|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Chaitanya Charitamrta > MADHYA-LILA|
After accepting the renounced order of life, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started for Vrindavana, out of intense love for Krishna. However, while absorbed in trance, the Lord mistakenly wandered about in the part of Bengal where the Ganga does not flow, called Radha-desha. As He went along, the Lord recited the following verse in ecstasy: “I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of nescience by being firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Krishna. This process was approved by the previous Acharyas, who were all firmly fixed in devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Lord Chaitanya accepted that this verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, spoken by a brahmana from Avanti-desha, expressed the true meaning of sannyasa. Thus, after accepting the renounced order of life, He decided to go to Vrindavana in order to engage Himself fully in the service of Mukunda, while staying in a solitary place.
While going to Vrindavana, all the transcendental ecstatic symptoms became manifest in the Lord’s body, and He had no idea about the direction in which He was going, or whether it was day or night. Nityananda Prabhu, Chandrashekhara and Mukunda accompanied the Lord, and whoever happened to see His ecstasy would exclaim, “Hari! Hari!” By chanting with the Lord, all such persons found that their unhappiness due to material existence diminished.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw that many cowherd boys had joined Him and were loudly shouting, “Hari! Hari!” He became very pleased. While putting His hand on their heads, the Lord requested them, “Go on chanting like this”, and blessed them by saying that they were all fortunate. Indeed, the Lord felt Himself to be very successful, because they had chanted the holy name of the Lord.
Nityananda Prabhu then called all of the boys in confidence. After telling them some reasonable story, He instructed the boys as follows: “If Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asks you about the way to Vrindavana, please point out to Him the path on the bank of the Ganga instead.”
Thus, when the cowherd boys were questioned by Lord Chaitanya, they led Him to the path along the side of the Ganga, and so He proceeded that way in ecstasy. Then, Nityananda Prabhu requested Acharyaratna, “Please go quickly to the house of Advaita Acharya, while I take Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to the banks of the Ganga at Shantipura. Advaita Acharya should wait there with a boat, and then, as I accompany the Lord to His house, you should go to Navadvipa in order to call for Mother Sachi and the rest of the devotees.”
After sending off Chandrashekhara, Nityananda came before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was absorbed in ecstasy. When the Lord inquired, “Where are You going?” Nityananda replied, “I am going with You to Vrindavana.” Then, when Lord Chaitanya asked, “How far is it to Vrindavana?” Nityananda said, “Just see! Here is the River Yamuna!”
After saying this, Nityananda led Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu near the Ganga, and in His ecstasy, the Lord accepted His words, saying “Oh, what good fortune! Now I have seen the River Yamuna.” While thinking in this way, Lord Chaitanya offered the following prayer: “O River Yamuna, you are the blissful spiritual water that gives love to the son of Nanda Maharaja. You are the same as the water of the spiritual world, for you can vanquish all of our sinful reactions and offenses. O daughter of the sun-god, kindly purify us by your pious activities.”
After reciting this mantra, the Lord offered His obeisances, and then took His bath in the Ganga, wearing only a single piece of cloth as underwear. As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was standing in the water, Advaita Acharya arrived on a boat, bringing with Him new underwear and external garments. When Lord Chaitanya saw Advaita Acharya standing before Him, offering obeisances, He began to wonder about the entire situation. Still, due to His ecstasy, He inquired, “Why did You come here? How did You know that I was in Vrindavana?”
At this time, Advaita Acharya disclosed the real situation by saying, “My dear Lord, wherever You are, that is Vrindavana. Now, it is My great fortune that You have come here to the Ganga.”
At this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exclaimed, “Nityananda has cheated Me, for He brought Me to the Ganga, telling Me that it was the Yamuna.”
When the Lord accused Nityananda in this way, Advaita Acharya responded, “Whatever Nityananda Prabhu has told You is not false, for You have indeed just bathed in the River Yamuna. At Prayaga, the Ganga and Yamuna meet, and it is considered that the Yamuna continues to flow on the western side, whereas the Ganga flows on the eastern side.”
“Now, since You have bathed in the River Yamuna, You should change Your cloth, and because You have been fasting for three days while absorbed in the ecstasy of love for Krishna, I hereby invite You to My house, where You can accept alms. I have just cooked one palmful of rice, as well as a little liquid vegetable and spinach, so please come with Me to My residence.”
After saying this, Advaita Acharya placed the Lord in the boat, and then brought Him to His house at Shantipura. There, Advaita Acharya washed the lotus feet of the Lord, and as a consequence, He felt great happiness within.
Afterwards, Advaita Acharya offered all of the food that had been prepared by His wife, dividing them into three equal parts. One portion was arranged on a metal plate for offering to Lord Krishna, while the other two were put on plantain leaves which were not cut in half, and had come from a tree that held at least thirty-two bunches of bananas.
On each leaf, there was a stack of fine white rice with cows’ ghee in the middle. Surrounding the stack of rice were pots made from the bark of banana trees, which were filled with varieties of vegetables and mung dal, including five kinds of sukta. There was newly grown nim leaves fried with eggplant, and subjis prepared with dal-badis. The preparation made with coconut pulp mixed with chana (cheese) and rock candy was very sweet, and there was also a curry made from banana flowers and squash, boiled in milk.
There were also numerous varieties of sweets, condensed milk preparations and every kind of cake desirable. Everything was made in sufficient quantity, so that everyone could take prasada, and there were so many varieties that one hundred pots surrounded each plate. In addition, there were pots of kheer, highly condensed milk, and varieties of preparations that had been made with flat-rice. Indeed, it is not possible to describe all the preparations that were made.
Tulasi manjaris were placed upon the stack of rice and all of the vegetables, and there were also big pots filled with scented rosewater. When Lord Krishna was offered all of these foods, He certainly enjoyed them very pleasantly. After the offering, Advaita Acharya asked the two brothers, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, to see the bhoga-arati, and thereafter, the Deities in the temple were invited to rest. Advaita Acharya then requested, “My dear Lords, kindly enter this room.”
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu thus went to take prasada, and They called Mukunda and Haridas to join them. However, as the two devotees stood with folded hands, Mukunda responded, “I have something to do that is not yet finished, and so I shall accept prasada later on.”
Haridasa then said, “I am the most sinful and lowest among men. Later on, I shall eat one palmful of rice while waiting outside.”
Advaita Acharya took Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda inside the room. Upon seeing the arrangement of prasada, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was so pleased that He declared, “Frankly, I will personally take the lotus feet of anyone who can offer Krishna such nice food, and place them upon My head, birth after birth.”
When He saw that there were three divisions of prasada, the Lord assumed that they were all meant for Krishna, and so He did not actually understand Advaita Acharya’s intention. The Lord then said, “Let us sit down and take some prasada”, and Advaita Acharya replied, “I shall distribute”. Thinking that all three divisions were meant for distribution, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked for another two banana leaves, saying, “Give Us just a little quantity of vegetable and rice.”
Advaita Acharya said, “Please sit down on these cloth sitting places”, and while catching hold of the two Lords’ hands, He seated Them. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu objected, “It is not proper for a sannyasi to eat such a variety of food, for if he does so, how will he be able to control his senses?”
When the Lord refused to accept the prasada that had already been served, Advaita Acharya said, “Please give up Your concealment. I know what You are, and I know the confidential meaning of Your acceptance of sannyasa. Now, just give up Your word jugglery and kindly eat the prasada that has been offered to You.”
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu insisted that He could not eat so much, Advaita Acharya replied, “Please accept this prasada without pretense, and if You cannot eat it all, then the balance can be left on Your plate.”
Still, the Lord objected by saying, “I will not be able to eat so much, and it not the duty of a sannyasi to leave any remnants.”
Advaita Acharya then pointed out, “At Jagannatha Puri You eat fifty-four times a day, and each offering consists of hundreds of pots of food. Since the amount of food which three people can eat is hardly a morsel for You, all of these eatables constitute not even five morsels. By great fortune, You have come to My house and so please begin eating and do not talk any longer.”
After saying this, Advaita Acharya supplied water to the two Lords for washing Their hands. Then, They smilingly sat down to eat. Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered the quantity of prasada to be enormous, Nityananda Prabhu thought it to be hardly a morsel. Therefore, He declared, “I have not eaten anything for three days, and so today I was hoping to break My fast. And yet, although I have been invited here by Advaita Acharya, I see that today is also a fast day, since the quantity of food is so small that it will not even fill up half My belly.”
At this, Advaita Acharya replied, “My dear sir, You are a mendicant travelling on pilgrimage, and thus sometimes You eat fruit and roots, and sometimes You have to fast. I am a poor brahmana, and You have come to My house. Therefore, please be satisfied with whatever little food You have received and give up Your greedy mentality.”
Nityananda then said, “Whatever I may be, You have invited Me, and thus it is Your duty to supply Me with as much food as I want to eat.”
Taking advantage of this joking exchange, Advaita Acharya said, “You are a reject paramahamsa, who has accepted the renounced order of life just to fill up Your belly. I can understand that Your only business is to give trouble to the brahmanas. You can eat more than forty kilos of rice, but I am a poor brahmana. How can I get so much rice? Whatever I have given You, even though it may be just a palmful of rice, please eat it and then get up, and do not display Your madness by strewing Your remnants here and there.”
While joking with Advaita Acharya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu ate. After finishing half of each vegetable preparation, Lord Chaitanya left it aside and then went on to the next. However, as soon as the two Lords ate half of a preparation, Advaita Acharya would immediately come and fill up their bowl while requesting Them to eat more. When Lord Chaitanya pleaded, “How much more can I go on eating?” Advaita Acharya replied, “Please do not leave anything that I have already given. Whatever I serve from now on, just eat half and leave the rest.”
Thus, by submitting various humble requests, Advaita Acharya made Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu eat, and in this way, His desire became fulfilled by Their mercy. Nityananda then jokingly said, “My belly is not yet filled. Please take away Your food, for I have not eaten the least of it.”
After saying this, Nityananda Prabhu took a handful of rice and threw it onto the floor in front of Him, as if in an angry mood. When two or four pieces of rice stuck to His body, Advaita Acharya considered Himself to be purified by the touch of Nityananda’s remnants, and so He began dancing with great joy. Advaita Acharya then jokingly said, “My dear Nityananda, I had invited You, and now, I have received the results. You have no fixed caste, and by nature You are a madman. In order to make Me a madman like Yourself, You have thrown Your remnants at Me without even fearing that I am a brahmana.”
Advaita Acharya humbly thought of Himself as one of the smarta-brahmanas, whereas He considered Nityananda to be on the transcendental platform of pure devotional service. For this reason, He felt that by the touch of Nityananda’s remnants, He had become purified of all smarta contamination, and elevated to the paramahamsa platform.
Nityananda Prabhu replied, “These are the remnants of food left by Lord Krishna, and so if You consider them to be ordinary leftovers, then You have committed a great offense. Only if You invite at least one hundred sannyasis to Your home and feed them sumptuously, will Your offense be nullified.”
Advaita Acharya replied, “I shall never again invite another sannyasi, for it is a sannyasi who has spoiled all of My brahminical smriti regulative principles.”
Thereafter, Advaita Acharya had the two Lords wash Their hands and mouths. Then, He took Them to a nice bed and made Them lie down to rest. Advaita Acharya gave Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu some cloves and cardamom mixed with tulasi leaves. He smeared Their bodies with sandalwood paste and placed flower garlands around Their necks. Then, when He started massaging Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s legs, the Lord became very hesitant and said, “My dear Advaita Acharya, You have made Me dance in various ways, and so now, please give up this practice. Go and take Your lunch along with Mukunda and Haridasa.”
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught that it is not befitting for a sannyasi to accept nice beds, have his body smeared with sandalwood paste, and have his legs massaged by a pure Vaishnava. Advaita Acharya then took prasada along with Mukunda and Haridasa, and they wholeheartedly ate as much as they desired.
When the people of Shantipura heard about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival, they immediately came to see His lotus feet. Upon seeing the Lord’s beauty, everyone became struck with wonder and with great pleasure they shouted, “Hari! Hari!”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body had a very fair complexion and its bright luster, which conquered the brilliance of the sun, combined with the beauty of His glittering saffron garments. Throughout the day, people came and went with great pleasure, and thus, by the end of the day, there was no counting how many had assembled there.
In the evening, Advaita Acharya began sankirtana, and as He personally danced, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu watched the performance with great pleasure. As Nityananda and Haridasa joined in dancing behind Him, Advaita Acharya said, “My dear friends, what can I say? Today I have received the highest transcendental pleasure, for after many, many days, Lord Krishna is in My house.”
This was a song composed by Vidyapati, and was supposed to be sung by Shrimati Radharani upon Krishna’s return from Mathura. While leading the kirtana, Advaita Acharya sang this verse, and as He did so, He manifested symptoms of ecstasy such as perspiration, shivering, standing of the hair on end, tears, and thundering of the voice. While dancing, Advaita Acharya would sometimes turn around and around and then catch hold of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. At such times, Advaita Acharya would say, “For many days You escaped Me by bluffing, but now, since I have got You in My home, I will keep You bound up.”
Advaita Acharya performed sankirtana for three hours that night, and as he danced, Lord Chaitanya felt ecstatic love for Krishna in separation. Then, as the waves of love increased, the Lord became highly agitated by that ecstasy, and suddenly fell to the ground.
Upon seeing this, Advaita Acharya stopped dancing, and Mukunda, understanding the Lord’s feelings, began to sing many verses that augmented His ecstasy. Although Advaita Acharya lifted up Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to help Him dance, after hearing Mukunda’s songs, the Lord could not do so because of the manifestation of great ecstasy. Tears fell from His eyes and His entire body trembled. His hair stood on end, He perspired heavily, and His voice faltered. Sometimes Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stood up, sometimes he fell down again, and sometimes He simply sat and cried.
Mukunda then sang a son about meeting Krishna, in order to pacify the Lord’s feelings of separation: “My dear intimate friend! What has not happened to me! Due to the effects of the poison of love for Krishna, my body and mind have become severely afflicted. Because my mind burns, day and night, I cannot get any rest. If there were someplace that I could go to meet Krishna, then I would immediately fly there.”
This song was sung by Mukunda in such a sweet voice that as soon as the Lord heard it His mind went to pieces as all the transcendental ecstatic symptoms, such as disappointment, moroseness, pleasure, restlessness, pride and humility began to fight each other like soldiers. Due to the onslaught of these ecstatic symptoms, the Lord’s entire body began to totter, and then, He suddenly fell to the ground, His breathing having almost stopped.
Upon seeing this, all the devotees became very anxious. But, suddenly, the Lord got up while making a thundering sound. While saying, “Go on speaking! Go on speaking!” the Lord then began to dance with great pleasure, and Lord Nityananda walked behind Him, just in case He might fall down again. Advaita Acharya and Haridasa Thakura followed Them, dancing, and in this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued for at least three hours, manifesting varieties of ecstatic emotions.
For three days, the Lord had been fasting, and after that He had eaten sumptuously. Thus, as He danced and jumped high, He became a little tired. Being fully absorbed in love of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could not understand His fatigue, however, and so Nityananda finally caught hold of Him and made Him stop. Advaita Acharya suspended the kirtana, and then, while rendering various kinds of services, He had the Lord lay down to rest. For ten continuous days, Advaita Acharya held feasting during the day and sankirtana at night, without any change.
The next morning, Chandrashekhara arrived, bringing with him Sachimata, who was seated upon a palanquin, and many of the devotees. Lord Chaitanya had finished His morning duties, and was seated, chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, but as soon as He saw His mother, He went and fell down like a stick before Her.
Mother Sachi began to cry as she took her son upon her lap, and indeed, they both became overwhelmed upon seeing each other. Mother Sachi especially became agitated upon seeing how the Lord’s head was without hair, and she bean to cover His body with kisses. Sometimes, she kissed His face and tried to look at Him carefully, but because her eyes were filled with tears, she was unable to do so.
Understanding that the Lord had accepted the renounced order of life, Sachimata said, “My darling Nimai, please do not be cruel like Vishvarupa, Your elder brother. After Vishvarupa took sannyasa, I never saw him again, and if You also do this, then it will surely be the death of me.”
The Lord replied, “My dear mother, this body came from you and was raised by you. Therefore, it belongs to you. I do not possess anything, and I could never repay My debt to you, even in millions of births. Knowingly or unknowingly, I have accepted the renounced order of life, but I shall never be indifferent to you. My dear mother, wherever you want, I shall stay, and whatever you order, I shall execute.”
After saying this, the Lord offered His obeisances to His mother again and again, and Mother Sachi, being very pleased, took Him on her lap once more.
Advaita Acharya then took Sachimata into His house while the Lord met with all of the devotees, one after the other. While looking at their faces individually, the Lord embraced the devotees tightly and smiled at them mercifully. Although the devotees were very unhappy to see the Lord without hair, they derived great pleasure from beholding His wonderful beauty.
Shrivasa, Ramai, Vidyanidhi, Gadadhara, Gangadasa, Vakreshvara, Murari, Shuklambara, Buddhimanta Khan, Nandana, Shridhara, Vijaya, Vasudeva, Damodara, and innumerable other devotees, indeed, all of the inhabitants of Navadvipa, including the men, women and children, arrived at the house of Advaita Acharya, and the Lord met them.
Since everyone was dancing and chanting the holy name of the Lord, the residence of Advaita Acharya became transformed into Shri Vaikuntha Puri. Besides Navadvipa, people came from many other neighboring villages to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Advaita Acharya gave each and every one of them a place to stay, as well as all kinds of eatables, for as many days as they remained at His house. Indeed, the supplies of Advaita Acharya were inexhaustible and indestructible, for as many commodities as He used, just as much appeared once again.
Sachimata immediately took charge of the cooking, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ate in the company of all the devotees. Whoever came there during the day got to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the friendly behavior of Advaita Acharya, and at night they had the opportunity to witness the Lord’s dancing and hear His chanting. While performing kirtana, the Lord manifested all kinds of ecstatic symptoms, and He would frequently fall to the ground.
Upon seeing this, Mother Sachi thought that His body was surely being smashed, and so, after crying out, “Alas!” she petitioned Lord Vishnu by saying, “My dear Lord, kindly bestow this benediction upon Me as a result of whatever devotional service I might Have rendered unto You from childhood. Whenever Nimai falls to the ground, please do not let Him feel any pain.”
When Sachimata became overwhelmed by maternal affection for the Lord, she also experienced varieties of transcendental ecstatic symptoms.
Since Advaita Acharya was providing alms and food to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the other devotees, headed by Shrivasa Thakura, also wanted to invite Him for lunch. When Mother Sachi heard of this, she called for the devotees and said, “How many times shall I get the chance to see Nimai again? You will all be able to meet Him many times elsewhere, but I will have to remain at home, and a sannyasi never goes back to his house. Therefore, please grant me one thing in charity: For as long as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remains here at Advaita Acharya’s house, only I should give Him food.”
Upon hearing Sachimata’s appeal, all of the devotees offered their obeisances and then replied, “We agree to do whatever you desire.”
When Lord Chaitanya saw His mother’s great eagerness, He became a little agitated. Thus, the Lord assembled the devotees and addressed them as follows: “Without your order I tried to go to Vrindavana, but since there was some obstacle, I had to return. My dear friends, although I have taken the renounced order of life all of a sudden, I know that I shall never become indifferent to you. Indeed, as long as I live on this earth I shall never be able to renounce you or my mother. However, since a sannyasi cannot remain at his birthplace, surrounded by his relatives, I request you to make some arrangement whereby I will not have to leave you, and at the same time, people may not blame Me.”
After hearing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s statement, all the devotees approached Sachimata and informed her of the Lord’s desire. After considering the matter, Mother Sachi replied, “It would be a great happiness for me if Nimai were to remain here. On the other hand, it would be my great unhappiness if someone were to blame Him. Therefore, in my opinion, this arrangement would be very good. If Nimai stays at Jagannatha Puri, then He would not be leaving us, and at the same time He could remain aloof as a sannyasi. In this way, both purposes would be served.”
“Since Jagannatha Puri and Navadvipa are intimately related, just like two rooms in the same house, people are always going from one place to the other. Because of this coming and going, I will often be able to receive news of My son. Indeed, all of you devotees will be able to go to Jagannatha Puri, and sometimes Nimai may also come here to bathe in the Ganga. I do not care for my personal happiness or distress, but only for Nimai’s happiness. Indeed, I accept His happiness as my own.”
After hearing this, the devotees offered Sachimata prayers and assured her that her command, like a Vedic injunction, could not be violated. The devotees then went and informed Lord Chaitanya of Sachimata’s decision, and upon hearing of it, He became very pleased.
The Lord then addressed the devotees as follows: “My dear friends, you are all My intimate companions. Now, I wish to beg one favor from you and so please give it to Me. Kindly return home and begin congregationally chanting the holy name of the Lord. Engage yourselves fully in worshiping Krishna, chanting His holy name and discussing His transcendental pastimes. Now, please give Me your permission so that I may depart for Jagannatha Puri, and rest assured that from time to time I will return here to meet you all again.”
In this way, while offering due respects to all the devotees, and smiling very mildly, the Lord bid them farewell. However, at this time Haridasa Thakura began crying, and then he spoke the following very pathetic words: “You are going to Jagannatha Puri, and that is very nice, but what will be my fate? I cannot go to Jagannatha Puri. Because I am the lowest among men, I will not be able to see You. How shall I maintain my sinful life?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “My dear Haridasa, please check your humility, for just by seeing you like this, my mind becomes very agitated. I will place a petition before Lord Jagannatha, and with His permission, I shall certainly take you to Jagannatha Puri.”
Advaita Acharya then begged the Lord to show Him mercy by remaining for another two or four days. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never turned down the request of Advaita Acharya, and so He agreed not to leave immediately for Jagannatha Puri. This decision was received very happily by all of the devotees and Sachimata, and Advaita Acharya celebrated every day by holding a big festival. During the day the devotees passed their time discussing Krishna-katha, and at night there was a great sankirtana festival in Advaita Acharya’s house. Mother Sachi did all of the cooking, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the prasada with great pleasure, along with the devotees.
Then, once again, the Lord called for His devotees and requested them to return home, while advising them as He had done previously. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprahbhu assured them that they would meet again by saying, “Sometimes you will come to Jagannatha Puri, and sometimes I shall come here to bathe in the Ganga.”
Advaita Acharya assigned four persons to accompany the Lord- Nityananda Prabhu, Jagadananda Pandita, Damodara Pandita, and Mukunda Datta. The Lord then went and pacified His mother by offering her prayers. Finally, when everything was arranged, the Lord circumambulated Sachimata and departed for Jagannatha Puri.
In Advaita Acharya’s house there arose a tumultuous crying, but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was unaffected and walked on swiftly. Advaita Acharya followed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, weeping, and so, after some distance, the Lord sweetly petitioned Him, with folded hands: “Please pacify all of the devotees and My mother. If You become so agitated like this, how will anyone be able to continue to exist?”
After saying this, the Lord restrained Advaita Acharya from following Him any further by embracing Him. Then, He proceeded along the banks of the Ganga, accompanied by His four associates. While going along, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chanted the holy name of the Lord, and every day He would personally go to a village to beg for sufficient rice and other eatables.
There were many rivers along the way, and at each one there was a toll collector. They never tried to hinder Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, however, and in return, the Lord showed them mercy. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu finally reached Remuna, where He visited the very beautiful Deity, Gopinatha.
When Lord Chaitanya offered His obeisances at the lotus feet of Gopinatha, the Deity’s flower-crown fell down and landed upon His head. Because of this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became very pleased, and along with His associates, He began chanting and dancing in various ways. All of the Deity’s servants were struck with wonder upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s intense love, His exquisite beauty, and His transcendental qualities, and thus they served Him in many ways.
That night, the Lord stayed in the temple because He was very eager to receive the kheera maha-prasada, having once heard from his spiritual master, Ishvara Puri, about the wonderful incident that had formerly taken place.
While remaining in the temple, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu related to the devotees the story of how the Deity had become very famous as Kheera-chora-gopinatha.
Once, Shri Madhavendra Puri came to Vrindavana, and because He was almost mad due to his ecstatic love of Godhead, he did not know whether it was day or night. Sometimes he would stand up and sometimes he would fall to the ground, without being able to judge what sort of place he was in. After circumambulating Govardhana Hill, Madhavendra Puri bathed in Govinda-kunda, and then sat down beneath a tree there in order to rest for the night.
As Madhavendra Puri sat there, an unknown cowherd boy came to him that evening. After placing a clay pot before him, the boy smilingly spoke as follows: “Please drink this milk that I have brought for you. Why don’t you beg for some food to eat? What kind of meditation are you performing?”
Madhavendra Puri felt very satisfied just to see the great beauty of this boy, and indeed, upon hearing His sweet words, he forgot all hunger and thirst. Madhavendra Puri then inquired, “Who are You and where do You live? How did You know that I have been fasting?”
The boy replied, “Sir, I am a cowherd boy and I reside in this village. No one fasts here. Some people beg food from others, and some drink only milk. And, if a person does not ask anyone for food, then I supply his eatables. The women had seen you here when they had come to fetch water, and so they gave Me this milk for you. Now, I must go and milk the cows, but I shall return shortly, to take the milk-pot back from you.”
After saying this, the boy suddenly disappeared in a very mysterious way that left Madhavendra Puri’s heart filled with wonder. After drinking the milk, he washed the pot and put it aside, and although he continually looked toward the path, the cowherd boy did not return. Madhavendra Puri could not sleep and so he stayed awake the whole night, chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
Finally, at the end of the night, he dozed off a little, and in his dream the very same cowherd boy appeared to him. Taking his hand, the boy led Madhavendra Puri to a dense forest, wherein He pointed to a thicket and said, “I reside in this bush and thus I suffer greatly from the severe cold, torrential rain, harsh winds and scorching heat. Please bring the village people and have them take Me out from this bush and then nicely situate Me on top of the hill. Construct a temple there and then install Me, bathing Me with a large quantity of cold water, so that My body may become completely cleansed.”
For many days I have been observing You and wondering, ‘When will Madhavendra Puri come here to serve Me?’ My name is Gopala, and I am the lifter of Govardhana Hill. I have accepted your service because of your ecstatic love for Me. I was originally installed by Vajra, and shall once again appear so that, by My audience, all of the fallen souls may be delivered. When the Mohammedans attacked, the pujari who was serving Me hid Me in this bush and then ran away out of fear. Ever since that time, I have been staying here, and so it is very good that you have come. Now, please remove Me with great care.”
After saying this, the boy disappeared, and when Madhavendra Puri awoke and began considering his dream, he lamented, “Although I was able to see Lord Krishna directly, I could not recognize Him!”
While saying this, Madhavendra Puri fell to the ground in ecstasy. Then, after crying for some time, he pacified himself by fixing his mind on executing Gopala’s order. Madhavendra Puri first of all bathed, and then he went to the village. After assembling all the people, he spoke to them as follows: “The proprietor of this village, Govardhana-dhari, is lying in the bushes, and so let us go and rescue Him. The forest is very dense there, and so you must bring some choppers and spades to clear the way.”
After hearing this, all of the people accompanied Madhavendra Puri with great enthusiasm, and under his direction, they cleared a path into the forest. Thereafter, when they saw the Deity covered with dirt and grass, the people were struck with wonder and felt great pleasure. After cleaning the body of the Lord, some of the people said, “The Deity is too heavy for any of us to move.”
Some stronger men were then brought, and they managed to carry the Deity to the top of Govardhana Hill. Under Madhavendra Puri’s direction, a big stone was made into an altar, and then, after the Deity was placed upon it, another big stone was placed behind, to support Him.
The brahmanas from the village brought water from Govinda-kunda in nine large pots and then filtered it. Thereafter, a great installation ceremony commenced, and all around there was singing, dancing, and the playing of musical instruments. All of the milk, yogurt, and ghee was collected from the village and brought there, as well as an indescribable number of sweets and other food preparations. In addition, the villagers brought a great quantity of tulasi leaves, flowers and various types of cloth.
After all inauspicious elements were driven away by chanting mantras, Madhavendra Puri began the abhisheka. First of all, the Deity was massaged with a large quantity of oil so that His body became very glossy. Next, the Deity was bathed in pancha-gavya (milk, yogurt, ghee, cow’s urine, and cow-dung), and panchamrita (milk, yogurt, ghee, sugar, and honey), and then the maha-snana was performed with ghee, and water that had been brought in one hundred pots. After the maha-snana, the Deity was once again massaged with scented oil.
Finally, the last bathing was performed using scented water that had been kept within a conch shell. The Deity was then dressed very nicely in new garments, and sandalwood paste, tulasi garlands and other fragrant flower garlands were placed on His body. Incense and lamps were then offered, and all kinds of food were placed before the Deity, as well as pots of scented drinking water. After this, the Deity was offered water for washing His mouth, along with pan mixed with a variety of spices. Bhoga arati was then performed, and afterwards, all of the people offered prayers while falling flat before the Deity in full surrender.
In order to arrange for the Lord to rest, Madhavendra Puri brought a new cot and covered it with an unused cloth. A temporary temple was then made, by enclosing the bed on all sides with straw mattresses, and the Lord was laid down to rest. After this, Madhavendra Puri called together all of the brahmana cooks and said, “Now, feed everyone sumptuously, from the small children up to the aged.”
As soon as news of the Deity-installation spread, all of the villagers brought their entire stock of rice, dal and wheat-flour, and the potters brought all kinds of cooking pots. The cooking began in the morning, as ten brahmanas prepared the grains, five brahmanas cooked the vegetables, and five or seven men made a huge quantity of chapatis, covered with ghee.
New cloths were then spread over the ground, and upon them were placed palasa leaves stacked high with cooked rice. Around the rice was placed stacks of chapatis, and around them were put the pots containing the vegetable preparations. Alongside these were placed pots of yogurt, milk, kheera, cream and innumerable sweets, and in this way, the annakuta ceremony was performed.
Madhavendra Puri offered all these preparations to Gopala, and the Lord, who had been hungry for many days, ate everything. And yet, although Gopala ate all of the food that had been offered to Him, still, by the touch of His transcendental hand, everything remained as before. How this was enacted, was transcendentally perceived by Madhavendra Puri, however, for nothing remains a secret to the devotees of the Lord.
Miraculously, this wonderful festival was arranged in just one day. Certainly it was possible only by the potency of Gopala, but no one except a devotee can understand this. After the Lord was invited to take rest, all of the people sat down to honor prasada, and the brahmanas and their wives were served first. Not only the people of the Govardhana village were served prasada, but all others who happened to come there. Upon seeing the wonderful influence of Madhavendra Puri, everyone was amazed, for it was by his mercy that they were able to witness the very same annakuta ceremony that had been performed during the time of Lord Krishna.
All of the brahmanas present there were initiated into Vaishnavism by Madhavendra Puri, and then engaged by him in various types of service for the satisfaction of Gopala. When the news spread that Lord Gopala had appeared atop Govardhana Hill, all of the people from the neighboring villages came to see Him.
One after another, the residents of these villages begged Madhavendra Puri to allot them one day to perform the annakuta ceremony, and thus there was a great festival every day for some time. Madhavendra Puri would fast throughout the entire day, and then at night, after the Deity had lain down to rest, he would eat a little milk preparation.
The next morning, preparations would begin again for a great festival, as the people from an appointed village would arrive, bringing all their eatables with them. Every day, throngs of people came to Govardhana Hill from all over, just to see the Deity Gopala, and take maha-prasada sumptuously. The ideal place to execute Krishna consciousness is Vrajabhumi, where the people are naturally inclined to love Krishna, and Krishna is naturally inclined to love them. When those who came to see the Deity beheld the superexcellent form of Lord Gopala, all of their lamentation and unhappiness immediately disappeared.
Besides the neighboring villages, the people of other provinces came to know about Gopala’s appearance, and so they also journeyed to Govardhana Hill, bringing with them all kinds of presentations. The rich businessmen of Mathura brought countless offerings of gold, silver, garments and other things, so that the opulence of Gopala increased daily. One very rich kshatriya constructed a temple, someone else donated cooking utensils, and another person constructed boundary walls. Each and every family in the land of Vrajabhumi contributed one cow, and thus Gopala became the possessor of thousands of cows.
After some time, two brahmana sannyasis came from Bengal, and because Madhavendra Puri liked them very much, he initiated them and then entrusted them with the daily worship of the Deity. The worship of Lord Gopala was thus performed in a very gorgeous manner, and upon seeing this, Madhavendra Puri felt great satisfaction.
Then, one day, two years after the installation of the Deity, Madhavendra Puri dreamt that Gopala came and addressed him as follows: “My bodily temperature has not decreased. Therefore, please bring Me some Malaya sandalwood and smear the paste all over My body, to make Me cool. You can acquire this sandalwood at Jagannatha Puri, and so please go quickly, for there is no one else who can execute this task.”
After awakening, when Madhavendra Puri thought about this dream, he felt great ecstasy. First of all, he made the necessary arrangements so that the Deity worship would continue nicely in his absence, by assigning to different persons the various duties. Then, taking up the order of Lord Gopala, Madhavendra Puri departed for Bengal.
When Madhavendra Puri arrived at his house in Shantipura, Advaita Acharya became very pleased upon seeing his great manifestation of ecstatic love, and so begged him for initiation. After initiating Advaita Acharya, Madhavendra Puri departed for Orissa, and when he came to Remuna, he visited the temple of Gopinatha.
Upon seeing the Deity’s great beauty, Madhavendra Puri became overwhelmed by ecstatic emotions, and so he chanted and danced in the temple for some time. Thereafter, when Madhavendra Puri sat down, he began thinking to himself as follows: “Since the Deity worship here is performed with such excellence, I can understand that only the best food preparations are offered. Let me inquire from one of the brahmanas about what kinds of food are offered to Gopinatha, so that I can make similar arrangements for the worship of Gopala.”
When Madhavendra Puri questioned one of the brahmanas in this way, the pujari replied, “At the evening sandhya-bhoga, the Deity is offered kheera in twelve clay pots, and because its taste is as good as nectar, it is called amrita-keli. This preparation is celebrated throughout the world as gopinatha-kheera, and nowhere else is it to be found.”
It so happened that as Madhvendra Puri was conversing with the brahmana, the offering of kheera was placed before the Deity. When Madhavendra Puri was informed of this, he thought, “If, without my asking, a little kheera is given to me, then I can taste it and make a similar preparation to be offered to Lord Gopala."
However, when Madhavendra Puri realized that he had desired to taste the kheera before it had been offered to the Deity, he became greatly ashamed, and so immediately began to think of Lord Vishnu. Thereafter, when the offering was finished, the arati began. At the end of the arati, Madhavendra Puri offered his obeisances to the Deity and then left the temple without informing anyone. Considering himself to have committed an offense, Madhavendra Puri went and sat down in the deserted village marketplace and began chanting the holy name of the Lord.
Meanwhile, the pujari put the Deity to rest, and then, after finishing his duties, he also retired for the night. As the pujari slept, the Gopinatha Deity came to him in his dream, and spoke as follows: “Please get up and go into the temple. I have kept a pot of kheera for the sannyasi, Madhavendra Puri, behind My cloth, and because of this trick, you did not see it. Please take this pot of kheera and deliver it to Madhavendra Puri, who is now sitting in the vacant marketplace.”
After hearing this, the brahmana immediately awoke and then bathed before entering the Deity’s room. After opening the Deity’s door, the pujari found the pot of kheera. After removing it, he mopped the floor. Then, after going to the market place, the pujari called out in each and every stall, “Will he whose name is Madhavendra Puri please come and take this pot of kheera, for Gopinatha has stolen it for you. Enjoy this prasada with great happiness, for you are the most fortunate person within the three worlds!”
Upon hearing this, Madhavendra Puri came out and identified himself, and so the pujari delivered the pot of kheera to him and offered his obeisances. When Madhavendra Puri heard from the brahmana about how Gopinatha had stolen the kheera for his sake, he at once became absorbed in ecstatic love for Krishna, and upon seeing these transcendental symptoms, the pujari was struck with wonder. Indeed, when he saw Madhavendra Puri’s manifestation of ecstatic love, the brahmana could understand why Krishna had become so much obliged to him. The pujari once again offered his obeisances by falling flat before Madhavendra Puri, and then he returned to the temple.
After eating the kheera in great ecstasy, Madhavendra Puri washed the clay pot and then broke it into small pieces and carefully tied them up in his outer cloth. Each day thereafter, he used to eat one piece of that clay pot, and upon doing so he would immediately become overwhelmed by ecstasy. Madhavendra Puri then began to think, “The Lord has given me a pot of kheera, and when the people hear of this miracle tomorrow morning, great crowds will come to see me.”
While thinking like this, Madhavendra Puri offered his obeisances to Gopinatha, and then left Remuna before sunrise. Finally, Madhavendra Puri reached Nilachala, and when he saw the Deity of Lord Jagannatha, he became overwhelmed by loving ecstasy, so that sometimes he stood up, and sometimes he fell to the ground. Sometimes he laughed, sometimes he danced and sang, and in this way he enjoyed transcendental bliss while seeing Lord Jagannatha.
Due to Madhavendra Puri’s great spiritual influence, crowds of people came and offered him all sorts of respect and service. Thus, even though he had fled Remuna out of fear of his reputation, the transcendental fame brought about by love of God is so sublime that it goes along with the devotee, as if following him. Because of this, Madhavendra Puri would have also left Jagannatha Puri, but he did not do so, for that would have hampered his mission.
Madhavendra Puri related to the servants of Lord Jagannatha the story of Gopala’s appearance, and when they heard that the Deity wanted sandalwood, they endeavored to collect it with great pleasure. Those who were acquainted with government officers met them, and by begging they were able to get the necessary sandalwood and camphor. One brahmana and one servant were then given to Madhavendra Puri, just to carry the heavy load, and he was also provided with the necessary travelling expenses, and release papers to show the toll collectors along the way.
Madhavendra Puri then departed, and after a few days he reached Remuna. He offered his obeisances repeatedly at the lotus feet of the Gopinatha Deity, and then in great ecstasy he began singing and dancing without cessation. After some time, the pujari brought the kheera prasada, and after offering his obeisances, he made Madhavendra Puri eat.
That night, Madhavendra Puri took rest in the temple, and just before morning he dreamt that Gopala came before him and said, “I have already received the sandalwood and camphor that you have brought. Now, grind the sandalwood, along with the camphor, and smear the paste over Gopinatha’s body daily, until the entire supply is finished. O Madhavendra Puri, there is no difference between My body and Gopinatha’s body, and thus, if you smear the sandalwood paste over His body, you will automatically apply it to Mine. In this way, my high temperature will become reduced. Please do not hesitate to execute this order. Just believe Me and do what is needed.”
After giving these instructions, Gopala disappeared. When Madhavendra Puri awoke, he called for the servants of Gopinatha and said, “Take this sandalwood and camphor that I have brought from Jagannatha Puri and apply it to the body of Gopinatha. If you do this every day, then Gopala will also feel cool, for this is the order of the all-powerful Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
The servants of Gopinatha were very pleased to hear that the sandalwood would be offered to their Deity during the summer months. Madhavendra Puri then informed them, “The two assistants that have accompanied me will grind the sandalwood. You should hire two more persons to help them, and I will pay their salaries.”
In this way, Gopinatha was supplied with sandalwood paste daily, and Madhavendra Puri remained at Remuna until the entire supply was exhausted. Then, at the end of the summer, Madhavendra Puri returned to Nilachala, so that he could remain there for the four months of the rainy season.
After narrating these incidents from the life of Madhavendra Puri, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu addressed Nityananda Prabhu as follows: “Please judge whether there is anyone within the world who is as fortunate as Madhavendra Puri. Krishna personally appeared before him on the plea of delivering milk, and then three times the Lord ordered him in dreams. Being obliged because of Madhavendra Puri’s loving devotional service, Lord Krishna appeared as the Gopala Deity, and by accepting his service, He liberated the entire world. For Madhavendra Puri, Lord Gopinatha stole a pot of kheera, and thus he became famous as kheera-chora-gopinatha. It was very inconvenient to travel through the provinces of India governed by the Mohammedans, and so Madhavendra Puri might have experienced great trouble while carrying the load of sandalwood and camphor. This was known to Gopala, and so the Lord mercifully allowed Madhavendra Puri’s labor to become successful by smearing the sandalwood paste and camphor over the body of Gopinatha.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then placed the standard of Madhavendra Puri’s intense love for Krishna before Nityananda Prabhu for judgement as follows: “Shri Madhavendra Puri used to remain alone for fear of talking about mundane things. He was uninterested in everything material, and was always silent. Madhavendra Puri avoided begging. If someone offered him some food, he would eat- otherwise he would fast.”
“After receiving Gopala’s order, this great personality traveled thousands of kilometers to collect sandalwood by begging, and even when he was hungry, he would not ask for food. Without considering his personal comforts, Madhavendra Puri carried about thirty-seven kilos of sandalwood and two hundred and thirty grams of camphor for smearing over the body of Gopala. In spite of traveling throughout provinces that were governed by the Mohammedans, he was not at all anxious, and although he had no money with him, he was not afraid to pass by the toll collectors. His only enjoyment was in carrying the load of sandalwood to Vrindavana, for the satisfaction of Gopala.”
“Because Shri Gopala wanted to show the world just how intensely Madhavendra Puri loved Krishna, He asked him to go to Nilachala to fetch sandalwood. Jut to test Madhavendra Puri’s intense love, the Supreme Personality of Godhead ordered him to bring the sandalwood, and then, when he passed this examination, the Lord mercifully allowed him to smear the paste over the body of the Gopinatha Deity. Such is the behavior that is exhibited between the devotee and his lovable object, Shri Krishna. Common men do not even have the capacity to understand such dealings.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited a famous verse that had been composed by Madhavendra Puri. Like the moon, this verse has illuminated the whole world, and like the aroma of sandalwood, which increases by continual rubbing, the importance of this verse’s meaning increases with consideration. As the kaustubha-mani is considered to be the best among jewels, so this verse is considered to be the foremost of relishable poems. Actually, this verse was spoken by Shrimati Radharani Herself, and by Her mercy it became manifest in the words of Madhavendra Puri. Besides these two, only Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has tasted the import of this verse, and no fourth person is capable of understanding it.
At the end of his life, Madhavendra Puri recited this verse again and again, and thus attained the ultimate goal of life: “O My Lord! O most merciful master! O master of Mathura! When shall I see You again? Because of not seeing You, My agitated heart has become unsteady. O most beloved One, what shall I do now?”
After reciting this verse, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fainted to the ground, due to being overwhelmed by ecstasy. Nityananda Prabhu took Him upon His lap, the then, the Lord once again got up, and while exhibiting various ecstatic emotions, He began running here and there.
Sometimes the Lord laughed, sometimes He cried, and sometimes He sang and danced. Due to His intense ecstasy, the Lord’s voice faltered, and thus He could not recite the entire verse. Trembling, profuse tears, perspiration, shock, fading of the bodily luster, disappointment, moroseness, loss of memory, pride, joy, and humility were all visible in the person of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for this verse had uncovered the door of His ecstatic love.
When a great crowd assembled to watch the Lord’s ecstatic dancing, He once again came to His external consciousness. Meanwhile, the offering to the Deity was completed, and a resounding arati began. After the Deity was put to rest, the pujari came out and offered all twelve pots of kheera to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. With great pleasure, the Lord accepted five of the pots, for Himself and His associates. Being identical with Gopinatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had already eaten the kheera, but just to manifest devotional service, He again relished it as a devotee. That night, the Lord stayed in the temple, and then the next morning, after seeing the mangala-arati, He departed.
After walking and walking, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu finally arrived at Yajapura on the River Vaitarani, where He saw a temple of Lord Varaha. The Lord offered obeisances to the Deity, and then He engaged in chanting and dancing for some time. That night, the Lord remained in the temple, and the next morning, He departed for Kataka, to see the temple of Sakshi-Gopala. Upon seeing the Deity’s exquisite beauty, the Lord began chanting and dancing with great pleasure, and in ecstasy, He offered numerous prayers.
Previously, Nityananda Prabhu had come to Kataka while touring all over India on pilgrimage, and at that time He heard the story of Sakshi-Gopala from the townspeople. That night, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed in the temple, and along with the other devotees, He listened as Nityananda recited the narration, just as He had formerly heard it.
Long ago, at Vidyanagara in South India, there lived two brahmanas who made an extensive tour together, to see some of the holy places of pilgrimage. In this way, they visited Gaya, Kashi, Prayaga, and then finally, with great pleasure, they came to Mathura.
Thereafter, they visited the twelve forests of Vrindavana and Govardhana Hill. Then, after bathing at various ghats along the River Yamuna, they came to the town of Vrindavana, where they saw the temple of Gopala, which was situated where the present Govinda temple is located. The Gopala temple was large, and the Deity worship was performed in a very gorgeous manner. The beauty of the Gopala Deity stole away the minds of the two pilgrim-brahmanas, and so they very happily remained there for two or four days.
One of the brahmanas was an old man, and the other young brahmana assisted him. Indeed, the elderly brahmana became so pleased by how the younger brahmana continually served him, that he addressed him as follows: “You have rendered such nice service while assisting me on our travels that, by your mercy, I have not experienced even the slightest difficulty. Truthfully, even my own son does not render such service, and so I would certainly be most ungrateful if I did not show you proper respect in return. Therefore, I hereby promise to give you my daughter in charity.”
The younger brahmana was very surprised to hear this, and so he replied, “My dear sir, you are a most aristocratic gentleman, very well-educated and rich. On the other hand, I am from a poor family, and I am not very well educated. Because of this, I am not at all a suitable match for your daughter. Why are you proposing something that is highly unprecedented? Dear Sir, I render service to you simply for the satisfaction of the Lord. Lord Krishna is very pleased when service is rendered to the brahmanas, and when the Lord is satisfied, one’s devotional opulence increases."
The elder brahmana then said, “My dear boy, do not doubt what I say. I shall give you my daughter in charity, for I have already made up my mind to do so.”
The young brahmana argued, “Don’t forget that you have a wife, sons, and a large circle of friends and relatives. Without their consent, it will not be possible for you to give me your daughter in marriage. Just consider how King Bhismaka wanted to give his daughter, Rukmini, to Krishna, but since his eldest son, Rukmi, objected, he could not do so.”
The elderly brahmana insisted, “My daughter is my own property. If I choose to give my property to someone, then who has the power to stop me? My dear boy, I will give you my daughter in charity and disregard all others, even if they oppose me. Just accept my proposal and do not doubt me in this regard.”
The younger brahmana replied, “If this decision of yours is final, then say so before the Gopala Deity.”
The elder brahmana agreed, and so, after coming before Gopala, he said, “My dear Lord, please witness that I have promised to give my daughter in charity to this boy.”
The younger brahmana then addressed the Deity, saying, “My dear Lord, You are my witness, and so, later on if it is necessary, I shall call upon You to testify on my behalf.”
Thereafter, the two brahmanas started the long journey home, and as before, the younger brahmana served the elder brahmana as if he were his spiritual master. After returning to Vidyanagara, the two brahmanas went to their respective residences.
Then, after some time, the elderly brahmana began anxiously thinking as follows: “I have given my word to a brahmana in a holy place and so what I have promised must surely come to pass. Now is the time to disclose the situation to my wife, sons and other relatives.”
Thus, one day, the elderly brahmana called a meeting of all his relatives and friends, and in front of them he narrated what had taken place before the Deity, Gopala. As soon as they heard the story, the old brahmana’s family members uttered exclamations of disappointment and urged him to never make such a suggestion again. The family members unanimously advised, “If you offer your daughter to this lowly brahmana, your aristocratic status will be destroyed. Indeed, when people hear of this, they will laugh and joke about you.”
The elderly brahmana replied, “How can I break a promise that I made in a holy place while on pilgrimage? Whatever the consequences may be, I must give my daughter in charity to this brahmana.”
The relatives then threatened, “If you give your daughter to this boy, we shall give up all connection with you.”
Indeed, his wife and sons declared, “If such a thing happens, we will take poison and commit suicide.”
The elderly brahmana pleaded, “If I do not give my daughter to the young brahmana, he will call Shri Gopala as a witness. In this way, he will take my daughter by force, and at the same time all my religious principles will become meaningless.”
At this, his son responded, “The Deity may have been a witness, but He is far away. How can He come to testify against you? Why are you so anxious about this? You do not have to directly deny that you made such a promise- just say that you do not remember what you had said. Simply say, ‘I do not remember’, and I shall take care of the rest. By my strong arguments, I will defeat the young brahmana.”
Upon hearing this, the elderly brahmana’s mind became very agitated. Feeling himself to be utterly helpless, he turned his full attention to the lotus feet of Shri Gopala. He then prayed to the Lord as follows: “My dear Lord, since I have taken shelter of You, I request You to please protect my religious principles, and at the same time save my kinsmen from death."
Then, the next day, as the elderly brahmana was deeply thinking over the matter, the young brahmana came to his house. After offering his obeisances, the younger brahmana very humbly addressed the elder brahmana, while standing before him with folded hands, “ You promised to give me your daughter in charity, but now you do not say anything. What is your decision?”
The elderly brahmana remained silent. Taking advantage of the situation, his son immediately came on the scene with a stick in his hand and exclaimed, “Oh, you are most degraded! You wish to marry my sister, just like a dwarf who wants to catch the moon.”
Seeing how the elder brahmana’s son was about to beat him, the young brahmana fled. The next day, however, he gathered together all the townspeople, and they in turn summoned the elderly brahmana to the meeting place. The young brahmana then addressed the people as follows: “This gentleman had promised to hand over his daughter to me, but now is not willing to keep his word. Please ask him about his behavior.”
The people asked the elderly brahmana, “If you have promised to give your daughter to this boy in charity, then why aren’t you keeping your word of honor?”
The elderly brahmana replied, “My dear friends, I do not exactly remember what it is that I had said.”
Taking advantage of this opportunity, the elderly brahmana’s son stood up and then impudently spoke as follows: “While touring various holy places of pilgrimage, my father carried a lot of money with him. This boy was the only person accompanying him, and, after deciding to take away his money, he gave my father an intoxicant called dhutura to eat.”
“Because of this, my father became delirious. Then, when he finally regained his senses, this rascal claimed that the money had been stolen by a thief. Now, he dares to claim that my father has promised to give him his daughter in charity. All of you who are assembled here are gentlemen, and so please judge for yourselves whether it is befitting for my sister to be given to this poor brahmana.”
After hearing this forceful argument, the people became a little doubtful, thinking that it was quite possible for the poor brahmana to have discarded his religious principles due to attraction for money.
The young brahmana then said, “My dear gentlemen, please hear me. This man is lying just to convince you. The truth is that this elder brahmana, being very pleased by my service, promised to hand over his daughter to me. I tried my best to dissuade him from his determination by pointing out in so many ways how I am not fit for becoming his son-in-law. Still, he would not relent.”
“Then, after he had insisted again and again that I accept his proposal, I warned him that his relatives would never allow the marriage to take place. Finally, after all attempts to convince him had failed, I requested this elderly brahmana to state his promise before the Gopala Deity.”
“After he did so, I also submitted a plea at the Deity’s lotus feet, saying, ‘My dear Lord, if this brahmana later on hesitates to give me his daughter in charity, then I will call upon You as a witness. Please note this with great care and attention.’ In this way, I requested the Supreme Personality of Godhead to become my witness, for everyone within the three worlds accepts His word.”
Taking this opportunity, the elderly brahmana interjected, “Yes, if Gopala personally comes here to serve as a witness, then I shall certainly give my daughter to this young brahmana in charity.”
The elderly brahmana’s son immediately confirmed this, saying, “Yes, this is a very nice settlement.”
The elderly brahmana thought, “Since Lord Krishna is very merciful, He will surely come here to keep my promise intact.”
At the same time, the atheistic son thought, “It is not possible for Gopala to come here and bear witness.”
In this way, both father and son agreed to the proposal, and then the young brahmana said, “Please write this agreement on paper, so that you may not once again go back on your word.”
Acting as mediators, the assembly got the statement written down and signed by both brahmanas. The younger brahmana then said, “My dear gentlemen, this elderly brahmana is certainly truthful and has no desire to break his promise. It is only due to fear that his kinsmen will commit suicide that he has gone back on his word. Now, on the strength of the elder brahmana’s piety, I will call the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a witness, to keep his religious principles intact.”
After hearing this statement, some of the atheists in the audience made jokes, but someone else said, “After all, the Lord is merciful, and if He likes, He can come here.”
Thereafter, the young brahmana started for Vrindavana. Upon his arrival there, the young brahmana went and offered obeisances unto the Gopala Deity and explained everything that had happened, in detail.
The young brahmana then said, “My Lord, You are the protector of brahminical culture, and You are also very merciful. Therefore, kindly show Your special favor and protect the religious principles of us two brahmanas. I am not thinking to become happy by getting the elder brahmana’s daughter as my wife. I am simply aggrieved because he has broken his promise.”
“My dear Lord, You know everything and so kindly become a witness in this case. A person who knows things as they are, and yet does not bear witness, becomes implicated in sinful activities.”
Lord Krishna replied, “My dear brahmana, go back to your home and call a meeting of all the villagers. After the people assemble, just think of Me, and I shall surely appear there and bear witness to the promise that was made by the elder brahmana.”
The young brahmana argued, “My dear Lord, even if You appear there as Lord Vishnu, no one will accept Your word. Only if You go there in this form of Gopala will Your testimony be heard by the people.”
Lord Krishna then said, “I have never heard of a Deity walking from one place to another.”
The brahmana replied, “That may be true, but how is it that You are speaking, although You are a Deity? My dear Lord, You are not merely a statue. You are directly the son of Maharaja Nanda. Now, for the sake of the old brahmana, You can do something that You have never done before.”
At this, Shri Gopala smiled and said, “My dear brahmana, I shall walk behind you, but do not try to turn around and see Me. As soon as you do so, I will remain stationary at that place. You will know that I am following you by the sound of My ankle bells. Cook one kilo of rice each day and offer it to Me. I shall eat that rice and follow you.”
The next morning, the brahmana took permission from Gopala and then started out for his native place. As Lord Gopala followed, step by step, the brahmana could hear the tinkling sound of His ankle bells, and thus he felt great pleasure. Finally, when the brahmana arrived at the outskirts of his village, he thought, “Now I shall go and tell all the people that the witness has arrived.”
While thinking this, the brahmana turned around and saw Gopala, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, standing there, smiling. The Lord then said, “You can go now, and I shall stay here. I will not leave.”
The young brahmana went and informed the townspeople of Gopala’s arrival, and upon hearing the news, everyone was struck with wonder. When all the people went and actually saw the witness Gopala standing outside their village, they offered Him their obeisances with great pleasure.
The elderly brahmana then jubilantly came forward and immediately fell down just like a stick at the lotus feet of Gopala. Thereafter, in the presence of all the townspeople, Lord Gopala testified that the elderly brahmana had indeed offered his daughter in charity to the young brahmana. In this way, the matter was happily settled. Then, after the marriage ceremony, the Lord informed the two brahmanas, “You are both My eternal servants, birth after birth. I am very pleased by the truthfulness of you two brahmanas, and so you may now ask Me for a benediction.”
At this, the two brahmanas made the following request with great pleasure: “Please remain here so that people all over the world will know just how merciful You are to Your servants.”
Lord Gopala stayed at that place, and the two brahmanas engaged in His service. After hearing of the wonderful incident, people came from all over the country to see the Deity, who had become famous as Sakshi-gopala. When the king of that country heard the story, he also came to see Gopala with great satisfaction. Thereafter, the king constructed a temple, and so regular service to the Deity was instituted. In this way, Sakshi-gopala remained at Vidyanagara for a very long time.
Later on, the king of Vidyanagara was conquered by King Purushottama of Orissa, who took possession of his Manikya-simhasana, which was bedecked with many jewels. King Purushottama was a great devotee of the Lord, and when He begged at the lotus feet of Gopala, “Please come to my kingdom”, the Lord accepted his prayer. Thus, King Purushottama took Gopala back to Kataka, and he presented the Manikya throne to Lord Jagannatha.
After Lord Gopala was installed at Kataka, the queen went to see Him, and with great devotion, she presented Him with various kinds of ornaments. The queen had a very valuable pearl that she wore in her nose, and so, with a desire to give it to Gopala, she thought as follows: “If there is a hole in the Deity’s nose, then I could offer my pearl to Him.”
With this in mind, the queen offered her obeisances to Gopala and then returned to the palace. That night, as the queen slept, Lord Gopala appeared in her dream and spoke as follows: “During My childhood, My mother made a hole in My nose, and with great endeavor she set a pearl there. That hole is still there and so you can place in it the pearl which you desire to offer to Me.”
When she awoke, the queen described the dream to her husband, and then both of them went to the temple, taking the pearl with them. When they saw that the Deity in fact had a hole in His nose, they set the pearl there and then celebrated the occasion, with great pleasure, by holding a grand festival.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the devotees were very pleased to hear this narration from Nityananda Prabhu. Indeed, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat in front of the Deity, all of the devotees saw the two Lords as possessing the same form. Both Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Gopala had the same complexion, and both had the same gigantic bodies. Both of Them wore saffron cloth and They were very grave. The devotees saw that both Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Gopala were brilliantly effulgent and had eyes like lotus-petals. Both of Them were absorbed in ecstasy, and Their faces resembled full moons. Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Gopala in this way, Nityananda Prabhu began to smilingly exchange ecstatic remarks with the other devotees.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed the night in the temple, and then, the next morning, after seeing the mangala arati, He resumed His journey. Upon arriving at Bhuvaneshvara, the Lord visited the temple of Lord Shiva known as Gupta-Kashi, and also bathed in the Bindu-sarovara, which Lord Shiva had created by bringing water from all of the holy places. From Bhuvaneshvara, the Lord went to Kamalapura, where He bathed in the Bharginadi River, after entrusting His sannyasa-danda to Nityananda Prabhu. Then, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to see the temple of Lord Shiva known as Kapoteshvara, Nityananda broke His sannyasa danda into three parts and threw it into the river. For this reason, the Bharginadi river later on became known as Danda-bhanga-nadi.
When a sannyasi is elevated to the topmost position, called paramahamsa, after extensively touring and preaching the bhakti cult, he must give up the sannyasa danda. Since Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nityananda Prabhu considered there to be no need for Him to wait for the paramahamsa stage, and it is for this reason He broke the Lord’s sannyasa danda.
When He caught sight of the temple of Lord Jagannatha in the distance, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately became ecstatic, and after offering His obeisances, He began to dance. By the Lord’s association, all the devotees also became ecstatic, and thus, while going along the road, they continued singing and dancing. Lord Chaitanya laughed, cried, and made many ecstatic sounds, and although the temple was only ten kilometers away, it seemed to Him to be thousands of kilometers.
Finally, the Lord arrived at the bridge known as Atharanala, which has eighteen arches, and is situated at the entrance of Jagannatha Puri. Coming to His external consciousness, the Lord requested Nityananda Prabhu, “Please return My staff.”
Nityananda replied, “Once, when You fell down in ecstasy, I caught hold of You, but then both of Us fell upon Your sannyasa danda. Due to Our combined weight, the staff broke into three parts, and where they have gone I cannot say. It is certainly due to My offense that Your danda has been broken. Now, You can punish Me as You think fit.”
After hearing this story, the Lord expressed some disappointment and then, while displaying a bit of anger, He replied, “You have all benefited Me by bringing Me here to Nilachala. However, My only possession was this one staff, and now you have lost it. Therefore, all of you may go before Me or behind, in order to see Lord Jagannatha, but I shall go alone.”
Mukunda Datta then said, “My Lord, You should go ahead and the rest of us will follow You.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then began walking very swiftly and no one could understand the purpose of the two Lords. No one could understand why Nityananda had broken the staff, why Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had permitted Him to do so, and then why, after allowing Him, the Lord had become angry.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had already been absorbed in ecstasy while going along the road from Atharanala, and so when He entered the temple and saw Lord Jagannatha, face to face, He became very agitated due to love. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ran swiftly to embrace Lord Jagannatha, but as He approached the Deity’s room, He became so overwhelmed with ecstatic love that He suddenly fainted onto the floor.
Upon seeing this, the watchman threatened to beat the Lord, considering Him to be a madman, but Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, who happened to be there at the time, immediately restrained him. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was highly astonished to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s personal beauty, as well as the ecstatic symptoms that had become manifest in His body due to transcendental love.
As the Bhattacharya tried to think of some remedy for His condition, the Lord remained unconscious for a long time. Then, when it was time for the next offering of food to the Deity, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya had the Lord carried to his residence, with the help of the watchman and some of his disciples.
After laying the Lord down in a very sanctified room, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya began to examine His body and thus discovered that His abdomen was not moving and His breathing had apparently stopped. Upon seeing these symptoms, the Bhattacharya became very anxious. However, when he took a fine cotton swab and put it in front of the Lord’s nostrils, he saw that it moved slightly, and thus he became a little more hopeful.
While sitting at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s side, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya thought, “This manifestation of the suddipta-sattvika-bhava (highly inflamed ecstasy), called pralaya (devastation), brought about by love for Krishna, is possible only for eternally liberated devotees who are associates of the Supreme Lord (nitya-siddha). Indeed, these symptoms of maha-bhava are exceedingly wonderful. How is it possible for them to be seen in the body of an ordinary human being?”
While the Bhattacharya was thinking in this way, Nityananda Prabhu, Mukunda Datta, Damodara Pandita and Jagadananda Pandita came to the Simha-dvara, which is situated at the entrance of the Jagannatha temple. There, they heard the people talking about a mendicant sannyasi who had fainted upon seeing the Deity of Lord Jagannatha. When they furthermore heard how the sannyasi had not regained consciousness and was taken to the house of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, the devotees could understand that the people were talking about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
At that time, Gopinatha Acharya happened to come there. He was a resident of Nadia, and the son-in-law of Maheshvara Vishrada, a classmate of Nilambara Chakravarti, and the father of Madhusudana Vachaspati and Vasudeva Sarvabhauma. Gopinatha Acharya had previously been acquainted with Mukunda Datta, and so he was very surprised to see him in Jagannatha Puri. Mukunda offered his obeisances to Gopinatha, and the Acharya embraced him in return, and then offered obeisances to Nityananda Prabhu.
When Gopinatha Acharya inquired about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Mukunda replied, “After accepting the renounced order of life, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has come to Nilachala, taking us with Him. However, in order to see Lord Jagannatha, He left our company, and so we are now engaged in looking for Him.”
“From the talk of the people it appears that the Lord is at Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house. They say that upon seeing Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became so ecstatic that He fainted. Then, to treat Him, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya took the Lord home. Therefore, let us first go to Bhattacharya’s house, and later on we can go to see Lord Jagannatha.”
Gopinatha Acharya was very pleased to hear about the Lord, and he immediately took the devotees to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house. Upon arriving there, Gopinatha felt very unhappy to observe Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s condition, and yet he also experienced great joy just by seeing the Lord.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya met the devotees and gave them a proper welcome, and upon seeing Nityananda Prabhu, he offered His obeisances. The Bhattacharya then had his son, Chandaneshvara, escort the devotees to the temple. When they saw Lord Jagannatha, everyone felt great pleasure, especially Nityananda Prabhu, who became overwhelmed by ecstasy. Indeed, Lord Nityananda almost fainted and so the devotees caught hold of Him, to prevent Him from falling to the floor. One of the pujaris then brought a garland that had been offered to the Deity and presented it to Nityananda Prabhu, and all of the devotees were very pleased to honor it.
Thereafter, when the devotees returned to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house, they began loudly chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Just before noon, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu regained consciousness, and while getting up, He shouted, “Hari! Hari!” Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was extremely pleased to see the Lord’s recovery, and with great satisfaction he took the dust from His lotus feet. The Bhattacharya then informed all those present, “Please go and take your noon baths, and quickly return, for today I shall offer you the maha-prasada of Lord Jagannatha.”
After bathing in the sea, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees returned to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house. After washing His feet, the Lord sat down on a carpet and then accepted lunch with great pleasure, in the company of His devotees. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya personally served prasada, and he offered the Lord special rice and first-class vegetables on golden plates. Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu requested, “Please give Me only boiled vegetables. You can offer all of the cakes and condensed milk preparations to the devotees”, the Bhattacharya replied with folded hands, “Today, all of you please try to taste the lunch just as Lord Jagannatha accepted it.”
After saying this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya made everyone eat all the varieties of prasada, and after lunch was finished, he offered them water to wash their hands, feet and mouths. Then, with the permission of the Lord and His devotees, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya went to take lunch along with Gopinatha Acharya. After eating, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya came and offered his obeisances to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, saying, “namo narayanaya” (I offer my obeisances unto Narayana). In return, the Lord said, “krishne matir astu” (may you become Krishna conscious).
Upon hearing this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya could understand Lord Chaitanya to be a Vaishnava sannyasi. He then questioned Gopinatha Acharya, “I would like to know the Gosvami’s purvashrama (identity before taking sannyasa).”
Gopinatha replied, “He is the son of a man named Jagannatha who resided at Navadvipa, and whose surname was Mishra Purandara. His former name was Vishvambhara Mishra, and He also happens to be the maternal grandson of Nilambara Chakravarti.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then said, “Nilambara Chakravarti was a school-mate of my father, and Jagannatha Mishra was greatly respected by him.”
Then, addressing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Bhattacharya said, “You are naturally respectable, and besides, You are a sannyasi. Therefore, I wish to become Your personal servant.”
Upon hearing these words, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately thought of Lord Vishnu and then humbly replied as follows: “Because you are a teacher of Vedanta, you are jagat-guru, the master and well-wisher of all the people of the world. I am a young sannyasi and factually, I have no real knowledge of what is good and what is bad. Since you are the benefactor of all kinds of sannyasis, I am taking shelter of you, and accept you as my spiritual master. Indeed, I came here only to associate with you. Now, please maintain Me in all respects. The incident that occurred today was a great obstacle for Me, but you have very kindly relieved Me from it.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “From now on do not go alone to see the Deity of Lord Jagannatha in the temple. It is better if You go with me or my men.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “I shall never enter the temple, but will always view the Lord from the side of the Garuda-stambha.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then requested Gopinatha Acharya, “Please take Gosvamiji and show Him Lord Jagannatha. In addition, make the necessary arrangements so that He may stay in the house belonging to my maternal aunt, which is situated in a very secluded place.”
First of all, Gopinatha Acharya took the Lord to His residence and showed Him where to find water and whatever else was necessary. Then, the next morning, he took the Lord to see the early rising of Lord Jagannatha from bed.
Thereafter, Gopinatha Acharya went with Mukunda to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house. Upon their arrival, the Bhattacharya addressed Gopinatha as follows: “This sannyasi is very meek and humble by nature, and He is extremely beautiful to see. Because of this, my affection for Him increases. What is His name and from what sampradaya has He accepted the renounced order of life?”
Gopinatha Acharya replied, “The Lord’s name is Shri Krishna Chaitanya, and His sannyasa preceptor is the greatly fortunate Keshava Bharati.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then said, “Shri Krishna is a very good name, but since He belongs to the Bharati community, He is a second-class sannyasi.”
Gopinatha Acharya replied, “Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu does not rely upon any external formality, and thus there is no need for Him to accept sannyasa from a superior sampradaya.”
The Bhattacharya then said, “Shri Krishna Chaitanya is in the prime of His youth. How will He be able to maintain the principles of sannyasa? I shall continually recite the Vedanta philosophy to Him so that He may remain fixed in His renunciation and enter onto the path of monism (advaita-marga). In addition, if Shri Krishna Chaitanya likes, I could once again perform the reformatory process and offering of saffron cloth, so that He can be initiated into the Sarasvati sampradaya, which is first-class.”
Gopinatha Acharya and Mukunda Datta became very unhappy to hear this statement, and the former replied to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya as follows: “You do not know the greatness of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. All of the characteristics of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are found in Him to the highest degree. Indeed, the Lord is widely accepted as such, but those who are ignorant in this connection find the conclusion of knowledgeable men difficult to understand.”
The Bhattacharya’s disciples retorted, “By what evidence do you conclude that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead?”
Gopinatha Acharya replied, “The statements of authorized Acharyas who understand the Supreme Lord are proof.”
The Bhattacharya’s disciples said, “We derive knowledge of the Absolute Truth by logical hypothesis (anumana).”
Gopinatha Acharya replied, “One cannot attain real knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by logical hypothesis and argument. One can understand the Supreme Lord only by His mercy. This is explained in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam: ‘My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand Your greatness. However, those who speculate in order to understand You cannot do so, even though they may constantly study the Vedas for years together.’ ”
Gopinatha Acharya then said to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, “You are a great scholar and teacher of many disciples, and yet, because you are bereft of even a pinch of the Lord’s mercy, you cannot understand Him, even though He is present in your home. This is not your fault- it is simply a fact that the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be understood merely by scholarship.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “My dear Gopinatha, please consider things carefully before speaking. What is the proof that you have received the mercy of the Lord?”
Gopinatha Acharya said, “Genuine knowledge of the Absolute Truth is itself evidence of the mercy of the Supreme Lord. You saw the characteristics of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the body of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when He was absorbed in ecstasy, and yet, you still cannot understand Him. This is what is known as maya, or illusion. A person who is influenced by the external energy is called bahirmukha-jana because, in spite of his perception, he cannot understand reality.”
Upon hearing this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya smilingly said, “Please do not become angry. We are just having a discussion among friends (ishta-gosthi), and considering the points on the strength of shastra. Therefore, please do not take offense. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is certainly a very great and uncommon devotee, but He cannot be accepted as an avatara of Lord Vishnu, because according to shastra, there is no incarnation in the age of Kali. It is for this reason that one of the names of Lord Vishnu is Triyuga.”
Feeling unhappy upon hearing this argument, Gopinatha Acharya replied, “You consider yourself to be the knower of all Vedic literatures, and yet you have not paid any attention to the statements of the two most prominent shastra; Shrimad-Bhagavatam and Mahabharata. There is no lila-avatara in the Kali-yuga, and thus one of the holy names of Vishnu is Triyuga. However, in each age there is a yuga-avatara. Unfortunately, your heart has become so hardened by logic and argument that you cannot consider this fact.”
“In the eleventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is stated, ‘In this age of Kali, those who are intelligent will worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the performance of sankirtana-yagya. In this age, the Lord appears with a golden complexion, and along with His associates, He propagates the yuga-dharma by always chanting the glories of Krishna.’ ”
“Anyway, there is no necessity for quoting so much evidence from shastra, for you are a very dry speculator. There is no need to sow seeds in barren land. Only when the Lord becomes pleased with you will you be able to understand these statements of shastra. The false arguments and philosophical word jugglery of your students are not actually their fault, for they have simply received the benediction of Mayavada philosophy. This is nicely explained in a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam: ‘I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose illusory potency brings about agreement and disagreement between disputants, while covering their knowledge of self-realization.’ ”
After hearing from Gopinatha Acharya, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “Please go now, and on my behalf invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to come here along with His associates. Bring Him some Jagannatha prasada, and then come back here, to continue teaching me.”
Gopinatha Acharya was Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s brother-in-law, and thus they had a very sweet, intimate relationship. For some time, Gopinatha Acharya had been instructing the Bhattacharya by sometimes blaspheming him, sometimes praising him, and sometimes laughing at him. Mukunda Datta felt very satisfied to hear the conclusive statements of Gopinatha Acharya, but he became very unhappy and angry to hear the arguments put forward by Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya.
When Gopinatha Acharya went to invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on behalf of the Bhattacharya, these statements were discussed before the Lord. Both Gopinatha Acharya and Mukunda denounced the Bhattacharya and his arguments, because they caused mental pain. However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told them, “Do not speak like this. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya has shown Me great mercy and affection. Due to parental affection, he wants to protect Me by seeing that I follow the regulative principles of sannyasa. What fault is there in this?”
The next morning, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya visited the temple of Lord Jagannatha together. Both were in a very pleasant mood, and after entering the temple, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya gave the Lord a nice sitting place, while he sat down on the floor out of respect for a sannyasi.
Then, with great affection, the Bhattacharya spoke to the Lord as follows, with the intention of converting Him into a Mayavadi sannyasi: “Hearing the Shariraka-bhasya commentary on Vedanta-sutra is the main business for someone in the renounced order of life. Therefore, without hesitation, You should study Vedanta constantly, by hearing it from a superior person.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “You are very merciful, and thus I consider it to be My duty to obey your order.”
Thereafter, for seven continuous days, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu listened to the Vedanta philosophy that was expounded by Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Astonishingly enough, the Lord simply sat and listened silently, without saying even one word to indicate whether He considered the exposition correct of not.
Then, on the eighth day, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “You have been hearing my explanations of Vedanta philosophy for seven continuous days. However, because You have remained fixed in Your silence, without indicating Your approval or disapproval, I cannot understand whether You actually comprehend the Vedanta or not.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I am a fool, and thus I do not study Vedanta-sutra. I am only trying to hear it from you because you have ordered Me to do so. Just to execute the duties of the renounced order of life, I am listening, but unfortunately, I cannot in the least understand the meaning which you are presenting.”
The Bhattacharya then said, “Even if you do not understand what I have said, still, one who does not comprehend something inquires about the subject. Although You go on hearing, You continue to remain silent. Therefore, I cannot understand what You are really thinking.”
At this point, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revealed His mind, saying, “I can understand the meaning of each sutra very clearly, but your explanations have simply agitated My mind. In fact, since you do not explain the verses of Vedanta-sutra directly, it appears that your business is to cover the real meaning.”
“Vedanta-sutra is a summary of all the Upanishads, and each verse must be accepted without interpretation. However, you abandon the direct meaning (mukhya-artha), and then proceed with your imaginative interpretations (gauna-artha). Although there are other types of evidence, the Vedic version which is understood directly is the best.”
“For example, conch shells and cow dung are nothing but the bone and stool of some living beings. However, according to the Vedic version, they are considered very pure, and so this is accepted with out argument. If one were to interpret according to his own imagination, thinking that since bone and stool are impure, conch shells and cow dung are untouchable, then the authority of the Vedas would be immediately lost. The Brahma-sutra of Shrila Vyasadeva is radiant like the sun, whereas the interpretation of its meaning which you have presented simply covers that sunshine with clouds.”
“All of the Vedic literatures ascertain that Brahman (the greatest), the Absolute Truth, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full of all opulence. However, you are trying to explain that the Absolute Truth is impersonal and formless. You should know that whenever there is an impersonal description in the Vedas, it is to establish that everything in connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental and free from all mundane characteristics.”
“Although the Vedas sometimes describe the Absolute Truth as being without senses, it is also stated, ‘When the Supreme Lord wished to become many, He glanced over the material nature.’ Since, before the creation there could be no mundane eyes or mind, the transcendental nature of the Absolute Truth’s mind and eyes is herein confirmed. Are you describing as formless that Supreme Personality of Godhead whose transcendental form is complete with six opulence?”
“The Vedanta-sutra begins with the assertion that the cosmic manifestation is an emanation from the Absolute Truth. Are you trying to ascertain that He has no potencies? The Vishnu Purana describes the three primary energies of the Lord as follows: ‘The internal energy of Lord Vishnu is verified by the shastra to be completely spiritual. In addition, there is another spiritual potency known as kshetra-gya, the living entity. The third energy, which is known as nescience, makes the living entity godless, and engages him in fruitive activities.’ In His spiritual potency, which manifests itself in three divisions- Sandhini, Samvit and Hladhini, the Supreme Lord enjoys six kinds of opulence, and yet, out of great impudence, you do not accept this.”
“The Lord is the master of all potencies, whereas the marginal living entity is the servant of either the internal or external potency. That is the difference between the living entity (jiva) and the Lord (Ishvara), but you declare that they are one and the same. The transcendental form of the Lord is sac-cid-ananda vigraha but you describe this form as a product of material goodness (sattva-guna). One who does not accept the transcendental form of the Lord is certainly an agnostic (pashandi) and such a person should not even be seen or touched.”
“The Buddhists do not recognize the authority of the Vedas, and thus they are considered agnostics (nastika). However, those who preach agnosticism on the basis of the Vedic literatures, like the Mayavadis, are more dangerous than the Buddhists. Shrila Vyasadeva presented Vedanta-sutra for the deliverance of the conditioned souls, but if one hears the commentary of Shankaracharya, known as Shariraka-bhasya, his spiritual life becomes spoiled.”
“The Vedanta-sutra aims at establishing that the cosmic manifestation has come about by the transformation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s inconceivable potency (parinama-vada). Just as a touchstone produces volumes of gold without being changed, so the Supreme Lord manifests Himself as the cosmos by dint of His inconceivable energy, and yet He remains untransformed.”
“Shankaracharya’s theory suggests that Vyasadeva made an error by explaining that the Absolute Truth becomes transformed while manifesting the cosmos. In order to adjust the situation, the Mayavadis try to establish the theory of illusion (vivarta-vada), to explain that because this world is false, there is no transformation of the Absolute Truth. However, the theory of illusion can be applied only in the case of the living entity’s identification with the material body. As far as the cosmic manifestation is concerned, although it is certainly temporary, it cannot be called false.”
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu criticized Shankaracharya’s Shariraka-bhasya by pointing out hundreds of faults in it. However, to defend himself, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya countered with unlimited false arguments, using pseudo-logic. Still, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu refuted all these arguments and thus established His own conviction.
In conclusion, the Lord said, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the central point of all relationships (sambandha), acting in devotional service is one’s real occupation (abhidheya), and the attainment of love of Godhead is the ultimate goal of life (prayojana). These three topics comprise the subject matter of all the Vedic literatures.”
“Although Shankaracharya presented an imaginary interpretation of the Vedic literature in support of atheism, he is not at fault, for he did so under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is described in the Padma Purana, wherein the Supreme Lord addresses Lord Shiva as follows: ‘Please make the general populace averse to Me by manufacturing you own interpretation of the Vedas. In this way, cover Me, so that people will take more interest in advancing a material civilization and thus propagate a population that is bereft of spiritual knowledge.’ ”
“In this connection, there is another passage in the Padma Purana, where Lord Shiva addresses Parvati as follows: ‘My dear Devi, the Mayavada philosophy is an impious interpretation of the Vedas, and is nothing more than covered Buddhism. In order to cheat the atheists, I assume the form of a brahmana in the Kali-yuga, and describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead as formless and devoid of qualities, and I claim that the individual living being (jivatma) and the Supersoul (paramatma) are one and the same. Furthermore, I misrepresent the meaning of the Vedas by recommending that one should give up all activities to achieve freedom from karma. Thus, I spread ignorance through this imaginary Mayavada philosophy, and simply by hearing it, even an advanced scholar will fall down.’ ”
After hearing the truth about Shankaracharya, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was so highly struck with wonder that he became stunned and could not say anything further. Taking advantage of this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him, “Do not be astonished, for in actuality, devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the highest perfection of human activity. As explained in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, even great self-realized souls render devotional service unto the Lord: ‘Those who are atmarama (self-satisfied), due to being unattached to material desires, also become attracted to the loving service of Lord Krishna, whose transcendental qualities and activities are all wonderful.’ ”
After hearing this ‘atmarama’ shloka, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “My dear sir, please explain this verse, for I have a great desire to hear Your commentary.”
The Lord replied, “First let Me hear your explanation, and afterwards, I shall try to explain whatever little I know about it.”
The Bhattacharya then explained the meaning of the atmarama verse in nine different ways, according to the principles of logic, and with reference to shastra. After hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu slightly smiled and said, “My dear Bhattacharya, you are exactly like Brihaspati, the preceptor of the heavenly kingdom. Other than you, no one else within this world has the power to give such an explanation of shastra. And yet, although you have so nicely utilized the prowess of your vast learning, you should know that, beside this scholarly explanation, there is another purport of this verse.”
Thereafter, without even touching upon the nine explanations given by the Bhattacharya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained the atmarama verse in eighteen ways. The Lord then concluded by saying, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, His various potencies, and His transcendental qualities, all have inconceivable prowess, and thus they cannot be explained fully. These three things attract the mind of a transcendentalist who is perfectly engaged, and thus overcome all other processes of spiritual activity. Examples of this can be vividly seen in the lives of Sukadeva Gosvami and the four Kumaras.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya became struck with wonder upon hearing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s explanation of the atmarama verse, and could understand Him to be none other than Lord Krishna Himself. Upon realizing this, the Bhattacharya condemned himself by saying, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is certainly Krishna Himself, but I could not understand this due to being very proud of my learning. Therefore, I have committed many offenses.”
When Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya thus denounced himself and took shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, the Lord desired to show him mercy and so He displayed His four-armed Vishnu form to him. Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared before the Bhattacharya in His original two-armed form as Krishna, having a blackish complexion and holding a flute to His lips.
Upon seeing this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya immediately fell down flat onto the ground, to offer his obeisances. By the mercy of the Lord, all the truths regarding the importance of chanting the holy name and distributing love of Godhead everywhere were revealed to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya.
After standing up, the Bhattacharya composed one hundred verses praising Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in a very short time, and then, with folded hands, he recited them before the Lord. After hearing these one hundred verses, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu happily embraced the Bhattacharya, who immediately became so overwhelmed by ecstatic love of God that he fell unconscious onto the floor. Thereafter, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya exhibited great ecstasy, as his entire body trembled and tears flowed form his eyes. He sometimes danced, sometimes chanted, sometimes cried, and sometimes fell down to touch the lotus feet of the Lord.
While Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was exhibiting this ecstatic mood, Gopinatha Acharya became very pleased, and indeed, all of the Lord’s associates laughed to see him dance without restraint. Gopinatha Acharya then told Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “Sir, it is You who have brought all this upon Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya.”
The Lord replied, “You are a great devotee, and thus, because of the Bhattacharya’s association with you, Lord Jagannatha has shown him mercy.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu pacified Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. After he became quieted, the Bhattacharya addressed the Lord as follows: “My dear sir, You have delivered the entire world, but that is not a very great task. I had become dull-headed due to reading too many books on logic, and thus I became like an iron bar. Nonetheless, you have melted me, and thus it can be understood that Your influence is very great.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to His residence, and through Gopinatha Acharya, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya sent prasada for the Lord’s lunch. Early the next morning, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to see Lord Jagannatha after His rising from bed, and at that time, the pujari gave Him garlands and prasada. The Lord was very pleased to receive these items, and after tying them up in a cloth, He hurried off to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived there a little before sunrise, just as the Bhattacharya was getting up from bed. As he rose up, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya distinctly chanted, “Krishna, Krishna”, and upon hearing this, the Lord became very pleased.
When the Bhattacharya noticed that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was standing outside, he quickly went to receive the Lord and offered prayers at His lotus feet. After providing the Lord with a sitting place, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya also sat down. Then, when the Lord opened the cloth parcel and put the prasada into his hands, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was very pleased to receive it.
Even though he had not yet washed his mouth, bathed, or performed his morning duties, the Bhattacharya immediately recited two verses from shastra, and then ate the prasada. “One should eat the maha-prasada of the Lord immediately upon receiving it, even though it may be dried-up, stale, or brought from a distant place. This should be done without any hesitation, or consideration of time and place, for that is the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was so pleased with the Bhattacharya’s behavior that He embraced him, while feeling great ecstatic love of Godhead. Indeed, as the Lord and the servant embraced, they began to dance, for simply by touching each other they became ecstatic. As they danced and embraced, various ecstatic symptoms became manifest in their bodies, so that they perspired, trembled and shed tears.
Then, in His ecstasy, the Lord spoke as follows: “Today I have very easily conquered the three worlds and ascended to the spiritual sky. I think that today all of My desires have been fulfilled, because I see that Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya has acquired full faith in the maha-prasada of Lord Jagannatha.”
“My dear Bhattacharya, today you have undoubtedly taken shelter of the lotus feet of Krishna, and so the Lord, without reservation, has become very merciful to you. Today, you have been released from the material bondage of the bodily conception of life, and thus the shackles of the illusory energy have been cut to pieces. Today, your mind has become fit to take shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna, because, surpassing the Vedic regulative principles, you have eaten the Lord’s maha-prasada.”
Thereafter, the Lord returned to His residence, and from that day on, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya did not know anything but the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Indeed, from that day onward, the Bhattacharya could not explain shastra in any other way than in accordance with devotional service. Upon seeing his brother-in-law’s conversion to Vaishnavism, Gopinatha Acharya began to dance and clap his hands, while chanting, “Hari! Hari!”
The next day, before going to the temple of Lord Jagannatha, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya visited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Upon meeting the Lord, he fell down flat to offer his obeisances. Then, after reciting various prayers and speaking of his previous disposition with great humility, the Bhattacharya inquired, “Which item is most important in the execution of devotional service?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “The chanting of the holy name of the Lord is the most important. In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, and there is no alternative.”
The Lord then explained the “harer nama” verse from the Brihan-naradiya Purana very elaborately, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was astonished to hear it. Gopinatha Acharya then reminded him, “My dear Bhattacharya, what I had foretold has now taken place.”
After offering his obeisances to Gopinatha Acharya, the Bhattacharya replied, “You are a first-class devotee, whereas I am in the darkness of logical arguments. However, because I am related to you, by your grace, the Lord has bestowed His mercy upon me.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased by this humble statement, and after embracing Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, He sent him off to see Lord Jagannatha in the temple. Thereafter, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya returned home, along with Jagadananda and Damodara, bringing with him a large quantity of very excellent Jagannatha-prasada.
After delivering the prasada to his brahmana servants, as well as to Jagadananda and Damodara, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya composed two verses that he wrote on a palm leaf. Giving the leaf to Jagadananda, he requested him to deliver it to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Jagadananda and Damodara then returned to the Lord’s residence, taking with them both the prasada and the palm leaf. However, before Jagadananda could deliver the leaf to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Mukunda Datta took it from his hands and copied the two verses onto the wall outside the room.
Thereafter, Jagadananda took the palm leaf from Mukunda and delivered it to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As soon as the Lord read the two verses, He tore up the leaf. Still, the devotees were able to read the verses on the wall outside, and after doing so, they kept them carefully within their hearts. “Let me take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, who has mercifully descended in the form of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in order to teach us real knowledge, His devotional service, and detachment from whatever does not foster Krishna consciousness.”
One day thereafter, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya came before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and, after offering his obeisances, he recited a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, in which he had changed two syllables. “One who always seeks Your mercy and thus tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions resulting from his past misdeeds, always engaging in Your devotional service with his body, mind and words, is certainly a bona-fide candidate for becoming Your unalloyed devotee.”
However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately pointed out, “In that verse the word is ‘mukti-pade’, but you have changed it to ‘bhakti-pade’. What is your intention?”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “The awakening of pure love of Godhead, which is the result of devotional service, far surpasses mere liberation form material bondage. Indeed, for those who are averse to devotional service, merging into the Brahman effulgence is a kind of punishment. The impersonalists, who do not accept the transcendental form of the Lord, and the demons, who always blaspheme the Lord and fight against Him, are both punished by being merged into the brahmajyoti.”
“Therefore, a pure devotee does not even like to hear about this sayujya-mukti, for it inspires in him a sense of fear and hatred. Indeed, the pure devotee would rather go to hell than merge into the effulgence of the Lord. Actually, there are two kinds of sayujya-mukti- merging into the brahmajyoti, and merging into the personal body of the Lord, which is even more abominable. What to speak of this impersonal liberation, the pure devotee does not even desire the liberations available in Vaikuntha, for he is fully satisfied to engage in the devotional service of the Lord in any condition of life.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then replied, “My dear Bhattacharya, the word, ‘mukti-pade’ has another meaning which directly refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All kinds of liberation exist under the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, and thus He is known as mukti-pada. Since I can understand Krishna according to this meaning, what is the point in changing the verse?”
The Bhattacharya said, “I was not able to understand this meaning of ‘mukti-pade’. But still, although Your explanation is correct, the word ‘mukti-pade’ should not have been used in this verse because it ambiguously refers to all five kinds of liberation. Indeed, ‘mukti’ is generally understood to mean, ‘becoming one with the Lord by merging into the brahmajyoti’. The very sound of the word, ‘mukti’ induces a sense of hatred and fear, whereas the word ‘bhakti’ causes us to feel transcendental bliss.”
Upon hearing this explanation, the Lord began to laugh, and then, with great pleasure, He embraced Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya very firmly. How was it possible that the very person who was accustomed to teaching Mayavada philosophy now hated the very sound of the word, “mukti”? This was possible only by the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As long as it does not turn iron into gold by it touch, no one can recognize an unknown stone to be touchstone.
Upon seeing the transcendental Vaisnavism in Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, everyone could understand that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was none other than the son of Maharaja Nanda, Lord Krishna. Thus, after this incident, all of the residents of Jagannatha Puri, headed by Kashi Mishra, came to take shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had accepted the renounced order of life in the month of Magha, and during the next month, Phalguna, He journeyed to Jagannatha Puri. At the end of that month, He observed the Dola-yatra ceremony, and, as usual, He chanted and danced in ecstatic love. During the next month, Chaitra (March-April), the Lord delivered Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, and then, at the beginning of the following month, Vaishakha, He decided to go to South India.
After calling all the devotees together and catching hold of their hands, the Lord humbly informed them, “You are all more dear to Me than My very life. I can give up My life but to give up all of you is very difficult for Me. You have certainly executed your duty as friends by bringing Me here to Jagannatha Puri. However, I now wish to beg from you one thing in charity. Please give Me your permission so that I may take a tour of South India. I wish to go and search for Vishvarupa. Please forgive Me, but I would like to go alone, and so, until My return, I request you all to remain here.”
Of course, the omniscient Lord knew that Vishvarupa had already passed away from this world. However, this excuse was needed so that He could go to South India and liberate all of the people there. Upon hearing the Lord’s submission, all of the devotees felt very unhappy, and so they simply remained silent with sullen faces.
Nityananda Prabhu then said, “How is it possible for You to go alone? Who can tolerate this? Let one or two of us accompany You, otherwise You may fall into the clutches of rogues and thieves along the way. I know all the roads to the different places of pilgrimage in South India, and so, if You just order Me, I shall accompany You.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I am simply a dancing puppet and You are the one who pulls the string. In whatever way You pull the strings, I shall dance in that way.”
“After taking sannyasa, I decided to go to Vrindavana, but instead, you all took Me to the house of Advaita Acharya. Then, on the way to Nilachala, You broke My sannyasa danda. I know that all of you have great affection for Me, but such things disturb My activities.”
“Jagadananda wants Me to enjoy bodily sense gratification, and out of fear, I do whatever he tells Me. If I sometimes go against his desire, then, out of anger, he will not talk to Me for three days. Because I am a sannyasi it is My duty to lie down on the ground and take bath three times a day, even during the winter. This makes Mukunda very unhappy, and thus, although he does not say anything, when I see that he is aggrieved, I become twice as unhappy. Although I am in the renounced order of life, and Damodara is a brahmachari, he keeps a stick in hand just to educate Me. According to him, I am just a neophyte as far as social etiquette is concerned, and thus he does not like My independent nature. Therefore, you should all remain here for some time, while I tour the sacred places of pilgrimage alone,”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s accusations were only a pretense, for in actuality, He greatly appreciated the intense love of the devotees, which caused them to sometimes overstep the regulative principles of etiquette. While pretending to find fault with the devotees, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tasted their good qualities.
Actually, no one can find the limit of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s affection for His devotees. Sometimes, the regulative principles that the Lord observed as a sannyasi were intolerable for the devotees, and their resultant unhappiness was also intolerable for Him. Therefore, since the Lord wanted to strictly observe the duties of a sannyasi while on tour, He declared the devotees’ good qualities to be faults, just to prevent them from accompanying Him, and thus becoming unhappy. Still, the devotees continued to very humbly beg for permission to accompany Him, but the Lord, being fully independent, denied their requests.
Nityananda Prabhu then said, “Although Your order is My duty, regardless of whether it brings happiness or distress, I wish to submit one petition. You may accept it after due consideration, if You think that it is proper.”
“My dear Lord, You will be taking with You just a kaupina (underwear), outer cloth, a water pot, and nothing more. And yet, since Your hands will always be engaged in chanting the holy name and counting, how will You be able to carry these things? And, when You fall unconscious due to ecstatic love of God, who will protect Your belongings? Here is a simple brahmana named Krishnadasa. My request is that You please take him with You. He will carry Your water pot and garments, and do whatever else You like, without even saying a word.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu agreed to Nityananda Prabhu’s proposal, and then went with all of the devotees to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house. The Bhattacharya first of all offered his obeisances to the Lord and gave Him a sitting place. Then, after seating the others, he also took his seat.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu discussed various topics of Krishna-katha with Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya for some time. He then said, “I have come here just to receive your order. My elder brother, Vishvarupa, had taken sannyasa and then traveled to South India. Now, I want to go and search for him. Therefore, please give Me your permission, so that I can tour South India very happily, and then return here shortly.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya became very agitated after hearing this. Catching hold of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, he gave this sorrowful reply: “After many births, due to some pious activity, I have gotten Your association, but now, providence is taking it away. If a thunderbolt were to fall on my head or if my son were to die, I could tolerate it, but I cannot bear the unhappiness brought about by separation from You. My dear Lord, since you are the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, certainly You will depart. Still, I request You to remain here for just a few more days, so that I will be able to see Your lotus feet.”
Because of this request, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remained at the house of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya for five days, and was fed by him very nicely. Then, after receiving his permission, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to the temple to see Lord Jagannatha, taking the Bhattacharya with Him. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also took permission from Lord Jagannatha, and at that time a pujari gave Him a garland and some prasada.
After receiving Lord Jagannatha’s permission in the form of a garland, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu circumambulated the Deity’s altar and then departed on His South Indian tour. As the Lord was about to set out on the road to Alalanatha, which is located on the seashore, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya ordered Gopinatha Acharya, “Bring the four sets of cloth that I have been keeping at home, as well as some Jagannatha prasada.”
Then, turning to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “My Lord, I have one thing to request of You. In the town of Vidyanagara, which is located on the banks of the River Godavari, there is a government officer named Ramananda Raya. Please do not disregard him, thinking that he belongs to a shudra family engaged in material activities. I request You to meet him without fail, for he is a person who is fit for Your association. Indeed, no one else can compare with him in regards to knowledge of the transcendental mellows. He is a very learned scholar and a most exalted devotee. If You talk with him, You will be able to see just how glorious he is. When I met Ramananda Raya, I could not realize his position, and so I made fun of him, simply because he was a Vaishnava. Now, however, by Your mercy, I can understand the truth of his greatness.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu assured Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya that He would meet Ramananda Raya. Then, after bidding Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya farewell and embracing him, the Lord said, “Please continue to give Me your blessings as you remain here, engaged in the service of Lord Krishna. I hope that I will be able to return to Nilachala very soon, by your grace.”
After saying this, the Lord departed, and immediately, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya fainted and fell to the ground. Without even taking notice of this, however, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu quickly departed, for this is the nature of an uncommon personality- sometimes he is as soft as a flower, and sometimes he is as hard as a thunderbolt. Lord Nityananda raised up Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, and then had some of his disciples take him to his residence.
Meanwhile, all the devotees accompanied the Lord to Alalanatha, and Gopinatha Acharya also arrived there with the garments and prasada sent by Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. At Alalanatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chanted and danced in great ecstasy for some time, and all of the local inhabitants came to see Him.
As the people crowded around, chanting the holy name of the Lord, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ecstatically danced in their midst. The Lord’s very beautiful body appeared to be like molten gold, dressed in saffron cloth, and ornamented with ecstatic symptoms. Indeed, everyone was so astonished to see the Lord’s dancing and His ecstasy, that no one wanted to return home. Everyone, including the children, old men and women, floated in the ocean of love of God as they danced and chanted the holy name of the Lord.
At this time, Nityananda Prabhu predicted that later on there would be such chanting and dancing in every town and village throughout the entire world. Then, upon seeing how it was getting late, Lord Nityananda took Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch, hoping that the gathering would disperse. However, everyone still crowded around the two Lords as They went to bathe in the sea and then returned to the temple there. After admitting the Lord’s personal associates, Nityananda Prabhu closed the temple door, and then Gopinatha Acharya brought prasada. After Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda finished eating, the remnants were distributed to all of the devotees.
Meanwhile, a great crowd assembled outside the temple door, and since everyone chanted, “Hari! Hari!” there was a tumultuous sound. After lunch, the Lord ordered that the temple door be opened, and thus all of the people were able to see Him with great pleasure. Indeed, innumerable people came and went until evening, and all of them became Vaishnavas.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed the night there, discussing Krishna’s pastimes in great happiness with the devotees. The next morning, after bathing, the Lord embraced all the devotees while bidding them farewell, and then, after doing so, He departed.
Although everyone fell to the ground unconscious, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not turn around to see them, but proceeded swiftly onward. Actually, in separation, the Lord felt very perturbed, and so He walked on unhappily as Krishnadasa followed, carrying His water pot. The devotees remained at Alalanatha that night, fasting, and then the next morning, they unhappily returned to Nilachala.
Almost like a mad lion, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went on His tour, filled with ecstatic love, and performing sankirtana by chanting as follows: “Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! He/ Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! He/ Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Raksa Mam/ Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! Pahi Mam/ Rama! Raghava! Rama! Raghava! Rama! Raghava! Raksa Mam/ Krishna! Keshava! Krishna! Keshava! Krishna! Keshava! Pahi Mam.”
While chanting this verse, the Lord went along, and as soon as He saw someone, He would request that person to chant the holy name of the Lord. Whoever heard Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s chanting would also begin to chant, and follow the Lord with great eagerness to see Him. After some time, the Lord would embrace these people, investing them with spiritual potency, and then request them to return home.
After returning to their villages, these persons would continually chant the holy name of the Lord, and while doing so they would sometimes laugh, sometimes dance, and sometimes cry. These persons in turn requested whomever they met to also engage in chanting the holy name, and as a result, all of the villagers became devotees of the Lord. Not only the residents of a particular village, but those who were visitors from other places, also became just like these empowered personalities, simply by the mercy of their glances. When these persons returned to their own villages, they also converted others into empowered devotees, and thus, gradually, as people went from one village to another, the entire population of South India became Vaishnavas.
Hundreds of persons met the Lord on the road and became Vaishnavas after being embraced by Him. In addition, wherever the Lord stayed, to accept alms, many others came to see Him. All of these people became first-class devotees, by the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and later on, they became spiritual masters and liberated the entire world.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not manifest His spiritual potencies so much at Navadvipa, but He did so fully in South India, and thus He liberated all of the people there. Lord Chaitanya’s empowering of others can be understood by one who is actually a devotee, and who has received His mercy. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mode of preaching, as described above, remained the same throughout His entire South Indian tour.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to the holy place known as Kurmakshetra, He went to see the Deity of Lord Kurma, and offered prayers and obeisances. Then, as the Lord chanted and danced in His usual ecstasy, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying, those who saw Him were highly astonished. When news of the Lord’s activities spread, everyone came to see Him and upon witnessing His great beauty and ecstatic condition, they were all struck with wonder. Indeed, everyone became a devotee, and being merged into an ocean of ecstatic love, they began to dance, raising their arms, while chanting the holy name of the Lord.
After some time, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu manifested His external consciousness, a pujari of Lord Kurma came and gave Him various offerings. A brahmana named Kurma then brought the Lord to his house with great respect, and after washing His feet, he and his family members drank the water. With great veneration and affection, Kurma made Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eat all kinds of food, and then, after lunch, he and his family shared the Lord’s remnants.
Addressing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Kurma then prayed, “O my Lord, Your lotus feet, which are worshiped by Lord Brahma, have come into my home today, and thus there is no limit to my good fortune. Today, my family, birth and wealth have all been glorified. My dear Lord, kindly be merciful and let me go with you, for I can no longer tolerate the waves of misery caused by materialistic life.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Do not speak like this again. Remain at home and chant the holy name of Krishna always. Whomever you meet, you should instruct to follow the orders of Lord Krishna as they are given in Bhagavad-gita. In this way, become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land. Rest assured that if you follow this instruction, then your materialistic life at home will not obstruct your spiritual advancement, and you will never be bereft of My association.”
At whatever house Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stopped to accept alms by taking prasada, He would convert the inhabitants to His sankirtana movement and then advise them in this very same way. Generally, while on tour, the Lord would spend the night at a temple or on the side of the road. However, when he would accept someone’s invitation, He would give them the same advice that He had given to the brahmana, Kurma.
After remaining at night in one place, the Lord would bathe early the next morning and set out again on His tour. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left Kurma-kshetra, the brahmana Kurma followed Him for a great distance, but eventually, the Lord sent him back home.
There was another brahmana named Vasudeva residing at Kurmakshetra, and although he was a greatly elevated devotee, he suffered from leprosy so that his entire body was covered with living worms. Being an enlightened soul, as soon as a worm would fall from his body, Vasudeva would pick it up and put it back in the very same location.
One night, Vasudeva heard about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival at Kurma-kshetra, and so the next morning he went to the house of the brahmana, Kurma. When Vasudeva was informed that the Lord had already departed, he was so disappointed that he immediately fell down onto the ground, unconscious. Then, as Vasudeva lamented over his misfortune at having missed the opportunity of seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord returned to that spot and embraced him.
As soon as the Lord touched Vasudeva, both his leprosy and his distress fled to a distant place. Indeed, Vasudeva’s body became very beautiful, and thus, he was very happily astonished to witness the wonderful mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. While touching the lotus feet of the Lord, Vasudeva recited the following verse spoken by Sudama Vipra, which is recorded in Shrimad-Bhagavatam: “Who am I? A sinful, poor brahma-bandhu. And, who is Krishna? The Supreme Personality of Godhead, full of all opulence. Nonetheless, He has embraced me with His two arms.”
Vasudeva then said, “My dear Lord, upon seeing me, even sinful persons used to go away because of my bad bodily odor, and yet, You are so merciful that You have touched me. Such is the independent behavior of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Being a very meek and humble person, Vasudeva was afraid of becoming proud after having been cured by the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord could understand this, and so, in order to protect Vasudeva, He gave him the following advice: “Chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra incessantly, for by doing so you will never become unnecessarily proud. In addition, preach about Krishna in order to liberate all the conditioned living entities. As a result, Lord Krishna will certainly accept you very soon as His unalloyed devotee.”
After imparting these instructions, the Lord suddenly disappeared from that place. Both brahmanas, Vasudeva and Kurma, then embraced each other and began to cry, while remembering the transcendental qualities of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Because of the extraordinary mercy that He bestowed upon the leper brahmana, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu received the name Vasudevamrita-prada, the giver of nectar to Vasudeva.
Thereafter, according to His previous program, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at Jiyada-Nrisimha, where He saw the Deity of Lord Nrisimhadeva. After offering obeisances by falling down flat before the Deity, the Lord began to dance ecstatically while offering the following prayers. “All glories to Lord Nrisimhadeva, who is the Lord of Prahlada Maharaja, and who, like a honeybee, is always engaged in beholding the lotus-like face of the goddess of fortune. Just as a ferocious lioness is very kind to her cubs, so Lord Nrisimha is very fearful for nondevotees like Hiranyakashipu, but very, very soft and merciful to devotees like Prahlada.”
The pujari of Lord Nrisimhadeva brought Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu some maha-prasada and garlands, and, as usual, a brahmana extended an invitation for lunch. That night, the Lord remained in the temple, and then, the next morning, He resumed His tour. Without knowledge of the proper direction, the Lord went along in great ecstasy, and He converted to Vaisnavism all those whom He met.
Finally, after some days, the Lord arrived at the banks of the River Godavari, which reminded Him of the River Yamuna, and by seeing the forest there, He remembered Shri Vrindavana-dhama. After performing His usual chanting and dancing for some time in the forest, the Lord crossed the river and took His bath on the other side. After that, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu walked a little way from the bathing ghata, and sat down, to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
At this time, Ramananda Raya came there upon a palanquin, in order to bathe in the river, and many brahmanas and musicians accompanied him. After bathing, Ramananda Raya offered oblations to the forefathers according to the Vedic rituals. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could immediately understand Ramananda Raya’s identity, and His desire to meet him was so great that His mind began swiftly running after him.
The Lord patiently remained seated, however, and when Ramananda Raya saw the wonderful sannyasi, he came to meet Him. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to Ramananda Raya to be as brilliant as one hundred suns. His saffron-clad body was large and very strongly built, and His eyes were like lotus-petals. Indeed, Ramananda Raya was struck with wonder upon seeing the Lord, and so he immediately went and offered his obeisances by falling down flat like a stick. The Lord then stood up and said, “Please rise and chant the holy name of Krishna. Are you Ramananda Raya?”
Actually, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very eager to embrace Ramananda Raya, who then replied, “Yes, I am Your very lowly servant, and I belong to the shudra community.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Ramananda Raya very firmly, and at that time both master and servant became merged in the ocean of ecstatic love. Since Ramananda Raya is an incarnation of the gopi, Vishakha, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, their natural love for one another was awakened.
As all of the ecstatic symptoms appeared in their bodies, such as paralysis, perspiration, tears, shivering, palpitations, and paleness, and as the word “Krishna” came falteringly from their mouths, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya almost lost consciousness, and then fell to the ground.
When the stereotyped, ritualistic brahmanas saw this manifestation of ecstatic love, they were astonished, and began to think as follows: “This sannyasi has a luster just like the effulgence of Brahman. How is it that He is crying upon embracing a mere shudra? Ramananda Raya is the Governor of Madras, and a very learned and grave personality. How is it that upon touching this sannyasi, he has become restless, just like a madman?”
While the brahmanas were speculating in this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw them, and so restrained Himself from displaying further ecstatic emotions. After pacifying themselves, when they sat down together, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smilingly addressed Ramananda Raya as follows: “Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya spoke very highly of your good qualities, and made a great endeavor to convince Me to meet you. Indeed, since I have come here simply to see you, it is very good that, without even making an effort, I have been able to meet you here.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya considers me to be his servant, and thus, even in my absence he looks after my welfare very carefully. By his mercy I have been able to see You, and thus I now consider my human birth to have become successful. Although I am untouchable, You have embraced me, and thus I can understand that You have bestowed very special mercy upon Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. According to Vedic injunctions, You, a brahmana and a sannyasi, should not even associate with a shudra like me. And yet, since You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, no one can understand Your purpose. Thus, without even fearing the Vedic injunctions, You were not contemptuous of my touch, for You came here specifically to deliver me.”
“There are about one thousand men accompanying me, and all of them appear as if their hearts have melted, simply by seeing You. I can hear everyone chanting, ‘Krishna’, there are tears in their eyes, and their bodies are trembling due to ecstasy. My dear sir, it appears from Your bodily features and behavior that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for such symptoms cannot be possessed by an ordinary human being.”
The Lord replied, “You are the topmost devotee, and thus, simply by seeing you, everyone’s heart has melted. Indeed, even though I am a Mayavadi sannyasi, I am also floating in the ocean of love for Krishna because of having touched you. Therefore, what to speak of others? Knowing My position, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya asked Me to meet you so that My heart, which is very hard, could be rectified.”
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya praised each other’s qualities, being extremely pleased with their meeting. Then, a brahmana Vaishnava came there and, after offering his obeisances, invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his house for lunch. Knowing the brahmana to be a devotee, the Lord accepted his invitation. Then, while smiling slightly, He said to Ramananda, “I wish to meet you again, so that I can hear from you about Lord Krishna.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “My Lord, although You have come here to correct me, my mind is not yet purified, in spite of seeing You. Therefore, please stay here for five or seven days, to cleanse my polluted mind.”
Although neither could tolerate the other’s separation, Ramananda Raya nonetheless offered his obeisances to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and then departed. Lord Chaitanya went to the brahmana’s house and took lunch. Then, in the evening, after finishing His bath, He sat down on the bank of the river and anxiously waited for Ramananda Raya’s arrival.
A little while later, Ramananda Raya came there in the company of only one servant, and when he offered his obeisances, the Lord picked him up and embraced him. Then, after going to a secluded place, the two great personalities began to discuss Krishna-katha. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu initiated the discussion by ordering Ramananda, “Please recite a verse from shastra which describes the ultimate goal of life.”
Ramananda Raya replied by quoting the following verse from the Vishnu Purana: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties, which are outlined in the system of varnashrama. Indeed, there is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Lord.”
However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered the varnashrama system to be material, although it aims at spiritual elevation. Thus, the Lord replied, “This is external, and so you had better describe something more.”
Next, Ramananda Raya said, “Offering the results of one’s activities to Krishna is the essence of all perfection”, and he quoted the following verse from Bhagavad-gita. “O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.”
Again, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered such a process to be materially conceived, and thus contaminated. Therefore, He replied, “This is also external, and so please proceed to something better.”
Ramananda then said, “To give up one’s occupational duties within the varnashrama system and accept the renounced order of life is the essence of perfection.”
In this connection, he quoted a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam and one from Bhagavad-Gita: “If one analyzes the occupational duties described in shastra, he can understand their qualities and faults, and then give them up completely in order to render service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a person is to be considered a first-class man”
“Give up all religious and occupational duties and take shelter of Me, Lord Krishna. In return, I shall give you all protection from sinful reactions, and thus you have nothing to fear.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered the renunciation of material duties to be simply the negative side of material attachment. Therefore, He told Ramananda, “Again, this is external and so please speak something more."
Ramananda Raya then said, “Devotional service mixed with empiric knowledge (gyana-mishra-bhakti) is the essence of perfection”, and he quoted the following verse from Bhagavad-gita: “One who thus attains the transcendental platform, at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never hankers nor laments, and is equally disposed toward all living entities. In this state, he attains to pure devotional service unto Me (Lord Krishna).”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered this position to be materially contaminated, and so He replied, “This is also external and so please say something more.”
Ramananda Raya then said, “Pure devotional service, without any tinge of speculative knowledge, is the essence of perfection.” He quoted a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, spoken by Lord Brahma. “My dear Lord, those who have abandoned the endeavor to acquire knowledge for understanding the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth, in order to hear from self-realized devotees about Your holy name, form, pastimes and qualities, can remain in any status of varna or ashrama. By fully surrendering themselves unto You with their body, mind and words, such person can conquer Your Lordship, although You are unconquerable.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted this as the basic principle of perfection, since one must take to this practice, to make further advancement. The Lord replied, “This is all right, but you can still say something more on the subject.”
Ramananda Raya then said, “Ecstatic love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the essence of all perfection.” In order to substantiate this, he quoted the following two verses: “As long as there is hunger and thirst, eating and drinking make one feel very happy. When the Lord is worshiped with pure love, transcendental bliss is awakened in the heart of the devotee.”
“Pure devotional service cannot be obtained even by the performance of pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price- that is, the intense greed to obtain it. If such pure devotional service is available somewhere, then one must purchase it at any cost, without delay.”
The first verse refers to devotional service rendered according to the regulative principles (viddhi-bhakti), and the second verse refers to spontaneous devotional service. From this point onward, the talks between Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya were conducted on the basis of spontaneous love. The Lord told Ramananda, “This is all right, but if you know something more then please tell Me.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “Spontaneous loving service in servitude, as exchanged between the master and the servant, is the highest perfection.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu again and again requested him to go one step further, and so Ramananda Raya described devotional service in fraternity, and then in parental affection. In this connection, Ramananda Raya quoted two verses from Shrimad-Bhagavatam. “Those who are engaged in self-realization, appreciating the Brahman effulgence of the Lord; those who are engaged in devotional service, accepting the Supreme Lord as their master; and those who are under the clutches of maya- these three classes cannot understand how certain exalted personalities, after accumulating volumes of pious activities, are now playing with the Lord in friendship as cowherd boys.”
“What pious activities did Nanda Maharaja perform in order to receive the Supreme Personality of Godhead as his son, and what pious activities did mother Yashoda perform, that made the Absolute Truth, Krishna, call her mother and suck her breasts?”
At this point the Lord said, “Your statements are certainly getting better and better, but surpassing these is another transcendental mellow, and so I wish you to speak on that as the most sublime.”
Ramananda Raya then said, “Conjugal attachment for Krishna is the topmost position in love of Godhead. It is true that whatever relationship a particular devotee has with the Lord is the best for him. Still, when we study all the different methods from a neutral position, we can understand that there are higher and lower degrees of love. Increasing love is experienced in various tastes, one above the other. However, that love which has the highest taste in this gradual succession manifests itself in the form of conjugal attachment.”
“In Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna promises to reciprocate according to the degree which one renders service unto Him. However, in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna admitted that He could not properly repay the gopis for the devotional service that they had rendered in conjugal love.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “This is certainly the limit of perfection. However, if there is something more, then please be merciful to Me and speak about it.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “Until this day, I did not know anyone within this material world who could inquire beyond this perfect stage of devotional service. Among all of the gopis, the love of Shrimati Radharani for Krishna is the topmost. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the other gopis admit the superiority of Shrimati Radharani as follows: “My dear friends, the gopi who has been taken away by Krishna to a secluded place must have worshiped Him more than anyone else.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Please speak on. I am very happy to hear you because a river of unprecedented nectar is flowing from your mouth. During the rasa dance, Krishna did not exchange loving affairs with Shrimati Radharani due to the presence of the other gopis. Since Krishna rejected the company of the other gopis in favor of Shrimati Radharani, we can understand that He has a more intense affection for Her.”
Ramananda Raya then said, “Please hear from me about the glories of Shrimati Radharani’s loving affairs. When She found Herself being treated equally with the other gopis, Shrimati Radharani displayed Her tricky behavior and left the rasa dance. Being afflicted by the arrow of Cupid, Krishna very much regretted His having mistreated Radharani, and so He also left the rasa dance and began to search for Her along the banks of the River Yamuna. Thereafter, When Krishna failed to find Shrimati Radharani, He entered the bushes of Vrindavana and began to lament. Since Krishna’s lusty desires were not satisfied even in the midst of hundreds of thousands of gopis, and thus He searched for Shrimati Radharani, we can just imagine how transcendentally qualified She is.”
After hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “That for which I have come to your residence has been fulfilled. Now I can understand the sublime goal of life, and the process of achieving it. Nevertheless, I think that there is something more ahead, and so My mind is very eager to hear it. Kindly explain the constitutional positions of Shri Krishna and Shrimati Radharani, as well as the truths regarding transcendental mellow (rasa), and the actual form of love of Godhead. But for yourself, no one can ascertain these things.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “I do not know anything about this. I simply vibrate the sounds that You make me speak. You inspire me from within the heart and make me speak with the tongue, and thus I simply repeat like a parrot whatever instructions You have given me. I do not even know whether I am speaking well or badly. My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Who can understand Your dramatic performances?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I am a Mayavadi sannyasi and so I do not even know what transcendental loving service to the Lord is. When I had the good fortune of associating with Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, My mind became a little enlightened, and so I inquired from him about the truths regarding devotional service to Krishna.’
“Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then told me, ‘I do not actually know anything about Krishna, for such truths are known only to Ramananda Raya. Unfortunately, he is not present here now.’ After hearing this, I have come here to see you, but since I am a sannyasi, you are unnecessarily praising Me. The real truth, however, is that whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi, or a shudra- regardless of whatever one may be- if he knows the science of Krishna, he is a bona-fide spiritual master. Therefore, please do not try and cheat Me, thinking that I am a learned sannyasi. Just satisfy My mind by describing the truths regarding Radha and Krishna.”
Ramananda Raya was a great devotee and lover of God. Although his mind could not be covered by the Lord’s illusory energy, and although he could understand the mind of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, which was very strong and intense, he became a little agitated.
In this condition, Ramananda replied, “My dear Lord, I am just a dancing puppet and You are the puller of the strings. Whichever way You direct me, I will dance. My tongue is just like a stringed instrument, and You are the player. Therefore, I simply vibrate whatever arises in Your mind.”
“Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all incarnations, and the possessor of all opulence and potencies. The very name ‘Krishna’ indicates that He is the all-attractive One. Therefore, He is attractive to everyone, male and female, moving and non-moving. Krishna is all-attractive in all devotional mellows, because He is the personification of the conjugal rasa. Indeed, Krishna is attractive not only to all devotees, but to His expansions and Himself as well: ‘Upon seeing His reflection in a bejeweled pillar of His palace at Dvaraka, Krishna desired to embrace it, saying, “Alas, I have never seen such a person before. Who is He? Just by seeing Him I have become eager to embrace Him, exactly like Shrimati Radharani” ’ ”
Ramananda Raya continued, “I have briefly described the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now, let me describe the position of Shrimati Radharani. Krishna’s unlimited potencies can be divided into three main categories- spiritual, material, and the marginal living entities. Of these, the internal potency is the Lord’s personal energy, and thus it stands over the other two.”
Lord Krishna is the transcendental form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, and thus the internal potency has these three different features. Hladini is His aspect of bliss, sandhini is the aspect of eternal existence, and samvit is the aspect of cognizance or knowledge. The pleasure relished by Lord Krishna, as well as by the devotees, is manifested by the hladini, or pleasure, potency. The most essential part of this pleasure potency is love of Godhead, and so even the explanation of such love is a transcendental mellow, full of pleasure. The essential part of love of Godhead is called maha-bhava, and that ecstasy is represented by Shrimati Radharani.
“The body of Shrimati Radharani is the veritable transformation of love of Godhead, and She is the dearmost friend of Krishna. Indeed, Her only business is to fulfill all of Krishna’s desires. Shrimati Radharani is the topmost spiritual gem, and the other gopis are expansions of Her spiritual body. Shrimati Radharani’s transcendental body is brilliant in luster, and full of all transcendental flavors. Lord Krishna’s affection for Her is like a perfumed massage.”
“Shrimati Radharani takes Her first bath in the shower of the nectar of compassion, and She takes Her second bath in the nectar of youth. After Her midday bath, Radharani takes another bath in the nectar of bodily luster, and She puts on a garment of shyness, which is exactly like a black silk sari. Shrimati Radharani’s affection for Krishna is the upper garment, which is pinkish in color. She then covers Her breasts with another garment, comprised of affection and anger toward Krishna. Shrimati Radharani’s personal beauty is compared to the reddish powder known as kunkuma. Her affection for Her associates is compared to sandalwood paste, and the sweetness of Her smile is compared to camphor. All these, combined together, are smeared over Her body.”
“Conjugal love for Krishna is just like an abundance of musk. By that musk, Shrimati Radharani’s whole body is decorated. Covered anger and craftiness constitute the arrangement of Her hair. The quality of anger due to jealousy is just like the silk covering Her body. Her attachment for Krishna is the reddish color of betel nuts on Her brilliant lips. Her double-dealings in loving affairs are just like the black ointment around Her eyes. The decorative ornaments on Her body are the blazing ecstasies, headed by jubilation. These bodily ornaments constitute twenty kinds of ecstatic symptoms, and Her transcendental qualities are the flower garlands that hang over Her body. The tilaka of fortune is on Her beautiful broad forehead. Her various loving affairs are a gem, and Her heart is the locket.”
“Shrimati Radharani’s gopi friends are Her mental activities, which are concentrated on the pastimes of Shri Krishna. She keeps Her hand on the shoulder of a friend, who represents youth. Shrimati Radharani’s bed is pride itself, and it is situated in the abode of Her bodily aroma. She is always seated there, thinking of Krishna’s association. Shrimati Radharani’s earrings represent the name, fame and qualities of Lord Krishna, and the glories of His name, fame and qualities are always inundating Her speech. Shrimati Radharani induces Krishna to drink the honey of the conjugal relationship, and thus She is engaged in satisfying all of His lusty desires. Shrimati Radharani is exactly like a mine filled with valuable jewels of love for Krishna, and Her transcendental body is complete with unparalleled spiritual qualities.”
“If one asks about the origin of love for Krishna, the answer is that the origin is in Shrimati Radharani alone. Who is the most dear friend of Krishna? The answer again is Shrimati Radharani, and no one else. Shrimati Radharani’s hair is very curly, Her two eyes are always moving to and fro, and Her breasts are firm. Since all transcendental qualities are manifest in Shrimati Radharani, She alone is able to fulfill all of Krishna’s desires.”
“Even Satyabhama desires the fortunate position and excellent qualities of Shrimati Radharani. All the gopis learn the art of dressing from Shrimati Radharani, and even Lakshmi and Parvati desire Her beauty and good qualities. Indeed, even Arundhati, the celebrated chaste wife of Vasishtha, wants to imitate the chastity and religious principles of Shrimati Radharani. Even Lord Krishna Himself cannot reach the limit of the transcendental qualities of Shrimati Radharani. How then can an insignificant living entity count them?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “Now I have come to understand the truth of the loving affairs between Radha and Krishna. Next, I would like to hear how They gloriously enjoy such love.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “Lord Krishna is dhira-lalita, for He can always keep His girl friends in a subjugated state. Thus, His only business is enjoying sense gratification. Day and night, Lord Krishna enjoys the company of Shrimati Radharani in the bushes of Vrindavana, fulfilling His kaishora age.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “This is all right, but please continue.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “I do not think that my intelligence can go beyond this. However, there is another topic, known as prema-vilasa-vivarta. You may hear about this from me, but I do not know if You will be happy to do so or not.”
After saying this, Ramananda Raya began to sing a song of his own composition, but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, out of intense ecstasy, immediately covered his mouth with His hand. This indicates that the conditions of bewilderment resulting from transcendental loving affairs, are not to be heard by materialistic persons, such as the sahajiyas, because they will simply be misunderstood as mundane.
Ramananda Raya had sung as follows: “Alas, before We met, there was an initial attachment between Us brought about by an exchange of glances. That attachment has gradually begun to grow, and there is no limit to it. As a result, Krishna’s mind and My mind have merged together. Now, during this time of separation, it is very difficult to explain these loving affairs. My dear friend, Krishna may have forgotten all these things, but you can understand them and then bring a message to Him.”
“During our first meeting, however, there was no messenger. Cupid’s five arrows were Our only via media. Now, during this separation, My attraction has increased, for if one is in love with a beautiful person, this is the consequence.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “This is the limit of the goal of human life. Only by your mercy have I come to understand it conclusively. Now, be merciful upon Me and explain the means whereby this goal can be attained.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “I do not know what I am saying, for You have made me speak, be it good or bad. Within these three worlds, who is so undisturbed that he can remain steady as You manipulate Your different energies? Actually, You are speaking through my mouth, and at the same time You are listening. This is very mysterious.”
“Anyway, kindly hear now about how this goal can be attained. The pastimes of Radha and Krishna are very confidential, and cannot be understood through the mellows of servitude, fraternity or parental affection. In reality, only the gopis have the right to appreciate the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krishna. It is only the gopis who nourish these pastimes, and only by their cooperation are they broadcast. Therefore, without the help of the gopis, one cannot enter into the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Only he who worships the Lord in the ecstasy of the gopis, following in their footsteps, can understand the conjugal love between Radha and Krishna, and then ultimately engage in Their service in the bushes of Vrindavana.”
“There is an inexplicable fact about the natural inclinations of the gopis. The gopis never want to enjoy themselves with Krishna personally. Their happiness increases ten million times when they serve to engage Radha and Krishna in Their transcendental pastimes.”
“By nature, Shrimati Radharani is just like a creeper of love of Godhead, and the gopis are the twigs, flowers and leaves of that creeper. When the nectar of Krishna’s pastimes is sprinkled upon the creeper, the happiness derived by the twigs, flowers and leaves is ten million times greater than that which is derived by the creeper itself.”
“And yet, even though the gopis do not desire to enjoy themselves directly with Krishna, Shrimati Radharani makes a great endeavor to induce Krishna to enjoy Himself with them. Under various pretenses, Shrimati Radharani sometimes sends the gopis to Krishna just to enable them to associate with Him directly. At such times, Shrimati Radharani enjoys happiness ten million times greater than that which She enjoys by Krishna’s direct association. The transcendental mellow is nourished by this mutual behavior, and when Lord Krishna sees how the gopis have developed such pure love for Him, He becomes very satisfied. The dealings of the gopis with Krishna are on the platform of pure love, for they do not have even a pinch of desire for personal sense gratification.”
One should accept the mood of the gopis, and always think of the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. After thinking of Radha and Krishna and Their pastimes for a long time, and after becoming completely free from all material contamination, one is transferred to the spiritual world, where he gains an opportunity to serve Radha and Krishna as one of the gopis. Unless one follows in the footsteps of the gopis, he cannot attain to the service of Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana.”
After hearing this, Sir Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Ramananda Raya, and then, while clasping each other’s shoulders, they began to cry. The entire night was spent in this ecstatic way. Then, in the morning, before departing, Ramananda Raya fell to the ground, caught hold of the Lord’s lotus feet and said, “You have come here just to show me Your causeless mercy. Therefore, please stay for at least ten days and purify my polluted mind. Except for You, no one can deliver all the living entities, for You alone can give love for Krishna.”
The Lord replied, “By hearing from you I have been able to actually experience your glories. As far as Radha and Krishna’s pastimes are concerned, you are the limit of knowledge. To say nothing of ten days, as long as I live I shall find it impossible to give up your company. Both of us will remain together at Jagannatha Puri and pass our time in joy, talking about Krishna and His pastimes.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya departed, so that they could perform their respective duties. Then, that evening, Ramananda Raya returned to see the Lord. After going to a secluded place, they continued to discuss the pastimes of Krishna in great jubilation, by the question and answer process. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu posed the questions, and Ramananda Raya gave the answers, and in this way, they passed the entire night. On one such occasion, the Lord inquired, “Of all types of education, which is the most important?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “There is no important education other than the devotional service of the Lord.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then asked, “Out of all kinds of fame that the living entity can enjoy, which is the most glorious?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “That person who is reputed to be a devotee of Lord Krishna enjoys the utmost fame and glory.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “Out of the many capitalists who possess great riches, who is the topmost?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “He who is the wealthiest in love for Radha and Krishna is the greatest capitalist.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “Of all kinds of distress, which is the most painful?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “Apart from separation from Krishna’s devotee, I know of no unbearable unhappiness.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then inquired, “Out of all liberated persons, who should be accepted as the greatest?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “He who has love for Krishna has attained the topmost liberation.”
Next, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “Among many songs, which can be said to be the actual religion of the living entity?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “That song which describes the loving affairs of Radha and Krishna is superior to all others.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “Of all auspicious and beneficial activities, which is the best for the living entity?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “The only auspicious activity is to associate with the devotees of Lord Krishna.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then asked, “What should all living entities constantly remember?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “The chief subject of remembrance is the holy name of the Lord, as well as His pastimes and qualities.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “Out of the many kinds of meditation, which is required for the living entities?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “The chief duty of every living entity is to meditate upon the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu next asked, “Where should one live, abandoning all other places?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “The holy place known as Vrindavana, where the Lord performed His rasa dance.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “Out of all topics that people listen to, which is the best?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “To hear about the loving affairs between Radha and Krishna is the most pleasing to the ear.”
Next, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “Among all worshipful objects, which is the chief?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “The chief worshipful object is the holy name of Radha and Krishna, the Hare Krishna mantra.”
Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “And, what is the destination of those who desire liberation and those who desire sense gratification?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “Those who attempt to merge into the existence of the Supreme Lord will have to accept immovable bodies like those of trees, and those who are overly inclined toward sense gratification will attain the bodies of demigods. Those who are devoid of all mellows are like crows that suck the juice from the bitter fruit of the nim tree of knowledge, whereas those who enjoy mellows are like the cuckoos who eat the buds of the mango tree of love of Godhead. The unfortunate gyanis taste the dry process of philosophical knowledge, whereas the devotees regularly drink the nectar of love for Krishna. Therefore, they are the most fortunate of all.”
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya passed the night discussing Krishna-katha. As they engaged in chanting, dancing, and crying due to ecstasy, the morning arrived, and so they departed, to perform their respective duties.
The next evening, Ramananda Raya returned, and after discussing the topics of Krishna for some time, he caught hold of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and said, “There is transcendental variety in talks about Radha and Krishna, and Their loving affairs. My Lord, You have manifested many transcendental truths in my heart, just as Narayana formerly educated Brahma. However, there is still one doubt within my heart, and therefore please be merciful to me and remove it.”
“At first I saw You as a sannyasi, but now I see You as Shyamasundara, the cowherd boy. Then again, Your entire body appears to be covered by a golden luster. I see You holding a flute to Your mouth, and Your lotus eyes are moving very restlessly due to various ecstasies. My dear Lord, this is all exceedingly wonderful, and so please tell me without duplicity what is the cause.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “The maha-bhagavata certainly sees everything movable and inert, but he does not exactly see their mundane forms. Rather, he sees that everything is a manifestation of Lord Krishna. He sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, within everything, and that everything is situated in Him. Because of your deep ecstatic love for Krishna, you naturally see things in this way. Please take this from Me to be certain.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “My dear Lord, please give up all these serious talks, and do not try to conceal Your real form from me. I can understand that You have assumed the ecstasy and bodily complexion of Shrimati Radharani, and in this way You are tasting Your own transcendental mellow.”
“My dear Lord, You have descended in this incarnation of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for Your own personal reasons, and at the same time You are transforming the entire world by distributing the ecstasy of love of Godhead. By Your causeless mercy, You have appeared before me in order to grant me liberation, and yet now You are acting in a duplicitous manner. What is the reason for this?”
Lord Krishna, the reservoir of all pleasure, and Shrimati Radharani, the personification of ecstatic love for Krishna, combined as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord smilingly revealed this form, and upon seeing it, Ramananda Raya fainted due to transcendental ecstasy, and fell to the ground. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu touched his hand, Ramananda Raya immediately regained consciousness, and upon once again seeing the Lord in the dress of a sannyasi, he was struck with wonder.
The Lord then embraced Ramananda Raya and pacified him, saying, “I have shown you this form because all of the truths about My pastimes and mellows are known to you. Except for yourself, no one before has seen it. Actually, My body does not have a golden complexion, but it appears in that way due to having touched the body of Shrimati Radharani. I have now transformed My body and mind into the ecstasy of Shrimati Radharani, and am thus tasting My own personal sweetness.”
“Now, My dear Ramananda, there is no confidential activity which is unknown to you. Even though I try to conceal My intentions, you can understand everything in detail by virtue of your advanced love for Me. Please keep all these talks a secret. Since My activities appear to be like those of a madman, people may take them lightly and laugh. Actually, I am a madman, and you are also a madman. Therefore, both of us are on the same platform.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya spent ten nights together, discussing Krishna-katha. Actually, these conversations are like a great mine wherefrom one can extract various metals. Both Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya worked like miners, excavating all kinds of valuable metals, each one better than the other.
The next day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu begged for permission to depart, and at the time of farewell, He gave Ramananda Raya the following instructions: “Give up all material engagements and come to Jagannatha Puri. I will return there very soon, after finishing My tour of South India. The two of us shall remain at Jagannatha Puri, and happily pass our time by discussing about Krishna.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Ramananda Raya, and after sending him back to his home, He took rest. Early the next morning, the Lord visited the local Hanuman temple, and after offering obeisances to the Deity, He departed for South India.
The residents of Vidyanagara were of various faiths, but after seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they all became Vaishnavas. After some time, Ramananda Raya became overwhelmed due to separation from the Lord, and so, while meditating upon His lotus feet, He gave up all of his material occupations.
While walking on the road, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chanted, “Rama! Raghava! Rama! Raghava! Rama! Raghava! Pahi mam/ Krishna! Keshava! Krishna! Keshava! Krishna! Keshava! Raksa mam”, and in this way He came to the place where Gautama Rishi used to reside. From the Gautami-ganga, a branch of the Godavari, the Lord visited Mallikarjuna-tirtha, on the banks of the Krishna River. Here, the Lord saw the Deity of Lord Shiva and induced all the people to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. From this place, which is also called Shri Shaila, the Lord went to Ahovala-Nrisimha, where He offered many prayers to the Deity of Lord Nrisimhadeva. From there, the Lord went to Siddhavata, where He saw the Deity of Lord Ramachandra, and then was invited to take lunch at the house of a brahmana.
This brahmana constantly chanted the name of Ramachandra, and indeed, except for that holy name, no other word came from his mouth. After accepting prasada, the Lord departed for Skanda-kshetra, where He saw the Deity of Skanda. From there, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Trimatha, where He saw the Vishnu Deity named Trivikrama, and thereafter He returned to Siddhavata.
When the Lord once again visited the brahmana, He saw that he was now constantly chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. After finishing His lunch, the Lord inquired, “My dear friend, formerly, you were constantly chanting the holy name of Lord Rama. Why are you now continually chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna?”
The brahmana replied, “This is all due to Your influence. From my childhood I have chanted the holy name of Lord Ramachandra, but after seeing You, I began to chant the holy name of Lord Krishna. Thus, I have lost the long practice of my life. Indeed, when I chant the name of Krishna, the holy name of Lord Ramachandra goes far away. From my childhood, I have been collecting the glories of the holy name from shastra, and as far as the holy name of Rama and Krishna are concerned, they are on the same transcendental platform.”
“However, for further advancement, we receive some specific information from the following two verses: ‘O Parvati, I chant the holy name of Rama and thus enjoy this beautiful sound. The holy name of Lord Ramachandra is equal to one thousand names of Lord Vishnu.’ ‘The pious results derived from chanting the thousand names of Lord Vishnu three times can be attained by only one recitation of the holy name of Krishna.’ ”
The brahmana continued, “According to the statements of shastra, the glories of the holy name of Krishna are unlimited. Still, I could not chant it because my worshipful Lord has always been Ramachandra, and by chanting His name I received great happiness. Indeed, because of this transcendental pleasure, I chanted the holy name of Lord Rama day and night. Now, by Your appearance, Lord Krishna’s holy name has also become manifest in my heart, and thus I can only conclude that You are Lord Krishna Himself.”
While saying this, the brahmana fell down at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and in return, the Lord showed him great mercy. The next day, the Lord departed, and upon arriving at Vridhakashi, He visited the temple of Lord Shiva. From there, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to a village mostly inhabited by brahmanas, and so He halted His journey and took some rest.
While touring South India, many millions of men came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord’s bodily features were very beautiful, and in addition, He was always absorbed in the ecstasy of love of Godhead. As a result, simply by seeing Him, everyone began chanting the holy name of the Lord and became Vaishnavas.
Aside from the common people, there were many varieties of philosophers. Some were logicians who followed Kanada or Gautama, and some were followers of Jaimini’s mimamsa philosophy. Some were adherents of Shankara’s Mayavada philosophy, and others followed Kapila’s sankhya philosophy or Patanjali’s yoga system.
There were brahmanas who followed the twenty smriti-shastra, and others who were followers of the tantra-shastra. All of these philosophers were very eager to present their various conclusions, but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smashed all of their opinions to pieces and established His own philosophy of achintya-bhedabheda-tattva and the path of bhakti. After being defeated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, all of these philosophers and their followers joined His movement, and in this way, the Lord made South India a country of Vaishnavas.
One such nonbeliever who came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, after hearing about His great erudition, was the leader of a Buddhist cult, who was a very learned scholar. With great pride, and surrounded by his disciples, the Acharya came before the Lord and immediately attempted to establish the nine philosophical conclusions of Buddhism.
Although Buddhists are considered unfit for discussion, and not to be even seen by Vaishnavas, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu debated with the Acharya just to decrease their false pride. The scriptures of the Buddhists are based mostly on logic and argument, but when the Acharya attempted to put forward their nine principles, the Lord broke them all to pieces with His strong logic. Indeed, the Lord put forward such a forceful argument that the Buddhists could not establish their philosophy, but were instead defeated. When the Acharya could no longer defend his position, the people who had assembled there began to laugh, and thus all of the Buddhists felt ashamed and afraid.
Understanding the Lord to be a Vaishnava, the Buddhists morosely returned home. Then, later on, they began to plot against Him. Having come to a decision, the Buddhists brought a plate of untouchable food to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, calling it maha-prasada. However, just as the contaminated food was being offered to the Lord, a huge bird swooped down, took the plate in its beak, and flew away.
The untouchable food spilled all over the Buddhists, and then, as the bird soared upwards, it dropped the heavy plate on the Acharya’s head, making a loud sound. Because the plate was made of metal, when the edge hit the Buddhist Acharya’s head, it cut him deeply, and he immediately fell to the ground unconscious. At this, all of the Buddhist students cried aloud and then ran to the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. Addressing Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the students prayed, “Please excuse our offense and have mercy upon us, by bringing our spiritual master back to life.”
The Lord replied, “If you all chant the holy names of Krishna and Hari very loudly near your guru’s ear, he will surely regain consciousness.”
Following this advice, the disciples began congregationally chanting the holy name of the Lord, and as soon as they did, the Buddhist teacher regained consciousness, chanting, “Hari!, Hari!” Then, as the Buddhist Acharya surrendered to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, all of the people gathered there became greatly astonished. The Lord then suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from everyone’s sight, and it was impossible for anyone to find Him.
Next, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at Tirupati and Trimala, where He saw the four-handed Deity of Balaji, or Vyenkateshvara. Then, at Tripati, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the Deity of Lord Ramachandra, and thereafter, at Pana-Nrisimha, He saw the Deity of Lord Nrisimhadeva in great ecstasy. At Shiva-kanchi, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu converted all of the Shaivites into Vaishnavas, and then, at Vishnu-kanchi, He saw the Lakshmi-Narayana Deities. Thereafter, the Lord visited Trimalaya, Trikala-hasti, Pakshi-tirtha, and then arrived at Vriddhakola, where He visited the temple of Sveta-varaha. Then, coming to the banks of the River Kaveri, the Lord visited Go-samaja and Vedavana, where He saw the Deity of Lord Shiva named Amritalinga. At all of these places where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the temples of Lord Shiva, He converted the Shaivites into Vaishnavas.
At Deva-sthana, the Lord visited the Vishnu temple and talked with the devotees there in the disciplic succession from Ramanujacharya, known as Shri Vaishnavas. Then, after visiting Kumbhakarna-kapala, Shiva-kshetra, and Papanasana, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at Shri Ranga-kshetra.
After bathing in the River Kaveri, the Lord saw the temple of Ranganatha, and while offering His ardent prayers and obeisances, He felt Himself to be successful. For some time, the Lord chanted and danced ecstatically in the temple, and upon seeing him, everyone became struck with wonder. Then, a brahmana named Vyenkata Bhatta, who belonged to the Ramanuja-sampradaya, invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his home with great respect.
Vyenkata Bhatta had a brother, who was also in the Ramanuja-sampradaya, named Shripada Prabhodhananda Sarasvati, and a son who later on became known as Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. After taking Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his house, Vyenkata Bhatta washed His lotus feet and then he and his family members drank the water.
When lunch was finished, Vyenkata Bhatta made the following submission before the Lord: “Since the period of Chaturmasya has commenced, please be kind upon me and remain at my house. Speak about Lord Krishna’s pastimes, and thus deliver me, by Your mercy.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed at Vyenkata Bhatta’s house continuously for four months. Every day, the Lord took His bath in the River Kaveri, and would chant and dance in the temple of Shri Ranga. Everyone got the opportunity of witnessing the beauty of the Lord’s body and His ecstatic manifestations of love of God. As soon as the saw the Lord, all of their unhappiness vanished.
Indeed, many hundreds of thousands of persons came from various countries to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and after doing so, they all chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and became Lord Krishna’s devotees. All of the brahmana Vaishnavas of Shri Ranga-kshetra invited the Lord to their homes. And yet, even though He was approached by a different brahmana each day, some of them did not get the opportunity of offering Him prasada, because the period of Chaturmasya came to an end.
There was one brahmana-Vaishnava that daily visited the Shri Ranga temple and sat down there to recite the entire eighteen chapters of Bhagavad-gita. The brahmana read Bhagavad-gita in great transcendental ecstasy, but because he could not pronounce the words properly, people used to joke about him. And yet, in spite of being criticized and laughed at, the brahmana did not care, because of the great happiness that he experienced by reading Bhagavad-gita. Indeed, while reciting the verses, his hair would stand on end, tears would fill his eyes, and his entire body would perspire and tremble.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw this, He felt very satisfied, and so inquired from the brahmana, “My dear sir, why are you experiencing such ecstatic love? Which portion of Bhagavad-gita gives you such transcendental pleasure?”
The brahmana replied, “Since I am an uneducated fool, I do not know the meaning of the words. I sometimes read correctly and sometimes do not, but in any case, I am reciting Bhagavad-gita in compliance with the order of my spiritual master. The truth is that I only see how Lord Krishna has seated Himself upon Arjuna’s chariot as his driver. Taking the reins in His hands, the Lord appears very beautiful and blackish. When I see how Lord Krishna is sitting upon Arjuna’s chariot, and giving him good instructions, I become filled with great ecstatic happiness. For as long as I read Bhagavad-gita, I simply gaze at the Lord’s beautiful features. It is for this reason that I read Bhagavad-gita, and my mind cannot become distracted from it.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told the brahmana, “Indeed, you are an authority in the matter of reading Bhagavad-gita, and whatever you know constitutes its real purport.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced him. In turn, the brahmana caught hold of the Lord’s lotus feet, and while weeping, he said, “Upon seeing You, my transcendental happiness has doubled. Therefore, I take it that You are the very same Lord Krishna.”
The brahmana’s mind had become purified by Lord Krishna’s revelation, and thus he could understand the truth about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord then taught him very thoroughly and requested him to never disclose His identity as Krishna Himself. That brahmana thus became a very great devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and for four months he remained in His close association.
While staying at the house of Vyenkata Bhatta, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed His time very happily by enjoying the transcendental mellow of discussing Krishna-katha. Being a Vaishnava in the Ramanuja-sampradaya, Vyenkata Bhatta was a worshiper of Lakshmi-Narayana, and upon seeing his pure devotion, the Lord was very satisfied. Due to their constant association, the Lord and Vyenkata Bhatta developed a very friendly relationship, and they often used to laugh and joke together.
Once, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Your worshipful goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, always remains on the chest of Lord Narayana, and so she is certainly the most chaste woman in the creation. My Lord is Shri Krishna, a boy who is engaged in tending cows. Why is it that Lakshmi, being such a chaste wife, wants to associate with My Lord? Indeed, just to gain Krishna’s association, Lakshmi abandoned the happiness of Vaikuntha and performed unlimited austerities for a long time.”
“This is stated by the Nagapatnis in Shrimad-Bhagavatam as follows: “O Lord, we do not know how this serpent, Kaliya, attained the fortune of receiving the dust from Your lotus feet. Even the goddess of fortune performed austerities for hundreds of years for this purpose, giving up all other desires.’ ”
Vyenkata Bhatta replied, “Lord Krishna and Lord Narayana are one and the same, although the pastimes of Krishna are more relishable due to their sportive nature. Since Krishna and Narayana are the same personality, Lakshmi’s desire to associate with Krishna does not break her vow of chastity. Rather, since there is a special attraction in Krishna, because of the conjugal mellow, she wanted to take advantage of enjoying His rasa dance. Mother Lakshmi is also an enjoyer of transcendental bliss. Therefore, if she wants to enjoy herself with Krishna, what is the fault? Why are You joking about this?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “I know that there is no fault on the part of Lakshmi, but still, she could not enter into the rasa dance,”
“This is stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam as follows: ‘When Lord Shri Krishna was dancing with the gopis in the rasa-lila, He put His arms around their necks and embraced them. This transcendental favor was never granted to the goddess of fortune, or other consorts in the spiritual world, and so what to speak of celestial or earthly damsels in this material world.’ ”
“Can you tell Me why Lakshmi could not enter the rasa dance, while, on the other hand, the sruti-gana, the Vedas personified, were able to do so?”
Vyenkata Bhatta replied, “Since I am an ordinary human being, my intelligence is very limited, and my mind is easily agitated. For these reasons, I cannot enter within the deep ocean of the pastimes of the Lord and ascertain such mysterious behavior. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna Himself, and thus You know the purpose of Your activities, as can the person whom You enlighten.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “The specific characteristic of Lord Krishna is that He attracts everyone’s heart by the mellow of His conjugal love. In Krishna’s planet, Goloka-Vrindavana, the inhabitants do not know that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There, someone accepts Krishna as a son and sometimes binds Him to a grinding mortar. Someone else accepts Krishna as an intimate friend, and after gaining victory over him, playfully climbs up onto His shoulders.”
“One who worships Krishna by following in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi can attain to the transcendental realm of Goloka-Vrindavana, but not those who worship the Lord in the rasa of opulence. The sruti-gana worshiped Krishna in the ecstasy of the gopis while following in their footsteps, and after doing so, they took birth in Vrajabhumi, accepting the forms of gopis. Only in those bodies were they allowed to enter into the Lord’s rasa-lila. On the other hand, the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, wanted to enjoy Krishna’s association, and at the same time retain her spiritual form of opulence. Nor did she follow in the footsteps of the gopis, and thus she could not enter into the rasa-dance, in order to enjoy the association of Krishna.”
Before hearing this explanation, Vyenkata Bhatta thought that Narayana was the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, for that was what he had been taught by the followers of Ramanujacharya. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu understood this misconception, and so, just to correct him, He had spoken in an apparently joking way.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then continued, “My dear Vyenkata Bhatta, please do not continue doubting. Lord Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this is the conclusion of the Vedic literatures. Lord Narayana is the opulent form of Krishna, and thus He attracts the goddess of fortune and her followers. However, since Krishna possesses extraordinary qualities that are not found in Narayana, Lakshmi always desires His association as well.”
“The verse which you had quoted regarding Krishna’s superior conjugal attraction, is itself evidence that Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Krishna attracts the mind of the goddess of fortune, but Lord Narayana cannot attract the minds of the gopis. This is due to Krishna’s superexcellence.”
“Once, Krishna assumed the form of four-armed Narayana, in order to joke with the gopis. The gopis had been searching for Krishna in great ecstasy, but when they saw the exalted form of Lord Narayana, their feelings abated. After offering their obeisances, the gopis requested Lord Narayana to inform them where their beloved Krishna had gone. Therefore, it is understood that the ecstatic feelings of the gopis in their conjugal relationship with Krishna constitutes the greatest mystery of spiritual life.”
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu deflated Vyenkata Bhatta’s pride. Then, just to make him happy again, the Lord said, “Actually, all that I have spoken was just to joke with you. Now, please hear from Me the conclusion of shastra, in which every Vaishnava has firm faith.”
“There is no difference between the goddess of fortune and the gopis. Indeed, the goddess of fortune enjoys the association of Krishna through the gopis. Actually, the Lord is one, but He appears in various forms just to reciprocate with the devotees, according to their different attachments. Therefore, one should not make distinctions between the forms of the Lord, for such mundane conceptualizing is offensive. Just as the vaidurya stone appears to become separated into different colors, when in contact with various materials, so the Supreme Lord manifests Himself in different forms, according to the meditational ecstasy of the devotees.”
Vyenkata Bhatta then said, “I am an ordinary, fallen conditioned soul, whereas You are Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The pastimes of the Lord are unfathomable, and so I accept as truth whatever You say. I have always been engaged in the service of Lakshmi-Narayana, and it is by Their mercy that I have been able to see Your lotus feet. Out of Your causeless mercy, You have described to me the glories of Lord Krishna. Therefore, I can now understand that devotional service unto Krishna is the supreme form of worship.”
After saying this, Vyenkata Bhatta fell down at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord, out of His causeless mercy, embraced him. When the period of Chaturmasya ended, the Lord took permission from Vyenkata Bhatta, and then, after visiting Shri Ranga, He proceeded further south on His tour. Vyenkata Bhatta wanted to accompany Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so it was only with great endeavor that the Lord was able to make him return home. After Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bid him farewell and departed, Vyenkata Bhatta fell to the ground, unconscious.
Arriving at Rishabha Hill, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the temple of Lord Narayana and offered His obeisances and prayers. When the Lord learned that Paramananda Puri was residing at Rishabha Hill, He immediately went to see him.
When the Lord offered him great respect, touching his lotus feet, Paramananda Puri raised Him up and embraced Him in ecstasy. The two then spent three days together, at the brahmana’s house where Paramananda Puri was residing, and they passed the time happily discussing Krishna-katha.
Paramananda Puri informed the Lord, “I am on my way to Jagannatha Puri, and from there I shall go to Bengal, to bathe in the Ganga.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then requested, “After visiting Bengal, please come back to Jagannatha Puri, for I shall soon return there after seeing Setubandha. It is My desire to stay with you, and so if you return to Jagannatha Puri, you will be showing Me great mercy.”
Thereafter, The Lord took permission from Paramananda Puri and departed for Shri Shaila (not the Shri Shaila previously mentioned). At Shri Shaila, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu met Lord Shiva and his wife, Durga, who were residing there in the dress of brahmanas. Lord Shiva gave alms to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and then invited Him to spend three days in a solitary place. While sitting together, Lord Shiva and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu talked very confidentially. Then, after receiving Lord Shiva’s permission, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Kamakosthi, and then on to the southern Mathura, which is now known as Madura.
There, a brahmana who was a great devotee and authority on Lord Ramachandra, invited the Lord to lunch. However, after bathing in the River Kritamala, when the Lord went to the brahmana’s house, He saw that all of the food remained unprepared , because cooking had not even started. The Lord thus addressed the brahmana. “My dear sir, please tell me why you have not yet begun to cook. It is already noon.”
The brahmana replied, “My dear Lord, we are living in the forest, and so, for the time being, there are no ingredients for cooking. When Laksmana brings the vegetables, fruit and roots, Sita will arrange the necessary cooking.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very satisfied to see the brahmana’s method of worship. Then, finally, the brahmana began hastily cooking, and so, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, the Lord was able to eat His lunch. The brahmana fasted, however, being exceedingly morose, and so the Lord inquired, “Why aren’t you eating? Why do you appear to be so unhappy?”
The brahmana explained, “I have no reason for living and so I shall commit suicide by entering either water or fire. My dear sir, Sitadevi is the mother of the universe and the supreme goddess of fortune, and yet, she has been touched by the demon Ravana. Because of this, I am so miserable that I cannot bear to go on living. And yet, even though my body is burning, my life does not depart.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Please do not think like this any longer. You are a learned pandita, and so why don’t you give the matter proper consideration? Sitadevi, the wife of the Supreme Lord Ramachandra, certainly has a spiritual form, full of bliss, and thus no one has the power to even see her with material eyes, and so what to speak of touch her. Factually, when Ravana came to kidnap Sita, she immediately disappeared and then manifested a material, illusory form, just to cheat him. My dear brahmana, please have faith in My words, and do not burden your mind any longer with this misconception."
Although the brahmana had been fasting for some time, he had faith in the words of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so agreed to accept some food. In this way, his life was saved.
Thereafter, the Lord continued His tour, and upon arriving at Durvasana, He bathed in the River Kritamala, which is presently known as the Bhagai. After visiting the temple of Lord Ramachandra at Durvasana, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the temple of Lord Parashurama located at Mahendra-shaila, and then He went to Setubandha. After bathing at a place called Dhanustirtha, the Lord visited the temple of Rameshvara (Lord Shiva, whose worshipful Deity is Rama), and then rested.
At Setubandha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard the Kurma Purana being recited by the brahmanas. In the course of the narration, the following explanation was given: “When Ravana came before Sita, she took shelter of the fire-god, Agni, and so he covered her body, to protect her from the hands of Ravana. Agni then took sway the real Sita and brought her to the place of Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, and he delivered an illusory form of Sita to Ravana, to cheat him. After Lord Ramachandra killed Ravana, He brought the illusory Sitadevi before the fire. Agni then made this illusory Sita disappear, and he delivered the real Sita into the hands of Lord Ramachandra.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became very pleased upon hearing this explanation, and he remembered the plight of Ramadasa Vipra. With the brahmanas’ permission, the Lord had these pages of the Kurma Purana copied, so that He could present the original manuscript as direct evidence. Then, taking the very old leaves of the Kurma Purana with Him, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to the southern Mathura, and delivered them into the hands of Ramadasa Vipra. The brahmana was extremely pleased to receive the manuscript, and he immediately fell down crying at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The brahmana then said, “Sir, You are Lord Ramachandra Himself. By coming here in the guise of a sannyasi just to give me Your audience, You have delivered me from a very unhappy condition. I request You to please take Your lunch once again at my house. Previously, due to my mental depression, I could not properly feed You, but now, by good fortune, You have returned to my residence.”
Thereafter, the brahmana very happily cooked a first-class lunch and offered it to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord then passed the night at the brahmana’s house, and in the morning, He departed for the banks of the River Tamraparni. After bathing there, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the Deity of Lord Vishnu at Naya-tripati, and then went to Chiyadatala, where He saw the Deities of Rama and Laksmana. From there, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Tilakanchi, where there is a temple of Lord Shiva, and then to Gajendra-mokshana, where He saw the temple of Lord Vishnu.
Next, the Lord came to Panagadi, where He saw the Deities of Sita-Rama, and from there He went to Chamtapura, where there is a temple of Rama and Laksmana. From there, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Shri Vaikuntha, where He saw the temple of Lord Vishnu, and then He arrived at Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India. From there, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Amlitala, where there is a Deity of Lord Ramachandra, and then to a place known as Mallara-desha, where a community of Bhattatharis lived.
Outwardly, the Bhattatharis dressed as sannyasis, but their real business was stealing and cheating. From Mallara-desha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Tamala-kartika, and then Vetapani, where He saw the Deity of Lord Ramachandra, and then spent the night.
At this place, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s servant, Krishnadasa, met the Bhattatharis, and because of his simple and gentle nature, their women were able to allure his mind. Thus, early in the morning, the brahmana Krishnadasa went to their camp, and when the Lord discovered that he was missing, He also quickly ran there.
Upon coming to the place of the Bhattatharis, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu challenged them by saying, “Why are you keeping My brahmana assistant? I am a sannyasi and so are you, and yet you are purposely giving Me pain. I do not see the reason for this.”
Upon hearing this, all of the Bhattatharis picked up weapons and rushed at the Lord to attack Him. However, all of the sudden, the weapons fell from the Bhattatharis’ hands, and began striking their own bodies. While some of the Bhattatharis were being cut to pieces, the others fled in all directions. Then, during the uproar that ensued, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu grabbed Krishnadasa by the hair and dragged him away.
That night, the Lord arrived at the banks of the River Payasvini, and after bathing, He visited the temple of Adi-Keshava. Upon seeing the Deity, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became overwhelmed with ecstasy, and so He chanted and danced there for some time. Since everyone was greatly astonished to see the Lord’s ecstatic pastimes, they gave Him a very respectful reception.
At the Adi-Keshava temple, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu discussed spiritual topics with a group of highly elevated devotees, and He was very pleased to find the fifth chapter of Brahma-samhita in their possession. Indeed, upon receiving this wonderful book, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became so ecstatic, that the symptoms of trembling, tears, perspiration, trance and jubilation became manifest in His body.
There is no shastra equal to Brahma-samhita, as far as the final spiritual conclusion is concerned. Brahma-samhita is the supreme revelation of the glories of Lord Govinda, and since the conclusions are very briefly presented, it is considered essential among all the Vaishnava literatures. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had a copy of Brahma-samhita made. Then, He happily traveled on to Ananta Padmanabha, near present day Trivandram, where He remained for two or three days, and visited the temple of Lord Vishnu.
Next, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Shri Janardana, where He chanted and danced for two days, and then He visited the temple of Shankara-narayana, on the banks of the River Payasvini. There, the Lord saw the abode of Shankaracharya, known as Shringeri-matha, and from there He traveled to Matsya-tirtha, were He bathed in the River Tungabhadra.
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Udupi, the place of Madhvacharya, and upon seeing the Deity of Lord Krishna there, He became practically mad with ecstasy.
Once, while sitting on the beach, absorbed in meditation upon Lord Krishna, Madhvacharya saw that a large boat, loaded with goods, was in danger. By giving some signals, Madhvacharya helped the boat approach safely to the shore, and so, as a reward, the owners wanted to give him some presentation. Madhvacharya agreed to take a big lump of gopi-chandana, and as it was being brought, it suddenly broke apart, revealing a large Deity of Lord Krishna, holding a stick in one hand, and a lump of food in the other.
Although the Deity was too heavy for even thirty men to pick up, Madhvacharya single-handedly brought Him back to Udupi. This most beautiful Deity became known as dancing Gopala, and was installed by Madhvacharya in a temple there.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt great pleasure upon seeing the Deity, and so, for a long time, He chanted and danced in ecstatic love. At first, the followers of Madhvacharya, who were called Tattvavadis, considered Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to be a Mayavadi sannyasi, and thus they avoided talking with Him. However, after seeing the Lord’s manifestation of ecstatic love, they became highly astonished, and, realizing Him to be a Vaishnava, they gave Him a nice reception.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could understand that the Tattvavadis were very proud of their Vaisnavism, and so He decided to engage in a discussion with them. Addressing the chief Acharya, who was very learned in shastra, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very humbly submitted, “I do not know very well the aim of life and how to achieve it. Therefore, kindly enlighten Me in this regard.”
The Acharya replied, “When the activities of the four social castes and the four spiritual orders are dedicated to Krishna, they constitute the best means whereby one can attain the highest goal of life. By this process, one becomes eligible for five kinds of liberation, and thus is transferred to the spiritual world, Vaikuntha. This is the verdict of all shastra.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “According to shastra, the process of hearing and chanting is the best means of attaining loving service to Lord Krishna. When one comes to the platform of loving devotional service by executing the nine processes, headed by hearing and chanting, which are described by Prahlada Maharaja in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, he can attain the fifth platform of success (panchama purushartha), surpassing liberation.”
“This highest goal of life is love of Godhead, and it is described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. ‘When a person who is actually elevated, takes pleasure in chanting the holy name of the Lord, he becomes very agitated, and thus sings very loudly, laughs, cries, and dances like a madman, without caring for outsiders.’ ”
“In every shastra there is condemnation of fruitive activity, for as long as one is so engaged, he can never attain love of God. Shrimad-Bhagavatam states: ‘As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity, and has not awakened his taste for devotional service by hearing and chanting about the Lord, he has to act according to the regulative principles of the Vedic literatures. However, if one analyzes such occupational duties, understanding their qualities and faults, and then gives them up so that he can fully engage in the devotional service of the Lord, he is to be considered a first-class man.’ ”
“Pure devotees consider the five kinds of liberation to be very insignificant, for they are accustomed to viewing all situations of life as equal opportunities for rendering devotional service to the Lord. Devotees reject both liberation and fruitive activity, and yet you are trying to establish these as life’s goal and the means of attaining it. Seeing that I am a sannyasi, you have spoken to me in a duplicitous way, and thus you have not actually described the process and ultimate objective.”
After hearing this, the Tattvavada Acharya became very ashamed, and upon seeing the Lord’s rigid faith in Vaisnavism, he was highly astonished. The Acharya then replied, “What You have said is certainly correct, and it is the factual conclusion of the Vaishnava shastra. Still, as a matter of party policy, we have been following whatever Madhvacharya had ascertained to be the philosophy of our sampradaya.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “Both the karmis and the gyanis are considered to be non-devotees, and yet We see both elements in your sampradaya. Indeed, the only good qualification which I can see in your line is that you accept the form of the Lord as truth.”
After smashing the pride of the Tattvavadis to pieces, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Phalgu-tirtha, then Tritakupa, and then finally He arrived at the holy place known as Panchapsara-tirtha.
Once, Indra sent five Apsaras, named Lata, Budbuda, Samichi, Saurabheyi, and Varna, to break Achyuta Rishi’s vow to perform severe austerities. However, these Apsaras were instead cursed by the rishi, and thus they became crocodiles living in the lake there. Lord Ramachandra had visited this place while in exile, and then later on, the Apsaras were delivered when Arjuna came there.
From Panchapsara, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Gokarna, where He saw the temple of Lord Shiva known as Maha-baleshvara. From there, the Lord went to Dvaipayani, then Surpanakha-tirtha, and then He arrived at Kolapura, where He visited the temple of Maha-Lakshmi. From Kolapura, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Pandarapura, where He very happily saw the temple of Viththala Thakura (Lord Vishnu), and also initiated Tukarama Acharya. After the Lord had chanted and danced for some time, in front of the Deity, as usual, a brahmana who had been very pleased to see His ecstatic love, invited Him to his house for lunch.
After finishing His meal, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu received word that Shri Ranga Puri, a disciple of Madhavendra Puri, was residing at Pandarapura in the house of another brahmana. Quickly, the Lord went there, and when He entered the brahmana’s house and saw Shri Ranga Puri seated there, He fell flat onto the floor, to offer His obeisances.
Immediately, transcendental love overwhelmed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so all the symptoms of ecstasy, such as tears, jubilation, trembling and perspiration, became visible. Upon seeing the Lord in such an ecstatic mood, Shri Ranga Puri said, “Your Holiness, please get up. I can understand that You are related to Shri Madhavendra Puri, without whom there is no flavor of ecstatic love.”
After saying this, Shri Ranga Puri lifted up Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and embraced Him, and at this time, both of them began to cry due to ecstasy. After some moments, when they came to their senses and became patient, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu informed Shri Ranga Puri of His relationship with Ishvara Puri.
Thereafter, they sat down and began conversing about topics concerning Lord Krishna, and indeed, they continued their discussions for five or seven days. Out of curiosity, Shri Ranga Puri inquired from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu about His birthplace, and so the Lord informed him that it was Navadvipa.
Formerly, Shri Ranga Puri had accompanied Madhavendra Puri to Navadvipa, and so he began to recollect how they had taken lunch at the house of Jagannatha Mishra. Indeed, he even remembered the taste of an unprecedented curry, which had been made from banana flowers (mochara ghanta). Shri Ranga Puri also remembered the wife of Jagannatha Mishra, named Sachimata, and how she was very expert in cooking, and so affectionate toward the sannyasis that she fed them as if they were her own sons.
Shri Ranga Puri recalled that one of Sachimata’s sons had taken sannyasa at a very young age, and had received the name Shankararanya. He then informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “At this holy place, Pandarapura, Shankararanya achieved perfection, after giving up his material body.”
The Lord replied, “In My previous ashrama, Shankararanya was My brother and Jagannatha Mishra was My father.”
Thereafter, Shri Ranga Puri departed for Dvaraka, while Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remained with the brahmana at Pandarapura for four more days, bathing in the Bhima river and visiting the temple of Viththala.
Next, the Lord went to the banks of the Krishna-vena River, where He visited many holy places. There, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu found a community of brahmanas who were all pure devotees, and who regularly studied a book entitled Krishna-karnamrita, which had been composed by Bilvamangala Thakura. The Lord was very pleased to hear the contents of this book, and so he had a copy of it made to take with Him. Indeed, there is no comparison to Krishna-karnamrita within the three worlds, for, by studying it, one is elevated to the platform of knowledge about pure devotional service to Lord Krishna. One who constantly reads Krishna-karnamrita can fully understand the beauty and melodious taste of Lord Krishna’s conjugal pastimes.
Next, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to the banks of the River Tapi, and after bathing there, He went to Mahishmati-pura. From there, the Lord visited many holy places along the banks of the River Narmada, and then came to Dhanus-tirtha, where He bathed in the River Nirvindhya. Thereafter, the Lord came to the Rishyamukha Mountain and then the Dandakaranya forest, where Lord Ramachandra had lived.
Within the Dandakaranya forest, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to the place called Saptatala, where the trees were very massive, old and tall. After seeing the seven palm trees there, the Lord embraced them, and as a result, they immediately returned to Vaikuntha, the spiritual world. Everyone was highly astonished to see how the seven enormous trees had vanished, and so with great wonder, they exclaimed, “This sannyasi called Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu must be an incarnation of Lord Ramachandra, for only He has the power to send seven palm trees to Vaikuntha!”
Eventually, the Lord arrived at Lake Pampa, where He took His bath, and then Panchavati, where He took rest. The Lord then went to Nasika, where He saw the Deity, Triyambaka, and then He went to Brahma-giri, and then Kushavarta, which is at the source of the River Godavari. Travelling along the banks of the Godavari, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reached Sapta-godavari, and then, finally, He returned to Vidyanagara.
As soon as Ramananda Raya heard of the Lord’s arrival, he went to see Him with great pleasure. When Ramananda Raya fell flat onto the ground, touching His lotus feet, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu raised him up and embraced him, and thus both of them began to cry in great ecstatic love.
After some time, Lord Chaitanya and Ramananda Raya regained their composure and then sat down to talk. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu proceeded to give Ramananda Raya a vivid description of His travels, and then He explained how He had acquired the two books- Brahma-samhita and Krishna-karnamrita. After delivering them into Ramananda Raya’s hands, the Lord said, “Whatever you told Me about devotional service is supported by these two books.”
Ramananda Raya was very pleased to receive the Brahma-samhita and Krishna-karnamrita, and after relishing their contents, along with the Lord, he made copies for himself. News soon spread of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival, and so all of the residents of Vidyanagara once again came to see Him.
When a big crowd thus gathered, Ramananda Raya returned home and then, at noon, the Lord went to take His lunch. That evening, Ramananda Raya returned to where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was staying, and, as before, they passed the entire night talking about Krishna. Indeed, for five or seven days, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya passed their time very happily by discussing topics concerning Lord Krishna, day and night.
Ramananda Raya said, “My dear Lord, according to Your instruction, I have written a letter to the king, with great humility, and he has agreed to let me return to Jagannatha Puri. Therefore, I am making arrangements to do so.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “It is for this purpose alone that I have come back here, for I want to take you with Me to Nilachala.”
Ramananda Raya then said, “My Lord, You had better proceed to Jagannatha Puri alone, because when I go there will be so many horses, elephants and soldiers, all making a tumultuous sound. I will arrange everything within ten days, and then I shall reach Nilachala soon after You.”
After this was decided, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu happily departed for Jagannatha Puri. Because the Lord returned by the same road that He had formerly traversed while coming to Vidyanagara, all of the Vaishnavas along the way got another chance to see Him. Wherever Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord could be heard, and thus He felt very satisfied.
Then, when the Lord reached Alalanatha, He sent Krishnadasa ahead to call for Nityananda Prabhu and His other associates. As soon as Nityananda Prabhu received news of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival, He immediately jumped up and started out to meet Him, with great ecstatic impatience. Jagadananda, Damodara, Mukunda and Gopinatha Acharya accompanied Nityananda Prabhu, and along the way they danced in ecstasy. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was also filled with great ecstatic love, and when He met the devotees along the way, He immediately embraced them, and out of love, everyone began to cry.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya also went to see the Lord with great pleasure, and he met the party as they were walking along the seashore. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya fell down at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and as he cried due to great ecstatic love, the Lord picked him up and embraced him.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then took His associates to the temple, and as soon as He saw Lord Jagannatha, an ecstatic inundation of trembling, perspiration, tears and jubilation swept across His body. In great ecstasy, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced and chanted in front of Lord Jagannatha, but then the servants of the Deity came and offered Him a garland and some maha-prasada, and so the Lord became patient in order to meet them.
At this time, Kashi Mishra came and fell down at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, and the Lord, in turn, embraced him. Then, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya extended an invitation to the Lord by saying, “Today’s lunch will be at my home.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house, along with all of His associates, and at noon He had lunch. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya had brought all kinds of Jagannatha prasada, including numerous cakes and condensed milk preparations. After feeding the Lord, Sarvabhauma made Him lie down to rest , then he personally massaged His legs. Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya have his lunch, and that night, the Lord remained at his house, just to please him. Indeed, the Lord stayed awake the entire night, describing to His associates everything that had taken place on His pilgrimage tour.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, “I traveled to many, many holy places, but nowhere could I find a Vaishnava as good as you. However, as you suggested, I met Ramananda Raya, and I must admit that he is a most wonderful personality. We passed many days discussing Krishna’s pastimes, and I received tremendous pleasure while talking with him.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “It is just for this reason that I had requested You to meet him.”
Sometime after Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s departure for South India, King Prataparudra had summoned Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya to his palace. After offering the Bhattacharya a seat with all due respects, the king inquired, “I have heard that an exalted personality has come from Bengal and is staying at your house. I have also heard that this great personality is very merciful and has shown you great favor. Now, please be merciful to me and arrange for an interview so that I may meet Him.”
The Bhattacharya replied, “All that you have heard is quite true, but as far as an interview is concerned, it will be very difficult to arrange. You see, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a sannyasi and He is very detached from worldly affairs. He stays in a solitary place and even in dreams He does not agree to meet a king. Still, I would have tried my best, but unfortunately, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has recently left Nilachala, in order to take a tour of South India.”
The king inquired, “Why did He leave Jagannatha Puri?”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then explained, “Such are the pastimes of a great personality. Exalted saintly persons travel to the holy places of pilgrimage just to purify them. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is visiting many tirthas and delivering countless conditioned souls. These are some of the duties of an elevated Vaishnava. Of course, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is not a living entity (jiva), but the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, and thus He is fully independent. And yet, since He has accepted the position of a devotee, He dutifully carries out the activities of a Vaishnava.”
The king then asked, “Why did you allow Him to leave? Why didn’t you fall at His lotus feet and beg Him to remain at Nilachala?”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “Of course, I endeavored very hard to keep Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu here. However, because He is the completely independent Lord Shri Krishna Himself, He is not dependent upon anyone, and thus I was unsuccessful.”
The king then said, “My dear Bhattacharya, you are the most learned and experienced person that I know. Therefore, when you refer to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as Lord Krishna, I accept this as truth. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returns to Nilachala, I wish to see Him just once, so that I can perfect my eyes.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will return here very soon, and so I wish to have a solitary and peaceful place ready for Him to use as a residence. Please consider this proposal and arrange for some nice place that is very secluded, and yet, at the same time, close to the Jagannatha temple.”
The king suggested, “Kashi Mishra’s house is just what you require, for it is near the temple and yet very secluded, calm and quiet.”
Thereafter, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya went to see Kashi Mishra, and the king became very anxious for the Lord to return from His South Indian tour. When Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya conveyed the king’s desire to him, Kashi Mishra said, “I am extremely fortunate that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord of all other prabhus, will reside at my house.”
All of the inhabitants of Jagannatha Puri had been anxiously awaiting Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s return, and so, when He finally arrived, everyone became very happy. Approaching Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, they begged, “Please arrange for our meeting with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for it is only by your mercy that we can attain shelter at His lotus feet.”
The Bhattacharya replied to the people, “The Lord will come to Kashi Mishra’s house tomorrow, and so I shall arrange for you to meet Him there.”
The next day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went with Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya to see Lord Jagannatha, and when the servants of the Deity brought Him maha-prasada, the Lord embraced them all. The Bhattacharya then took Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Kashi Mishra’s house. Upon the Lord’s arrival, Kashi Mishra immediately fell down at His lotus feet, completely surrendering himself and all his possessions. At this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showed Kashi Mishra His four-armed form, and then, accepting him as His servant, He embraced him.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very satisfied with His residential quarters, and all of His necessities were taken care of. Thereafter, when the Lord sat down, surrounded by His associates, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya requested, “This place is just befitting, and so please accept it, for that is Kashi Mishra’s desire.”
The Lord replied, “My body belongs to all of you, and thus I agree to whatever you say.”
Thereafter, while sitting by the Lord’s right side, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “My dear Lord, all of these residents of Nilachala have been very anxious to meet You. In Your absence they were just like thirsty chataka birds crying in disappointment. Therefore, kindly accept them. Here is Janardana, who renders service to Lord Jagannatha by renovating His transcendental body during the fifteen day period following Snana-yatra, when the Lord is absent from the temple. This renovation is known as Nava-yauvana, which indicates that the Jagannatha Deity is being fully restored to youth.”
“This is Krishnadasa, who carries a golden cane, and here is Sikhi Mahiti, who writes the panjika. Here is Pradyumna Mishra, the chief of all Vaishnavas, and a great servant of Lord Jagannatha. This is Murari Mahiti, the brother of Sikhi Mahiti, and here are Chandaneshvara, Simheshvara, Murari Brahmana and Vishnudasa. Here is Paramananda Prahararaja, who sits upon the throne in the king’s absence, or during the interval that occurs upon the death of a king, before the coronation of another king takes place. All of these pure devotees are like the ornaments of Jagannatha Puri, and they are constantly engaged in meditating upon Your lotus feet.”
After this introduction, everyone fell to the ground like rods, to offer obeisances, and in return, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very mercifully embraced each and every one of them. At this time, Bhavananda Raya came there with four of his sons, named Vaninatha, Gopinatha, Kalanidhi, and Shudhanidhi, and all of them fell at the lotus feet of the Lord. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then said, “This is Bhavananda Raya, the father of Ramananda Raya, who is his eldest son.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Bhavananda Raya, and then greatly honored him by saying, “The glories of a person who has a jewel of a son like Ramananda cannot be described within this mortal world. In fact, you are Maharaja Pandu himself, your wife is directly Kuntidevi, and your highly intelligent sons are representatives of the five Pandavas.”
After being praised so highly by the Lord, Bhavananda Raya replied, “I am a shudra engaged in mundane affairs, and yet, although I am so fallen, You have touched me. This is proof that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, along with my home, wealth, servants and five sons, I hereby surrender myself at Your lotus feet. If You allow, then this son, Vaninatha, can remain with You, to always carry out Your orders and render service. My dear Lord, please consider me as Your relative, and thus do not hesitate to order me, at any time, according to Your desire.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “I accept your offer without hesitation, because you are not an outsider. Birth after birth you have been My servant, along with your family members. Ramananda Raya will be coming here in five or seven days. As soon as he arrives, all of My desires will be fulfilled, for I take great pleasure in his company.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Bhavananda Raya and then touched the heads of his sons with His lotus feet. Thereafter, the Lord dismissed Bhavananda Raya, keeping Vaninatha Pattanayaka as His personal servant, and at this time Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya requested the others who were present to also leave.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then called for Kala Krishnadasa and said, “My dear Bhattacharya, please consider the character of this man who had accompanied Me to South India, for He left My service in order to associate with the Bhattatharis. I rescued him from their clutches and brought him back here, but now I am asking him to leave. He can go wherever he likes, for I am no longer responsible for him.”
Upon hearing the Lord reject him, Kala Krishnadasa began to cry. However, without caring for him, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately got up and left, to go have His noon meal.
Thereafter, Nityananda Prabhu, Mukunda, Jagadananda, and Damodara began to consider the matter as follows: “We need someone to go to Bengal,. to inform Sachimata and the devotees about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s return to Jagannatha Puri. After hearing about the Lord’s arrival, the devotees, headed by Advaita Acharya and Shrivasa Thakura, will certainly come here to see Him. Therefore, let us send Krishnadasa to Bengal, and thus keep him engaged in the devotional service of the Lord.”
After coming to this decision, the devotees, who are sometimes even more merciful than the Lord, gave Krishnadasa assurances, and thus pacified him. Then, the next day, they made the following request before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: “Please give us permission to send someone to Bengal, since Mother Sachi and all of the devotees there are very unhappy at not having received any word about Your return from South India. Because of this, one person should go and inform them of the auspicious news of Your arrival.”
The Lord replied, “You can do whatever you decide”, and thus Krishnadasa was dispatched to Bengal, after being given a sufficient quantity of Jagannatha-prasada to distribute there.
First of all, Kala Krishnadasa went to the house of Sachimata at Navadvipa. After offering his obeisances and delivering some maha-prasada, Krishnadasa informed Mother Sachi that her son had returned to Jagannatha Puri from His South Indian tour. Sachimata was exceedingly pleased to receive this good news, as were all of the devotees of Navadvipa, headed by Shrivasa Thakura.
Kala Krishnadasa then went to Advaita Acharya’s house, and after offering his obeisances and delivering some maha-prasada, he informed Him about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s return to Nilachala. Advaita Acharya was so pleased to receive this news that in His ecstasy of love He made a great rumbling sound, and chanted and danced for a long time. Then, as the news spread, other devotees, such as Haridasa Thakura, Acharyaratna, Gadadhara Pandita, Vasudeva Datta, Murari Gupta, Vakreshvara Pandita, and Shivananda Sena, assembled at Advaita Acharya’s house, in a very joyful mood. Advaita Acharya then celebrated the occasion by holding a festival that lasted for two or three days.
Thereafter, having made a firm decision to travel to Jagannatha Puri, all of the devotees met at Navadvipa, after being joined by the inhabitants of Kulina-grama and Khanda. Paramananda Puri had also arrived from South India, after travelling along the banks of the Ganga, and he resided with Sachimata, who very respectfully provided him with all his needs. While living at Sachimata’s house, Paramananda Puri heard of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s return to Jagannatha Puri. Deciding to go there as soon as possible, he did not wait for the other devotees, but instead he departed immediately, taking with him just one other Vaishnava named Dvija Kamalakanta.
Very soon thereafter, Paramananda Puri arrived at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence, and upon seeing him, the Lord worshiped his lotus feet in great ecstasy. In turn, Paramananda Puri embraced the Lord, who then said, “Please accept the shelter of Jagannatha Puri and thus show Me your favor by staying with Me.”
Paramananda Puri replied, “I also desire to remain with You, and thus I have come here from Bengal. Mother Sachi and all the devotees were very glad to hear of Your return from South India, and they will soon be coming here to see You. I knew that it would take some time for these devotees to organize their journey, and so I decided to come here quickly by myself.”
The Lord gave Paramananda Puri a solitary room in Kashi Mishra’s house for his residence, and He also provided him with a servant.
The next day, Svarupa Damodara arrived at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence. Damodara Svarupa was formerly a resident of Navadvipa named Purushottama Acharya, and he had been a very intimate friend of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s. After the Lord accepted the renounced order of life, Purushottama Acharya became just like a madman and immediately set out for Varanasi, to also take sannyasa. At the conclusion of his initiation, Svarupa Damodara’s sannyasa-guru, Chaitanyananda Bharati, ordered him, “Read Vedanta-sutra and teach it to all others.”
Svarupa Damodara was a greatly learned scholar, and since he was very eager to worship Lord Krishna without disturbance, he had accepted the renounced order of life. Svarupa Damodara followed the principle of giving up the sikha and sacred thread, but he did not accept the saffron dress, the danda, or the sannyasa title, but instead, kept his brahmachari name. After taking leave from his sannyasa-guru, Svarupa Damodara departed for Nilachala, in order to take shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Svarupa Damodara was the limit of all learned scholarship, and yet he rarely exchanged words with anyone, but instead, would remain in a solitary place. Svarupa Damodara was the personification of ecstatic love, and He directly represented Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as His second expansion. If someone wrote a book, or composed some verses, songs, or a drama, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would agree to listen to them only after they were examined and approved by Svarupa Damodara.
Svarupa Damodara was as expert a musician as the Gandharvas, and he used to give Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's great happiness by singing the poems of Vidyapati, Chandidasa and Jayadeva Gosvami. In terms of scriptural discussion, Svarupa Damodara was just like Brihaspati, and thus it can be concluded that there was no other great personality quite like him. Indeed, Svarupa Damodara was extremely dear to Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu, and he was the life and soul of all the devotees, headed by Shrivasa Thakura.
While falling flat in order to offer his obeisances to the Lord, Svarupa Damodara recited the following verse: “O ocean of kindness, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, let there be an awakening of Your auspicious mercy, which easily drives away all kinds of material lamentation. By Your mercy, everything is made pure and blissful, covering all gross material pleasures. By Your auspicious mercy, disagreements arising from the varieties of viewpoints that are presented in shastra are vanquished. May transcendental bliss be awakened within my heart by Your causeless mercy.”
Thereafter, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu raised up Svarupa Damodara and embraced him, both became so ecstatic that they fell down unconscious. Finally, after regaining His composure, the Lord said, “I saw in a dream that you were coming here, and so your arrival is very auspicious. I have been just like a blind man, but your coming here has restored My vision.”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “My dear Lord, please excuse my great offense, for I gave up Your association, to go elsewhere. My Lord, I do not possess even a trace of love for You- otherwise, how could I go to another country? Therefore, I am a most sinful person. Still, even though I gave up Your company, You did not abandon me. By Your rope of mercy You have bound me by the neck and dragged me back here to Your lotus feet.”
Thereafter, Svarupa Damodara worshiped the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu, who in turn embraced him in ecstatic love. Svarupa Damodara then met Jagadananda, Mukunda, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Paramananda Puri, as was befitting. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then assigned to him a residence in a solitary place, as well as a servant.
The next day, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat with the devotees, discussing the pastimes of Krishna, Govinda arrived there. After offering his respectful obeisances to the Lord, Govinda very submissively spoke as follows: “I am the servant of Ishvara Puri and my name is Govinda. Following the order of my spiritual master, I have come here. Just before his departure from this mortal world, Ishvara Puri instructed me to approach You, so as to engage in Your service. Kashishvara will also come, after visiting the holy places, but as for myself, upon receiving my spiritual master’s order, I hastily came here to be present at Your lotus feet.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My spiritual master, Ishvara Puri, always favors Me with parental affection, and thus, out of his causeless mercy, he has sent you here.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then inquired, “Why did Ishvara Puri keep as his personal servant someone born in a shudra family?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Both the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ishvara, and the spiritual master, Ishvara, are completely independent. Therefore, their mercy is not dependent upon any Vedic rules and regulations, caste, or creed. Vidura was a shudra and yet Lord Krishna accepted lunch at his house. Krishna’s mercy is dependent only upon love, and being obliged by such affection, He acts very independently. When the devotee deals with Krishna on the basis of transcendental love, the resultant happiness is millions of times greater than the happiness derived from dealings which are based on awe and reverence.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Govinda, and in turn, Govinda offered his obeisances to the Lord. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “My dear Bhattacharya, please consider this point. Since the servant of the spiritual master is always respectable for Me, it is not befitting that he should engage in My personal service. On the other hand, My spiritual master has ordered him to do so. What should I do?”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “The order of the father of spiritual master is very strong and cannot be disobeyed, for that is the injunction of shastra. Being ordered by his father, Parashurama killed his mother, Renuka, as if she were an enemy.”
After hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Govinda, and thereafter, began engaging him in His personal, bodily service. Everyone respected Govinda as being the dearest servant of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Govinda served all of the Vaishnavas by seeing to their needs. Two devotees, who were musicians, named senior Haridasa and junior Haridasa, as well as Ramai and Nandai, used to stay with Govinda, in order to render service to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The next day, Mukunda Datta informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “Brahmananda Bharati has come to see You. Shall I bring him here?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Brahmananda Bharati is on a level with My spiritual master, and thus it is befitting for Me to go to him.”
The Lord then went with His devotees to where Brahmananda Bharati was staying, and upon their arrival, they saw that he was wearing a deerskin. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very unhappy at this, however, knowing that such an external show was simply a manifestation of pride. Therefore, instead of recognizing Brahmananda Bharati, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu pretended not to see him. The Lord asked Mukunda, “Where is Brahmananda Bharati, My spiritual master?”
Mukunda Datta replied, “Here is Brahmananda Bharati, right before You.”
The Lord then said, “You must be mistaken. This cannot be Brahmananda Bharati, for why should he wear a deerskin? You simply have no knowledge.”
When Brahmananda Bharati heard this, he thought, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu does not approve of my deerskin, and His chastisement is certainly proper. I have been wearing this deerskin only for gaining prestige, but I shall never be able to cross over the ocean of nescience simply by such a pretension. From now on, I will no longer wear this deerskin!”
Understanding Brahmananda Bharati’s decision, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately ordered that a sannyasi’s cloth be brought there. As soon as Brahmananda Bharati dressed like a regular sannyasi, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu offered obeisances at his lotus feet.
Brahmananda Bharati then said, “You instruct people in general by Your behavior. From now on, I will never do anything against Your desire. Otherwise, You will neglect me, and I am very much afraid of this. At present I see two Brahmans- Lord Jagannatha, who does not move; and You, who are moving. Both of You are the same Brahman, or master of material nature, but You are playing two roles while residing at Jagannatha Puri. Of the two Brahmans, You are fair complexioned, whereas Lord Jagannatha is blackish. Still, both of You are delivering the entire world.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Actually, due to your presence, there are two Brahmans at Jagannatha Puri. Both Brahmananda and Gaurahari are moving, whereas the blackish Lord Jagannatha is sitting tight and immovable.”
Brahmananda Bharati was trying to prove that both Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Jagannatha are the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. On the other hand, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was trying to establish that He and Brahmananda were both jivas, or among the many parts and parcels of the Supreme Brahman.
Brahmananda Bharati then said, “My dear Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, please become the mediator in this debate. The jiva is localized, whereas the Supreme Brahman is all-pervading. Since Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu purified me, by taking away my deerskin, it proves that He is all-powerful and I am His subordinate.”
“In the Vishnu-nama-stotra of Mahabharata, a description of the Lord’s incarnation is given as follows: ‘His bodily complexion is golden and every limb is decorated with sandalwood paste. Having accepted the renounced order of life, the Lord is firmly fixed in His mission of establishing the religious principles for the age.’ All of these symptoms are clearly visible in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
After hearing this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya rendered his judgement by saying, “Brahmananda Bharati, you are victorious.”
At this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately conceded by saying, “I accept whatever Brahmananda Bharati has said, for the disciple is certainly defeated in an argument with the spiritual master.”
Brahmananda Bharati then argued, “This is not the cause of Your defeat. The real reason is Your natural inclination to accept defeat at the hands of Your devotees. Now, there is another glory of Yours which I request You to hear about attentively.”
“Ever since my birth, I have been accustomed to meditating upon the impersonal Brahman. But, since I have seen You, I have felt the presence of Lord Krishna within my mind, and I always desire to chant the holy name of the Lord. Indeed, I have been seeing Krishna before my very eyes, for within my heart I consider You to be Lord Krishna Himself. Just as Bilvamangala Thakura abandoned his impersonal meditation, due to realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, my condition has also changed.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “You have a deep ecstatic love for Krishna, and thus, wherever your eyes turn, your Krishna consciousness becomes enhanced.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “Both of your statements are correct, for without possessing ecstatic love for Krishna, one cannot see Him directly. Now, because of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s merciful appearance, Brahmananda Bharati has acquired a direct vision of the Lord.”
Being somewhat embarrassed to hear this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu objected, “Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, what are you saying? Lord Vishnu, please save Me! Such over-glorification is simply another form of blasphemy.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took Brahmananda Bharati to His residence, and from that time onward, he remained always with the Lord.
The next day, Kashishvara came to stay with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord received him with great respect. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would go to the Jagannatha temple, Kashishvara proceeded Him into the crowd, to keep the people from touching Him. Gradually, as rivers flow into the sea, all of the devotees throughout the country came to Jagannatha Puri, to stay under the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.
The next day, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya came to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and requested, “My dear Lord, please let me submit a statement to You without fear.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Of course, you can speak without fear, but only if your statement is suitable will I accept it. Otherwise, I shall certainly reject it.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then said, “There is a king named Prataparudra Raya, who is very anxious to have Your audience, and thus he requests Your permission to meet You.”
As soon as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard this proposal He covered His ears and replied, “My dear Sarvabhauma, why are you requesting such an undesirable thing from Me? Since I am a sannyasi, it is as dangerous for Me to meet a king as it is to meet a woman. Alas, for a person who is seriously desiring to cross over the material ocean and engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, seeing a materialist engaged in sense gratification, and a woman who is similarly inclined, is more abominable than voluntarily drinking poison.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya objected, “My dear Lord, what You have said is correct, but this king is not ordinary- he is a great devotee and servant of Lord Jagannatha.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Even though the king may be a great devotee, he still must be considered as dangerous as a poisonous snake. Similarly, even though a woman may be made of wood, one becomes agitated, simply by touching her form. Just as one becomes immediately frightened upon seeing a serpent, so, one who is endeavoring for self-realization should fear materialistic persons and women. Indeed, one should not even glance at their bodily features. My dear Bhattacharya, if you continue speaking like this, you will never see Me here again. Therefore, please do not again let such a request come from your mouth.”
After hearing this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya fearfully returned home, where he began to carefully consider the matter. At this time, King Prataparudra arrived at Jagannatha Puri, accompanied by Ramananda Raya and a large retinue. While the king went to visit Lord Jagannatha in the temple, Ramananda Raya went with great pleasure to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
When Ramananda Raya offered his obeisances, the Lord picked him up and embraced him. At this time, both of them began to cry in the great ecstasy of transcendental love. Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s intimate dealings with Ramananda Raya, the other devotees were astonished.
Ramananda Raya then said, “I informed King Prataparudra that You ordered me to retire from government service. By Your grace, he was very happy to grant me relief from all my material responsibilities. I had said, ‘Your Majesty, I no longer wish to engage in political affairs. I only want to reside at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so please give me your permission.’ ”
“King Prataparudra was so pleased with my proposal that he immediately got up from his throne and embraced me. In fact, when he heard Your holy name, the king became overwhelmed by great ecstatic love, and while catching hold of my hand, he displayed various emotional symptoms.”
“After granting me a pension equal to my full salary, and requesting me to engage in the service of Your lotus feet without anxiety, the king spoke very humbly as follows: ‘I am most fallen and abominable, and thus I am unfit to receive an interview with the Lord. I know that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, the son of Maharaja Nanda. Therefore, since He is very merciful, I hope that in a future birth He will grant me His audience.’ ”
Ramananda Raya then said, “My Lord, I do not think that there is even a fraction of Maharaja Prataparudra’s loving ecstasy in me.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “My dear Ramananda, you are the foremost of Lord Krishna’s devotees. Therefore, whoever loves you is certainly very fortunate. Because the king has shown you so much affection, I am sure that Lord Krishna will be merciful to him. Lord Krishna has told Arjuna, ‘Those who are My direct devotees are not actually My devotees. However, those who are the devotees of My servants are factually My devotees.’ ”
Since Paramananda Puri, Brahmananda Bharati, Svarupa Damodara, Lord Nityananda, and others were present, after hearing the Lord’s statement, Ramananda Raya offered his obeisances to all of them, especially the four spiritual masters mentioned above. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then inquired, “Have you visited the temple of the lotus-eyed Lord Jagannatha?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “I shall go now and visit the temple.”
At this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exclaimed, “My dear Raya, what have you done! Why didn’t you first go to see Lord Jagannatha and then come here? Why did you come here first?”
Ramananda Raya replied, “The legs are just like a chariot, and the heart is like the driver. Therefore, wherever the heart takes him, a living entity is obliged to go. My mind has brought me here and so what can I do? I could not even consider going first to the Jagannatha temple.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then ordered, “Immediately go and see Lord Jagannatha, and after doing so, go home and meet your family members."
At this time, King Prataparudra called for Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. After offering the Bhattacharya all kinds of respect, the king inquired, “Have you submitted my petition to the Lord?”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “Yes, I tried my best, but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will not agree to see a king. Indeed, He said that if such a request were made again, He would leave Jagannatha Puri and go elsewhere.”
When King Prataparudra heard this, he became extremely morose. While greatly lamenting, he spoke as follows: “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has descended just to deliver all kinds of sinful, lowborn persons. He has already delivered such great sinners as Jagai and Madhai. Is it that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has incarnated to deliver all kinds of fallen souls with the exception of a king named Prataparudra? Has the Lord made His advent, deciding to deliver all others, except me?”
“The Lord has bestowed His merciful glance upon many lower-class men who are usually not even to be seen. Therefore, if Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is determined not to see me, then I am also determined to give up my life if I do not see Him, for without His mercy, my body and kingdom are certainly useless.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was astonished to hear such words, and he began to ponder over the situation very deeply. Finally, he said, “My dear king, please do not worry. Because of your firm determination, I am sure that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will bestow His mercy upon you. The Supreme Lord can only be approached by pure love. Since your love for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is very, very deep, He will become merciful toward you without a doubt.”
“Now, please hear my suggestion as to how you can see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu directly. On the Rathayatra day, the Lord will dance before Lord Jagannatha in great ecstasy. Then, after dancing for a long time, He will enter the Gundicha garden, to rest. At that time, you should go there, without your royal dress. After catching hold of the Lord’s lotus feet, recite to Him the five chapters of Shrimad-Bhagavatam that describe Lord Krishna’s rasa-lila.”
“The Lord has already changed His mind about meeting you, due to Ramananda Raya’s descriptions of your pure love for Him. At that time, the Lord will be absorbed in an ecstatic mood, without external consciousness, and so, upon hearing your description of Krishna’s pastimes, He will embrace you, recognizing you to be a pure Vaishnava.”
King Prataparudra made a firm decision to follow Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s advice, and this made him feel transcendental happiness. Then, when the king inquired as to when the Snana-yatra would take place, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya informed him that only three days remained before the bathing ceremony of Lord Jagannatha.
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu observed the Snana-yatra with great pleasure, but then, when Lord Jagannatha retired into seclusion after the bathing ceremony, He became morose. On account of separation from Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt great anxiety, just as the gopis did in the absence of Lord Krishna. In this mood, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to be alone, and so He went to Alalanatha, so that He could stay in a solitary place. However, the devotees, headed by Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, followed the Lord, and they were able to bring Him back to Jagannatha Puri, in consideration of all the devotees who were about to arrive from Bengal.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya went to inform King Prataparudra of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival, and while the two were seated, Gopinatha Acharya came there. Being a brahmana, Gopinatha Acharya offered his benediction to the King, and then he addressed Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya as follows: “About two hundred devotees have arrived from Bengal, and they are now waiting at Lake Narendra. All of them are very advanced, and specifically devoted to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and so I wish to provide them residential quarters and prasada.”
The King replied, “I shall give orders to the attendant of the Jagannatha temple, and so he will provide everything according to your desire. My dear Sarvabhauma, please show me, one after another, all the devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who have arrived from Bengal.”
The Bhattacharya suggested, “Let us go up onto the palace roof, and then Gopinatha Acharya can point them all out to you. He knows all of the devotees, whereas I do not, although I am also very eager to see them.”
The three then went onto the roof, just as the devotees were drawing closer to the palace. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had first of all sent Svarupa Damodara and Govinda with garlands and Jagannatha-prasada Upon seeing their arrival, the King inquired, “Who are these two? Please inform me of their identities.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “There is Svarupa Damodara, who is practically the second expansion of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body, and the second person is Govinda, the Lord’s personal servant. In order to honor the devotees from Bengal, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has first of all sent them with garlands and maha-prasada.”
While the two were thus conversing, Svarupa Damodara garlanded Advaita Acharya, and then Govinda offered Him a second garland. When Govinda fell to the ground, to offer his obeisances, Advaita Acharya inquired about his identity. Svarupa Damodara replied, “Govinda was the personal servant of Ishvara Puri, and was ordered by him to come here and serve Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
King Prataparudra then inquired, “To whom did Svarupa Damodara and Govinda offer the garlands. His bodily effulgence is very great, and so I can understand that He must be a very exalted devotee.”
Gopinatha Acharya replied, “His name is Advaita Acharya, and because He is honored even by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He is considered to be the topmost devotee. Here are Shrivasa Pandita, Vakreshvara Pandita, Vidyanidhi Acharya, and Gadadhara Pandita. Here are Acharyaratna, Gangadasa Pandita, and Shankara Pandita, and there are Murari Gupta, Nrisimhananda and Haridasa Thakura, the deliverer of the entire universe.”
“Here are Vasudeva Datta and Shivananda Sena, and there are Govinda Ghosh, Madhava Ghosh and Vasudeva Ghosh. The chanting of these three brothers pleases the Lord very much. Here are Raghava Pandita, Acharya Nandana, and Shriman Pandita, and there are Shuklambara, Shridhara and the residents of Kulina-grama, such as Satyaraja Khan and Ramananda. Here are Mukunda das, Narahari, Shri Raghunandana, Chiranjiva and Sulochana, who are all residents of Khanda. How many more names shall I recite? All of these devotees that you see here are the associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is their very life and soul.”
The King then exclaimed, “I am very astonished to see all these devotees, for their effulgence is like the brilliance of millions of suns! Never before have I heard the holy names of the Lord sung so melodiously, nor have I seen devotees exhibit such manifestations of ecstatic love, while dancing in sankirtana!”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “This sweet transcendental sound is a special creation of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu known as prema-sankirtana. The Lord has descended in this age of Kali to preach the yuga-dharma, which is the chanting of the holy name of Krishna. Anyone who does not worship Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by this sankirtana-yagya must be considered a victim of Kali-yuga, and bereft of all intelligence. This is vividly explained in Shrimad-Bhagavatam and all other shastra.”
The King inquired, “If, according to the evidence of shastra, it is concluded that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Lord Krishna Himself, then why is it that learned scholars sometimes do not accept Him as such?”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “Only someone who has received at least some small fraction of the Lord’s mercy can understand that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise, if Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy is not bestowed upon someone, then regardless of how learned a scholar he may be, he cannot accept Him as the Supreme Lord.”
The King then said, “Instead of visiting the temple of Lord Jagannatha, all the devotees are running toward Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “This is the nature of spontaneous love. First the devotees will meet Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and then accompany Him to see Lord Jagannatha.”
The King said, “I can see Vaninatha Raya, along with five or seven men, taking huge quantities of Jagannatha-prasada to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s residence. What is the reason for this?”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “Knowing that the devotees have arrived, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Vaninatha to bring prasada.”
The King inquired, “Why aren’t the devotees observing the regulative principles for visiting a holy place, such as fasting and shaving? Why are they going to take prasada first?”
The Bhattacharya explained, “Besides the regulative principles governing a visit to a holy place, there is another path- that of spontaneous love. The injunctions to fast, shave the head, and bathe, are all indirect orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, when there is a direct order from the Lord to take prasada, then naturally the devotees consider it to be their first duty. Indeed, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is personally distributing prasada with His transcendental hand, who will neglect such an opportunity, just to follow the regulative principle of fasting? To neglect such an opportunity would certainly be an offense.”
“Previously, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave me some maha-prasada rice early one morning, and I ate it while sitting on my bed, without even having washed my mouth or bathed. The person whom Lord Krishna mercifully inspires from within his heart, simply takes shelter of Him, without caring for social customs or Vedic regulative principles.”
Thereafter, the King came down from the palace roof and called for Kashi Mishra and the superintendent of the Jagannatha temple. The King ordered them, “Provide all of the devotees who have arrived from Bengal with comfortable residences, convenient arrangements for taking prasada, and all facilities for visiting the temple without difficulty. In addition, whatever Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu orders must be very carefully executed. In fact, even if the Lord does not give a direct order, you should carry out His wishes, simply by understanding His indications.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Gopinatha Acharya then departed, and from a distant place they watched the meeting of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with all the devotees.
After coming to the Simha-dvara, the devotees proceeded towards Kashi Mishra’s house, and it was there that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates met them on the road, with great jubilation. First of all, Advaita Acharya offered prayers at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord in turn embraced Him in ecstatic love. Although they both became very agitated due to that ecstatic condition, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Advaita Acharya remained patient in consideration of the circumstances.
Thereafter, all of the devotees, headed by Shrivasa Thakura, offered prayers at the lotus feet of the Lord, and in turn, the Lord embraced each and every one of them with great love. After greeting all of the devotees individually, the Lord took them to His residence, and thus the house of Kashi Mishra became overcrowded.
While seating the devotees by His side, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu offered them garlands and sandalwood paste with His own hands. At this time, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Gopinatha Acharya came there and met all of the devotees in a befitting manner.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then addressed Advaita Acharya in a very sweet voice, saying, “My dear sir, today I have become perfect on account of Your arrival.”
Advaita Acharya replied, “This is a natural characteristic of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although He is complete and full of all opulence, He takes pleasure in the association of His devotees, with whom He enjoys a variety of eternal pastimes.”
As soon as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw Vasudeva Datta, the father of Mukunda Datta, He became very happy. While placing His hand upon Vasudeva Datta’s body, the Lord said, “Although Mukunda has been My friend since childhood, I take greater pleasure in seeing you than him.”
Vasudeva Datta replied, “Because Mukunda had taken shelter of Your lotus feet from the very beginning, he received Your favor and consequent spiritual rebirth prior to me. Therefore, transcendentally, he is senior to me, and in addition, because of Your special favor towards him, he is superior in all good qualities.”
The Lord then said, “For your sake only, I brought two books back from South India. They are in the care of Svarupa Damodara, and so you can have them copied.”
In fact, all of the devotees copied the two books, and thus, gradually, the Brahma-samhita and Krishna-karnamrita were broadcast all over India. The Lord next addressed Shrivasa and his brothers with great love and affection, saying, “I am so obliged, that I am purchased by you four brothers.”
Shrivasa replied, “Why are You speaking in this contradictory way? It is we four brothers who have been purchased by Your mercy.”
After seeing Shankara, the Lord told Damodara Pandita, “My affection for you is on the platform of awe and reverence, whereas your younger brother is connected to Me by pure unalloyed love. Therefore, you should always keep your younger brother, Shankara, with you.”
Damodara Pandita replied, “Shankara is my younger brother, but from today onward he has become my elder brother, because of Your special mercy upon him.”
Then, turning to Shivananda Sena, the Lord said, “I know that from the very beginning, your affection for Me has been very great.”
Upon hearing this, Shivananda Sena immediately became absorbed in ecstatic love. While falling to the floor, to offer his obeisances, he recited the following verse of Yamunacharya: “O my Lord! Although I was merged in the ocean of nescience, now, after a long time, I have attained You, just as one may eventually come to the shore. My dear Lord, by getting me, You have obtained the right person upon whom to bestow Your causeless mercy.”
At first, Murari Gupta had stayed outside the door, lying on the ground like a stick, offering his obeisances. When the Lord could not see Murari Gupta amongst the devotees, He inquired about him, and so a number of people quickly went to bring him. When Murari Gupta was informed that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu desired to see him, he placed two bunches of straw in his mouth and then, with great meekness and humility, came before the Lord. When the Lord saw him approaching, He got up to meet him, but then Murari Gupta turned and quickly ran away.
While thus retreating, Murari Gupta implored, “My Lord, please do not touch me. I am most abominable and my body is sinful. Therefore I am not fit for You to touch.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “My dear Murari, please restrain your unnecessary humility, for by seeing your meekness, My mind becomes very disturbed.”
While saying this, the Lord embraced Murari Gupta, and then, after seating him by His side, He began cleansing his body with His own hands. One after another, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced all of the devotees, while describing their good qualities, and by doing so, He became very jubilant.
However, when He could not see Haridasa Thakura, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to inquire about him. At this time, the Lord suddenly spotted Haridasa Thakura lying on the public road at some distance, offering his obeisances. All the devotees then ran to Haridasa Thakura and said, “The Lord wants to meet you, so please come immediately.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “Because I am lowborn and abominable, I cannot go near the Jagannatha temple. However, if I could have some solitary place nearby, then I could stay by myself and thus pass my time. Since I do not want the servants of Lord Jagannatha to touch me, I would be happy just to remain alone in a secluded place.”
When this message was relayed to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord was very happy to hear it, and at that time, Kashi Mishra and the temple superintendent came and offered their obeisances to Him. With great happiness, Kashi Mishra and the superintendent met all the devotees, and then submitted to the Lord, “Please order us so that we can make the proper arrangements for all of the Vaishnavas. Residences have already been arranged, and so now let us distribute maha-prasada to everyone.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Gopinatha Acharya, “Please go with the devotees and accommodate them in whatever residences Kashi Mishra and the temple superintendent offer.”
Next, turning to Kashi Mishra, the Lord said, “As for maha-prasada, let Vaninatha Raya take charge of the distribution. Near My residence is a flower garden in which there is a single room that is very solitary. Please let Me have that room, for I wish to remember the lotus feet of the Lord while sitting there.”
Kashi Mishra replied, “My dear Lord, since everything belongs to You, what is the need for begging? We are Your two servants, and are here just to carry out Your orders. Therefore, please tell us to do whatever it is that You want.”
Kashi Mishra and the temple superintendent, as well as Gopinatha Acharya and Vaninatha departed. As Gopinatha was being shown the devotees’ residential quarters, Vaninatha returned to Kashi Mishra’s house, bringing with him the large quantity of maha-prasada that had been given to him. After seeing that all of the devotees’ residential quarters were nicely cleaned, Gopinatha Acharya also returned to Kashi Mishra’s house.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then addressed the devotees as follows: “All of you should first go to your respective residences. Then, go to the sea, and while bathing, look at the top of the Jagannatha temple. Thereafter, you may come back here and accept your lunch.”
After offering their obeisances, the devotees departed, and then Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to see Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa Thakura was engaged in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra with ecstatic love, and upon seeing the Lord’s arrival, he immediately fell down like a stick, to offer his obeisances. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lifted up Haridasa and embraced him, both the Lord and the servant became overwhelmed by ecstasy, and thus they began to cry. Haridasa Thakura then said, “My dear Lord, please do not embrace me, for I am the lowest among men and thus untouchable.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I wish to touch you just to become purified, for you perform purified activities that even I am incapable of. Indeed, at every moment you take your bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage, and at every moment you perform great sacrifices, austerities, and charity. You constantly study the four Vedas, and you are far greater than any brahmana or sannyasi.”
The Lord then took Haridasa Thakura into the flower garden near His residence. There, in a very secluded place, He gave Haridasa Thakura a room to stay. The Lord then said, “Remain here and engage in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and I shall personally come daily to meet you. You can stay here without anxiety, and from time to time look at the chakra on top of the temple and offer obeisances. As far as prasada is concerned, I shall arrange for it to be sent here.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then returned to His residence and all of the devotees also came, after having bathed in the sea. One by one, the Lord seated the devotees in their proper places, and then He began to distribute the prasada with His transcendental hand. Indeed, the Lord put enough prasada on each banana leaf for two or three men, for His hand was not able to distribute less that that.
All of the devotees kept their hands raised over their plates, however, for they did not want to begin before the Lord had eaten first. Svarupa Damodara then informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “Unless You sit down and take prasada, no one will eat. Gopinatha Acharya has arranged a separate sitting place for You and all the sannyasis, and he is waiting there with a large quantity of prasada. Nityananda Prabhu, Paramananda Puri, Brahmananda Bharati, and other sannyasis are all waiting for You, and so please go and sit down, while I remain here to distribute prasada to the devotees.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu carefully delivered some prasada to Govinda for Haridasa Thakura, and then He sat down to eat, along with the other sannyasis. Svarupa Damodara, Damodara Pandita, and Jagadananda Pandita distributed prasada to the devotees, and everyone ate varieties of cakes and kheer, filling themselves right up to the neck while jubilantly chanting the holy name of the Lord at intervals.
After lunch was finished, and everyone had washed their mouths and hands, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally decorated the devotees with flower garlands and sandalwood paste. Thereafter, the devotees went to their residences to rest. Then, in the evening, they returned to Kashi Mishra’s house. At this time, Ramananda Raya also came there, and so Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took the opportunity to introduce him to the other devotees.
The Lord then took all of the devotees with Him to the temple of Lord Jagannatha, and there, He began sankirtana after seeing the dhupa-arati. The temple superintendent first of all came and offered garlands and sandalwood paste to all the devotees, and then Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu divided them into four chanting parties.
In each group, there were eight mridangas and thirty-two pairs of karatalas, and while they began simultaneously chanting the holy name of the Lord, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced in the middle. As soon as the tumultuous vibration of the combined sankirtana resounded, all good fortune was immediately awakened, and the sound projected throughout the fourteen worlds.
From the very beginning, everyone became overflooded with ecstatic love, and all the residents of Jagannatha Puri came running. Whoever came there and witnessed the Lord’s sankirtana performance became highly astonished, and everyone agreed that never before had they seen such chanting, dancing, and exhibition of ecstatic love for God.
While dancing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu circumambulated the whole temple area, and the four parties accompanied Him, in front and behind. Whenever the Lord fell to the ground, Nityananda Prabhu lifted Him up, and everyone was struck with wonder to see His ecstatic symptoms, such as tears, jubilation, trembling, perspiration, and deep resounding of the voice. Indeed, the tears from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s eyes came out so forcibly, like water from a syringe, that everyone who surrounded Him became wet.
After circumambulating the temple, the Lord stopped for awhile, and as all four parties chanted very loudly, He danced, jumping high. Then, after having danced for a long time, the Lord stood still and ordered four great personalities to begin dancing.
Thereafter, as Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acharya, Vakreshvara Pandita and Shrivasa Thakura danced in each of the four sankirtana parties, the Lord watched them while standing in the middle. At this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed a miracle, for on all sides, each of the four dancers perceived that He was looking directly at him. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu manifested Himself in this way because of His great eagerness to see the dancing of all four great personalities at once. Amazingly, although everyone who saw the Lord could tell that He was performing this miracle, no one could understand how it was that He was seeing from all four sides.
In Vrindavana, when Krishna used to sit in the midst of His friends while taking lunch on the banks of the Yamuna, all of the cowherd boys saw that He was looking straight at them. In the same way, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu watched the dancing, everyone saw Him to be facing them directly. When someone came nearby while dancing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would tightly embrace him, and upon seeing this wonderful display of transcendental ecstasy, all the residents of Jagannatha Puri floated in the great ocean of love for God.
When King Prataparudra heard descriptions of the unprecedented chanting and dancing, he went onto the roof of his palace to watch, along with his personal associates. The King was highly astonished to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana performance, and thus his anxiety to meet the Lord increased unlimitedly.
Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stopped the chanting and dancing, and went to see the offering of flowers to Lord Jagannatha. At this time, the temple superintendent brought a large quantity of maha-prasada, which the Lord personally distributed to all of the devotees. Thereafter, the Lord and His associates returned to their respective residences, and for as long as the devotees remained at Jagannatha Puri, this sankirtana pastime was performed every day with great jubilation.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had returned to Jagannatha Puri from His tour of South India, King Prataparudra was staying at his capital, Kataka. Upon hearing of the Lord’s arrival, the King became very anxious to meet Him, and so he sent a letter to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, begging him to obtain the Lord’s consent. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then replied to the King’s letter, informing him of how the Lord had denied permission.
The King wrote once again, saying, “Please appeal on my behalf to all the devotees, for if they become favorably disposed toward me, they can submit my petition at the lotus feet of the Lord. By the mercy of the devotees, one attains shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord. If Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will not show mercy to me, then I shall give up my kingdom and become a mendicant, begging from door to door. Without the mercy of the Lord, my kingdom does not appeal to me.”
After receiving this letter, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya became very anxious. Taking the letter with him, the Bhattacharya approached the devotees and described to them King Prataparudra’s ardent desire to meet Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When the devotees read the King’s letter, they were astonished to see his great devotion for the lotus feet of the Lord.
However, they still gave their opinion as follows: “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will never agree to meet the King, even if we submit the request on his behalf. Indeed, if we try to do so, the Lord will surely become very unhappy.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya suggested, “Let us go once more to the Lord. However, instead of directly making our request, we shall simply describe the good qualities of the King.”
Having reached this decision, all of the devotees went to where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was staying. And yet, although they stood before the Lord, due to fear, no one could utter a word. Seeing this, the Lord inquired, “I can see that all of you have come here to say something, but you do not speak. What is the reason for this?”
Nityananda Prabhu replied, “We want to tell You something, and yet, although there is no purpose in simply standing here, we are very much afraid to speak. We want to submit something before You that may or may not be befitting. It is this- Unless he sees You, the King of Orissa will become a mendicant and wear an ivory earring. Unless he is able to see Your lotus feet, the King no longer desires to enjoy his kingdom. He wants to see Your moon-like face to his eyes’ full satisfaction, and place Your lotus feet upon his heart.”
Upon hearing this statement, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mind certainly became softened, but externally, He desired to act differently. Therefore, the Lord replied with harsh words as follows: “I see that you all want to take Me to Kataka, to meet the King. What to speak of impairing My spiritual advancement, people will blaspheme Me for this abominable action. And, what to speak of the ordinary people, Damodara Pandita will severely chastise Me. I am not willing to meet the King at the request of all the devotees. However, if Damodara Pandita gives his permission, I shall do so.”
By saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to warn Damodara Pandita that he should not indulge in criticizing Him, even though it might be done on the basis of staunch love for Him.
Damodara Pandita immediately replied, “My Lord, You are the fully independent Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since everything is within Your comprehension, You know very well what is permissible and what is not.”
“I am merely an insignificant living entity. What power do I have to instruct You? By Your own choice, You will meet the King, of this I am certain. The King is very attached to You and You also feel affection for him. Although You are the completely independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are dependent upon the love of Your devotees. Thus, in response to the King’s affection for You, You will surely touch him.”
Nityananda Prabhu then said, “Who is there within the three worlds who can ask You to see the King? Still, You should consider how it is the nature of an attached person to give up his life if he is unable to achieve his desired object. For example, some of the wives of the brahmanas who were performing sacrifices gave up their lives in the presence of their husbands, after being forbidden to go to Krishna.”
“There is one way, however, whereby You would not have to actually meet the King, but at the same time, enable him to continue living. If, out of Your causeless mercy, You would send one of Your outer garments to the King, he would continue living in the hope of meeting You sometime in the future.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Since all of you are very learned personalities, I shall accept whatever you decide is best.”
Thereafter, Nityananda Prabhu asked Govinda for one of the Lord’s old garments, and after receiving it, He delivered it to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, who, in turn, sent it to the King. After receiving the old cloth, the King began worshiping it very carefully, just as if He were serving the Lord directly.
When Ramananda Raya had requested the king to grant him relief from all material responsibilities, in return, the King had implored, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is very, very merciful to you. Therefore, please act on my behalf and arrange for me to meet Him without fail.”
Thereafter, when Ramananda Raya came, along with Maharaja Prataparudra, to Jagannatha Puri, he took every opportunity to inform Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu about the King’s ecstatic love for Him. In this way, Ramananda Raya acted as a very expert diplomat on behalf of the King, so that gradually he was able to soften the Lord’s mind. Finally, when Maharaja Prataparudra could no longer endure not seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ramananda Raya frankly requested the Lord, “Please show Your lotus feet to the King at least once.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “My dear Ramananda, you should speak like this only after carefully considering whether it is befitting for a sannyasi to meet a king. If a mendicant meets a king, then this life and the next are both destroyed for him. Indeed, what to speak of the next life, even in this life people will simply joke about a sannyasi who meets a king.”
Ramananda Raya said, “My Lord, since You are the supremely independent personality, You have nothing to fear from anyone else.”
Upon hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu objected, “I am not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I am an ordinary human being, and thus I fear public opinion in three ways- with My body, mind, and words. As soon as people in general find a little fault in the behavior of a sannyasi, they advertise it like wildfire. A black spot of ink cannot be hidden on a white cloth, but remains very prominent.”
Ramananda Raya replied, “My dear Lord, You have delivered so many sinful persons, whereas this king is actually Your great devotee.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “There may be much milk in a big pot, but if it becomes contaminated by even one drop of liquor, it is untouchable. Similarly, although the King certainly possesses all good qualities, just by assuming his royal position, he has polluted everything. Still, if you are very eager for the King to meet me, then first of all bring his son here. It is stated in shastra that the son represents the father, and so, if I meet the prince, it will be equivalent to directly meeting the King.”
Ramananda Raya went to inform Maharaja Prataparudra of his talks with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and then, according to the Lord’s order, he brought the King’s son to Kashi Mishra’s house. The prince, who was just entering his youth, was very beautiful, having a blackish complexion and large lotus-petal eyes. Dressed in yellow cloth and decorated with jeweled ornaments, whoever would happen to see the prince would immediately think of Krishna.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the boy, He immediately became immersed in ecstatic love. He then exclaimed, “Here is a great devotee, for simply by seeing him, everyone can remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna! For this reason, I have become very much obliged, just by seeing him.”
While saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced the prince, and as soon as the boy was touched by the Lord, all the ecstatic symptoms became manifest in his body, such as perspiration, trembling, tears, being stunned, and jubilation. Indeed, the prince began to cry and dance while chanting, “Krishna! Krishna!”
Upon seeing the prince’s ecstatic chanting and dancing, everyone present began praising his great fortune. Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu pacified the boy, and then ordered him to return and meet Him every day. When Ramananda Raya brought the prince back to the palace, King Prataparudra became extremely pleased upon hearing of his son’s activities. Then, simply by embracing his son, King Prataparudra became filled with ecstatic love, just as if he had touched Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu directly. From that time onward, the fortunate prince became one of the most intimate devotees of the Lord.
Three days before the Ratha-yatra of Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called for Kashi Mishra, the temple superintendent, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. When these three persons arrived, the Lord begged for permission to wash the Gundicha temple, which is situated three kilometers northeast of the Jagannatha temple, and which is where Lord Jagannatha stays for one week at the time of Ratha-yatra.
Upon hearing this request, the superintendent replied, “My dear sir, we are all Your servants, and therefore it is our duty to execute whatever You desire. However, cleaning the temple is not a service that is befitting Your Lordship. Still, if You wish to clean the Gundicha temple, then it must be accepted as one of Your transcendental pastimes. You will need many water pots and brooms, and so, if You order, I can immediately bring them.”
Soon thereafter, the temple superintendent delivered one hundred new water pots and one hundred brooms. Then, early the next morning, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu assembled His personal associates. After smearing sandalwood paste over their bodies with His own hand, the Lord gave each devotee a broom and then led them to the Gundicha temple.
First of all, the Lord and His associates cleaned the inside of the temple with brooms. The Lord personally removed the Deity’s altar, and then, after cleaning it, He put it back in its original place. Thereafter, the other buildings in the temple compound were swept, and then, the area in between the buildings. Along with hundreds of devotees, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally engaged in the cleaning work, just to instruct the others. Actually, the Lord cleaned the temple in great jubilation, and all the while He chanted the holy names of the Lord. Similarly, all of the devotees also chanted, while performing their respective duties.
The Lord’s entire body became covered with dust and dirt, and thus it seemed to be even more transcendentally beautified. From time to time, the Lord shed tears, and sometimes He cleaned the temple with those tears.
Next, the place where the Deity’s food offerings were kept was cleaned, and then all the residential quarters and surrounding grounds. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu collected all of the straw, dust and grains of sand in one place, gathered it into His cloth, and then threw it outside, the devotees followed His example.
The Lord then told them, “I can tell how hard you have labored, and how well you have cleaned the temple, simply by seeing how much dust and straw you have collected and thrown outside,”
Even though all the devotees combined their dust into one big pile, the dirt that had been collected by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was much more. After the temple was fully swept, the Lord again allotted areas for each devotee, and then ordered them to clean more perfectly, taking out even the finest pieces of dust, straw and grains of sand. When the temple was thus cleaned for a second time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became very satisfied. Meanwhile, about one hundred men stood ready with filled water pots, simply awaiting the Lord’s order.
Thereafter, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave the signal, these men delivered the pots, and then the Lord and His devotees began throwing the water onto the ceiling of the temple. In this way, when the water fell from the ceiling, it automatically washed the walls and the floor. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then began to clean the Deity’s altar, and so some of the devotees brought Him water, while others cleaned the floor with stiff brooms. As someone poured water into the Lord’s hands, someone else poured water over His lotus feet. Then, another person hidingly drank the water that had washed the Lord’s lotus feet, while someone else came there and begged for it.
After the temple room was thoroughly washed, the water was let out through a hole so that it flowed into the courtyard. Then, taking His own clothes, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began mopping the temple floor and polishing the Deity’s simhasana.
Since hundreds of men were engaged in bringing water from the lake, there was not enough room for everyone to stand on the shore. Because of this, some of the devotees had to bring water from a nearby well. With the exception of Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acharya, Svarupa Damodara, Brahmananda Bharati, and Paramananda Puri, everyone was engaged in filling the water pots, carrying them, or washing the rooms. Many of the water pots broke when people collided with one another, and so hundreds of new pots were quickly brought there.
As the water was being passed along from the lake to the temple, someone would beg for a water pot by chanting, “Krishna, Krishna”, and another person would deliver the pot while chanting, “Krishna, Krishna.” Whenever someone wanted to speak, he first of all chanted, “Krishna”, and thus the holy name, Krishna, became the indication for anyone who wanted something.
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chanted the holy name of Krishna in ecstatic love, He performed the work of hundreds of men. Indeed, it appeared as if the Lord was washing the temple with hundreds of hands, and while doing so, He approached the devotees, just to instruct them how to work.
When the Lord saw that someone was doing nicely, He praised that person, and when He saw that someone was not working to His satisfaction, He immediately chastised him, without bearing any grudge. For this purpose, the Lord would say, “You have done very well. Now, teach this to others so that they may act in the same way.”
As soon as someone heard the Lord say this, he would become very ashamed, and thus resume working with greater care and attention. After the Jagmohana area (from where the Deity is viewed) was washed, the bhoga-mandira (where the food is kept) was cleansed, and then, gradually, all of the other areas, such as the kitchen, the raised sitting places, and the yards. When the Gundicha temple was fully cleansed, it became very purified, cool, and pleasing, just as if the Lord’s own mind had appeared there. Indeed, after everything had been washed, the minds of the devotees were as clean as the rooms.
At this time, a very intelligent and simple devotee from Bengal came and poured water on Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. Then, when that devotee took the water and drank it, the Lord felt a little unhappy, and so, outwardly, He expressed some anger.
Although the Lord was certainly satisfied with the devotee, in order to establish the etiquette of religious principles, He called for Svarupa Damodara and said, “Just see the behavior of your Bengali Vaishnava. He has washed My feet within the temple of the Supreme Lord, and then drank the water himself. Because of this offense, I do not know what My destination will be. Your Bengali devotee has greatly implicated Me in sinful reactions.”
After hearing this, Svarupa Damodara caught hold of the Gaudiya Vaishnava’s neck, and by giving him a little push, he ejected him from the Gundicha temple and made him remain outside. Then, when he came back inside, Svarupa Damodara requested Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to excuse that innocent person.
Thereafter, feeling very satisfied, the Lord asked the devotees to sit down in two rows, and then He also sat down in their midst, and began picking up all kinds of straw, grains of sand, and other dirty things. While doing so, the Lord said, “I shall gather together everyone’s pile of dirt, and then ask whoever has collected less than all the others to pay a fine of sweet cakes and kheer.”
By enacting this pastime of cleaning the Gundicha temple, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed how one should receive Lord Krishna within his purified heart. In other words, if one desires to see Krishna seated within his heart, he must first of all purify himself fully, as prescribed by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
After all of the rooms had been thoroughly cleansed, and the water let our, it appeared as if newly created rivers were rushing forward to meet the sea. Finally, all of the roads outside the temple gate were cleaned, and then Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cleansed the nearby temple of Lord Nrisimhadeva, inside and out. Indeed, no one could tell exactly how all this cleaning was accomplished, and when the job was completed, the Lord paused a few minutes to rest.
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began dancing, and so all around Him, the devotees joined Him in performing sankirtana. As usual, the Lord danced like a maddened lion, in the midst of all the devotees, and due to His great ecstasy, there were manifestations of perspiration, trembling, fading of the bodily luster, jubilation, and roaring of the voice.
As tears poured forth from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s eyes, like rain in the month of Shravana, they washed the bodies of all the devotees who came before Him. The very earth shook due to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s jumping and dancing, and the great chanting filled the entire sky. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu especially liked the loud chanting of Svarupa Damodara, and so he led the singing while the Lord danced in great jubilation.
After some time, the Lord stopped and then ordered Shri Gopala, the son of Advaita Acharya, to dance. Suddenly, while dancing in great ecstatic love, Shri Gopala fainted and fell to the ground, unconscious. Advaita Acharya hastily went and took Shri Gopala upon His lap, and when He saw that His son was not breathing, He became very agitated. All the devotees began to chant the prayers to Lord Nrisimhadeva, while sprinkling water upon the boy’s body, and the roaring kirtana was so tumultuous that the sound seemed to make the entire universe tremble.
Finally, after some time, when Shri Gopala failed to regain consciousness, Advaita Acharya and the other devotees began to cry. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then placed His hand upon the boy’s chest and loudly said, “Gopala, stand up!”
As soon as he heard the Lord’s voice, Shri Gopala came to his senses, and upon seeing this, all of the devotees began chanting and dancing with great pleasure.
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the devotees rested awhile, and then left in order to bathe. After getting out from the lake, the Lord put on fresh clothing, and offered His obeisances to Lord Nrisimhadeva, whose temple was nearby. The Lord then entered a garden, along with His devotees, and when they were seated, Vaninatha Raya arrived, bringing all kinds of maha-prasada, with the help of Kashi Mishra and the temple superintendent. Indeed, there was enough prasada for five hundred men, and upon seeing the innumerable varieties in such huge quantities, the Lord felt very satisfied.
The devotees sat down on raised wooden seats, placed in rows, and at that time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu repeatedly called out, “Haridasa, Haridasa.”
Standing at some distance, Haridasa Thakura replied, “Let Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu take His lunch along with all the devotees. Since I am abominable, I cannot sit with them. Govinda will give me prasada later, outside the door.”
Understanding Haridasa Thakura’s mind, the Lord did not call him again. Svarupa Damodara, Jagadananda, Damodara Pandita, Kashishvara, Gopinatha, Vaninatha and Shankara distributed prasada, and while eating, the devotees chanted the holy name at intervals. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became agitated by ecstatic love while remembering how Lord Krishna had similarly taken His lunch in the forest, along with the cowherd boys. However, considering the circumstances, the Lord remained patient, and then said, “Just give Me the simple vegetables and serve the better preparations, such as the sweets, cakes, and condensed milk, to all the devotees.”
Being omniscient, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu knew exactly what type of prasada each person liked, and thus He had Svarupa Damodara serve these preparations to the devotees’ full satisfaction. Then, while distributing prasada, Jagadananda suddenly placed all of the first-class preparations on Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s plate. Outwardly, the Lord made a show of anger, but nonetheless, He felt satisfied when the prasada was put on His plate in this way, sometimes by tricks and sometimes by force. After looking at the prasada for some time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ate some of it out of fear, for He knew that if He did not do so, then Jagadananda Pandita would surely fast.
Svarupa Damodara then came with some excellent sweets, and while standing before the Lord, he said, “Just take a little of this maha-prasada, and see how Lord Jagannatha had accepted it.”
While saying this, Svarupa Damodara placed some of the sweets on Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s plate, and out of affection, the Lord ate them. Indeed, again and again, Jagadananda Pandita and Svarupa Damodara offered Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu prasada with great affection, and upon seeing their behavior, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, who was sitting at the Lord’s left side, smiled.
The Lord also wanted to offer Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya first-class food, and so, out of affection, He ordered the servers to give him the best preparations. At this time, Gopinatha Acharya also came and offered Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya first-class prasada, and while serving him, he sweetly spoke as follows: “Just imagine what the Bhattacharya’s previous mundane behavior was like! Now, just consider how he is enjoying transcendental bliss!”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “I used to be a less-intelligent logician, but now, by your grace, I have received the opulence of perfection. But for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is merciful? He has converted a crow into a Garuda. In the association of the jackals of logic, I simply barked a resounding, ‘bheu, bheu’. Now, from that same mouth, I am chanting the holy names, ‘Krishna’ and ‘Hari’. Whereas I had previously associated with the disciples of logic, who are all non-devotees, now I am merged in the waves of the nectarean ocean of the association of Vaishnavas.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “From your previous birth, you were already perfect in Krishna consciousness. Indeed, you love Krishna so much that simply by your association, we are all advancing in Krishna consciousness.”
Who within the three worlds, except for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is always so willing to glorify the devotees and thus give them all satisfaction? After eating some of the most excellent preparations of Jagannatha-prasada, such as the cakes and kheer, the Lord distributed them to the devotees, calling for them individually.
While prasada was being served, Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acharya, who were sitting next to each other, engaged in a kind of mock-fighting. First, Advaita Acharya said, “I am sitting in line with some unknown mendicant, and because I am eating with Him, I do not know what kind of destination is awaiting Me.”
“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a sannyasi, and thus He does not recognize discrepancies, for one in the renounced order of life is not affected by eating food from anywhere and everywhere. On the other hand, it is not proper for householder brahmanas to eat with those persons whose family, character and behavior are unknown.”
Nityananda Prabhu immediately replied, “You are a teacher of impersonal monism, and this philosophy is a great hindrance to advancement on the progressive path of pure devotional service. You are such an impersonalist, and now I am sitting next to You. I do not know how My mind may become affected by Your association!”
In this way, Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acharya went on praising one another, although Their talking appeared to be negative, as if They were exchanging ill names. When lunch was finished, all the devotees stood up, making a resounding sound while chanting the holy name of the Lord. At this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu offered all the devotees flower garlands and sandalwood paste, while the seven servers went to take prasada.
Govinda delivered some of the Lord’s remnants to Haridasa Thakura, and he also distributed some to those devotees who begged for it. Then, whatever remnants were left over, were eaten by Govinda himself.
The next day was the Netrotsava festival, which constituted the life and soul of all the devotees. For two weeks, everyone had been very unhappy because of Lord Jagannatha’s absence, but then, upon seeing the Deity at the Netrotsava festival, they once again became happy.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took all of the devotees with Him to the temple, and Kashishvara walked in front, in order to control the crowds. Paramananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati walked ahead of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara and Advaita Acharya were by His side, and all of the other devotees anxiously followed, as did Govinda, who carried the Lord’s water pot (karanga). Out of great eagerness to see Lord Jagannatha, everyone neglected the regulative principles by going right into the room where the food offering was being made.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very thirsty to see the Lord, and thus His eyes became like two bumblebees drinking the honey from the lotus-like eyes of Lord Jagannatha. The eyes of Lord Jagannatha conquered the beauty of blossoming lotus flowers, and His neck was as lustrous as a mirror made of sapphires. The Deity’s chin conquered the beauty of the bandhuli flower, and increased the attraction of His mild smiling, which was like lustrous waves of nectar. Indeed, the luster of Lord Jagannatha’s face increased at every moment, and the eyes of hundreds and thousands of devotees drank its honey like bumblebees. The more the devotees drank, the more their thirst increased, and thus their eyes did not turn away from the lotus face of Lord Jagannatha.
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees enjoyed the transcendental bliss of seeing Lord Jagannatha’s face until noon. As usual, there were manifestations of ecstasy in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body, such as perspiration, trembling and a constant flow of tears. However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu repeatedly checked these tears, so that they would not disturb Him from seeing the smiling face of Lord Jagannatha.
The only interruptions to the viewing of Lord Jagannatha’s face were the food offerings, which had been doubled on account of the next day’s Ratha-yatra festival. During the offerings, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed kirtana, and then, when the offerings were finished, He resumed gazing at Lord Jagannatha’s beautiful face. Due to experiencing great pleasure, the Lord forgot everything else, but then the devotees took Him back home, so that He could have lunch at noon.
Early the next morning, the Lord and His personal associates got up while it was still dark, and had their morning baths. Thereafter, they went to the temple to see the Pandu-vijaya ceremony, when Lord Jagannatha leaves His altar, to get up onto His chariot.
Strongly built men called “dayitas”, who were as powerful as drunken elephants, were engaged to carry the Jagannatha Deity. These persons were called dayitas because they had been elevated from the lower rungs of society, so as to render service unto Lord Jagannatha, from the day of Snana-yatra, until Ratha-yatra.
Originally, Lord Jagannatha was worshiped by keepers of pigs called sabaras, and, at that time, He was known as Nila Madhava. Later, when the Deity was established in the temple, these sabara devotees were elevated to the position of dayitas. Not all of these dayitas are from lower classes, however, and the brahmana-dayitas are called dayita-patis.
While carrying Lord Jagannatha, some of the dayitas grasped His shoulders and others held His feet. A strong, thick rope made of silk was bound around Lord Jagannatha’s waist, and the dayitas grabbed onto it from both sides in order to lift up the Deity. Big cushions filled with fluffed cotton were spread from the altar all the way to the ratha, and the very heavy Deity was carried from one cushion to the next by the dayitas.
As Lord Jagannatha was being carried in this way, some of the cushions broke, making a loud cracking sound, and the cotton filling floated up into the air. Actually, who can move Lord Jagannatha, the maintainer of the entire universe, from one place to another? The Lord certainly moves by His personal will, just to perform His pastimes. As Lord Jagannatha was being transported to His ratha, there was a tumultuous sound created by the accompaniment of various kinds of musical instruments. At this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was chanting, “Manima, Manima” (a form of respectable address in Orissa), but due to the uproar, He could hardly be heard.
As Lord Jagannatha was being carried by the dayitas, King Prataparudra personally came there to engage in the Lord’s service by cleaning the road. First of all, the King sprinkled the road with sandalwood-scented water, and then he swept it with a golden-handled broom. Upon seeing how the most honored person, the King, was engaged in such a menial service for Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became very pleased, and mercifully inclined toward him.
Everyone was astonished to see the opulence of the ratha’s decorations. Indeed, the chariot appeared to be newly made of gold, and as high as Mount Sumeru. It was adorned with innumerable mirrors, and many hundreds of chamaras, and there were also various pictures, as well as brass bells, silk cloths and a very beautiful flag on top.
Lord Jagannatha boarded one ratha, and His sister, Subhadra, and elder brother, Balarama, got onto two others. For fifteen days, Lord Jagannatha had remained in seclusion with Maha-Lakshmi, to enjoy pastimes with her. Now, having taken her permission, He came out to ride upon His ratha, and thus perform pastimes for the pleasure of His devotees. The fine, white sand that covered the road to the Gundicha temple resembled the banks of the River Yamuna, and the small gardens on both sides looked just like those found in Vrindavana. Thus, as Lord Jagannatha rode upon His chariot and saw the scenic beauty, His mind became filled with great pleasure.
The pullers of Lord Jagannatha’s ratha were known as gaudas. These gaudas pulled the ratha with great pleasure, and sometimes the chariot would proceed very quickly, and at other times it would go very slowly. Sometimes the ratha would stand still, and not even budge an inch, in spite of being pulled very vigorously. Thus it is concluded that the chariot moved by the will of the Lord, and not by the strength of ordinary persons.
When the ratha once came to a standstill, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gathered His personal associates, and with His own hand He decorated them with flower garlands and sandalwood paste. When the devotees felt the touch of the Lord’s transcendental hand, they experienced great happiness.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu organized four sankirtana parties, each having two mridangas. After some consideration, the Lord selected Svarupa Damodara as the leader of the first party, and five assistants were chosen to respond to his chanting- Damodara Pandita, Narayana, Govinda Datta, Raghava Pandita, and Shri Govindananda. Advaita Acharya was ordered to dance in this group.
A second party was formed, having Shrivasa Thakura as the lead singer. Gangadasa, Haridasa, Shriman, Shubhananda, and Shri Rama Pandita were the responsive singers, and Nityananda Prabhu was selected to dance.
Mukunda became the chief singer in the third party, the responsive singers were Vasudeva, Gopinatha, Murari, Shrikanta and Vallabha Sena, and Haridasa Thakura was chosen to dance.
In the fourth group, Govinda Ghosh was the lead singer, and the younger Haridasa, Vishnudasa, Raghava, Madhava Ghosh and Vasudeva Ghosh responded, while Vakreshvara Pandita danced.
Besides these four groups, there was a party from Kulina-grama, in which Ramananda and Satyaraja were selected to dance. There was also a party from Shantipura, and Advaita Acharya’s son, Acyutananda, became the dancer. In addition, there was a seventh group formed by the inhabitants of Khanda, and Narahari and Raghunanda were the dancers.
Four of these parties chanted in front of Lord Jagannatha, two were on either side, and another party remained at the rear. The combined sound of the chanting, along with the fourteen mridangas, became tumultuous, causing all of the devotees to practically become mad. All of the Vaishnavas came together like clouds, and as they chanted the holy name of the Lord, tears of ecstasy fell from their eyes like rainfall. Indeed, the resounding kirtana filled the entire three worlds, so that no one could hear any other sound.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wandered throughout all seven parties, while chanting, “Hari, Hari”. Raising His arms over His head, the Lord shouted, “Jaya Jagannatha! Jaya Jagannatha!” and at this time, He performed a miracle by appearing simultaneously in all seven sankirtana groups. Everyone thought, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is present in my party and does not go anywhere else. Thus, He is bestowing very special mercy upon us alone.”
No one could see how the Lord was performing this wonderful pastime, by His inconceivable potency, except the most confidential devotees in pure, unalloyed love. Being very pleased with the sankirtana, Lord Jagannatha brought His ratha to a standstill, just to see the performance.
King Prataparudra was also highly astonished to see the ecstatic chanting and dancing, and due to ecstasy, he became inactive. Actually, both Maharaja Prataparudra and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya were aware of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mystic performances, and when the King informed Kashi Mishra of the Lord’s glories, he replied, “O King, your fortune knows no limit!”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had been very satisfied to see how the King had accepted the menial task of sweeping the street. Having thus received the mercy of the Lord, the King was able to observe the mystical way in which Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced before Lord Jagannatha, even though the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, could not do so. Since the Lord had denied the King permission to meet Him, but then had indirectly endowed him with so much causeless mercy, who can understand the activities of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?”
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sang, and induced His associates to dance, He sometimes exhibited one form and sometimes many, according to the necessity. Indeed, the Lord forgot Himself in the course of His pastimes, but His internal potency (lila-shakti) made all of the necessary arrangements, knowing the intentions of the Lord. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally desired to dance, all seven sankirtana parties combined, to assist Him. At such times, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu placed Shrivasa, Ramai, Raghu, Mukunda, Haridasa, Govindananda, Madhava, and Govinda under the care of Svarupa Damodara, so that all of them would sing with Him while staying by His side.
As He raised His face toward Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu offered His obeisances with folded hands. The Lord prayed as follows: “I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Shri Krishna, who is the worshipful Deity of the brahmanas, who is the well-wisher of the cows and the brahmanas, and who is always benefiting the entire universe. I am not a brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya or shudra. Nor am I a brahmachari, householder, vanaprastha or sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, the maintainer of the gopis.”
After reciting these and other prayers, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once again offered His obeisances, and all of the devotees followed His example. Thereafter, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued dancing, wherever He stepped, the whole earth appeared to tilt. When the Lord jumped high, He roared like thunder, and when He moved in a circle like a wheel, He appeared like a continuous ring of fire.
While dancing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu displayed various ecstatic transformations, so that sometimes He appeared as though stunned, sometimes the hair on His body stood erect, sometimes He trembled and His color changed, and at other times He manifested helplessness, pride, exuberance, and humility.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sometimes fell down with a crash while dancing, He would roll on the ground. When He would run, here and there, Nityananda Prabhu would stretch out His arms to try and catch Him. All the while, Advaita Acharya walked behind Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and loudly chanted, “Hari bol! Hari bol!” again and again.
To stop the huge crowds from coming too close to the Lord, three circles were formed, surrounding Him. Nityananda Prabhu, who is Balarama, commanded the inner circle. The second circle was formed by all the devotees linking hands, and was guided by Govinda and Kashishvara. King Prataparudra and his personal assistants organized the outer circle.
While keeping his hands on the shoulders of Harichandana, Maharaja Prataprarudra watched Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s dancing, and by doing so, he felt great ecstasy. However, at this time, Shrivasa Thakura happened to stand right in front of the King, and he was also absorbed in ecstasy, while watching the Lord dance.
Because Shrivasa Thakura blocked the King’s view, Harichandana touched him with his hand, while requesting him to move aside. However, since Shrivasa was fully absorbed in watching Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu dance, he could not even feel himself being touched, and so Harichandana began pushing him again and again. At this, Shrivasa Thakura angrily turned around and slapped Harichandana, and so he, in turn, also became enraged.
Then, just as the angry Harichandana was about to say something in retaliation, the King restrained him and said, “You are very fortunate, for you have been graced by the touch of Shrivasa Thakura. Even I am not so fortunate, and so you should feel obliged to him.”
Everyone was astonished to see the dancing of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and while keeping His ratha at a standstill, Lord Jagannatha also watched Him with unblinking eyes. The goddess of fortune, Subhadra, and Lord Balarama, also felt great ecstasy while watching Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s dancing, and so They were seen to be smiling brightly.
When the Lord danced and jumped high, all eight ecstatic transformations were simultaneously visible in His body. His skin erupted with goose pimples and the hair on His body stood on end, so that it resembled the simuli tree, which is covered with thorns. Upon seeing the Lord’s teeth chatter, all the people became afraid that they would fall out. At the same time, the Lord’s entire body perspired heavily and oozed blood while he made the sound, “jaja gaga, jaja gaga”, in a voice that was choked with ecstasy. Tears forcefully came from the Lord’s eyes, as if from a syringe, so that all of the surrounding people became wet. Everyone distinctly saw His bodily complexion change from white to pink, like the luster of a mallika flower.
Sometimes the Lord appeared to be stunned, as His hands and legs became as hard as dry wood, and sometimes He rolled on the ground. Each time the Lord fell to the ground, His breathing would almost stop, and when the devotees saw this, their lives also became very feeble. Sometimes, water flowed from the Lord’s eyes, sometimes through His nostrils, and sometimes foam fell from His mouth. All of these flowings appeared like torrents of nectar descending from the moon. The foam that fell from the Lord’s mouth was taken and drunk by Shubhananda, because he was very fortunate and expert in relishing the mellow of ecstatic love for Krishna.
After performing His devastating dance for some time, the Lord’s ecstasy changed, and so He stopped and ordered Svarupa Damodara to begin singing. Understanding the Lord’s mind, Svarupa Damodara sang as follows: “Now I have gained the Lord of My life, in the absence of whom I was being burned by Cupid, and was withering away.”
As Svarupa Damodara loudly sang these lines, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu again resumed dancing rhythmically, while absorbed in transcendental bliss. At this time, Lord Jagannatha’s ratha began moving ahead slowly as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced in front. With His eyes and mind fully absorbed in Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began dramatizing Svarupa Damodara’s song, with His arms, and while doing so, He gradually fell behind the procession. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu thus went behind the ratha, Lord Jagannatha came to a standstill. Then, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once again went forward, Lord Jagannatha’s ratha slowly resumed moving. In this way, there was a competition between Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Jagannatha, as to who would lead the procession. However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was so strong that He was able to make Lord Jagannatha wait for Him in His chariot.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced in the Ratha-yatra, having assumed the role of Shrimati Radharani, He led Lord Jagannatha toward the Gundicha temple. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered Jagannatha Puri to be Kurukshetra, and Gundicha was taken by Him to be Vrindavana-dhama. Thus, His mood of taking Lord Jagannatha to the Gundicha temple exactly corresponded to Radharani’s leading Krishna back to Vrindavana.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to the rear of Lord Jagannatha’s ratha, it indicated that Krishna was neglecting the inhabitants of Vrindavana. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in the mood of Radharani, was examining whether or not Krishna still remembered Her and the other residents of Vrindavana. At such times, Lord Jagannatha would stop His ratha, just to indicate that He had not forgotten them. Then, He would wait for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to once again proceed. This indicates Lord Jagannatha’s admission that without the ecstasy of Shrimati Radharani, He could not feel satisfied.
Thereafter, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went ahead, Lord Jagannatha also proceeded slowly onward. Thus, in the competitive exchanges of loving affairs between Lord Krishna and Shrimati Radharani, it was seen that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came out victorious.
While dancing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ecstasy once again changed, and while raising His arms, He recited the following verse: “That very person who stole away My heart during My youth is now again My master. These are the same moonlit nights in the month of Chaitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, and yet my mind is not happy here. I am very eager to go back to that place on the banks of the Reva, under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited this verse, again and again, but except for Svarupa Damodara, no one could understand the meaning. Formerly, the gopis of Vrindavana had experienced great pleasure upon meeting Lord Krishna once again at Kurukshetra. In the same way, by seeing Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became absorbed in the ecstasy of the gopis.
Thereafter, in the mood of Shrimati Radharani, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spoke to Lord Jagannatha as follows: “You are the same Krishna and I am the same Radha, and We are meeting once again with the same fresh spirit as in Our youth. And yet, My mind is still attracted to Vrindavana and so I wish You would once again appear there.”
“Here at Kurukshetra there are crowds of people, elephants, horses, and chariots, whereas at Vrindavana there are nice gardens full of flowers, chirping birds and humming bees. Here, You are dressed like a King, and are accompanied by a great army, whereas in Vrindavana You appeared just like an ordinary cowherd boy, accompanied by Your beautiful flute. Here, I cannot experience even a drop of the ocean of transcendental happiness that I had enjoyed with You in Vrindavana. Therefore, I request You to return to Vrindavana, to enjoy pastimes with Me, for if You do so, My ambition will be fulfilled.”
In this ecstatic mood, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited many verses, but only Svarupa Damodara could understand their meaning. The Lord then continued speaking as follows: “For most people, the mind and the heart are one. However, because My mind is never separated from Vrindavana, I consider My mind and Vrindavana to be one. Since You like Vrindavana, please be merciful and place Your lotus feet there once again. My dear Lord, kindly hear My true submission. My home is Vrindavana, and so I wish to have Your association there. Indeed, if I do not get it, then it will be very difficult for Me to maintain My life.”
“My dear Krishna, formerly, when You were staying in Mathura, You sent Uddhava to Vrindavana, to teach Me speculative knowledge and mystic yoga. Now, You are personally speaking in the same way, but My mind does not accept it, for there is no place in it for gyana-yoga or dhyana-yoga. Although You know Me very well, You are instructing Me in this way, and it is not very proper for You to do so. I would like to withdraw My consciousness from You and engage it in material activities, but even though I try to do so, I cannot, for I am naturally inclined toward You alone. Your instruction that I should meditate upon You is simply ludicrous, and in this way You are practically killing Me.”
“The gopis are not like mystic yogis, for they will never be satisfied simply by meditating upon Your lotus feet. Your teaching the gopis about meditation is another kind of duplicity, and so, instead of being satisfied, they become angry with You. The gopis are fallen into the great ocean of separation and are being devoured by timingila fish, which represent their ambition to serve You. Since the gopis are Your pure devotees, they deserve to be delivered from this precarious condition.”
“It is astonishing that You have forgotten the land of Vrindavana, as well as Your father, mother, and friends. How have You forgotten Govardhana Hill, the banks of the River Yamuna, and the forest where You enjoyed the rasa dance?”
“Krishna, You are certainly a refined gentleman having all good qualities, and You are well-behaved, soft-hearted and merciful. I know that there is not even the slightest tinge of fault in You. Therefore, since You do not remember us, it must be due to My misfortune and nothing more. I do not care for My personal unhappiness, but when I look at the morose face of Mother Yashoda, and see how the hearts of all the inhabitants of Vrindavana are breaking, I wonder whether You want to kill them all.”
“The inhabitants of Vrindavana do not want to see You dressed like a king. Nor do they want to associate with You in a foreign land. They cannot leave Vrindavana, and yet, without Your presence, they are dying. Because of this, what is their fate? My dear Krishna, You are the life and soul of Vrindavana-dhama, and You are very merciful. Therefore, please once again place Your lotus feet in Vrindavana, and allow all of the inhabitants to go on living.”
After hearing Radharani’s statements, Lord Krishna’s love for the residents of Vrindavana became reawakened, and thus His body and mind became very perturbed. While appreciating the great love of the inhabitants of Vrindavana for Him, Krishna considered Himself to be always indebted to them.
Thus, He began to pacify Shrimati Radharani as follows: “My dearest Radha, please hear Me, for I am speaking the truth. I cry day and night while remembering all you inhabitants of Vrindavana. Indeed, no one knows how unhappy this makes Me. My mother, father, the cowherd boys, and all the other residents of Vrindavana are My very life and soul. And, among all of the inhabitants of Vrindavana, the gopis are the most dear to Me, and of all the gopis, You are the chief.”
“My dear Shrimati Radharani, I am always under the control of Your loving affairs, and thus My separation from You, and residence in a distant place, must have been caused by My strong misfortune. When a woman is separated from the man she loves, or a man is separated from his beloved woman, neither of them can live. It is a fact that they live only for one another, and if one of them dies, and the other one hears of it, he or she will also die. A loving, chaste wife and a loving husband, who desire all welfare for each other, in separation, without caring for personal happiness, will certainly meet again very soon.”
“You are most dear to Me, and I know that in My absence You cannot live for a moment. Indeed, just to keep You living, I worship Lord Narayana, and by His merciful potency I am able to come to Vrindavana daily, from Dvaraka, and enjoy pastimes with You. It is for this reason that You always feel My presence in Vrindavana. By the grace of Lord Narayana, I am able to come to Vrindavana, unseen by others, and I hope to become visible to everyone very soon”
“I have already killed Kamsa and most of the other mischievous demons who were enemies of the Yadu dynasty. However, there are two or four more demons who are still alive, and so I want to kill them before returning to Vrindavana. It is only to protect the inhabitants of Vrindavana from the attacks of My enemies that I have remained at Dvaraka. Otherwise, I am completely indifferent to My royal position and unlimited opulence. Your loving qualities always attract Me to Vrindavana, and they will surely bring Me back there within ten or twenty days. At that time, I shall enjoy with You, and the other damsels of Vrajabhumi, both day and night, to Our full satisfaction.”
While speaking to Shrimati Radharani, Krishna became very eager to return to Vrindavana. Then, just to further pacify Radharani, Krishna recited a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam that assured Her that She would once again gain His association. “Devotional service to Me is the only means of attaining Me. My dear gopis, whatever love and affection you have for Me, by dint of your good fortune, is the only reason for My returning to you.”
While looking at Lord Jagannatha’s face, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced ecstatically and recited these verses. Lord Jagannatha was dressed in nice clothing, and adorned with beautiful ornaments and flower garlands. His face glittered in the sunshine and the entire atmosphere was fragrant.
An ocean of transcendental bliss then expanded in the heart of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As a result, all of the ecstatic symptoms intensified like a hurricane, creating waves of various emotions that appeared like opposing soldiers engaged in a fight. At this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s body appeared like a transcendental Himalayan mountain, decorated with ecstatic emotional flower trees, all in bloom.
By displaying these ecstatic symptoms, the Lord sprinkled the nectar of love of Godhead upon the minds of everyone, including the servants of Lord Jagannatha, the government officers, the pilgrims, and the residents of Jagannatha Puri. Their hearts having become infatuated with love for Krishna, everyone chanted and danced in ecstasy, making a resounding sound. What to speak of others, Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balarama were seen to stop their chariots, so that They could watch Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s dancing.
Then, while dancing in ecstasy, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly fell down in front of King Prataparudra. At this time, Nityananda Prabhu was absorbed in His own ecstasy, and Kashishvara and Govinda were elsewhere. With great respect, Maharaja Prataparudra picked the Lord up, but upon seeing him, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to His external senses and condemned Himself as follows: “Oh, how unfortunate it is that I have touched a person who is interested in mundane affairs!”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was already satisfied with the King, on account of his having accepted the menial role of a sweeper for Lord Jagannatha. Therefore, the Lord actually wanted to meet King Pratapraruda, but just to issue a warning to His personal associates, He externally expressed feelings of disgust.
King Prataparudra became frightened upon seeing the Lord’s anger, but Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya assured him, “Don’t worry, for actually Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is very pleased with you. He is acting in this way just to instruct His devotees how to behave with mundane people. At an opportune time, I shall submit your petition, and then it will be very easy for you to see the Lord.”
Meanwhile, Lord Jagannatha’s ratha had come to a standstill. After circumambulating it, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went behind the chariot and began pushing it with His head. Immediately, the ratha started to move, making a rattling noise, and upon seeing this wonder, everyone was astonished and began chanting, “Hari! Hari!” Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then took His associates and danced in front of Lord Baladeva and Subhadra’s chariots, before once again coming in front of Lord Jagannatha.
Upon reaching the place known as Balagandi, Lord Jagannatha stopped His chariot and began looking to both sides. On the left, He saw the neighborhood of brahmanas, called vipra-sashana, as well as a grove of coconut trees. To the right, He saw very nice flower gardens that resembled those in Vrindavana.
It was the custom of every devotee of Lord Jagannatha, to offer Him their best cooked food at this place. Thus, innumerable dishes were brought there by the King, his queen, the ministers, as well as by all of the visitors who had come from far-off places to see the Ratha-yatra, and the inhabitants of Jagannatha Puri. These devotees made their offerings on all sides of the ratha, and even in the flower garden, wherever they could find space, for at this time there were no hard-and-fast rules.
All the while, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had continued dancing, but when the offerings were made, He went to a nearby garden. Being immersed in great ecstatic love, the Lord collapsed onto a raised platform there. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had become very fatigued because of the hard labor of dancing, and thus there was perspiration all over His body. For this reason, the cool, fragrant breezes in the garden were especially pleasing, and all of the devotees who had performed sankirtana also took the opportunity to rest under each and every tree.
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu rested, while absorbed in ecstatic love, King Prataparudra entered the garden wearing the dress of a Vaishnava, as instructed by Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Being extremely humble, with folded hands, the King first of all begged permission from all the devotees. Then, taking great courage, he fell down and touched the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As the Lord lay with His eyes closed, the King began to very expertly massage His legs, and while doing so, He recited five chapters from the tenth Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam which describe the rasa-lila of Lord Krishna.
Upon hearing these verses, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became exceedingly pleased, and so again and again He urged, “Go on reciting, go on reciting.” Then, as soon as King Prataparudra recited the verse beginning with the words “tava kathamritam”, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu got up and embraced him in ecstatic love, saying, “You have given Me invaluable jewels, but I have nothing to present you in return. Therefore, I am simply embracing you.”
Maharaja Prataparudra had recited, “My Lord, Your nectarean words and the descriptions of Your pastimes are the life and soul of those who are always aggrieved in this material world. Such narrations are broadcast all over the world by exalted personalities, and they are capable of eradicating all sinful reactions. Indeed, whoever hears these narrations attains all good fortune, for they are filled with spiritual potency. Therefore, those persons who propagate the messages of Godhead are certainly the most munificent welfare workers.”
After hearing this verse, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced the reciter without knowing his identity, and while doing so, He exclaimed, “You are the most munificent! You are the most munificent!”
The Lord continued to recite this verse again and again, and both He and the King trembled, as tears fell from their eyes. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy had been aroused because of the King’s previous service. Thus, even though the Lord did not know whom He was embracing, that powerful mercy acted automatically to make everything successful. Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “Who are you? You have done so much for Me, for all of a sudden you have come here and made Me drink the nectar of Lord Krishna’s pastimes.”
The King replied, “My Lord, I am the most obedient servant of Your servants. At least, it is my ambition that You accept me as the servant of Your servants.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu displayed some of His divine opulence to King Prataparudra, and forbade him to disclose this to anyone. Although at heart Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had known all that was happening, He externally acted as if He was unaware of to whom He was speaking. Upon seeing this extraordinary display of the Lord’s special mercy, all of the devotees praised the King’s good fortune, and thus their minds became pure and blissful. Then, while very submissively offering prayers to the devotees with folded hands, the King took his leave and departed.
After this incident, Vaninatha Raya arrived with all kinds of prasada, and in addition, the King sent a huge quantity of prasada that had been offered at the Balagandi festival. All of this prasada was of the finest quality, and there was no limit to the number of varieties.
There were all kinds of fruit and dried fruit, and there were hundreds of varieties of sweets and condensed milk preparations. There was also plain cream, fried cream, and a kind of puri made with cream. There were varieties of sweets that had been made in the shape of oranges, mangoes, and lemons, complete with flowers and leaves. There were varieties of juice, yogurt, milk, buttermilk and salty mung dal sprouts with ginger. There were innumerable kinds of achara (pickles), and so many other varieties of food that there is no possibility of describing them all.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw how half of the garden became filled with all these varieties of prasada, He was very satisfied to understand how opulently Lord Jagannatha had been offered food. Five or seven loads of plates made from ketaki leaves arrived next. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu knew how much the kirtana performers had labored, and so He was very eager to feed them sumptuously.
The devotees sat down in rows, and after they had been supplied with ten plates each, the Lord personally began to distribute the prasada. As usual, the devotees would not begin until Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had eaten, and so Svarupa Damodara informed Him, “My Lord, please sit down, for no one will eat until You do.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat down with His personal associates and ordered the servers to feed everyone sumptuously, until they were filled up to the neck. When He finished eating, the Lord washed His hands and mouth, and since there was enough prasada left over to feed thousands, He ordered Govinda to call for all the beggars and feed them sumptuously.
Thereafter, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw all of the beggars taking prasada, He shouted, “Hari bol!” and instructed them to chant the holy name of the Lord. As soon as the beggars chanted “Hari bol”, they immediately became absorbed in ecstatic love of Godhead, and thus Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed another one of His wonderful pastimes.
Meanwhile, it was time to continue the Ratha-yatra, and yet, although all of the gaudas tried to pull Lord Jagannatha’s chariot, it would not move. Finally, the gaudas gave up in frustration, and at that time, King Prataparudra arrived there in great anxiety.
The King arranged for huge wrestlers to pull the ratha, and yet, even though he himself joined in the attempt, it would no budge an inch. Becoming more and more anxious, the King next brought very strong elephants and harnessed them to the ratha.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard of this, He left the garden, along with His personal associates, in order to watch the spectacle. And yet, even though the elephants were crying out while being beaten with goads, and although they pulled with all their strength, the ratha would not move. Upon seeing the failure of the elephants, all the people assembled there cried out, “Alas!”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then went and let all of the elephants go free, and after that, He put the chariot’s ropes in the hands of His own men. The Lord then went to the back of the ratha and began pushing it with His own head, and it was only at this time that the chariot began to move, while making a rattling sound. Indeed, the ratha moved effortlessly, for all of the devotees simply carried the ropes in their hands, without even pulling them. Upon seeing this wonder, everyone chanted, “jaya! jaya!”, and “jaya Jagannatha”, so that no other sound could be heard.
It seemed to be just a few moments later that the procession reached the Gundicha temple. After witnessing the uncommon prowess of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the crowd became astonished and chanted, “Jaya Gaurachandra! Jaya Shri Krishna Chaitanya!” Indeed, by seeing the greatness of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, King Prataparudra and his entourage were moved by ecstatic love, so that their hair stood up on end.
Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama were then taken down from Their chariots and placed upon Their respective simhasanas in the Gundicha temple. First of all, there was a bathing ceremony, and then a food offering, and during this time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates chanted and danced with great pleasure in the temple courtyard. As usual, the Lord was overwhelmed by ecstatic love, and so all the people who saw Him also floated in the ocean of love of Godhead. In the evening, the Lord stopped the kirtana, to see the arati. Thereafter, He went to a place called Aitota, to rest for the night.
While Lord Jagannatha remained at the Gundicha temple, nine chief devotees, headed by Advaita Acharya, invited the Lord to their residences for lunch, on nine successive days. During the four months of the rainy season, the remaining principal devotees extended their invitations to the Lord for one day each, so that the rest of the devotees had to combine into groups of two or three, to invite the Lord.
After bathing early in the morning, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would go to see Lord Jagannatha in the Gundicha temple. There, in the courtyard, He performed sankirtana three times daily- morning, noon and evening, along with His devotees. During this period, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt as if Lord Krishna had returned to Vrindavana, and so His feelings of separation subsided.
The Lord performed the pastimes of Vrindavana in the many gardens near the Gundicha temple, and in the Indradyumna lake, He played in the water. At such times, the Lord would splash water on the devotees, and the devotees in turn would splash water on the Lord, surrounding Him on all sides. Sometimes the devotees would form circles in the water, and at other times they played karatalas or imitated the croaking of frogs.
Sometimes the devotees paired off in order to fight within the water, as the Lord watched the fun. On one such occasion, the first contest took place between Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu. As They continued splashing water on each other, Advaita Acharya was finally defeated, and so He began to abuse Nityananda Prabhu with ill names.
Other duels took place between Svarupa Damodara and Vidyanidhi, Murari Gupta and Vasudeva Datta, Shrivasa Thakura and Gadadhara Pandita, and Raghava Pandita and Vakreshvara Pandita.
When Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Ramananda Raya fought with each other, they gave up their usual gravity and became just like little children. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw their enthusiasm, He smilingly told Gopinatha Acharya, “Tell the Bhattacharya and Ramananda to stop their childish play because they are supposed to be learned scholars and grave, exalted personalities.”
Gopinatha Acharya replied, “It appears that one drop of the ocean of Your great mercy has swelled up and overflooded them. Indeed, a drop of Your mercy can submerge even great mountains like Sumeru and Mandara. Since these two gentlemen are like small hills in comparison, it is not astonishing that they are being drowned in the ocean of Your mercy. Logic is like a dry oil cake from which all of the oil has been extracted. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya had passed his life eating such dry cakes, but now You have made him drink the nectar of Your transcendental pastimes. This is certainly Your great mercy upon him.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called for Advaita Acharya and made Him act like the Sesha Naga bed. As Advaita Acharya floated on the water by manifesting His personal potency, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lay down on Him, demonstrating the pastime of Seshashayi Vishnu. Finally, after enjoying in the water for some time, the Lord returned to Aitota, along with His associates.
That day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted lunch at Advaita Acharya’s house, along with His chief associates. Vaninatha Raya brought the prasada, and whatever was left over, was taken by the other devotees. In the afternoon, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to see Lord Jagannatha at the Gundicha temple, and there, He engaged in chanting and dancing as usual.
The next day, after seeing Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to the Jagannatha-vallabha garden, in the mood of Shrimati Radharani, and there He enjoyed enacting the pastimes of Vrindavana. The atmosphere was very pleasing due to the chirping of the birds, the buzzing of the bees, and the cool breezes that gently blew. There were many trees and plants in this large garden, and all of them were very jubilant to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
As the Lord danced alone in ecstasy, roaming from one tree to another, Vasudeva Datta sang a different song beneath each and every tree. After some time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Vakreshvara Pandita to dance, and then He personally began to sing while others, such as Svarupa Damodara, accompanied Him. As the Lord and His associates performed these pastimes in the Jagannatha-vallabha garden, everyone became inundated with ecstatic love, and thus lost all consideration of time and circumstances.
Thereafter, the Lord and His devotees went to Narendra-sarovara, to enjoy sporting in the water. From there, they returned to the Jagannatha-vallabha garden to have lunch, and in this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates passed nine days while Lord Jagannatha remained at the Gundicha temple.
King Prataparudra then called for Kashi Mishra and instructed him as follows: “Tomorrow is the Hera-panchami festival, which is also called Lakshmi-vijaya. This year, I want you to see that it is celebrated, as it has never been before. Indeed, all of the arrangements should be so gorgeous that upon seeing it, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will become highly pleased and astonished.”
“Take all of the decorated cloths, bells, umbrellas, chamaras, and whatever else can be used from the Deity’s storehouse, and mine as well. In addition, collect all kinds of big flags and other decorations, so that the carrier will appear as attractive as possible. Arrange for many parties of dancers and musicians and double the quantity of prasada, so that this festival will surpass even the Ratha-yatra. Make sure that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates are given all facility to watch the procession and see the Deity, without any difficulty.”
The next morning, the fifth day after Ratha-yatra, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took His associates and first of all went to see Lord Jagannatha at the Gundicha temple, which is also called Sundarachala. Then, the Lord and His devotees returned to Nilachala in great eagerness, desiring to see the Hera-panchami festival.
Kashi Mishra very respectfully received the Lord and took Him and His associates to a very nice sitting place that he had arranged specially for them. After taking His seat, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to hear about a particular rasa of devotional service. While mildly smiling, He questioned Svarupa Damodara as follows: “Although Lord Jagannatha enjoys His pastimes very wonderfully at Dvaraka-dhama, still, once a year, He becomes unlimitedly eager to see Vrindavana.”
“Externally, Lord Jagannatha gives the excuse that He wants to participate in the Ratha-yatra festival, but actually He wants to leave Jagannatha Puri and go to Sundarachala, the replica of Vrindavana. There, Lord Jagannatha enjoys His pastimes, day and night, in the gardens, which resemble those of Vrindavana. And yet, why doesn’t Lord Jagannatha take Lakshmidevi, the goddess of fortune, with Him?”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “My dear Lord, please hear the reason for this. Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, cannot be admitted into the pastimes of Vrindavana, for there, Krishna’s only assistants are the gopis. Except for the gopis, no one can attract Krishna’s mind.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then inquired, “All of the pastimes which Lord Jagannatha performs in the gardens at Sundarachala, along with the gopis, are very confidential manifestations of His ecstasies. Since there is no fault in Lord Krishna’s pastimes, why does the goddess of fortune become angry with him?”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “It is the nature of a woman who is afflicted by love to become immediately angry upon finding some neglect on the part of her lover.”
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Svarupa Damodara were thus conversing, the goddess of fortune came there, riding upon a golden palanquin bedecked with jewels and carried by four men. Surrounding Lakshmi’s palanquin was a large procession consisting of people carrying umbrellas, chamaras, fans, and flags, as well as many bands of musicians and dancing girls. Hundreds of maidservants surrounded the goddess of fortune, carrying water pitchers, chamaras and boxes of betel nuts, and all of them were very attractively dressed and adorned with jeweled necklaces.
In an angry mood, Lakshmi arrived at the main gate of the Jagannatha temple, and immediately her maidservants began arresting all the principal servants of Lord Jagannatha, as if they were thieves. After binding them with ropes, they made the servants of Lord Jagannatha come and fall down at the lotus feet of the goddess of fortune.
Before starting the Ratha-yatra, Lord Jagannatha had assured Lakshmi that He would return the very next day. Therefore, when several days had passed and still Lord Jagannatha did not return, Lakshmi began to feel neglected, and as a result, she became angry. After being made to fall down at the lotus feet of the goddess of fortune, the servants of Lord Jagannatha were greatly abused with harsh words by her maidservants. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates saw this astonishing display of impudence, they covered their faces and smiled.
Svarupa Damodara then said, “There is no other egoistic pride like this within the three worlds. At least, I have neither seen nor heard of it. When a woman is neglected, out of egoistic pride she gives up her ornaments and morosely sits down on the floor, making lines on it with her nails. I have heard of this kind of pride in Satyabhama and the gopis. However, in the case of Lakshmi, there is a completely different manifestation of pride, for while displaying her opulence, she has come here along with her soldiers, to attack her husband.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “Please tell Me about the varieties of egoistic pride which are manifest in Vrindavana.”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “The pride of the gopis is like a river flowing with hundreds of branches. Because the characteristics and modes of love vary with different women, their jealous anger also takes on various forms and qualities. All of this cannot be completely described, but some examples can give one an idea. There are three categories of women who experience jealous anger- sober, restless, and those who are both restless and sober.”
“When a sober heroine sees her hero approaching from a distance, she immediately stands up to receive him. Then, when he comes near, she offers him a place to sit. The sober heroine conceals her anger within her heart, while externally speaking sweet words, and when her lover embraces her, she returns his embrace. In this way, the sober heroine is very simple in behavior, and only with mild words and smiles does she refute the advances of her lover.”
“The restless heroine, however, sometimes chastises her lover with cruel words, sometimes pulls his ear, and sometimes binds him with a flower garland. The heroine who is a combination of sobriety and restlessness always jokes with equivocal words, and thus she sometimes praises her lover, sometimes blasphemes him, and sometimes remains indifferent.”
“Heroines may also be classified as captivated, intermediate and impudent. The captivated heroine does not know very much about the cunning intricacies of jealous anger. She simply covers her face and goes on crying, and then when she hears sweet words from her lover she becomes satisfied. Both the intermediate and impudent heroines can be classified as sober, restless, and a combination of both, and then further distinguished as very talkative, mild or equipoised. However, in every case, these heroines increase Lord Krishna’s loving ecstasy, according to their particular character. All of these gopis are transcendental and faultless and they please Krishna by their unique qualities.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt unlimited happiness upon hearing these descriptions, and so, again and again He requested Svarupa Damodara to go on speaking. Svarupa Damodara then continued, “Krishna is the enjoyer of all transcendental mellows and He is always subordinate to the love of His devotees. Because there is no flaw or adulteration in the love of he gopis, they give Krishna the highest pleasure.”
“The gopis can be divided into two categories, left wing and right wing. Of all the gopis, Shrimati Radharani is the chief, and she is like a jewel mine of ecstatic conjugal love. Radharani is grown-up and her character is equipoised. Because She is a left-wing gopi, Her womanly anger is always awakening, and Krishna derives unlimited transcendental bliss from Her activities.”
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard these talks, the ocean of His transcendental bliss increased, and thus He told Svarupa Damodara, “Go on speaking, go on speaking”.
Svarupa Damodara then continued, “Shrimati Radharani’s loving affairs are devoid of any material tinges, and thus they are ten times purer than gold. As soon as Radharani gets the chance to see Krishna, Her body becomes decorated with various ecstatic ornaments, including the eight sattvika-bhavas, thirty-three vyabhichari-bhavas, and twenty other symptoms of natural love. When Shrimati Radharani’s body manifests these ecstatic ornaments, the ocean of Krishna’s happiness begins to display transcendental waves.”
“Being a cowherd girl, Shrimati Radharani regularly leaves Her house with a container of milk, which She sells on the other side of the River Yamuna. It is Her womanly nature to attract Shri Krishna’s attention and thus She is always very well-dressed and attractively decorated.”
“Upon seeing Radharani, Krishna desires to touch Her body and so He prohibits Her from going to the place called dana-ghati, where the boatman collects his fares. After finding some fault in Shrimati Radharani, Krishna tells Her, ‘First You have to pay the fee and then You will be allowed to go.’ This pastime is called dana-keli-lila.”
“Similarly, if Radharani wants to pick a flower, Krishna claims to be the proprietor of the garden and thus forbids Her. This pastime is called kila-kinchita. At other times, Krishna touches Radharani in front of Her friends, and in all such instances, She first of all experiences an ecstatic jubilation, which becomes the root cause for all the other symptoms.”
“When the seven ingredients of pride, ambition, fear, dry artificial crying, anger, envy, and mild smiling are combined on the platform of jubilation, this in known as mahabhava, and when it is tasted by Shri Krishna, His mind becomes completely satisfied. This mahabhava can be compared to the very tasty and sweet preparation made by combining yogurt, sugar candy, ghee, honey, black pepper, camphor, and cardamom. Lord Krishna becomes thousands upon thousands of times more satisfied when He sees Shrimati Radharani’s face light up from this combination of ecstatic love, than by direct union with Her.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became absorbed in great happiness while hearing all this. After embracing Svarupa Damodara, He said, “Please speak about the ecstatic ornaments that decorate Shrimati Radharani’s body, and by which She enchants Shri Govinda’s mind.”
All of the devotees very happily listened as Svarupa Damodara continued as follows: “The various symptoms that are manifest in a woman’s face, eyes and other bodily parts, as well as in the way she moves, stands, or sits, upon meeting her beloved, are called vilasa.”
“While standing before Krishna, Shrimati Radharani’s body is bent in three places- her neck, waist, and legs, and Her eyebrows dance. As Krishna comes forward and greedily snatches at the border of Her sari, Radharani is actually very pleased with Him, but outwardly She tries to prohibit Him. Externally, Radharani acts angry and offended, but within Her heart, She feels great happiness.”
“Although Radharani tries to stop Him with Her hand, internally She thinks, ‘Let Krishna satisfy His desires.’ After displaying a kind of dry crying, as if offended, Radharani admonishes Krishna while mildly smiling. Actually, Radharani has no desire to stop Krishna’s endeavors to touch Her body, and yet, while sweetly smiling, She protests His advances by chastising Him. Being ornamented with various ecstatic symptoms, Shrimati Radharani attracts the mind of Shri Krishna, whose pastimes are unlimited.”
At this time, Shrivasa Thakura smilingly told Svarupa Damodara, “My dear sir, just see how opulent my goddess of fortune is! As far as the opulence of Vrindavana is concerned, it consists of only a few flowers and twigs, some minerals from the hills, peacock feathers, and some gunja plants.”
“Upon hearing about how Lord Jagannatha had gone to Vrindavana, Lakshmi wondered why He gave up her opulence to go there. Then, just to make a laughingstock of her husband, Lakshmi elaborately arranged for very opulent decorations and departed, along with her maidservants. While arresting the servants of Lord Jagannatha, these maidservants inquired, ‘Why did your master abandon the great opulence of the goddess of fortune, and for the sake of a few leaves, fruit, and flowers, go to see the garden of Shrimati Radharani? Your master, Lord Jagannatha, is very expert at everything, and so why has He done this? Please bring Him here immediately and present Him before the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi.’ ”
“After saying this, the maidservants of Lakshmi began beating Lord Jagannatha’s ratha with sticks. Finally, after having submitted to her with folded hands, the servants of Lord Jagannatha pacified Lakshmi by promising to bring Lord Jagannatha the very next day, and thus she returned to her residence. Just see the indescribable opulence of Lakshmi! Your gopis are engaged in boiling milk and churning it into yogurt, whereas my mistress, the goddess of fortune, sits on a throne made of valuable jewels.”
Being absorbed in the mood of Narada Muni, Shrivasa Thakura joked in this way, and upon hearing him, all of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s associates smiled. The Lord then told him, “My dear Shrivasa, your nature is exactly like that of Narada Muni, and thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s opulence is having a direct influence upon you. On the other hand, Svarupa Damodara is a pure devotee of Vrindavana, and so he does not even know what opulence is.”
Svarupa Damodara replied, “My dear Shrivasa, please hear me with attention, for you have failed to understand the transcendental opulence of Vrindavana. Indeed, the natural opulence of Vrindavana is just like an ocean, next to which the opulence of Vaikuntha and Dvaraka cannot be compared to even one drop.”
“Shri Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His complete opulence is exhibited only in Vrindavana-dhama. Vrindavana-dhama is made of chintamani, a transcendental touchstone, and thus its entire surface is the source of all valuable jewels. Vrindavana is a natural forest of desire-trees, and so the inhabitants do not desire anything more than their fruit and flowers. In Vrindavana, there are unlimited kama-dhenu cows that fulfill all desires, and the residents are satisfied simply by drinking their milk.”
“In Vrindavana, the speech of the people sounds like music, and their walking resembles a dance. The water is like nectar, and the brahmajyoti, which is full of transcendental bliss, is directly perceived there in its form. The gopis of Vrindavana are also goddesses of fortune, and they surpass the Lakshmi who resides in Vaikuntha. And, in Vrindavana, Krishna eternally resides along with His dear companion, the flute.”
After hearing this, Shrivasa Thakura began dancing in ecstasy, and while doing so, he laughed very loudly and made a funny sound by placing the palms of his hands in his armpits. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also began to ecstatically dance, and Svarupa Damodara assisted Him by singing about the pastimes of Vrindavana.
Even though all of the devotees become fatigued because of singing and dancing for a long time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ecstasy simply went on increasing. Indeed, while dancing in the mood of Shrimati Radharani, the Lord appeared in Her very form, and upon seeing this, Nityananda Prabhu offered obeisances from a distant place. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic mood continued unabated, but the devotees were unable to continue any longer, and so Svarupa Damodara informed the Lord of their fatigue.
The Lord then came to His external consciousness, and entered a flower garden, along with all the devotees. After resting briefly, the Lord had His noon bath. Then, a great quantity of Jagannatha-prasada and Lakshmi-prasada arrived there. After lunch, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to see Lord Jagannatha at the Gundicha temple, and in the company of His devotees He chanted and danced as usual. That afternoon, the Lord enjoyed sporting in Narendra-sarovara, and in the evening He returned to the Jagannatha-vallabha garden.
These pastimes continued for eight days, and then, the next morning, Lord Jagannatha came out from the Gundicha temple, to ride upon His ratha back to Nilachala. As previously, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees chanted and danced with great pleasure, and when Lord Jagannatha once again sat upon His altar in the temple, the Lord returned to His residence.
When Lord Jagannatha had been carried by the dayitas during the Pandu-vijaya ceremony, the silk ropes that supported Him broke, and thus the cushions underneath had burst. Ramananda and Satyaraja Khan had come from Kulina-grama, and with great respect, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave them the following order: “Please become the worshipers of these silk ropes, and every year bring new ones from your village. Take this broken rope as a sample, and make sure that yours are much stronger. You should know that this rope is the abode of Lord Sesha, who expands Himself into ten forms, in order to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead- umbrella, slippers, bedding, pillow, garments, resting chair, residence, sacred thread, and throne.”
Satyaraja and Ramananda Vasu were very pleased to receive this service from the Lord, and each year thereafter they accompanied the devotees to Jagannatha Puri, bringing new silk ropes with them.
Each day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to the temple of Lord Jagannatha in the morning, to chant and dance before the Deity. Then, at noon, during the upala-bhoga offering, He would offer His obeisances and depart for Siddha-bakula, where Haridasa Thakura lived. After visiting Haridasa, the Lord returned to His residence at Kashi Mishra’s house, and engaged in chanting on His beads.
At that time, Advaita Acharya would come to worship Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. For that purpose, Advaita Acharya would offer the Lord scented water to wash His mouth and feet, and He would smear very fragrant sandalwood paste all over His body. Then, after placing a flower garland around the Lord’s neck and some tulasi manjaris on His head, Advaita Acharya would offer prayers and obeisances with folded hands.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would then take the plate of puja articles and use whatever paraphernalia remained to worship Advaita Acharya in return. While doing so, the Lord chanted, “Whatever You are, You are, but I offer My respects unto You”, and then He uttered some sounds that made Advaita Acharya laugh.
In this way, the two offered respects to one another, and sometimes, Advaita Acharya invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch. One after another, all of the devotees extended invitations to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for as long as they remained at Jagannatha Puri, and thus every day was a festival.
At the time of Janmastami, which is also called Nanda-mahotsava, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees dressed as cowherd boys, and while carrying pots of milk and dahi balanced on rods over their shoulders, they assembled at the festival grounds. Kanai Khutiya took the part of Nanda Maharaja, and Jagannatha Mahati dressed like Mother Yashoda. King Prataparudra also came there along with Kashi Mishra, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and the temple superintendent, who was named Tulasi.
As usual, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced jubilantly, and during the festivities that followed, everyone became covered with milk, yogurt and yellow tumeric water. Advaita Acharya then addressed the Lord as follows: “Please do not become angry. Truthfully speaking, I shall know for certain whether You are a cowherd boy, only if You can wheel this rod about.”
Accepting Advaita Acharya’s challenge, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu picked up a big rod and began spinning it around and around. Again and again the Lord threw the rod into the air and caught it as it fell. While spinning the rod, sometimes the Lord threw it over His shoulder, sometimes from behind His back, sometimes from in front, sometimes from His side, and sometimes from in between His legs. Indeed, all of the spectators laughed upon seeing the Lord’s uncommon maneuvers.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whirled the rod around in a circle like a firebrand, everyone’s heart became filled with astonishment. Nityananda Prabhu also picked up a rod and whirled it, along with the Lord, and in this way, They became deeply immersed in the emotions of the cowherd boys.
Following the order of Maharaja Prataparudra, Tulasi brought one of Lord Jagannatha’s used cloths and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wrapped it around His head. The other devotees also wrapped cloths around their heads, and in great ecstasy, Kanai Khutiya as Nanda Maharaja, and Jagannatha Mahati as Mother Yashoda, gave away all their wealth in charity. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very satisfied to see this, and so, accepting them as His parents, He offered His obeisances unto them.
On Vijaya-dasami, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had all the devotees dress up as the monkey soldiers of Lord Ramachandra. Then, while displaying the mood of Hanuman, the Lord picked up a large tree-branch, and after jumping up onto the wall surrounding Lanka, He began dismantling the city in great anger. In the ecstasy of Hanuman, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu challenged, “Where is that rascal, Ravana? Because he has kidnapped the universal mother, Sita, I shall now kill him, along with his entire family.”
Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s emotional ecstasy, everyone chanted, “Jaya, jaya” in great astonishment. The Lord and His devotees also observed the festivals of Dipavali and Utthana-dvadasi.
Then, one day thereafter, the two brothers, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, consulted one another while sitting in a solitary place. At that time, no one could understand what They were discussing, but later on, the devotees could guess what the matter was.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then called for all of the devotees and asked them to return to Bengal. With great respect, the Lord requested Advaita Acharya, “Give Krishna consciousness to everyone, even the lowest of men, the chandalas.”
The Lord then ordered Nityananda Prabhu, “Go to Bengal, and without restriction manifest devotional service in love of Godhead. Ramadasa, Gadadhara dasa, and several other devotees can assist You. Keeping Myself invisible, I shall also come to see You from time to time, just to watch You dance.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Shrivasa Thakura. While keeping His arm around his neck, the Lord made the following request, with very sweet words, “Perform congregational chanting daily, and rest assured that I shall come there and dance in your presence. You will be able to see this, but others will not.”
“Take this cloth and prasada of Lord Jagannatha and deliver them to My mother, Sachidevi. After offering her obeisances, please request her to excuse My offenses. I gave up the service of My mother, to accept the renounced order of life. Actually, I should not have done this, for by doing so I have destroyed My religious principles. I am subordinate to the love of My mother, and thus it is My duty to serve her in return. However, instead of doing so, I have taken sannyasa, and this is certainly the act of a madman.”
“I had no business in accepting this renounced order of life and sacrificing My love for My mother, which is My real property. Actually, I was in a crazy state of mind when I took sannyasa, but since, a mother is not offended by her mad son, My mother has not taken offense. I am staying here at Nilachala in compliance with her order, but still, from time to time, I shall go and see her lotus feet. Indeed, I go there daily, and My mother is able to feel My presence, although she does not accept it as factual.”
“One day, My mother offered many varieties of food to Shalagrama Vishnu. Then, after doing so, she took the plate upon her lap and began to cry, thinking of how all these preparations were very dear to her Nimai.
“She thought, ‘Nimai is not here, and so who will accept all this food?’ As she meditated upon Me in this way, her eyes filled up with tears. At that time, I quickly went there and ate everything, and when My mother opened her eyes and saw the plate empty, she wiped away her tears and wondered, ‘Has Bala-gopala eaten all the food? Or, was there anything on the plate in the first place? Perhaps some animal came and ate it all? Maybe I made a mistake and forgot to put the food onto the plate for offering,’ ”
“While thinking like this, Sachimata went into the kitchen, and upon seeing how all the pots were still full, she became highly astonished and concluded that the food had never been offered. Calling for the servant, Ishana, My mother had the place in front of the altar cleaned, and then she made another plate for Lord Gopala. Now, whenever My mother prepares some good cooked food and wants to feed Me, she cries in great anxiety.”
“Being obliged by My mother’s love, I come to eat her offerings. She knows all these things internally, and thus feels great happiness, but externally, she does not believe in them. This incident took place on the last Vijaya-dasami day. You can question her about it, and in this way she will come to believe that I actually go there.”
While describing all this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became a little emotionally overwhelmed, but in order to finish bidding farewell to the devotees, He remained patient. Next, the Lord spoke the following relishable words to Raghava Pandita: “I am very obliged to you because of your pure love for Me.”
Then, addressing everyone, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Just hear about the supremely pure devotional service that is rendered to Lord Krishna by Raghava Pandita. Apart from other things, let Me tell you about his coconut offerings.”
“One coconut is sold for five gandas. And yet, although he already has hundreds of coconut tress in his garden, if Raghava Pandita hears of a place where especially sweet coconuts are available, he will collect them with great endeavor from thirty kilometers away, at a price of eighty gandas (four panas).”
“Every day he has five or seven coconuts clipped and kept cool by storing them in water. When it is time for offering them to Lord Krishna, the coconuts are again clipped and cleaned before the hole is made at the top. When Lord Krishna accepts these offerings, sometimes He leaves the coconuts drained of all water, and upon seeing this, Raghava Pandita feels great pleasure. He then breaks open the coconut, takes out the pulp, and puts it on another plate. Raghava Pandita then offers the coconut pulp in meditation, outside the temple door. Sometimes, Lord Krishna leaves the plate empty and at other times He fills it up with new pulp after eating. By seeing these wonders, Raghava Pandita floats in an ocean of love, and his faith in the Lord increases.”
“One day, about ten coconuts were properly clipped and then brought by a servant for offering. However, as the servant waited outside the temple door, he happened to touch the ceiling over his head and then place the same hand on the coconuts. Upon seeing this, Raghava Pandita told the servant, ‘People are always coming and going through this doorway, and so the dust from their feet surely blows up and touches the ceiling. After touching the ceiling above the doorway, you have touched the coconuts, and thus they are no longer fit for offering to Krishna, because they are contaminated.’ ”
“After saying this, Raghava Pandita threw the coconuts over the wall and then had other coconuts gathered, cleaned and clipped, which he then offered to Lord Krishna with great attention. In the same way, Raghava Pandita collects excellent bananas, mangoes, oranges, jackfruit and whatever other first-class fruit he hears about, even if they are from distant villages and very high-priced.”
“In addition, Raghava Pandita prepares all kinds of cooked food, and because the cooking conditions are very purified, everything is first-class and very tasty. Indeed, Raghava Pandita’s devotional service is based purely on unalloyed love for Krishna, and thus everyone becomes very satisfied just by seeing him.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Raghava Pandita. He then told Shivananda Sena, “Please take care of Vasudeva Datta very carefully, for he is very liberal. Every day he spends whatever income he receives and does not leave any balance. However, since he is a householder, he certainly needs to save some money, and because he is not doing this, it is very difficult for him to maintain his family. Therefore, please become his manager and make it your business to look after his family affairs. Come here every year at the time of Ratha-yatra, and bring all of the devotees with you and maintain them.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very respectfully invited the inhabitants of Kulina-grama to come every year for Ratha-yatra, and He reminded them to bring the silk ropes for carrying Lord Jagannatha. The Lord then said, “Gunaraja Khan of Kulina-grama compiled a book named Shri Krishna-vijaya, in which there is a sentence revealing his ecstatic love for Krishna. He has written, ‘Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, is my very life and soul’, and because of this statement, I have been sold into the hands of his descendents. To say nothing of all of you, even a dog living in your village is very dear to Me, and so what to speak of others.”
Ramananda Vasu and Satyaraja Khan then submitted the following question at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: “My dear Lord, being a householder and a materialistic man, I do not know the process of advancing in spiritual life. Therefore, I surrender unto Your lotus feet and request You to give me orders.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Continue chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna without cessation and whenever possible, serve Him and His devotees, the Vaishnavas.”
Satyaraja inquired, “How can I recognize a Vaishnava? What are his general symptoms?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Whoever chants the holy name of Krishna even once is worshipful, and is the topmost human being. Simply by chanting the holy name of Krishna one is relieved from all the reactions of his sinful life. One can complete the entire nine processes of devotional service simply by chanting the holy name. Indeed, there is even no necessity of undergoing initiation or executing the prescribed activities prior to initiation (purascharya). One simply has to vibrate the holy name of the Lord, and by this method even the lowest class of men, chandalas, can be delivered.”
“By chanting the holy name of the Lord, one dissolves his entanglement in material activities, and thereafter, one becomes very attracted to Krishna, as His dormant love for the Lord awakens. Therefore, one who is chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is understood to be a Vaishnava, and he should be offered all respects.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu next asked Mukunda dasa, a resident of Khanda, “You are the father and Raghunandana is your son, isn’t it so? Or, is Raghunandana your father and you are his son? Please let Me know the real facts so that My doubts will be dispelled.”
Mukunda dasa replied, “Raghunandana is my father, and I am his son. This is my decision. Since all of us have attained devotion to Krishna because of Raghunandana, I consider him to be my father.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately said, “Yes, this is correct. One who awakens devotion to Krishna is certainly a spiritual master.”
The Lord became very happy while glorifying the devotees, and indeed, as He spoke, it appeared as if He possessed five mouths. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then informed the devotees, “Please hear about Mukunda dasa’s love of Godhead, for it is very deep and pure and thus can only be compared with purified gold. Externally, Mukunda dasa seems to be a royal physician, but internally, he possesses a deep love for Krishna.”
“One day, as Mukunda dasa was seated, along with the Mohammedan King on a high platform, giving him medical advice, a servant brought a peacock-feather fan, to shade the King’s head from the sun. Upon seeing the peacock fan, Mukunda dasa immediately became absorbed in ecstatic love for Krishna, and as a result, he fell from the high platform onto the ground. Being afraid that his physician might have been seriously injured or killed, the King came and attended to him. When Mukunda dasa regained consciousness, the King inquired, ‘Where does it pain you?’ ”
“Mukunda dasa replied, ‘I do not feel much pain.’ ”
“The King then asked, ‘Mukunda, why did you fall down from the platform?’ ”
“Mukunda replied, ‘My dear King, I have a disease that resembles epilepsy.’ ”
“The King was very intelligent, however, and so he could understand the truth. In his estimation, Mukunda dasa is a most uncommon, exalted, liberated soul.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued, “Raghunandana is constantly engaged in temple worship. Beside the temple entrance is a lake, and on the shore of the lake there is a kadamba tree that delivers two flowers daily, for the service of Lord Krishna. Mukunda, your duty is to earn both material and spiritual wealth, and it is the duty of Raghunandana to always engage in Lord Krishna’s service, because he has no other inclination.”
The Lord then ordered Narahari, who was also a resident of Khanda, “I wish that you remain here with My associates. Thus, the three of you should carry out your respective duties in the service of the Lord.”
Next, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed the brothers, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Vidya-vachaspati, as follows: “In this age of Kali, Krishna is manifest in two forms, wood and water, and thus He helps the conditioned souls become liberated by seeing and bathing. Lord Jagannatha is the Supreme Lord in the form of wood, and the River Ganga is the Supreme Lord in the form of water. Sarvabhauma, you should worship Lord Jagannatha and Vachaspati should worship mother Ganga.”
The Lord then embraced Murari Gupta and began speaking about his devotional faith as follows: “Previously, I repeatedly tried to induce Murari Gupta to become allured by Lord Krishna. For this purpose, I told him, ‘My dear Gupta, Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the origin of all incarnations, and the cause of all causes. He is the supreme sweetness, the reservoir of all pleasure, and pure transcendental love itself. He is the reservoir of all transcendental qualities, and thus He is like a mine of precious jewels. Therefore, please worship Lord Krishna and take shelter of Him, for except His service, there is nothing appealing to the mind.’ ”
“In this way, Murari Gupta heard Me speak again and again, and so, by My influence, his mind became a little converted. Murari Gupta then told Me, ‘I am Your servant and order carrier, and thus I have no independent existence.’ ”
“After returning home, Murari Gupta spent the entire night thinking about how he could give up the association of Lord Ramachandra, and thus he became overwhelmed by grief. Finally, he began to pray to Lord Ramachandra that death might come that very night, since it was impossible for him to give up the service of His lotus feet. Indeed, Murari Gupta cried the whole night, and thus he could not get even a moment’s sleep.”
“The next morning, Murari Gupta came to see Me, with tears in his eyes, and after catching hold of My feet, he pleaded, ‘I have sold my head to the lotus feet of Lord Raghunatha, and thus I cannot withdraw it, for that would give me too much pain. At the same time, if I do not give up the service of Lord Ramachandra, I shall be disobeying Your order. What shall I do? O all-merciful Lord, kindly grant me this favor. Let me die immediately, in Your presence, so that all of my doubts will be finished.’ ”
“I was very happy to hear this. After raising up Murari Gupta, I embraced him and said, ‘All glories to you, for your method of worshiping the Lord is firmly fixed, so much so that even at My request, your mind did not deviate. The servitor must have love and affection for the lotus feet of the Lord just like this. Even if the Lord wants separation, such a devotee is unable to abandon the shelter of His lotus feet. It was just to test your firm faith in Lord Ramachandra that I requested you again and again to worship Lord Krishna instead. In fact, you are the incarnation of Hanuman, and thus you are the eternal servant of Lord Ramachandra. Why should you give up the worship of His lotus feet?’ ”
“I accept Murari Gupta as My life and soul. When I even hear of his humility, My mind becomes perturbed.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Vasudeva Datta and began speaking of his glories as if He possessed one thousand mouths. Vasudeva Datta became very embarrassed and shy while hearing himself praised.
After submitting himself by touching Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, he spoke as follows: “My dear Lord, You have incarnated just to deliver all the conditioned souls. Now, I have one petition that I hope You will accept. You are certainly capable of doing whatever You like, and You are indeed merciful. My Lord, my heart breaks to see the suffering of all the conditioned souls, and so I request You to transfer all the karma of their sinful lives onto my head. Let me suffer perpetually in a hellish condition, in order to finish everyone else’s diseased, material life.”
Upon hearing this statement, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s heart became very soft, tears flowed from His eyes, and His entire body began to tremble.
In a faltering voice, the Lord replied, “Such a statement is not at all astonishing, because you are the incarnation of Prahlada Maharaja. There is no doubt that Lord Krishna has bestowed His complete mercy upon you. Whatever a pure devotee desires, Lord Krishna certainly fulfills, for He has no other duty than to satisfy the wishes of His devotees.”
“If you desire the deliverance of all the living entities within the universe, then they can be liberated without your having to suffer the reactions of their sinful activities. Lord Krishna is not incapable, for He is the master of all potencies. Why would He induce you to suffer the sinful reactions of other living entities? Whoever’s welfare you desire, immediately becomes a Vaishnava, and Lord Krishna delivers all of the devotees from the reactions of their past sinful lives. Because of your honest desire, all the living entities within the universe will easily be delivered, for this is an effortless task for Krishna.”
“Just as there are millions of fruit on the udumbara tree, millions of universes are floating on the water of the River Viraja. If one fruit happens to fall, the udumbara tree does not even consider the loss. In the same way, if one universe becomes vacant, due to the liberation of all the living entities within it, Krishna does not take it seriously.”
“There are unlimited Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual world, and these are surrounded by the water of the Causal ocean. Maya and her unlimited universes are situated in the Causal ocean, and she appears like a floating pot filled with mustard seeds. Out of millions of mustard seeds within a pot, if one is lost, then it is not at all significant. Similarly, the loss of one universe is of no consequence, as far as Krishna is concerned. To say nothing of one universal mustard seed, even if all of the universes and maya itself were destroyed, Krishna would not consider the loss. If a person who possesses millions of wish-fulfilling cows loses one she-goat, he does not even consider it. Since Krishna is the possessor of the six opulence in full, even if the entire material energy were destroyed, what would be the loss for Him?”
After describing the good qualities of all the devotees in this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced them and bid them farewell. Due to impending separation, all of the devotees began to cry, and the Lord also felt very morose. Gadadhara Pandita remained with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Nilachala, and the Lord gave him a place to live at Yameshvara.
One day thereafter, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, knowing that because all the devotees had returned to Bengal, there was a good chance that He would accept his invitation. With folded hands, the Bhattacharya requested, “Please come to My house for lunch each day this month.”
The Lord replied, “This is not possible, for it is against the religious principles of a sannyasi.”
Sarvabhauma then said, “Please accept my invitation for twenty days”, but the Lord replied, “This in not proper according to sannyasa-dharma.”
Then, when Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya requested Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to accept lunch for fifteen days, the Lord replied, “I shall come to your house for one day only.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then caught hold of the Lord’s lotus feet and begged, “Please accept lunch at my house for at least ten days.”
In this way, by and by, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was able to reduce the number of days to five. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya then said, “There are ten sannyasis with You, and so let Paramananda Puri come to my house for lunch five days in a month. Svarupa Damodara is my intimate friend, and so he may sometimes come with You, and besides this, accept four invitations to come by himself each month. The other eight sannyasis- Brahmananda Puri, Brahmananda Bharati, Vishnu Puri, Keshava Puri, Krishnananda Puri, Nrisimha Tirtha, Sukhananda Puri and Satyananda Bharati, can come to my house for lunch two days each, and thus there will be an engagement every day of the month. If all of the sannyasis were to come together, it would not be possible for me to offer them proper respect, and thus I would become an offender.”
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu confirmed this arrangement, the Bhattacharya felt very satisfied, and he immediately invited the Lord to his house for lunch that very day. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya always kept a full stock of food, and so, after returning home, he ordered his wife, who was known as Sathira Mata (the mother of Sathi) to immediately begin cooking, while he went to collect the necessary fruit and vegetables.
Sathira Mata was a very experienced cook, and after gathering the necessary ingredients, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya went to help her. On the southern side of the kitchen were two rooms. One room was for offering the food to Shalagrama Narayana, and the other room, which was newly constructed, was for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to have lunch. This room was very secluded. It had one door for the Lord to enter from the outside, and another door attached to the kitchen, through which the food could be brought.
First of all, three manas (a little less than three kilos) of rice was cooked and placed upon a large banana leaf. So much yellow ghee was then poured over the rice that it overflowed onto the fine white cloth that covered the wooden platform, on which all the food was placed. Then, a large number of pots made from banana bark were filled with ten kinds of spinach, sukta, and innumerable other vegetable preparations, as well as different types of dal. There were also varieties of kheer and condensed milk preparations, mixed with bananas and mangoes, and many kinds of sweets.
On both sides of the nicely arranged food were pitchers of cool, scented water Tulasi manjaris were placed on top of the mound of rice. In addition, several varieties of Jagannatha maha-prasada were kept separately. When everything was ready, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came there alone, having finished His midday duties.
After Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya had washed His feet, the Lord entered the room in which He was to eat lunch, and upon seeing the gorgeous arrangement, He became a little astonished. While gesturing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exclaimed, “This is most uncommon! How could such an arrangement of prasada be made within six hours? Even one hundred men cooking on one hundred stoves could not possibly finish all these preparations within such a short time.”
“I see that there are tulasi manjaris on top of each preparation, and so I assume that everything has been offered to Lord Krishna. My dear Bhattacharya, you are most fortunate. Your endeavor is successful, for you have offered such wonderful food to Radha and Krishna. The color of the rice is so attractive, and its aroma is so pleasing, that it appears as if Radha and Krishna have directly eaten it.”
“How much shall I praise you for your great fortune? I am also very fortunate, just to be able to take some of the remnants of this food. Take away Krishna’s sitting place and then serve Me a little prasada on a separate plate.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “What You see is not so wonderful, my Lord, for everything has been made possible by the energy and mercy of He who will eat the food. My wife and I did not especially exert ourselves while cooking. He, by whose power the food has been prepared, knows all this very well. Now, please sit down and take Your lunch.”
However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu objected, saying, “This place is worshipful because it was used by Krishna.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “Both the food and the sitting place are the Lord’s mercy, or prasada. If You can eat the remnants of food, then what is the offense if You sit in this place?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “You have spoken correctly, for Shrimad-Bhagavatam states that the devotee can partake of everything left by Krishna: ‘My dear Lord, the garlands, scented substances, garments, ornaments and other such things that have been offered to You, may later on be used by Your servants. By partaking of these things and eating the remnants of Your food, we shall be able to conquer over the illusory energy.’ However, My dear Bhattacharya, there is so much food here that it is impossible for Me to eat it all.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya replied, “I know how much You can eat. After all, here at Jagannatha Puri, You eat fifty-two times a day, and each offering consists of hundreds of buckets filled with food. At Dvaraka, You maintain sixteen thousand queens in sixteen thousand palaces, and You eat at all these places, as well as with Your eighteen mothers and numerous other friends and relatives belonging to the Yadu dynasty.”
“In Vrindavana, You have Your paternal and maternal uncles and aunts, and there are many other cowherd men and boyfriends, and You eat twice a day, morning and evening, in the houses of each and every one of them. At the Govardhana-puja, You ate huge mounds of rice, in comparison to which this small quantity is but a morsel. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whereas I am a most insignificant living being. Therefore, You can accept a little quantity of food at my house.”
After hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smilingly sat down to eat, and the Bhattacharya first of all offered Him the prasada of Lord Jagannatha.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya had a son-in-law named Amogha, who was the husband of his daughter, Sathi. Although born in an aristocratic brahmana family, Amogha was a great faultfinder and blasphemer, and thus he was very eager to observe Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s eating.
Knowing this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya guarded the doorway with a stick in his hand, and thus Amogha was not allowed to enter the room where the Lord was taking His lunch. However, when Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya began distributing prasada and thus became a little inattentive, Amogha entered the room. Upon seeing the quantity of food that had been placed before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Amogha blasphemed the Lord as follows: “Although this much food is sufficient to satisfy ten or twelve men, this sannyasi is eating it all by Himself!”
After hearing this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya looked at his son-in-law with eyes full of rage, and upon seeing this, Amogha hastily left the room. Although the Bhattacharya chased him with a stick, to beat him, Amogha was too fast and so he escaped. At this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya began calling Amogha ill names, and upon returning home, he saw that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was laughing at his abusive language. When the Bhattacharya’s wife heard of the incident, she began to beat her breast with her hand as she repeatedly exclaimed, “Let Sathi become a widow!”
Seeing the grief of both husband and wife, the Lord tried His best to pacify them, and then, according to their desire, He ate lunch with great satisfaction. When the Lord finished eating, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya offered Him water for washing His hands and mouth and then some flavored spices, tulasi manjaris, cloves and cardamom. After placing a flower garland around the Lord’s neck and smearing His body with sandalwood paste, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya offered obeisances and then spoke very humbly as follows: “I brought You to my home just to have You blasphemed. This is a great offense and so I beg You to pardon me.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “What Amogha had said is correct, and so it is not blasphemy. Therefore, what is your offense?”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started for His residence, but Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya followed Him and fell down at His lotus feet while saying many things in self-reproach. The Lord then pacified Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and sent him back home. After consulting his wife, however, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya came to the following conclusion: “If the man who has blasphemed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is killed, then my sinful act of hearing him will be atoned for. Or, if I give up my life, then the sinful reaction will be neutralized. However, neither of these actions are befitting, because both bodies belong to brahmanas. Therefore, I shall give up my relationship with the blasphemer, and never see his face again or utter his name. Inform my daughter, Sathi, to abandon her husband because he is fallen, for that is her duty according to smriti-shastra.”
Amogha had run away and spent the night out of home, and then, the next morning, he fell sick with cholera. When Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya heard that his son-in-law was dying of this dreaded disease, he thought, “It is the mercy of Providence that He is executing what I wanted to do. When one offends the Supreme Personality of Godhead, karma immediately takes effect. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is said, ‘When a person mistreats great souls, his life span, opulence, reputation, religion, possessions and good fortune are all destroyed.’ ”
At this time, Gopinatha Acharya went to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When the Lord inquired about news of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s household, Gopinatha Acharya informed Him of how both husband and wife were fasting, and Amogha was dying of cholera.
Upon hearing this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately ran to where Amogha was lying upon the ground. After placing His hand upon Amogha’s chest, the Lord said, “The heart of a brahmana is by nature very clean, and thus it is a proper place for Lord Krishna to sit. Why have you allowed jealousy to sit there, for by doing so you have contaminated a most purified place, and become like a chandala, the lowest of men?”
“Fortunately, due to your relationship with Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, your contamination has now been vanquished. When a person’s heart is cleansed of all contamination, he is able to chant the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Therefore, Amogha, get up and chant Hare Krishna, for if you do so, Krishna will become merciful to you without a doubt.”
After being touched by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and hearing His words, Amogha immediately rose up from his deathbed and began chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna. Indeed, Amogha became mad with ecstatic love, and so began dancing very emotionally while exhibiting the transcendental symptoms of trembling, tears, trance, jubilation, perspiration, and faltering of the voice. Seeing these ecstatic waves of emotion, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to laugh. Thereafter, Amogha fell down at His lotus feet and very submissively said, “O merciful Lord, please excuse my offense.”
Not only did Amogha beg for forgiveness, he began to slap his cheeks while saying, “By this mouth I have blasphemed You.” Indeed, Amogha continued slapping his cheeks until they became swollen, Finally, Gopinatha Acharya stopped him by catching hold of his hands.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then pacified Amogha by touching his body and saying, “You are the object of My affection because you are the son-in-law of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Everyone in Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house is very dear to Me, including his servants, maidservants and even his dog, and so what to speak of his relatives. Amogha, always chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and do not commit any further offenses.”
After instructing Amogha in this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house. Upon seeing the Lord, the Bhattacharya caught hold of His lotus feet, and in turn, the Lord embraced him. After being seated, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to pacify Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya by saying, “After all, Amogha is merely a child and so what is his fault? Why are you so angry and why are you fasting? Get up, and after bathing, go to see the face of Lord Jagannatha. Then, return here and eat your lunch, for in this way I will be satisfied. In fact, I will stay here until you return and eat some Jagannatha-prasada.”
Catching hold of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, the Bhattacharya said, “Why did You bring Amogha back to life? It would have been better for him to have died.”
The Lord replied, “Amogha is a mere child and your son-in-law. The father does not take the faults of his son very seriously, especially when he is maintaining him. Now that Amogha has become a Vaishnava, he is offenseless, and thus you can bestow your mercy upon him without hesitation.”
Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “My Lord, please go to see Lord Jagannatha. After taking my bath I shall also go to the temple and then return here.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then told Gopinatha Acharya, “Stay here and inform Me when Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya has actually eaten.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to see Lord Jagannatha, and meanwhile, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya took his bath, went to the temple, and then returned home to eat lunch.
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu decided to go to Vrindavana, and upon hearing this news, King Prataparudra became very morose. Calling for Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Ramananda Raya, the King very submissively addressed them as follows: “Please devise some plan to keep Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri, for without Him, my kingdom does not give me any pleasure.”
After this, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu informed Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Ramananda Raya, “I shall go to Vrindavana”, they requested Him to first of all observe the Ratha-yatra festival and then depart at the beginning of Karttika. The Lord agreed, but then, when the month of Karttika arrived, Sarvabhauma and Ramananda told Him, “Now it is very cold, and so You had better first see the Dola-yatra and then start for Vrindavana. That would be very nice.”
In this way, the two indirectly denied the Lord permission to go to Vrindavana by presenting many impediments, for they were afraid of living in separation from Him. Although the Lord is completely independent and incapable of being checked by anyone, He did not depart without His devotees’ permission.
Then, for the third year, all the devotees of Bengal prepared to go to Jagannatha Puri, and so they gathered at Advaita Acharya’s house. Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had ordered Nityananda Prabhu to remain in Bengal and preach, He also accompanied the devotees. Who can understand the nature of Lord Nityananda’s ecstatic love?
Raghava Pandita brought his bags of assorted food, the inhabitants of Kulina-grama carried the silk ropes that they had made, and Shivananda Sena, who was in charge of the party, took care of all the devotees and paid the toll collectors along the way. Since Shivananda Sena knew all the roads in Orissa, he provided for the devotees’ necessities and arranged for their residential quarters.
This year, the devotees’ wives accompanied them, including Sitadevi, the wife of Advaita Acharya, Malini, the wife of Shrivasa Pandita, and the wife of Shivananda Sena. All of them brought food offerings for the pleasure of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
At Remuna, the devotees went to see Kheera-chora Gopinatha, and Advaita Acharya danced and chanted in the temple. All the Deity’s servants knew Nityananda Prabhu, because of His previous visit, and so they came and offered Him great respect. That night, the devotees remained in the temple, and the pujaris brought all twelve pots of kheera and placed them before Nityananda Prabhu. Lord Nityananda distributed the prasada to everyone, and He narrated to the devotees the story of Madhavendra Puri’s installation of the Gopala Deity, and how Gopinatha had stolen kheera on his behalf.
When the party arrived at Kataka, they spent the day at the Sakshi-gopala temple, and Nityananda Prabhu once again narrated the story of how the Deity had long ago acted as a witness for two brahmanas. Because everyone was very anxious to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they hastily continued their journey to Nilachala the next morning.
When the party came to the bridge at Atharanala, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard of their arrival and so He sent two garlands with Govinda. When Govinda offered the garlands to Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu, They were so happy to receive them that They began ecstatically chanting and dancing as They continued along the road.
Again, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent garlands with Svarupa Damodara and some of His other associates, and they met the devotees at Lake Narendra. Finally, when the devotees reached the simha-dvara, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally went to meet them, and all together they visited the temple of Lord Jagannatha. Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took the devotees to His residence, and when Kashi Mishra and Vaninatha Raya brought a large quantity of prasada, the Lord distributed it to the devotees with His own hands.
The devotees were given the same residences in which they had stayed the previous year, and for four months they remained at Jagannatha Puri and enjoyed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s association. One day, Advaita Acharya extended an invitation to the Lord and thought as follows: “If Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu were to come alone, only then could I feed Him to my full satisfaction.”
It so happened that as the other sannyasis were going to Advaita Acharya’s house, a great thunderstorm suddenly came up, forcing them to turn back. Thus it came to pass that Advaita Acharya’s desire that the Lord would come alone was fulfilled.
At the end of chaturmasya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once again consulted with Nityananda Prabhu, and no one else could understand what They talked about. Advaita Acharya then communicated something to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by use of gestures, and read some poetic passages that no one could understand. While looking at Advaita Acharya’s face, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smiled. When Advaita Acharya thus understood that the Lord had accepted His proposal, He began to dance. However, no one knew what it was that Advaita Acharya had requested, nor what the Lord had ordered.
After embracing Advaita Acharya and bidding Him farewell, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Nityananda Prabhu, “Please hear Me, holy man. Kindly grant My request. Do not come to Jagannatha Puri every year, but stay in Bengal, so that You can fulfill My desire. You can perform a task that even I cannot do. Indeed, except for Yourself, I cannot see anyone in Bengal who can fulfill My mission there.”
Nityananda Prabhu replied, “O My Lord, You are the life, and I am the body. Although there is no difference between the two, still, the life is more important than the body. By Your inconceivable energy, You can do whatever You like, and whatever You make Me do, I do without restriction.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Nityananda Prabhu, bidding Him farewell, and then He embraced all the other devotees, one after another. As previously, a resident of Kulina-grama submitted the following question to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: “My dear Lord, kindly tell me- what is my duty and how should I execute it?”
The Lord replied, “You should engage yourself in the service of the servants of Krishna, and always chant the holy name of Krishna. If you do these two things, you will very soon attain shelter at Lord Krishna’s lotus feet.”
The inhabitants of Kulina-grama then requested, “Please tell us who is actually a Vaishnava and what his symptoms are.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “A person who is always chanting the holy name of the Lord is to be considered a first-class Vaishnava, and your duty is to serve his lotus feet.”
The next year, when the inhabitants of Kulina-grama asked the very same question, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu further instructed them as follows, about the three types of Vaishnavas: “The foremost of all devotees is he whose very presence makes others chant the holy name of Krishna.”
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu described the Vaishnava, Vaishnavatara, and Vaishnavatama.
When the devotees returned to Bengal that year, Pundarika Vidyanidhi remained at Jagannatha Puri. He and Svarupa Damodara were very intimate friends, and as far as discussing Krishna-katha was concerned, they were on the same platform. Pundarika Vidyanidhi initiated Gadadhara Pandita for the second time, and at the beginning of winter, he observed the Odana-shasthi festival, when Lord Jagannatha is offered heavier clothing for the first time.
Since Pundarika Vidyanidhi wanted to find some fault with the devotees, when he saw the pujari give Lord Jagannatha an unwashed garment, in which the starch had not been removed, he became a little hateful and thus his mind was polluted. That night, Lord Jagannatha and Balarama appeared in Pundarika Vidyanidhi’s dream, and while smiling, They began slapping him. Even though his cheeks became swollen from the repeated blows, Pundarika Vidyanidhi felt great happiness within.
For two years, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu desired to go to Vrindavana, but He could not leave Jagannatha Puri because of Ramananda Raya’s tricks. The next year, all of the devotees came from Bengal to see Ratha-yatra, but after doing so, they returned home instead of remaining for the entire four months of the rainy season.
One day thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Ramananda Raya, and then sweetly addressed them as follows: “My desire to go to Vrindavana has increased very much. Because of your tricks, I have not been able to depart for the last two years, but now I must go and so please give Me your permission. Here at Nilachala, you two are My only resort, and in Bengal I also have two shelters, My mother and the River Ganga. I will go to Vrindavana through Bengal, and thus visit My mother and bathe in the Ganga. Therefore, please give me your permission without further delay.”
When they heard these words, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and Ramananda Raya began to consider that it was not very good for them to have played so many tricks on the Lord. Thus, they replied, “Now that the rainy season is here, it would be very difficult for You to travel. Therefore, please wait for Vijaya-dasami and then depart for Vrindavana.”
The Lord was pleased to receive their permission, and thereafter, He waited for the rainy season to pass. Before departing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu collected some maha-prasada of Lord Jagannatha, as well as some kadara ointment, sandalwood, and rope remnants left by the Deity. Then, early in the morning of the Vijaya-dasami day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took permission from Lord Jagannatha and departed.
At first, all of the Orissan devotees followed the Lord, but with great care He bid them farewell and made them return home. Thereafter, along with His personal associates, the Lord arrived at Bhavanipura, and at that time, Ramananda Raya arrived on a palanquin, as did a large quantity of prasada that had been sent by Vaninatha.
After taking His meal, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remained at Bhavanipura for the night, and then early the next morning He departed for Bhuvaneshvara. From there, the Lord went to Kataka, where He saw the temple of Sakshi-gopala, and a brahmana named Svapneshvara invited Him for lunch. Ramananda Raya provided prasada for all the other devotees, and then at night, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu rested outside the temple beneath a bakula tree.
That evening, Ramananda Raya went to see Maharaja Prataparudra, and upon hearing the news of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival at his capital, the King hastily went in great eagerness to where the Lord was staying. As soon as King Prataprarudra saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he became so overwhelmed by ecstatic love that he repeatedly fell down to the ground to offer his obeisances. As the King recited various prayers to the Lord, his entire body trembled and tears fell from his eyes. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to see Maharaja Prataparudra’s devotion, and when the Lord stood up and embraced him, His entire body became washed by the King’s tears.
Finally, Ramananda Raya pacified King Prataparudra and made him sit down, and the Lord also bestowed great mercy upon him by means of His body, mind and words. Indeed, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showed so much mercy to the King, that from that day on, He became known as Prataparudra-santrata, the deliverer of Maharaja Prataparudra.
All the government officers also paid their respects to the Lord, and thereafter, they took their leave and departed. King Prataparudra had orders written down and sent to all of the government officers within his kingdom. The proclamation read as follows: “In every village you should construct new residences, and in five or seven new buildings store all kinds of food. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrives, you should personally escort Him to these newly-constructed residences and engage in His service, day and night, with a stick in your hands.”
The King then ordered two of his most trusted officers, Harichandana and Mardaraja, to do whatever was needed to carry out this order. He also instructed them to maintain a new boat on the banks of the river, and in addition, to construct memorial columns wherever the Lord would take His bath or cross the river. “Indeed,” the King said, “I shall take my bath at all these places of pilgrimage, and I hope that I will die there as well.”
When the King heard that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would be departing that very evening, he ordered new residences to be constructed at Chaturdvara, and then made arrangements for some elephants to be brought, with small tents on their backs. The palace ladies were then placed upon the backs of these elephants and they went to a place where the Lord would pass along the road, and waited there in a line.
That evening, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went with His associates to the banks of the River Chitrotpala to bathe, the palace ladies offered their obeisances to Him from a distance. Indeed, immediately upon seeing the Lord, they became overwhelmed by love of Godhead, and as tears poured from their eyes, they chanted “Krishna, Krishna”. Who else within the three worlds is as merciful as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Simply by seeing Him from a distance, one becomes overwhelmed by love of Godhead.
After bathing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu got into the new boat that was waiting for Him, and crossed the river. From there, the Lord walked in the full moonlight, until He reached the town of Chaturdvara, where He spent the night. After the Lord had bathed the next morning, a large quantity of Jagannatha-maha-prasada arrived, which had been sent by the temple superintendent, under the King’s direction. Indeed, Maharaja Prataparudra had ordered prasada to be sent daily, and there was such a great quantity that many men were required to carry it.
After accepting prasada along with His associates, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stood up and resumed His journey, chanting “Hari! Hari!” Ramananda Raya, Harichandana, and Mardaraja continually stayed with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, to render various services. In addition, Paramananda Puri, Svarupa Damodara, Jagadananda, Mukunda, Govinda, Kashishvara, Haridasa Thakura, Vakreshvara Pandita, Gopinatha Acharya, Damodara Pandita, Ramai and Nandai, as well as innumerable other devotees, accompanied the Lord.
When Gadadhara Pandita had started to go with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord forbade him, so that his vow of kshetra-sannyasa would not be broken. However, when the Lord thus requested him to remain at Jagannatha Puri, Gadadhara Pandita replied, “Wherever You are staying, that place is Jagannatha Puri. Therefore, let my so-called kshetra-sannyasa go to hell.”
When the Lord once again requested him to stay at Jagannatha Puri and engage in the service of the Gopinatha Deity, Gadadhara Pandita replied, “One renders service to Gopinatha a million times simply by seeing Your lotus feet.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “If you abandon the service of Gopinatha, to accompany Me, it will be My fault. Therefore, please remain here at Jagannatha Puri, and engage in the service of Gopinatha, for by doing so, I shall be very pleased.”
Gadadhara Pandita replied, “You need not worry, for all of the fault will be on my head. I will not even accompany You, but shall go alone to see Sachimata. In this way, I will be solely responsible for breaking my vow of kshetra-sannyasa and abandoning the service of the Gopinatha Deity.”
Gadadhara Pandita had thus traveled alone, but upon arriving at Kataka, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called for him. Actually, no one can understand the loving ecstasy between Gadadhara Pandita and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Gadadhara Pandita gave up his vow and service to Gopinatha, just as one throws away a piece of straw.
This behavior actually pleased Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Still, the Lord took hold of his hand and addressed him as follows, while displaying the anger of love: “By coming this far, you have successfully abandoned Gopinatha’s service and your vow to live in Jagannatha Puri. However, your desire to accompany Me is simply a manifestation of sense gratification, and because you are breaking two religious principles, I have become very unhappy. If you at all desire My happiness, then please return to Jagannatha Puri. Do not try to argue any further, for this will simply bring condemnation down upon My head.”
After saying this, the Lord got onto a boat, and Gadadhara Pandita immediately fell to the ground, unconscious. Before departing, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya to take Gadadhara Pandita back with him to Jagannatha Puri.
After the Lord’s departure, Bhattacharya told Gadadhara Pandita, “Get up, for such are the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Just remember how Lord Krishna Himself had violated His promise just to keep intact the vow of Grandfather Bhisma. Bhisma had promised to either kill the Pandavas or make Krishna break His vow not to take up weapons during the battle at Kurukshetra. Similarly, while tolerating the pangs of separation, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has protected your vow with great endeavor.”
In this way, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya revived Gadadhara Pandita, and thereafter, both of them, very much grief-stricken, returned to Jagannatha Puri. Although the devotees would abandon all kinds of duties for His sake, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not like them to do so. This is one of the misgivings of loving affairs.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates reached Yajapura, the Lord asked the government officers, who had been accompanying Him, to return home. Ramananda Raya stayed on, however, and day and night the Lord talked with him about topics concerning Lord Krishna.
All along the way, in each and every village, new houses had been constructed and filled with grains, according to the King’s order. When the party reached Remuna, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at last bid farewell to Ramananda Raya. When Ramananda fell to the ground unconscious, the Lord placed him on His lap and began to cry. Indeed, the feelings of separation felt by Ramananda Raya and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu were intolerable, and thus to describe them any further would be impossible.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reached the border of Orissa, a government officer, the maha-patra, came there and served Him for one or two days. The maha-patra informed the Lord that the territory ahead was ruled by a Mohammedan governor who was a drunkard, and out of fear of him, no one could travel along the road, or cross the river freely. Therefore, the maha-patra advised the Lord to remain at the border for a few days until he could arrange a peaceful agreement with the Mohammedan governor.
At that time, a spy came there in disguise, and after seeing the wonderful characteristics of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he returned to the Mohammedan governor and informed him, “A sannyasi has come from Jagannatha Puri, along with many liberated persons. All of them chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra incessantly, and while doing so they sometimes laugh, cry, and dance. Millions of people are coming to see this sannyasi, and after doing so, they cannot return home. Indeed, all of these people become just like madmen, and while chanting and dancing, they sometimes cry and roll on the ground. Actually, their behavior cannot be described- it has to be seen, to be understood. After seeing the influence of this sannyasi, I can only conclude that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
After saying this, the spy began chanting the holy names, “Hari”, and “Krishna”, and as he did so, he began to laugh, cry and dance exactly like a madman. After hearing and seeing all this, the Mohammedan governor’s mind became greatly influenced, and he next sent his personal secretary to meet the Orissan maha-patra.
When this Mohammedan secretary came and offered respects at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he also became overwhelmed with ecstatic love and began chanting, “Krishna, Krishna”. After calming himself, the Mohammedan secretary informed the Orissan maha-patra, “The Mohammedan governor has sent me, and if you agree, he also wants to come and meet Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Indeed, he is very eager to do so, and has submitted this petition with great respect. Please do not fear that he intends to fight, for this is a peaceful proposal.”
Upon hearing this, the maha-patra was astonished and thought, “The Mohammedan governor is a drunkard. Who has softened his mind like this? It must all be due to the influence of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, for just by His remembrance, the whole world can become liberated.”
The maha-patra then replied to the Mohammedan secretary, “This is a great fortune for your governor, and so let him come and visit Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. However, it should be clearly understood that he must come without any weapons and in the company of only five or seven servants.”
After the secretary returned and informed him of the news, the Mohammedan governor dressed like a Hindu and came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As soon as he saw the Lord, the Mohammedan governor offered obeisances from a distant place by falling flat onto the ground. As tears filled his eyes, and jubilation overwhelmed his heart, the Mohammedan governor was very respectfully brought before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by the maha-patra.
After chanting the holy name of Krishna, the governor submissively spoke as follows, while standing before the Lord with folded hands, “Why was I born in a Mohammedan family? This is certainly a very low birth. Why didn’t Providence grant me birth in a Hindu family, for then it would have been easy for me to remain near Your lotus feet. Since I can now understand that my body is useless, let me die immediately.”
Upon hearing this statement, the maha-patra became overjoyed. After clasping the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he spoke as follows: “Simply by hearing Your holy name, even a chandala, the lowest of men, can be purified. Therefore, it is no wonder that this Mohammedan governor has attained such results, for he has received Your personal interview.”
Then, while glancing mercifully at the Mohammedan governor, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave him assurance, and requested him to chant the holy names, “Hari” and “Krishna”. The governor said, “Since You have so kindly accepted me, now please give me some order so that I may be of service to You. In addition, I beg you to grant me liberation from the unlimited sinful activities that I had previously performed due to being envious of the cows, brahmanas, and Vaishnavas.”
Mukunda Datta then told the governor, “My dear sir, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wishes to travel to the Ganga, and so please give Him all assistance. If you do this, it will be considered a great service.”
Thereafter, the maha-patra embraced the Mohammedan governor and established a friendship, while giving him many gifts. After offering prayers at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as well as to the devotees, the Mohammedan governor departed.
The next morning, the governor sent his secretary with many nicely decorated boats, to transport the Lord and His associates across the river. The maha-patra accompanied Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and when they reached the other shore, the Mohammedan governor personally received the Lord and worshiped His lotus feet. Finally, the Lord bade farewell to the maha-patra and boarded, along with His associates, a newly constructed boat having a room in the middle.
While standing on the banks of the river and gazing at the boat, the maha-patra began to cry. Because of the pirates that infested the area around Mantreshvara (present-day Diamond Harbor), the Mohammedan governor took ten boatloads of soldiers and personally escorted Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Finally, after arriving at Pichalda, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bade the governor farewell, and the intense ecstatic love which the Mohammedan ruler exhibited, due to impending separation from the Lord, was beyond description.
When the Lord reached Panihati, which is located on the banks of the Ganga, He gave the captain of the boat one of His personal garments and bade him farewell.
Upon hearing of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival, all kinds of people assembled, both on the land and in the river. Soon after, Raghava Pandita came there, and as he escorted the Lord to his house, so many people crowded the road that it became very difficult to proceed.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed at Raghava Pandita’s house for one day, and the next morning He went to Kumarahatta, where Shrivasa Thakura lived. Due to feelings of separation, Shrivasa Thakura moved there from Navadvipa after Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had taken sannyasa. From there, the Lord went to Shivananda Sena’s house at Kanchanapalli, and He remained there for two days. From Shivananda Sena’s house, the Lord went to the residence of Vasudeva Datta, which was located nearby. The Lord then crossed the Ganga and arrived at Vidyanagara, where He resided at the house of Vidya-vachaspati, the brother of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya.
Great crowds of people gathered at Vidya-vachaspati’s house, to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and chant the holy name of the Lord. Indeed, it became so congested that there was hardly any room to walk. The surrounding forest was cleared of trees, to provide more room, and automatically new roads came into being. So many people wanted to cross the river that it was extremely difficult for the boatmen to handle the traffic. Vidya-vachaspati personally went to arrange for more boats, but the people were so anxious to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that without even waiting, they somehow or other managed to cross the river on their own.
For five days, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remained at Vidya-vachaspati’s house. Then, because He could not get any rest, due to the great crowds, the Lord left Vidyanagara at night and went to the town of Kuliya (present-day Navadvipa), where He stayed at Madhava dasa’s house for seven days.
News of the Lord’s arrival was immediately broadcast, and so many thousands of people came to greet Him in great jubilation. At this time, many persons who had formerly blasphemed and offended Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, such as Devananda Pandita, came there. After surrendering unto the Lord, they were all excused, and it was at this time that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu delivered the offender, Gopala Chapala.
When Nrisimhananda Brahmachari heard that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was travelling to Vrindavana, he became very pleased and began contemplating a broad highway that started from the town of Kuliya. Nrisimhananda Brahmachari decorated this road with jewels and then covered the entire surface with a layer of stemless flowers. On both sides of the road, he mentally placed bakula trees, and at intervals there were lakes of a transcendental nature, whose water tasted just like nectar, and which were filled with lotus flowers. Leading down to these lakes were stairways made from jewels, and the sounds of chirping birds filled the air. Cool breezes, carrying the fragrance of various flowers, surcharged the whole atmosphere. In this way, Nrisimhananda Brahmachari mentally constructed a path for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
However, after reaching Kanai Natashala, he could not continue the construction of the road within his mind, and thus Nrisimhananda became astonished, and his meditation broke. Then, with great assurance, he told the devotees, “Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will not go to Vrindavana at this time. He will go as far as Kanai Natashala and then return. You will all come to know of this later on, but for now, I say this with great confidence.”
From Kuliya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Advaita Acharya’s house at Shantipura. There, Sachimata met the Lord and became relieved of her great unhappiness. Then, as the Lord proceeded, thousands of devotees accompanied Him, and wherever He visited, huge crowds of people gathered to see Him. Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, everyone’s unhappiness and lamentation disappeared, and wherever the Lord touched the ground with His lotus feet, people immediately came and gathered the dirt so that innumerable holes were created in the road. Eventually, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at an exquisite village named Ramakeli, which was situated on the border of Bengal.
As He performed sankirtana at Ramakeli, the Lord sometimes lost consciousness while absorbed in the ecstasy of love of Godhead, and an unlimited number of people came to see His lotus feet. When the Mohammedan king of Bengal, Nawab Husen Shaha, heard about the influence of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in attracting crowds of people, he was very astonished and thought as follows: “Such a person, who is followed by so many people without giving them anything in charity, must be a prophet. This much I can understand.”
Coming to this conclusion, the Mohammedan King ordered his magistrate, “Do not disturb this Hindu prophet out of jealousy. Let Him do whatever He likes.”
The King then asked his assistant, Keshava Chatri, for more information about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Actually, Keshava Chatri knew everything about the Lord. However, due to fear that the King might become Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s enemy, he replied in such a way as to minimize the Lord’s importance, so that the Mohammedan ruler would not give the matter further consideration.
Keshava Chatri said, “Out of enviousness, your Mohammedan magistrate plots against this person, but actually, He is just a mendicant touring the holy places. As such, only a few people are coming to see Him, and so there is no need to show any more interest in the matter.”
After speaking with the King, Keshava Chatri sent a brahmana messenger to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, advising Him to leave the area immediately.
Meanwhile, the King privately consulted Dabira Khasa (who later on became Rupa Gosvami), who then replied as follows: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has given you this kingdom, and whom you accept as a prophet, has taken birth in your country due to your good fortune. Because He desires your welfare, all of your business is successful, and by His grace, you can attain victory everywhere.”
“But, why are you questioning me? It would be better for you to inquire from your own mind. Since you are the King, you represent the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus you can understand the matter better than I. Rest assured that whatever your mind concludes, regarding Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, can be accepted as conclusive evidence.”
The King replied, “I consider Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no doubt about it.”
After saying this, the King retired to his private rooms and Dabira Khasa returned home. Then, after much consideration, Dabira Khasa and his brother, Shakara Mallika, disguised themselves and went to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the dead of night. First of all, the two brothers met Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura, who then went and informed the Lord of their arrival.
Thereafter, in great humility, the two brothers placed bunches of straw between their teeth, bound cloth around their necks, and then came before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Being overwhelmed with joy upon seeing the Lord, and shedding tears out of great humility, they fell onto the ground like sticks, to surrender at His lotus feet. The Lord then urged the two brothers to stand up and assured them of all good fortune.
After getting up, Dabira Khasa and Shakara Mallika once again placed the bunches of straw in their mouths and humbly offered their prayers as follows: “All glories to Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the most merciful savior of the fallen souls. My Lord, we belong to the lowest class of men, and our associates and work are also of the lowest grade. Because of this, we feel very ashamed to stand here before You, and cannot even introduce ourselves to You. However, we may inform You that there are no more sinful or offensive persons than us, and even if we wanted to mention our abominable activities, we would become too ashamed to do so.”
“Dear Lord, You have incarnated just to deliver the fallen souls, and so You should consider that in this world there is no one more fallen than ourselves. You delivered Jagai and Madhai, but that did not require much effort on Your part, for they were brahmanas by birth and lived in the holy place of Navadvipa. They never served low-class persons, thus becoming instrumental in the execution of their abominable activities. They only had one fault- they were addicted to sinful habits. However, volumes of sinful reactions can be burned to ashes simply by a dim reflection of the chanting of Your holy name. Jagai and Madhai uttered Your holy name while blaspheming You, and so, fortunately, that holy name became the cause of their deliverance.”
“We two are millions of times inferior to Jagai and Madhai, and are more degraded, fallen, and sinful. Because we have become the servants of meat-eaters, and have adopted their customs, we have become just like them, and are always inimical toward the cows and brahmanas. As a result of our abominable activities, we have become bound by the neck and hands, and thrown into a ditch filled with the obnoxious, stool-like objects of sense enjoyment.”
“O Lord, except for You, there is no one within the three worlds who is powerful enough to save us. If You deliver us, by dint of Your transcendental strength, then certainly Your reputation as the savior of the fallen souls will become enhanced. Factually, we are the most fallen, and thus we are the worthiest objects of Your mercy. Indeed, by showing us Your mercy, its power will be demonstrated and Your mission will become successful.”
“My dear Lord, please hear our submission. If You do not agree to be merciful upon us, then it will be very, very difficult for You to find more suitable candidates for Your mercy. Actually, we are very depressed because of being unfit candidates for Your mercy, and yet, after having heard of Your unparalleled, transcendental qualities, we have become attracted to You. We have become like dwarves who desire to catch the moon, for although we are unfit, the desire to receive Your mercy is awakening within our minds. When shall we engage as Your eternal servants, and thus always feel joyful to have such a fitting master?”
After hearing the prayers of the two brothers, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Dabira Khasa and Shakara Mallika, you are both My old servants. From this day onward, your names shall be changed to Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana. Now, please abandon your humility, for My heart breaks just to see you like this.”
“You have already written several letters that display your humility, and from them I could understand your hearts. Therefore, in order to teach you, I had sent you this verse: ‘If a woman is attached to a man other than her husband, she will externally appear to very carefully carry out her household duties, whereas within her heart she will continually relish feelings of association with her paramour.’ ”
“I really had no business in Bengal, but have come here just to see you two brothers. Everyone is inquiring about why I have come to this village, Ramakeli. It is very good that you two have come to see Me, and now you can return home without fear. Birth after birth you have been My eternal servants, and so I am sure that Lord Krishna will deliver you very soon.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then placed His hands upon the heads of Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana, and they, in turn, placed His lotus feet upon their heads. Thereafter, the Lord embraced the two brothers, and requested all the devotees present to deliver them by their grace.
The devotees became very happy to see the extraordinary mercy bestowed by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu upon Rupa and Sanatana, and thus they began to chant, “Hari! Hari!” Then, in accordance with the Lord’s instructions, Rupa and Sanatana touched the lotus feet of all His associates, and in turn, these devotees congratulated them for having received the mercy of the Lord.
Finally, at the time of their departure, Rupa and Sanatana submitted the following suggestion at the lotus feet of the Lord, after taking permission from all the Vaishnavas. “Dear Lord, although the King of Bengal, Nawab Husen Shaha, is very respectful toward You, he is, after all, a Mohammedan, and so should not be trusted. Since You have no other business here, You should depart without delay.”
“My dear Lord, You are going to Vrindavana with hundreds of thousands of people following You. However, this is not a very proper way to go on pilgrimage. We think that there is no need for such a great crowd to accompany You to Vrindavana.”
After saying this, Rupa and Sanatana offered prayers at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and then returned home. The next morning, the Lord went to a place known as Kanai Natashala, where a display of pictures was kept depicting the pastimes of Lord Krishna. That night, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to consider Rupa and Sanatana’s advice as follows: “If I go to Mathura with such crowds of people following Me, the whole atmosphere will be disturbed, and thus it will not be a very happy situation. Therefore, let Me go alone to Vrindavana, or at least, with just one companion, for in that way the visit will be very pleasant.”
While thinking in this way, the Lord took His bath in the Ganga and then departed for Nilachala. At Shantipura, the Lord remained at Advaita Acharya’s house for ten days. Taking advantage of the situation, Advaita Acharya called for Mother Sachi, and so she came there, and while staying at His house, she prepared all the Lord’s meals.
At this time, Raghunatha Dasa, the son of Govardhana Majumadara, also came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Govardhana and his elder brother, Hiranya, were residents of Krishnapura, near Shantipura, and had an income of twelve lakhs coins. They were from a very aristocratic family and were well behaved, devoted to brahminical culture, and famous as highly religious persons. Indeed, almost all the brahmanas of Nadia depended upon the charity of Hiranya and Govardhana, for they gave them money and land.
Nilambara Chakravarti, the grandfather of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was worshiped by Hiranya and Govardhana, and yet the brahmana used to treat them as his own brothers. Hiranya and Govardhana also rendered much service to Mishra Purandara, the father of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus the Lord knew them very well.
From childhood, Raghunatha dasa was uninterested in material enjoyment. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed at Advaita Acharya’s house, after having accepted the renounced order of life, Raghunatha dasa had gone to see Him. When Raghunatha dasa fell flat before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, to offer obeisances, the Lord had showed him special mercy by touching him with His lotus feet. Govardhana Majumadara had always rendered much service to Advaita Acharya. Thus, being pleased with his family, Advaita Acharya favored Raghunatha dasa by engaging him in the Lord’s service and providing him with His food remnants for the five or seven days that he remained there.
Thereafter, when Raghunatha dasa returned home, he became practically mad with ecstatic love. Again and again he used to run away from home, in the hopes of going to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri, but each time his father bound him up and brought him back.
Indeed, Raghunatha dasa’s father engaged five or seven watchmen to guard him day and night, as well as four personal servants who looked after his comforts and two brahmana cooks. Thus, eleven people incessantly kept Raghunatha dasa under control, and because he was not allowed to go to Jagannatha Puri, he became very unhappy. Then, when he learned that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had once again come to Shantipura, Raghunatha dasa told his father, “Please give me permission to go and see the lotus feet of the Lord, for if you do not do so, my life will not remain within my body.”
Upon hearing this, Raghunatha dasa’s father agreed, and after giving him many servants and supplies, he sent him off to Shantipura, requesting him to return soon. For seven days, Raghunatha dasa remained with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and all the while he thought as follows: “How shall I be able to get free from the clutches of the watchmen, so that I can accompany the Lord to Jagannatha Puri?”
Being omniscient, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could understand Raghunatha dasa’s mind, and so He instructed him as follows, with reassuring words: “My dear boy, please be patient and return home. Don’t act like a crazy fellow. In due course of time you will be able to cross over the ocean of material existence. Don’t try to become a show-bottle devotee by acting falsely renounced. For the time being, enjoy the material world in a befitting way, without becoming attached to it. Within your heart, keep great faith in Krishna, but externally you can behave like an ordinary man. In this way, Krishna will soon become very pleased with you, and deliver you from the clutches of maya.”
“When I return to Nilachala, after visiting Vrindavana, you may come to see Me. By that time, you will think of some trick whereby you can escape. The means will be revealed by Krishna, at the proper time. After all, if one has received the mercy of Lord Krishna, no one can check him.”
In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bade farewell to Raghunatha dasa, who then returned home and acted exactly according to the Lord’s instructions. Giving up all craziness and external pseudo-renunciation, he engaged in household activities without attachment, and when his parents saw this, they became very satisfied and slackened their guard.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then assembled all of the devotees, headed by Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu, and while embracing them, He begged for their permission to return to Jagannatha Puri. Because He had met the devotees at Shantipura, the Lord instructed them not to come to see the Ratha-yatra that year. Finally, the Lord requested, “I shall again set out for Vrindavana after returning to Jagannatha Puri, and so if all of you give Me your permission, I will be able to return here without difficulty.”
Then, while clasping the lotus feet of His mother, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very humbly requested her permission to go to Vrindavana, and she gave it. Thereafter, Shrimati Sachidevi was sent back to Navadvipa, and the Lord also departed for Jagannatha Puri. Although all the devotees began to follow Him, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made them turn back, except for two persons whom He took with Him- Balabhadra Bhattacharya and Damodara Pandita.
When He returned to Nilachala, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu first of all went to see Lord Jagannatha. News of His arrival quickly spread throughout the town. All the devotees jubilantly came to see Him, and the Lord embraced each and every one of them in great ecstatic love.
When Gadadhara Pandita came to see Him, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spoke as follows, in front of all the devotees: “I had decided to go to Vrindavana through Bengal, so that I could see My mother and bathe in the River Ganga. Thousands of devotees followed Me, and hundreds of thousands more came to see Me out of curiosity. Because of the large crowds, I could not travel freely along the road. Indeed, the throngs of people were so great that the boundary wall and the very house in which I was staying were practically destroyed.”
“Finally, with great difficulty, I arrived at Ramakeli, where I met two brothers named Rupa and Sanatana, who are great devotees and suitable recipients for Krishna’s mercy, although in ordinary dealings they are ministers of the King. Rupa and Sanatana are very experienced in terms of education, devotional service, intelligence and strength, and yet they think of themselves as being inferior to the straw in the street. Indeed, the humility of these two brothers could melt even stone. Being very pleased with their behavior, I assured them that Lord Krishna would soon deliver them.”
“Then, as I was departing, Sanatana told Me, ‘It is not appropriate for You to go to Vrindavana while being followed by thousands of people.’ At first, I did not pay much attention to these words, and the next morning, I went to Kanai Natashala.”
“That night, however, I began to consider as follows: ‘Sanatana has spoken well. When people see Me being followed by a large crowd, they will certainly rebuke Me by saying, “Here is another impostor”. After all, Vrindavana is a very solitary place and very difficult to attain. Madhavendra Puri went to Vrindavana alone and Krishna personally came to see him on the pretext of giving him milk. On the other hand, I am going to Vrindavana like some magician with his show, and so this is not very good. No one should go to Vrindavana with so many men, and thus I shall go there alone, or at most, with one other person. Condemnation upon Me! Instead of going to Vrindavana alone, I am being accompanied by an army and the beating of drums.’ ”
“While thinking in this way, I became very agitated, and so very quickly I returned here to Jagannatha Puri. Now, I wish that all of you may be pleased with Me, and tell Me how I shall be able to go to Vrindavana without impediment. I had left Gadadhara Pandita here and so he became very unhappy. It is for this reason that I could not go to Vrindavana.”
Enlivened by these words, Gadadhara Pandita became absorbed in ecstatic love. While clasping the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he replied as follows, with great humility: “Wherever You stay is Vrindavana, as well as the River Yamuna, the Ganga, and all other places of pilgrimage. Still, You go to Vrindavana just to instruct others. My dear Lord, You always do whatever You think proper, but please consider how the rainy season have begun. Therefore, You should stay here for chaturmasya and then do as You like.”
Upon hearing this, all of the devotees present confirmed that Gadadhara Pandita had correctly presented their desire. Thus, at the request of all the devotees, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu agreed to remain at Jagannatha Puri for four months, and when he heard this news, Maharaja Prataparudra became very happy.
That very day, Gadadhara Pandita invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch, and so the Lord ate at his house, along with the other devotees. The affectionate way in which Gadadhara Pandita offered food to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the manner in which the Lord accepted it, cannot possibly be described by any ordinary human being.
When autumn arrived, the Lord decided to go to Vrindavana, and so He first of all consulted with Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara in a solitary place. The Lord said, “I shall leave secretly early in the morning and take the path that goes through the forest. I will go alone, and so please stop anyone who wants to follow me. Just give Me your permission with great pleasure, and do not be unhappy, for if you are happy, then I shall also be happy on the way to Vrindavana.”
Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara replied, “Dear Lord, You are completely independent, and thus You will do whatever You desire. Still, You have said that You will derive happiness from our happiness, and so kindly hear our plea. If You accept just this one request, then we will be very happy. As You travel through the jungle there will be no brahmanas available from whom You can accept Your lunch. Therefore, please allow one pure brahmana to accompany You, so that he can collect alms and cook for You.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I will not take any of My personal associates with Me, for if I choose one, the rest will be unhappy. Bring a new man, and he must have a very peaceful mind. If there is such a person, I will agree to take him.”
Svarupa Damodara then said, “Here is Balabhadra Bhattacharya. He is very well behaved and learned, and he has great love for You. He accompanied You from Bengal, and now he desires to see the holy places of pilgrimage. In addition, please take one more person to act as your servant. He can carry Your cloth and water pot, and thus, with two persons accompanying You, there will be no difficulty or inconvenience while travelling through the jungle.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted this proposal. The evening before His departure, He went and took permission from Lord Jagannatha. At the end of the night, the Lord got up, and unseen by others, He departed for Vrindavana. The next morning, when the devotees were unable to find Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they began searching for Him in great anxiety. Svarupa Damodara then restrained them, and so the devotees pacified themselves and remained silent, knowing the Lord’s mind.
Abandoning the main road, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu traveled along a secondary path, and thus bypassed Kataka to the west and entered the forest. As the Lord passed through the jungle, chanting the holy name of the Lord, the tigers and elephants moved aside, to let Him pass. Sometimes, herds of tigers, elephants, rhinoceros and boars came upon the scene, and the Lord passed right through them. Balabhadra Bhattacharya was very afraid at such times, but by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s influence, all the animals stood to one side, to let Him pass.
One day, a tiger was lying on the path. As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed by in ecstasy, He touched it with His lotus feet, and ordered, “Chant the holy name of Krishna!” Immediately, the tiger jumped up, and while chanting “Krishna! Krishna!” it began to dance.
Another day, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was bathing in a river and chanting the Gayatri mantra, a herd of maddened elephants came there to drink water. As the elephants came before Him, the Lord splashed water on them and said, “Chant the holy name of Krishna!” The elephants that had been splashed by the Lord immediately began to chant “Krishna! Krishna!” and dance enthusiastically. Indeed, some of the elephants fell to the ground while others screamed in ecstasy, and upon seeing this, Balabhadra Bhattacharya became highly astonished.
Sometimes, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chanted very loudly while walking along the forest path, the does came nearby, being attracted by His sweet voice. As the does continued to follow Him, the Lord patted them, while reciting a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, spoken by the gopis. “Blessed are these foolish deer, for they have approached the son of Nanda Maharaja, who is gorgeously dressed, and is playing upon His flute. Both the bucks and the does are worshiping the Lord with looks of love and affection.”
Five or seven tigers then came and joined the deer in following Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing this, the Lord immediately remembered Vrindavana and recited the following verse: “In Vrindavana, the transcendental abode of the Lord, there is no hunger, thirst, or anger. Although naturally inimical, both human beings and fierce animals live together in transcendental friendship.”
Then, when the Lord said, “Chant Krishna! Krishna!” the tigers and deer began to chant and dance together, and upon seeing this, Balabhadra Bhattacharya was certainly amazed. Indeed, the tigers and deer embraced one another, and while touching mouths, they began to kiss. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw this fun, He smiled. Finally, He left the animals, to continue on His way.
Various species of birds, including peacocks, followed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and became maddened with ecstasy while chanting and dancing. When the Lord loudly chanted, “Hari bol!” even the trees and plants became jubilant. In this way, all of the moving and nonmoving living entities in the Jharikhanda forest became mad with ecstasy by hearing the holy name of the Lord vibrated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Whenever Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed through a village along the way, everyone who saw Him became purified and awakened to ecstatic love of God. When these purified persons continued chanting the holy name of the Lord, without offenses or material motives, those who heard them also became Vaishnavas in disciplic succession. In this way, everyone began chanting the holy name of the Lord, and while doing so, they danced, cried, and smiled.
Being afraid of a great crowd, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu generally kept His ecstasy concealed, but still, everyone became a pure devotee, simply by seeing and hearing Him. In the Jharikhanda forest, the Lord came across uncivilized tribes of Bheels, who were almost devoid of God-consciousness. Still, He gave them the opportunity of chanting the holy name of the Lord and coming to the platform of ecstatic love.
As the Lord passed through the forest, He took it for granted that it was Vrindavana. When He passed over hills, He accepted them as Govardhana Hill, and when He came to a river, He took it to be the Yamuna. Thus, while travelling through the Jharikhanda forest, the Lord was filled with great ecstatic love, so that sometimes He danced, and sometimes He fell down, crying.
Along the way, Balabhadra Bhattacharya collected various kinds of spinach, roots and fruit, wherever possible, and when the Lord came to a village, a few brahmanas usually extended an invitation for lunch. Other people would give grains, milk, dahi, ghee and sugar to Balabhadra Bhattacharya, and in those villages where there were no brahmanas, devotees who were born in non-brahmana families would invite Balabhadra Bhattacharya to cook for the Lord.
While traveling through the forest, Balabhadra Bhattacharya kept enough grains in stock to last for two or four days. Then, in places where there were no people, he would cook the grains, along with whatever else he could collect from the forest, and the Lord was very pleased to accept such preparations. Indeed, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preferred to stay in a secluded place, and all the while, Balabhadra Bhattacharya engaged himself just like a menial servant, while the assistant brahmana carried the Lord’s water pot and cloth.
Once, while traveling very happily in a secluded forest, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made the following statement: “My dear Bhattacharya, I have come a long way through this forest, and yet I have not experienced even the slightest difficulty. Krishna has been very merciful by bringing Me along this forest path, and while going, I have experienced much pleasure.”
“Previously, I had decided to go to Vrindavana and see My mother, the Ganga, and all of the devotees, along the way. Indeed, I wanted to take the devotees with Me, but as I started for Vrindavana, many thousands of people gathered, to accompany Me. Then, through the mouth of Sanatana, Lord Krishna taught Me a lesson, and by creating some impediment, He brought Me instead along this forest path.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Balabhadra Bhattacharya and said, “It is only by your kindness that I am now so happy.”
Balabhadra Bhattacharya replied, “My dear Lord, You are Krishna Himself, and thus it is You who are merciful. I am a fallen living entity, and yet You have bestowed a great favor upon me by bringing me with You, and accepting the food that I have prepared. You have made me Your carrier, Garuda, although I am no better than a condemned crow. Thus, You are certainly the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whose mercy even a dumb person can become an eloquent speaker, and a lame man can cross over mountains.”
In this way, Balabhadra Bhattacharya offered his prayers to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and by his loving service, he greatly satisfied the Lord’s mind. Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reached the holy place of Kashi, and He first of all went to bathe in the Ganga, at Manikarnika ghat. Tapana Mishra also happened to be bathing there. When he saw the Lord come, he became astonished and thought, “I heard that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has accepted the renounced order of life.”
Coming before the Lord, Tapana Mishra jubilantly clasped His lotus feet and began to cry. In turn, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu raised Tapana Mishra up and embraced him. Thereafter, Tapana Mishra took the Lord to see the Vishveshvara temple. Then, after showing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the Bindu Madhava temple, Tapana Mishra brought Him to his house with great pleasure.
Indeed, Tapana Mishra became so ecstatic at the thought of having the Lord in his home, that he began dancing in jubilation while waving his cloth. Tapana Mishra served Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in various ways, and after washing the Lord’s lotus feet, he drank the water, along with his entire family. Tapana Mishra also worshiped Balabhadra Bhattacharya, and very respectfully had him cook lunch for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
During His stay at Varanasi, the Lord resided at Tapana Mishra’s house. Nearby, there was a place called Panchanadi-ghata, and the Lord bathed there daily, and then went to the Bindu-Madhava temple. Near the temple was a large banyan tree. After having lunch, the Lord rested there, and Tapana Mishra’s son, Raghu, would come and massage His legs.
When news spread of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival at Benaras, a friend of Tapana Mishra’s named Chandrashekhara came and fell down at the lotus feet of the Lord and began to cry. Chandrashekhara was a physician by caste, and a clerk by profession, and he was long known to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as His servant.
After being raised up and embraced by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Chandrashekhara said, “My dear Lord, You have bestowed Your causeless mercy upon me because I am Your old servant. Indeed, You have come here just to give me Your audience.”
“Due to my past misdeeds, I am now residing at Varanasi, and thus I do not hear anything but the words “maya” and “Brahman”. There is no other talk in this town except discussion of the six philosophical treatises, but fortunately, Tapana Mishra has been kind to me by speaking Krishna-katha. My dear Lord, we two think of Your lotus feet incessantly. Therefore, please remain here for just a few days, in order to deliver us, for we are Your servants.”
Tapana Mishra then said, “My dear Lord, for as long as You remain at Varanasi, please do not accept any invitation other than mine.”
The Lord had not planned to do so, but due to being obliged by the requests of His two servants, He remained at Varanasi for ten days. When the brahmanas of Varanasi would invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch, He would refuse by saying, “I have already accepted someone else’s invitation”, for He feared having to associate with the Mayavadis.
The leader of the Mayavadi sannyasis was named Prakashananda Sarasvati, and he used to teach Vedanta philosophy to a great assembly of disciples. There was a Maharastriyan brahmana who daily came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and He was highly astonished to witness the Lord’s personal beauty and manifestations of ecstatic love for Krishna.
One day, the Maharastriyan brahmana came to see Prakashananda Sarasvati and began describing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as follows: “A sannyasi has come from Jagannatha Puri, and His wonderful attributes and influence are indescribable. Everything about Him is extraordinary. His body is perfectly built, His complexion is like purified gold, His arms extend to His knees, and His eyes are like the petals of a lotus flower. In His person are all the transcendental symptoms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, upon seeing this sannyasi, one takes Him to be Narayana Himself and begins chanting the holy name of the Lord.”
“All of the characteristics of the maha-bhagavata, which are mentioned in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, are manifest by this sannyasi. His tongue always chants the holy name, Krishna, and tears fall incessantly from His eyes like the water of the Ganga. Sometimes He dances, laughs, sings and cries, and sometimes He roars like a lion. Everything about this sannyasi, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is unparalleled, and simply by seeing Him, one understands that He is the Supreme Lord.”
Prakashananda Sarasvati laughed heartily upon hearing this description of the Lord. He replied to the Maharastriyan brahmana as follows: “Yes, I have heard that this sannyasi from Bengal, named Chaitanya, belongs to the Bharati-sampradaya, and is a disciple of Keshava Bharati. However, in reality, He is just a sentimental pretender. This Chaitanya is accompanied by many other sentimentalists and they go from country to country, town to town, chanting and dancing. Since He possesses some mystic power by which He hypnotizes people, whoever sees Him becomes illusioned into thinking that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
“Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was a very learned scholar, but I understand that he has also become a madman due to this Chaitanya’s association. You should know that this person is actually a first-class magician, and a sannyasi in name only. At least, here in Kashi, His sentimentalism cannot be very much in demand.”
“My dear brahmana, do not go to see this sannyasi, but instead just continue hearing Vedanta-sutra. If you associate with upstarts, then you will be vanquished both in this life and in the next.”
The Maharastriyan brahmana became very aggrieved upon hearing Prakashananda Sarasvati speak like this, and while chanting the holy name, “Krishna”, he immediately left that place. The brahmana’s mind had already become purified and enlightened by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s influence. In order to vent his grief, he went to see the Lord and described to Him all that had taken place.
When the Lord heard the words of Prakashananda Sarasvati, He mildly smiled. The Maharastriyan brahmana continued to speak as follows: “As soon as I mentioned Your holy name, Prakashananda Sarasvati acknowledged the fact that he knew of You. Then, while finding fault with You, he uttered Your name three times, saying, ‘Chaitanya, Chaitanya, Chaitanya’, although he did not utter the full name, ‘Krishna Chaitanya’. I became very aggrieved to hear him say Your name with contempt, but I also wondered why he could not say the names ‘Krishna’ and ‘Hari’. As far as I am concerned, I am moved to chant the holy names, ‘Krishna’ and ‘Hari’, simply by seeing You.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Mayavadi impersonalists are great offenders unto Lord Krishna. Although they utter the words ‘Brahman’, ‘atma’, and ‘Chaitanya’, the holy name of Krishna is not manifest in their mouths, because the name ‘Krishna’, and Krishna Himself are identical.”
“The holy name of Krishna and His pastimes cannot be understood by materially contaminated senses. They become manifest to those who have purified their senses by rendering devotional service to the Lord, beginning with the tongue. If an impersonalist gyani happens to come in contact with Krishna’s loving service, His relishable pastimes, and wonderful transcendental qualities, his mind becomes attracted from the pleasure of Brahman realization, and is thus conquered.”
“An example of this is found in the life of Sukadeva Gosvami. Apart from the pastimes of Lord Krishna, even the aroma of tulasi leaves that are offered at His lotus feet, attracts the minds of self-realized souls, such as the four Kumaras. However, because the Mayavadis are great offenders and atheists, even with such a good opportunity, the holy name of Krishna does not come from their mouths.”
“I came to this city of Kashi, to sell My emotional ecstatic sentiments, but I cannot find any customers. I have brought a heavy load here, and to take it back home would be a very difficult task. Therefore, if I can get but a fraction of the price, I shall sell the goods without hesitation.”
After saying this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the Maharastriyan brahmana as His personal associate. Then, after rising very early the next morning, the Lord started for Mathura. Although Tapana Mishra, Chandrashekhara and the Maharastriyan brahmana started to follow Him, the Lord forbade them to do so, and from a distance, He requested them to return home. In separation from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, these three devotees used to meet regularly, and by glorifying the Lord’s qualities, they kept themselves absorbed in transcendental ecstatic love.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at Prayaga, He bathed at Triveni, where the Ganga and Yamuna come together. Indeed, as soon as He saw the River Yamuna, the Lord threw Himself into the water, and so Balabhadra Bhattacharya hastily caught Him and lifted Him up. From there, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the temple of Veni Madhava, where He chanted and danced in ecstatic love.
The Lord remained at Prayaga for three days, delivering many people, and then once again departed for Mathura. Wherever the Lord visited along the way, He delivered the holy name of Krishna and ecstatic love for Krishna, and thus He made the people dance, just as He had done while touring South India.
Several times, while going to Mathura, the Lord came to the Yamuna, and immediately upon seeing the river, He jumped in and fell unconscious, due to the ecstasy of love for Krishna. As soon as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu caught sight of the city of Mathura in the distance, He fell to the ground and offered obeisances with great ecstatic love. After entering Mathura, the Lord bathed at Vishrama-ghata, and then visited Lord Krishna’s birthplace, where He saw the Deity named Keshavaji. After offering His obeisances, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to very enthusiastically chant and dance, all the people became astonished to see His great ecstasy.
One brahmana then fell at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, and began dancing along with Him in ecstatic love. Indeed, both of them embraced one another, and while raising their arms, they shouted, “Chant the holy names, Hari and Krishna!”
All the people chanted, “Hari! Hari! so that there was a great uproar. The pujari of Lord Keshava then came and offered a garland to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. At this time, the people, who were astonished to see the Lord’s chanting and dancing, exclaimed, “Such transcendental love is highly extraordinary! Simply by seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, everyone has become practically mad with ecstatic love. Indeed, everyone is laughing, crying, and dancing, while chanting the holy names of the Lord. Certainly Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is an incarnation of Lord Krishna, and has come here just to deliver us.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took aside the brahmana who had danced with Him and inquired, “You are an elderly brahmana, very sincere, and advanced in spiritual life. From where have you received this transcendental opulence of ecstatic love for Krishna?”
The brahmana replied, “His Holiness Shrila Madhavendra Puri once came to Mathura while on tour, and at that time he visited my house for lunch and accepted me as his disciple. After installing Lord Gopala, Madhavendra Puri rendered Him service, and in fact, the Deity is still being worshiped at Govardhana Hill.”
After hearing about the brahmana’s relationship with Madhavendra Puri, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately offered obeisances at his feet. Becoming fearful, the brahmana fell at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, and so the Lord said, “Since you are on the platform of My spiritual master, I am your disciple. Therefore, it is not befitting for you to offer Me obeisances like this.”
The brahmana anxiously replied, “Why do You speak like this? You are a sannyasi. By seeing Your ecstatic love for Krishna I can understand that You also must have some relationship with Madhavendra Puri, for without him, even a trace of such transcendental ecstatic love is impossible.”
Balabhadra Bhattacharya then explained to the brahmana about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s connection with Madhavendra Puri, and upon hearing of it, the brahmana became so happy that he started to dance. Thereafter, the brahmana took Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his house and requested Balabhadra Bhattacharya to prepare the Lord’s lunch.
At this time, the Lord smilingly spoke as follows: “Since Madhavendra Puri has already accepted food at your house, you may cook for Me as well. ‘Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow, and whatever standards he sets by his exemplary acts, all the world pursues.’ ”
This brahmana belonged to the Sanodiya community, the members of which traditionally became the priests of lower-class vaishyas. Although sannyasis were not supposed to eat at the houses of such Sanodiya brahmanas, Madhavendra Puri had accepted this resident of Mathura because of his Vaishnava behavior, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu followed his example.
The Sanodiya brahmana then very humbly said, “It is a great fortune for me to be able to offer You food. And yet, although You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus beyond all restrictions, foolish people will blaspheme You for accepting food at my house, and I shall not be able to tolerate the words of such foolish persons.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “The Vedas, Puranas and learned rishis are not always in agreement, and thus various paths of religion are seen to exist. However, the behavior of a pure devotee practically establishes genuine religious principles, and thus to follow the example of Madhavendra Puri constitutes the essence of all dharma.”
After this discussion, the Sanodiya brahmana offered Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu His meal, and thereafter, all the people of Mathura came to see the Lord. Indeed, many, many thousands of men assembled, and so Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came out of the brahmana’s house, to give them audience. Raising His arms, the Lord shouted, “Hari bol!” and in response, the crowd became almost mad with ecstasy as they began to dance and chant “Hari! Hari!”
The brahmana then took Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on a tour of holy places, and at this time the Lord bathed in the twenty-four ghats along the banks of the River Yamuna. After this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had the brahmana accompany Him to the twelve forests of Vrindavana- Bhadravana, Bilvavana, Lauhavana, Bhandiravana, and Mahavana, which are situated on the eastern side of the Yamuna; and Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudavana, Bahulavana, Kamyakavana, Dhadiravana, and Vrindavana, on the western side.
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed through Vrindavana, herds of cows approached Him, and upon seeing them, the Lord became stunned with ecstatic love. While surrounding Him and mooing loudly, the cows began to lick His transcendental body with great affection. Finally, after becoming pacified, the Lord caressed the cows, and they continued to follow Him, being unable to give up His association. Indeed, it was only with great difficulty that the cowherd men were able to make the cows turn back.
Then, as the Lord chanted the holy name, a herd of deer approached Him, having been attracted by His sweet voice. Being unafraid, both the does and the bucks accompanied the Lord, and while doing so, they began licking His body with great affection. Peacocks came and danced in front of the Lord, while bumblebees, parrots and cuckoos sang loudly on the fifth note.
Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, all of the trees and plants of Vrindavana became jubilant, and so their twigs stood up and they shed tears of ecstasy in the form of honey. Overloaded with fruit and flowers, the trees fell at the lotus feet of the Lord, and thus greeted Him with their various presentations, as if friends.
In this way, all of the moving and nonmoving living entities of Vrindavana were overwhelmed with happiness upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, just as friends are made happy by meeting another friend. The Lord became very moved by ecstatic emotion by seeing their display of affection, and He sported with them just as if they were friends, voluntarily coming under their control.
Indeed, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprahbhu embraced each and every tree and plant, and they, in return, offered Him their fruit and flowers, as if in meditation. The Lord’s body became very restless due to the manifestation of tears, trembling and jubilation, and in ecstasy, He loudly shouted, “Chant Krishna! Chant Krishna!” All of the moving and nonmoving creatures then chanted Hare Krishna, as if echoing the deep sound of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s voice.
The Lord clasped the deer by their necks and began to cry, and they also shed tears and their bodies trembled. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw a male and female parrot alight onto the branch of a tree, He wanted to hear them speak. Both parrots then flew onto the Lord’s hand, and as He listened, the male bird first of all spoke as follows: “The glorification of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beneficial for everyone within the universe. His beauty is victorious over the gopis of Vrindavana, and thus it subdues their patience. His pastimes astonish the goddess of fortune, and His strength turns Govardhana Hill into a small toy, like a ball. May Lord Krishna, who is attractive to everyone, maintain the entire universe!”
After this, the female parrot spoke as follows: “Shrimati Radharani’s affection, exquisite beauty, good behavior, artistic dancing and singing, and poetic compositions, are so attractive that they captivate the mind of Shri Krishna, who attracts the minds of everyone else within the universe.”
The male parrot then said, “My dear sari (female parrot), Shri Krishna carries a flute and captivates the hearts of all women throughout the universe. He is specifically the enjoyer of the beautiful gopis and He is also the enchanter of Cupid. Therefore, let Krishna be glorified!”
The female parrot jokingly replied, “My dear suka, when Lord Krishna is with Radharani, He is the enchanter of Cupid. Otherwise, when He is alone, He Himself becomes captivated by erotic feelings.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became struck with wonderful ecstatic love by hearing the female parrot speak, and then both parrots flew onto a branch of a tree. Next, the Lord began to curiously watch the dancing of the peacocks. Upon seeing their bluish necks, His remembrance of Krishna immediately awakened, and thus the Lord fell to the ground, unconscious, as a result of great ecstatic love.
The sanodiya brahmana and Balabhadra Bhattacharya hastily came and took care of the Lord by sprinkling water over His body and fanning Him with their cloths. Then, as they chanted the holy name of the Lord into His ear, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu regained consciousness and began rolling on the ground. Because of this, sharp thorns injured the Lord’s body, and so Balabhadra Bhattacharya took Him on his lap and pacified Him. Then, as His mind wandered in ecstatic love for Krishna, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly stood up and shouted, “Chant! Chant!” and began to dance. Being so ordered, the Sanodiya brahmana and Balabhadra Bhattacharya also chanted, as the Lord continued to proceed along the path, dancing all the while.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mind was always absorbed in ecstatic love at Jagannatha Puri, but when He passed along the road to Vrindavana, that love increased one hundred times. The Lord’s ecstatic love increased a thousand times while visiting Mathura, but it became magnified a hundred thousand times as He wandered through the forests of Vrindavana. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was elsewhere, the very name, Vrindavana, was sufficient to increase His ecstatic love. Thus, when He actually walked through the Vrindavana forests, His mind became so absorbed in great ecstatic love, day and night, that He ate and bathed simply out of habit.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced for a long while in ecstasy, but when He arrived at Aristagrama, His external perception awakened. The Lord then inquired from the local people about Radha-kunda, but no one could inform Him of its location, not even the Sanodiya brahmana. Because of this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could understand that Radha-kunda was no longer visible. Being the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, He soon discovered both Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda, in two paddy fields. Although there was only a little water, He bathed in those two small ponds, and when the local people saw this, they were astonished.
The Lord offered prayers to Radha-kunda as follows: “Of all the gopis, Radharani is the dearmost, and because the lake known as Radha-kunda is dear to Her, it is also very dear to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna and Shrimati Radharani used to enjoy themselves daily in this lake, and then have a rasa dance on the shore. The attraction of Radha-kunda is as sweet as that of Shrimati Radharani Herself, and indeed, Lord Krishna gives ecstatic love like that of Shrimati Radharani to whoever bathes there even once.”
Thereafter, while remembering the pastimes that Lord Krishna had performed on the shore of Radha-kunda, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced at that spot, overwhelmed with ecstatic love. The Lord marked His body with mud from Radha-kunda, and with the help of Balabhadra Bhattacharya, He collected some more to take with Him. From Radha-kunda, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Lake Sumanah, and when He saw Govardhana Hill from there, He became filled with joy. After immediately offering obeisances by falling flat onto the ground, the Lord picked up one rock from Govardhana Hill, and while embracing it, He became mad with ecstatic love.
In that ecstasy, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to the village of Govardhana, where He saw the Deity Harideva, an incarnation of Lord Narayana who resides on the western petal of the lotus of Mathura. After offering obeisances, the Lord danced before the Deity in mad ecstasy, and as soon as they heard the news, all the local people came running to see Him. Everyone became highly astonished to see the Lord’s personal beauty and manifestation of ecstatic love. The pujaris of Lord Harideva gave Him a very nice reception.
At Brahma-kunda, Balabhadra Bhattacharya cooked, and the Lord had His meal after bathing in the lake. That night, the Lord stayed at the Harideva temple, and while there, He thought as follows: “How shall I be able to see the Gopala Deity, since I will not climb Govardhana Hill, knowing it to be non-different from Krishna Himself?”
Understanding Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire, Lord Gopala decided to play a trick. The Deity stayed in a village called Anakuta-grama, on top of Govardhana Hill, and the residents there were mostly from Rajasthan. That night, someone came to the village and informed the inhabitants, “The Turkish soldiers are planning to attack this place tomorrow. Therefore, everyone should leave the village tonight and take the Deity Gopala with you.”
After hearing this, all the residents of Annakuta-grama became very anxious, and so they carried Lord Gopala to a village named Ganthuli, where He was secretly kept in a brahmana’s house. In fact, out of fear of the Mohammedans, Gopala was frequently moved from one place to another, and thus He sometimes had to reside in a bush, and sometimes at a village.
The next morning, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bathed in a lake called Manasa-ganga, and then He circumambulated Govardhana Hill. Just by looking at Govardhana Hill, the Lord became ecstatic with love for Krishna, and while dancing, He recited the following verse: “Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! This hill supplies Krishna and Balarama, as well as the cows, calves, and cowherd boys, with all kinds of necessities, such as drinking water, soft grass, fruit, flowers and vegetables. In this way, Govardhana Hill offers its respect to the Lord.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then bathed at Govinda-kunda. While there, the Lord heard about how the Gopala Deity had been taken to Ganthuli-grama, and so He immediately went there. Upon seeing the beauty of the Gopala Deity, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to chant and dance, being overwhelmed by ecstatic love, and He continued to do so until the end of the day. The Lord remained at Ganthuli-grama for three days, in order to continue seeing Gopala, and then, on the fourth day, the Deity returned to His own temple.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu walked along with the Deity, and as He chanted and danced, a large crowd of people jubilantly chanted along with Him. Upon reaching Govardhana Hill, the Lord remained at the bottom while the Deity was carried to the top, where Annakuta-grama was located. In this way, all of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s desires were fulfilled by Lord Gopala. This is Lord Gopala’s method of exhibiting His kind behavior toward His devotees, and upon witnessing it, the devotees become overwhelmed by ecstatic love.
Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami also did not climb Govardhana Hill, and so Lord Gopala granted them an interview at a nearby village. Then, when Rupa Gosvami was very old, he had an ardent desire to see the Gopala Deity once more. Because of this, Lord Gopala went to Mathura, out of fear of the Mohammedans, and there, He remained at the Viththalashvara temple for one month. Taking advantage of this, Rupa Gosvami went to Mathura, along with numerous associates, including Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, Lokanatha dasa Gosvami (who did not want his name mentioned in this book), Madhu Pandita, and Krishnadasa Kaviraja. After staying at Mathura for one month, Lord Gopala returned to Govardhana Hill, and Rupa Gosvami, who was happy to have seen the Deity’s beauty to his full satisfaction, returned to Vrindavana.
After seeing Lord Gopala, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Kamyavana, and then, after visiting the places of Krishna’s pastimes there, He went to Nandishvara, the house of Nanda Maharaja. Next, the Lord bathed in Lake Pavana, and then, after climbing a hill, He inquired from the people, “Are there any deities on top of this hill?”
The local people replied, “Yes, but they are within a cave. There is a father and mother with well-built bodies, and in-between them is a very beautiful child who is curved in three places.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very happy to hear this, and after excavating the cave, He saw the three deities. He then offered His respects to Nanda Maharaja and mother Yashoda, and touched the body of Lord Krishna with great ecstatic love.
Every day that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spent at Vrindavana, He chanted and danced in ecstasy. After seeing the places of Lord Krishna’s pastimes at Khadiravana, the Lord went to Seshashayi, where He saw the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi. Thereafter, the Lord went to Khela-tirtha, then Bhandiravana, where Krishna and Balarama used to play with the cowherd boys. Next, after crossing the Yamuna, the Lord visited Bhadravana, Shrivana and Lohavana, and then came to Mahavana, where He saw Gokula, the place of Lord Krishna’s early childhood pastimes. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the place where Krishna had broken the twin Arjuna trees, He especially became very moved with ecstatic love.
After visiting Gokula, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Mathura and stayed at the Sanodiya brahmana’s house. However, when great crowds assembled to see Him, the Lord went to Akrura-tirtha, which was a solitary place. The next day, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to bathe at the Kaliya-lake, and then He saw Praskandana, Dvadasaditya, and finally, Keshi-tirtha.
When the Lord saw the place where Lord Krishna’s rasa-dance had been performed, He immediately lost consciousness due to ecstatic love. Then, after regaining His senses, the Lord began to roll on the ground. He then displayed various ecstatic symptoms by sometimes laughing, crying, loudly chanting, dancing, and again falling to the ground. Indeed, the Lord passed the entire day at Kesi-tirtha enjoying such transcendental bliss, and in the evening He returned to Akrura-tirtha and had His meal.
The next morning, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Vrindavana, and after bathing at Chira-ghata, He went to Tentuli-tala and rested. This tentuli or tamarind tree was very old, since it still existed from the time of Lord Krishna’s pastimes. Beneath the tree was built a shiny platform, and the River Yamuna flowed nearby, so that gentle, cool breezes regularly blew. From this place, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu enjoyed surveying the scenic beauty of Vrindavana, and while sitting underneath the old tamarind tree, He chanted the holy name of the Lord.
Then, at noon, the Lord returned to Akrura-tirtha for lunch, and so all of the neighboring people came to see Him. Due to the large crowds that assembled at Akrura-tirtha, the Lord could not chant in peace, and so He always spent the morning in Vrindavana at a solitary place. In the afternoon, the Lord would allow people to meet Him, and at this time, He instructed them about the importance of chanting the holy name of the Lord.
One day, a Vaishnava named Krishnadasa happened to meet Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After having bathed at Keshi-ghata, Krishnadasa was going toward Kaliya-daha when he suddenly saw the Lord sitting at Amli-tala (Tentuli-tala). Krishnadasa was immediately astonished upon seeing the Lord’s personal beauty and ecstatic love, and so he offered his respectful obeisances. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “Who are you, and where is your home?”
Krishnadasa replied, “I am a fallen householder belonging to the Rajaputa caste of kshatriyas from Rajasthan, and my home is on the other side of the Yamuna. Today, I had a dream, and according to that dream I have come here and found You. Now, my only desire is to fully surrender and become the servant of a Vaishnava.”
The Lord bestowed His causeless mercy upon Krishnadasa by embracing him, and as a result, he became mad with ecstatic love and began to chant the holy name of the Lord and dance. That day, Krishnadasa returned to Akrura-tirtha with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the remnants of the Lord’s food were given to him.
The next morning, Krishnadasa accompanied Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Vrindavana and carried His water pot, having left his wife, children and home, just to remain with the Lord. Everywhere the Lord went, He could hear people saying, “Krishna has once again become manifest in Vrindavana.”
Then, one morning, crowds of people came to Akrura-tirtha from Vrindavana, making a tumultuous sound. Upon seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they offered respects at His lotus feet. The Lord asked them, “Where are you coming from?”
The people replied, “Krishna has once again made Himself visible on the water of the Kaliya Lake. He dances on the hoods of the Kaliya serpent, and the jewels on those hoods are blazing. Everyone has seen Lord Krishna directly, there is no doubt of it.”
Upon hearing this statement, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to laugh, and then said, “This is quite correct.”
For three consecutive nights, people went to Kaliya-daha, to see Krishna. Then, while returning, everyone came before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and said, “Now, we have seen Krishna personally.”
Actually, these people were speaking the truth, by the mercy of mother Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, although due to their imperfect knowledge, they accepted the wrong thing as Krishna. Balabhadra Bhattacharya then requested Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “Please give me permission so that I may go and see Lord Krishna directly at Kaliya-daha.”
In response, the Lord mercifully slapped him and said, “You are a learned scholar, but you have become a fool due to being influenced by the statements of other fools. Why will Krishna appear in the Kali-yuga? Foolish people who are mistaken are simply causing agitation and creating a tumult. Do not become a madman. Just sit down here, and tomorrow night you will be able to go and see Krishna.”
The next morning, some respectable gentlemen came to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu At that time, the Lord asked them, “Have you seen Krishna?”
The gentlemen replied, “At night a fisherman lights his torch in his boat and then catches many fish in the Kaliya lake. From a distance, people mistakenly think that they are seeing Krishna dance upon the hoods of the Kaliya serpent. These fools think that the boat is Kaliya, the torchlight is the jewels on his hoods, and the fisherman is Krishna. Actually, it is true that Lord Krishna has returned to Vrindavana and people have seen Him. However, they take the wrong thing to be Krishna, like considering a dried-up tree to be a person.”
The Lord then asked them, “Where have you seen Krishna directly?”
The gentlemen replied, “You are a sannyasi, and thus You are a moving Narayana. You have appeared in Vrindavana as an incarnation of Krishna, and just by seeing You, everyone has become liberated.”
When He heard this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exclaimed, “Vishnu! Vishnu! A jiva cannot become the Supreme Personality of Godhead at any time, therefore please do not even say such a thing! A sannyasi is certainly a part and parcel of the complete whole, just as a shining particle of sunshine is part and parcel of the sun itself. Krishna is like the sun and is full of all opulence, whereas the living entity is only a fragmental part of the complete whole. A living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are never to be considered as equal, just as a spark can never be equated with the original fire.”
“The foolish person who says that the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are one and the same, is a pashandi (atheist), and he is subject to be punished by the superintendent of death, Yamaraja. Even a person who considers Lord Brahma or Lord Shiva to be equal to Lord Narayana is an offender.”
After hearing this, the people replied, “No one considers You to be an ordinary jiva. According to Your bodily features and other marginal characteristics, You appear to be Krishna in every respect, although Your golden luster has covered your original complexion.”
“Just as the aroma of musk cannot be concealed by wrapping it in cloth, Your characteristics as the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be hidden by any means. Indeed, simply by seeing You, the entire universe becomes mad with ecstatic love for Krishna.”
“If even women, children, old men, meat-eaters, or chandalas see You just once, they immediately begin to chant the holy name of the Lord, dance like madmen, and become spiritual masters who are capable of delivering the entire world. Apart from seeing You, whoever hears Your holy name also becomes mad with ecstatic love for Krishna, and becomes capable of delivering the entire three worlds. Since merely by hearing Your holy name, chandalas become great saints, Your uncommon potencies are certainly unlimited and inconceivable.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bestowed His causeless mercy upon all these people, and thus they became ecstatic with love of God. While Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu remained at Akrura-tirtha for some days, the Sanodiya brahmana went from house to house in Mathura, inspiring other brahmanas to invite the Lord to their homes. As a result, all of the respectable people of Mathura came to Balabhadra Bhattacharya and extended their invitations. In fact, each day, twenty invitations were received, although, of course, only one could be accepted.
Those who did not get an opportunity to invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would then approach the Sanodiya brahmana and beg him to request the Lord to accept their invitations. There were brahmanas from all parts of India. Those who were strict followers of the Vedic principles would come to Akrura-tirtha in the morning, and after cooking, they would offer the food to the Shalagrama-shila and then distribute the prasada to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates.
One day, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat at Akrura-tirtha, He thought as follows: “At this place, Akrura saw Vaikuntha, and all of the inhabitants of Vraja saw Goloka Vrindavana.”
While contemplating how Akrura could have stayed within the water, the Lord suddenly jumped into the river and remained under the surface for some time. When Krishnadasa saw that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was drowning, he cried for help, and so Balabhadra Bhattacharya quickly came and pulled the Lord out. After this incident, Balabhadra took the Sanodiya brahmana to a secluded place and said, “Because I was present today, I was able to rescue the Lord. However, if He starts to drown at Vrindavana, who will help Him? Besides this, there are such crowds of people, and these constant invitations are causing a great disturbance. Since the Lord becomes so emotional and ecstatic here, I think it would be best if we could take Him out of Vrindavana. That is my final conclusion.”
The Sanodiya brahmana then suggested, “Let us take the Lord to Prayaga by the path that goes along the banks of the Ganga. Now is the beginning of Magha, and so we will have the opportunity of bathing at Triveni during Makara-sakranti. Kindly inform Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of your unhappiness, and propose that we all go to Prayaga. Tell the Lord how nice it would be to travel along the banks of the Ganga.”
Balabhadra Bhattacharya then submitted the following statement to the Lord: “I can no longer tolerate the disturbance caused by the crowds of people. One after another they come and offer their invitations, beginning early in the morning, and when they see that You are not here, they simply tax my brain. I would be very happy if we could go to Prayaga, by way of the Ganga, and thus have the opportunity of bathing during Makara-sakranthi. My mind has become very agitated, and so I can no longer bear the anxiety. Of course, everything depends upon Your permission, and thus I will accept whatever You decide.”
Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had no desire to leave Vrindavana, He very sweetly replied as follows, just to fulfill the desire of His devotee: “You have brought Me to Vrindavana and thus I am so indebted that I shall never be able to repay you. Therefore, whatever you desire I must do, and wherever you take Me I shall go.”
The next morning, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu got up early, and after bathing, He became very ecstatic, knowing that He was soon to leave Vrindavana. Although the Lord did not exhibit this externally, His mind was filled with ecstatic love. Balabhadra Bhattacharya put the Lord onto a boat, and after crossing the Yamuna, they arrived at Mahavana. Rajaputa Krishnadasa and the Sanodiya brahmana were very familiar with the path along the banks of the Ganga.
After walking a great distance, the Lord understood that the others were tired, and so He stopped and sat down underneath a tree. There were many cows grazing nearby, and the Lord was very pleased to see them. Then, all of a sudden, a cowherd boy started to play his flute,. Immediately upon hearing the sound, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fell unconscious, due to being overwhelmed by great ecstatic love. Indeed, foam fell from the Lord’s mouth, and His breathing practically stopped.
Just at that time, ten Mohammedan Pathana soldiers came there on horseback and dismounted. Upon seeing the Lord unconscious, the soldiers thought as follows: “This sannyasi must have carried a lot of gold. These four rogues have stolen it, after having killed Him by giving Him the poison dhutura.”
The Pathana soldiers arrested the Lord’s associates, deciding to kill them, and because of this, the two Bengalis began to tremble. The Rajaputa, Krishnadasa, was fearless, however, as was the Sanodiya brahmana, who bravely spoke as follows: “This sannyasi is my spiritual master. I am a brahmana from Mathura, and I know many people who are in the service of the Mohammedan king, under whose control you are also working. Let us go to your commander and let him judge the matter.”
“This sannyasi sometimes falls unconscious due to some disease. If you sit down here, you will see that within a short while, He will return to his normal condition. When he regains consciousness, you can question Him, and then if you like, you can kill us all.”
The Pathana soldiers replied, “You are all rogues. Two of you belong to the district of Mathura, and the other two, who are trembling, are from Bengal.”
Rajaputa Krishnadasa then said, “My house is nearby. I employ about two hundred Turkish soldiers and possess one hundred cannons. If I call out loudly, they will immediately come here to kill you and plunder your horses. These Bengali pilgrims are not rogues. You are rogues, because you want to kill them and steal their possessions.”
Upon hearing this challenge, the Pathana soldiers became somewhat hesitant, and then suddenly, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu regained consciousness and stood up. Loudly chanting, “Hari! Hari!” the Lord raised His arms over His head and began dancing in ecstatic love. Indeed, when the Lord shouted very loudly in ecstasy, the Mohammedan soldiers felt as if their hearts were being struck by thunderbolts. Becoming very fearful, they immediately released their four captives, and thus the Lord did not see that His assistants had been arrested.
Balabhadra Bhattacharya then went and had Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu seated. Upon seeing the Mohammedan soldiers, the Lord regained full external consciousness. The soldiers then came before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and after worshiping His lotus feet, they said, “These four rogues made You take dhutura. Then, when You became mad, they took away all Your possessions.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “These are not rogues. They are My personal associates. Being a sannyasi beggar, I do not possess anything. Due to epilepsy, I sometimes fall unconscious, and out of their mercy, these four take care of Me.”
Among the Mohammedans was a grave man, dressed in black, who people considered to be a saintly person. His heart having become softened by seeing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, this saintly person wanted to talk with the Lord and establish impersonal Brahman on the basis of the Koran. However, in the discussion that followed, the Lord refuted whatever arguments the scholar put forward.
Finally, when the Mohammedan became stunned and could no longer speak, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “The Koran has certainly put forward the conception of impersonalism, but at the end it refutes that doctrine and establishes the existence of a personal God. According to the Koran, there is only one Supreme Lord, He is full of opulence, and His bodily complexion is blackish. His form is sac-cid-ananda and He is omniscient. Creation, maintenance and dissolution come from Him alone, for He is the original shelter of the cosmic manifestation.”
“In the Koran there are descriptions of fruitive activity, speculative knowledge, mystic power, and union with the Supreme, but ultimately, all of these are rejected, and the Lord’s personal feature and His devotional service are established. It is clearly stated that only by engaging in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord can one gain release from material bondage. However, the scholars of the Koran are not very advanced in knowledge. Although there are many methods prescribed, they do not understand that the ultimate conclusion should be considered to be the most powerful. Seeing your own Koran and deliberating over what is written there, what is your conclusion?”
The saintly Mohammedan replied, “All that You have said is correct. This has certainly been written in the Koran, but our scholars can neither understand nor accept it. Thus, they generally describe only the Lord’s impersonal aspect, without knowing that it is the Lord’s personal feature that is worshipful.”
“Since You are that very same Supreme Personality of Godhead, please be merciful unto me, although I am very fallen and unfit. In spite of having studied the Koran very extensively, I could not conclusively ascertain the ultimate goal of life, nor the means to attain it. However, now that I have seen You, my tongue automatically chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and the false prestige that I had felt from being a learned scholar has been vanquished.”
After saying this, the Mohammedan fell at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and requested Him to speak about life’s ultimate goal, and how to approach it. The Lord said, “Please get up. You have chanted the holy name of Krishna, and thus the sinful reactions that you had accumulated from many millions of lives are now gone, and you have become pure.”
The Lord then told the Mohammedans, “Chant the holy name, Krishna!” and immediately they all became overwhelmed with ecstatic love and began chanting. In this way, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu initiated the saintly Mohammedan and changed his name to Ramadasa.
There was another Pathana Mohammedan present named Vijuli Khan, who was a young son of the King, and thus the others, headed by Ramadasa, were his servants. Vijuli Khan also fell down at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord mercifully placed His lotus foot upon his head. Thereafter, the Lord departed, and all these Pathan soldiers became mendicants. Later on, they became famous as the Pathana Vaishnavas and they toured all over the country, chanting the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Finally, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reached the banks of the Ganga at Soro-kshetra. There, the Lord requested the Sanodiya brahmana and Rajaputa Krishnadasa to return home. However, with folded hands, they replied, “My dear Lord, please let us go with You to Prayaga. If we do not accompany You, then when shall we again have the association of Your lotus feet? This country is mostly inhabited by Mohammedans, and so at any time there may be some disturbance. Although Your companion, Balabhadra Bhattacharya, is a learned scholar, he does not know the local language.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted their plea by smiling mildly, and then, after bathing, He started for Prayaga, taking the path along the Ganga. Finally, after arriving at that holy city, which is now known as Allahabad, the Lord remained for ten days, so that He could bathe at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna during the festival of Makara-sankranti.
After meeting Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Ramakeli, Rupa and Sanatana returned home and began to devise the means whereby they could give up their government service. Thus, for the purpose of attaining the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, without delay, Rupa and Sanatana engaged two brahmanas to perform some purascharana ritualistic ceremonies and chant the holy name of the Lord, and gave them a large sum of money as remuneration.
Thereafter, Rupa Gosvami deposited ten thousand gold coins with a local banker and then returned to his house at Bakla Chandradvipa, taking his balance wealth with him in two boats. There, Rupa Gosvami divided his money by giving fifty percent in charity to the brahmanas and Vaishnavas, twenty-five percent to his relatives, and he kept twenty-five percent with a respectable brahmana because he was expecting some legal complications.
Rupa Gosvami heard about how Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had returned to Nilachala and was preparing to go to Vrindavana by way of the forest. He sent two men to Jagannatha Puri, instructing them to find out the Lord’s departure date and quickly return with the news.
Meanwhile, Sanatana Gosvami began to think as follows: “The Nawab is very pleased with my government service, and thus I certainly have an obligation toward him. Somehow or other, if the Nawab were to become angry with me, I would be relieved of that burden. That is my conclusion.”
Then, on the pretext of bad health, Sanatana Gosvami remained at home and passed his time discussing Shrimad-Bhagavatam in an assembly of twenty or thirty learned brahmanas. In Sanatana’s absence, the greedy members of his secretarial staff diligently performed the government duties, hoping to occupy his ministerial post.
One day, as Sanatana Gosvami was studying Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the Nawab of Bengal, Hussain Shah, suddenly arrived at his residence, along with one other person. As soon as Sanatana Gosvami and the brahmanas saw the King, they stood up to honor him and then offered him a nice sitting place.
The Nawab told Sanatana, “I had sent my physician to you, and he has reported to me that you are not ill. As far as he could see, you are perfectly healthy. I depend upon you to carry out so many of the government responsibilities, but now you have given up your duties and are sitting at home. In this way, you are spoiling my plans. What is your intention? Please tell me frankly.”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “You can no longer expect any service from me, and so please arrange for someone else to tend to the management.”
The Nawab angrily said, “You elder brother (the king) acts like a plunderer, and by killing innumerable living beings, he has practically destroyed all of Bengal. Now, however, you are spoiling all my plans.”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “You are the supreme ruler of Bengal and thus you are completely independent. If someone commits a fault, you can punish him accordingly.”
The Nawab made one last attempt to pacify Sanatana, saying, “I am just about to launch an attack on Orissa, and so you may come with me, if you like.”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “You are going to Orissa just to give pain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and so I am powerless to accompany you.”
Thereafter, the Nawab had Sanatana Gosvami arrested and put in prison, and it was at this time that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu departed for Vrindavana. The two messengers then returned and informed Rupa Gosvami of how the Lord had already left Jagannatha Puri, and so he immediately wrote a letter to Sanatana, telling him this news.
In that letter, Rupa Gosvami said, “We two brothers are starting out, to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. You must also get released somehow or other and join us in Vrindavana. I had deposited ten thousand gold coins with a local banker, and so you can use that money to bribe your way out of jail.”
After sending this letter, Rupa Gosvami departed, along with his younger brother, Anupama Mallika, a great devotee of the Lord, whose real name was Shri Vallabha. Upon arriving at Prayaga, Rupa Gosvami and Anupama were very pleased to learn that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was also staying there.
When the Lord went to visit the Bindu-Madhava temple, many hundreds of thousands of people followed Him, and some were crying, some were laughing, some were dancing, and some were chanting. Indeed, some of them were rolling on the ground and exclaiming, “Krishna! Krishna!” Thus, even though the Ganga and Yamuna were unable to overflood Prayaga with water, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inundated the whole area with waves of ecstatic love for Krishna. Upon seeing the huge crowd, Rupa and Anupama stayed at a distance and watched as the Lord raised His arms and requested everyone to chant the holy name of the Lord.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then went to a Deccan brahmana’s house, who had invited Him for lunch. As the Lord was sitting alone in that brahmana’s house, Rupa and Shri Vallabha came there. While staying at a distance, they fell to the ground like rods, after having placed bunches of straw in their mouths. As they offered their obeisances, both brothers became overwhelmed with ecstatic emotion, and while reciting various prayers, they again and again stood up and fell to the ground.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to see Rupa Gosvami. The Lord told him, “Stand up! Stand up! My dear Rupa, please come here. It is not possible to describe Krishna’s mercy, for He has delivered both of you from the dark well of material enjoyment. ‘Even though one may be a great scholar, called chatur-vedi, he may not be My devotee, whereas one who is born in a family of dog-eaters is very dear to Me if he is engaged in My pure devotional service. Indeed, all respects should be given to such a person, and whatever he offers should be accepted, for such devotees are as worshipful as I am.’ ”
After reciting this verse, the Lord embraced both brothers. Then, out of His causeless mercy, the Lord placed His lotus feet upon their heads. After getting up, the two brothers offered the following prayer to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, while standing before Him with folded hands: “My Lord, You are the most munificent incarnation, for You are widely distributing what no one else ever has- love for Krishna. You are Lord Krishna Himself, appearing as Shri Krishna Chaitanya, having assumed the golden complexion of Shrimati Radharani. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.”
The Lord sat the two brothers by His side and inquired, “Have you received any news of Sanatana?”
Rupa Gosvami replied, “Sanatana has been arrested by the Nawab. If You kindly rescue him, he can gain release from this entanglement.”
The Lord immediately said, “Sanatana has already been released from jail, and he will meet Me very soon.”
The South Indian brahmana then came and requested Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to have His lunch, and Rupa and Shri Vallabha remained with Him that day. The Lord was living close to Triveni, and so the two brothers selected their residence nearby.
At that time, Vallabha Bhatta (Vallabhacharya) was staying at Adaila-grama, and when he heard of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival at Prayaga, he came to see Him. When Vallabha Bhattacharya offered his obeisances, the Lord picked him up and embraced him, and thereafter, they discussed topics regarding Krishna for some time.
At first, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt great ecstasy while talking about Krishna, but then He checked His emotions, due to feeling shy before Vallabha Bhatta. And yet, although the Lord restrained Himself externally, He could not check the ecstatic love that raged within, and Vallabha Bhatta was astonished to see this.
Vallabha Bhatta invited Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch, and at that time the Lord introduced Rupa and Anupama to him. From a distance, the two brothers fell to the ground with great humility, to offer obeisances. Then, as Vallabha Bhattacharya walked toward them, they began to run away, and while doing so, Rupa Gosvami said, “I am untouchable and most sinful. Therefore, please do not come near me.”
Vallabha Bhatta was very surprised to see this behavior. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased, however, and just to describe Rupa Gosvami, He spoke as follows: “Do not touch him, for he belongs to a very low caste. On the other hand, you are a strict follower of Vedic principles, an experienced performer of sacrifices, and from a very aristocratic family.”
Vallabha Bhatta could hear how the two brothers were incessantly chanting the holy name of the Lord. Having rightly understood the hints given by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he admitted, “Since these two persons are constantly chanting the name, Krishna, how can they be considered untouchable? On the contrary, they are most exalted, as this verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam explains. ‘My dear Lord, one who always keeps Your holy name upon his tongue is greater than an initiated brahmana. Even if he happens to have taken birth in a family of dog-eaters, and thus, by material calculations, is the lowest of men, he is still glorious. Indeed, it should be understood that he has already performed all kinds of austerities and sacrifices, has studied all the Vedic literatures, and has bathed in all the holy places.’ ”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to hear Vallabha Bhatta quote from shastra about the supreme position of a devotee. After praising him, the Lord quoted many more verses to further substantiate the sublime potency of devotional service and the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Upon witnessing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s knowledge of the essence of devotional service, as well as His ecstatic love and personal beauty and influence, Vallabha Bhattacharya was certainly astonished.
Thereafter, he put the Lord and His associates on a boat, to take them to his residence for lunch. However, as they were crossing the River Yamuna, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became bewildered with ecstatic love upon seeing the glossy, black water. Suddenly, while making a tumultuous sound, the Lord jumped into the river, and so everyone became highly alarmed. After hastily grabbing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they pulled Him back in, but as soon as the Lord got up onto the boat’s platform, He began to dance. Due to the Lord’s heavy weight, the boat tilted precariously, and as it filled up with water, it appeared to be on the verge of sinking.
Actually, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tried to restrain Himself as much as possible before Vallabhacharya, but His strong ecstatic love could not be checked. Finally, the Lord understood the circumstances and became calm, and so the boat was able to reach the banks of the river at Adaila. Fearing for the Lord’s welfare, Vallabha Bhatta constantly stayed by His side, and after arranging for the Lord’s bath, he took Him to his house.
With great pleasure, Vallabha Bhattacharya offered Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu a nice sitting place and then personally washed His lotus feet. Vallabha Bhatta and his family members sprinkled the water over their heads, and then offered the Lord a new set of cloth. Indeed, Vallabhacharya worshiped Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with great pomp, offering Him incense, perfumes, flowers and various kinds of lamps. Then, with great respect, he induced Balabhadra Bhattacharya to cook the Lord’s lunch.
After serving Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu His meal with great care and attention, Vallabha Bhatta gave the Lord’s remnants to Rupa Gosvami, Shri Vallabha and Krishnadasa. Vallabha Bhatta then offered Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spices to purify His mouth, and after having Him lay down to rest, he personally massaged the Lord’s legs. Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made Vallabha Bhatta go and eat lunch, when he finished, he returned to the Lord’s lotus feet.
At that time, a person named Raghupati Upadhyaya, who belonged to the Tiruhita district of present-day Bihar, came there. He was a very learned scholar and respectable gentlemen, and a great devotee of the Lord. When Raghupati Upadhyaya offered his obeisances to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord blessed him by saying, “May you always remain in Krishna consciousness.”
Raghupati Upadhyaya was very pleased to hear this, and thereafter, the Lord requested him to say something describing Lord Krishna. In response, Raghupati Upadhyaya recited some verses that he had personally composed about Lord Krishna’s pastimes, and upon hearing them, the Lord became overwhelmed with ecstatic love. Raghupati Upadhyaya had recited: “Those who are afraid of material existence worship the Vedic literature. Some worship sruti, some worship smriti, and others worship Mahabharata. However, as far as I am concerned, I worship Nanda Maharaja, in whose courtyard the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, is playing.”
When requested by the Lord to speak more, Raghupati Upadhyaya offered his obeisances, and then recited as follows. “To whom can I speak, that will believe me when I say, that Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is hunting the gopis in the bushes by the banks of the River Yamuna? In this way the Lord demonstrates His pastimes.”
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became fully absorbed in ecstatic love, His mind and body slackened. When he saw these ecstatic symptoms, Raghupati Upadhyaya concluded that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not a mere human being, but Krishna Himself. The Lord then asked, “According to your decision, who is the foremost being?”
Raghupati Upadhyaya replied, “Lord Shyamasundara is the supreme form.”
The Lord inquired, “Of all Krishna’s abodes, which do you think is best?”
Raghupati Upadhyaya replied, “Madhu-puri, Mathura, is certainly the best.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then asked, “Of Krishna’s three ages- balya (childhood), pauganda (boyhood), and kaishora (the beginning of youth), which do you consider the most attractive?”
Raghupati Upadhyaya replied, “The kaishora age of youth is the best.”
Finally, the Lord inquired, “Among all rasas, or mellow relationships, which do you consider to be the supreme?”
Raghupati Upadhyaya replied, “The mellow of conjugal love is supermost.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You have certainly presented first-class conclusions”, and then, with a faltering voice, He recited the entire verse as follows: “The form of Shyamasundara is the supreme form, and the city of Mathura is the supreme abode. Lord Krishna’s fresh youth should always be meditated upon, and the mellow of conjugal love is the supreme rasa.”
The Lord then embraced Raghupati Upadhyaya in ecstatic love, and Raghupati also became overwhelmed by ecstatic emotion and began to dance. Upon seeing this ecstatic performance, Vallabha Bhatta became truly astonished, and he brought his two sons and made them fall down at the Lord’s lotus feet.
Upon hearing of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival, all the local people came to Vallabhacharya’s house, and after seeing Him, they became devotees of Lord Krishna. The brahmanas of the village were very anxious to invite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch, but Vallabha Bhatta decided that the Lord should not remain at Adaila-grama, because of its proximity to the Yamuna. While remembering how Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had ecstatically jumped into the river, Vallabha Bhatta decided to take Him to Prayaga, and so he advised the brahmanas to go there to invite the Lord, if they so desired. Thereafter, Vallabha Bhatta brought Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu back to Prayaga, avoiding the River Yamuna by taking Him across the Ganga.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu desired to instruct Rupa Gosvami, and because of the great crowds that gathered to see Him at Prayaga, He went to Dasashvamedha-ghata. There, He taught Rupa Gosvami the ultimate limit of truth regarding Lord Krishna, devotional service, and the transcendental mellows, culminating in conjugal love. By entering the heart of Rupa Gosvami, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu empowered him to properly understand the conclusions regarding these truths, and thus He made him an experienced devotee whose decisions correctly agreed with the verdicts of the disciplic succession.
Shrila Rupa Gosvami was the exact replica of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and because he was the embodiment of the Lord’s ecstatic love, he was naturally very beautiful. Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami were the objects of love and respect for all the stalwart devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Whenever someone would return home after having visited Vrindavana, the other devotees would inquire, “How are Rupa and Sanatana doing? How are they engaged in devotional service? How do they practice renunciation, how do they live, and how do they eat?”
In response, the person who had returned from Vrindavana would praise Shrila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis as follows: “They actually have no fixed residence, for they live beneath a different tree each and every night. Giving up all sense of material enjoyment, Rupa and Sanatana beg some food from the houses of brahmanas, and thus they eat just a little dry bread and fried chickpeas. They wear torn quilts and carry only water pots, and while constantly chanting the holy name of Krishna and discussing His pastimes, they sometimes dance.”
“Rupa and Sanatana usually sleep just one and a half hours at night, but sometimes they forget to sleep at all while continuously chanting the holy name of the Lord. Sometimes they engage in writing literature about devotional service, and sometimes they hear about Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or engage in thinking about Him. In any case, Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami practically engage twenty-four hours a day in rendering devotional service unto the Lord.”
After hearing about the activities of Shrila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, the devotees would declare, “What is extraordinary for a person who has been granted the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began His instructions to Rupa Gosvami as follows: “My dear Rupa, please hear Me. It is not possible to describe devotional service completely and thus I am just trying to give you a summary. The ocean of the transcendental mellow of devotional service (bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu) is so expansive that no one can estimate its length or breadth. However, just to try and enable you to taste it, I shall now describe one drop.”
“In this universe there are limitless living entities (jivas) wandering in 84,00,000 species of life, and they are described in the Upanishads and Shrimad-Bhagavatam as being constitutionally one ten-thousandth the tip of a hair in size. These embodied souls can be divided into two classes- moving and nonmoving. Among the moving living entities, a small portion are human beings, and many of them are uncivilized. Those who are followers of the Vedic principles are considered civilized. However, about half of these simply claim to be followers of Vedic culture, while in reality they commit many sinful activities that are against the principles of religion.”
“Among the genuine followers of Vedic principles, almost all are karmis, and amongst many, many such fruitive workers, one who is actually wise is sometimes found. Out of many millions of such gyanis, one may actually become liberated, and out of many millions of such liberated persons, a pure devotee of Lord Krishna is very difficult to find. Because a devotee of Lord Krishna is desireless, he is actually peaceful. On the other hand, because karmis desire material enjoyment, gyanis desire liberation, and yogis desire mystic powers, they are all considered lusty, and cannot be truly peaceful.”
“According to their specific karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the universe in various forms of life. Out of them, one who is very fortunate receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service, by the association of a bona-fide spiritual master, whom he meets by the mercy of Lord Krishna.”
“After receiving the seed of devotional service, one should cultivate it just like a gardener, by planting it within the heart. Thereafter, if one waters the seed regularly by the process of hearing and chanting about Krishna, it will sprout and then continue to grow until it penetrates the coverings of the universe, and ultimately reaches the planet Goloka Vrindavana in the spiritual sky. There, the devotional creeper produces fruit and flowers in the shape of love for Krishna. Even though the gardener remains within the material world, he continues to regularly sprinkle the creeper with the water of chanting and hearing.”
“However, if the devotee commits an offense at the feet of a Vaishnava while cultivating the creeper of devotional service, that Vaishnava-aparadha acts just like a mad elephant that crushes and uproots the creeper, so that it gradually dries up. For this reason, the gardener must protect the devotional creeper by fencing it in all around with the association of pure devotees, so that the elephant offense may not enter.”
“In addition, unwanted creepers may sprout, such as desires for material enjoyment and liberation, and these grow along with the devotional creeper. Indeed, the varieties of such weeds are unlimited, and they include behavior that is unacceptable for one who is trying to attain perfection, diplomatic behavior, animal killing, mundane profiteering, mundane adoration (puja), and mundane importance (pratistha).”
“If one does not distinguish between the unwanted creepers and the bhakti creeper, then the sprinkling of water becomes misused, because the weeds are nourished and the growth of the bhakti-lata is curtailed. Therefore, as soon as an intelligent devotee sees an unwanted creeper growing beside the original plant of bhakti, he must cut it down. In this way, the creeper of devotional service will grow very nicely and return back home, back to Godhead, where it takes shelter under the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. There, the devotee tastes the fruit of love for Krishna, and as a result, he enjoys great bliss and becomes eternally happy.”
“To taste the fruit of love of Godhead is the highest perfection of life, and in the presence of such perfection, the four material interests- dharma, artha, kama, and moksha- seem very insignificant. ‘As long as there is not the slightest fragrance of pure love for Krishna, the opulence of material perfection, as well as the bliss of Brahman, seem very wonderful to men.’ ”
“When one is situated on the platform of pure devotional service, he develops love of Godhead. Therefore, let Me describe the symptoms of pure devotional service. Such first-class devotional service is characterized as being that which is performed by one who is devoid of all material desires, fruitive actions and speculative knowledge. Such devotional service is executed favorably, or, in other words, just as Lord Krishna desires. The pure devotees do not cherish any desire other than to serve Krishna, and they do not even accept the five kinds of liberation, without reference to their devotional service.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu proceeded to instruct Rupa Gosvami about the ecstatic symptoms that become manifest as a result of the gradual development of love for Krishna. The Lord also described the five direct and seven indirect relationships, which the devotee enjoys with the Lord.
Then, in conclusion, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I have simply given you a general survey of the mellows of devotional service. Now, it is up to you to consider how to adjust and expand these descriptions. When one meditates upon Krishna constantly, love for Him becomes manifest within the heart. Even though one may be ignorant, one can reach the shore of the ocean of transcendental love, by Lord Krishna’s mercy.”
After saying this, the Lord embraced Rupa Gosvami. Then, the next morning, when the Lord got up and prepared to leave for Varanasi, Rupa Gosvami submitted the following request: “If You give me permission, then I shall go with Your Lordship. It is not possible for me to tolerate the waves of separation from You.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Your duty is to carry out My order. Now that you have come near to Vrindavana, you should go there. Later on, you can come to Jagannatha Puri through Bengal, to meet Me again.”
After embracing Rupa Gosvami, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu got onto a waiting boat. As soon as the Lord departed, Rupa Gosvami fell to the ground unconscious, and so the Deccan brahmana took care of him, and then took him to his home. Thereafter, Rupa and Anupama departed for Vrindavana, and meanwhile, after walking and walking, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at Varanasi, where He met Chandrashekhara, who happened to be waiting for Him outside the city.
The previous night, Chandrashekhara had dreamt that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to his house. Because of this dream, Chandrashekhara went out of the city the next morning, to receive the Lord. While waiting, Chandrashekhara suddenly saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu come there. After falling down at the Lord’s lotus feet, he happily escorted Him to his house. When Tapana Mishra heard of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s arrival, he came to Chandrashekhara’s house to meet Him. Then, when Tapana Mishra took the Lord to his house for lunch, Chandrashekhara invited Balabhadra Bhattacharya to accept prasada at his home.
After Tapana Mishra had offered the Lord His lunch, he submitted the following request: “As long as your Lordship remains here at Varanasi, please do not accept any other invitation by mine.”
Because Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu planned to stay just five or seven days in Varanasi, and did not want to accept any invitation that involved meeting the Mayavadi sannyasis, He accepted Tapana Mishra’s proposal. The Lord made his residence at Chandrashekhara’s house, and every day He came to Tapana Mishra’s residence for lunch.
While in prison, Sanatana Gosvami received Rupa Gosvami’s letter, and he was very pleased to learn that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had already departed for Mathura. After calling the Mohammedan jailkeeper, Sanatana spoke to him as follows: “My dear sir, you are a very saintly person, having full knowledge of the Koran and other revealed scriptures. Therefore, you know that if one releases a conditioned soul from bondage, then he himself also becomes liberated, by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Previously, I did a lot for you, and since it is now I who am in difficulty, you should return the goodwill by releasing me. Here are five thousand gold coins and so please accept them. By setting me free you will not only receive the results of a pious act, but material profit as well.”
The jailkeeper was certainly attracted by this offer, but he first of all replied, “My dear sir, I am willing to release you, but I am also afraid of the government.”
Sanatana said, “Rest assured that there is no danger for you. The Nawab has gone to the South. If he returns, tell him that I went to pass stool on the banks of the Ganga, and upon coming to the river, I immediately jumped in . Tell him, ‘I looked for a long time, but since Shakara Mallika jumped in with his shackles on, he must have drowned and been washed away. Thus, I could not find any trace of him.’ There is nothing for you to be afraid of, for I shall not remain in this country. I am going to become a mendicant and travel to the holy city of Mecca.”
Even after saying this, Sanatana could see that the jail-keeper was not satisfied, and so he placed two thousand more gold coins before him. At this, the meat-eater agreed, and that night, he cut off Sanatana’s shackles and let him cross the Ganga.
Taking a lesser-used path, Sanatana walked day and night until he reached a hilly tract of land known as Patada. There, he met a landlord, and very submissively requested that he help him cross the hills. There was an expert palmist who was residing with the landlord. When he came to understand that Sanatana was carrying eight gold coins, he informed the landlord of this by whispering into his ear.
The landlord was very pleased with this news, and so he spoke to Sanatana as follows: “I shall get you across this hilly tract of land tonight, by having my men escort you. Meanwhile, cook for yourself and eat lunch.”
Saying this, the landlord offered Sanatana some grains to cook. Sanatana then went to the river to bathe, and because he had been fasting for two days, he cooked the food and ate it. However, having formerly been a minister of the Nawab, Sanatana certainly understood everything about diplomacy. Therefore, he began to think, “Why is this landlord treating me so respectfully?”
After considering the situation, Sanatana called for his servant, Ishana, and said, “I think that you have something valuable with you.”
Ishana replied, “Yes, I have seven gold coins.”
Upon hearing this, Sanatana chastised Ishana by saying, “You fool, why have you brought this death knell along with us?”
Sanatana then took the seven gold coins and went to the landlord. Placing the coins before him, Sanatana said, “Please take these seven gold coins that I have brought with me. I am an escaped prisoner and so I cannot go along the main road. It will be very pious of you if you take this money, and in return kindly get me across this hilly stretch of land.”
The landlord smilingly replied, “I already knew that there were eight gold coins in your servant’s possession, and I would have killed you this very night in order to steal them. Therefore, it is very good that you have voluntarily offered them, and thus relieved me from having to perform a greatly sinful act. Indeed, I am so satisfied with your behavior that I shall not even accept your coins, but will get you across the hills anyway, just to perform a pious deed.”
However, Sanatana said, “If you do not accept these coins, then someone else will kill me to get them. Therefore, please save me from that danger by taking them.”
Thereafter, the landlord gave Sanatana four men, and they walked through the forest the whole night until they finally crossed over the hills. Sanatana then told Ishana, “I think that you still have one more gold coin, and so you may take it and return home.”
As Sanatana continued on, traveling alone, water pot in hand and covered by a torn quilt, he became free from all anxiety. Finally, he arrived at a place called Hajipura, and in the evening, he sat down within a garden there.
A gentleman named Shrikanta, the husband of Sanatana’s sister, happened to be at Hajipura, engaged in the service of the government. Shrikanta had been given three hundred thousand gold coins to buy horses, and he was engaged in purchasing them and sending them off to the king. While seated in an elevated place, Shrikanta happened to see Sanatana sitting in the garden, and so that night he took one servant and went to meet him. After talking for some time, Sanatana told Shrikanta all about his imprisonment and subsequent release.
Shrikanta then requested Sanatana, “Please stay here for at least two days, and dress up like a gentleman. Get rid of these dirty, old clothes.”
Sanatana replied, “I shall not stay here for even a moment. Just help me get across the Ganga, so that I can immediately depart.”
Shrikanta then gave Sanatana a costly wool blanket and helped him to cross the Ganga. After a few days, Sanatana arrived at Varanasi, and he was very pleased to learn that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was staying there. After going to Chandrashekhara’s house, Sanatana sat down by the doorway, and inside, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could understand everything. Thus, he told Chandrashekhara, “There is a devotee at your door and so please go and call for him.”
Chandrashekhara went outside but he could not see any Vaishnava at his door. When he returned and informed Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of this, the Lord inquired, “Is there anyone at your door at all?”
When Chandrashekhara replied, “There is only one Mohammedan mendicant”, the Lord immediately said, “Please bring him here.”
Chandrashekhara then went and informed Sanatana, “O Mohammedan mendicant, please come inside, for the Lord is calling you.”
Sanatana was very pleased to hear this, and as soon as the Lord saw him enter the courtyard, He quickly went and embraced him. Immediately, the Lord became overwhelmed with ecstatic love, and by the Lord’s touch, Sanatana also became overpowered by ecstatic emotion. In a faltering voice, he said, “My Lord, please do not touch me.”
While shoulder to shoulder, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sanatana Gosvami began crying unlimitedly, and Chandrashekhara was very astonished to see this. Then, catching hold of Sanatana’s hand, the Lord took him inside the house and made him sit next to Him in an elevated place. However, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began cleansing his body with His own transcendental hand, Sanatana objected, saying, “My Lord, You should not touch me.”
The Lord replied, “I am touching you just to purify Myself because by the power of your devotional service you are able to sanctify the entire universe. ‘Saints of your stature are themselves places of pilgrimage. Because of their purity, they are able to carry the Supreme Lord within their hearts, and thus they can purify even the places of pilgrimage.’ ”
“ ‘One may be born in a brahmana family, and be endowed with all twelve good qualities, but if he is not devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is inferior to a chandala who has dedicated his mind, words, activities, wealth, and life to the service of the Lord. Indeed, such a devotee can deliver his entire family, whereas a puffed-up brahmana cannot even liberate himself.’ ”
“My dear Sanatana, by seeing you, by touching you, and by glorifying your transcendental qualities, one can perfect the purpose of his senses. Now, please hear me. Lord Krishna is very merciful, for He has saved you from entering Maharaurava, life’s deepest hell.”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I do not know who Krishna is. As far as I am concerned, I have been released from prison only by Your mercy.”
The Lord inquired about his release form jail, and so Sanatana related the whole story, from beginning to end. The Lord then informed Sanatana, “I met your two brothers, Rupa and Anupama, at Prayaga, and now they have gone to Vrindavana.”
The Lord introduced Sanatana to Tapana Mishra and Chandrashekhara. When Tapana Mishra extended an invitation to Sanatana, the Lord first of all requested Chandrashekhara to arrange for him to shave and change his clothes. Following the Lord’s order, Chandrashekhara had Sanatana’s long hair, beard, and moustache shaved off. But, when he offered him a new set of clothes, Sanatana refused to accept them.
When He heard about this, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt unlimitedly happy. Then, after bathing at noon, the Lord took Sanatana with Him to Tapana Mishra’s house for lunch. After washing His feet, the Lord sat down to eat, and He requested Tapana Mishra to also feed Sanatana. However, Tapana Mishra replied, “Sanatana has something to do , and so after lunch I shall give him whatever is left over.”
After lunch, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu rested, and Tapana Mishra gave Sanatana the remnants of His food. Then, when Tapana Mishra offered Sanatana some new clothes, he refused, saying, “If you wish to offer me something to wear, please give me one of you old dhotis.”
When Tapana Mishra gave him a used dhoti, Sanatana immediately tore it into pieces, making two sets of underwear and outer garments. Then, later on, when the Lord introduced Sanatana to the Maharastriyan brahmana, the brahmana immediately requested, “My dear Sanatana, as long as you remain here at Kashi, please accept your lunch at my place.”
Sanatana replied, “I shall practice madhukari, accepting food like the bees, who take a little from many different flowers. Why should I accept full meals at the house of a brahmana?”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu felt unlimited happiness to see Sanatana’s desire to strictly follow the principles of sannyasa. However, there was one thing that the Lord did not approve of, and thus He repeatedly glanced at Sanatana’s costly wool blanket. Sanatana noticed this, and because he understood the Lord’s feelings, he began to consider how he could get rid of the blanket.
While thinking in this way, Sanatana went to the banks of the Ganga to bathe. There, he saw that a Bengali mendicant had washed his old quilt and spread it out to dry. Sanatana approached the Bengali and said, “My dear brother, please do me a favor. Trade me your quilt for this nice wool blanket.”
The mendicant replied, “Sir, you are a respectable gentleman. Why are you joking with me? Why should you trade your valuable blanket for my old, torn quilt?”
Sanatana replied, “I am not joking and so please believe me. Kindly take this blanket and in exchange, give me your torn quilt.”
After making the trade, Sanatana returned to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, wearing the torn quilt over his shoulder. When the Lord inquired, “My dear Sanatana, where is your nice wool blanket?, he narrated the story of how he had disposed of it.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “I have already thought over this matter. Since Lord Krishna is very merciful, He has completely nullified your material attachment. After doing so, why should He allow you to maintain this last bit of attraction for something material? After vanquishing a disease, a good physician does not allow any of the illness to remain. It is contradictory to practice madhukari and at the same time wear a valuable blanket. Indeed, one who does so loses his spiritual strength, and also becomes an object for jokes.”
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead has saved me from the sinful life of material existence, and now, by His desire, my last bit of material attraction is gone.”
Being very pleased with Sanatana Gosvami, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu bestowed His causeless mercy upon him, and thus Sanatana received the spiritual strength to inquire from Him. Formerly, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had inquired from Ramananda Raya, and by the Lord’s mercy, he was able to properly reply. Now, by that same mercy, Sanatana Gosvami questioned Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord personally instructed him regarding all the truths about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotional service.
After placing a straw in his mouth and bowing down, Sanatana Gosvami clasped Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and very humbly spoke as follows: “I was born in a low family and my associates are all low-class men. I myself am very fallen and the lowest of men, for I have passed my entire life in the dark well of sinful materialism. Actually, I do not know what is beneficial for me, and what is not. Nonetheless, in ordinary dealings people consider me to be a learned scholar, and I also think of myself in that way. Now, by Your causeless mercy, You have delivered me from the materialistic path.”
“My dear Lord, by that same causeless mercy, please tell me what my duty is. Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? Actually, I do not know how to inquire about the goal of life, and the means of obtaining it. Without this knowledge, how will I ever be benefited? Therefore, please be merciful unto me and explain all of these truths.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Lord Krishna has bestowed His full mercy upon You, and thus these truths are already very well known to you. Indeed, for you, the threefold miseries no longer exist. Still, it is the characteristic of a saintly person that, even though he knows all these things, he inquires for the sake of maintaining strictness in spiritual life.”
“My dear Sanatana, you are the fit person to propagate the path of devotional service. Therefore, please hear about all these truths, one after another, as I describe them to you.”
“It is the living entity’s constitutional position to eternally render service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna. Being a manifestation of the Lord’s marginal energy, the living entity (jiva) is simultaneously one with and different from Him.”
“The Supreme Lord is like the sun, and the living entity is like a molecule of sunshine. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is like a great fire, and the living entities are just like so many sparks emanating from it. Just as a fire is situated in one place, and yet spreads its energy everywhere in terms of heat and light, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests His various energies throughout the material and spiritual worlds.”
“Forgetting Krishna, the living entity has become attracted by the external energy of the Lord since time immemorial, and thus maya inflicts upon him all kinds of miserable conditions. While in material conditioning, the living entity is sometimes raised to the higher planetary systems, and sometimes drowned in a hellish situation. His condition is just like that of a criminal who is punished by being repeatedly submerged within the water, and then lifted up again, to catch his breath.”
“The mistake of forgetting Krishna and coming under the control of the illusory energy can be rectified if one revives his dormant Krishna consciousness, by the mercy of a pure devotee. In order to gradually come to the platform of Krishna consciousness, the conditioned soul is educated by the Vedic literatures. The Vedic literatures give information about one’s relationship with Lord Krishna (sambandha), and how to act accordingly in devotional service (abhidheya), so as to achieve life’s ultimate goal, love for Krishna, whereby one can return home, back to Godhead (prayojana).”
“In this regard, the following example can be given: Once, a learned astrologer, named Sarvagya, came to the house of a poor man, and upon seeing his distressed condition, he inquired as follows: ‘Why are you so unhappy? Your father was very wealthy, but he did not inform you of this because he died elsewhere.’ ”
“The astrologer, Sarvagya, can be compared to the Vedic literatures, which advise one about devotional service when one becomes inquisitive to understand why he has been put into a distressed condition of life. By executing the process of devotional service, one can achieve life’s greatest treasure, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
“Although the poor man was informed about the existence of his father’s wealth, he could not acquire it by this knowledge alone. Therefore, the astrologer had to inform him about the means of attaining the wealth as follows: ‘The treasure is in this place, but if you dig on the southern side, wasps will rise up and frustrate your attempt.’ The southern side represents fruitive activity, or karma-kanda. The wasps represent the result of engaging in fruitive activities, which is that one remains bound to material desires and thus continues in the cycle of birth and death.”
“The astrologer continued, ‘If you dig on the western side, there is a yaksha (ghost) who will create such a disturbance that your hands will not even touch the treasure.’ The western side represents the path of mental speculation, or gyana-kanda, which, like the ghost, simply creates mental disturbances.”
“The astrologer then said, ‘If you dig on the northern side, a big black snake will devour you as you attempt to take the treasure.’ The northern side is compared to the process of mystic yoga, and being devoured by a big black snake represents committing spiritual suicide by merging into the brahmajyoti, and thus relinquishing one’s personal identity.”
“Finally, the astrologer advised, ‘However, if you dig up just a small quantity of dirt on the eastern side, your hands will immediately touch the pot of treasure.’ The eastern side represents bhakti-yoga, the means by which one can very easily attain life’s ultimate success. Therefore, shastra consistently recommends that one should give up fruitive activity, speculative knowledge, and the mystic yoga system, and instead take to the devotional service of the Lord, which is the only way to approach Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In all Vedic literatures, the central point of attraction is Krishna, His service is our prime activity, and to attain love for Him is life’s ultimate goal. Therefore, Krishna, Krishna’s service, and love for Krishna, are the three greatest riches that one can possess.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu described to Sanatana Gosvami how Brahman and Paramatma are but partial realizations of Krishna, and how Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, expands Himself into innumerable forms. Then, while describing the six classes of incarnations, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu informed Sanatana of the yuga-avataras, who inaugurate the religious practices during the four ages.
In this connection, the Lord described the incarnation in the Kali-yuga as follows: “Accompanied by His personal associates, Lord Krishna, assuming a golden color, introduces the process of hari-nama sankirtana in the age of Kali. In this way, He delivers love for Krishna to the people in general. By personally chanting and dancing in ecstatic love, the Lord induces the entire world to chant the holy name of Lord Krishna congregationally. This has been vividly described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam and other Vedic literatures.”
Sanatana Gosvami had previously been a minister in the government of Nawab Hussain Shah, and he was as intelligent as Brihaspati. Due to the mercy of the Lord, he was able to make the following inquiry without hesitation: “I am a very insignificant living entity. In addition, I am very low and poorly behaved. How can I understand who is the actual incarnation of the Lord in this present age of Kali?
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “As in the previous yugas, the incarnations of God should be accepted according to the directions of shastra. Only through shastra can the conditioned soul gain perfect knowledge. A genuine incarnation will never say, ‘I am God’, or ‘I am an incarnation’. Knowing this, the great sage, Vyasadeva, has recorded the characteristics of the avataras in the Vedic literature.”
“The great sages can understand the incarnation of the Lord by two symptoms- the personal characteristics (svarupa-lakshana), and marginal characteristics (tatastha-lakshana). The incarnation’s bodily features, nature, and form constitute the personal characteristics, and his activities constitute the marginal characteristics.”
Sanatana Gosvami then said, “The incarnation in this age has a golden complexion, and His activities include the distribution of love of Godhead, and the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. Kindly confirm all of this definitely, so that my doubts in this matter will be dispelled.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “O Sanatana, give up your intelligent tricks and just hear from Me, so that you can understand the meaning of shaktyavesha-avatara.”
Sanatana Gosvami wanted Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to confirm that He is the incarnation in this age, for this is the clear indication of shastra. Since the Lord could not escape Sanatana’s logical conclusion, He indirectly accepted it by changing the subject.
After describing the categories of shaktyavesha-avatara, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu next explained how Lord Krishna appears in all of the innumerable universes, one after the other, just as the sun gradually moves across the sky. Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu described the unlimited opulence of Krishna, and while doing so, He narrated the following incident:
Once, as Lord Krishna was ruling over Dvaraka, Lord Brahma came to see Him. When informed by the doorman of his arrival, Lord Krishna immediately inquired, “Which Brahma? What is his name?”
When the doorman returned and asked Lord Brahma these questions, he became very surprised. Lord Brahma then told the doorman, “Please go and inform Lord Krishna that I am the four-headed Brahma, who is the father of the four Kumaras.”
After hearing the description of His visitor, Lord Krishna gave Brahma permission to enter. The doorman thus escorted him in, and as soon as Lord Brahma saw Lord Krishna, he bowed down and offered obeisances at His lotus feet. After being worshiped by Lord Brahma, Lord Krishna greeted him very respectfully and then inquired, “Why have you come here?”
Lord Brahma replied, “I shall tell You this later, but first there is a doubt in my mind that I wish You to kindly dissipate. Why did You inquire about which Brahma had come to see you? Does this mean that there is more than one Brahma within the universe?”
Upon hearing this, Lord Krishna mildly smiled and then absorbed Himself in meditation. Instantly, unlimited Brahmas came there. Some of them had ten heads, some twenty, some one hundred, some one thousand, some ten thousand, some one hundred thousand, some ten million, and others one hundred million heads. In addition, innumerable Lord Shivas arrived, having various numbers of heads, some with tens of millions. There were also countless Indras, having hundreds of thousands of eyes all over their bodies.
When the four-headed Brahma saw this, his mind became bewildered and he began to consider himself as being just like a rabbit amongst so many gigantic elephants. All of the Brahmas bowed down to offer their respects, and as they did so, their helmets touched Lord Krishna’s lotus feet, making a tumultuous sound. Indeed, it appeared as if the helmets themselves were offering prayers at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.
Then, with folded hands, all the Brahmas and Shivas addressed Krishna as follows: “O Lord, You have shown me great favor by allowing me to see Your lotus feet. It is my great fortune that You have called me here, considering me to be Your servant. Now, please let me know what Your order is, so that I may respectfully carry it upon my heads.”
Lord Krishna replied, “I have called you here just to see you. I hope that you are happy, and are living without fear of the demons.”
The Brahmas and Shivas replied, “By You mercy, we are victorious everywhere. Whatever burden there was upon the earth, You have removed by descending as an incarnation.”
Although all of the Brahmas were assembled together, none of them, except the four-headed Brahma, could see anyone but himself. Who can estimate the inconceivable potency of Krishna, for all of the Brahmas were resting in His one body? Who can estimate the opulence of Dvaraka, for all of the Brahmas were thinking, “Krishna is now staying within my jurisdiction.”
Thereafter, Lord Krishna bade farewell to all the Brahmas, and so, after offering their obeisances, they returned to their respective abodes. Having witnessed this wonderful display of opulence, the four-headed Brahma was highly astonished.
After again offering his obeisances to Lord Krishna, Brahma said, “Whatever I had formerly decided about my knowledge has now been verified. There are some people who say, ‘I know everything about Krishna.’ Let them think like that, but as far as I am concerned, I can only say this much and nothing more- As far as Your opulence is concerned, it is beyond the reach of my body, mind and words.”
Lord Krishna then explained, “Your particular universe extends for four billion miles, and since it is the smallest, you have only four heads. Some of the universes are one billion yojanas, some are one trillion yojanas, some ten trillion, and some one hundred trillion yojanas, and according to their size, the resident Brahma has so many heads. Since no one can measure the extent of the material energy, which is one-fourth of the total, who can estimate the three-fourths that manifests the spiritual world?”
After narrating this story, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu concluded by saying, “The unlimited potencies of Krishna are just like an ocean of nectar. Since one cannot bathe within that ocean, I have only touched a drop of it.”
As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu described Krishna’s opulence in this way, there was an awakening of conjugal love within His mind. While immersed in the sweetness of that conjugal mellow, the Lord next described Lord Krishna’s personal beauty as follows:
“My dear Sanatana, the sweet, attractive transcendental form of Krishna is so nice. Just try to understand it. Even a fractional realization of Krishna’s beauty can merge all three worlds in the ocean of love. The bodily beauty of Shri Krishna is like a wave in the ocean of eternal youth. In that great ocean is the whirlpool of the awakening of ecstatic love.”
“The vibration of Krishna’s flute is like a whirlwind, and the flickering minds of the gopis are like straws and dry leaves. After being swept away by that whirlwind, the minds of the gopis can never rise up again, but remain eternally at the lotus feet of Krishna.”
“Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is identical with the Vedic hymn known as kama-gayatri, which consists of twenty-four-and-a-half syllables. These syllables are compared to moons that arise in Krishna, and which cause the three worlds to be filled with desire. The face of Krishna is the king of moons, and His body is the throne from where the king rules the society of moons. Krishna’s two cheeks, which glow like jewels, are considered to be two full moons, and His forehead is a half-moon. Krishna’s fingernails, which dance upon His flute, and His toenails, which dance upon the ground, are all full moons, and so are the spots of sandalwood that decorate His face.”
“Krishna’s eyebrows are just like bows, His reddish eyes, which act as ministers to the King, are like arrows, and His two ears are like the bowstring. When Krishna’s eyes smilingly spread to His ears, He pierces the hearts of the gopis. Krishna’s transcendental body is very sweet, and His face is even sweeter. The soft smile on His face, however, which is like the fragrance of honey, is sweetest of all.”
“My dear Sanatana, the sweetness of Krishna’s personality is just like an ocean of nectar. Although My mind is now afflicted by a convulsive disease so that I wish to drink that entire ocean, the repressive physician does not allow Me to relish even one drop.”
“Krishna’s bright smiling is compared to camphor, and it mixes with the sweetness of His lips. Thereafter, it is spread throughout the four directions in the form of vibrations emanating from the holes of His flute. The sound of Krishna’s flute is very aggressive and it breaks the vows of all chaste women. Indeed, it takes them forcibly away from the laps of their husbands and brings them before Krishna. The vibration of Krishna’s flute is just like a bird that has created a nest within the ears of the gopis. Remaining prominent there, it does not allow them to hear any other sound, to concentrate upon anything else, or even give a proper reply when spoken to.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to external consciousness and told Sanatana Gosvami, “I was describing to you the opulence of Lord Krishna, but now I see that I have spoken about something which I had no intention of discussing. Lord Krishna is very merciful to you because, by bewildering My mind, He has explained about His personal beauty and His flute, by speaking through My mouth. Since I have become a madman, I am saying one thing instead of another. This is all due to My being carried away by the waves of the nectarean ocean of Lord Krishna’s transcendental sweetness.”
For those who are externally situated, such talks about Krishna and His flute certainly appear to be the statements of a madman. After remaining silent for a moment, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu finally adjusted things within His mind, and then continued speaking to Sanatana Gosvami as follows: “So far, I have described one’s relationship with Krishna (sambandha) in various ways. Now, I shall speak about the characteristics of devotional service (abhidheya), which is the only process by which one can attain shelter at Lord Krishna’s lotus feet.”
“Devotional service is the chief function of the living entity, and aside from bhakti, all other processes of self-realization are weak and insignificant. Indeed, without an overcoating of devotional service to the Lord, the processes of gyana and yoga cannot give the desired results.”
“Those who think of themselves as being liberated, without Krishna consciousness, are actually in illusion. Krishna is just like the sun, and maya is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. In the same way, as soon as one takes to Krishna consciousness, the darkness of illusion immediately vanishes. One is immediately freed from the clutches of maya if he seriously and sincerely says, ‘My dear Lord Krishna, although I have forgotten You for so many long years, today I am surrendering unto Your lotus feet. Please engage me in Your service.’ ”
“Even if one approaches Lord Krishna with some motive, he is still most fortunate. Lord Krishna Himself has said, ‘If one engages in My transcendental loving service, but at the same time desires the opulence of material enjoyment, he is certainly very foolish. Indeed, he is just like a person who gives up nectar to drink poison. Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool the material prosperity that he hankers after? Instead, I shall induce him to taste the nectar which is available by taking shelter of My lotus feet, and thus he will forget completely about illusory, material enjoyment.”
“Unless one is favored by a pure devotee, he cannot attain the platform of devotional service. For this reason, it is the verdict of all shastra that the value of a moment’s association with a pure devotee cannot be equated with any amount of material enjoyment, or even liberation.”
“When one actually attains unflinching devotional faith in Lord Krishna, he automatically becomes decorated with all good qualities. Such devotees are always merciful, humble, truthful, equal to all, faultless, magnanimous, mild and clean. They are without material possessiveness and they perform welfare work for the benefit of everyone. They are peaceful, fully surrendered to Krishna, desireless, indifferent to material acquisition, and are fully fixed in devotional service. They completely control the six bad qualities; lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and enviousness; they eat only as much as required; and they are never inebriated. They are respectful, grave, compassionate, devoid of false prestige, friendly, poetic, expert and silent.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu described the sixty-four items of devotional service. At the conclusion of this discussion, the Lord said, “One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura, and worship the Deity with faith and veneration. These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all, and even a slight performance of them awakens love for Krishna. Indeed, the potency of these five principles is very wonderful and difficult to reconcile. Even without having faith in them, if a person is offenseless, he can experience the manifestation of his dormant love for Krishna, simply by a little connection with them.”
Thereafter, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued, saying, “My dear Sanatana, I have briefly described the process of devotional service in practice (sadhana-bhakti). Now, please hear about the result of devotional service, which is love of Godhead, life’s ultimate goal (prayojana).”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu described the various ecstasies that constitute love of Godhead. Then, He listed the sixty-four transcendental qualities of Lord Krishna, and the twenty-five transcendental qualities of Shrimati Radharani.
Finally, after describing the transcendental rasas, or loving relationships that are exchanged between Lord Krishna and His devotees, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Formerly, I empowered your brother, Rupa Gosvami, to understand these mellows, while instructing him at Dasashvamedha-ghata in Prayaga. O Sanatana, you should broadcast the bhakti-shastra, and excavate the forgotten holy places of pilgrimage in the Mathura area. Compile books that establish the supremacy of devotional service to Lord Krishna, and thus preach the bhakti movement from Vrindavana.”
Next, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained to Sanatana Gosvami the proper conclusions regarding such illusory stories as the destruction of the Yadu dynasty, Krishna’s disappearance, how Krishna and Balarama appeared from a black and white hair of Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, and the kidnapping of Krishna’s queens. These pastimes were all enacted by the external energy of the Lord, and thus are apparently against the conclusions of Krishna consciousness. For this reason, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained them in their proper light, so that the attacks of the atheists could be counteracted.
After hearing everything from the Lord, Sanatana Gosvami accepted his position as being lower than a straw in the street by symbolically placing a bunch of straw in his mouth. Then, while falling down and clasping Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, Sanatana Gosvami submitted the following petition: “My dear Lord, although I am very lowborn and downtrodden, You have taught me conclusive truths that are unknown even to Lord Brahma. Indeed, You have imparted unto me the nectarean ocean of conclusive truth, but unfortunately, my mind is unable to approach even one drop of it.”
“My dear Lord, if You want to make a lame man like me dance, then kindly bestow Your transcendental blessings, by keeping Your lotus feet upon my head. Now, please tell me, ‘Let whatever I have imparted become fully manifest in you.’ If You benedict me in this way, I will actually be able to describe what You have taught me.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu placed His hand upon Sanatana Gosvami’s head, and benedicted him by saying, “Let all these instructions become manifest to your understanding.”
Thereafter, Sanatana Gosvami clasped Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and very humbly requested, “My Lord, I have heard that formerly, at Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya’s house, You explained the famous ‘atmarama verse’ from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, in eighteen different ways. I am very inquisitive to hear this explanation, and so, if You kindly repeat it, I would be very pleased to listen.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I am one madman, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya is another. Therefore, he took My words to be truthful. Actually, I do not recall what I had said at that time, but if something comes to mind by your association, I shall explain it. Generally, by Myself, I cannot give an explanation, but by the strength of your association something may become manifest.”
“Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by external material desires, also become attracted to the loving service of Lord Shri Krishna, whose qualities are transcendental, and whose activities are all wonderful.”
After reciting the “atmarama” verse, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu first of all explained the meanings of its eleven words, individually. Then, gradually, He described how, because of Lord Krishna’s all-attractive qualities, the process of devotional service is so sublime that by its execution one can easily forget about the happiness derived from material sense gratification, the attainment of mystic powers, and even liberation.
By explaining the “atmarama” verse in various ways, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showed how all classes of living entities, from the most exalted down to the insignificant, can come to the platform of devotional service if they are fortunate enough to gain the association of a pure devotee. Then, in the course of His analysis, the Lord narrated the following story, just to illustrate the efficacy of associating with pure devotees:
Once upon a time, after having visited Lord Narayana in Vaikuntha, the great saintly devotee, Narada, desired to bathe at Triveni, the confluence of the Rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Sarasvati. While traveling along the forest path toward Prayaga, Narada Muni saw a deer lying upon the ground that had been pierced by an arrow. The poor animal had broken legs and was writhing due to unbearable pain.
Further ahead, Narada Muni saw a boar that had also been pierced by an arrow, and with broken legs, it was also twisting due to severe pain. Then, after going a bit further, Narada Muni saw a rabbit in a similar condition. As befitting a great devotee of the Lord, Narada felt very pained at heart to see these living beings suffering so greatly.
Narada Muni then saw a fierce hunter with black complexion and reddish eyes, hiding behind a tree. With bow and arrow in hand, the hunter was prepared to kill more animals, and thus he looked like the superintendent of death, Yamaraja, himself. But when Narada Muni left the forest path to approach the hunter, all of the animals loitering there immediately fled.
Upon seeing this, the hunter wanted to chastise Narada Muni with abusive language, but due to the great sage’s spiritual influence he was unable to utter anything offensive. Finally, the hunter said, “O saintly person, why have you left the forest path and come to me? Simply by seeing you, all of the animals that I was about to kill have run away.”
Narada Muni then said, “I have come to you just to dispel a doubt which has arisen in my mind. I was wondering whether the half-killed animals that I saw belong to you.”
The hunter replied, “Yes, that is correct.”
Narada then inquired, “Why don’t you kill the animals completely? Why do you pierce them with your arrows and then leave them lying half-killed?”
The hunter replied, “My dear sir, my name is Mrigari, the enemy of the animals. My father taught me to kill the animals in this way, and indeed, when I see them writhing in pain, half-killed, I feel great pleasure.”
Narada Muni told the hunter, “There is one thing that I would like to beg from you.”
The hunter replied, “You may take some of these slain animals, or whatever else you like. I have many nice deerskin and tiger skins, and so if you like, I will gladly give you one.”
Narada Muni said, “I do not want any of your skins. Instead, I beg that from this day on you will kill the animals completely and not leave them lying on the ground, half-dead.”
The hunter inquired, “My dear sir, what are you asking? What is wrong with letting the animals lie there, half-killed? Will you explain this to me?”
Narada Muni replied, “If you leave the animals half-dead, you are purposely giving them unnecessary pain, and as a result, you will also have to suffer greatly. My dear hunter, your business is killing animals, but that is only a slight offense. However, because you deliberately give the animals additional pain, by allowing them to remain half-dead, you are acting very sinfully. Because of this, you will have to incur very severe reactions. All these animals that you have killed will also kill you, one after the other, in your next life and innumerable future lives as well.”
By the association of the great devotee, Narada, the hunter became purified, and as a result, he could realize the sinful nature of his life. Being very afraid of the sinful reactions that were surely awaiting him, Mrigari said, “I was taught this killing business from my very childhood, and only now could I understand its sinful nature. How can I become freed from the unlimited volumes of sinful reactions that I am destined to suffer? My dear sir, I fully surrender to you and fall down at your lotus feet. Please deliver me from all the reactions to my sinful life.”
In response, Narada Muni assured the hunter by saying, “If you are willing to follow my instructions, then I shall personally take responsibility for your liberation.”
The hunter agreed, saying, “My dear sir, whatever you order, I shall do.”
Narada immediately commanded, “First of all, break your bow. Then, I will tell you what has to be done next.”
However, the hunter objected, “If I break my bow, then how shall I be able to maintain myself?”
Narada Muni replied, “Do not worry, for I will supply you with food every day.”
After receiving this assurance, the hunter broke his bow, and then fell at Narada Muni’s lotus feet in full surrender.
Narada raised him up and then gave him the following instructions, for his spiritual advancement: “Return home and distribute whatever wealth you possess to the pure brahmanas who know the Absolute Truth. Thereafter, both you and your wife should leave home, taking only one cloth each to wear, and go to live by the side of the river. Construct a small cottage there, and in front of it grow a tulasi plant on a raised platform. Continuously chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and daily worship tulasi devi by circumambulating her and giving her water and other offerings. I shall send you more than sufficient food each day, and both of you can take as much as you like.”
Then, by dint of his mystic power, Narada Muni brought the three half-killed animals back to their normal condition. When Mrigari saw them immediately get up and swiftly run away, he certainly became struck with wonder. Thereafter, the hunter offered his obeisances and returned home, and Narada Muni also went to his desired destination.
News of how the hunter had become a great Vaishnava soon spread throughout the local village, and out of respect, the inhabitants came to him and presented alms. Indeed, each day, Mrigari and his wife received enough food for ten or twenty people, but still, they would accept only as much as they could eat.
Then, one day, while conversing with his friend, Parvata Muni, Narada requested him to come and see his disciple, who had been a hunter. When the two great sages came to where Mrigari was residing, the former hunter saw them approach from a distance. With great eagerness, Mrigari began running toward his spiritual master. However, when he saw that there were many ants moving here and there on the ground, he first of all carefully whisked them away with his cloth, before offering his obeisances by falling flat onto the ground.
Narada Muni said, “My dear hunter, such behavior is not at all astonishing. One who is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord automatically becomes nonviolent, because he is never inclined to give pain to others, out of envy.”
Mrigari received the two great sages by spreading out a straw mat and respectfully begging them to be seated. He then brought some water and washed their feet with great devotion, and after doing so, he and his wife drank the water and sprinkled it on their heads. After this, when Mrigari began chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in front of his spiritual master, his body trembled and tears came to his eyes. Being filled with ecstatic love, the former hunter raised his arms and began to dance, while waving his outer garment energetically.
When Parvata Muni saw these manifestations of ecstasy, he told Narada, “You are certainly a touchstone. My dear friend, by your mercy even a lowborn person like this hunter can immediately become a lover of Lord Krishna.”
Narada Muni inquired from Mrigari, “My dear Vaishnava, are you receiving enough food?”
Mrigari replied, “My dear spiritual master, whoever you send to see me, brings something as an offering. Please do not give us so much food, but only what is sufficient for two people.”
Narada was very pleased to hear this statement. Thus, he blessed his disciple by saying, “You are fortunate”, and after doing so, both he and Parvata Muni disappeared from that place.
Sanatana Gosvami was highly astonished to hear Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explain the “atmarama” verse in so many ways. Then, while falling at Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet, Sanatana Gosvami began to offer his prayers as follows: “My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the son of Maharaja Nanda, and thus all of the Vedic literatures have emanated from Your breathing. My dear Lord, You are the original speaker of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and except for Yourself, no one can know its confidential meaning.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Why are you glorifying Me? Instead, why don’t you try and understand the transcendental position of Shrimad-Bhagavatam? Shrimad-Bhagavatam is identical with Lord Krishna, and thus in each and every syllable there are various meanings. Shrimad-Bhagavatam appears in the form of questions and answers, and in this way it establishes the proper conclusion of all knowledge. By hearing these questions and answers, one becomes highly astonished. ‘After the departure of Lord Krishna for His own abode, Shrimad-Bhagavatam has arisen like the sun in this Kali-yuga, in order to enlighten those who have lost their spiritual vision due to the dense darkness of this age.’ ”
“Like a madman, I have explained the meaning of just one verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam, but I do not know who will accept what I have said as evidence. Only if one becomes a madman like Me can he understand the meaning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam by this process.”