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Pastimes of Lord Nityananda
From Bhakti Ratnakara by Shrila Narahari Chakravarti
Shri Nityananda Prabhu's pastimes in Panihati.
Nityananda Prabhu and His close associates first traveled to the village of Panihati. Upon their arrival, Raghava Pandita, Makaradwaja Kar and others greeted them happily. Who could describe the wonderful atmosphere created in the house of Raghava Pandita as Nityananda and His followers danced and performed sankirtana. Narahari has written some songs describing the beauty of Nitai in the house of Raghava: Oh how gorgeous was Nitaichand as He danced elegantly, crying joyfully He lifted His hands high and continuously uttered the name of Gaura. Nityananda Prabhu freely distributed His mercy to the distressed conditioned souls, bestowing upon them the valuable jewel of devotional love. At that time the festival of Shri Nityananda's abhiseka was held.
Some of the followers of Nityananda placed Him on a celestial throne and bathed Him with scented Ganges water, as others sang sweet songs. Narahari brought new clothes for Nitaicanda, smeared His body with sandalwood paste and placed a flower garland around His neck, while Shri Raghavananda held an umbrella over His head. Nityananda then told Shri Raghava, "I would like to wear a garland of kadamba flowers." "But it is not the season for kadamba," Raghava replied. Nityananda pointed to a tree and said, "Go to that tree and surely you will find kadamba flowers. Raghava went to the Jamvsia tree indicated and, to his surprise, found that kadamba flowers were blooming there. Raghava gladly plucked the kadamba flowers, prepared a beautiful garland and placed it around Nityananda Prabhu's neck. Prabhu then advised everyone to always worship Lord Krishna. This is described in Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata, Antya Khanda 5/303: "According to the Bhagavatas, Shri Nityananda Prabhu bestowed upon the world the same devotionhich the gopikas possessed."
One day, Nityananda expressed His desire to wear ornaments and His followers happily brought beautiful jewelry and decorated Him exquisitely. The specific purpose behind this desire was that once, when Nityananda Prabhu was traveling as an avadhuta throughout Vraja, He bestowed His mercy upon a devotee in Govardhana. That devotee had wanted to decorate Nityananda with some ornaments and Prabhu had told him, "Not now." Thus, in order to fulfill the desire of His devotee, He now ordered His followers to prepare a gold plated Govardhana sila for Him, which He wore around His neck. Who can understand the pastimes of Nityananda Prabhu, who loved His devotees dearly? This is described in Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata, Antya Khanda (5/418-19): "The mood of devotion to Krishna which is desired even by Brahma and other exalted beings, and the love for Krishna which even the gopikas desired to possess, was given freely by Nityananda to all of the brahmanas."
Shri Nityananda Prabhu in the house of Dasa Gadadhara.
After spending some days happily in Panihati, Nityananda Prabhu started for Navadvipa to visit Sacimata. He, along with His followers, went to the house of Dasa Gadadhara. Narahari has described this event in a song. Nityananda Prabhu showered His mercy upon Dasa Gadadhara and an extremely pleasant atmosphere was created in Gadadhara's house due to the Lord's presence there. He also showed His mercy to the wicked Kazi of that village by destroying his pride. In this way Prabhu Nityananda revealed His pastimes in many places.
Nityananda Prabhu's pastimes in Khardaha.
Prabhu Nityananda, looking more beautiful than Cupid in His ornamental dress, reached Khardaha along with his followers. Narahari has explained in his songs that Prabhu Nityananda maddened the entire universe with His magnificent features. His face was just like the moon, the glow of His body resembled the brilliant rays of the sun, and His hands hung gracefully down to His knees. He constantly uttered the names, "Gaura, Gaura", as tears of ecstatic love flowed from His eyes. In Khardaha, Nityananda stayed in the temple of Purandara Pandita and distributed the priceless jewel of devotion to everyone by dancing and chanting in sankirtana. Purandara, Shri Chaitanyadasa, and Murari became mad with ecstacy, seeing Nityananda Prabhu dance. Narahari has described this in his songs.
Shri Nityananda's pastimes in Saptagrama.
After spending a few days in Khardaha, Prabhu Nityananda went to the house of Uddharana Datta in Saptagrama. Uddharana Datta became the most fortunate man, having attained the association of Prabhu Nityananda and His followers. When the residents of Saptagrama heard of Prabhu's arrival in their village, they rushed to meet him. Nityananda Prabhu became ecstatically absorbed in sankirtana and divine happiness filled the house of Uddharana. Everyone loudly chanted, "Haribol, Haribol." The people of Saptagrama received such mercy from Nityananda that their faith in His lotus feet became firmly fixed. The blessings which Nitaicanda bestowed upon Vanika went beyond saying. Nityananda Prabhu informed Uddharana that He would soon go to Santipura to meet Shri Advaita.
Nityananda Prabhu's pastimes with Shri Advaita Acarya prabhu.
Advaita Acarya, who lived in Santipura, knew nothing else but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It was he who brought Shri Krishna Chaitanya to this world. His glories have been acknowledged by all. As Narahari has explained in his songs, it was Advaita who, by practice of severe austerity and religious practices, brought Gaurachandra to this world. Although he himself was a partial expansion of the Lord, he always considered himself to be a servant of God. He was a man who was so full of love and mercy that he was capable of attracting Prabhu Gaurachandra to take birth in this world. Advaita Gosvami, the husband of Shri Sita devi, was always absorbed in sankirtana, sometimes in his own house or in the houses of his followers, sometimes on the bank of the Ganges or sometimes elsewhere. He knew nothing other than sankirtana and was always absorbed in the pastimes of Gaurachandra. Narahari has described this in his songs. Advaita Acarya spent his days with his devotees in his own house absorbed in ecstatic love. He freently danced, lifting his hands high and uttering, "Nitai, Nitai." When Nityananda Haladhara arrived from Saptagrama and they saw each other face to face, they were both unable to control their emotions and wept with love.
Nityananda's visit to Navadvipa.
After spending four days in the house of Advaita, Nityananda took Advaita's permission and started for Navadvipa. It seemed that Advaita said something to Nityananda before He left which made Him smiling meaningfully. Upon reaching Nadia, Nityananda first visited the house of Prabhu Gaurachandra.
Sacimata had been spending her days lost in memories of her son. One night she had a dream about Visvambhara which she happily confided to Malini: "Nimai came home and stood here calling for His mother. I had been sleeping inside my room but hearing the voice of Nimai, I came out. Nimai bowed to my feet and cried out, "Because of you mother, I was unable to stay in Nilacala and thus I have come here." I at once took Him in my lap, but at that moment my dream began to fade away. After that I was unable to sleep and wept the rest of the night." Saying this she fell on the ground unconscious. Sacimata called Vishnupriya to her side and taking her in her lap she cried loudly, thinking, "Why doesn't Nitai come home. If he comes back I will never allow Him to leave again. Oh, if only I could get some relief by seeing Him again."
the meantime Nityananda arrived at the house and bowed at her feet. Sacimata
happily took Him in her lap. Being ordered by her, Nitai decided to stay in
Navadvipa. He then went to the house of Shrivasa and met him and his wife
Malini devi. He and His followers then started sankirtana with great pleasure.
Some dacoits decided to steal the ornaments of Nityananda but, by a sudden turn of events, they took refuge at the Lord's lotus feet instead. This is described in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya Khanda.
Nityananda and His followers visited Khanchanda, Badagachi, Dogachia, and Kulia on the other bank of the Ganges and Advaita came from Santipura to join Nityananda's sankirtana party. One day in the house of Shrivasa they began Shri Krishna Chaitanya sankirtana; some of the devotees played musical instruments while others began to sing. Nityananda, Shrivasa, Murari, Gangadasa, Gadadhara, Abhirama, Saranga, Sundara, Manahara, Vidya Vachaspati all began to dance. Suddenly, those who were extremely fortunate, saw that Prabhu Gaurachandra was dancing in between Nityananda and Advaita. Seeing this the demigods cheered, "Jai, Jai."
Nityananda Prabhu's marriage.
Advaita and others began to discuss the possibility of Nityananda Prabhu's marriage. Krishnadasa, the fortunate son of Harihoda from Badgachigrama, had great respect for Nityananda and wanted to make arrangements for Nityananda's marriage.
At that time a brahmana named Suryadasa, who had earned the title of Sarkhela by serving in the court of the Yavana king, lived at Saligrama near Navadvipa. He had four extremely virtuous brothers, and two daughters named Vasudha and Jahnavi who were known for their beauty and good disposition. Suryadasa had requested the wise brahmanas to search for good bridegrooms for his daughters, but they were unable to find suitable candidates. However, they suggested that he go to the village of Ekacakra in Radhadesa and meet Hadai Pandita. He was a very good man and the father of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, a high spirited young boy. Traveling as an avadhuta, Nityananda had visited many holy places and was renowned as a great scholar. After visiting various places of pilgrimage He reached Nadia where He met Shri Gaurachandra and decided to give up His stick of an avadhuta. The brahmana explained that Nityananda was the favorite associate of Shri Krishna Chaitanya and thus would be the most suitable husband for his daughte. He also told Suryadasa that if he was able to have such a son-in-law as Nityananda Prabhu, then he should certainly thank Providence for his good fortune. Suryadasa listened attentively then returned home without uttering a word.
With his minded filled with anticipation, Suryadasa lay down and fell asleep. In his dream he saw himself giving his two daughters to Nityananda in marriage. While the wise brahmanas recited the marriage hymns, Suryadasa dedicated his daughter to Nityananda, as the demigods in heaven showered flowers on their heads. While looking at his son-in-law, he suddenly saw the extremely enchanting Lord Balarama in place of Nityananda, His complexion was like that of a silver mountain, His face was effulgent like the moon, and His body was adorned with brilliant ornaments. He looked at Vasu and Jahnava and saw instead Varuni and Revati with complexions as bright as gold. They wore beautiful dresses and ornaments and sat on either side of Balarama. Suryadasa was overwhelmed by this vision and began to weep. Suddenly his dream faded away.
In the morning he went to the house of the brahmana and bowed to his feet saying, "I agree to your proposal. Please don't delay." The happy brahmana took four persons with him and started for Nadia chanting the auspicious names of Durga and Ganesa. When they arrived at the house of Shrivasa they found Nityananda, looking like Cupid himself, sitting amongst Shrivasa and other associates. Feeling extremely fortunate, the brahmana's eyes filled with tears. With great respect, Shrivasa inquired about the brahmana's well being and the brahmana replied, "I have come from my house to speak privately with you. Shrivasa took him to a secluded place and the brahmana gladly revealed his mind saying, "I've heard that you are searching for a bride for Nityananda so I brought with me the details of two girls who are the daughters of Suryadasa Pandita. I have searched everywhere but have found none to compare to them. They are as beautiful as goddess Laksmi and of good disposition. I think they will be suitable bride's f Nityananda. Please come to my place and see the girls. Suryadasa Sarkhela, who belongs to a good family, has agreed to this marriage and doesn't want to delay any longer. Now tell me what your opinion is?" Shrivasa Pandita replied, "Well, I shall see to it. Today I must send Krishnadasa to Badagachi, but tomorrow they will go to your place and you can take Krishnadasa to the house of Suryadasa." Hearing this the brahmana happily hurried back to Suryadasa's house in Saligrama.
Meanwhile, Shrivasa Pandita informed Advaita about the marriage proposal. Nityananda overheard their discussion and smiled softly and meaningfully. Krishnadasa, who was a very intelligent son of Raja Harihoda, hastily went to Badagachi and immediately began preparing for the marriage. News of the wedding spread quickly and everyone said, "It will be a good one."
Nityananda and His associates happily left Navadvipa and started for Badagachi. As they approached the village, the residents of Badagachi rushed forward to welcome them. The brahmanas and wise people of the village were filled with happiness to see the graceful features of Nityananda Prabhu.
Meanwhile, in Saligrama, which was not far from Badagachi, Suryadasa told his younger brother Krishnadasa, "I shall go to Badagachi first. You and the brahmanas come behind me with these gifts." Suryadasa hastily came to Badagachi and went to meet Nityananda. Overwhelmed with emotion, Suryadasa burst into tears and fell on the ground at Nityananda Prabhu's feet. He held the feet of Nityananda in his two hands but could not speak a word. Smiling brightly Nityananda embraced the fortunate Suryadasa.
The ceremony of Nityananda's adhivasa on the eve of His marriage in the house of Krishnadasa.
After meeting with all the Vaishnava's there, Suryadasa fixed the date for Nityananda's adhivasa. Krishnadasa pandita came from his house along with the brahmanas and many items for the ceremony. In the evening all the residents of Badagachi came and, at the auspicious time, Nityananda sat in the middle of the respected brahmanas and wise persons. The people watched happily as the adhivasa took place and auspicious music filled the air. Narahari has described this scene in one of his songs. After the completion of adhivasa, the guests returned to their homes. Suryadasa also happily returned to his house.
The auspicious adhivasa ceremony of Vasudha and Jahnava.
Suryadasa, with the help of wise brahmanas, joyfully performed the adhivasa ceremony of his daughters. Suryadasa had previously seen the real identities of his daughters, yet as a father he became very emotional about his daughters' marriage. Carrying many items for the adhivasa, the brahmanas came from Badagachi to the house of Suryadasa. At the time of adhivasa, Vasudha and Jahnavi looked very sweet and elegant in beautiful dresses and ornaments. The brahmanas began to cite hymns from the Vedas and blessed the brides with dhanya and durva, and the girls made sounds with their tongues (uludhkani). After completing the adhivasa, the satisfied brahmanas went to their homes. In the evening the bridegroom, Nityananda Prabhu, left Badagachi and started for Saligrama. Everyone who saw the extraordinary bridegroom became enchanted by His beauty.
The auspicious marriage ceremony of Shri Nityananda.
Nityananda Prabhu happily entered into the village of Saligrama and came to the house of Suryadasa. The people who rushed forward to touch the Lord's feet were suddenly filled with devotion. From a hidden place, Shri Vasu and Jahnava observed the beauty of their husband with extreme pleasure. As a great crowd began to congregate in the house of Suryadasa, young girls decorated Vasu and Jahnava in beautiful dresses and ornaments. According to the customary procedures. Suryadasa then offered his daughters to Nityananda. All the brahmanas, and even the demigods, were enchanted by the beauty of the brides and the bridegroom.
The next day the house of Suryadasa was filled with joyous festivities as Suryadasa humbly performed the various social customs, and Nityananda satisfied the desires of all the devotees. Afterward, Nityananda Prabhu and His two wives returned to Badagachi. Shrivasa's wife and all the ladies there, admired the beauty of the newlyweds. In Shri Gauraganoddesha Dipika it is stated that Shri Suryadasa, who was a great man and brilliant as the sun, was the incarnation of Kokudmi. His daughters, the wives of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, where previously Shri Varuni and Shri Revati. According to some, Shri Vasudha devi was formerly Kalavani, and Shri Jahnava devi was Anangamanjari. The wise saints also support this opinion.
Thereafter, Nityananda happily stayed in the village of Badagachi. The extraordinary qualities of the deliverer of mankind, Nityananda Prabhu, who was mad after Shri Gauranga, have been sung by many poets.
This is one of Narahari's songs in Raga Kamoda:
The elder brother of Krishna and the son of Rohini,
Rama was the husband of Revati and Varuni.
He blessed the Kaliyuga by appearing as Nitaisundara,
the elder brother of Gaurachandra and son of Padmavati.
By His supernatural qualities, Nityananda Prabhu, the husband of Vasudha and Jahnavi, bestowed His mercy upon mankind.
Being mad with affection for Gaurachandra, He purified the world with His divine love. He satisfied everyone by revealing the ecstacy of of pure love for Gaurachandra. His bright golden complexion shone like the glowing red sun. Ornaments bedecked His beautiful ears and His long arms touched His knees. His beautiful mouth always chanted, "Gaura, Gaura"
as streams of tears flowed from His eyes. He was always floating in the endless ocean of sankirtana, dancing elegantly along with His followers. He was extremely kind to the helpless and distressed fallen souls.
After a few days Nityananda Prabhu and His followers returned to Nadia. Sacimata, and all the great devotees of Gaurahari and their wives, were very happy to see Vasudha and Jahnavi. Following the order of Sacimata, Nityananda visited Santipura and then Saptagrama. According to the desire of the devotees, Nityananda Prabhu then went to Khardaha where He stayed with his wives in a beautiful house. He spent some wonderful days there, causing great joy to His followers by the performance of sankirtana. Then again he returned to Nadia to see Sacimata.
Nityananda's pastimes are described in Narahari's song in Raga Kamoda:
The beautiful and genius Prabhu Nityanandarama is the son of Padmavati.For twelve years He lived with his followers in he village of Ekacakra.When Gaura was born, He left home as an avadhuta.He visited all holy places and after twenty years gladly came to Nadia.Reviving His life in Gaura's association, He fell into His love- trap and threw away His danda and kamandalu.Absorbed in sankirtana, He went with Prabhu to Ksetra and broke Prabhu's danda into pieces. By the order of Prabhu, He came to Gauda from Ksetra and performed His duties as desired by Prabhu. The husband of Vasu-Jahnavi and the resort of dasa Narahari,distributed His love to all.
Shrila Narottama in Ekachakra Dhama
Narottama stayed there for the day and the following morning, thinking of the lotus feet of Shri Nityananda Balarama, he started for Ekacakra village in Radha. At the entrance of the village Nityananda, in the guise of an old brahmana, asked Narottama, "What is your name and from where are you coming? Where will you go and for what purpose?" Narottama replied, "I am Narottama, coming from Ksetra. I have come to the birth place of Nityananda, whose parents were Padmavati and Hadai Pandita, because I want to see the sacred places where Shri Nityananda Prabhu performed his pastimes. I live on the other side of the Padmavati in Shri Kheturi, from here I shall return there." Hearing Narottama's sweet words, the old brahmana smiled and without disclosing anything said, "I know everything. Come along with me, I shall show you all."
The brahmana guided Narottama to a particular spot and said, "See, this is the place where Nityananda and His friends enjoyed grazing cattle like the Gopas. Nityananda roamed about in this area holding His club and plow. And this is the place where He performed Ramalila. As Balarama performed His pastimes in Svetadvipa, similarly Nityananda performed His pastimes here. Now let me show you the house of Hadai Pandita where Nityananda Raya took birth. Here is the spot where He held a snake. See, over here, this is where His Gurukarana ceremony was performed. Now look at this temple of Vishnu where He used to worship the Lord. This is where that sannyasi came and ate and afterwards begged Nityananda from his father. This is the road by which the sannyasi and Nityananda left, followed by all the inhabitants of this village. In this spot Nityananda's mother loudly lamented for her son, and over here Hadai Pandita rolled on the ground in anguish at losing his son. Here Padmavati devi laid unconscious and Hadai Panditconsoled her. O Narottama, mind these places which I am showing you are beyond the grasp of even the demigods. In this Ekacakra village, Nityananda Raya still performs His pastimes and only the fortunate can see."
Saying this much, the brahmana vanished. The sudden disappearance of the old brahmana bewildered Narottama. "What is this," he thought, "one moment he was here and then he vanished like a bolt from the blue." Narottama became extremely restless and thought, "If I cannot see him anymore, I shall commit suicide by entering into fire." Saying this Narottama began to lament pitifully. Nityananda, Haladhara who is an ocean of mercy, again appeared before Narottama in the guise of the old brahmana. This time, the brahmana suddenly turned into Balarama, carrying his club and plow, wearing a topknot on his head and dressed in beautiful garments. Then suddenly Balarama turned into Nityananda. Smilingly he said to Narottama, "You are my favorite, I have no intention to deceive you. Very soon all your desires will be fulfilled. But don't disclose to anyone that you have seen Me here." Saying this He disappeared. Narottama stood transfixed like a statue, unable to move or speak. He stayed that day at Ekacakra and the following morning, while glorifying Nityanan Prabhu, King of Ekacakra, the son of Rohini and the life of the most fallen souls, Narottama began his journey.
Shri Isvari visits Ekchakra
After the wedding Shri Isvari, Narottama, Ramacandra and Govinda left Budhari and headed for Ekchakra in Radhadesha. When Shri Isvari saw Ekchakra in the far distance she felt the surge of emotion. Even Krishnadasa Sarkhela, Gauranga Sundara, Madhava Acarya, Balarama, Mahidahara, Murari, Chaitanya, Krishnadasa, Nrsimha, Shri Kanai, Damodara, Raghupati Vaidya, Upaddhaya Manohara, Shri Paramesvari Dasa, Shri Nakari Dasa, Shri Mukunda and others began to cry with emotion. The road on which the pilgrims travelled was shaded by peepel trees and the deep cool shadows and the breeze through the trees mitigated the fatigue of the travellers. As they passed along that pleasant road Shri Isvari and the others suddenly felt very happy but they could not understand why. In their joyful state of mind they met a brahmin on the way to Ekchakra. He was very old and he walked with the aid of a stick. He approached them slowly and then waited under a tree looking here and there wondering where all the Vaishnavas had come from, althoh he did not ask them anything the Vaishnavas bowed to him and asked him to take his seat beneath the tree. They polietly inquired from him why Ekchakra seemed to be only ruins although they had heard it was a large town. What was the cause of the decay? The brahmin relpied that it was certainly true that Ekchakra had been famous place for a long time. It had originally been the home of the Pandavas where they had killed many wicked raksas and asuryas. It had also become a famous place of pilgrimage because of its many deities and temples. The temple of Ekchakra Siva with Paravati had been here and many other deities such as Ganesh had been worshipped here but due to the influence of Kali the deities had all gone to the bottom of the river. Previously the river had been very wide and was lined on both sides by trees, plants and flowering creepers. There had also beeb bees, butterflies and various kinds of singing birds as well as non violent animals in the forest. No one knew who originally establise the village of Ekchakra but within its precients the four castes of Hindu society and lived peacefully.
Previously the village was inhabitated by wealthy people who had devotional and religious leanings. They were also scholars of different sastras who studied and taught here. Amongst these scholars was a great astrologer who had prophecied that Ekchakra village would be the residence of God himself for Lord Balarama would appear there. They astrologer lamented that his own life would be too short and he would not be able to see the appearance of the Lord. Many other astrologers examined his evidence and agreed with hs conclusion.
Shri Nityananda's family
In Ekchakra lived a pious brahmin who was famous because of his title `Ojha'. He was a wealthy man but had affection for his Yajamanas on whose behalf he performed his worship. His wife was a lady of sweet disposition but she was unhappy because she had no child although she was able to bear children. Each of her children died at the time of birth.
last she got a son who was born at a very auspicious moment. The Ojha felt both
happy and sad simultaneously and dedicated his only son to the mercy of
Paravati Sankara. He and his wife analysed the fate of their son and out of
dissatisfaction they named him Haro. But others in the village kept different
sweet names for the child and would often visit the Ojha's house to see the
nice child. Day by day the child grew into a beautiful boy.
Ojha performed the ceremony which celebrates the time that a Hindu child can take rice for the first time and other social ceremonies as the child grew and grew. When it was time for the boy to get married his father selected a girl for him from a nearby village. Padmavati was the name of the bride and she was equal to the bridegroom in every way. A few dasy after the marriage Ojha and his wife disappeared from the world. Haro was overwhelmed by the absence of his parents and he spent a deal of money performing the funeral rites for his parents. Haro Ojha gradually became a respected scholar in all Sastras and eventually got the title Harai Pandita. He was a devout Vaishnava and a scholar in Vishnu Bhakti tattva. His wife was also a devoted Vaisnavi and the villagers came to respect the couple for their sincere worship of Lord Vishnu.
The Birth of Nityananda Prabhu
Harai Pandita was very happy when he heard that his wife Parvati was pregnant. She gave birth to a beautiful child on a auspicious day and the religious minded ladies of the village came to see the child and bless him. Each gave a different opinion of the child. One woman questioned whether the child was actually a boy or a doll made of golden butter. Another woman commented that she had never seen a child who could cool both the eyes and the heart. Everyday a crowd gathered at the house of Harai Ojha and for the well being of his son Harai Ojha would distribute money to needy people and perform other types of charitable activities. Harai Ojha's son grew like the waxing moon and remained the center of pleasure for his parents. His mother loved him so much that she never put him down from her lap. At the time of his name giving ceremony someone suggested the name Rama and someone else suggested the name Nityananda for the child. When he was old enough to crawl on the ground people spontaneously callehim Nitai and wanted to hold him on their laps. People were enchanted by his sweet smile and histiny teeth which looked like drops of milk. Nityananda became the centre of life for the people of Ekchakra.
old man continued to tell his story to Jahnava Isvari and her associates. He
said that one day he felt disturbed for some reason so he went to the house of
Harai simply to see Nitai. When he took the child in his lap, all his miseries
seemed to vanish. Harai Pandita's affection for his son was boundless and he
would never go anywhere far from the child. Once he went to the house of a
Yajamana but returned immediately to his home to check on Nityananda. His
mother used to smear the dust of haridya on his body to brighten his complexion
but the haridya seemed dull next to Nityananda's own golden color. She smeared
scented oil on his head to cool it but his body was cooler and sweeter than the
oil itself. After giving him a bath his mother would dry him with a soft piece
of cloth. Then she would dress him in silk and advise him to play in the house.
But Nityananda could smilingly ask her who he should play with, for he had no
Nityananda Prabhu's Vraja lila and other Avatara lilas
that time on many boys would come to Nityananda's house to play with him.
Nityananda was a very gentle child. Gradually he grew to the age of ten and
with his friends he would play only those sports which Lord Krishna had played
with his friends. He would choose a particular type of sport and then teach his
friends. Sometimes, for example, he would want to re-enact a pastime from the
birth of Krishna. They would create the prision where Krishna was born and act
out each of the events related to Krishna going to Gokula to live with Nanda.
He also enacted other pastimes like birthday of Krishna in Nanda's house,
various incidents which proved the love of mother Yosoda for Krishna, the
killing of Putina, the breaking of the cradle, the killing of Trinavata etc.
Sometimes he chose to act out the pastime where mother Yasoda tied Krishna to a
mortar and later Krishna uprooted the Yamalarjuna trees. During each pastime
Nityananda would dress in different types of clothes and play just like Krishna
had played in Gokula. would assign the roars of Baka and Aga to his different
boyfriends and then as Krishna he would mockingly kill them. He would build a
snake-shaped structure and put it in the water so that they could re-enact the
pastime of Kaliya danana. Just like Krishna, Nityananda would sometimes kill
Dhanuka or Pralambra while playing in the grazing grounds.
Just like Krishna he would play in the pasturing grounds, ocassionally killing a demon like risasura or rescuing Braja by lifting Govardhana. Sometimes they enacted the pastime of stealing the dresses of the Gopis and other times they pretended to kill kamsa. But when they staged the drama of Krishna leaving Vraja where the Gopis lamented pitifully, Nityananda also cried in hopless despair. He also enacted the various pastimes that Krishna had performed in Mathura.
Sometimes Nityananda taught his boyfriends the pastimes of Shri Ramacandra. For his drama he arranged everything as an exact replica of the places and incidents which had been desrcibed by Valmika in his book the Ramayana.
In th mood of Krishna Nityananda also played the role of Vamana, the incarnation of Vishnu who tricked King Vali. He also played the role of Nrsimha and mockingly killed Hiranyakasipur. Whatever pastimes Lord Krishna had performed to please his devotees were also performed by the son of Padmavati as he played with his village friends.
The boys of Ekchakra liked to be with Nityananda and could not leave him for a second. The parents of Ekchakra never forbid their children to associate with Nityananda; rather, they would decorate them with ornaments and encourage to take part in Nityananda's transcendenatl play.
At the time for taking the sacred thread, Nityananda was just stepping into his adolescent period and the village people were enchanted by his beauty. In his boyhood he became a scholar in all Sastras and Vyakanas and when he was twelve yers old he looked like a boy of fifteen. Because of this Harai Pandita anxiously sought out a wife for Nitai. The brahmin gentelmen of Ekchakra agreed to the idea and someone took the initiative to select a bride from a good brahmin family. Unfortunately, none of them could know the future.
Nityananda Prabhu leaves home
day a travelling Gosvami came as a guest to the house of Harai Pandita. Harai
Pandita offered him alms and they passed the night together discussing Lord
Krishna. At the time of parting, the sannyasi requested Harai Pandtia to give
him Nityananda and Harai Pandita was obliged to give him, thinking that there
must be some divine plan behind the request.
When the sannyasi left with Nityananda Harari Pandita fell on the ground unconscious and his wife dropped just like a dead body. Even the villagers of Ekchakra became half-dead when they heard the news. The friends of Nityananda fell on the ground and the entire village was lifeless in grief. People assembled at the house of Harai Ojha and tried to revive the Pandita and his wife. But regaining their consciousness, the parents of Nityananda simply cried and called out the name of Nityananda. Their profuse tears could have melter the hard stones.
The younger brother of Nitai also lamented, wanting to know why the sannyasi had not also taken him. One brahmin anxiously asked the crowd which direction the sannyasi had taken. He would catch up with them and fall at the feet of the sannyasi, begging him to release Nimai. After all, the boy the did not know how to cook or other household duties. The brahmin would offer the sannyasi his own son who knew how to perform all types of service, and then he would bring Nityananda back. People searched in all directions for the sannyasi but he was not to be found. The astrolgers of Ekchakra met in a solitary place and discussd the prophecy of the astrologer who had predicted that Balarama would take his birth in Ekchakra. They realized too late that the prophecy had been fulfilled when Nityananda took birth in the house of Harai Pandita.
"At the time of Nityandad'a birth all misfortunes vanished," said one man. "There have been no famines, the people are happy and there is adequate rainfall."
"Now I understand why flowers were showered from heaven at the time of Nitai's birth," said another man.
a God could posess such divine beauty," said another.
"I have never seen the type of sports which Nitai used to enact with his friends," said one gnetleman. "Once I saw Nitai in the role of a sannyasi. He wore a saffron colored dhoti and held a dhanda in one hand with a kamdalu in the other. The children were all wearing Vaishnava clothes and danced joyfully with Nitai in the center. Now Nityananda has made the play in reality."
"Oh, I am an ignorant perosn, lamented another villager. "How could I know that Rumini Kumara and Nityananda were the same person."
"We have no ability to understand the wish of the Lord," consoled another man. "The arrival of the sannyasi was only a pretext under which the Lord would leave home. Just as Balarama had visited all the holy places on foot, so also Nityananda would go on pilgrimage."
"But this is not proper behavior," criticised another person. "Nityananda should not have gone while his parents were still living." Then the poor man broke down and cried loudly while calling out the name of Nityananda.
The lamentation of Harai Pandita
The residents of Ekchakra regularly visited the house of Harai Pandita to console him and his wife. Three months had passed but Harai and Parvati had not taken a bit of food. They had grown mad by contiunous crying and calling out th name of Nityananda. Villagers would offer them food but the thought of sustaining their lives simply increased their misery.
In hs madness Harai would call out to Nitai requesting him to come and sit on his lap for he had not seen him in such a long time. Other times he would call Nitai to accompany him to the tank for a bath. Then he would call his son to walk in front as they walked in the field inspecting the ripeness of the rice plants. Then he would call Nitai to accompany him to the market to but new clothes and other play things. He would callhis son to come and eat the prasad of Vishnu, telling him that his mother was waiting. Or he would ask Nitai to take part in a debate on Sastra with other students of the Pandita. Ocassionally he would call his wife ingreat excitment to come and see that Nityananda was coming down the road. The sannyasi Thakura had kindly returned their son.
In this way the parents of Nityananda passed their day until the time of their death. After their disappearance the friends of Nityananda left Ekchakra and the villagers also moved to other places without telling anyone where they were going. Across the river a Yavana had built a village in his own name and a small population had deveolped there. In the passing of time, Ekchakra had become simply ruins.
The old brahmana continued to tell Jahnava Isvari and the Vaishnavas that only he a few other men remained in Ekchakra because of the memory of Nityananda. Although he was old and he could not walk properly, he would nevertheless leave his home each day and wander the streets and fields of Ekchakra to visit the places where Nityananda used to play. Just in the shadow of his peepal tree Nityananda and his friends would eat and play.
"Providence is cruel for I have lived this long life with only my memories of Nityandanda. I simply hoped that one day I would see him again but, alas, he has never returned to Ekchakra. I simply pray to be reborn in Ekchakra life after life on the hope of seeing my Nityananda. And at the end of each life let me simply call the name of Nitai Cand."
The old brahmin broke down in bitter sobbing and called out hte name of Nitai. Shri Jahnava and the other devotees left their emotions unchecked and tears rolled like rivers from their eyes. Krishnadasa Pandita bowed again and again at the feet of the brahmana.
The brahmana guides them through Ekchakra
The Vaishnava assembly to guide them through Ekchakra. He took them first to the house of Harai Pandita but he could not describe the house for he was choked with emotion. Without saying anything he left the assembly and returned to his own home crying bitterly. Shri Isvari did not stop him, but with heavy hearts the Vaishnavas entered the house of Harai Pandita although the house was simply ruins the devotees felt a strong attraction for it. They decided to pass the night in that house performing sankirtana.
The lamentation of Shri Jahnava devi
Jahnava devi could not sleep that night. Sitting in a lonely place she contemplated her misfortune that she could not see her father-in-law and mother-in-law. She could not enjoy the happiness of her husband's house. By the wish of the Lord she fell asleep and in her dream she envisioned the big town of Ekchakra. The beauty of the village was enchanting and the golden houses seemed to have been built by Visvakarma himself. The house of Harai Pandita was full of attendants, and in the midst of their riches and grandeur Harai Pandita and Padmavati showered their affection on Nityananda. They also showed great affection for Vasudeva, the two wives of Nityananda. Shri Jahnava the daughter of Surya dasa, was respected by the entire world, yet she was very happy to receive the affection of her father-in-law. Shri Jahnava was truly enjoying herself but then the dream faded away and she awoke.
Again she slept that night and in her dream she saw a garden on the bank of the river in Ekchakra. The trees in the garden were full of flowers, bees hummed, birds sang and the wind blew sweetly. Under one tree was a beautiful throne made of jewels. Many ladies dressed in gorgeous clothes and covered in jewels stood as attendants around the throne. They held Talabrinta and camara, thalis of sandal, chua, scented water and flower garlands. Looking like kandapa, Shri Nityananda was seated on that ornamental throne and with a sweet smile on his face he was more beautiful than the moon. Shri Vasudeva and Jahnava were sitting on his left and right sides and were each as beautiful as Rati the Goddess of beauty. They were happily chewing betel leaves and putting betel leaves in Nityananda's mouth. He would return his chewed betel leaves to his wives while the lady attendants continuously offered chua, sandal and flower garlands. From his own body Nityananda would give the sandal paste and chua to his wives anwould embrace them lovingly. He gave them his garlands and held them close beside him.
Shri Isvari was dreaming so happily that when she awoke from her sleep she felt quite disappointed. She spoke briefly about the dream to some of her associates but she could not settle her mind in order to leave Ekachakra.