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The Vedic literatures proclaim that from time to time the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, appears within the material world as an incarnation, in order to relieve the burden of the earth. This is not the work of the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, however, for it is His expansion, Lord Vishnu, who maintains the universe by accepting His role of sattva-guna avatara. And yet, it so happened that the time for removing the burden of the earth coincided with Lord Krishna’s scheduled appearance at the end of the Dvapara-yuga, during the twenty-eighth divya-yuga of the Vaivasvata manvantara.
When the complete Supreme Personality of Godhead descends, all of the incarnations appear within Him, and He kills the demons in His feature as Lord Vishnu. Lord Krishna personally descends within the material world for two reasons- He wants to taste the sweet essence of transcendental mellows, and He wants to propagate within the world, devotional service on the platform of spontaneous love.
With this in mind, Lord Krishna thought as follows: “The entire universe is filled with the conception of My majesty, but love which is weakened by feelings of awe and reverence does not satisfy Me. The love of one who regards Me as the Supreme Lord and himself as a subordinate, cannot control Me. On the other hand, My mother sometimes binds Me, considering Me to be her son. Indeed, she nourishes and protects Me, thinking that I am utterly helpless. My friends climb onto My shoulders and say, ‘What kind of a hero are You? I am Your equal!’ When My dear lover reproaches Me in a sulky mood, that steals away My mind from the reverential hymns of the Vedas.”
“Taking these pure devotees with Me, I shall descend on the earth and perform varieties of wonderful pastimes that are unknown even in Vaikuntha. In this way, I shall broadcast transcendental relationships with My devotees that are astonishing even to Myself.”
“By the influence of Yogamaya, the gopis will become inspired with the sentiment that I am their paramour. Both the gopis and I will forget our identities because our minds will always remain enchanted by each other’s extraordinary beauty and qualities. Pure attachment will unite us even at the expense of moral and religious principles, and by tasting the essence of these rasas, I shall favor all of the devotees. After hearing about the pure love of the residents of Vraja, devotees will worship Me on the path of spontaneous love, abandoning all kinds of religious rituals and fruitive activities.”
Thereafter, Lord Krishna appeared within this world, and then, after enjoying His transcendental pastimes along with His devoted servants, friends, parents and conjugal lovers, He disappeared. However, after His departure, Lord Krishna thought, “For a long time, I have not bestowed unalloyed loving service upon the inhabitants of this universe, and without such spontaneous attachment, the existence of the entire material creation is useless.”
“Everywhere people worship Me according to the shastric injunctions, but simply by following the regulative principles one cannot gain the loving sentiments possessed by the devotees of Vrajabhumi. Knowing of My opulence, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration, but devotion which is made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me.”
“Therefore, I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age; nama-sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord. By accepting the role of a devotee, I shall make the whole world dance in ecstasy, and thus realize the four mellows of loving devotional service. In this way, I shall teach devotional service to others by personally practicing it, for whatever a great personality does, common people will follow. Of course, My plenary portions can establish the religious principles for each age, but only I can bestow the kind of loving devotional service which is performed by the residents of Vraja.”
Besides this secondary reason for Lord Krishna to appear once more, taking the form of a devotee, there is another confidential purpose of a very personal nature. Even though Lord Krishna had tasted the essence of loving mellows by performing His conjugal pastimes in the company of the gopis, He was not able to fulfill three desires.
Therefore, after His disappearance, the Lord thought, “Although I am the Absolute Truth, and the reservoir of all rasas, I cannot understand the strength of Radharani’s love, with which She always overwhelms Me. Indeed, the love of Radharani is My teacher, and I am Her dancing pupil, for Her love makes Me dance in various novel ways. Whatever pleasure I get from tasting My love for Shrimati Radharani, She relishes ten million times more, by Her love. Although there is nothing greater than Radha’s love, since it is all pervading, it nonetheless expands constantly and is completely devoid of pride. There is nothing purer than Radha’s love, and yet its behavior is always perverse and crooked.”
“Shri Radhika is the highest abode of love, and I am its only object. I taste the bliss to which the object is entitled, but Radha’s pleasure is ten million times greater than Mine. Therefore, My mind becomes mad to taste the pleasure that is experienced by the abode of love, although I cannot do so. Only if I can somehow become the abode of that love, will I be able to experience its joy.”
This was one desire that increasingly blazed in Lord Krishna’s heart. Then, upon seeing His own beauty, Lord Krishna began to consider as follows: “My sweetness is unlimitedly wonderful. Only Radhika can taste the complete nectar of My sweetness, by the strength of Her love, which acts just like a mirror whose clarity increases at every moment. Although My sweetness, being without limit, seemingly has no room for expansion, it shines forth with newer and newer beauty, and thus constantly competes with the mirror of Radharani’s love, as they both go on increasing without admitting defeat.”
“Devotees taste My sweetness according to their respective love, and if I see that sweetness reflected in a mirror, I also become tempted to taste it, although I cannot. Upon deliberation, I find that the only way I can relish My sweetness is to take the position of Shrimati Radharani.”
This was Lord Krishna’s second desire, and His third desire was expressed while thinking as follows: “Everyone says that I am the reservoir of all transcendental bliss, and indeed, all the world derives pleasure from Me alone. Who then could give Me pleasure? I think that only someone having a hundred times more qualities than Myself could give pleasure to My mind, but such a person is impossible to find.”
“And yet, in spite of the fact that My beauty is unsurpassed, and gives pleasure to all who perceive it, the sight of Shrimati Radharani gives pleasure to My eyes. Although the vibration of My flute attracts everyone within the three worlds, My ears become enchanted by the sweet words spoken by Radharani. Although My body lends its fragrance to the entire creation, the scent of Radharani’s limbs captivates My mind and heart. Although there are various tastes due to Me alone, I become charmed by the nectarean taste of Radharani’s lips. Although My touch is cooler than ten million moons, I become refreshed by the touch of Shrimati Radharani. Thus, in spite of the fact that I am the source of happiness for the entire world, the beauty and attributes of Shri Radhika are My very life and soul.”
“My eyes become fully satisfied by looking at Shrimati Radharani, and yet, when She gazes at Me, She feels even greater satisfaction. The whispering murmur of the bamboo trees that rub against one another steals away Radharani’s mind, for She thinks it to be the sound of My flute. She embraces a tamala tree, mistaking it for Me, and thus She considers, ‘I have gotten the embrace of Krishna, and so now My life has become fulfilled.’ When the fragrance of My body is carried to Her by the wind, Radharani becomes blinded by love and tries to fly into that breeze. When She tastes the betel nut that has been chewed by Me, She merges into an ocean of joy, and forgets everything else.”
“Thus, even with hundreds of mouths, I could not express the pleasure which Radharani derives from My association. Indeed, upon seeing the luster of Her complexion after Our pastimes together, I consider My own happiness to be negligent. Expert sexologists say that the happiness of the lover and the beloved are equal, but they do not know the nature of transcendental love in Vrindavana. Because of the indescribable pleasure which Radharani experiences, I can understand that there is some unknown mellow within Me that controls Her entire existence.”
“I am always very eager to taste the joy that Shrimati Radharani derives from Me, and yet, in spite of endeavoring, I have been unable to do so. Therefore, in order to fulfill My three desires, I shall assume Shri Radhika’s bodily complexion and ecstatic loving sentiment, and then descend as an incarnation.”
Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness that She feels upon realizing the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord, Hari, decided to appear in a form that was richly endowed with Her emotions. First of all, the Lord had His respectable superiors incarnate on the earth, such as His mother and father, Shri Sachidevi and Jagannatha Mishra. In addition, there was Madhavendra Puri, Keshava Bharati, Ishvara Puri, Advaita Acharya, Shrivasa Pandita, Thakura Haridasa, Acharyaratna and Vidyanidhi.
Before the appearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, all of the devotees in the Navadvipa area used to gather at the house of Advaita Acharya. In these meetings, Advaita Acharya preached on the basis of Bhagavad-Gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam, decrying the paths of philosophical speculation and fruitive activity, and firmly establishing the superexcellence of devotional service. In the house of Advaita Acharya, the devotees took pleasure in always talking about Krishna, worshipping Krishna, and chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
However, Advaita Acharya felt very pained to see how practically all the people of the world were devoid of Krishna consciousness and completely merged into material sense enjoyment. Knowing that no one can gain relief from the cycle of repeated birth and death without taking an interest in the devotional service of the Lord, Advaita Acharya compassionately pondered over the means whereby people could become delivered from the clutches of maya.
Advaita Acharya thought, “Only if Lord Krishna personally appears and preaches the path of devotional service by His own example, will liberation become possible for all people. Therefore, I shall worship the Lord in a purified state of mind and constantly petition Him with all humility. Indeed, my name Advaita will be fitting only if I am able to induce Lord Krishna to inaugurate the sankirtana movement of chanting the holy name, which is the only religion for this age.”
While Advaita Acharya thought about how to satisfy Krishna by His worship, the following verse came to mind: “Shri Krishna, who is very affectionate toward His devotees, sells Himself to one who offers Him merely a tulasi leaf and a palmful of water.” (Gautamiya-tantra)
Advaita Acharya considered the meaning of this verse in the following way: “Lord Krishna cannot find any way to repay the debt which He owes to one who offers Him a tulasi leaf and water. Therefore, the Lord concludes, ‘Since there is nothing in My possession which is equal to a tulasi leaf and water, I will liquidate the debt by offering Myself to the devotee.’ ”
Thereafter, while meditating upon the lotus feet of Shri Krishna, Advaita Acharya constantly offered tulasi buds in water from the Ganga. While thus engaged in worship, Advaita Acharya petitioned Krishna to appear by His loud cries, and this repeated invitation attracted the attention of the Lord, causing Him to descend.
Shri Upendra Mishra, a brahmana who was formerly the gopala named Parjanya, the grandfather of Lord Krishna, was a great devotee and scholar. One of Upendra’s seven sons, Jagannatha Mishra, moved from Shrihatta to the banks of the Ganga at Nadia, and then married Shrimati Sachidevi, the daughter of Nilambara Chakravarti, who was formerly Gargamuni.
Before the appearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Jagannatha Mishra (who was formerly Nanda Maharaja) begot eight daughters in the womb of Sachidevi (who was formerly Yashoda), but just after birth, they all died. Being very aggrieved at the loss of his children, one after another, Jagannatha Mishra worshiped Lord Vishnu, while desiring a son. Thereafter, Sachimata gave birth to a baby boy named Vishvarupa, who was an incarnation of Lord Baladeva. Being very pleased, the mother and father began to serve the lotus feet of Lord Govinda even more devotedly, because they realized that their happiness was by His mercy.
Then, in the month of Magha (January) of the year 1406, Shaka era, Lord Krishna entered the bodies of both Jagannatha Mishra and Sachidevi. Thereafter, Jagannatha informed his wife, “I see many wonderful things! Your body seems to be effulgent, and it appears as if the goddess of fortune is personally residing in our house. Wherever I go, everyone offers me respect, and even without asking, they give me money, cloth and grains.”
Sachimata replied, “I also see wonderfully brilliant beings, appearing in the sky, as if offering prayers.”
Jagannatha Mishra then said, “In a dream I saw the effulgent abode of the Supreme Lord enter into my heart. Then, from my heart it entered your heart, and thus I can understand that a great personality will soon take birth.”
After this conversation, both husband and wife felt very jubilant, and with great care and attention they rendered service unto the household Shalagrama-shila.
However, when Sachimata’s pregnancy approached the thirteenth month, and still there was no sign of delivery, Jagannatha Mishra became very apprehensive. At that time, Nilambara Chakravarti made an astrological calculation and predicted that the child would be born that very month, taking advantage of an auspicious moment.
Thus it so happened that on the evening of the Phalguni purnima, in the year 1407 Shaka era, corresponding to the modern year 1486, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made His appearance at Navadvipa. At this time, Rahu considered, “When the spotless moon of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is about to become visible, what need is there for a moon which is full of black marks?”
Thinking in this way, Rahu covered the full moon, and so all of the Hindus went to the banks of the Ganga in order to bathe and chant the names “Krishna” and “Hari”. While the Hindus were thus vibrating the holy names of the Lord, the Mohammedans jokingly imitated them. In this way, at the time of Lord Chaitanya’s appearance, everyone was engaged in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
In all directions and within everyone’s mind there was peacefulness and joy. In Shantipura, Advaita Acharya and Haridasa Thakura began chanting and dancing in a very pleasing mood, although no one could understand why they did so. While laughing again and again, they also went to the Ganga, and at that time, Advaita Acharya took advantage of the lunar eclipse to distribute all kinds of charity to the brahmanas. Upon seeing how the whole world had become jubilant, Haridasa Thakura addressed Advaita Acharya in great astonishment, “Since Your dancing and distribution of charity appears very pleasing to me, I can understand that You have some very special purpose.”
In Navadvipa, Shrivasa Thakura and Acharyaratna, who was also called Chandrashekhara, immediately went to bathe in the Ganga, and while chanting the holy name of the Lord in great jubilation, they also gave charity by dint of mental strength. Indeed, wherever they were situated, all of the devotees danced, chanted and gave charity on the plea of the lunar eclipse, their minds overwhelmed with joy. Even in the heavenly planets, chanting and dancing was going on, for the demigods were very eager to witness the transcendental appearance of the Lord.
All sorts of respectable ladies and gentlemen, bearing plates full of gifts came to see the newborn child, whose complexion resembled the color of molten gold, and offer Him their blessings. Dressing themselves as the wives of brahmanas, the consorts of Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Lord Nrisimhadeva, King Indra, Vasishtha, as well as many other celestial ladies, also came to the house of Jagannatha Mishra with various presentations.
From the sky, the Gandharvas, Siddhas and Charanas offered prayers unto the Lord, accompanied by singing, dancing and the playing of musical instruments. In Navadvipa, the professional reciters, singers and dancers gathered at the house of Jagannatha Mishra in order to offer their blessings and receive charity in return. Indeed, there was such a crowd that no one could understand who was coming and who was going, nor could the people understand each other’s languages. Still, everyone found that their unhappiness and lamentation were immediately dissipated, and upon seeing the peoples’ happiness, Jagannatha Mishra also became overwhelmed with joy.
Chandrashekhara Acharya and Shrivasa Thakura performed the ritualistic birth ceremonies, and then Jagannatha Mishra collected whatever he had in his possession and distributed it to the brahmanas, professional singers and reciters, and the poor. Shrivasa Thakura’s wife, Malini, came with the wife of Chandrashekhara, in order to worship the baby with all kinds of paraphernalia, such as kunkum powder, tumeric, fused rice, oil, bananas and coconuts.
Shortly thereafter, Sitadevi, the wife of Advaita Acharya, came to Navadvipa from Shantipura on a covered palanquin, along with her maidservants, in order to see the wonderful child of Jagannatha Mishra. Sitadevi brought with her a large basket filled with fresh grass, rice, tumeric, kunkum and sandalwood, as well as many varieties of food. She also brought golden bangles, armlets, necklaces and anklets, as well as tiger nails set in gold, silk garments, and a great amount of wealth, including gold and silver coins.
As soon as Sita Thakurani saw the newborn baby, she was astonished that, except for a difference in color, the child was directly Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Upon seeing the child’s nicely constructed bodily limbs, which were endowed with many auspicious signs, His glowing effulgence, and His beautiful golden complexion, Sitadevi’s heart melted with maternal affection. While placing fresh grass and paddy upon the child’s head, she blessed Him by saying, “May You have a long duration of life.” Then, in order to protect the child from ghosts and witches, and because He had been born underneath a nim tree, Sita gave Him the name Nimai.
On the ninth day after childbirth, when Mother Sachi came out of the maternity room, in order to take bath in a ceremony called nishkramana, Sitadevi gave her all kinds of garments and ornaments. She also paid her respects to Jagannatha Mishra, and then, after being honored by the parents in return, Sitadevi returned home with a very pleased mind.
When the baby Lord tried to walk, catching hold of the wall, in His small footprints could be seen the specific symbols of Lord Vishnu- the flag, thunderbolt, conch shell, disc and fish. When His parents saw this, they were struck with wonder, being unable to understand how these footprints were present within their home. Jagannatha Mishra then said, “The Shalagrama-shila must be taking His childhood form as baby Krishna and playing within this room.”
As Sachi and Jagannatha Mishra were thus conversing, the child Nimai woke up and began crying. When Mother Sachi took Him upon her lap and allowed Him to suck her breast, she saw on the lotus feet of her child all the marks that had been visible in the footprints on the floor. With great surprise, Sachi called for her husband, and when Jagannatha Mishra saw these marks on the soles of his son’s feet, he felt great joy and then confidentially called for his father-in-law, Nilambara Chakravarti.
Upon seeing the symbols of Lord Vishnu upon the soles of Nimai’s lotus feet, Nilambara Chakravarti smilingly said, “Formerly I ascertained all this by my astrological calculations, and noted it down in writing. There are thirty-two bodily symptoms of a great personality. Five parts of his body are large (the nose, arms, chin, eyes and knees), five parts are fine (the skin, fingertips, teeth, bodily hair, and hair on the head), seven parts are reddish (the eyes, soles, palms, palate, nails, nose, waist and mouth), six parts are raised (chest, shoulders, nails, nose, waist and mouth), three are small (the neck, thighs, and genital), three parts are broad (the waist, forehead and chest), and three things are grave (the navel, voice and existence).”
“I can see that this baby possesses all thirty-two of these bodily features, as well as the symbols of Lord Narayana on His palms and soles. Therefore, He will be able to deliver all the three worlds by preaching the Vaishnava cult, and deliver both His maternal and paternal families as well. Since this is a very auspicious day, we should immediately call all of the brahmanas and hold a great festival as I perform the name-giving ceremony for your son. In the future, this child will maintain and protect the entire world, and thus His name should be Vishvambhara.”
After hearing Nilambara Chakravarti’s prediction, Sachimata and Jagannatha Mishra invited all of the brahmanas and their wives, and then observed the name-giving festival with great happiness.
After some days, baby Nimai began crawling on His knees. One day, as He was crawling about in the yard of His father’s house, causing the bells on His waist to ring very sweetly, a snake appeared on the scene. Like a curious child, the Lord captured the snake, which then proceeded to coil around Him. Baby Nimai took some rest, lying upon the snake, and then, after some time it went away, leaving Him unharmed.
While on the lap of His mother, the Lord would immediately stop crying as soon as the ladies surrounding Him chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. When the ladies understood the Lord’s intention, they would always chant Hare Krishna as soon as He began crying, so that it became a regular function. Indeed, all of the neighboring ladies assembled at the house of Sachimata in order to join in the sankirtana movement, and as long as they would chant Hare Krishna, the Lord would pleasingly smile upon them. Sometimes, the young girls took pleasure in making the Lord cry and then stopping Him by chanting the holy names of the Lord. In this way, from the very beginning of His childhood, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached the importance of chanting Hare Krishna.
At the age of six months, when the baby Nimai was offered solid food in the anna-prasanna ceremony, he was also given some coins and Shrimad-Bhagavatam, in order that some indication would be gotten of His natural tendencies. Baby Nimai selected Shrimad-Bhagavatam, leaving aside the coins, and thus He indicated His future activities.
After some time, when the Lord started to walk, He began playing with the other children of His own age. One day, as Nimai was playing along with the other children, Mother Sachi brought Him a dish of fused rice and sweets, asking Him to sit down and eat them. However, when Sachimata returned to her household duties, instead of eating the sweets, Nimai hid in a secluded place and began eating dirt. When she understood what her child was doing, Mother Sachi hastily went to that spot, and after grabbing the dirt from Nimai’s hands, she exclaimed, “What is this? What are You doing!”
Nimai began to cry. Then, He inquired from His mother, “Why are you angry? Since you had already given Me dirt to eat, what is My fault? Fused rice, sweets, or anything else that is eatable, is nothing but a transformation of dirt. Therefore, please consider- what is the difference between eating sweets or directly eating dirt? Indeed, this body is also a transformation of dirt, as well as whatever is eaten. Therefore, it appears that you are unnecessarily blaming me without justification.”
Being astonished, Mother Sachi replied, “Who has taught You this philosophical speculation that justifies eating dirt? My dear boy, if we eat earth transformed into grains, our body becomes nourished and strong. However, if we eat dirt in its crude state, our body will become diseased or destroyed. I can use a clay pot, which is a transformation of dirt, to bring water very easily. However, if I were to pour water onto a lump of dirt, my labor would be rendered useless.”
The Lord then said, “My dear mother, why did you conceal self-realization by not teaching Me this practical philosophy from the very beginning? From this day onward, I shall never eat dirt again. Instead, whenever I am hungry, I shall drink your breast milk.”
After saying this, the Lord smilingly climbed onto the lap of His mother and began sucking her breast. In this way, under various excuses, the Lord exhibited His opulence as much as possible, and then, after doing so, He again hid Himself,
One day, a brahmana who had been visiting various places of pilgrimage arrived at Navadvipa and became a guest in the house of Jagannatha Mishra. After receiving all of the ingredients from his host, the brahmana cooked and then began to offer the food in meditation to Lord Vishnu. Suddenly, baby Nimai came upon the scene and began eating the food, and so the brahmana considered the whole offering to be spoiled.
At the request of Jagannatha Mishra, the brahmana cooked for a second time, but again, as he was offering the food in meditation, baby Nimai came and ate it. Once more, Jagannatha Mishra implored the brahmana to cook, and since it was already very late, he locked Nimai within a room and then retired for the night. And yet, after the brahmana had finished cooking for a third time, the Lord once again somehow managed to spoil his offering.
Having become exceedingly frustrated, the brahmana cried out, “O, what has been done, what has been done?” thinking that he was destined to fast that day, since Lord Vishnu was not willing to accept his offerings.
Seeing the brahmana in such an agitated state, the Lord informed him, “Formerly I was the son of mother Yashoda. Once, you became a guest in the house of Nanda Maharaja, and at that time I had disturbed you in the very same way. It is because I am very pleased by your devotion that I am eating the food which you have prepared.”
When the brahmana understood the great mercy that the Lord had shown him, he felt extremely pleased, and his heart became overwhelmed with love for Krishna. After having thus revealed His true identity, the Lord requested the brahmana not to disclose this incident to anyone.
In His childhood, Nimai was profusely decorated with gold ornaments. Once, as He was playing in the yard outside His house, two thieves happened to pass by. Taking advantage of the good opportunity, they enticed Nimai with some sweets, and then took Him upon their shoulders. However, as the thieves ran toward a solitary forest with the intention of killing Him and taking away His ornaments, the Lord utilized His illusory energy to bewilder them. As a result, the thieves unknowingly brought Nimai right back to the house of Jagannatha Mishra, as all of the neighbors were busily searching for the lost child. Being afraid of detection, the thieves hastily put the Lord down and then ran away. Thereafter, when baby Nimai was once again delivered to the arms of His anxious mother, she became very satisfied.
On Ekadashi day, a big feast, including all kinds of foods prepared with grains, was offered to Lord Vishnu at the house of Jagadisha and Hiranya. On the plea of being sick, Nimai requested His father to go there and bring Him some of the Vishnu-prasada. Since the house was two kilometers away, when Jagannatha Mishra came there and requested the prasada, Jagadisha and Hiranya were a little astonished. While wondering how the boy could have understood that they had offered special prasada, Jagadisha and Hiranya concluded that He must possess some mystic power. When Jagannatha Mishra delivered the prasada to Nimai, He became cured immediately after eating it, and then He distributed the remainder to His friends.
Sometimes, the Lord would go to the houses of His neighbors, along with His friends, and steal their eatables. At other times, when the Lord fought with His friends, they would go and complain about His behavior to Mother Sachi. At such times, she would rebuke her son as follows: “My dear Nimai, why do You go to the houses of others and steal their things? What is it that You do not have in Your own house? And, why do You beat the other children?”
After being chastised by Mother Sachi in this way, the Lord would angrily retaliate by going into another room and breaking all the clay pots that He found there. Finally, when Sachimata would take Him upon her lap in order to pacify Him, the Lord would admit His faults, feeling very much ashamed.
Sometimes, when Nimai would go to the neighboring houses, He would steal milk and drink it, and sometimes He would steal the cooked rice. At other times, He would break the cooking pots, and if there were nothing to eat He would tease the small babies, making them cry. At such times, the mothers would come and complain to Sachimata, “My child is very small, but your Nimai puts water in his ears, making him cry.”
Once, the child Nimai chastised His mother by hitting her with His soft hand, and so she pretended to faint onto the floor. At this, the Lord began to cry, and so the neighborhood ladies told Him, “Dear child, if You can bring a coconut from somewhere then Your mother will be cured.”
Nimai immediately went out of the house and after just a moment He brought back two coconuts, much to the astonishment of the ladies.
As a naughty boy, Nimai used to tease the orthodox brahmanas as they bathed in the Ganga. When the brahmanas complained to Jagannatha Mishra that Nimai was splashing water on them instead of attending school, the Lord would suddenly appear before His father, dressed in school clothes and with books in hand. Since the innocent-looking Nimai appeared to be coming home from school, Jagannatha Mishra could not take the complaints of the brahmanas very seriously.
Generally, the young girls would go to bathe in the Ganga and then worship the demigods, especially Lord Shiva, for the purpose of obtaining a good husband in the future. Sometimes, along with His friends, the Lord would go and sit down in the midst of these girls and address them as follows: “If you worship Me, then I shall give you good husbands. Gangadevi and the goddess Durga are My maidservants, and what to speak of the other demigods, even Lord Shiva is My servant.”
After saying this, the Lord would take the girls’ sandalwood pulp and smear it over His own body. Then, He would put their flower garlands around His neck, and eat their offerings of sweets, rice and bananas, all without permission. The girls became very angry because of the Lord’s naughty behavior, and they scolded Him as follows: “Dear Nimai, You are like our brother according to our village relationship, and so it is not proper for You to act like this. Please do not disturb us by taking the paraphernalia which we use to worship the demigods.”
The Lord replied, “My dear sisters, I will give you all benedictions whereby you will receive husbands who are very handsome, learned, clever, young and wealthy. Not only that, each of you will have seven sons that are endowed with great intelligence, and a long duration of life.”
Upon hearing these words, all of the girls felt very happy, but externally, as is natural for them, they continued to rebuke the Lord. When some of the girls ran away, the Lord angrily warned them, “If you are miserly and do not give Me the offerings which you have brought, then every one of you will get an old husband who already has at least four wives.”
The girls all felt that Nimai was some kind of empowered personality, and so when they heard His supposed curse, they fearfully brought all their offerings before Him. At this time, the Lord ate all of the girls’ offerings, and then blessed them to their full satisfaction. When the people in general came to know of Nimai’s naughty behavior, they did not censure Him. Instead, they took pleasure in His mischievous dealings.
One day, the daughter of Vallabhacharya, named Lakshmi, who formerly appeared as Sita, the wife of Lord Ramachandra, and Rukmini, the wife of Lord Krishna, came to the banks of the Ganga in order to bathe and worship the demigods. Upon seeing Lakshmidevi, the Lord immediately became attached to her, and she also, upon seeing Him, felt great satisfaction within her mind. Thus, their natural love for one another was awakened, for they are eternally husband and wife. With great pleasure, they enjoyed each other’s company, and under the pretext of demigod worship, they manifested their affectionate feelings. The Lord told Lakshmi, “Just worship Me, for I am the Supreme Lord. If you worship Me, then certainly you will receive the benediction that you desire.”
Upon hearing this order of the Lord, Lakshmi began worshiping Him with offerings of sandalwood pulp, garlands of flowers, and suitable prayers. As He smilingly received her worship, the Lord recited a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, to show that He accepted her sentiment as well: “My dear gopis, I accept your desire to have Me as your husband and thus worship Me. I wish to fulfill your desire because it deserves to be so.”
After expressing their feelings to one another in this way, Lord Chaitanya and Lakshmi returned to their respective homes.
One day, after receiving some complaints from the neighbors about her son’s naughty behavior, Mother Sachi decided to chastise Him. However, when she went to catch the Him, Nimai ran away from her and then sat down on some cooking pots that had been thrown into a garbage pit after being used. When Mother Sachi saw Nimai very calmly sitting upon the discarded pots, she protested, “My dear boy, why have you sat down on these untouchable pots? Because You are now contaminated, You must immediately go and bathe in the Ganga.”
The Lord replied, “My dear mother, the idea that ‘this is pure and this is impure’ is merely a worldly sentiment that has no basis in fact. You cooked food for Lord Vishnu in these pots and then offered it to Him. Therefore, how can they be considered impure? Everything in relationship with Lord Vishnu is accepted as His energy, and thus nondifferent from Him.”
In spite of receiving absolute knowledge from her son, the astonished Mother Sachi still forced Him to take a bath.
Sometimes, Sachimata would take her child and lie down with Him on her bed. On one such occasion, she could see that the denizens of heaven had come to her house and so she told Nimai, “Please go and call Your father.”
When the child ran out to execute this order, both mother and father could hear the tinkling of ankle bells, although none were decorating His lotus feet. Being struck with wonder, Jagannatha Mishra exclaimed, “This is very astonishing! Why is the sound of ankle-bells coming from the bare feet of my child?”
Mother Sachi replied, “I also saw something very wonderful. People were coming down from the celestial kingdom and crowding into the courtyard. They made such a great noise, which I could not understand, but I could guess that they were offering their prayers to someone.”
Jagannatha Mishra then said, “Anyway, whatever these things are, let them be. The only thing that I desire is that there always be good fortune for my son, Vishvambhara.”
On another occasion, after seeing his son perform some mischievous acts, Jagannatha Mishra rebuked Him greatly, and then gave Him some lessons on morality. That very night, a brahmana appeared in Jagannatha Mishra’s dream and angrily said, “My dear Mishra, you do not know anything about your child. Due to considering Him as your son, you rebuke and chastise Him.”
Jagannatha Mishra replied, “This boy may be a demigod, a mystic yogi, or a great saintly person, but that does not matter, for I only think of Him as my son. It is the duty of the father to raise his son and educate him in terms of religion and morality. If I do not teach these things to my son, then how will He come to know of them?”
The brahmana argued, “If your son is a transcendental mystic with self-effulgent knowledge, then what is the use of your education?”
However, Jagannatha Mishra countered, “Even if my son is not an ordinary person but Lord Narayana Himself, as a father it is still my duty to instruct Him.”
In this way, the brahmana and Jagannatha Mishra discussed religious principles in a dream. And yet, because Jagannatha Mishra was fully absorbed in unalloyed parental love, he did not want to understand anything else. Finally, being very satisfied, the brahmana departed, and when Jagannatha Mishra awoke, he was amazed at what he had dreamt. Indeed, when he related the dream to all his friends and relatives, they also felt highly astonished, for they knew that the child Nimai was not ordinary.
When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reached the age of four or five years, his father instituted His primary education by performing the hate khadi ceremony. After worshiping Lord Vishnu, Jagannatha Mishra put a long chalk pencil into the Lord’s hand. Then, while guiding His son’s hand, he began teaching Him how to write the letters of the alphabet by drawing them on the floor. Thereafter, in just a few days, the Lord learned all the letters of the alphabet and their combinations as well. This pastime marks the conclusion of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s balya-lila, the activities that he performed up to the age of five years.