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Antya Chp 7
Lord Nityananda delivers the gang of thieves at the house of Hiranya Pandita
Nityananda Prabhu wanted to see Lord Gauranga's mother Saci. He left for Navadvipa on an auspicious day with His dear associates. Arriving in Navadvipa, He went to the house of mother Saci and offered His respectful obeisances to Her.
Seeing Nityananda Svarupa, mother Saci became unlimitedly happy. She said, "My dear son, You're indeed the Supersoul. Just now, I wanted to see You. Knowing my heart, You came here at once. Who in this world can recognize You? My dear Nityananda, please stay at Navadvipa for some time. Then I can see You once a month, once a fortnight, or once a week. I was distressed and wanted to see You. By providence, now You've come to relieve my distress."
Hearing the words of mother Saci, Nityananda Prabhu began to smile, for He knew perfectly well the glories of mother Saci. He said to her, "Listen, mother of the universe, actually I came here to see You. I want to live here so that I can see you more often. By your order, I'll remain in Navadvipa."
After conversing with mother Saci, Nityananda Prabhu began to happily wander all over Navadvipa." His associates went with Him, doing kirtana in every house of Navadvipa. He became the personification of the ecstatic chanting of the holy names of the Lord. He visited every house and always enjoyed sankirtana with His devotees.
The pious people of Navadvipa got unlimited happiness seeing the most enchanting sankirtana dress of Nityananda. He expertly decorated His head with various fine cloths adorned with beautiful flowers. He wore many necklaces of jewels and pearls and decorated His ears with beautiful gold and pearl earrings. He wore bangles and bracelets on His arms. I am unable to describe how many lovely flower garlands decorated His body. He smeared His entire body with sandalwood paste. He enjoyed His pastimes like Bala-Gopala. How wonderful was the stick He held in His hand. His ten fingers were decorated with ten golden rings. He dressed wonderfully with various fine cloths of different colors such as white, blue, and yellow. A stick and a flute adorned His waist. His enchanting beauty captivated the minds of everyone. He adorned His two lotus feet with silver ankle-bells that made beautiful sweet sounds as the Lord walked like an elephant. Wherever Lord Nityananda glances, krishna-prema appears.
He resided happily at Navadvipa the birthplace of Lord Gauranga. Navadvipa is not different from Mathura. I am unable to estimate how many types of people live there. There are many holy devotees of the Lord living in Navadvipa. Seeing them frees a sinner from all sinful reactions. Many miscreants also live in Navadvipa. Touching their shadows once destroys one's piety. Even those miscreants become attached to the lotus feet of Krishna by Nityananda Prabhu's causeless mercy. Lord Gauranga delivered many fallen souls, and through Nityananda, He liberated the three worlds. Lord Nityananda saved everyone including thieves, plunderers, wretched, and fallen souls. O brothers, listen to Nityananda Prabhu's salvation of thieves and plunderers.
A young brahmana lived in Navadvipa who was a formidable thief and
plunderer. No one was equal to or greater than him in this illicit field. He
was the commander-in-chief of all the thieves and plunderers. He was a brahmana
in name only. Actually, he was the most evil-minded person. He had no mercy in
his body. He did not hesitate to kill others and always kept company with
similar murderous men. When this rogue saw the beautiful ornaments and valuable
necklaces worn by Nityananda Svarupa, he decided to steal them. In the guise of
a friend, he wandered with Nityananda Prabhu to steal His ornaments. Nityananda
Prabhu, however, understood that the so-called brahmana was really a
mischievous cunning dacoit.
There was a pious brahmana called Hiranya Pandita* who lived in Navadvipa. He was a most humble devotee of the Lord. Shri Nityananda Prabhu stayed at the house of this fortunate soul since his house was in a lonely place.
Meantime, the evil-minded brahmana made plans with his friends. "Brothers, why are we still suffering? Goddess Candi has blessed us with a treasure. All the jewelry this mendicant wears are made of gold, pearls, diamonds, and jewels. I can't estimate how many millions of rupees they're worth. Goddess Candi has kindly given us a wonderful chance. He lives in the lonely house of Hiranya Pandita. We can snatch all these ornaments in an hour. Prepare yourselves with swords and shields and get together at night. Tonight, we'll invade and plunder Hiranya Pandita's house."
Having made this plan, all the thieves left for their homes. At night, they gathered at the planned spot. They had swords, knives, and tridents. They surrounded the house where Nityananda Prabhu was staying. They sent one spy ahead to check out the situation in the house. Nityananda Prabhu was taking His meal and all the devotees were chanting the holy names all around Him. The servants of Nityananda were drunk with krishna-prema. Some roared like lions and others shouted loudly. Some wept in ecstasy while others clapped their hands laughing loudly. Some made various noises like hai, hai. They were awake feeling ecstatic love.
The spy returned and informed the others that Avadhuta was eating and others were staying up. The thieves decided, "Let Him eat and go to bed. Then we'll invade the house. For now we'll wait and watch." All the thieves sat beneath a tree waiting for the right time to plunder Nityananda's wealth. One of the thieves said, "I'll take the golden bangles." Another said, "I'll take the pearl necklace." Someone said, "The golden earrings are mine." Yet another said, "I'll take the golden necklace." Someone said, "I'll take the silver ankle bells." In this way, all the thieves were living in the abode of imagination.
That night by the will of Nityananda Prabhu, Nidra-devi, the deity of sleep, captured all the thieves. They fell asleep right where they waited. They were bewildered by the Lord's illusory energy. The night passed, yet they did not wake. At dawn when the crows began to caw, the thieves finally woke up. When they found that it was morning, they became very sad. They hurriedly hid their weapons in the forest and went to take bath in the Ganges. Finally, the thieves returned to their homes and began to abuse each other. One of them said to the other, "It was you who first fell asleep." Another one replied, "Oh, you're talking like you were awake all night and saw who was asleep and who was awake." Then one said, "Stop this fighting! Goddess Candi kindly saved us from disgrace."
Then that most sinful brahmana, the chief of the thieves, said, "There's no use to fight. By the mercy of goddess Candi, whatever's happened has happened. Does it mean that everyday we'll fail? I think goddess Candi baffled us today since we went without worshiping her. So let us go and worship goddess Candi properly. We should offer her meat and wine." Discussing like this, all the thieves worshiped goddess Candi with meat and wine.
The next day, the thieves armed themselves again with various weapons. All wore dark blue garments like a band of warriors. In the dead of night when all were fast asleep, the thieves surrounded the Lord's house. From a distance, the thieves saw that many giant guards surrounded the Lord's house. The guards were armed with fierce weapons and always chanted the names of Hari. They were strong and heavily built. They carried sharp weapons in their hands. The thieves saw that just one of those guards could kill hundreds of thieves like themselves in no time. The guards were decorated with flower garlands and sandalwood paste. They continuously chanted the name of Hari. Lord Nityananda slept peacefully in the house while these guards chanted the name of Krishna on all sides.
The thieves were struck with wonder. For the time being they gave up the idea of invading the house and met off on one side. They discussed among themselves, "Where did these guards come from?" One of them said, "I guess somehow or other Nityananda Avadhuta came to know our plan. Then He must have hired these guards from someone."
Another thief said, "Brothers, I've often heard many people say this Avadhuta is actually a learned scholar. This Avadhuta Mahasaya is certainly a wise fellow. Just see how he's protected himself. The guards that we just saw don't appear to be ordinary human beings. Because of his extraordinary powers, I think people call Him Gosai or Lord." Someone else said, "Oh, shut up! How can He be a Gosai when He eats and wear clothes like us?"
Then the sinful brahmana commander-in-chief of the thieves began to speak, "I know the reason for these guards. Many people often come from distant places to see this avadhuta. I'll bet some wealthy guest has come to meet the avadhuta. These are all his guards. They're all emotional, that's why they always chant the names of Hari. Even if He keeps these guards, how long can He avoid our wrath like this? Let's go home today. We'll wait quietly for ten days." The thieves then returned to their homes. Meanwhile, Avadhuta Nityananda peacefully enjoyed His sleep.
After sometime, the sinful thieves planned another raid to steal Nityananda Prabhu's ornaments. But the night they decided to break into the Lord's house was, by providence, the darkest night imaginable. It was so dark that people were unable to move about. At the dead of this black night, the thieves armed themselves with sharp weapons and got together. As soon as they got near the Lord's house, they suddenly became blind and could not see a thing. This sudden blindness so shocked the thieves that their minds, intelligence, and life airs almost ceased to function.
One fell in a trench and was covered by mosquitoes, leeches, and gadflies. Another fell into the pit where people wash hands after eating. Scorpions and bugs also bit him. Another thief fell on a heap of thorns. He suffered miserably from the pricking of thorns and could not move. Another one fell in a ditch and broke his hands and legs. Some of the thieves got a very high fever. They all were totally perplexed.
At that time, Indra the king of heaven happily sent forth showers of rain and storm. First the thieves were tortured by the bites of leeches and bugs, and now they all suffered in a hailstorm. They did not die but floated in the ocean of miseries. The force of the wild wind, heavy hail, and thundering rendered them unconscious. The intense rain completely soaked the thieves and feeling extreme cold, they shivered uncontrollably. They lay blindly suffering. Since the thieves came to plunder Nityananda Prabhu, Indra, the King of heaven, angrily tortured them very severely.
At last, the sinful brahmana chief of the thieves had a sudden change of heart. He began to think, "Nityananda is not an ordinary man. He must be God. What the people say is true. The first day, He bewildered us by making us sleep. Yet by His illusory energy, we couldn't understand a thing. The next time, He showed His prowess by manifesting many wonderful guards. Yet, I still didn't become aware of His greatness. The agony we just suffered is just proper for a sinner like me. I dared to steal from the Lord! Who can save me now? There's no alternative than to surrender to this Avadhuta Nityananda." Thinking like this, the brahmana took shelter of the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu with undivided attention.
Remembering the lotus feet of the Lord frees one of all danger. Taking shelter of these lotus feet instantly relieves even a most grave offender. When all the thieves began to think like this, they regained their eyesight. By remembrance of Nityananda Svarupa, the thieves got relief from the rain and storm. They soon found their way again and returned to their homes, having been on the verge of death. Then they all went to bathe in the Ganges.
The brahmana chief of the thieves quickly ran weeping to take shelter of Nityananda Prabhu's lotus feet. Nityananda, the Lord of the universe, was sitting in His room glancing mercifully on His devotees. All His devotees were chanting the names of Hari. The Lord, the crest jewel of avadhutas, shouted aloud in ecstasy. When the chief of the thieves arrived, he raised his hands and cried, "Please save me!" He then offered respectful obeisances. His hair stood on end. Tears of love began flowing and he started shivering. The brahmana cried loudly. He went into rapture, merged in the ocean of bliss. Seeing the power of Nityananda Svarupa, he was amazed and danced jubilantly. He raised his hands and repeatedly said, "O my dear Lord Nityananda, You're the savior of the fallen!"
When everyone saw the behavior of the brahmana, they were struck with wonder. They began to discuss why this thief is behaving like this. Someone said, " He must be just pretending with a plan to steal when he gets the chance." Another said, "Since Lord Nityananda is the savior of the fallen souls, his heart must have changed by the Lord's mercy." Seeing the wonderful change in the brahmana, Nityananda Prabhu smilingly asked him, "O brahmana, please tell Me what you want? I'm very surprised to see your wonderful qualities. Please tell Me all about the glories of Krishna that you've seen and heard. Speak freely, without worry."
Hearing the Lord's words, the pious brahmana was unable to utter a word. Rather, he began to cry. He rolled on the ground all over the courtyard. He laughed, cried, and danced in his own way and mood. Finally, the brahmana calmed down and narrated the whole story to the Lord. "O Lord, I live in Navadvipa. I'm a brahmana in name only. My behavior is worse than a hunter or dog-eater. O Lord, I always remain with thieves and rob, steal, and plunder. I do nothing but violence to others. Everyone in Navadvipa trembles on seeing me. There's no sin I've not committed. Seeing your valuable ornaments, I wanted to steal them. One day, I armed myself with weapons and came with other thieves to steal Your riches. That day, You bewildered me with sleep. But by Your illusory energy, I was unable to recognize You.
"Another day after worshiping goddess Candi, I came to Your house with swords, knives, and tridents. But, to my surprise, I saw a wonderful thing. Many giant guards surrounded Your house. Each appeared like a drunken elephant. They were adorned with flower garlands hanging down to their knees. They constantly chanted the names of Hari while You happily slept inside. O Lord, I was so sinful I could not understand Your glories. That night, we returned home thinking You had hired some guards for safety. After a gap of few days, we came again yesterday. But as soon as we got near Your house, we lost our eyesight and fell down. We suffered being pricked by thorns, bitten by leeches and bugs, and pounded by a hailstorm. We were too disturbed to move. After Yamaraja thus tortured us, we finally got pure devotion to Your lotus feet. By Your causeless mercy, since then we can remember Your lotus feet without deviation.
"It's Your mercy alone that we regained our sight. O Lord, You are indeed the savior of the fallen. You've saved us from further misery by Your mercy. This is the glory of remembering You. O Nityananda, O Shri Bala-gopala, please protect me. You're the only maintainer of all beings. They say that though a person falls heavily on the ground mother Earth is again kind to him. In the same way, even if one commits offenses at Your lotus feet, he is ultimately saved from all misery by Your remembrance. O Lord, You forgive all offenses and show mercy on the fallen souls. I'm the most sinful since I kill brahmanas and cows. You won't find anyone more offensive than me. Even if the most sinful take shelter of Your lotus feet, You will liberate them without a doubt. You protect the lives of all beings from their very birth. You are the ultimate deliverer of them all. Anyone who remembers You is freed from ignorance. Such a person easily goes back to Godhead."
The brahmana prayed to Nityananda Prabhu, crying aloud. Such is the pastime of the Avadhuta. Hearing the brahmana's prayers, everyone was struck with wonder. They all offered him respects. The brahmana said, "O Lord, now I take Your leave forever. I don't want to keep this body anymore. Since I was envious of You, I should end my life by jumping in the Ganges as atonement. Hearing the brahmana's truthful words, the Lord and all the devotees were very pleased.
The Lord said, "O brahmana, you're indeed fortunate. You're a staunch devotee of Krishna birth after birth. Otherwise, why did He bestow mercy on you like this? Who can experience such a wonderful influence except a devotee? Lord Shri Gauranga has incarnated to deliver all the fallen souls. There's no doubt about it. Listen, O brahmana, I'll take all your sinful reactions, but you must not sin again. From now on do not steal, plunder, or do violence to anyone. Lead a pious life always chanting the holy names of Hari. You'll then be able to deliver others. Gather all the thieves and plunderers together and preach to them to lead a pious life."
Lord Nityananda then took off His garland and happily put it on the brahmana. Everyone loudly chanted, "Jaya! Jaya!" The Lord thus liberated the brahmana.He caught hold of Nityananda Prabhu's feet and with faltering voice began to pray, "O my Lord Nityananda, savior of the fallen! Please give this sinner shelter at Your lotus feet. I dared to envy You. I'm so sinful; what is my destiny?" The ocean of mercy Lord Nityananda put His lotus feet on the head of the brahmana. Having Nityananda's merciful lotus feet on his head nullified all his offenses.
Later, this brahmana convinced many thieves and plunderers to take shelter of the Shri Gauranga's lotus feet. They gave up all sins like stealing, plundering, and violence. They began to behave like saintly persons. All of them chanted the names of Hari millions of times. They became expert in vishnu-bhakti and became mad in prema, always singing the glories of Krishna. Such was the causeless mercy of Lord Nityananda.
In other incarnations, the Lord did not give such prema. But Lord Nityananda convinced everyone to take up Krishna consciousness. He helped them reach the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga. The brahmana, who at one time rejected Nityananda Svarupa, now preached to his thief and plunderer friends to accept Nityananda. The symptoms of prema such as shedding of tears, shivering and, standing the hair on end which are eagerly desired by the great mystic yogis were easily achieved by none other than common thieves and plunderers. This is the exhibition of the wonderful prowess of Nityananda Svarupa. O brothers, please worship the lotus feet of Nityananda. Only by His mercy can one attain the lotus feet of Gauranga.
Anyone who hears the mercy of Lord Nityananda will no doubt achieve the association of Gaurachandra. One who hears with attention of the deliverance of these thieves will certainly meet Nityananda and Shri Gauranga. One who happily sings the glories of Nityananda Svarupa will float in the ocean of transcendental bliss.
Accepting Shri Gauranga and Nityananda Prabhu as my life and soul, I, Vrindavana dasa, sing the glories of Their lotus feet.