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Visvambhara Takes Sannyasa
The Crushing Effect of His Departure
Gauranga woke early in the morning and performed His brahminical duties. His mind was set: He would take sannyasa. Nimai Pandita would go to Kantaka-nagara [Katwa] and take sannyasa from the illustrious Kesava Bharati Goswami. The Lord began His journey by swimming across the Ganges. Hearing of His sudden departure, the people of Nadia felt as though they had been hit on the head by a bolt of lightning.
It seemed that the sun was no longer shining in the daytime, and the peaceful swans had abandoned their lake homes. The life airs seemed to vanish from the bodies of the devotees. The bees renounced their usual attachment for lotus flowers. All the living creatures in Navadvipa felt as if they were being crushed by a mountain of miseries. Everyone lamented pitiably in separation from Lord Gauranga.
Sacidevi, Vishnupriya and the intimate family of the Lord lie on the ground unconscious, their limbs dangling loosely. Placing Vishnupriya on her lap, Sacidevi wept bitterly. Their bodies existed, but their lives were gone. They simply lay on the ground and cried.
"Nimai! Nimai!" wailed Sacidevi, seeing darkness in all directions. She said, "How can I exist in this darkness? My house seems to swallow me up, and the advice of my relatives sounds like poison. Now no one will call me, 'Mother'. Even Yamaraja, the Lord of death, has forgotten me."
"My son has left me in such a miserable state. Oh, where has my Nimai gone, leaving me alone without a son? Who will bring Him back to me? Remembering Your pastimes, my heart burns. Where have You gone, leaving me without protection? Did You think how much I would suffer? Oh, my son, even after so much studying, You just left me alone in a helpless condition. Why have You run away, leaving Vishnupriya
all alone? You care nothing for the love of Your followers."
Vishnupriya continually wailed in lamentation, living in a semiconscious state. She behaved like a madwoman, forgetting to dress or tie her hair. Sometimes she sat for a moment. Then she stood up and started walking here and there for no apparent reason. Sometimes she cried madly, saying, "Holding the garland of the Lord's body in my heart, I'll light a fire, enter it and bum myself to death."
Due to her natural feminine shyness, Vishnupriya didn't say much about Lord Visvambhara. Everyone said they were suffering the reactions of their karma. Although they couldn't speak, everyone remembei-ed Gauranga's pleasing, transcendental qualities within their hearts. Simply remembering the Lord gave everyone a sweet taste of nectar.
The devotees felt sharp pain in their hearts. They lost all self-control due their bereavement. Each devotee tried to console himself.by recollecting the pastimes he had with the Lord. Who can say anything conclusive about Him? His character is unknown to the Vedas and everyone else in the universe. If one is fortunate he will chant Your name, and awaken his relationship with You. The followers of Gauranga resolved to carry out His orders with steadfastness. Thus, the devotees somewhat controlled their feelings of separation from the Lord.
Nityananda Prabhu and the devotees talked about where to find Gauranga. One devotee suggested they search all the holy places. Another suggested they visit Vrndavana, Varanasi or Nilacala where sannyasis usually live.
One devotee said, "We heard that Mahaprabhu went to Katwa to take sannyasa from Kesava Bharati, but it's not certain. If it's true, then everyone will run there to see Gauranga. First let me find the facts, then I' 11 tell everyone. Taking a few devotees with me, I' 11 capture Mahaprabhu and bring Him back home to Navadvipa."
Shri Nityananda Prabhu comforted Sacimata and Vishnupriya before starting for Katwa along with Candrasekhara, Damodara Pandita, Vakresvara and other prominent devotees.
Meanwhile, moving like a mad elephant, the beautiful Gaurahari ran quickly to reach His destination. Tears shot from His eyes like a syringe. Being overcome with love for Krishna, Gauranga's attractive golden body erupted in hordpilation. He tied His hair back as if He were a wrestler of Mathura. Chanting "Radhe! Radhe!" in the mood of separation, Gauranga ran down the road. Sometimes He moved slowly, or hiked up His dhoti and looked all around. The Lord of the universe was tasting the ecstasy of prerna as he went to Katwa.
Kesava Bharati's Refusal
Reaching Katwa, the Lord met Kesava Bharati and fell at his feet to offer respects. Kesava Bharati remembered the name of Narayana. Visvambhara considered Himself most fortunate to meet the eminent preceptor. They greeted each other with joyful words. Visvambhara asked Kesava Bharati to give Him sannyasa.
While they were talking, Lord Nityananda and His party from Navadvipa arrived. Gauranga smiled and greeted them, "It's good that you have come here." Thinking that His taking sannyasa would help everyone, the Lord again requested Kesava Bharati.
The respected Kesava Bharati said, "Listen Visvambhara, my heart trembles over the idea of awarding You sannyasa. You are a young man with a beautiful body who has never known any suffering from Your birth. Besides, You're wife is young and You don't have a son, or daughter for that matter. I don't want to give You sannyasa. When one passes fifty years of age he becomes naturally detached from material enjoyment. Then he's eligible to take sannyasa."
Lord Gauranga said, "O great sage and venerable sannyasi, what can I say before you? But don't bewilder Me. Other than you, who knows the truths of self-realization? A human birth is rare in this world. To practice devotional service is even more rare. But the rarest, most valuable thing of all, is to get the association of a pure devotee of Lord Shri Krishna.
"In a second this rare human body can perish. If you hesitate, this body may disappear. Then how will I obtain the association of a pure devotee? Please don't bewilder Me. Give Me sannyasa, and by your mercy I'll be able to serve Krishna." Gauranga looked sad with His reddish eyes full of tears. He showed all the symptoms of ecstatic love of Krishna in His body.
With a voice rumbling like the clouds, Visvambhara said, "Had ! Had !" Sometimes Gauranga stood in a three-fold bending form calling out "Vamsi! Vamsi !" The next moment, being thrilled with joy, His body shivered and He cried out with a laugh, "Rasa-mandala! Govardhana!"
Amazed and feeling apprehensive, Kesava Bharati contemplated the situation. He realized he had made a mistake by not giving sannyasa to Gauranga. He thought, "This person must be the guru of the world. If I initiate Him, He will fold His hands and 'call me 'guru' ."
Kesava Bharati said .to Mahaprabhu, "First go home, meet your mother and get her permission to take sannyasa. Approach Your goodnatured wife and Your other associates, and clearly tell them Your plan to take sannyasa. Taking their leave, return to me." Kesava Bharati intended to leave Katwa right after sendinlg Gauranga away.
The omniscient Lord V^svambham read Kesava Bharati's mind. Then smiling sweetly, He said, "I will obey your order." Gauranga started for Nadia. Meanwhile, Kesava Bharati thought to himself, "I can't escape that Lord whose bodily pores are the resting place of unlimited universes. I am a fool for not seeing all these things. Gauranga is the life and Supersoul of all living entities." Thinking like this, Kesava Bharati called Gauranga back.
"Listen Gauranga," said Kesava Bharati, "I'm afraid to give You sannyasa. You are the spiritual master of the world; so who can act as Your guru? Why do You bewilder me for nothing?"
Gauranga Initiates Kesava Bharati
Crying, Visvambhara lovingly clutched the feet of the renowned saint. Gauranga said, "Why do you speak such harsh words to a person who is surrendered to you? Even if I die, I won't leave your shelter. Say whatever you want, but please listen to one thing. One night I dreamt that a brahmana gave Me the sannyasa rnantra. Now I will tell you that manIra. You can confirm if it's correct." Then Gauranga recited the rnantra in the ear'of Kesava Bharati. In this way, the completely independent Lord Visvambhara initiated Kesava Bharati, and thereby became his guru.
Realizing what had happened, Kesava Bharati Goswami said, "Listen Nimai, I'll give You sannyasa." Nimai danced in ecstasy and chanted loudly like thundering clouds, "Hari! Hari! Hari!" His body looked like liquid nectar. His skin exploded with millions of tiny bumps of ecstasy. Tears shot forth from His red-tinged eyes in flowing streams. In astonishment everyone uttered, "Alas ! Alas !"
Katwa Goes Crazy Over Gauranga's Sannyasa Initiation
Everyone in Katwa-- old men, women, children, the blind and invalid, scholars and fools-- ran to look at the all-attractive form of Lord Gaurahari. Some women carried water pots on their hips. Others stood motionless, captivated by the mystifying beauty of the Lor^i. People ridiculed Kesava Bharati for giving sannyasa to such a handsome young man.
Everyone praised the mother who gave birth to such a remarkable son of matchless beauty. They thought to themselves, "Sacidcvi, the fortunate mother of Gauranga, is as glorious as Dcvaki, the famous mother of Lord Shri Krishna. Whoever got Gauranga as her husband is the most fortunate woman in the three worlds.
"No one can take their eyes off the indescribably attractive form of Gaurasundara. Any woman would dic simply. by hcadng that He's taking sannyasa. How can wc tolerate His taking sannyasa?" The people who were thinking like this began weeping loudly. ,
Feeling compassionate, Gauranga called them together telling them not to lament. He said, "Please bless Me that I may fulfill My desire to dedicate My life to serving the lotus feet of Krishna. Everyone wants to get a proper master. One's beauty and youth should be utilized in service of the right master. Without a master or husband all of one's talents and qualities are useless.
"The service of the feet of Krishna is My only shelter. I will serve the beloved master and lord of My life by offering everything that I have." Then Gauranga paid obeisances to Kesava Bharati, smiled, and begged him for sannyasa again.
The next day, Gaurahari followed the orders of His guru in performing all the rituals for taking sannyasa. The Vaishnavas shook in fear, and bit the edge of their garments during the head-shaving of Shri
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the next moment He laughed very slowly and deeply. Prema-filled tears fell on His chest like the celestial Ganges rushing down from the top of Mt. Sumeru.
In ecstasy His skin contracted in thousands of tiny bumps, causing His bodily hairs to stand erect, resembling the golden spike-like filaments of a kadamba flower. From head to toe His whole body appeared covered with thousands of tiny thorns.
He walked with the gait of a lordly elephant in rut. One moment He sang Krishna's names. A minute later He collapsed on the ground with a crash. He looked stunned. Then for no reason, He would jump excitedly into the air chanting "Haft bol! Hari bol !" Sometimes He savored the sentiments of servitude. The next minute He would relish the mellow of gopi-bhava.
He walked with a slow, casual pace for some time. And then instantly, He would bolt down the road with lightning speed. Living in the reality of Krishna-prema, Shri Chaitanya was oblivious to the passing of day and night.
When Lord Chaitanya entered Radha-desh, He didn't hear anyone chanting Krishna's names. He felt so upset by this that He decided to drown Himself in the water. The devotees became filled with anxiety and thought, "What will happen if Lord Chaitanya retums to Goloka?" Then Shri Nityananda exclaimed, "By My own power I will make sure Shri Chaitanya stays here !"
Meanwhile, some local boys were tending cows nearby. To secretly please His Lord Chaitanya, Nityananda Avadhuta entered the hearts of those cowherd boys inspiring them to chant the holy names of Haft. When that sweet sound touched Gaurahari's ears, He jumped up and ran toward the cowherd boys. Shri Chaitanya held their hands and encouraged them, "Chant! Chant! Chant! May the Lord bless you, for you have enabled Me to hear His sweet holy names."
Lord Chaitanya floated in the blissful ocean of Krishna-prema. He took madhukari [begged food] from one house. He didn't notice the passing of days and nights. Three days later He drank some water and took a little prasada. When leaving Radha-desh Lord Gauranga told Candrasekhara Acarya, "Don't feel sorry; soon we'll meet again."