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Pastimes Before Taking Sannyasa
Now I'll tell something wonderful which the common people can't understand. For everyone's welfare, Lord Gauranga danced in divine love in the house of Candrasekhara Acarya. Then He went home. The brilliant dancing of the Lord and His associates appeared like the rising of millions of moons. A beautiful cooling atmosphere pervaded the house. Yet due to the brilliant effulgence, no one could look at it. Amazed by this wonderful pastime, the residents of Nadia asked the Vaishnavas to explain its meaning.
The devotees said, "How can we understand Gauranga? We only know that in the home of Candrasekhara, the crest-jewel oF all transcendental qualities danced for seven days without stopping. Day and night were conspicuous by their absence. For seven days Gauranga spread His radiant effulgence in all directions. We were bathing in His ever-fresh and blissful pastimes. Thus the son of Sacimata showed the religion of compassion."
Sankirtana is the Best Religion
Harboring some doubts within his mind, Shrivasa Pandita once asked Lord Gauranga, "Prabhu, why is it said that by doing Hari-nama sankirtana in Kali-yuga, one will get the supreme result?
Mahaprabhu said, "You've asked a good question. In Satya-yuga, meditation was the dharma; in Treta-yuga it was sacrifice and in Dvapara it was the worship of Krishna. In Kali-yuga no one can do these things. So, the Supreme Lord came down as His name. Therefore, in Kaliyuga, Hari-narna sankirtana is the most powerful form of religion.
"In the previous yugas the rnahajanas served Lord Narayana by dhyana, yajna or arcana [meditation, sacrifice, worship]. In Kali-yuga, people are sinful miscreants. So, the compassionate Lord gave them an easy method to attain spiritual perfection. Simply by performing the yajna of Hari-nama one can easily obtain all perfection. What one achieved in previous 'ages with great austerities, can effortlessly be obtained in Kali-yuga."
Placing the lotus feet of Narahari on my head, I, Locana Dasa, happily describe the nectarean pastimes of Shriman Mahaprabhu.
For some reason, one day Lord Gauranga began to think, "I can't stay here anymore. I must go to Vrnda_Yana. Where is My Kalindi? Where is My Yamuna and the forests of^raj a? Where is My Govardhana, Bahulavana and Bhandiravana? Where'have Lalita, Radha and the ctthers gone? Where have Nanda and Yasodamayi gone? Where are My Shridama and Sudama?"
Gauranga began running and crying in ecstasy for His favorite cows, "DhavalH Samali!" At one moment He held some grass between His teeth and looked around compassionately. He said, "When will I give up this family life? When will I attain the feet of the son ofNanda Maharaja?"
Sighing deeply, Gauranga snapped His brahmin thread. Sinking in the miserable ocean of separation from Krishna, He cried out, "Hari! Hari!" His body erupted in tiny bumps of ecstasy and His eyes becamd reddened from rising emotions.
Seeing Gauranga's condition, Murari Gupta said, "O Lord, You can do anything and everything You want. But please don't go anywhere without first talking to me. If You suddenly go to a distant country, all the devotees will separate. Feeling helpless, we'll lose heart, and again become submerged in material existence. I can definitely say that if You leave now, what you have accomplished thus far will be lost."
Lord Gauranga remained silent, incapable of refuting Murari's arguments. He abandoned the idea of leaving Navadvipa. The people of Nadia kept relishing His darsana. Visvambhara pleased the mind and heart of Sacimata by His association. Gauranga continued living with Vishnupriya and enjoying her love. Gaurahari happily passed the days with His friends and relatives.
Day after day, Gauranga and His associates did ecstatic sankirtana. The ladies of Nadia watched in amazement. Gaura's beauty excelled the limits of beauty. He was decorated with ornaments, and small malati flowers were woven in His beautiful hair. His expertly drawn tilaka enchanted the minds of all. His dhoti, brilliantly shining, had a red border. Gauranga's charming beauty surpassed everything in the three worlds. According to their moods of loving affection, the residents of Nadia saw the Lord differently.
Visvambhara Meets Kesava Bharati
Smiling gently, Gauranga said, "Last night I had a dream. A crestjewel among the brahmanas came to Me. He uttered the sannyasa mantra in My ear. Since that mantra entered My heart, now I can remember each and every detail of it.
"From that moment, My heart became absorbed in one thing. Giving up the dear Lord of My life, how can I do any work? He whose complexion defeats the luster of a blue sapphire is constantly smiling and residing in the core of My heart."
Murari Gupta said, "Please my Lord. You are the creator of that mantra."
Gauranga said, "Your words don't satisfy Me. The more I try to check My mind, the more it cries out in defiance. Listen to Me, don't tell Me anything. What can I do? It's the potency of the mantra that causes Me to act like this. Despite your words, I can't help Myself."
After hearing this the devotees became worded. With a painful heart, Locana Dasa describes this.
A short time later Kesava Bharati came to Navadvipa. He had pure consciousness and was the most powerful among the sannyasis. In a previous life Kesava Bharati did numerous pious activities to attain the supreme position of a mahabhagavata. He became pleased when he first saw Visvambhara.
Upon seeing the illustrious sannyasi, Gauranga stood to greet him and offered respects. Tears fell from the Lord's eyes when He saw that pure and effulgent sannyasi. Seeing the bodily transformations of the Lord, that intelligent sannyasi knew what had to be done. Kesava Bharati Gosvami said, "It seems that You must be Sukadeva or Prahlada."
Gauranga responded by crying loudly. Surprised, Kesava Bharati continued speaking, "You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. There's no doubt about it. You are the life of the universe."
Though weeping, Gauranga said, "When shall I get the lotus feet of Krishna? You have deep. attachment for Krishna. Therefore, you see Krishna everywhere. When will I be able to see Krishna? When I wear the same dress as you [sannyasa], then I'll see Krishna. I will travel everywhere searching for the Lord of My life, Shri Krishna." After offering respects to Kesava Bharati, Lord Gauranga went to His house.
Meeting him on the road, Gauranga told Shrivasa to take the sannyasi to his house. Shrivasa entertained Kesava Bharati with ample prasada. The next day Kesava Bharati, the greatest of the sannyasis, left Navadvipa. Lord Gauranga felt sad to hear about the sannyasi's departure. At that moment, within His heart Visvambhara'decided to take sannyasa. Understanding His intentions, Mukunda tried in various ways to dissuade Gauranga from taking the renounced order of life.
The Devotees Can't Bear Separation From Gauranga
All the Lord's intimate associates met in the home ofShrivasa Pandita. In a tear-filled voice, Mukunda addressed them, "Lord Visvambhara will soon leave Nadia to take sannyasa. As long as He remains with us just relish His beauty with your eyes and attentively hear His nectarcan words. Soon the Lord will leave His home, wife, mother and His servants."
Hearing this sad news filled everyone's heart with a burning pain. They planned how to keep Gauranga from leaving them and taking sannyasa. However, no one can control the completely independent Lord. Feeling extremely apprehensive, the devotees cried and rolled on the ground.
They wailed, "O Lord Visvambhara, the Lord of our hearts! Where are you going, leaving us alone to be devoured by the snake of Kaliyuga? In fear of Kali, we took shelter of You. In Your presence the snake-like Kali could not affect us."
Just then Lord Visvambhara arrived in Shrivasa's house. He said, "Don't be afraid. To attain Krishna-prema I must travel to a distant country. I'll bring it back and give it to all of you. Listen Shrivasa, O best of the brahmanas. As a good businessman takes great trouble to earn wealth to maintain his friends and family, similarly, I will collect the treasure of Krishna-prerna and bring it to everyone."
Shrivasa Pandita said, "What is the use of Your leaving when we can't see you any longer? When one lives, he maintains his friends. Yet, if he dies, he can't maintain them anymore. Prabhu, if You leave us now, we will die. Then who will You give Your treasure of love of God to when You retum?"
Mukunda said, "Gauranga, my heart is buming up, yet I continue living. We are just wretched sinners, but You are the greatest cheat. We can't understand Your behavior. We are fools and have rejected our families, duties and everything to take shelter of Your lotus feet.
"Seeing us most fallen, how can You leave us? We know from the scriptures that You are the savior of the fallen. Therefore, we gave up all religious duties and completely surrendered to You. Lord, we beg You. Please don't leave us like this.
, "Inside, Your heart is harder than a lightning bolt. Yet outside, Your body is softer and more fragrant than a lotus flower. At first we thought Your heart was soft too, but now we realize that You are most hardhearted. Your heart is like a pot of poison covered by a thin layer of milk. Your heart is like a sweetmeat made of wood and covered with aromatic camphor. Although attractive, no one can enjoy it.
"How can You be so cruel to us? What is the use of our lives if You leave us and go to a foreign country? We can't live a second without seeing You."
Crying piteously and with his voice choked up, Murari Gupta said, To my Lord Visvambhara, Gauranga. This lowest Murari says that with Your own hands You planted a wonderful tree. By watering it day and night, You made it grow. Taking great care, You protected and maintained it. You tied many jewels to its root. But before it gets the chance to produce fruits and flowers, You want to cut it down.
"Similarly, if You leave, we will all die with broken hearts. Day and night we know only You. Even in dreams we constantly see Your moonlike face. Now You will leave us alone to be swallowed by the tiger of material existence. Why have You become so cruel?"
Then all the devotees fell down at Gauranga's feet and said, "O friend of the poor! O Lord of those who have nothing! O savior of the fallen! 0 Lord of the universe!" Someone held a straw between his teeth and beseeched the Lord. Another raised his hands above his head and called repeatedly to Lord Gauranga.
Gauranga Can't Bear Separation from Krishna
Attempting to pacify His devotees, Gauranga said, "You are My personal servants. Please listen to Me." The Lord tried to speak, but His voice choked with emotion. Tears flooded His eyes, and they turned red like the rising sun. Overwhelmed with love, the Lord fell silent.
Then Lord Visvambhara said, "Fearing impending separation from Me, you have all become sad and miserable. But I, Myself, am feeling totally overwhelmed in separation from Krishna. For the sake of your own pleasure, you appear to give Me pleasure. Exactly how do you love Me?
"In separation from Krishna, My heart and My senses are burning. My limbs are on fire and fever races through My body. Even My mother seems like a fire, and your words are like poison to Me. Life without Krishna is not life at all. It's just like the life of beasts and birds. A dead body has form but no life, even though many living entities exist within that body. "Without Krishna all the activities of religion are futile. They are just like a brahmana without knowledge of the Vedas, a young lady without a husband, or a fish without water. Without wealth what's the use of entering household life? What's the use of starting a learned society among the illiterate?
"My heart is throbbing in separation from Krishna. In this state I can't hear your appeals. I'll take the dress of a sannyasi and travel to all the countries searching for the Lord of My heart." Then Lord Gauranga cried, fell down on the earth and snapped His brahmin thread. In a piteous voice, He cried out, "0 Prananatha!" [Lord of My heart].
Lord Gauranga continued,"Listen, all of you. The material existence is doubtful, dangerous, and full of poison. Unseen by others, this poison is constantly burning My heart. My senses relentlessly demand satisfaction. Desires for material pleasure increase day by day in evernew forms.
"Desires such as greed, lust, envy, anger and false pride never spare a human being. They rob a man's mind and stay lodged within his heart.' He never gets consolation from .these desires. Externally bound by maya in the form of sins and material desires, he forgets Krishna and travels in the misconceptions of body, caste and creed.
"All the beautiful things in the world make us forget Krishna. When one begins to serve Krishna, his real life begins. Knowing that human life is very rare, still I've given up Krishna's service and now I'm going to die.
"Listen everyone, I'm telling you the essence of truth. All of you please bless Me, so that love of Krishna will develop within the core of My heart. Please always sing the glories of Krishna. May you always see Krjshna's beautiful lotus face and eyes. May your hearts be tied to His beautiful lotus feet. What more can I say?
"Without seeing Krishna in My heart, I'm burning alive. I'm ,drowning hopelessly in the ocean of material existence. One who sees Krishna as His father, mother, guru, friend and only lord can easily worship the Lord. You are all My dear friends, and you are exalted devotees. Don't neglect to show Me your mercy. Soon I'll take sannyasa and distribute love of Godhead for the welfare of everyone."
Then Visvambhara rolled on the ground, smearing His golden body with dust. He was breathing heavily and chanting tumultuously, "Hari! HarH" His whole body broke out in horripilation and sometimes shivered. At times he spoke in a faltering voice. Then He would cry, laugh or jump about due to ecstatic love in separation from Krishna.
At another time Gauranga roared "Vrndavana!" A moment later He would loudly call "Radha!" At another moment He hiked up His dhoti and beat His chest with both fists yelling "Hari, Hari!" His friends felt sad and helpless, wondering what they could say to comfort the Lord in His anguish of separation.
Murari Gupta said, "Gaurahari, please listen. You are completely independent in all respects. To teach others and show Your compassion, You show these pains of separation. According to Your sweet will, You will do whatever You want. How else can we explain Your behavior?
"You know everything, and we are just insignificant living entities. We don't know what our next life will be-- maybe a fly or an insect. You are the friend of all, and an ocean of mercy. After deliberating, just do whatever You think is best."
Gauranga smiled and embraced the devotees. Manifesting His love, the Lord said, "Listen everyone. Don't doubt My words. Wherever I may travel, I will always stay with you as your shelter." Then Visvambhara bade farewell to the devotees and went to His home.