felt somewhat ashamed.
Jagadananda Pandita saw this, and so he put the cooking pot back onto the stove and said, “You are one of the chief associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Indeed, no one is dearer to the Lord than you, and yet you have wrapped your head with a cloth given to you by another sannyasi. Who can tolerate such behavior?”
Sanatana Gosvami then said, “My dear Jagadananda Pandita, you are such a learned scholar and saintly devotee! No one is dearer to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu than you. Your staunch faith in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is highly befitting, and unless you demonstrate it, how can I understand its depth? Now, the purpose in binding my head with this cloth has been fulfilled, for I have personally witnessed your uncommon love for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is a fact that this cloth is unfit for a Vaishnava to wear, and so I shall give it away to a stranger.”
When he finished cooking, Jagadananda Pandita offered the food to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and then he and Sanatana Gosvami sat down to take prasada. After eating, Jagadananda Pandita and Sanatana Gosvami embraced each other and began crying due to separation from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Finally, after remaining together for two months, when they could no longer tolerate separation from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Jagadananda Pandita relayed the Lord’s message to Sanatana Gosvami: “I am once again coming to Vrindavana, and so please arrange a place for Me to stay.”
When Sanatana Gosvami granted him permission to return to Jagannatha Puri, he gave Jagadananda Pandita some gifts for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. These gifts consisted of some sand from the site of the rasa-lila, a stone from Govardhana Hill, some dry ripened pilu fruit, and a garland of small conch shells called gunja-mala.
When Jagadananda Pandita started his journey, bearing these gifts, Sanatana Gosvami became very agitated after bidding him farewell. Soon thereafter, Sanatana Gosvami selected a temple for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to stay at, in the highlands of Vrindavana known as Dvadasaditya-tila. Sanatana Gosvami kept the temple very clean and in good repair, and in front of it he constructed a small cottage.
Meanwhile, by traveling very quickly, Jagadananda Pandita soon arrived at Jagannatha Puri, and after offering prayers at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he greeted all of the devotees. In turn, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Jagadananda Pandita very strongly, and indeed, both the Lord and the devotees were overjoyed to see him.
Jagadananda Pandita then offered obeisances on behalf of Sanatana Gosvami, and presented to the Lord the dust from the site of the rasa dance, along with the other gifts. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu kept these presents, except the pilu fruit, which He distributed to the devotees.
Because the fruit had come from Vrindavana, everyone ate them with great happiness. The devotees who were familiar with pilu fruit sucked on the seeds, but the Bengali devotees, who did not know about them, chewed the seeds and swallowed them, and as a result, the hot chili-like taste burned their tongues.
One day, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was going to the temple of Yameshvara, a devi-dasi began singing in the Jagannatha temple. The girl sang Jayadeva Gosvami’s Gita-govinda in the gujjari-raga, with a very sweet voice, and her singing was very attractive.
Upon hearing the song from a distance, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately became ecstatic, without knowing whether it was a man or a woman who was singing. In His ecstasy, the Lord ran to meet the singer, and He did not even notice how the thorny bushes were pricking His body. Govinda quickly ran after the Lord, who was running very swiftly. Then, when the girl was just a short distance away, Govinda caught Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his arms and cried out, “It is a woman who is singing!”
As soon as He heard the word “woman”, the Lord came to His external consciousness and turned back, saying, “My dear Govinda, you have saved My life! If I had touched the body of a woman, I would have certainly died. I shall never be able to repay My debt to you.”
Govinda replied, “Lord Jagannatha saved You. I am insignificant.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “My dear Govinda, you should always stay with Me. There is danger anywhere and everywhere, and so you should protect Me very carefully.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned home, and when they heard about this incident, Svarupa Damodara, and the Lord’s other associates, became very fearful.
Meanwhile, at this time, Raghunatha Bhattacharya, the son of Tapana Mishra, gave up all his duties and left home with the intention of meeting Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Accompanied by a servant who carried his baggage, Raghunatha Bhatta left Varanasi and traveled along the path leading to Bengal.
In Bengal, Raghunatha Bhatta met Ramadasa Vishvasa, a kayastha who had been engaged as a secretary to the King. Ramadasa Vishvasa was very learned in shastra, and a teacher of the famous book Kavya-prakasha. Because he was an ardent worshiper of Lord Ramachandra, Ramadasa Vishvasa was considered to be a highly advanced devotee of the Lord. Ramadasa Vishvasa had renounced everything, and was going to Nilachala to see Lord Jagannatha. While traveling on the road, he chanted the holy name of Lord Rama, twenty-four hours a day.
When he met Raghunatha Bhatta on the way, Ramadasa Vishvasa took his luggage upon his head and began to carry it. Aside from this, Ramadasa Vishvasa served Raghunatha Bhatta in various ways, and even massaged his legs. Being very hesitant to accept all this, however, Raghunatha Bhatta told him, “My dear Ramadasa, you are a respectable gentleman, a learned scholar and a great devotee. Therefore, please do not try and serve me like this, but just come along in a happy mood.”
Ramadasa replied, “I am a shudra, a fallen soul, and thus to serve a brahmana is my duty and religious principle. Please do not be hesitant, for I am your servant. When I serve you my heart becomes jubilant.”
Thus, Ramadasa continued to carry Raghunatha Bhatta’s baggage and sincerely serve him in various ways. While doing so, he continually chanted the holy name of Lord Ramachandra, day and night. Finally, Raghunatha Bhatta reached Jagannatha Puri, and with great delight he met Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and fell at His lotus feet. Knowing him, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Raghunatha Bhatta, who then offered obeisances once again on behalf of Tapana Mishra and Chandrashekara.
After inquiring about these two residents of Varanasi, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Raghunatha Bhatta, “It is very good that you have come here. Now, go and see the lotus-eyed Lord Jagannatha, and then later today you can accept prasada here at My place.”
The Lord had Govinda arrange for Raghunatha Bhatta’s accommodations, and then He introduced him to all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara. When Ramadasa Vishvasa met Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, however, the Lord did not show him any special mercy. Being the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu knew that, at heart, Ramadasa Vishvasa was an impersonalist who desired to merge into the existence of the lord, and that he was also very proud of his learning. Thereafter, Ramadasa Vishvasa took up residence at Jagannatha Puri and began teaching Kavya-prakasha to the Pattanayaka family.
Raghunatha Bhatta remained with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continually for eight months, and by the Lord’s mercy, he felt his transcendental happiness increase with each day. Raghunatha Bhatta regularly cooked rice and vegetables, and invited the Lord to his residence for lunch. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted with great satisfaction all that Raghunatha Bhatta offered, for he was such an expert cook that whatever he prepared tasted just like nectar.
After eight months, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bade farewell to Raghunatha Bhatta, He gave him the following orders: “Do not marry. When you return home, serve your elderly mother and father, who are devotees, and try to study Shrimad-Bhagavatam from a pure Vaishnava who has realized God. Later on, you should return here to Nilachala.”
After saying this, the Lord put His own kantha-mala (neck beads) around Raghunatha Bhatta’s neck and embraced him, bidding him farewell. Due to immanent separation from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Raghunatha Bhatta began to cry, being overwhelmed by ecstatic love.
Finally, after taking permission from the Lord and all the devotees, Raghunatha Bhatta set out on his return journey to Varanasi. There, in accordance with the Lord’s instructions, he continuously rendered service unto his mother and father for four years, and he also studied Shrimad-Bhagavatam from a self-realized Vaishnava.
Thereafter, when his parents died, Raghunatha Bhatta became completely detached, and returned to the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As previously, Raghunatha Bhatta remained with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for eight months.
The Lord then gave him the following order: “My dear Raghunatha, go to Vrindavana and place yourself under the care of Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis. You should chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra twenty-four hours a day, and read Shrimad-Bhagavatam continuously. In this way, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will very soon bestow His mercy upon you.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Raghunatha Bhatta, who thereafter became highly enlivened with ecstatic love for Krishna, by the Lord’s mercy. Previously, at a festival, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had been given some unspiced betel and a garland of tulasi leaves fourteen cubits long, that had been worn by Lord Jagannatha. The Lord gave these two items to Raghunatha Bhatta, who accepted them as a worshipful Deity, and thus preserved them very carefully. Finally, after taking the Lord’s permission, Raghunatha Bhatta departed for Vrindavana, and upon arriving there, he put himself under the care of Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis.
While reciting Shrimad-Bhagavatam in the association of Rupa and Sanatana, Raghunatha Bhatta would become overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Krishna. By the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Raghunatha Bhatta’s eyes filled with tears, his body trembled, and his voice faltered, so that he could not continue reciting the verses.
His voice was as sweet as a cuckoo’s, and he used to chant each verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam in three or four melodies. Especially while hearing or chanting about the beauty and sweetness of Lord Krishna, Raghunatha Bhatta became overwhelmed by ecstatic love, and thus was oblivious to everything else.
Raghunatha Bhatta fully surrendered himself at the lotus feet of Lord Govinda, and thus those lotus feet became his life and soul. Subsequently, he ordered his disciples to build a temple for Govinda, and he personally prepared various ornaments for the Deity, including a flute and earrings that were shaped like sharks.
Raghunatha Bhatta would neither hear nor speak about anything of the material world. He simply discussed Krishna-katha and engaged in worshiping the Lord, day and night. Raghunatha Bhatta would never listen to blasphemy of a Vaishnava, nor would he hear talk about a devotee’s misbehavior. He knew only that everyone was engaged in Krishna’s service, and he did not understand anything else.
While absorbed in remembrance of Lord Krishna, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami used to take the tulasi garland and prasada of Lord Jagannatha that had been given to him by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and after binding them together, he would wear them around his neck. Thus, by the powerful mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami remained constantly overflooded with ecstatic love for Krishna.
While residing with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri, Svarupa Damodara and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami recorded the Lord’s transcendental pastimes in their notebooks. Svarupa Damodara wrote short statements, whereas Raghunatha dasa Gosvami described the Lord’s activities elaborately.
The author of Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, says, “I shall now describe a very small portion of the Lord’s activities when He was bewildered by strong feelings of separation from Krishna. Taking the notes written by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, I shall describe the activities of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu more elaborately, as if fluffing out compressed cotton.”
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt separation from Krishna, His condition exactly corresponded to that of the gopis of Vrindavana after Lord Krishna’s departure for Mathura. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu always conceived of Himself as being in the position of Shrimati Radharani, and sometimes He thought Himself to be Shrimati Radharani Herself. In particular, the lamentation that Shrimati Radharani expressed when Uddhava visited Vrindavana, gradually became a feature of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s transcendental madness.
One day, while He was resting, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dreamed that He saw Krishna performing the rasa dance, along with the gopis. Krishna was seen standing in His beautiful three-fold curved posture, with His flute held to His lips. Dressed in yellow garments, and decorated with garlands of forest flowers, Lord Krishna was enchanting even to Cupid.
The gopis were dancing in a circle around Krishna, who danced with Shrimati Radharani. Upon seeing all this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became overwhelmed with the transcendental ecstasy of the rasa dance, and He thought, “Now, I am with Krishna in Vrindavana.”
When Govinda saw that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had been sleeping longer than usual, he awakened the Lord, who then became somewhat unhappy to realize that He had only been dreaming. Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed His customary daily duties, and then, at the usual time, He went to see Lord Jagannatha in the temple.
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu viewed Lord Jagannatha from behind the Garuda column, there were thousands of people in front of Him who were also seeing the Deity. Then, suddenly, an Orissan woman, being unable to see Lord Jagannatha because of the crowd, placed her foot on Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s shoulder, while climbing up the Garuda-stambha. When Govinda saw this, he hastily made the woman get down, but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chastised him for this, saying, “O adi-vasi (uncivilized man), do not forbid this woman to climb up the Garuda-stambha. Let her see Lord Jagannatha to her full satisfaction.”
Then, coming to her senses, the woman quickly climbed back down to the ground, and upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, she immediately begged for forgiveness at His lotus feet.
After having witnessed the woman’s behavior, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Lord Jagannatha has not bestowed such eagerness upon Me. This woman has fully absorbed her body, mind, and life in Lord Jagannatha, and thus she was not even aware that she had put her foot on My shoulder. How fortunate this woman is! I pray at her feet that she favor Me with her great eagerness to see Lord Jagannatha!”
Just previously, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had been seeing Lord Jagannatha as directly Krishna, the son of Maharaja Nanda. While absorbed in this vision, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had assumed the mood of the gopis, so much so, that wherever He looked, He saw Krishna standing with His flute to His lips. However, after seeing the Orissan woman, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s external consciousness returned, and thus He saw the original Deity forms of Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Balarama.
Because of this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu thought that He was seeing Krishna at Kurukshetra. While thinking, “Have I come to Kurukshetra? Where is Vrindavana?” the Lord became very agitated, like a person who had just lost a recently acquired jewel.
Thereafter, having become very morose, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to His residence, where He sat down on the ground and began marking the earth with His nails. Being blinded by the tears that flowed from His eyes, like the waters of the Ganga, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I had found Krishna, the Lord of Vrindavana, but now I have lost Him once again. Who has taken My Krishna? Where have I come?”
Having lost sight of Krishna in Vrindavana, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu experienced divyonmada, transcendental madness in separation. Being always absorbed in the bliss of this transcendental madness, the Lord would chant and dance, while the bodily necessities, such as eating and bathing, were carried out by Him simply as a matter of habit.
After having obtained a vision of Lord Krishna, and then lost that most valuable gem, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remembered His experience, lamentation would overwhelm Him. At night, the Lord revealed the ecstatic feelings of His mind to Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya. While clasping their necks, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would cry out, “Oh, where is My Lord Krishna? Where is Krishna?”
Finally, after becoming very restless and losing all patience, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu addressed Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, in the following metaphorical way: “At first, My mind somehow achieved the treasure of Krishna, but then it again lost Him. Because of this, it gave up My body, out of lamentation, and accepted the life of a kapalika-yogi.”
“My dear friends, because of a great desire to taste Krishna’s sweetness, My mind has given up all social and Vedic religious principles, and taken to the profession of begging, exactly like a mystic yogi. The ring of Krishna’s rasa-lila, manufactured by Sukadeva Gosvami, the master craftsman, is as pure as an earring made from a conch shell.”
“The yogi of My mind is wearing that earring. From a gourd, he has carved out the bowl of My aspirations, and he has taken the bag of My expectations upon his shoulder. The yogi of My mind wears the torn quilt of anxiety on his dirty body, which is covered with dust and ashes. He wears twelve bangles of distress on his wrist, and a turban of greed upon his head. His only words are, ‘Oh! Krishna!’, and because of not eating, he is very thin.”
“The great yogi of My mind always studies the topics of Lord Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes, as described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. He has assumed the name Mahabaula, and has made disciples of My ten senses. Thus, My mind has gone to Vrindavana, leaving aside the home of My body and the great treasure of material enjoyment. In Vrindavana, he goes from door to door, begging alms, along with his disciples. By begging from both the moving and nonmoving inhabitants of Vrindavana, he lives by eating fruit, roots, and leaves.”
“The gopis of Vrajabhumi always taste the nectar of Krishna’s attributes- His beauty, His sweetness, His aroma, the sound of His flute, and the touch of His body. My mind’s five disciples, the senses of perception, gather the remnants of that nectar from the gopis, and then bring them to the yogi of My mind. In this way, the senses maintain their lives by eating those remnants.”
“There is a solitary garden where Krishna enjoys His pastimes, and in one corner of a pavilion there, the yogi of My mind, along with his disciples, practices mystic yoga. Desiring to see Krishna directly, this yogi remains awake throughout the entire night, meditating upon Krishna within his heart.”
“When My mind lost the association of Krishna, he became depressed, and so took up mystic yoga. In the void of separation from Krishna, he experienced ten transcendental transformations. Being agitated by these ecstatic manifestations, My mind fled, leaving My body, his place of residence, empty. Thus, I am now completely in trance.”
In this description given by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a comparison has been made between His mind and the external activities of a Kapalika mendicant. However, in actuality, these Kapalika yogis are non-devotees, and thus their behavior is never to be imitated.
When the gopis felt separation from Krishna, they experienced ten kinds of bodily transformations- anxiety, wakefulness, mental agitation, thinness, uncleanliness, talking like a madman, disease, madness, illusion, and death. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was overwhelmed, day and night, by these ecstatic symptoms, and whenever they arose, His mind became unsteady.
After speaking, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fell silent, and so Ramananda Raya began reciting verses from Shrimad-Bhagavatam and Svarupa Damodara sang about Krishna’s pastimes. In this way, they brought Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu back to His external consciousness.
After half of the night had passed in this way, Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara made the Lord lie down within His inner room. Ramananda Raya then returned home, while Svarupa Damodara and Govinda lay down in the doorway leading into Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s room.
Throughout the entire night, the Lord remained awake, chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra very loudly. After some time, however, Svarupa Damodara could no longer hear the chanting, and when he entered the room, he found that even though all three doors were locked, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had somehow gone out. All the devotees became very anxious when they learned that the Lord was missing, and they began wandering about with a warning lamp, searching for Him.
After looking for some time, the devotees came upon Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lying in a corner by the northern side of the Simha-dvara. At first, they were overjoyed to see the Lord, but then, when they saw His condition, they became very anxious.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was lying unconscious, and His body had become elongated to five or six cubits (eight or nine feet). Each of His arms and legs had become extended to three cubits, and thus only skin connected the separated joints. There was no breath from His nostrils, and His body temperature, indicating life, was very low. It appeared as if only skin covered the joints in His elongated arms, legs, neck and waist, and thus, upon seeing the Lord’s condition, everyone felt great unhappiness.
Indeed, when they saw His mouth full of saliva, and His eyes turned upward, all of the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara, almost died. They began chanting the holy name of Krishna very loudly into Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ear, and after a long while, that holy name entered the Lord’s heart. At that time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly got up with a loud shout of “Hari bol”, and immediately, all of His joints contracted as His entire body returned to its normal condition.
Coming to external consciousness, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very astonished to find Himself in front of the Simha-dvara, and so He asked Svarupa Damodara, “Where am I? What am I doing here?”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “My dear Lord, please get up. Let us first go to Your place, and then I shall tell You everything that has happened.”
Thereafter, the devotees carried the Lord back to His residence, and there, they described to Him all that had transpired.
Upon hearing the description of His condition while lying near the Simha-dvara, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became highly astonished and said, “I do not remember any of these things. I can only recollect that I saw My Krishna, but just for an instant. Then, after appearing before Me, He suddenly disappeared, like lightning.”
Just then, the blowing of the conch shell could be heard coming from the Jagannatha temple, and so the Lord quickly took His bath and went to see the Deity. The uncommon transformations of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body are inconceivable to common men, for no one has witnessed such things, nor have they been described in shastra. Therefore, people in general do not believe in them, and yet, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited these ecstatic symptoms.
One day, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was going to the sea to bathe, in the distance He saw the sand dune named Chataka-parvata. Mistaking it for Govardhana Hill, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began running toward Chataka-parvata with the speed of wind. Thus, even though Govinda hastily ran after Him, the Lord could not be caught.
While running, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited the following verse, spoken by the gopis, from Shrimad-Bhagavatam: “Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krishna and Balarama, as well as their cows, calves, and cowherd boy friends, with all kinds of necessities- water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruit, flowers, and vegetables. In this way, Govardhana Hill offers respect to the Lord, and because of being touched by the lotus feet of Krishna and Balarama, it appears to be very jubilant.”
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ran, first one devotee shouted loudly, and then others joined in, so that soon there was a tumultuous uproar as everyone began running after the Lord. Paramananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati also came to the seashore, and Bhagavan Acharya, who was lame, followed them slowly.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had been running at the speed of wind, but then suddenly, He became stunned in ecstasy, and thus lost all strength to proceed further. Every pore on the Lord’s body erupted like pimples, and His hair, standing on end, appeared like kadamba flowers. Blood and perspiration flowed incessantly from all the pores on the Lord’s body, and being unable to speak, He could simply produce a gargling sound within His throat. The Lord’s eyes overflooded with unlimited tears, and His entire body faded so that it became the color of a white conch shell. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body then began to quiver like the waves of the ocean, and in this state, He fell down onto the ground.
Govinda was the first to approach the Lord, and he immediately began sprinkling water from a karanga (water pot) all over His body. Then, taking the Lord’s outer garment, Govinda began fanning Him, and at this time, Svarupa Damodara and the other devotees came there. Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pitiable condition, everyone began to cry, although at the same time, they were struck with wonder to see how all eight kinds of transcendental transformations were simultaneously visible in His body.
As they continued to wash Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body with cold water, the devotees loudly chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra near His ear. Finally, after the devotees had chanted for a long time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly stood up, shouting “Hari bol!” The devotees then responded by loudly chanting, “Hari! Hari!” in great jubilation, and thus the auspicious sound filled the air in all directions.
With great astonishment, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began looking here and there, trying to see something. However, when the Lord saw all of the devotees present there, instead of His desired object, He returned to partial external consciousness, and spoke as follows to Svarupa Damodara: “Who has brought Me here from Govardhana Hill? I had been witnessing Lord Krishna’s pastimes, but now I cannot see them.”
“I had gone from here to Govardhana Hill, to find out if Krishna was there, tending His cows. Then, I saw Lord Krishna climbing Govardhana Hill, while playing upon His flute, and surrounding Him on all sides were grazing cows. Upon hearing the vibration of Krishna’s flute, Shrimati Radharani and Her gopi friends came there to meet Him, and all of them were very nicely dressed.”
“Thereafter, when Krishna and Radharani entered a cave, the other gopis asked Me to pick some flowers. Just then, however, all of you made a tumultuous sound, and thus carried Me back from that place. Why have you brought Me here, causing Me unnecessary pain? I had a chance to see Krishna’s pastimes, but now I have lost the opportunity.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to weep, and upon seeing the Lord’s condition, the devotees also began to cry. Paramananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati then arrived, and so the Lord became somewhat respectful and returned to complete external consciousness, while offering them prayers. As these two elderly gentlemen embraced Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with loving affection, the Lord asked them, “Why have you both come so far?”
Puri Gosvami replied, “Just to see Your dancing.”
When He heard this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became somewhat ashamed. Thereafter, the Lord went to bathe in the sea, along with His devotees, and then He returned with them to His residence, where they ate Lord Jagannatha’s maha-prasada for lunch.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s consciousness was exhibited on three levels- sometimes He was totally merged in ecstatic emotion, sometimes He partially manifested external consciousness, and sometimes He was in full external consciousness. Factually, however, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was always steeped in ecstatic emotion, and just as a potter’s wheel turns without being touched, His bodily activities, such as having lunch, bathing, and going to the temple, all went on automatically.
One day, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gazed upon Lord Jagannatha in the temple, the Deity suddenly appeared to be directly Shri Krishna, the son of Maharaja Nanda. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu realized this, His five senses immediately became absorbed in attraction for the five attributes of Lord Krishna. Just as in a tug-of-war, the single mind of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became dragged in five different directions, and as a result, the Lord fell unconscious.
Just then, the upala-bhoga ceremony of Lord Jagannatha came to a conclusion, and so the devotees who had accompanied Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu brought Him back to His residence. That night, while being attended to by Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, the Lord began to lament as He kept His arms around their necks.
Previously, when Shrimati Radharani had become very agitated due to feeling great separation from Krishna, She had spoken a verse to Her companion, Vishakha, explaining the cause of Her great anxiety and restlessness. In order to express His burning emotions, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited this same verse.
Then, in a mood of great lamentation, The Lord explained it to Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya: “Although the hearts of the gopis are like high-standing hills, they are inundated by the waves of the nectarean ocean of Lord Krishna’s beauty. Krishna’s sweet voice enters into their ears and gives them transcendental bliss. The touch of His body is cooler than millions and millions of moons, and the nectar of His bodily fragrance overfloods the entire world.”
“O My friend, that Krishna, who is the son of Nanda Maharaja, and whose lips are exactly like nectar, is attracting My five senses by force.”
“Lord Krishna’s beauty, the sound of His words and the vibration of His flute, His touch, His fragrance, and the taste of His lips, are full of an indescribable sweetness. When all of these features attract My five senses at once, they ride together on the single horse of My mind, desiring to go in five different directions.”
“O My dear friend, please hear the cause of My misery. My five senses are actually extravagant rogues, for they know very well that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and yet they still want to plunder His property. My mind is like a single horse being ridden by the five senses of perception simultaneously in five directions. In which direction will it go? If they all pull at once, certainly the horse will lose its life. How can I tolerate this atrocity?”
“My dear friend, if you say, ‘Just try to control Your senses’, what shall I reply? I cannot become angry with My senses. Is it their fault? Krishna’s beauty, sound, touch, fragrance, and taste are by nature extremely captivating, and because they are attracting My senses, each wants to pull My mind in a different direction. However, because of this, the life of My mind is in a precarious position, and thus I am also in danger of dying.”
“The consciousness of every woman within the three worlds is certainly like a high hill, but the sweetness of Krishna’s beauty is like an ocean. Even a drop of water from that ocean can overflood the entire world and submerge all the high hills of consciousness.”
“The sweetness of Krishna’s joking words plays indescribable havoc with the hearts of all women, and binds their ears. Krishna’s transcendental body is so cool that it cannot be compared even to sandalwood paste, or to millions upon millions of moons. It expertly attracts the breasts of all women, which resemble high hills, and indeed, it captivates the minds of all women within the three worlds. The fragrance of Krishna’s body is more maddening than the aroma of musk, and it surpasses the scent of the bluish lotus flower. That fragrance enters into the nostrils of all women of the world, and, making a nest there, it continues to attract them. Krishna’s lips are so sweet, when combined with the camphor of His gentle smile, that they allure the minds of all women, forcing them to give up all other attractions. If the sweetness of Krishna’s smile is unobtainable, then great mental difficulties and lamentation result.”
After speaking in this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu again caught hold of Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara’s necks, and said, “My dear friends, please listen to Me. What shall I do? Where shall I go? Where can I get Krishna? Please tell Me how I can find Him.”
Thus absorbed in transcendental pain, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lamented day after day in the company of Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya. Svarupa Damodara would sing appropriate songs, and Ramananda Raya would recite suitable verses, to enhance the Lord’s ecstatic mood and thus pacify Him. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu especially liked to hear Bilvamangala Thakura’s Krishna-karnamrita, the poetry of Vidyapati, and Shri Gita-govinda by Jayadeva Gosvami. The Lord would feel great pleasure in His heart when His associates chanted verses from these books.
One day, while going to the beach, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw a flower garden. Mistaking it to be Vrindavana, the Lord quickly entered the garden, and while remaining absorbed in ecstatic love for Krishna, He wandered there, searching for Him.
After Krishna had disappeared from the arena of the rasa-dance, along with Shrimati Radharani, the gopis had wandered about in the forest looking for Him. In the same way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wandered throughout the garden by the sea, absorbed in the mood of the gopis, and while doing so, He began to inquire about Krishna by quoting the following verses:
The gopis said, “O chuta tree, piyala tree, panasa, asana and kovidara! O jambu tree, O arka tree, O bel, bakula and mango! O kadamba tree, and all others living on the banks of the Yamuna for the welfare of others, did you see Krishna passing this way? Kindly tell us which way He has gone, and thus save our lives.”
When the trees did not reply, the gopis guessed, “Since these trees are all males, they must be Krishna’s friends. Therefore, why should they tell us where He has gone? Rather, let us inquire from the creepers, since they are female and thus like our friends.”
The gopis said, “O all-auspicious tulasi plant, you are very dear to Govinda’s lotus feet, and He is very dear to you. Have you seen Krishna walking here, wearing a garland of your leaves, surrounded by a swarm of bumblebees? O plants of malati flowers, mallika flowers, jati and yuthika flowers, has Krishna passed this way, while touching you with His hand to give you pleasure. You are all just like our dear friends, and so kindly tell us which way Krishna has gone, and thus save our lives.”
When the gopis once again received no reply, they thought, “These plants are all Krishna’s maidservants, and so, out of fear, they do not speak to us.”
The gopis then came upon a group of she-deer. Smelling the aroma of Krishna’s body and seeing the faces of the deer, the gopis inquired, “O wives of the deer, Lord Krishna has been embracing His beloved, and thus the kunkuma powder on Her raised breasts has covered His garland of kunda flowers. We can perceive the fragrance of Krishna’s garland here. O dear friends, have you seen Krishna passing this way, along with His dearmost companion, increasing the pleasure of your eyes? We are not outsiders. Being very dear friends of Shrimati Radharani, we can perceive Krishna’s bodily fragrance from a distance.”
Upon receiving no response, the gopis thought, “Lord Krishna has left this place and thus the deer are feeling separation. Since they do not even hear our words, how can they reply?
The gopis then came upon many trees that were so laden with fruit and flowers that their branches bent down to the ground. Thinking that the trees were offering respectful obeisances, after having seen Krishna pass by, the gopis inquired, “O trees, kindly tell us whether Lord Krishna welcomed your obeisances with loving glances as He passed this way. He was resting one hand on the shoulder of Shrimati Radharani, holding a lotus flower in the other, and was followed by a swarm of bumblebees maddened by the fragrance of tulasi leaves. To stop the bumblebees from landing on the face of His beloved, Krishna whisked them away with the lotus flower in His hand, and thus His mind became slightly diverted. Did Krishna pay any attention to you as you offered Him obeisances? Kindly give evidence supporting your words.”
When the gopis did not receive any reply, they thought, “Due to separation from Krishna, these servants have become very unhappy. Having practically lost their consciousness, how can they give us an answer?”
Saying this, the gopis arrived at the sandy banks of the River Yamuna, and there, they saw Lord Krishna beneath a kadamba tree. Standing there with His flute to His lips, Krishna, who is the enchanter of millions and millions of Cupids, attracted the eyes and minds of all with His unlimited beauty.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the transcendental beauty of Lord Krishna, He fell to the ground unconscious. At this time, the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara, arrived at the garden. As previously, they saw all the symptoms of transcendental ecstatic love manifested in the Lord’s body. Although externally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared bewildered, He was actually tasting transcendental bliss within.
Once again, by a concerted effort, the devotees brought Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu back to external consciousness. Upon getting up, the Lord began wandering here and there, while looking around. He then asked, “Where has My Krishna gone? I saw Him just a moment ago, and His beauty has captivated My eyes and mind. Why can’t I see Krishna once again, holding His flute to His lips?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then recited the following verse, which had been spoken by Shrimati Radharani to Her companion, Vishakha: “My dear friend, the luster of Krishna’s body is more brilliant than a newly formed cloud, and His yellow dress is more attractive than lightning. A peacock feather decorates His head, and on His neck hangs a lovely necklace of brilliant pearls. As Krishna holds His charming flute to His lips, His face looks as beautiful as the full autumn moon. By such beauty, Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Cupid, is increasing the desire of My eyes to see Him.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued to speak as follows: “Shri Krishna’s complexion is as polished as powdered eye ointment, it surpasses the beauty of a newly formed cloud, and it is softer than a blue lotus flower. Indeed, Krishna’s complexion is so pleasing, that it attracts the eyes and mind of everyone.”
“My dear friend, please tell Me what I should do. Krishna is as attractive as a wonderful cloud, and My eyes are just like chataka birds that are dying of thirst due to not seeing Him. Krishna’s yellow dress looks exactly like restless lightning in the sky, and the pearl necklace around His neck appears like a line of ducks flying below a cloud. Both the peacock feather on His head and His vaijayanti garland made from flowers of five colors, resemble rainbows.”
“The luster of Krishna’s body is as beautiful as a spotless full moon, and the vibration of His flute sounds exactly like the sweet thundering of a newly formed cloud. When the peacocks in Vrindavana hear that vibration, they begin to dance. The cloud of Krishna’s pastimes is drenching the fourteen worlds with a shower of nectar. Unfortunately, when that cloud appeared, a whirlwind arose and blew it away from me. Now, being unable to see that cloud, the chataka bird of My eyes has almost died from thirst.”
Then, in a faltering voice, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Oh, my dear Ramananda Raya, please go on reading.”
Ramananda Raya then read the following verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, spoken by the gopis. While listening to it, the Lord was sometimes jubilant, and sometimes overcome by lamentation. “Dear Krishna, because of seeing Your beautiful face, which is decorated with tresses of hair, the beauty of Your earrings falling upon Your cheeks, and the sweetness of Your smiling glances- and because of Your two arms that assure fearlessness, and Your broad chest whose beauty arouses conjugal attraction- and because of tasting the nectar of Your lips, we have surrendered ourselves to become Your maidservants.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then personally explained this verse as follows: “After conquering the moon and the lotus flower, Krishna wanted to capture the doelike gopis. Thus, He spread the noose of His beautiful face, and within it He placed the bait of His sweet smile, to misguide them. The gopis fell prey to that trap and became Krishna’s maidservants, giving up their homes, families, husbands and prestige.”
“My dear friend, Krishna acts just like a hunter who does not care for piety or impiety. He simply creates many devices to conquer the cores of the hearts of the doelike gopis.”
“The earrings dancing upon Krishna’s cheeks are shaped like sharks, and they shine very brightly, attracting the minds of all women. Over and above this, Krishna pierces the hearts of women with the arrows of His sweetly smiling glances. Indeed, He is not at all afraid of killing women in this way.”
“Krishna’s chest, which is adorned with the mark of Shrivatsa, and which is as broad as a plunderer’s, attracts many, many thousands of damsels in Vraja, conquering their minds and breasts by force. Thus, all of the gopis become maidservants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The two beautiful arms of Krishna resemble the bodies of black snakes that enter the space between the two hill-like breasts of women, and bite their hearts. As a result, these women die from the burning poison.”
“The combined cooling effect of camphor, roots of khasakhasa, and sandalwood is surpassed by the palms of Krishna’s hands and the soles of His feet, which are cooler and more pleasing than millions upon millions of moons. If women are touched by them even once, their minds become enticed, and the burning poison of lusty desire for Krishna is immediately vanquished.”
While thus lamenting in ecstatic love, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu next recited the following verse, spoken by Shrimati Radharani to Vishakha, expressing the grief within Her heart. “My dear friend, Krishna’s chest is as broad and attractive as a door made of indranila gems, and His two arms, which are as strong as bolts, can relieve the mental anguish of young girls distressed by lusty desires for Him. Krishna’s body is cooler than the moon, sandalwood, the lotus flower, and camphor combined. In this way, Madana-mohana, the attractor of Cupid, is increasing the desire of My breasts.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued, “Just now I had Krishna, but unfortunately, I have again lost Him. By nature Krishna is very restless, and thus He does not stay in one place. He meets with someone, enchants his mind, and then disappears. ‘The gopis became proud of their great fortune, and so, just to subdue that sense of superiority, and show them special favor, Krishna disappeared from the rasa dance.’ ”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, “Please sing a song that will bring consciousness to My heart.”
For the pleasure of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara began singing very sweetly the following verse from Gita-govinda: “Here in the arena of the rasa dance, I remember Krishna, who is always fond of joking and performing pastimes.”
When Svarupa Damodara sang this special song, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately got up and began dancing in ecstatic love. At that time, all eight sattvika ecstasies, as well as the thirty-three symptoms of vyabhichari-bhava became manifest in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body. As a result, a great fight arose between one emotion and another, as each of them gradually became prominent. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had Svarupa Damodara Gosvami sing the same verse again and again, and each time the Lord tasted it in a fresh manner, as He continued dancing.
Finally, after the Lord had danced for a long time, Svarupa Damodara stopped singing. Again and again, however, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu urged, “Go on! Sing! Sing!” but because of the Lord’s fatigue, Svarupa Damodara did not resume singing. When the other devotees heard Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu say, “Go on singing!” they gathered around Him and began chanting the holy name of the Lord in unison. At that time, Ramananda Raya made Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sit down, and he began dissipating the Lord’s fatigue by fanning Him.
Thereafter, the devotees took Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to the sea in order to bathe, and then they returned to the Lord’s residence. After feeding Him, the devotees made the Lord lie down to rest, ,and then finally, they returned to their respective residences.
The next year, the devotees from Bengal went to Jagannatha Puri as usual, and accompanying them was a gentleman named Kalidasa. Kalidasa was a very advanced devotee, and yet, at the same time he was simple and liberal. He never uttered anything but the holy name of Krishna, even while engaged in ordinary dealings. Indeed, Kalidasa used to chant Hare Krishna as he jokingly played with dice, but such behavior of a maha-bhagavata cannot be imitated.
Kalidasa was related to Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami as an uncle, and throughout his entire life, even in old age, he tried to eat the remnants of food left by Vaishnavas.
In fact, Kalidasa ate the remnants of food of as many Vaishnavas as there were in Bengal. He would go to all the Vaishnavas born in brahmana families, be they advanced or neophyte, and present them with gifts of first-class eatables. Kalidasa then begged for the remnants of food from these devotees, and if they would not give him any, he would hide. When the Vaishnavas finished eating, they would throw away their leaf-plates, and so Kalidasa would come out of hiding, take the refuse, and lick up the remnants. He would also take gifts to the houses of Vaishnavas born in shudra families, and then hide in the same manner, to eat their remnants.
One day, Kalidasa took some mangoes and went to visit a great Vaishnava named Jhadu Thakura, who belonged to the bhunimali caste. Kalidasa first of all presented the mangoes to Jhadu Thakura, and then, after offering him obeisances, he offered his respects to the Thakura’s wife, who was seated by his side.
Jhadu Thakura also offered his obeisances to Kalidasa. Then, after talking with him for some time, the Thakura very sweetly addressed him as follows: “My dear Kalidasa, I belong to a low caste, whereas you are a very respectable guest. How shall I serve you? If you permit, then I shall send some food to the house of a brahmana so that you can take prasada there. This would give me great satisfaction,”
Kalidasa replied, “My dear sir, since I have come to you, please bestow your mercy upon me, even though I am very fallen and sinful. Simply by seeing you, I have become purified, and thus I am very obliged to you for having made my life successful. Still, my dear sir, I have one desire. Please be kind unto me by placing your feet upon my head, so that the dust from your feet may touch it.”
Jhadu Thakura replied, “It does not befit you to ask this of me. I belong to a very low-caste family, whereas you are a respectable gentleman.”
Kalidasa then recited some verses that give evidence regarding the supreme position of a Vaishnava, regardless of his social status. “Even if a non-devotee is a very learned Vedic scholar, he is not as dear to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as a person born in a family of dog-eaters who is engaged in pure devotional service. Indeed, all respects should be given to such a devotee, and whatever he offers should be accepted, for such persons are as worshipful as I am.”
“A person may be born in a brahmana family and possess all twelve qualities of goodness. However, if he is not devoted to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, then he is inferior to a chandala who has dedicated his mind, words, activities, wealth, and life to the service of the Lord. Such a devotee purifies his whole family, whereas a non-devotee brahmana cannot even purify himself.”
“My dear Lord, anyone who always keeps Your holy name upon his tongue is glorious, even if he has been born into the lowest of families. Indeed, it is understood that one who is engaged in chanting Your holy name must have already studied all the Vedas, performed all the great sacrifices, bathed at all the holy places of pilgrimage, and qualified himself with the behavior of an Aryan.”
Jhadu Thakura was very happy to hear these verses from shastra, but still, he replied, “All of this is certainly true, but it only applies to one who is genuinely advanced in devotion to Lord Krishna. Such descriptions may fit others, but as for myself, I belong to a lower caste and have not even a pinch of devotion to Krishna.”
Thereafter, Kalidasa once again offered his obeisances to Jhadu Thakura and then requested permission to depart. Jhadu Thakura followed Kalidasa as he went out, and then he returned home, leaving his footprints clearly visible in many places. After Jhadu Thakura had entered his house, Kalidasa smeared the dust from those footprints all over his body, and then hid in a place nearby.
Meanwhile, Jhadu Thakura mentally offered to Lord Krishna the mangoes that Kalidasa had given him. Then, Jhadu Thakura’s wife took the mangoes from the banana leaves in which they were wrapped, and presented them to her husband to eat. After he finished eating some of the mangoes, Jhadu Thakura left the seeds on the banana leaf, and gave his wife the remaining mangoes to eat. When she finished, Jhadu Thakura’s wife took the banana leaves, mango seeds, and skins and threw them into a ditch outside where all the garbage was kept.
Kalidasa then came out of hiding and licked the banana leaves and mango remnants, and while doing so, he became overwhelmed by jubilation in ecstatic love. In this way, Kalidasa ate the remnants of food left by all the Vaishnavas residing in Bengal.
When Kalidasa visited Jagannatha Puri, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bestowed great mercy upon him.
Every day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the temple of Lord Jagannatha, and Govinda would accompany Him, carrying His water pot. On the northern side of the Simha-dvara, there are twenty-two steps leading up to the temple, and at the bottom of these steps is a ditch. The Lord used to wash His feet in this ditch before entering the temple, and it was His order to Govinda that no one should take the water that he used. Because of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s strict order, no living being could take the water that had washed His feet, although some of the Lord’s intimate devotees used to take it by trick.
One day, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was washing His feet in that place, Kalidasa came and extended his palm to take the water. After drinking one palmful, Kalidasa took a second and a third before the Lord forbade him to take more, by saying, “Do not continue to act in this way, for I have fulfilled your desire as far as possible”
Being the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu knew that in the core of his heart, Kalidasa had complete faith in Vaishnavas. It is because of this quality that the Lord satisfied him with mercy not attainable by anyone else.
On the left side, after climbing up the twenty-two steps leading to the Jagannatha temple, is a Deity of Lord Nrisimhadeva. With His left side facing the Deity, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would offer His obeisances while going to the temple, and again and again He would recite the following verses: “I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, Lord Nrisimhadeva, the giver of pleasure to Maharaja Prahlada. With Your nails You cut Hiranyakashipu’s chest, like a chisel cutting stone. Lord Nrisimhadeva is here, and He is there, so that wherever I go, I see Him. He is outside and He is also within my heart. Therefore, I take shelter of Lord Nrisimhadeva, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would visit Lord Jagannatha, and then return to His residence where He would have lunch after finishing His noontime duties. One day, Kalidasa stood outside the Lord’s door, expecting some remnants of His food. Knowing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave an indication to Govinda. Govinda understood all of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s intentions, and thus he immediately delivered the remnants of the Lord’s lunch to Kalidasa.
Taking the remnants of food eaten by Vaishnavas is so valuable that it induced Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to offer Kalidasa His supreme mercy. Therefore, giving up hatred and hesitation, just try to eat the remnants of the Vaishnavas’ food, for in this way you shall be able to achieve your desired goal of life.
The remnants of food offered to Lord Krishna are called maha-prasada. After this maha-prasada has been eaten by a devotee, the remnants are elevated to the platform of maha-maha-prasada. The dust of the feet of a Vaishnava, the water that has washed the feet of a Vaishnava, and the remnants of food left by a Vaishnava are three very powerful substances. By rendering service to these three, one attains the supreme goal of ecstatic love for Krishna. All of the Vedic literatures have loudly declared this, again and again.
Therefore, my dear devotee, please hear from me, for I insist again and again, please keep faith in these three and render service unto them without hesitation. From these three one achieves the highest goal of life- ecstatic love for Krishna. This is the greatest mercy of the Lord, and the evidence is Kalidasa himself.
That year, Shivananda Sena brought his wife and youngest son, Puridasa, with him to Jagannatha Puri. Taking his son to the residence of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shivananda Sena made him offer obeisances at the lotus feet of the Lord. Again and again, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked Puridasa to chant the holy name of Krishna, but the boy would not do so. Even though Shivananda Sena also made a great endeavor to get his son to chant Krishna’s holy name, Puridasa would not utter a sound.
Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I have induced the entire world to take to the chanting of the holy name of Krishna. I have induced even the immovable trees and plants to chant, but I could not convince this boy to utter the holy name of Lord Krishna.”
Svarupa Damodara then said, “My dear Lord, You have initiated him into the holy name of Krishna, but after receiving the mantra, he will not express it in front of everyone. This boy chants the mantra within his mind and does not say it aloud. As far as I can guess, that is his intention.”
Another day, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Recite, My dear Puridasa”, the boy composed the following verse and then recited it before everyone. “Lord Shri Krishna is just like a bluish lotus flower for the ears, ointment for the eyes, a necklace of indranila jewels for the chest, and ornaments for the gopi damsels of Vrindavana. May that Lord Shri Hari, Krishna, be glorified.”
Although the boy was only seven years old, and had not received any education, he composed such a nice verse, and thus everyone was struck with wonder. This is the glory of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s causeless mercy, which even the demigods headed by Lord Brahma cannot estimate.
As long as the devotees remained at Nilachala for the four months of the rainy season, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu maintained His external consciousness. However, after their departure, His chief engagement was once again the madness of ecstatic love for Krishna. Throughout the entire day and night, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu directly relished Krishna’s beauty, fragrance, and mellow, as if He were touching the Lord hand to hand.
One day, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to the temple of Lord Jagannatha, the gatekeeper at the Simha-dvara approached Him and offered respectful obeisances. Like a madman, the Lord then asked, “Where is Krishna, My life and soul? Please show Me Krishna” and while saying this, He caught hold of the doorkeeper’s hand.
The doorkeeper quickly replied, “The son of Maharaja Nanda is here. Please come along with me and I shall show Him to You.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then begged the doorman, “You are My friend. Please show Me where the Lord of My heart is.”
Thereafter, they both went to the Jagamohana, from where the public views Lord Jagannatha, and upon arriving there, the doorkeeper exclaimed, “Just see Your beloved! Here is the best of the Personalities of Godhead. From here You may see the Lord to the full satisfaction of Your eyes.”
While standing behind the Garuda-stambha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gazed upon Lord Jagannatha. Then as He was looking, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly saw that the Deity had become directly Lord Krishna, with His flute to His mouth.
Thereafter, the food offering known as gopala-vallabha-bhoga was given to Lord Jagannatha, and the arati was performed with the sound of the conch shell and the ringing of bells. After arati, the prasada was taken out, and then the servants of Lord Jagannatha came and offered some to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, while garlanding Him.
This prasada had been made from very valuable ingredients, and thus the pujaris had especially wanted to give Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu a portion. Indeed, the prasada was so nice that its aroma alone, what to speak of its taste, could drive the mind mad.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tasted a little of the prasada, and Govinda bound up the rest in a cloth. To Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the prasada tasted millions upon millions of times better than nectar, and so He became highly ecstatic as the hair all over His body stood on end and tears flowed incessantly from His eyes.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered His experience as follows: “Where has such a taste in this prasada come from? Surely it is due to its having been touched by the nectar of Krishna’s lips.”
Because of this realization, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt great emotion in ecstatic love for Krishna, although, due to the presence of Lord Jagannatha’s servants, He restrained Himself. Still, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exclaimed, again and again, “Only by great fortune may one receive even a particle of the remnants of food offered to the Lord!”
The servants of Lord Jagannatha asked, “What is the meaning of this?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “These are remnants of food that Krishna has eaten, and thus they have been transformed into nectar by the touch of His lips. The taste of these remnants surpasses that of heavenly nectar, and thus even such demigods as Lord Brahma find it difficult to obtain.”
Remnants left by Krishna are called phela, and anyone who obtains even a small portion must be considered very fortunate. A person who is only ordinarily fortunate cannot receive such mercy. Only those who have the full mercy of Krishna can receive these remnants. The word ‘sukriti’ refers to pious activities that are performed by the mercy of Krishna. One who is fortunate enough to obtain such mercy receives the remnants of the Lord’s food and thus becomes glorious.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then bade farewell to the servants of Lord Jagannatha, and after witnessing the upala-bhoga, He returned to His residence. There, after finishing His noontime duties, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had His lunch, and all the while, He remembered the remnants of Lord Krishna’s food.
Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed His external activities, His mind always remained filled with ecstatic love. The Lord tried to restrain His mind with great endeavor, but it would always remain overwhelmed by very deep ecstatic emotions.
Later in the day, after finishing His evening duties, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat down with His personal associates in a secluded place and began discussing the pastimes of Krishna with them in great jubilation. Then, following Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s indication, Govinda brought the prasada of Lord Jagannatha that he had wrapped up in his cloth.
The Lord first of all sent some prasada to Paramananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati, and then He gave shares to Ramananda Raya, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, and all of the other devotees.
Upon tasting the uncommon sweetness, and smelling the fragrance of the prasada, everyone’s mind became struck with wonder.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “These ingredients, such as sugar, camphor, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, butter, spices, and licorice, are all material and everyone has tasted them before. But, even though this prasada has been made from these ingredients, there is, above and beyond them, extraordinary tastes and uncommon fragrances.”
“Just taste the prasada and experience the difference. Apart from the taste, the fragrance of this prasada alone is enough to please the mind so highly that it makes one forget any other sweetness than its own. Therefore, it must be concluded that the spiritual nectar of Krishna’s lips has touched these ordinary ingredients and transferred to them their transcendental qualities. An uncommon and greatly enchanting fragrance and taste, that make one forget all other experiences, are the attributes of Lord Krishna’s lips.”
“This prasada has been made available only as a result of many pious activities, and so now taste it with great faith and devotion.”
While loudly chanting the holy name of the Lord, the devotees tasted the prasada, and as a result, their minds became mad in the ecstasy of love.
Himself absorbed in ecstatic love, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had Ramananda Raya recite the following verse, spoken by the gopis: “ O hero of charity, please deliver unto us the nectar of Your lips. That nectar increases lusty desires for enjoyment, and it diminishes lamentation in this material world. Kindly give us the nectar of Your lips, which are touched by Your transcendentally vibrating flute, for that nectar makes human beings forget all other attachments.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very satisfied to hear this verse. He then recited another verse, that had been spoken by Shrimati Radharani in great anxiety: “My dear friend, the all-surpassing nectar from the lips of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, can be obtained only after many, many pious activities. For the beautiful gopis of Vrindavana, that nectar vanquishes the desire for all other tastes. Madana-mohana always chews pan that surpasses the nectar of heaven, and He is increasing the desires of My tongue.”
Thereafter, having become overwhelmed by ecstatic emotions, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began talking like a madman while explaining the meaning of the above two verses.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear lover, let Me describe some of the characteristics of Your transcendental lips. They agitate the mind and body of everyone, they increase lusty desires for enjoyment, they destroy the burden of material happiness and lamentation, and they make one forget all material tastes. The whole world falls under their control. They vanquish shame, religion, and patience, especially in women. Indeed, they inspire madness within the minds of all women. Your lips increase the greed of the tongue and thus attract it. Considering all this, we find that the activities of Your transcendental lips are always perplexing.”
“My dear Krishna, since You are a male, it is not very extraordinary that the attraction of Your lips can disturb the minds of women. I am ashamed to say this, but Your lips sometimes attract even Your flute, which is also considered to be a male. It likes to drink the nectar of Your lips and thus it also forgets all other tastes.”
“Aside from conscious living beings, even unconscious matter is sometimes made conscious by Your lips. Your lips are thus great magicians. Paradoxically, even though Your flute is nothing by dry wood, Your lips make it drink their nectar. They create a mind and senses in the dry wooden flute, and thus award it transcendental bliss.”
“That flute is a very cunning male who drinks again and again the taste of another male’s lips. It then advertises the qualities of Your lips by speaking as follows: ‘O gopis, if you are so proud of being women, then come forward and enjoy your property, the nectar of the lips of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’ ”
“Thereafter, the flute angrily told Me, ‘Give up Your shame, fear, and religion, and come drink Krishna’s lips. If you do so, then on that condition alone I shall give up my attachment for them. However, if You do not give up Your shame and fear, then I will continue to drink the nectar of Krishna’s lips. I must admit that I am slightly fearful, because You also have the right to drink that nectar, but as for others, I consider them to be no better than straw.’ ”
“The nectar of Krishna’s lips, combined with the vibration of His flute, attracts all people within the three worlds. However, if we gopis remain patient out of respect for religious principles, then the flute criticizes us.”
“My dear Krishna, the nectar of Your lips and the vibration of Your flute join together to loosen our belts and induce us to give up our shame and religion, even before our superiors. As if catching us by our hair, they forcibly take us away and surrender us unto You to become Your maidservants. When people hear of these incidents they laugh at us, but the fact is that we have become completely subordinate to Your flute. The flute is nothing but a dry stick of bamboo, but it becomes our master and insults us in so many ways that it forces us into a predicament. What can we do but tolerate it? The mother of a thief cannot cry loudly for justice when her son is punished. Therefore, we simply remain silent.”
“Besides this policy of Krishna’s lips, kindly hear about the other injustices. Everything that touches those lips, including food, drink or betel, becomes just like nectar and is called Krishna-phela, the remnants of Krishna. Even after much prayer, the demigods cannot obtain even a small portion of the remnants of such food. Therefore, just imagine the pride of those remnants. Only a person who has acted piously for many, many births, and has thus become a devotee, can obtain the remnants of such food.”
“The betel chewed by Krishna is priceless, and the remnants of that chewed betel from His mouth are said to be the essence of all nectar. When the gopis accept these remnants, their mouths become like His spittoons. My dear Krishna, please give up all the tricks that You have so expertly devised. Do not try to kill the life of the gopis with the vibration of Your flute. Because of Your joking and laughing, You are becoming responsible for the killing of women. It would be better for You to satisfy us by giving us the charity of the nectar of Your lips!”
While Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was talking like this, His mood changed. Although the Lord’s anger subsided, His mental agitation only increased, and thus He continued speaking as follows: “The nectar from Krishna’s lips is supremely difficult to obtain, but if one gets some, his life becomes successful. When a person competent to drink that nectar does not do so, that shameless person continues his life uselessly. There are persons who are unfit to drink that nectar but who nevertheless do so continuously, whereas some who are suitable, never get it and thus die of greed. It is therefore to be understood that such an unfit person must have obtained the nectar of Krishna’s lips on the strength of some austerity.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told Ramananda Raya, “Please say something, for I wish to hear.”
Understanding the situation, Ramananda Raya recited the following words of the gopis: “My dear friends, what auspicious activities must the flute have performed in order to enjoy the nectar of Krishna’s lips independently, and thus leave aside only a taste for us, for whom that nectar is actually meant. The forefathers of the flute, the bamboo trees, shed tears of pleasure. His mother, the river, on whose bank he was born, also feels jubilation, and thus her blooming lotus flowers are standing up like hair on her body.”
Upon hearing the recitation of this verse, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became absorbed in ecstatic love. Then, with a greatly agitated mind, He began to explain its meaning like a madman: “Some of the gopis said to other gopis, ‘Just see the astonishing pastimes of Krishna. He will certainly marry all the gopis of Vrindavana, and thus they know for certain that the nectar of His lips is their property, and cannot be enjoyed by anyone else.’ ”
“ ‘My dear gopis, just consider how many pious activities this flute must have performed in its past life. We do not know what places of pilgrimage he visited, what austerities he performed, or what perfect mantras he chanted. This flute is utterly unfit because it is merely a dead bamboo stick. Moreover, it belongs to the male gender. Still, the flute always drinks the nectar of Krishna’s lips, which surpasses nectarean sweetness of every other description. Only in the hope of obtaining that nectar do the gopis continue to live.’ ”
“ ‘Although the nectar of Krishna’s lips is the absolute property of the gopis, the flute, which is just an insignificant stick, is forcibly drinking it and loudly inviting the gopis to come and drink it as well. Just imagine the strength of the flute’s austerities and good fortune. Even great devotees drink the nectar of Krishna’s lips only after the flute has done so.’ ”
“ ‘When Krishna takes His bath in the universally purifying rivers, such as the Yamuna and the celestial Ganga, the presiding deities of those rivers greedily and jubilantly drink the remnants of the nectarean juice from His lips. Aside from the rivers, the trees standing on the banks, like great ascetics, drink the nectar of Krishna’s lips by drawing water from the river through their roots. Thus, the trees on the banks of the Yamuna and Ganga are always jubilant. They appear to be smiling with their flowers, and shedding tears in the form of flowing honey. Just as a Vaishnava’s ancestors feel transcendental bliss, the trees feel happy because the flute is a member of their family.’ ”
“The gopis then considered, ‘The flute is completely unfit for his position. Therefore, we wish to find out what austerities he had performed so that we may also execute them. Although unfit, the flute is drinking the nectar of Krishna’s lips, and upon seeing this, we qualified gopis are dying of unhappiness. We must consider the austerities that the flute underwent in his past life!’ ”
While thus speaking like a madman, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became filled with transcendental emotions, so that, in the company of His two friends, Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, He sometimes danced, sometimes sang, and sometimes became unconscious due to ecstatic love. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed His days and nights.
In the association of Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once passed half the night talking about the pastimes of Lord Krishna. Svarupa Damodara sang songs just suitable for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s emotional condition, and Ramananda Raya quoted verses from the books of Vidyapati, Chandidasa, and especially Jayadeva Gosvami’s Gita-govinda. From time to time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would also recite a verse and then explain it with great lamentation.
Finally, after half of the night had passed, Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya made the Lord lie down on His bed, and then they returned home. Govinda lay down at the doorway to the room, and the Lord continued chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra very loudly throughout the night.
Suddenly, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard the vibration of Krishna’s flute, and so in great ecstasy He got up, to go and see Him. Even though all three doors were locked as usual, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left His room in great ecstasy and went out of the house. After somehow climbing over three high walls, the Lord arrived at a cowshed located on the southern side of the Simha-dvara, and there, He fell down unconscious among the cows from the Tailanga district.
Meanwhile, Govinda came to realize that there was no sound coming from the Lord’s room, and so he immediately called for Svarupa Damodara and then opened the doors. Svarupa Damodara soon arrived with a torch, and when other devotees came there, they all went to search for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Finally, after looking here and there, the devotees came to the cowshed near the Simha-dvara, where they found Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lying unconscious among the cows.
The Lord’s arms and legs had entered into the trunk of His body, like those of a tortoise, and thus He resembled a large pumpkin. The Lord’s mouth was foaming, there were eruptions of all His bodily pores, and tears flowed from His eyes. While lying unconscious, the Lord externally was inert, but within He was feeling overwhelming transcendental bliss.
All of the cows surrounded Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, sniffing His body, and even when the devotees tried to check them, they would not give up the Lord’s association. The devotees tried to rouse Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by various means, but when He did not regain consciousness, they lifted Him up and brought Him back home. There, the devotees began chanting the Hare Krishna mantra very loudly, so that after quite some time, the Lord came to His senses. Immediately, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arms and legs came out of His body, and indeed, His whole condition returned to normal.
After standing up, the Lord again sat down, and while looking here and there, He inquired from Svarupa Damodara, “Where have you brought Me? After hearing the sound of a flute, I went to Vrindavana. There, I saw Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, playing upon His flute in the pasturing grounds.”
“Krishna then summoned Shrimati Radharani to a bower by signaling with His flute, and He entered it along with Her, in order to enjoy pastimes. I entered the bower just behind Krishna, and My ears became captivated by the sound of His ornaments. I was able to see Krishna and the gopis enjoying all kinds of pastimes, while laughing and joking together, and the sounds of their vocal expressions enhanced the joy of My ears.”
“Just then, however, all of you made a tumultuous sound and brought Me back here by force. As a result, I can no longer hear the nectarean voices of Krishna and the gopis, nor can I hear the sounds of their ornaments, nor the flute.”
In great ecstasy, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Svarupa Damodara, in a faltering voice, “My ears are dying of thirst, and so please recite something very relishable in order to satisfy them.”
Understanding the ecstatic emotions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara recited, in a very sweet voice, the following verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which had been spoken by the gopis. “My dear Lord Krishna, where is that woman, within the three worlds, who cannot be captivated by the rhythms of the sweet songs that are coming from Your wonderful flute? Who cannot fall down from the path of chastity in this way? Your beauty is the most sublime within the three worlds, and upon seeing it, even cows, birds, as well as other animals, and even trees become stunned in jubilation.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became overwhelmed with the ecstasy of the gopis upon hearing this verse, and He began to explain it as follows. “The gopis entered the arena of the rasa dance in ecstasy, but after hearing Krishna’s words of negligence and detachment, they understood that He was going to renounce them. Therefore, they began to chastise Him in anger as follows: ‘O dear lover, please answer just one question. Who among all the youthful women within this universe is not attracted by the sound of Your flute? When You play Your flute, it acts like a messenger in the form of a yogini, who is perfect in the art of chanting mantras. This messenger enchants all the women in the universe and attracts them to You. She then increases their great anxiety and induces them to give up the regulative principle of obeying superiors. Finally, she forcibly brings them to You, to surrender in amorous love.’ ”
“ ‘The vibration of Your flute, accompanied by your glance, which pierces us forcibly with the arrow of lust, induces us to ignore the regulative principles of religious life. Thus we become excited by lusty desires and come to You, giving up all shame and fear. Now, however, You are angry with us, and are finding fault with our violating religious principles and leaving our homes and husbands. As You instruct us about religious principles in this way, we become helpless.’ ”
“ ‘We know that this is all a well-planned trick. You know how to make jokes that cause the complete annihilation of women, but we can understand that Your real mind, words, and behavior are different. Therefore, please give up all these clever tricks. The nectarean buttermilk of Your flute’s vibration, the nectar of Your sweet words, and the nectarean sound of Your ornaments mix together to attract our ears, minds, and lives. In this way, You are killing us.’ ”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had spoken these words in a mood of anger, while floating on the waves of ecstatic love. While remaining merged in the ocean of anxiety, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu next recited the following verse, spoken by Shrimati Radharani, and then He personally explained it, in order to taste Lord Krishna’s sweetness. “ ‘My dear friend, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, has a voice that is as deep as a resounding cloud. With the tinkling of His ornaments, He attracts the ears of the gopis, and with the sound of His flute, He attracts even the goddess of fortune and other beautiful women. That Personality of Godhead, known as Madana-mohana, whose joking words carry many indications and deep meanings, is increasing the lusty desires of My ears.’ ”
“Krishna’s deep voice is more resonant than newly arrived clouds, and His sweet song defeats even the melodious voice of the cuckoo. Indeed, His song is so sweet that even one particle of its sound can inundate the entire world. If such a particle enters one’s ears, that person immediately becomes bereft of all other types of hearing.”
“My dear friend, please tell Me what to do, for My ears have been plundered by the qualities of Lord Krishna’s sound. Now, I cannot hear Krishna’s transcendental sound, and so I am almost dead for want of it.”
“The tinkling of Krishna’s ankle bells surpasses the songs of even the swan and crane, and the sound of His bangles puts the singing of the chataka bird to shame. Having allowed these sounds to enter the ears even once, one cannot tolerate hearing anything else. Krishna’s speech is far sweeter than nectar, and each of His jubilant words is full of meaning. When Krishna’s speech mixes with His smile, which is like camphor, the resultant sound, and the deep meaning of His words, create various transcendental mellows. One particle of that transcendental, blissful nectar is the life and soul of the ear, which is like a chakora bird that lives in hopes of tasting it. Sometimes, by good fortune, the bird can taste it, but at other times, he unfortunately cannot do so, and therefore he almost dies of thirst.”
“The transcendental vibration of Krishna’s flute disturbs the hearts of women all over the world, even if they hear it only once. Thus, their fastened belts become loose, and these women surrender themselves as the unpaid maidservants of Krishna. Indeed, they run toward Krishna exactly like madwomen.”
“When she hears the vibration of Krishna’s flute, even the goddess of fortune comes to Him, greatly hoping for His association, even though she does not get it. When the waves of thirst for Krishna’s association increases, the goddess of fortune performs austerities, and yet she still cannot meet Him.”
“Only the most fortunate can hear these four nectarean sounds- Krishna’s words, the tinkling of His ankle bells and bangles, His voice, and the vibration of His flute. If one does not hear these sounds, his ears are as useless as small conch shells with holes.”
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lamented in this way, agitation and ecstasy awoke within His mind, and thus He became very restless. Many ecstatic symptoms combined in Him, including anxiety, lamentation, attention, eagerness, fear, determination and remembrance. The aggregate of these ecstatic symptoms had previously awoken within the mind of Bilvamangala Thakura (Lila-suka) a statement of Shrimati Radharani.
Now, in the same ecstatic mood, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited that verse as follows, and then, on the strength of His transcendental madness, He explained its meaning. “ ‘Alas, what shall I do? To whom shall I speak? Let whatever I have done in hopes of meeting Krishna be finished now. Please say something auspicious, but do not speak about Krishna. Oh! Krishna is lying within My heart like Cupid, and so how can I possibly give up talking about Him? I cannot forget Krishna, whose smile is sweeter than sweetness itself, and who gives pleasure to My mind and eyes. Indeed, My great thirst for Krishna is increasing moment by moment!’ ”
“The anxiety caused by separation from Krishna has made Me impatient, but I cannot think of any way to meet Him. O My friends, you are also deranged because of lamentation. Therefore, who will tell Me how to find Krishna? O My dear friends, what shall I do to meet Krishna? Where shall I go? Because I cannot find Krishna, My life is leaving Me.”
Suddenly, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became calm, and He began to consider His state of mind. At that time, He remembered the following words of Pingala: “To hope against hope produces only misery, whereas utter hopelessness can give rise to the greatest happiness”
This remembrance aroused in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu an ecstasy that caused Him to speak as follows: (Shrimati Radharani said,) “ ‘If I give up all hope of meeting Krishna, then I shall become happy. Therefore, let us stop this most inglorious discussion of Krishna, and talk about something else that is auspicious.’ ”
“While speaking in this way, Shrimati Radharani suddenly remembered Krishna, for indeed, He had appeared within Her heart. Greatly astonished, She told her friends, ‘The very person whom I wish to forget is lying within My heart!’ ”
“Shrimati Radharani’s ecstasy made Her think of Krishna as Cupid, and this understanding frightened Her. Shrimati Radharani said, ‘This Cupid, who has conquered the entire world and has now entered My heart is My greatest enemy, for He does not allow Me to forget Him.’ ”
“Thereafter, great eagerness conquered all other soldiers of ecstasy, and so an uncontrollable desire arose within the kingdom of Shrimati Radharani’s mind. Greatly unhappy, She chastised Her own mind as follows: ‘If I do not think of Krishna, then My impoverished mind will die within a moment like a fish out of water. Then again, when I see Krishna’s sweetly smiling face, My mind and eyes become so pleased that My desire for Him redoubles.’ ”
“ ‘Oh! Where is Krishna, the treasure of My life? Where is the lotus-eyed one? Where is the divine ocean of all transcendental qualities? Where is the beautiful, blackish youth dressed in yellow garments? Where is the hero of the rasa dance? Where shall I go? Please tell Me where I can find Krishna, and then I shall go there.’ ”
While saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly began running very quickly. Svarupa Damodara caught hold of the Lord, however, and then took Him upon his lap. After bringing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu back to His residence, Svarupa Damodara made Him sit down. Then, once again, the Lord returned to His external consciousness and said, “My dear Svarupa, please sing some sweet songs.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ears became satisfied by hearing Svarupa Damodara sing from Gita-govinda, as well as the poems of Vidyapati. Every day and night, the Lord would become deranged in this way and thus talk like a madman. Ecstatic love for Krishna is wonderfully deep, and by personally tasting the glorious sweetness of that love, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showed us its extreme limit.
Worship the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in all respects, for only in this way will you achieve the nectarean treasure of ecstatic love for Krishna.
One autumn night, as the full moon brightened all directions, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wandered, along with His devotees. While walking from garden to garden, the Lord saw the pastimes of Shri Krishna, and listened to and recited verses concerning the rasa-lila. He sang and danced in ecstatic love, and sometimes He imitated the rasa dance, while absorbed in emotional ecstasy. Sometimes Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ran here and there in the madness of ecstasy, sometimes He fell down and rolled on the ground, and sometimes the Lord became completely unconscious.
After He or Svarupa Damodara had recited a verse concerning the rasa-lila, the Lord would personally explain it, sometimes exhibiting the symptoms of great happiness, and sometimes of extreme sadness. In this way, all the verses concerning the rasa-lila were explained, but here only a brief description of the Lord’s mad speeches and ecstatic transformations are given, for such pastimes were performed at every moment of every day for twelve years.
If Ananta, with His one thousand hoods, tried to fully describe even one day’s pastimes performed by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He would find it impossible. If Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and expert scribe of the demigods, tried for millions upon millions of milleniums to fully describe even one day of the Lord’s pastimes, he would be unable to find their limit. Even Lord Krishna is struck with wonder at seeing the conditions, the mode of progress, the happiness and unhappiness, and the moods of ecstatic love exhibited by His devotees, for He also cannot fully understand these things. If Krishna cannot estimate the limit of such emotions, then how could others? Krishna therefore accepts the role of a devotee, just to taste these transcendental emotions fully.
Ecstatic love for Krishna makes Krishna and His devotees dance, and it also personally dances. In this way, all three dance together in one place. One who wants to describe the transformations of ecstatic love of Krishna is like a dwarf trying to catch the moon. As the wind can carry away but a drop of the water from the ocean, a living entity can touch only a particle of the ocean of love for Krishna. Endless waves arise moment after moment in that ocean of love. Therefore, how could an insignificant living entity estimate their limits? Only a person on the level of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami can fully know what Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tastes in His love for Krishna.
When an ordinary living entity describes the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he purifies himself by touching one drop of that great ocean.
After all the verses of the rasa-lila were explained, the following verse concerning the pastimes in the water was recited. “As an independent leader among elephants enters the water, along with its female elephants, Krishna, who is transcendental to the Vedic principles of morality, entered the water of the Yamuna, along with the gopis. Krishna’s chest had brushed against the gopis’ breasts, crushing His flower garland and coloring it with red kunkuma powder. Attracted by the fragrance of that garland, humming bumblebees followed Krishna like celestial Gandharvas. In this way, Lord Krishna mitigated the fatigue of the rasa dance.”
While wandering near the temple of Aitota, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly caught sight of the sea. Brightened by the shining light of the full moon, the high waves glittered, resembling the waters of the River Yamuna. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu mistook the sea for the Yamuna, and after running very swiftly, He jumped into the water, unseen by others.
Having fallen into the sea, the Lord lost all consciousness, and thus He could not understand His situation as sometimes He sank beneath the waves, and sometimes floated on the surface. While tossing the Lord this way and that, keeping Him sometimes submerged and sometimes afloat, the waves carried Him toward the Konark temple, which is situated thirty kilometers north of Jagannatha Puri. Lord Krishna had previously sported, along with the gopis, in the water of the Yamuna, and all the while, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remained fully merged in those pastimes.
Meanwhile, all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara, became highly astonished upon losing sight of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. While exclaiming, “Where has the Lord gone?” everyone began searching for Him. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had run off at the speed of mind, and thus, because no one had seen Him, all were puzzled as to His whereabouts.
“Perhaps He went to the Gundicha temple, or to Lake Narendra, or the Chataka-parvata. Maybe the Lord went to the temple at Konark.” While talking like this, the devotees wandered here and there, looking for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and at last, they came to the seashore, accompanied by many other persons. Finally, as the devotees continued searching for the Lord, the night ended, and thus everyone decided, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has now disappeared from this world.”
In separation, everyone felt as if he had lost his very life and concluded that there must have been some mishap. Indeed, no one could think of anything else, as it is said, “A relative or intimate friend is always fearful of some injury to his beloved.”
After arriving at the seashore, the devotees conferred among themselves, and then spread out in different directions. Some of them went to look in the vicinity of the Chataka-parvata, while Svarupa Damodara proceeded toward the north, along with other devotees, looking along the beach and in the water. Although everyone became overwhelmed with moroseness and thus practically bereft of consciousness, out of ecstatic love they continued to search for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Then, while passing along the beach, the devotees saw a fisherman approaching, with his net slung over his shoulder. While laughing, crying, dancing, and singing the fisherman kept repeating the holy name, “Hari, Hari”. Upon seeing this behavior, everyone was astonished. Svarupa Damodara then addressed him as follows: “My dear fisherman, please tell us why you are behaving like this. Have you seen anyone around here?”
The fisherman replied, “I have not seen a single person here, but while casting my net into the water, I happened to catch a dead body. I lifted it up with great care, thinking it to be a huge fish, but then, when I saw that it was a corpse, great fear arose within my mind. While trying to release my net, I touched the dead body, and immediately, a ghost entered my heart. I began shivering in fear, and I shed tears. My voice faltered, and the hair on my body stood up on end.”
“I do not know whether it is the ghost of a dead brahmana or an ordinary man, but as soon as one looks upon it, it enters his body. The body of this ghost is very long, five or seven cubits, and each of its arms and legs are three cubits long. Its joints are all separated and so the skin is completely slack.”
“That ghost has taken the form of a corpse that keeps its eyes open, and no one who sees it remains alive. Sometimes it utters the sound ‘gon-gon’, and sometimes it remains unconscious. I have seen that ghost directly, and it is haunting me. If I die, who will take care of my wife and children? This ghost is certainly very difficult to talk about, but I am going to find an exorcist and ask him if he can release me from its clutches.”
“I wander alone at night, killing fish in solitary places, but because I remember the mantra to Lord Nrisimha, ghosts do not touch me. This ghost, however, overcomes me with redoubled strength when I chant the Nrisimha mantra. Do not go near there. I forbid you to do so, for if you go there, the ghost will catch you all.”
By hearing this, Svarupa Damodara could understand the whole truth of the matter. Therefore, he very sweetly told the fisherman, “I am a famous exorcist, and I know how to rid you of this ghost.”
Svarupa Damodara then chanted some mantras, while placing his hand upon the fisherman’s head. Finally, after slapping the fisherman three times, Svarupa Damodara said, “Now, the ghost has gone away. Do not be afraid.”
In this way, the fisherman became somewhat pacified. Actually, the fisherman had been affected by ecstatic love of God, but at the same time, he was fearful, and this made him doubly agitated.
After his fear had subsided, the fisherman gained his normal composure, and so Svarupa Damodara told him, “My dear sir, the person whom you are thinking to be a ghost is actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Because of ecstatic love, the Lord fell into the sea, and by catching Him in your net, you have rescued Him. Simply by touching the Lord, your dormant love for Krishna was awakened, but because you considered Him to be a ghost, you simultaneously became very much afraid. Now that your fear has gone and your mind has become peaceful, please show me where the Lord is.”
The fisherman replied, “I have seen the Lord many times, but this is not He. This body is very deformed.”
Svarupa Damodara then explained, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body becomes transformed when He is absorbed in ecstatic love for God. Sometimes the joints of His bones separate, and His body becomes very elongated.”
The fisherman was very happy to hear this, and He brought all the devotees to where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was lying. The Lord’s body was elongated, and due to being bleached by the water, it was completely white. From head to foot, the Lord’s body was covered with sand, and because of being stretched, His skin was slack and hanging loose. Therefore, to lift the Lord up and carry Him a long distance was impossible.
First of all, the devotees removed the Lord’s wet undergarment and replaced it with a dry one. Then, after laying Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on an outer cloth, they cleaned the sand from His body. This being accomplished, the devotees began loudly chanting the holy name of Krishna into His ear.
Finally, after some time, that holy name of the Lord entered Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s heart, and as a result, He immediately got up while making a great sound. Upon His regaining consciousness, the Lord’s bones instantly assumed their proper positions, and with half-external consciousness, He began looking around, here and there.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is deeply absorbed in internal consciousness, and yet He exhibits some external consciousness, devotees call this condition ardha-bahya, or half-external consciousness.
While in this half-external consciousness, the Lord began talking like a madman as follows, and to all of the devotees it appeared as if He were addressing the sky. “After seeing the River Yamuna, I went to Vrindavana. There, I saw the son of Nanda Maharaja performing His sporting pastimes in the water, along with the gopis, headed by Shrimati Radharani.”
“The gopis had entrusted their silk garments and ornaments to the care of their friends, and then put on fine white cloth. Thereafter, Krishna took His beloved gopis and entered the water in order to perform very nice pastimes in their association. I witnessed all these pastimes while standing on the shore, in the company of the gopis.”
“One gopi was pointing out the pastimes of Radha and Krishna to the others, saying, ‘My dear friends, just see Lord Krishna’s sporting pastimes within the water! Krishna’s restless palms resemble lotus flowers. He is just like a leader of mad elephants, and the gopis who accompany Him are like she-elephants.’ ”
“When the sporting pastimes within the water began, everyone started splashing water back and forth. In the torrential shower of water that followed, no one could determine which party was winning and which was losing. As the water fight increased unlimitedly, the gopis appeared to be like streaks of lightning, whereas Krishna resembled a blackish cloud. The cloud showered water upon the lightning, and the lightning also showered water upon the cloud. Like thirsty chataka birds, the eyes of the gopis joyfully drank the nectarean water that poured from the cloud of Krishna.”
“As the fighting continued, Krishna and the gopis splashed water upon each other. Then, they fought hand to hand, then face to face, then chest to chest, teeth to teeth, and finally, nail to nail. Thousands of hands splashed water, and the gopis saw Krishna with thousands of eyes. With thousands of legs the gopis approached Krishna and then kissed Him with thousands of faces. Thousands of bodies embraced Krishna, and the gopis heard His joking words with thousands of ears.”
“Krishna then forcibly swept Radharani away and took Her into water over Her neck. When Krishna released Her in that deep water, Radharani grasped Him around the neck, and then floated upon the water like a lotus flower that had been plucked by the trunk of an elephant. Thereafter, Krishna expanded Himself into as many forms as there were gopis, and took away all the garments that covered them. Since the water of the Yamuna was crystal clear, Krishna was able to enjoy seeing the glittering bodies of the gopis with great happiness.”
“The lotus stems were the gopis’ friends, and so they came to their aid by offering them lotus leaves. The lotuses pushed their large, round leaves over the surface of the water with their hands, the waves of the Yamuna, to cover the gopis’ bodies. Some of the gopis untied their hair and kept it in front, to cover the lower part of their bodies, while using their hands to conceal their breasts.”
“Krishna then began to quarrel with Radharani, and so the gopis took advantage of the situation to hide in a cluster of white lotus flowers, keeping themselves submerged up to the neck. Thus, only the gopis’ faces remained visible, and they were indistinguishable from the white lotus flowers.”
“In the absence of the other gopis, Lord Krishna was able to behave as freely as He liked with Shrimati Radharani. Then, when the gopis began searching for Krishna, Shrimati Radharani, being of very fine intelligence and thus knowing the situation of Her friends, came and mingled amongst them. Many white lotus flowers were floating on the water, and as many bluish lotus flowers came nearby. As they came closer together, the white and blue lotuses collided and began fighting with one another, as the gopis on the riverbank watched in great amusement.”
“When the raised breasts of the gopis, which resembled the globelike bodies of chakravaka birds, emerged from the water in separate couples, the bluish lotuses of Krishna’s hands rose to cover them. The hands of the gopis, which resembled red lotus flowers, also came out from the water in pairs, to obstruct the bluish lotus flowers. Thus, while the blue lotuses tried to plunder the white chakravaka birds, the red lotuses attempted to protect them, so that a fight arose between the two.”
“Blue and red lotus flowers are unconscious objects, whereas chakravaka birds are conscious and alive. Nevertheless, in ecstatic love, the blue lotuses began tasting the chakravakas. This is a reversal of their natural behavior, but in Lord Krishna’s kingdom, such contradictions are a principle of His pastimes.”
“The blue lotuses, which blossom during the day, are considered to be friends of the sungod. The chakravaka birds also appear when the sun rises, and thus they meet the blue lotuses. And yet, even though they live together and are thus considered friends, the blue lotuses are herein seen to plunder the chakravaka birds. Normally, chakravakas move about, whereas lotus flowers stand still. However, here we find that Krishna’s hands, which are compared to blue lotus flowers, attack the breasts of the gopis, which are compared to chakravaka birds.”
“Red lotuses bloom at night and close during the daytime. Thus, they are considered to be strangers or enemies of the sun, and they are also unknown to the sun’s friend, the chakravaka birds. Still, in Krishna’s pastimes, the red lotuses, which are the gopis’ hands, protect their chakravaka breasts. This is a wonderful example of a reverse metaphor. In His pastimes, Krishna thus displayed the two ornaments of hyperbole, and analogy with contradiction. Tasting these meanings brought gladness to My mind and fully satisfied My ears and eyes.”
“After performing such wonderful pastimes, Lord Krishna got up onto the banks of the River Yamuna, taking with Him all of His beloved gopis. At this time, the other , who had remained on the shore, rendered service by massaging Krishna and the other gopis with scented oil, and smearing their bodies with the paste of amalaki fruit.”
“Krishna and the gopis then bathed once again, and after putting on dry clothing, they went to a small jeweled house. There, the gopi Vrinda arranged to dress Radha and Krishna in forest clothing by decorating Them with fragrant flowers, leaves, and other ornaments.”
“In Vrindavana, the trees and plants are extremely wonderful because throughout the entire year they produce all kinds of fruit and flowers. The gopis and their maidservants picked these fruit and flowers and then brought them before Radha and Krishna. First of all, the gopis peeled the fruit, and then they placed them on large plates, arranging them in orderly rows for convenient eating. These plates were then put onto a raised platform in the jeweled cottage, and in front, a sitting place was prepared.”
“Among the fruit were many varieties of coconut, mango, bananas, berries, jackfruit, dates, tangerines, oranges, grapes, as well as all kinds of nuts and dried fruit. There were also cantaloupes, palmfruits, bel, pilu, pomegranates, and many, many more. All of these fruits are variously known in different places, but in Vrindavana, they are always available in so many thousands of varieties that no one can fully describe them.”
“At home, Shrimati Radharani had prepared varieties of sweets including gangajala, amritakeli, karpurakeli, sarapuri, amriti, padmachini, and khanda-kheerisara-vriksha, and then brought them for Krishna to eat. When Krishna saw the very nice arrangement of food, He happily sat down to enjoy a forest picnic. When Krishna finished eating, Shrimati Radharani and Her gopi friends partook of the remnants.”
“Then, Radha and Krishna lay down together in the jeweled house. Some of the gopis fanned Radha and Krishna, some of them massaged Their lotus feet, and others fed Them betel nuts to chew. Finally, when Radha and Krishna fell asleep, the other gopis also lay down, and upon seeing this, My mind became very satisfied.”
“Suddenly, however, all of you created a great tumult, and thus picked Me up and brought Me back here. Now, where is the River Yamuna? Where is Vrindavana? Where are Krishna and the gopis? You have broken My happy dream.”
While speaking, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fully returned to external consciousness, and upon seeing Svarupa Damodara, He inquired, “Why have you brought Me here?”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “You mistook the sea for the River Yamuna, and thus You jumped into the water. After You had been carried away this far by the waves, this fisherman caught You in his net and rescued You. Because of Your touch, he is now mad with ecstatic love for Krishna.”
“Throughout the entire night we searched for You, and only after hearing from this fisherman did we come here and find You. While apparently unconscious, You were witnessing the pastimes in Vrindavana, but upon seeing You in this condition, we all suffered great mental agony. When we chanted Lord Krishna’s holy name, You finally came to semi-consciousness, and since then, we have been hearing You speak like a madman.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “In My dream I went to Vrindavana, where I saw Lord Krishna perform the rasa dance, along with the gopis. Then, after sporting in the water, Krishna enjoyed a nice picnic. I can understand that after seeing all this, I must certainly have talked just like a madman.”
Thereafter, Svarupa Damodara had Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bathe in the sea, and then he very happily brought the Lord back to His residence.
Jagadananda Pandita was a very dear devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord derived great pleasure from his activities. Knowing His mother to be greatly afflicted by separation, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to send Jagadananda Pandita to Navadvipa every year, just to console her.
While bidding him farewell, the Lord would tell Jagadananda, “Please offer My obeisances unto My mother, and thus touch her lotus feet in My name.”
“Tell her on My behalf, ‘Please remember that I come here every day and offer My respects unto your lotus feet. Any day you desire to feed Me, I certainly come and accept whatever you offer. I have given up service to you, to accept the vow of sannyasa, and in this way I have certainly become mad, and have destroyed the principles of religion.’ ”
“ ‘Mother, please do not take this as an offense, for I, Your son, am completely dependent upon you. I am staying here at Jagannatha Puri in accordance with your order, and for as long as I live, I shall not leave this place.’ ”
Following the order of Paramananda Puri, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent His mother some remnants of clothing left by Lord Jagannatha after His pastimes as a cowherd boy. In addition, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very carefully brought first-class prasada of Lord Jagannatha and wrapped it in separate packages for His mother and the other devotees in Nadia. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the topmost gem of all devotees of mothers. He rendered service to His mother even after He had accepted the renounced order of life.
When Jagadananda Pandita returned to Nadia, he first of all met Mother Sachi and conveyed to her all of the Lord’s messages. Thereafter, Jagadananda Pandita met with the other devotees, headed by Advaita Acharya, and gave them the prasada of Lord Jagannatha. Finally, after staying one month, Jagadananda Pandita took permission from Mother Sachi to depart, and then he went to take leave of Advaita Acharya as well.
At this time, Advaita Acharya gave Jagadananda Pandita a message to deliver to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This message was in the form of a sonnet, and it was written in equivocal language, having an import that only the Lord could understand, and not others.
In this sonnet, Advaita Acharya first of all offered His obeisances hundreds and hundreds of times to the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Then, He submitted the following statement at the lotus feet of the Lord: “Please inform Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is acting like a madman, that everyone here has become mad just like Him. In addition, inform the Lord that in the marketplace, rice is no longer in demand. Those who are now mad in ecstatic love are no longer interested in the material world. Tell Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that Advaita Acharya, who has also become a madman in ecstatic love, has spoken these words.”
Upon hearing Advaita Acharya’s statement, Jagadananda Pandita began to laugh, and thereafter, when he returned to Jagannatha Puri, he informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of everything. After hearing the equivocal sonnet of Advaita Acharya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu quietly smiled, saying, “That is His order”, and then fell silent. Although he knew the secret, Svarupa Damodara inquired from the Lord, “What is the meaning of this sonnet? I could not at all understand it.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Advaita Acharya is a great worshiper of the Lord, and He is very expert in the regulative principles enjoined in the Vedic literatures. He invites the Lord to come and be worshiped, and thus He keeps the Deity for some time. After the worship is completed, however, He sends the Deity somewhere else.”
“I do not know the meaning of this sonnet, nor do I know what is in Advaita Prabhu’s mind. Advaita Acharya is a great mystic, and thus no one can understand Him. He is expert in writing sonnets that even I cannot comprehend.”
Upon hearing this, all of the devotees were astonished, especially Svarupa Damodara, who then became somewhat morose. From that day on, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s emotional state changed markedly, and His feelings of separation from Krishna doubled in intensity. As the Lord’s feelings of separation in the ecstasy of Shrimati Radharani increased at every moment, His activities, both day and night, became wild, insane performances.
Once, there suddenly awoke within Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the scene of Lord Krishna’s departure for Mathura. While holding Ramananda Raya around his neck, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began speaking like a madman as He questioned Svarupa Damodara, whom He considered to be His gopi friend.
Shrimati Radharani had formerly inquired from Her intimate friend, Vishakha, and now the Lord recited the very same verse, and explained it as follows: “ ‘My dear friend, where is Krishna, who is like the moon rising from the ocean of Maharaja Nanda’s dynasty? Where is Krishna, His head decorated with a peacock feather? Where is Krishna, whose flute produces such a deep sound, and whose bodily luster is like the blue indranila jewel? Where is Krishna, who is so expert in rasa dancing? Where is He who can save My life? Kindly tell Me where to find Krishna, the treasure of My life and the best of My friends. Feeling separation from Him, I hereby condemn Providence, the shaper of My destiny.’ ”
“The family of Maharaja Nanda is just like the ocean of milk, wherein Lord Krishna has arisen like the full moon, to illuminate the entire universe. The eyes of the residents of Vraja are like chakora birds that continuously drink the nectar of Krishna’s bodily luster and thus are able to live peacefully.”
“My dear friend, where is Krishna? Kindly show Him to Me, for My heart breaks when I am unable to see His face for even a moment. Kindly let Me see Krishna without delay, for otherwise, I will not be able to live.”
“The women of Vrindavana are just like lillies, growing hot in the sun of lusty desires. However, moonlike Krishna makes them all jubilant by bestowing upon them the nectar of His hands.”
“O My dear friend, where is My moon now? Please save My life by showing Him to Me! My dear friend, where is that beautiful helmet with a peacock feather upon it, like a rainbow decorating a new cloud? Where are those yellow garments, shining like lightning? Where is that necklace of pearls that resemble flocks of ducks flying in the sky? The blackish body of Krishna triumphs over the newly arrived raincloud.”
“If a person’s eyes even once captures the beautiful body of Krishna, it remains always prominent within his heart. Krishna’s body resembles the sap of the mango tree, for when it enters the minds of women, it will not come out, despite great endeavor. In this way, Krishna’s extraordinary body also resembles a thorn of the seya berry tree. Krishna’s bodily luster shines like the indranila gem and it surpasses the luster of the tamala tree. The luster of His body drives the entire world mad because Providence has made it transparent by refining the essence of the mellow of conjugal love and mixing it with moonshine.”
“The deep vibration of Krishna’s flute surpasses the thundering of new clouds, and it attracts the aural reception of the entire world. Thus the inhabitants of Vrindavana rise up and pursue that sound, while drinking the showering nectar of Krishna’s bodily luster like thirsty chakora birds.”
“Krishna is the reservoir of art and culture, and He is the panacea that saves My life. O My dear friend, since I live without Him, Who is the best among My friends, I condemn the duration of My life, considering that Providence has cheated Me in many ways. Why does Providence continue the life of one who does not wish to live?”
This thought aroused anger and lamentation within Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who then read the following verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam that chastises Providence and makes an accusation against Krishna: “O Providence, you have no mercy! You bring embodied souls together through friendship and affection, but then, before their desires are fulfilled, you separate them. Thus, your activities are like the foolish pranks of children.”
This verse had been spoken by the gopis when Akrura took away Krishna and Balarama to Mathura. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then explained this verse as follows: “Providence, you do not know the purport of loving affairs, and therefore you have baffled all our endeavors. This is very childish of you. If we could catch you, we would give you such a lesson that never again would you dare to make such arrangements.”
“O, cruel Providence! You are very unkind, for you bring together in love people who are rarely in touch with each other. Then, after you have made them meet, but before they are fulfilled, you again spread them far apart. O providence, you are so unkind! You reveal the beautiful face of Krishna and thus make the mind and eyes greedy. Then, after they have drunk that nectar for only a moment, you whisk Krishna away to another place. This is a great sin because you have taken away what you had already given in charity.”
“O misbehaved Providence! If you reply to us, ‘Akrura is actually at fault, why are you angry at me?’ then I say to you, ‘Providence, you have taken the form of Akrura and have stolen Krishna away. No one else would behave like this.’ ”
“But then, why should I needlessly accuse you? There is no intimate relationship between you and Me. Krishna, however, is My life and soul. It is We who live together, and it is He who has become so cruel. He for whom I have left everything is personally killing Me with His own hands. It appears that Krishna has no fear of killing women. Indeed, I am dying because of Him, and yet He does not even turn back to look at Me. Within a moment, He has broken off our loving relationship.”
“Then again, why should I be angry with Krishna, for what has happened is certainly the fault of My own destiny. The fruit of My sinful activities has ripened, and thus Krishna, who had always been dependent upon My love, has now become indifferent. This means that My misfortune is very strong.”
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lamented in the mood of separation, crying out, “O Krishna! Krishna, where have You gone?” While feeling within His heart the ecstatic emotions of the gopis, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu agonized in their words, saying, “O Govinda! O Damodara! O Madhava!”
Thereafter, Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya sang songs of meeting that transformed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s heart and made His mind peaceful. Half of the night had passed while the Lord lamented in separation, but at last, Svarupa Damodara made Him lie down in the room known as Gambhira. Ramananda Raya then returned home while Svarupa Damodara and Govinda lay down at the door to the Lord’s room.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed awake all night, chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, His mind overwhelmed by spiritual ecstasy. Finally, the Lord began to feel so distraught in separation that He stood up in great anxiety and began rubbing His face against the walls. Blood began to flow from the many injuries that subsequently appeared on His mouth, nose, and cheeks, but because of the Lord’s ecstatic emotions, He did not even notice this. In ecstasy, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu rubbed His face against the walls all night long, and while doing so, He made a peculiar sound like “gon-gon”, which Svarupa Damodara could hear through the door.
After lighting a lamp, Svarupa Damodara and Govinda entered the Gambhira, and when they saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s face, they became shocked and saddened. Bringing the Lord to His bed, they calmed Him and then inquired, “Why have You done this to Yourself?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I was in such great anxiety that I could no longer bear to stay within the room. Wanting to go out, I wandered about looking for the door, and being unable to find it, I kept hitting the four walls with My face. As a result, My injured face began to bleed, but I still could not get out of the room.”
In this transcendentally ecstatic state, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mind was unsteady, and whatever He did or said was symptomatic of madness. Because of this, Svarupa Damodara was in great anxiety, but then he thought of a solution.
The next day, he consulted with the other devotees, and thereafter, they all implored Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to allow Shankara Pandita to lie down with Him in the Gambhira. From this time onward, Shankara Pandita used to lay at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, and the Lord would place His legs upon his body.
Thus, Shankara Pandita became celebrated as “prabhu-pada-upadhana”, “the pillow of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s legs”, and in this way he was like Vidura, as described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. “When submissive Vidura, the resting place of Lord Krishna’s legs, had thus spoken to Maitreya, the great sage began replying, and the hair of his body stood on end due to the transcendental pleasure of discussing Krishna-katha.”
Throughout the night, Shankara massaged Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s legs, but while doing so he would fall asleep at intervals and thus lie down. Since he would invariably lay down without covering his body, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to repeatedly get up and wrap Shankara in His own quilt. Very soon after lying down, however, Shankara would once again awaken and resume massaging the Lord’s legs, and in this way he stayed awake practically throughout the entire night. Out of fear of Shankara, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would neither leave the room, nor rub His lotuslike face against the walls.
One full-moon night in the month of Vaishakha (April-May), Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to the Jagannatha-vallabha garden, along with His devotees. Within the garden were fully blossomed plants and trees exactly like those in Vrindavana. A mild breeze was blowing, carrying the fragrance of the flowers, and bumblebees and birds such as the suka, sari, and pika talked amongst themselves.
In that pleasant surrounding, it appeared as if the breeze had become a guru and was teaching all the trees and plants how to dance. The six seasons, especially spring, seemed present simultaneously, and the illumination of the full moon made the trees and plants sparkle.
While looking at the garden, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt great happiness, and in this pleasing atmosphere, He had His associates sing a verse from Gita-govinda. The Lord sometimes danced, as He wandered about beneath every tree and creeper in the garden. Then, when He came beneath an ashoka tree, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly saw Lord Krishna.
Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began running very swiftly to meet Him, Krishna smiled and then suddenly disappeared. Having first of all gotten Krishna and then once again lost Him, the Lord fell down onto the ground. The entire garden was filled with the scent of Krishna’s transcendental body, and when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smelled it, He immediately fell unconscious. Nevertheless, the scent of Krishna’s body continued to incessantly fill the Lord’s nostrils, and thus He became mad to relish it.
Formerly, Shrimati Radharani had expressed to Her gopi friends how She hankers for the transcendental scent of Krishna’s body. Now, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited that same verse, and then personally explained its meaning as follows: “ ‘The scent of Krishna’s transcendental body surpasses the aroma of musk and attracts the minds of all women. The eight lotuslike parts of His body distribute the fragrance of lotus flowers mixed with that of camphor. Krishna’s body is anointed with aromatic substances like musk, camphor, sandalwood, and aguru. O My dear friend, that Personality of Godhead, known as Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Cupid, always increases the desire of My nostrils,’ ”
“The scent of Krishna’s body surpasses the fragrances of musk and the bluish lotus flower. Spreading throughout the fourteen worlds, it attracts everyone and makes the eyes of all women go blind. My dear friend, the scent of Krishna’s body enchants the entire world. It especially enters the nostrils of women and remains seated there. In this way, it captures them and forcibly brings them to Krishna.
Krishna’s eyes, navel, face, hands, and feet are like eight lotus flowers on His body. From those eight lotuses emanates a fragrance that is like a mixture of camphor and lotus. When sandalwood paste, aguru, kunkuma, and musk is mixed with camphor and then spread over Krishna’s body, it combines with His original fragrance to become so attractive that it enchants the bodies and minds of all women. It bewilders their nostrils, loosens their belts and hair, and makes them madwomen. All the women of the world come under its influence, and thus the scent of Krishna’s body is like a plunderer.”
“Falling completely under its control, the nostrils yearn for the scent of Krishna’s body, although sometimes they obtain it and sometimes they do not. When the nostrils obtain the scent of Krishna’s body, they drink their fill, even though they still want more and more. However, when they are not able to obtain that scent, they die out of thirst.”
“The dramatic actor, Madana-mohana, has opened a shop of scents that attracts the women of the world to become His customers. He delivers the scents freely, but then they make the women so blind that they cannot find their way back home again.”
His mind having been stolen away by that scent, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ran here and there like a bumblebee. He approached the trees and plants, hoping that Krishna would reappear, but instead He only found the scent of Krishna’s transcendental body. Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya sang as the Lord danced and enjoyed ecstatic happiness until the morning arrived. Then, they devised a means to revive Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s external consciousness, so that finally, after bathing in the sea and visiting the Jagannatha temple, the Lord returned to His residence.
The pastimes of Lord Krishna are wonderfully full of transcendental potency, and it is their characteristic that they do not fall within the jurisdiction of experimental logic and argument. In fact, the activities and characteristics of exalted personalities, in whose hearts love of Godhead has awakened, cannot be understood by the most learned scholar.
The pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are undoubtedly uncommon, especially His talking like a madman. Therefore, one should not put forward mundane arguments, but should simply hear about them with full faith. The evidence that confirms the truth regarding these insane talks is found in the Bhramara-gita section of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, wherein Shrimati Radharani speaks to a bumblebee like a madwoman, due to ecstatic love for Krishna. If one becomes a servant of the servants of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda, and is favored by Them, he can believe in all these discourses. Chaitanya-charitamrita is ever-increasingly fresh and pleasing, and its continuous hearing pacifies ones heart and ear.
While remaining continuously overwhelmed by separation from Krishna, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would sometimes recite His own verses, and then enjoy tasting their meanings and emotions along with His two friends.
Once, in great jubilation, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, please know from Me that the chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the most feasible means of salvation in this age of Kali. ‘All glories to the Shri-krishna-sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust which has accumulated for years, and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.’ ”
“By congregationally chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, one can destroy the sinful condition of material existence, purify the unclean heart, and awaken all varieties of devotional service. The result of chanting is that one awakens his love for Krishna and thus tastes transcendental bliss. Ultimately, one attains the association of Krishna and engages in His devotional service as if immersing himself in a great ocean of love.”
Lamentation and humility awoke within Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and so He recalled another of His own verses. By hearing the meaning of this verse, one can forget all unhappiness and lamentation. “ ‘O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to the living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names, such as Krishna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all of Your potencies, and there are no hard and fast rules for chanting the holy names. O my Lord, You have so kindly made approach to You very easy by means of Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.’ ”
“Because people vary in their desires, You have distributed various holy names by Your mercy. Regardless of time or place, one who chants the holy name, even while eating or sleeping, attains all perfection. You have invested Your full potencies in each individual holy name, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attachment for chanting them.”
“O Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, please hear from Me how one should chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra so as to very easily awaken his dormant love for Krishna. ‘One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a humble state of mind, one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.’ ”
“These are the symptoms of one who chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Although he is very exalted, he thinks himself to be lower than the grass on the ground, and like a tree, he tolerates everything in two ways. When a tree is cut down, it does not protest, and even when drying up, it does not ask anyone for water. The tree delivers its fruit, flowers, and whatever else it possesses to anyone and everyone. It tolerates scorching heat and torrents of rain, and yet it still gives shelter to others.”
“Although a Vaishnava is the most exalted person, he is prideless and gives all respect to everyone, knowing that every living being is the resting place of Krishna. If one chants the holy name of Lord Krishna in this manner, he will certainly awaken his dormant love for the Lord’s lotus feet.”
While speaking in this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s humility increased, and so He began praying to Krishna that He may discharge pure devotional service. Wherever there is a relationship of love of Godhead, its natural symptom is that the devotee does not think himself to be a devotee. Instead, he always thinks that he has not even a drop of love for Krishna.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu prayed, “ ‘O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only desire to engage in Your causeless devotional service, birth after birth.’ ”
“My dear Lord Krishna, I do not want material wealth from You, nor do I want followers, a beautiful wife or the results of fruitive activities. I only pray that, by Your causeless mercy, You award Me pure devotional service unto You, life after life.”
Then, in great humility, considering Himself to be a conditioned soul of this material world, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once again expressed His desire to engage Himself in unalloyed service to the Lord. “ ‘O son of Maharaja Nanda, Krishna, although I am Your eternal servitor, I have somehow or other fallen into the ocean of repeated birth and death. Therefore, please pick Me up from this ocean of death and place me once again as one of the atoms at Your lotus feet.’ ”
“I am Your eternal servant, but I forgot Your Lordship. I have fallen into the ocean of nescience and have been conditioned by the external energy. Please be causelessly merciful unto Me by giving Me a place along with the particles of dust at Your lotus feet, so that I may engage in Your Lordship’s eternal service.”
Natural humility and eagerness then awoke within Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and He began praying to Krishna for the ability to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in ecstatic love. “ ‘O my Lord, when will my eyes become decorated with tears of love flowing constantly as I chant Your holy name? When will my voice become choked up, and when will the hairs on my body stand on end due to the recitation of Your holy name?’ ”
“Without love of Godhead, My life is useless. Therefore, I pray that You accept Me as Your servant and give Me the salary of ecstatic love of God.”
Separation from Krishna then awoke various feelings of distress, lamentation, and humility, and as a result, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spoke as follows, like a deranged person. “ ‘O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I now consider a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling completely vacant in this world due to Your absence.’ ”
“In My agitation, a day never ends, for every moment seems like a millenium. Pouring forth incessant tears, My eyes are like clouds in the rainy season. The three worlds have become void because of separation from Govinda, and I feel as if I were burning alive in a slow fire.”
Previously, Shrimati Radharani had thought, “Lord Krishna has become indifferent to Me, just to test My love, and My friends say, ‘You had better disregard Him.’ ”
While Radharani was thinking like this, the characteristics of natural love became manifest, because of Her pure heart. Indeed, the ecstatic symptoms of envy, great eagerness, humility, zeal and supplication all became manifest at once. In that mood, Shrimati Radharani’s mind became agitated, causing Her to speak a verse of advanced devotion to Her gopi friends.
In the same ecstatic spirit, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited that verse as follow, feeling Himself to be just like Shrimati Radharani. “ ‘I know no one else but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so whether He embraces me tightly, tramples me underfoot, or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.’ ”
“I am a maidservant at the lotus feet of Krishna, who is the embodiment of transcendental happiness and mellows. If Krishna likes, He can embrace Me and make Me feel oneness with Him, or by not giving Me His audience, He may corrode My mind and body. Nevertheless, it is He who is the Lord of My life.’ ”
“My dear friend, please hear the decision of My mind. Krishna is the Lord of My life under all conditions, whether He shows Me affection or kills Me by giving Me unhappiness. Sometimes Krishna gives up the company of the other gopis and becomes controlled, mind and body, by Me. Thus He manifests My good fortune and gives others distress, by performing His loving affairs with Me. Or, since, after all, He is a very cunning and obstinate debauchee with a propensity to cheat, He takes to the company of other women. He then indulges in loving affairs with them in front of Me, just to give distress to My mind. Nevertheless, He is the Lord of My life.”
“I do not mind My personal distress. I only wish for the happiness of Krishna, for His satisfaction is the goal of My life. Therefore, even if Krishna feels great happiness by giving Me distress, that distress is the best of My happiness.”
“If Krishna becomes attracted by the beauty of some other woman and thus wants to enjoy with her, but is unhappy because He cannot obtain her, then will I fall at her feet, catch hold of her hand, and bring her to Him, so that she can engage herself for His happiness.”
“When a beloved gopi shows symptoms of anger toward Krishna, He is very satisfied. Indeed, Krishna is pleased when He is chastised by such a gopi. She shows her pride suitably, and Krishna enjoys that attitude. Then, with a little endeavor, she gives up her pride.”
“Why does a woman continue to live, who knows that Krishna’s heart is unhappy, but who still shows her deep anger toward Him? She is interested only in her own happiness. I condemn such a woman to be struck on the head with a thunderbolt, for we simply desire Krishna’s happiness.”
“If a gopi who is envious of Me satisfies Krishna and He desires her, I shall not hesitate to go to her house and become her maidservant, for then My happiness will become awakened.”
“There was once a brahmana suffering from leprosy who had a very chaste and faithful wife. The brahmana desired to enjoy the company of a certain prostitute, and so his wife went and became her maidservant, just to draw her attention to her husband.”
“Finally, when the prostitute agreed to associate with the brahmana, the wife brought her husband there. However, when that leper brahmana saw the chastity of his wife, his heart softened and he gave up his sinful intention.”
“While returning home, however, the leper brahmana happened to touch the body of Markandeya Rishi. When the rishi cursed the leper to die at sunrise, the woman, who was very powerful on account of her chastity, vowed to stop the sun from rising. Because of her strong determination to serve her husband, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva became very pleased, and thus they awarded her with the benediction that her husband would be cured and brought back to life.”
“Krishna is My very life and soul. Krishna is the treasure of My life. I therefore keep Him always in My heart and try to please Him by rendering service. That is My constant meditation. My happiness is in the service of Krishna and Krishna’s happiness is in union with Me. For this reason, I give My body in charity to the lotus feet of Krishna, who thus accepts Me as His loved one and calls Me His most beloved. It is then that I consider Myself His maidservant.”
“Service to My lover is the abode of happiness and is more sweet than direct union with Him. The goddess of fortune is evidence of this, for although she constantly lives on Narayana’s chest, she wants to render service at His lotus feet, considering herself to be His maidservant.”
These statements by Shrimati Radharani illustrate the symptoms of pure love for Krishna that were tasted by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The pure devotional service in Vrindavana is like the golden particles in the River Jambu. In Vrindavana, there is not a trace of personal sense gratification. It is to advertise such pure love in this material world that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu composed the previous eight verses, called Shikshastaka, and explained their meaning. If anyone recites or hears these eight verses of instruction by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, his ecstatic love and devotion for Krishna will increase, day by day.
Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is as deep and grave as millions of oceans, when the moon of His various emotions rises, He becomes restless. For twelve years, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remained in this ecstatic state, day and night. Along with His two friends, He tasted the meaning of the verses of Jayadeva’s Gita-govinda, Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Bilvamangala Thakura’s Krishna-karnamrita, and Ramananda Raya’s drama Jagannatha-vallabha-nataka, which consist of nothing but the transcendental bliss and mellows of Krishna consciousness.
There is no limit to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s activities and His words of madness, and thus I have only very briefly described the pastimes that were not narrated by Vrindavana dasa Thakura. Since it is not possible to describe all of these pastimes elaborately, I shall now end this narration and offer them my respectful obeisances.
“The pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are like the unlimited sky wherein many birds fly higher and higher, according to their respective abilities. I have tried to describe them as far as my intelligence allows, as if trying to touch a drop in the midst of a great ocean.
Vrindavana dasa Thakura is Lord Nityananda’s favorite devotee, and therefore he is the original Vyasadeva in describing the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Although Vrindavana dasa Thakura has within his jurisdiction the full store of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, he left aside most of them and described only a small portion.
In spite of describing whatever was left aside by Vrindavana dasa Thakura, I did so very briefly. However, in the future, Vyasadeva will narrate all these pastimes elaborately, for that has been predicted in the Chaitanya-bhagavata by Vrindavana dasa Thakura.
The ocean of nectarean pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is like the ocean of milk. According to his thirst, Vrindavana dasa Thakura filled his pitcher and drank from that ocean. Whatever remnants of milk Vrindavana dasa Thakura has given to me are sufficient to fill my belly, and so now my thirst is completely satiated. I am a very insignificant living being, like a small red-beaked bird. Just as such a bird drinks the water of the sea, to quench its thirst, so I have touched only a drop from the ocean of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes.
Actually, the statement that “I have written” is a false understanding, for my body is like a wooden doll. I am old and troubled by invalidity. I am almost blind and deaf, my hands tremble, and my mind and intelligence are unsteady. I am infected by so many diseases that I can neither properly walk nor sit. Indeed, I am always exhausted by five kinds of disease, and thus I may die at any time of the day or night.
I have previously given an account of my inabilities. Now, please hear the reason why I nevertheless write. I am writing this book by the mercy of the lotus feet of Shri Govindadeva, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acharya, other devotees, and the readers of this book, as well as Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, Shri Rupa Gosvami, Shri Sanatana Gosvami, Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who is my spiritual master, and Shri Jiva Gosvami.
I have also been specifically favored by another Supreme Personality. Shri Madana-mohana Deity of Vrindavana has given the order that is making me write. Although this should not be disclosed, I do so because I am unable to remain silent. If I did not disclose this fact, I would be guilty of ingratitude toward the Lord. Therefore, my dear readers, please do not consider me to be too proud and thus become angry with me. It is because I have offered my prayers unto the lotus feet of all of you that whatever I have written about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has been possible.
My dear readers, please listen now to an illustration of the glory of Lord Nityananda Prabhu’s mercy, for He has made a fallen living entity climb to the highest limit. To disclose this is not proper, for such knowledge should be kept as confidential as the Vedas, and yet I shall speak, just to make His mercy known to all. O Lord Nityananda, I write of Your mercy out of great exultation. Therefore, please forgive me for my offenses.
Lord Nityananda Prabhu had a servant named Shri Minaketana Ramadasa, who was a reservoir of ecstatic love. At my house in Jhamatapura, near Naihati in the Burdwan district, there was once a sankirtana festival, and so Minaketana Ramadasa came there, having been invited. Absorbed in ecstatic love, he sat down in my courtyard, and all of the Vaishnavas came and bowed down at his lotus feet.
In a joyful mood of love of God, Minaketana Ramadasa sometimes climbed upon the shoulders of someone offering obeisances, and sometimes he struck others with his flute or mildly slapped them. Just looking at Minaketana Ramadasa’s eyes would make one automatically cry, for tears continuously flowed from them. Sometimes the pores on parts of his body would erupt due to ecstasy, giving the appearance of kadamba flowers, and sometimes one limb would become stunned while another trembled. Whenever Minaketana Ramadasa loudly shouted, “Nityananda!” everyone surrounding him became filled with great wonder and astonishment.
There was a respectable brahmana named Gunarnava Mishra who was engaged in serving the Deity. Unfortunately, as Minaketana Ramadasa was seated in the courtyard, this brahmana priest did not come and offer him respect. Upon seeing this, Minaketana Ramadasa became very angry. Feeling that Nityananda Prabhu was being slighted, he declared, “Here I find a second Romaharshana-suta, who did not stand up to show respect upon seeing Lord Balarama.”
After saying this, Minaketana Ramadasa danced and chanted to his heart’s content, and the brahmana, because of being engaged in worshiping the Deity, did not become angry in return.
Thereafter, when the festival came to an end and Minaketana Ramadasa was about to depart, after offering his blessings to all those present, he had some controversy with my brother. My brother had firm faith in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but only a glimmer of faith in Lord Nityananda. Knowing this, Shri Ramadasa felt unhappy, and after arguing with my brother, he angrily broke his flute and went away.
I rebuked my brother as follows: “These two brothers, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, are like one body. Indeed, They are identical manifestations of the one Supreme Personality of Godhead, and so if you do not believe in Lord Nityananda, you will fall down. If you have faith in one but disrespect the other, your logic is like that of accepting half a hen. It would be better for you to be an atheist by slighting both brothers, than a hypocrite by believing in one and neglecting the other.”
Soon thereafter, my brother indeed fell down, and thus I have described the prowess of the servants of Lord Nityananda. Now, I shall describe another characteristic of Lord Nityananda’s mercy.
That night, Lord Nityananda appeared to me in a dream because of my good quality in chastising my brother. I immediately fell at the Lord’s lotus feet to offer obeisances, and in turn, Nityananda Prabhu placed His lotus feet upon my head. “Arise! Get up!” He told me again and again, and when I lifted my head I became greatly astonished to see His beauty.
Lord Nityananda Prabhu had a glossy blackish complexion and His tall, strong, and heroic stature made Him appear like Cupid himself. He had beautifully formed hands, arms, and legs, and His eyes were like the petals of lotus flowers. Nityananda Prabhu wore a silk cloth, and around His head was wrapped a silk turban. There were golden earrings upon His ears, and golden armlets and bangles adorning His arms. The Lord wore tinkling anklets on His feet, and a garland of flowers hung around His neck. His body had been smeared with sandalwood paste and there were also nice decorations of tilaka.
Nityananda Prabhu’s movements surpassed those of a maddened elephant. His face was more beautiful than millions upon millions of moons, and His teeth were like pomegranate seeds because of His chewing betel nuts. Nityananda Prabhu was absorbed in ecstasy, and thus His body moved to and fro, right and left, as He chanted “Krishna, Krishna” in a deep voice. With His red stick moving in His hands, Nityananda Prabhu seemed like a maddened lion. Surrounding His feet on all sides were bumblebees, as well as His devotees, who were all dressed like cowherd boys. Being absorbed in ecstatic love, they also chanted “Krishna, Krishna”, and some of them played horns and flutes while others danced and sang. Some of the devotees were offering Nityananda Prabhu betel nuts, and others fanned Him with chamaras.
In this way, I saw such opulence in Lord Nityananda Prabhu, whose wonderful form, qualities and pastimes are all transcendental. Indeed, I became so overwhelmed by emotional ecstasy that I was oblivious to all else. Nityananda Prabhu then smiled and addressed me as follows: “My dear Krishnadasa, do not be afraid. Go to Vrindavana, for there you will attain all things.”
After saying this, Lord Nityananda directed me toward Vrindavana by waving His hand, and then He suddenly disappeared, along with His associates. At this, I immediately fainted and fell to the ground. Then, when I regained consciousness, I saw that morning had arrived. After considering all that I had seen and heard, I came to the conclusion that the Lord had ordered me to proceed to Vrindavana at once. That very second I started for Vrindavana, and by the mercy of Lord Nityananda, I reached there in great happiness.
All glories to Lord Nityananda, by whose mercy I have attained shelter in the transcendental abode of Vrindavana. By his mercy I have attained shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana, as well as the great personality Raghunatha dasa, and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. All glories to the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda, by whose mercy I have attained Shri Radha-Govinda.
I am more sinful than Jagai and Madhai and even lower than the worms in the stool. Anyone who hears my name loses the results of his pious activities, and anyone who utters my name becomes sinful. Who in this world but Nityananda Prabhu could show His mercy to such an abominable person as me? Because He is intoxicated by ecstatic love and is an incarnation of mercy, He does not distinguish between the good and the bad. He delivers all those who fall down before Him. Therefore, He has delivered such a sinful and fallen person as myself.
Lord Madanagopala, the chief Deity of Vrindavana, is the enjoyer of the rasa dance and thus He manifests Himself as the Cupid of Cupids. With Radha and Lalita serving Him on His two sides, He attracts the hearts of all by His sweetness. The mercy of Lord Nityananda showed me Shri Madanamohana and He also granted me the sight of Lord Govinda. Words cannot describe this experience, nor is it fit to be disclosed.
On an altar made of gems in the principal temple of Vrindavana, amidst a forest of desire trees, Lord Govinda, the son of the King of Vraja, sits upon a throne of gems and manifests His full glory and sweetness, thus enchanting the entire world. By His left side is Shrimati Radharani and Her personal friends, with whom Lord Govinda enjoys the rasa-lila and many other pastimes.
Shrila Rupa Gosvami describes His sweetness in this way: “My dear friend, if you are indeed attached to your worldly friends, then do not look upon the smiling face of Lord Govinda, as He stands on the banks of the Yamuna at Keshighata. While casting sidelong glances, He places His flute to His lips, which seem like newly blossomed twigs. His transcendental body, which is bending in three places, appears brightly illuminated in the moonlight.”
Without a doubt, Lord Govinda is directly the son of the King of Vraja. Only a fool considers Him to be a statue. Therefore, who can describe the mercy of the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda, by whom I have attained the shelter of Lord Govinda? All the groups of Vaishnavas who live in Vrindavana are absorbed in chanting the all-auspicious name of Krishna. Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda are their life and soul, and they do not know anything but devotional service unto Shri Shri Radha-Krishna.
The dust and shade of the lotus feet of the Vaishnavas have been granted to this fallen soul by the mercy of Lord Nityananda. Shri Nityananda Prabhu had said, “In Vrindavana all things are possible.” I have explained this brief statement in detail.
The pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are unlimited and unfathomable, and thus, as Vrindavana dasa Thakura described them, his book, Chaitanya-bhagavata, became voluminous. As a result, many of the later pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remained untold, and so the devotees residing in Vrindavana were all very anxious to hear about them.
In Vrindavana, in a great place of pilgrimage underneath the desire trees, is a golden throne bedecked with jewels. On that throne sits the son of Nanda Maharaja, Shri Govindadeva, the transcendental Cupid. Varieties of majestic services are rendered to Govinda there, and His garments, ornaments and paraphernalia are all transcendental.
In that temple of Govinda, thousands of servitors render service unto the Lord with great devotion, and thus its opulence is indescribable. The chief servitor of Lord Govinda was Shri Haridasa Pandita. He was gentle, tolerant, peaceful, magnanimous, grave, sweet in his words, and very sober in his endeavors. He was always respectful to everyone, and he worked for the benefit of all. Diplomacy, envy and jealousy were unknown to his heart. Indeed, the fifty qualities of Lord Krishna were all present in His body.
Ananta Acharya was a disciple of Gadadhara Pandita, and he was also a reservoir of all good qualities. He was always absorbed in love of Godhead, and Pandita Haridasa was his beloved disciple. Pandita Haridasa took great satisfaction in hearing the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, and thus, like the full moon, he illuminated the entire assembly of Vaishnavas by reciting Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata. By his causeless mercy, Pandita Haridasa ordered me to write about the later pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
In addition, there were many other great devotees residing in Vrindavana who desired to hear the later pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. By their mercy, all of these devotees requested me to describe these later pastimes, and it is only because of their order that I have shamelessly attempted to write this Chaitanya-caritamrita.
Having received the order of the Vaishnavas, but being anxious at heart, I went to the temple of Madana-mohana, to take His permission as well. As I entered the temple, the priest, Gosani dasa, was serving the lotus feet of the Lord, and I also prayed at Madana-mohana’s lotus feet. While I was thus praying for the Lord’s permission, a garland from His neck fell down, and upon seeing this, all of the Vaishnavas present loudly shouted, “Haribol!”. The pujari then brought that garland and placed it around my neck. I was greatly pleased to receive the garland, signifying the order of the Lord, and then without delay, I commenced writing this book.
Actually, Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita is not my writing, but it is the dictation of Shri Madana-mohana. My writing is like the repetition of a parrot. As a wooden doll is made to dance by a magician, I wrote as Madana-gopala ordered me to do so. I also took permission from Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura by praying at his lotus feet, and only upon receiving his order did I attempt to write this auspicious literature. I am foolish, lowborn, and insignificant, and I always desire material enjoyment, and yet, by the order of the Vaishnavas I was greatly enthusiastic to write this transcendental literature.
Now, so that my desires may be fulfilled, I place the lotus feet of these personalities upon my head- Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, along with Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acharya, and Their devotees- as well as Shri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami- Shri Rupa Gosvami- Shri Sanatana Gosvami- Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who is my instructing spiritual master- and Shrila Jiva Gosvami. The mercy of their lotus feet is my spiritual master, and my words are my disciples that I have made dance in various ways.
Upon seeing the fatigue of his disciples, the spiritual master has stopped making them dance. As a result, my words sit silently. Actually, my inexperienced words do not know how to dance by themselves. The mercy of the guru made them dance as much as possible, and now, after dancing, they have taken rest.
Finally, I worship the lotus feet of all my readers, for by the mercy of their lotus feet there is all good fortune. If one hears the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as described in this book, I wash his lotus feet and drink the water. I decorate my head with the dust of the lotus feet of my audience. Now, you have all drunk this nectar, and therefore, my labor has become successful. Praying at the lotus feet of Shri Rupa and Shri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krishnadasa, narrate Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, following in their footsteps.
Chaitanya-caritamrita is filled with the activities of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. It invokes all good fortune and destroys everything inauspicious. If one tastes the nectar of Chaitanya-caritamrita with faith and love, I become like a bumblebee, tasting the honey of transcendental love from his lotus feet. Since this book, Chaitanya-caritamrita, is now complete, having been written for the satisfaction of the most opulent Deities Madana-mohanaji and Govindaji, let it be offered at the lotus feet of Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva.
Realized devotees are like bumblebees, maddened by their own mellows at Krishna’s lotus feet. The scent of those lotus feet perfumes the entire world. Who is the realized soul that could give them up? In Vrindavana, in the year 1537 Shakabda Era, in the month of Jyaistha (May-June), on Sunday, the fifth day of the waning moon, this Chaitanya-caritamrita has been completed.
Namo on vishnu-padaya krishna-presthaya bhutale Shrimate bhaktivedanta swami it namine.
Namaste sarasvati deve gauravani-pracharine nirvisesha shunyavadi paschatya-desha tarine.
Jaya Shri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda Shri Advaita Gadadhara Shrivasadi Gaura-bhakta-vrinda.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.