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Chapter 5 More Pastimes of Youth
Gangadevi's Love for Gauranga
Now everyone, please listen to another day of the Lord's pastimes. During the enchanting evening atmosphere, Visvambhara and His friends went to take darsana of the Ganges River. On both sides of the river many brahmanas and saintly persons offered respects and prayers to Gangadevi. Ladies carried pots of Ganges water. Many different panditas, with names like Misra, Acarya, and Bhatta, stood by admiring the pure and beautiful Ganges River. Both the young and old were worshiping the Ganges with fruits, flowers and sandalwood pulp.
Due to uncontrolled love for Visvambhara, the Ganges rushed rapidly, spilling over her banks in order to gently touch the body of the Lord. People wondered why the Ganges seemed much more beautiful today. Although she's usually calm and quiet, why was she now loudly roaring and surging with waves? There was no storm brewing, yet why was she flooding her banks?
Standing on her bank was one brahmana who was most devoted to her. By the mercy of Gangadevi, his heart was pure, so he could see the past, present and future. Seeing the Ganges swirling in ecstasy, he got excited and wondered why this was happening.
Nearby? Visvambhara stood on the banks of the Ganges and gazed at her with love and devotion. Due to horripilation, His body expanded in size, and His reddish eyes filled with tears of compassion. The brahmanas understood that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
They could see that Visvambhara was overcome with love for Gangadevi. Knowing Ganga's heart, the Lord walked forward to touch her. Ganga's desire was not fulfilled, so she splashed her waves across the lotus feet of the Lord. In extreme ecstasy, Gauranga chanted "Hari bol !" and then offered His lap to His favorite one.
Out of love, Gauranga keeps Gangadevi in His heart. In the shape of hundreds of streams, Ganga's tears of love flowed toward the ocean. Her pure waters flowed from each hair on Gauranga's body, but the people call it perspiration. In this way the ocean of love overflows.
In all directions, the people were blissfully chanting "Had! Hari !" The whole town of Nadia became astounded to witness this pastime. They became convinced that Visvambhara was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The brahmana devotee who had watched Visvambhara's pastime with Gangadevi fell at the Lord's feet.
Crying, the brahmana said, "Finally after a long time, the Ganges has bestowed her mercy upon me. Gangadevi allowed me to realize the true identity of Mahaprabhu, who is beyond the reach of the greatest yogis and sages." Overwhelmed with love, the brahmana cried and rolled on the ground. On seeing him absorbed in love, Lord Gauranga returned home.
Then the brahmana explained why the Ganges River overflowed her banks that day. He said, "Once upon a time Lord Siva was ecstatically singing the glories of Lord Krishna. Narada Muni and Ganesa accompanied him, playing vina and mrdanga respectively.
"Due to spiritual euphoria, their bodies erupted in goose bumps from head to toe. The harmonious spiritual vibration of their concert pierced the coverings of the universe. Being attracted, the Lord went to see them.
"The Lord said, 'O Mahesa [Siva], don't sing My glories in this way. You don't realize its effect. Your music and singing causes My body to melt.'
"Smiling, Mahesa said, 'Let me see the mystical effect of my song.' Then Lord Siva sang even more vigorously, filling up the universe with his song. Suddenly, the Lord' s body gradually melted. ,Seeing this, Mahesa became terrified. He stopped singing and the Lord stopped melting.
"The water which came from the melting of the Lord'S body was actually liquid Brahman, and it was full of compassion. Everyone says that this water, which is the embodiment of Janardana, is a place of pilgrimage. Lord Brahma preserved this precious water, the rarest thing in the material world, in his kamandalu [waterpot].
"To favor His devotee, Bali Maharaja, the Lord again manifested Himself. Appearing before King Bali in His dwarf form of Vamanadeva, the Lord begged three steps of land. Vamanadeva's first step covered the earth planet. His second step crossed the universe. The final step He put on Bali's head.
"Just listen to the unlimited glories of Tripada [Vamanadeva] whose mercy blessed the three worlds. The water flowing from the nails of the Lord's lotus feet inundated the universe. Lord Brahma lovingly worshiped the Lord' s feet. He honored that water by pouring it over his head. People call the Ganges 'Tripada Sambhava' seeing that she came from the lotus feet of Tripada, Lord Vamanadeva.
"Now that same wonderful Lord has appeared before us as Mahaprabhu Visvambhara. Let us relish His darsana. On seeing Mahaprabhu, Gangadevi remembered this pastime, and out 'of love, overflowed her banks. As Visvambhara lovingly gazed at her, Gangadevi saw that the Lord's body was sweeter than nectar. Then on the pretext of making waves, she tenderly caressed the Lord's lotus feet. Since Gangadevi expressed her feelings to me, I could explain this."
Everyone rejoiced over hearing this beautiful story. Thus Locana Dasa happily sings the glories of Gauranga.
Visvambhara Conquers East Bengal
In this way Visvambhara spent His time joking and playing with His friends. Suddenly, one day He thought, "I should visit East Bengal for the benefit of the people there. People say that that country is a rejected place Since the Pandavas did not stay there. The Ganges River flowing in East Bengal is called the Padmavati. By My touch, I will bless that river and make the Padmavati known to all." Thinking like this the Lord told Sacimata, "Mother, I must travel outside to earn wealth." Gauranga collected some of His eternal associates and began His joumey. Sacimata felt disturbed over the impending separation from her beloved son.
Sacimata said, "My darling son, I have one request. You want to go to a distant country for earning money. But without You, how will I live? A fish can't live without water; similarly, I can't survive without You. If I can't see Your beautiful moonlike face, I will surely die."
Gaurasundara spoke some comforting words. "Mother, don't be apprehensive. I will come back right away." He told Laksmidevi, "Please take care of mother and serve her nicely." Ignoring Sacimata's lamentation, the Lord left home.
Whoever saw Visvambhara during His journey would become overwhelmed by His transcendental beauty. One person said, "I want to look at Him all day and night." The village women felt themselves blessed to have His darsana. They wondered who was that fortunate lady that bore this son. They had never before seen such an attractive person.
Who was that most fortunate girl who worshiped Hara and Gauri [Siva and Parvati] and got Him as her husband? His aura shines like fresh gold and His strongly-built body threatens Mt. Sumern. A pure white brahmana thread hangs from his lion-like shoulder. His charming beauty wins the hearts of the ladies.
One lady, versed in Krishna rasa-tattva, analyzed Gaura's appearance and said, "His big, beautiful eyes defeat the beauty of a lotus flower. His glances are even more beautiful. Gaura's features remind me of Shri Radhavallabha [Krishna the beloved of Radha] His golden complexion matches Shri Radha's."
When Gauranga's feet touched her, the Padmavati River became thrilled in ecstasy just like the Ganges. Lush green trees line both sides of the beautiful Padmavati River, which shelters many fish, turtles and crocodiles. Sages and brahmanas sit serenely on her banks. Many people enjoy bathing in her waters.
By the divine touch of Visvambhara, the Padmavati became pure. Anyone who bathes here without offending the Vaishnavas will get free from his sins and attain prema-bhakti. The residents along the banks of the Padmavati were grateful to their eyes for giving them the darsana of Gaurachandra.
Everyone in that country became devotees of Lord Gauranga. The caress of His feet cooled the earth and filled Mother Bhumi with joy. All misfortunes of that place were removed. East Bengal now became famous as the country that was liberated by Lord Hari. The infamy caused by the Pandavas never visiting that place was destroyed forever.
In the form of Hari-nama sankirtana, Gauranga mercifully offered a boat to carry the people across the sea of material existence. If someone tried to run away, Gauranga, the captain of the boat, would catch him with His own hand. He would hold him on His lap and take him to the other side of the river of birth and death. What other incarnation of the Lord has personally asked for the sins of the fallen? Where will you find such mercy? Lord Gauranga gave everyone a chance to easily attain love of Radha and Krishna.
The Snakebite of Separation
Back in Navadvipa, Laksmidevi, her heart fully dedicated to Lord Visvambhara, faithfully and happily served Sacimata. She regularly cleaned the house and worshiped the family Deity with perfumes, incense, ghee lamps, flower garlands and sandalwood pulp. Sacidevi forget her distress and became content because of her daughter-in-law's sweet behavior. Laksmi also felt pleasure in the company of Sacimata.
Laksmi and Sacidevi were peacefully living together, but who can impede the will of Providence? Laksmidevi's heart continually burned in painful separation from her beloved Lord Gaura. One day this separation took the form of a snake and bit Laksmipriya. Sacidevi panicked and called for a mantra doctor to neutralize the venom. None of his cures could help Laksmi. Sacidevi became afraid and distraught.
As Laksmidevi neared the end of her life, she was brought to the bank of the Ganges. Tulasi beads were wrapped around her neck, and everyone in the four directions chanted the Lord's holy names. No one could understand that Laksmidevi would now go to the Lord's eternal abode. Then suddenly, a celestial chariot surrounded by Gandharvas descended from the sky to pick her up. Laksmidevi chanted the name of Hari and went to Vaikuntha. The people were amazed to see this.
Saci and the women of Nadia also cried piteously as they remembered the good qualities of Laksmidevi. Tears streamed down their breasts, wetting their saris. They exhaled hot breath and hit their foreheads with their palms, expressing their deep lamentation. Laksmidevi, whose nature and qualities equaled those of the goddess of fortune, had no match in the whole city of Nadia.
Sacidevi wept while saying, "Hbw can I go badk to my house alone? Who will worship our family Deities and care for me? From today on, my house is empty and void. Why have you left Visvambhara? O sinful snake, where have you gone? Why didn't you bite me instead of my wonderful daughter-in-law? My son left His wife behind and traveled to a distant country just to serve me. How can I bear to look at my son's face, with my heart burning in separation from my daughter-in-law?"
Seeing Sacidevi's bereavement, her friends tried to pacify her with comforting words. "No one can change their destiny. This body and the whole material existence is just an illusory reality. As a wise woman, you should know these things. Why aren't you listening to our words of consolation?
"Everyone must die one day. Even the greatest demigods up to Lord Brahma will meet with destruction. For one who is born death is certain, either in youth or in old age. From the Vedas we know that Krishna is the only truth. One who doesn't serve the Supreme Lord is certainly a fool." After consoling Sacidevi, all her friends chanted the holy names in order to check their tears.
After staying in East Bengal for some time, Visvambhara joyfully returned home. Before leaving, Visvambhara worshiped an unlimited number of Vaishnavas with varieties of wealth. Visvambhara brought cloth, gold, pearls, coral and silver for Sacimata.
When he arrived home, Visvambhara paid respects to His mother and looked affectionately at her face. With a saddened face, Saci stood speechless. Again Gaura touched her feet, but still no response. Puzzled, Visvambhara asked, "Mother, why is your face so downcast? It bums My heart to see you look so sad."
Tears poured down moistening the sari covering her breasts, and her voice choked up as Sacimata spoke. "My daughter-in-law has gone to Vaikuntha."
Gaura's heart sank to the depths of misery and His eyes filled with tears of compassion. He said, "Listen mother, I'll tell you a story about why Laksmidevi took birth. Once upon a time, an apsara used to dance in the heavenly palace of Indra. By the arrangement of Providence, she made a mistake while dancing and broke her rhythm. As a result, Indra cursed her to take birth as a human.
".Feeling sorry, Indra said, 'Don't be sad. You will get a chance to serve the Lord in His earthly pastimes. I bless you to become His wife at that time. Then you'll return to my abode.'
"Mother, My wife Laksmidevi already told Me about this. So don't lament, for no one can change the will of Providence." Sacimata heard her son's words with great attention. She stopped thinking about it and gave up all her lamentation. Then Gauranga rejoined His friends and discussed other topics. Locana Dasa says just hear the wonderful story of Laksmidevi's ascending to Vaikuntha.