SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Adi Lila Chapter 11
All glories to Sri Gauracandra, the Supreme Lord of all lords. His youthful pastimes as a scholar revealed His attraction for learning. He stayed in Navadvipa, but He concealed His true identity. The best of the brahmanas, Gauracandra, spent all His younger days pursuing His studies. His handsome youthfulness could defeat the beauty of millions upon millions of cupids. Every limb of His transcendental body was a perfection of beauty. His arms extended down to the knees and His exquisite eyes were like lotus petals. His attractive lips were red as if from chewing betel, and He was always dressed in fine, majestic clothes.
Ever in a happy mood, He walked amidst His colleagues and disciples, entertaining them with His sparkling wit. He was their unquestioned leader on the strength of His superior intelligence and learning. He roamed all over Navadvipa carrying His books as if holding Sarasvati devi, the Goddess of Learning, within His palm, for He is the Supreme Lord of the entire cosmic manifestation. No scholar in Navadvipa dared to find faults in His dissertations. Only the brahmana Gangadasa Pandita, a very pious and fortunate soul, was capable of discussing with the Lord.
The different categories of people in Navadvipa saw Mahaprabhu in their own way. The materialistic fruitive workers who were attached to family and home saw Him as the Lord and experienced an inexplicable wonder. "How remarkable that every house He graces should always have prosperity," they exclaimed. The ladies saw Him as the most attractive Cupid. But in the hearts of the atheists He struck fear as the God of death. The scholars were convinced that Brhaspati, the most learned priest of the demigods, had taken birth on earth.
But the Vaisnavas were seriously concerned about Gauranga and His behavior.
"He is endowed with such sublime physical beauty," they sadly commented, "yet He shows no attraction for Lord Krsna. What will all His learning and erudition bring Him except years of wasted time." The Vaisnavas spoke in this manner because they were bewildered by the internal potency of the Lord. Although they saw the Supreme Lord in person before them, they could not recognize Him.
Once a Vaisnava met the Lord and enquired, "What is the use of wasting your time in pursuit of material knowledge."
The Lord smiled at the concern of His devotee and replied, "Truly it is my great fortune that you are instructing Me to accept the path of devotional service."
These are some of the exchanges of mellows between the Supreme Lord and His devotees. Yet even the devotees - what to speak of ordinary men - could not recognize the Lord as He unfolded His pastimes in the mood of a scholar.
Navadvipa was the seat of learning in those days and students and scholars came there from all over. There were many pure Vaisnava devotees amongst them, especially from Chattograma, who had come to live near the bank of the Ganga. By the Lord's desire all those Vaisnava devotees had appeared in Navadvipa. Abandoning all physical and material pleasures, they were fully attached to the lotus feet of Lord Krsna. They met daily, studied together and in solitude - away from the bustle of materialistic life - they discussed pastimes of Lord Govinda's.
Sri Mukunda was especially loved by all the other Vaisnavas because he could melt anyone's heart with his beautiful singing. Towards evening, the devotees would gather in Sri Acarya's house and when Mukunda would sing devotional songs to Lord Krsna, the devotees would lose their composure. Some would cry; others would laugh loudly and still others would dance. Some lost control of themselves and their clothes and would roll on the ground, feeling great ecstasy. Some chanted loudly as if roaring like lions, and others clapped the devotes loudly on their backs. Still others simply touched the feet of Sri Mukunda. The whole place became transformed into a most blissful scene, and all the Vaisnavas forgot their previous sufferings.
The Supreme Lord Gaurasundara was always pleased with Mukunda. Whenever He saw Mukunda He would hurry forward to meet him. Nimai would present Mukunda with problems, and Mukunda would earnestly try to explain them. But the Lord would immediately reply that Mukunda's arguments were all wrong, and inevitably an argument would ensure. Mukunda had become a respected scholar by such meetings with the Lord, and he would argue with the Lord, presenting pros and cons to establish his arguments. Of course the Supreme Lord recognized His devotees and enjoyed such exchanges.
Caitanya also harassed Srivasa in the same manner whenever He saw him, so most of the Vaisnavas tried to avoid meeting the Lord which simply wasted their time in useless sophistry and argument. The Vaisnavas were fully detached from material pleasures, being totally immersed in love of Krsna. Hence, they found no interest in any topics other than Krsna conscious topics.
They were not inspired to argue with the Lord on logic or other such material topics. In any case, the interactions invariably ended with the Lord making fun of them. Therefore when any of them spotted the Lord, they would change their direction and keep their distance. They enjoyed only Krsna conscious topics, yet whenever the Lord met them He would only ask questions about logic and other material subjects.
One day Caitanya was walking down the main street with some other students.
Mukunda happened to be coming that way at the same time, going for his daily bath in the river. Seeing the Lord from a distance, Mukunda quickly turned away. The Lord saw Mukunda sneak away and He asked His servant Govinda, "Why did this fellow run away upon seeing Me?"
"Dear learned brahmana, I don't know why he has gone away," said Govinda. "Maybe he has some other work."
"I know why he ran away," said Gauranga. "He does not like to talk about mundane subject matters. This fellow only studies devotional scriptures while I juggle with astrology, theology, verb rules and grammar. Because I do not talk about Krsna he has avoided Me." Using harsh terms He pretended to slander Mukunda but He was actually very pleased with him. In this way He simultaneously revealed His own Supreme identity. "Alright Mukunda, we will see how long you can avoid me," laughed the Lord. "Let me catch you another day and you will see how much of a Vaishnava I am. I will become such a Vaishnava devotee that Siva and Lord Brahma will come and stand at My doorstep. So my brothers, now hear from Me carefully. I will become the most famous Vaishnava. Those who are running away at the sight of me now will also sing my glories." He laughed at His own speech and left with all His disciples. Who can appreciate such pleasurable pastimes of the Lord Visvambhara if He Himself does not reveal it within one's heart?
While the devotees in Nabadwip displayed wonderful qualities, the rest of the residents were mad after wealth, sons and other such material properties. If they heard the chanting of the Lord's holy name they blasphemed the devotees saying, "They are singing only with the hope of filling their bellies."
Other atheistic persons remarked, "These people want to avoid speculative knowledge and prefer to dance in the road like upstarts. What sort of behavior is this?"
Still other said, "How much of the Bhagavata and other scriptures have they read that they dance and cry all the time. Is this their devotional path? This Srivasa Pandita and his three brothers will not even allow us to sleep after a good meal. I ask them: is there no spiritual benefit from chanting Krishna's name softly, or is it only by howling and dancing that some special benefit is derived."
The atheists hurled offenses at the Vaishnavas whenever they saw them. The Vaishnavas lamented the state of the people in general and ardently cried Krishna's holy name. "O Lord, how long before all this suffering is eradicated from the world?" they prayed. "Dear Krishna, please incarnate in this sinful material world."
At Advaita Acarya's house the Vaishnavas described the insults they had received from the Nabadwip community. Advaita Acarya Prabhu could hardly tolerate insults to the devotees and grew enraged like an incarnation of Lord Rudra, the destroyer of the material world. He roared furiously, "I shall destroy everyone! My Lord, the carrier of the Sudarsana disc will soon appear here in Nadia and then everyone will see what He does. I shall report all these offenses to my Supreme Lord Krishna. Then only will this slave Advaita be worthy to be called the servant of Krishna. My dear brothers, please remain patient a little longer, then here in Nadia itself you shall see Krishna reveal His wonderful pastimes."
Advaita Acarya's encouraging words instilled new life in their hearts. The Vaishnavas forgot their distressed condition and began chanting the holy name of the Lord. With Sri Advaita they jubilantly sang the all auspicious names of Lord Krishna and became blissfully intoxicated by the sweet sound. The caustic remarks of the atheists faded far into the background of their thoughts.
Nimai Pandita continued His education happily. He was a constant source of pleasure for Mother Saci. Around this time Sri IsvaraChandra Puri came to Nabadwip unobtrusively dressed as a ekadandi sannyasa. He was a magnanimous personality, always absorbed in tasting the nectar of love of Krishna. He was extremely dear to Lord Krishna and compassionate towards all. Because of his humble attire, no one recognised him.
One day Isvara Puri went to Advaita Acarya's house, but the Acarya was quite busy working at that time. IsvaraChandra sat humbly in the courtyard in front of Advaita Prabhu. A Vaishnava's purity makes him effulgent, so Advaita Acarya Prabhu could immediately understand that the person sitting in front of him was no ordinary sannyasi. Advaita stared at Isvara Puri, knowing he must be a pure Vaishnava.
At last Acarya Prabhu addressed him respectfully, "Dear saintly person, who are you? I have the feeling that you are a Vaishnava sannyasi."
"I am worse than the fourth class person," replied IsvaraChandra. I have come here simply to see your lotus feet."
Mukunda could also recognize the symptoms of a pure Vaishnava devotee, and there in the courtyard he spontaneously broke into devotional song. At the sound of Mukunda's voice, Isvara Puri fell to the ground. Incessant tears poured from his eyes while repeated and increasing bursts of devotional ecstasy overcame him. Advaita Acarya was alarmed and drew IsvaraChandra quickly into his arms. Soon he was also bathed with the saint's tears and they were both swept away by ecstatic waves of love of God, unable to control their spiritual emotions. Inspired by them, Mukunda sang one sloka after another.
The assembled Vaishnavas were astounded to see such a display of intense spiritual emotions and their hearts filled with divine happiness. Later, when the devotees learned that the humble sannyasi was IsvaraChandra Puri, they broke into spontaneous kirtana, overjoyed that such a great devotee was in their presence. In this humble way Sri Puri wandered around Nabadwip, not recognised by anyone.
One day Lord GauraChandra was returning home after teaching some students and by divine arrangement he saw IsvaraChandra Puri on the way. Recognizing his servant and dear devotee the Lord offered him respect. Lord Visvambhara's unsurpassed beauty was impossible to describe. He was a perfect personality in all respects. No one could understand His inner feelings, yet everyone regarded Him with awe and respect. IsvaraChandra Puri glanced at the Lord and knew immediately that Nimai was a grave and sublime transcendental personality.
"What is Your name, O learned brahmana?" asked Sri Puri. "Which book are You carrying? What do You teach and where is Your place of residence?" Some other students introduced Nimai and Sri IsvaraChandra Puri exclaimed, "O You are that same Nimai Pandita."
Sri IsvaraChandra's pleasure was quite apparent. The Lord begged him to accept prasada at His house and they returned home together, Sri Puri lavishing affection on Nimai. Mother Saci prepared a feast and offered it to Lord Krishna. Sri Puri accepted the maha prasada, and afterwards sat in the temple room. He began to narrate the wonderful pastimes of Lord Krishna, and at one stage he fell silent, perplexed with ecstatic emotions of love of Godhead and unable to speak any further. Nimai and everyone else experienced wonderful joy as the nectar of devotion flowed profusely from Sri Puri.
IsvaraChandra never exhibited ecstatic symptoms amongst materialistic people. He stayed in the house of Gopinatha Acarya in Nabadwip for seven months. The hearts of the Vaishnavas were light with joy because of his association; the Lord himself visited Sri Puri daily.
Gadadhara Pandita was also a well loved member of the Vaishnava community because of his love for Lord Krishna. From childhood he was completely detached from and disgusted with material life. He was favored and loved by IsvaraChandra Puri. In his association Sri Puripada would read Krishna Lilamrta which he had composed himself and then explain the different esoteric truths.
Lord Caitanya visited Isvara Puri every evening after teaching his students. Isvara Puri was always glad to see him. Although he did not know that Nimai was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his love and affection for him flowed unrestrained. He spoke affectionately to the Lord, "I know you are a great scholar. I have written a book about Lord Krishna. I want you to go through it and find the mistakes. This will please me very much."
"These are descriptions of Lord Krishna by a pure devotee," replied Nimai. If anyone finds any mistake, then he is a sinful offender. The pure devotee never writes anything from his imagination, devoid of a scriptural basis. These writings are bonafide and always pleasing to Lord Krishna. When offering obeisances in the temple an ignorant person might make a grammatical mistake in addressing Lord Krishna while a learned scholar would address him using proper grammar. But the Supreme Lord Krishna accepts both their obeisances. The Supreme Lord is not impressed with mere learning, but He is supplicated by the inner mood of surrender of the living entities. Whoever looks for faults in your writings is actually at fault himself because Krishna is fully satisfied by the writing of this pure devotee. Whatever you have written is an expression of your love for Krishna. Who has the audacity to find some discrepancy in it?"
IsvaraChandra Puri felt ecstasy surge through his entire body with the explanation of Nimai Pandita. Yet he affectionately persisted, "I know you are not critical but in my works there may be so many types of errors. Please point them out to me." Such discussions between Sri Puri and Nimai Pandita were a daily occurrence and everyone enjoyed such occasions together.
One day Nimai Pandita detected a fault in one of Isvara Puri's poems and commented that the use of the verb root was inaccurate. "It should be a different verb, not 'Atma Nipodi' as you have used here," said the Lord. After the discussion Nimai went home. Isvara Puri was an erudite scholar, well versed in all the scriptures and no less a pandita in grammar and other materialistic subjects. After Nimai left, he considered Nimai's comment from various aspects and compared it with many different grammatical or shastric conclusions. When Nimai came to see him the next day Sri Puri said, "That verb root you considered to be wrong is actually correct as I have used it. It should not be `Paradpaidi' as you suggested. 'Atma Nipodi' is the correct usage."
The Lord was overjoyed that his servant and devotee was victorious over Him. That was the Lord's magnanimous nature through which He always increased the name frame and victory of his disciples. This has been confirmed in all the Vedic scriptures.
Having enjoyed every moment of his association with the Supreme Lord--engaged in discussion and debate like two scholarsIsvaraChandra Puri left Nabadwip. He could never remain long in one place because the restlessness of ecstatic devotional love tugged at his heart. He travelled, purifying each place he visited.
Whoever is fortunate enough to attentively hear these wonderful narrations about IsvaraChandra Puri is immediately transported to the place where the lotus feet of Lord Krishna are ever offering shelter and mercy. Sri Isvara Puri was fully empowered by Sri Madhavendra Puri and was thus endowed with intense love of God. He had received that full love and affection from his spiritual master by the mercy of Krishna. IsvaraChandra Puri roamed everywhere, unconcerned and fully blissful.
Sri Krishna Caitanya and Nityananda Chandra are my life and soul. I, Vrndavana dasa Thakura, humbly offer my song at Their lotus feet.