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Pastimes: Santipura to Nilacala
The Last Attempt to Keep the Lord
After that auspicious night passed, Lord Chaitanya sat on an asana. With His shimmering saffron cloth and sannyasa danda, Shri Krishna Chaitanya looked like the master of the universe. Smilingly, He talked with all His associates, who sat around His feet.
Mahaprabhu said, "Shrivasa, you and the others can now go back to your homes. If the Lord is pleased with Me, then I will go to Nilacala [Jagannatha Purl] and see Lord Jagannatha. Stay in Navadvipa and carry out My order-- chant the holy names of the Lord all day and night.
"Establish the practices of chanting the holy names and serving the Vaishnavas. By doing this, everybody will attain liberation. Free from envy, serve and try to please each other." Lord Gaurahari stood up, extended His long golden arms and lovingly embraced everyone. His eyes swam in tears and His voice choked up with love.
Then Haridasa, holding a straw between his teeth, offered dandavats to Lord Chaitanya. His genuine crying moved the devotees' hearts.
Gauranga cried compassionately and said, "When will that fortunate day come when I can cry like this while falling down at the lotus feet of Lord Jagannatha? And when will I be able to humbly speak with Him? When will My eyes attain perfection by seeing His enchantingly attractive lotus face?"
The devotees couldn't contain themselves. They wept and collapsed on the ground. Sacimata fell unconscious. One devotee held Shri Chaitanya's feet and cried out. Gauranga carefully controlled His feelings.
Shrivasa, Haridasa, Murari, and Mukunda said, "Gaurachandra, You are the independent Lord and we are Your servants. We are fallen, sinful, misbehaved and completely devoid of Krishna-bhakti. What can we say about Your taking sannyasa? But, Gauranga, how will You walk far and wide on Your tender feet? From whom will You beg food and water? O darling of Sacimata, Your pastimes bewilder us. Your lotus feet are the only worshipable object for Vishnupriya."
"By receiving Your glances of nectar, the trees of love are growing steadily. Many are desiring to taste the fruits of Krishna-prema. But Your taking sannyasa has frustrated their desires. Our life airs refuse to leave our sinful bodies. We, the most degraded, will sadly return to our homes after You leave. You are the friend of the fallen.
"Providence made Your body full of compassion. You are a treasure house of enjoyable transcendental pastimes. In Your wonderful form, You appear in the world to give shelter to all living entites and give them Your love. Your incomparably creel words about leaving us fill us with sorrow. After sowing the tree of bhakti, w13y are you now trying to cut its roots?
"If someone wants to accompany You, please take him along as an intimate associate. Otherwise, we'll all enter the fire. Just see how Your poor mother Saci is now alone and helpless. We can't tolerate seeing Sacidevi suffering. Vishnupriya's weeping pierces the earth. The city and marketplaces of Nadia have become empty and lifeless. The homes of the Vaishnavas appear very far away from each other.
"From now on, we' 11 never visit the places where You sat and spoke on Krishna-consciousness. If we do that, then we'll die. Nor will we hear discussions of the Lord's confidential pastimes, nor see Him dancing, and preaching Krishna- bhakti. We won't embrace Him when He dances or sit on His lap. We won't see the tears of love bathing His reddishlotus eyes. We' 11 no longer hear Your nectarean roaring in ecstasy during kirtana. Who is it that's closing our eyes and ears?
"How can one live without seeing Your moonlike face? Though we have eyes, who has us made us blind? O Gaura, please don't tell us to go back without You; we want to travel with You. Your cruel words are burning our bodies. Your love is like the hunter's music which lures a doe to her death. First, You attract us with Your affection, then You kill us by going away. The devotees will die in separation from You.
"In this condition, how can Yon keep the name 'bhakta vatsala'? [affectionate to the devotee] How will You justify Your act of saying goodbye to Your mother? Who will dare convey this news to Your mother?
When Vishnupriya hears about it, she' 11 die immediately. Please consider all these things and then make Your final decision."
The compassionate Lord Gauranga laughed as He replied, "Please listen, I'll never be cruel to You. By all means I' 11 reside in Nilacala. But regularly, you can all come there to see me. Our ecstasy will increase unlimitedly, and I will drown the entire word in the blissful ocean of Hari-nama sankirtana. This will remove the miseries and lamentation from the hearts of all people. I will always stay with those devotees, be they Sacimata, Vishnupriya, or anyone who serves Me with love."
The devotees then fell down at Gauranga's feet. They asked the Lord to keep His promise regarding all these statements. Lord Chaitanya repeatedly said, "Definitely, I will stay in Nilacala."
Sacimata was so distraught that she couldn't even^tand up without the help of others. She said, "Why are You being so cruel to us by going away? My dear son, I will die in Your absence. The devotees will often visit You, but I am so unfortunate that I'll never see You again.
"You've pacified everyone, but what about me? I have no one in the family except Vishnupriya. Just by seeing her plight, the pain in my heart increases more and more."
Smiling, His heart brimming with compassion, Lord Chaitanya said, "Forgetting transcendental knowledge, you're lamenting falsely and suffering. Please don't lament anymore. Go home and live peacefully with others free from sorrow." Then the Lord offered dandavats to His mother, and spoke some sweet comforting words. Without a moment's hesitation Lord Gauranga moved quickly toward Nilacala. The devotees loudly roared in lamentation.
Advaita Acarya followed the Lord. But due to his advanced age, he couldn't keep pace with the youthful Lord Gauranga. When Advaita Acarya caught up with the Lord, he stood silently, with his head lowered and his face covered with perspiration.
Advaita Acarya said, "It bums my heart to watch You moving to a foreign country. I' m revealing my heart to You. I hope You will respond. In separation from You, all of Your etemal associates are crying piteously. But, for some reason my sinful heart is as hard as wood, and I don't even shed a tear. Since I don't feel anything in my heart, there can't be anyone more wretched than me."
Gauranga smiled and embraced Advaita Acarya. He said, "Listen Acarya, I'll explain everything to you. Because of your pure love for Me, I will never leave you. You should understand that I'll always take your love along with Me wherever I go."
Then to represent the knot of love that He had tied in His heart for Advaita Acarya, Gaurahari tied a knot in His cloth. Appreciating this gesture of love, Advaita Acarya thought deeply about Gauranga. Tears flowed in many streams from his eyes. They both became silent, communicating their love through their feelings.
Lord Chaitanya said, "Listen Acarya, I'm controlled by your love. Always remember our pastimes together." Turning away, the Lord walked quickly toward Nilacala. The devotees sadly returned to their homes.
Locana Dasa says that Gauranga's sannyasa is nothing more than a huge spike piercing the hearts of the devotees.
Lord Chaitanya's departure turned Navadvipa into an empty place devoid of life. Gadadhara Pandita, Nityananda Avadhuta, Narahari, Shrivasa, Murari, Mukunda, Damodara and a few other devotees went to Puri with the Lord. Gauranga wanted to get to Nilacala in time to see Lord Jagannatha's Dola Purnima festival.
Along the way to Nilacala, Lord Chaitanya chanted the holy names,' "Hari! Hari!" He was overwhelmed with Krishna-prema. Sometimes He walked very slowly, staggering as if in intoxication. Sometimes He raced down the road like a charging lion. Sometimes He sang the holy names in a roaring voice while dancing joyfully.
Yet, the next moment He would cry. In transcendental madness, Gauranga would occasionally hike up His dhoti and jump around excitedly. From head to toe, His body was covered with tiny bumps of ecstasy. Lord Chaitanya moved. quickly, or He moved slowly. He wept, or He laughed slowly and deeply. Tears constantly fell from His lotus eyes.
When the devotees offered food to Lord Chaitanya, He would reject it saying, "I will only eat Krishna-prasada [food offered to Lord Krishna] and nothing else." Except for a touch of prasada that Lord Chaitanya begged from a couple of houses, He practically fasted for three days. By His own behavior the Lord taught the people in general.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu didn't sleep at night. Absorbed in pure love of Krishna, the Lord stayed awake continually chanting the holy Names:
"rama raghava, rama raghava, rama raghava raksa mam - krishna kesava, krishna kesava, krishna kesava pahi mam" Gauranga sang in a sweet voice, but sometimes His voice choked up due to divine love. In this way, Lord Chaitanya and His intimate devotees joyfully traveled to Nilacala.
Conversion of the Toll Collector
One day they met a sinful toll collector. He enjoyed harassing pilgrims crossing the river on their way to Puri. For no apparent reason, Gauranga suddenly charged like a mad lion to the back of a line of pilgrims. Nityananda and the other devotees followed the Lord. They saw that the wicked toll collector had arrested and chained up some pilgri. ms. Gauranga felt unhappy to see them suffering and crying in agony.
The pilgrims felt relief when they saw the compassionate Lord. They felt peaceful like a fearful child placed on His mother's lap, or forest animals jumping in the Ganges to get relief from a blazing fire. Falling at Lord Chaitanya's feet, they cried in happiness.
Upon seeing Lord Gauranga, the toll collector thought, 'I' ve never seen such a splendid sannyasi. He must be none other than Nilacalacandra [Lord Jagannatha]. What will happen to me for all the trouble I've caused these pilgrims?'
The toll collector offered prostrated obeisances to Lord Chaitanya and said in a choked voice, "Please don't hate me because I'm a materialist. I promise I will no longer tax the pilgrims. I am convinced that You are the one and only Supreme Lord Himself."
Lord Chaitanya accepted his promise and praise with a smile. Then He ran quickly forward, passing the other pilgrims. Suddenly, the toll collector, while waving both hands above his head, came running after Lord Gauranga. The Lord, however, prevented him from coming further; so the toll collector stopped.
Keeping his hands above his head, he started chanting over and over, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna". The toll collector became overwhelmed with the bliss of Krishna consciousness. Symptoms of spiritual ecstasy like copious tears and horripilation appeared in his body. Shri Nityananda Prabhu and Gadadhara became jubilant to witness this.
Thus Locana Dasa happily sings the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The Heart-Breaking Danda
On the way to Nilacala, Lord Chaitanya visited many temples and holy places. When He saw the various Deity forms of the Lord, Gaurahari would dance in ecstatic bliss. One day the Lord left His sannyasa danda in the care of Nityananda Avadhuta. Then He ran quickly down the road. Gauranga forgot Himself in the intense ecstasy of Krishna-prema. Gadadhara and others tried to follow Him.
While intentionally staying behind, Nityananda thought, 'In My presence how could the Lord take sannyasa? How can I tolerate His rejecting His world-enchanting flute to take up a sannyasa danda? Gauranga's shaving His head and taking sannyasa has given Me unceasing pain.'
When Nityananda Prabhu's grief reached the breaking point, He grabbed Lord Chaitanya's danda, snapped it over His thigh, and threw it in the river. Then feeling slightly fearful over Gauranga's response, Lord Nityananda lagged behind, walking slowly down the road.
When They met, Lord Chaitanya asked 1Nityananda, "Where's My danda?" Nityananda was hesitant to reply. Gauranga wondered to Himself and repeated the question. "Where did You put My danda? I feel pain without seeing it."
Nityananda Prabhu said, "Seeing You with a danda bums My heart. You shaved Your head and took sannyasa. As if that wasn't enough, You took up a danda. I just couldn't tolerate the pain. So, I broke it and threw it in the river." Nityananda paused for a moment as His heart swelled up in emotions and choked His voice. Finally, in a faltering voice, He said, "Just do whatever You like."
In an angry mood, Mahaprabhu said, "You always do the opposite thing. My danda is the sitting place of all the demigods. What purpose have You served by breaking it? You are restless, unsteady, and uncontrolled.
"You always act like a crazy man or a little boy. You never follow the rules of dharma. You're beyond the varnasrama system. Your behavior is completely independent of any designated position. If I try to tell You anything, You become furious."
Lord Nityananda laughed and said in a choked voice, "I don't follow the rules and regulations of the scriptures. You know whether I did good or bad; You know everything. You said that all the demigods reside in Your danda. But how can I tolerate that You're carrying all of them on Your shoulder? You think about other's welfare, but I think about their evil.
"Why should I fight with You? I have committed an offense, so please forgive me. The whole world is delivered by once chanting Your name. Your are known as the deliverer of the fallen, so I hope You will forgive Me.
"Your taking sannyasa has shocked the devotees. They can't believe that You shaved off Your beautiful hair. That hair, which was like an enchanting crown on Your head, gave pleasure to everyone.
"Seeing the sad state of all Your devotees, My heart constantly bums. If You don't believe Me, just ask the devotees. For the benefit of the devotees, I broke that danda, which was not a mere stick, but rather a steel spike piercing our hearts."
Although Lord Chaitanya kept silent and appeared unhappy externally, He was happy within His heart. Locana Dasa says that Shri Nityananda Prabhu broke Gauranga's danda because He knew all the mysteries of Mahaprabhu.