SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Adi Lila Chapter 14
All glories to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Gaurasundara who was very dear to Nityananda Prabhu. His transcendental body is comprised of eternality, knowledge and bliss. All glories to the Lord who was the life and soul of Pradyumna Misra; and all glories to the most treasured object of Sri Paramananda Puri. All glories to You my Lord, for You are the life and soul, and the most precious gem of all the Vaisnava devotees.
O Lord, please look mercifully upon us, the living entities, and liberate everyone from the bonds of nescience. I humbly request everyone to please listen faithfully and attentively to the wonderful activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna in His form as a young brahmana boy.
The Lord of Vaikuntha absorbed Himself in the mood of a scholar and passed His time in academic pursuits with His disciples. In every neighborhood of Navadvipa He was seen performing His self-assertive and playful pastimes. But by that time every person unquestioningly accepted Nimai Pandita as the superior scholar and teacher in Navadvipa. Rich, influential and aristocratic men would immediately take a humble position upon seeing Nimai and offer their respects to Him. The very sight of Him induced a sense of awe and reverence in the residents who were all captivated by His charm.
Nimai Pandita would frequently receive gifts from various classes of people in Navadvipa. He set the perfect example as a householder and was as charitable as the Supreme Lord Himself. Whenever Nimai saw a poor person, He would kindly offer them food, clothing or money. In this way Nimai generously distributed gifts to the poor.
An endless stream of guests visited the Lord's house. The Lord offered each one respect according to their position, and rendered them service to their full satisfaction. On some days sannyasis would visit His house and the Lord would serve them graciously. Once twenty sannyasis came at one time, so the Lord sent word to His mother to cook for all of them.
Mother Saci fell into immediate anxiety for she had nothing in the house to feed twenty sannyasis. Lost in her problem she did not notice that someone had brought all the different ingredients she might require and left them in the kitchen. Laksmi-Devi immediately went to the kitchen and, pleased with the array of ingredients, She cooked some special preparations. After the cooking, the Lord checked the arrangements and then invited the sannyasis to sit down. He supervised the serving of their prasada and He satisfied each one of them personally. In this way the Lord satisfied all His guests and taught the world how to behave as a perfect householder.
The foremost duty of a householder is to serve their guest, and responsible householders live by that standard. The householder who does not serve and satisfy their guests properly is worse than an animal or a bird. Even those who because of their previous impious activities have insufficient means to be hospitable can at least offer a place to sit, some water and a place to rest.
That simple hospitality is sufficient to satisfy any guest if it is offered with love and affection. A householder who is pious may be poverty stricken and possess very little with which to serve a guest, but their disposition should be hospitable. They can offer drinking water and water with which the guest can wash their feet. They can offer a grass mat on which the guest can sit or rest to become refreshed, and they can offer sweet words to please the weary ears of the traveler. The host must endeavor with all humility to keep the guest from leaving their house, and beg forgiveness for any mistakes in their humble hospitality. A householder who sincerely tries to satisfy their guests even though their means are meager is considered hospitable.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead set the example of a perfect householder and repeatedly asked His guests whether they had any further needs or whether they were satisfied. Those guests of course were the most fortunate souls for Srimati Laksmi Devi, the Goddess of Fortune, and Supreme Personality of God, Narayana, the proprietor of the entire cosmic manifestation, personally fed them. Because of the wonderful activities of the Supreme Lord, that divine food which is cherished by great souls like Lord Brahma and other demigods was distributed to common people and ordinary citizens in Navadvipa.
The twenty sannyasi who were guests in the house of Lord Nimai had become a subject of conversation amongst the people. Someone said, "Those guests could not have been ordinary persons. They must have been Lord Brahma, Siva, Sukhadev Gosvami, Srila Vyasadeva, Narada Muni and other such elevated personalities. Who else could be eligible to take food in the house of Sri Gauranga who is non-different from Lord Narayana with His wife Laksmi Devi? The Supreme Lord has appeared in Navadvipa and these great personalities and demigods must have known of the advent and come in the guise of sannyasis to take prasada in Their house. Other than Brahma, who has the great fortune to eat in the house of Mahaprabhu?"
Some others expressed their opinion that, "The Supreme Lord has appeared to alleviate the sufferings of humanity. Along with the Supreme Lord, other demigods like Lord Brahma have also appeared, for they are the eternal associates of the Supreme Lord. Yet in this incarnation the Lord has promised that, 'I will give the living entities that which is rarely achieved even by Lord Brahma and others.' Therefore, the Supreme Lord distributed prasadam generously from His own house simply to release the wretched and needy living entities from material suffering."
Laksmi-devi worked without any assistance to serve Her Lord and master, yet She was always in a cheerful mood. Seeing the wonderful qualities and pious nature of Laksmi Devi, Mother Saci's joy increased by each hour and each day. From early morning She would work alone at the household chores, setting the example of an ideal wife. In the temple room She decorated the floor with auspicious designs made from colored paste; She drew the different symbols of the Lord like the conch shell and chakra. She also arranged for the paraphernalia required for the Lord's worship like incense, flowers, lamp, water, etc. She worshiped Tulasi Devi and also saw to the needs of Mother Saci, serving her with great affection. The wonderful attributes of Laksmi devi's nature did not go unnoticed by Lord Gauracandra; although He never commented on it, He was extremely satisfied with Her.
Frequently Laksmi Devi would sit for long hours massaging the Lord's lotus feet on Her lap. At times when She served Her Lord like that, Mother Saci could see a brilliant effulgence emanating from the feet of Gauracandra. At other times the fragrance of lotus flowers would fill the entire house, and although Mother Saci would search everywhere, she could not find the source of the fragrance. Srimati Laksmi-Devi, the Goddess of Fortune, and the Supreme Lord Narayana remained incognito, unrecognized by the residents of Navadvipa.
Without any prior indication, Lord Gauranga one day announced His desire to visit Bangladesh, the eastern part of Bengal. "I'll be gone for a few days." He told His mother. To Laksmi-Devi He instructed, "Please always look after Your mother's needs."
The Lord gathered a few of His confidential disciples and prepared for his journey. People gathered to see Him off, but as the Lord departed they stood transfixed in their places simply staring after Him. It was difficult for them to take their eyes away from the Lord.
The ladies said, "The mother of this young man must be very pious and fortunate, we offer our obeisances at her feet. Fortunate also is the wife of this young man; Her birth as a woman has become worthy just by gaining such an excellent husband." In this way the residents discussed the Lord's glory as they watched Him leave. It was only by His mercy that the ordinary residents of Navadvipa could see Him directly; even the demigods long to see the Lord in this way.
Lord Gaurasundara continued His unhurried journey and at last arrived on the banks of the river Padmavali. The river view was enchanting: small waves constantly creased the wide expanse of water, and on either bank green forests lined the powerful current. The Lord was refreshed by the sight of the river and joined His friends for a swim in the clear water. Padmavali became fully spiritualized by the touch of the Lord's lotus feet, and her water was thereafter capable of purifying the entire creation. Padmavali was truly a beautiful river, her lapping waves and swift current most pleasing to the mind. The enchanting forests on her banks were equally pleasing so the Lord stayed there for a few days. It was Padmavali's good fortune that the Lord blessed her, joyfully playing in her water just as He has played in the Ganga in Navadvipa.
From the moment the Lord entered East Bengal the land became blessed and remains so, even today. The residents were happy to learn that the Lord had spent a few days on the banks of the Padmavali. News of the Lord's arrival swiftly spread far and wide. "Nimai Pandita, the crest-jewel of all scholars and the foremost of teachers has arrived." the residents announced. Pious brahmanas came forward to greet the Lord, each bearing a gift for Him. They offered their obeisances to Him and humbly submitted, "Our great fortune must be immeasurable to have Your presence in this country."
One brahmana said, "People of East Bengal make a tremendous endeavor to collect funds to arrange to go to Navadvipa and study under the great scholar Nimai Pandit. But by the divine grace of the Supreme Lord that ocean of knowledge has personally come to our doorstep. You are certainly the incarnation of Brhaspati, for no other teacher can compare with You. On closer scrutiny however, that comparison is inaccurate. I am convinced that You are an empowered part of the Supreme Personality of God. My heart tells me that it is impossible to find such erudition in anyone except the Supreme. We all submit this humble petition to You: it is our greatest wish that You impart knowledge to us. In Your absence we have kept You in our memories, studied Your commentaries amongst ourselves, and have also taught others. But now You are here in person, so please accept us as Your disciples, and let the whole world know of Your wonderful pastimes."
The Lord smiled at all of them, giving them assurance and hope, and remained in East Bengal for some time enjoying the land and the people. It is because of this event that the residents of East Bengal are attracted to the holy name and engage in congregational chanting even today.
At the time of the composition of this book, a group of evil persons were trying to mislead people in general away from the spiritual path with wrong advice. These sinners claimed to be pious, but cheated people just to fill their bellies. Another group of sinful offenders stopped performing congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord, and began instead to chant Narayana, referring to themselves. It is most obvious that these men are under the clutches of the modes of material nature, so how can they shamelessly profess themselves to be the Supreme Lord?
In the district of Raar there lived a man who externally appeared to be a brahman but internally was a sinful demon. He declared himself to be Gopala, the Supreme Lord, but more intelligent men considered him a sly and evil fox. Anyone who claims to be the Supreme Godhead, separate from Sri Krsna Caitanya, is certainly the most wicked soul, fit to live only in hell. I loudly declare with both my hands raised that the only true Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord of the entire material creation, is Sri Gaura Hari. Just by remembering His name one becomes free from material entanglement; even by simply remembering His servant one becomes victorious in every sphere of life.
See around you that the whole world is chanting the glories of His name, so discard your misdirected conceptions and serve the lotus feet of the Lord.
Lord Gauracandra, the Lord of Vaikuntha, enjoyed traveling in East Bengal immersed in the mood of a scholar. On the enchanting banks of the river Padmavali the Lord roamed through the forests and imparted knowledge to large gatherings of eager students. Hundreds came from everywhere to crowd His lectures. They all had one thought in mind - "I want to study from Nimai Pandita." Such was the extent of the Lord's mercy upon them that within two months all the listeners became very knowledgeable and scholarly. Although many came simply to hear the Lord, hundreds of students returned to their homes with degrees. In this way the Lord passed His time as a scholar in East Bengal.
Meanwhile in Navadvipa, Laksmi-devi was feeling the pangs of separation from Her Lord. She never spoke of Her loneliness to anyone. She served Mother Saci very lovingly, but reduced Her own eating almost to nothing after the Lord left Navadvipa. Bereft of His company She silently suffered, crying alone throughout each night, trying to suppress the restlessness which welled in Her heart.
Unable to bear any further separation from the Supreme Lord, Sri Laksmi devi, the Lord's eternal consort left Her transcendental body behind, and went secretly to meet Her Lord. Seated on the bank of the Ganga, Laksmi-devi fixed the lotus feet of the Lord within Her heart and went deep into meditation, never to return again.
Mother Saci's shock and deep grief was indescribable; her pitiable lamentations could have melted stones. Since I am incapable of describing the mellow of sadness experienced by Mother Saci, I shall not go into further details but simply mention the incident as reference. The saintly Vaisnavas were also grief stricken by the news and they all came forward to help complete the necessary rituals.
The Supreme Lord remained for sometime in Bangladesh and then returned of His own desire to Navadvipa. When the residents of East Bengal learned that the Lord would leave they immediately collected gifts and precious treasures to give Him. They presented Him with gold, silver, drinking vessels, beautiful mats, soft and warm blankets, and a variety of clothes. Each person took what was most precious in their house and joyfully offered it to the Lord. In reciprocation the Lord blessed each person and accepted their gift. The Supreme Lord Sri Gaura Hari personally visited each of the residents, and after taking leave, He started for Navadvipa. Many students decided to accompany the Lord to Navadvipa where they could study under Him.
As the Lord was about to leave, an intelligent Brahmana, named Tapan Misra approached Him. Although Tapan Misra was a pure devotee and was well-versed in the conclusions of the Vedas, he could find no one to answer his questions about the perfect spiritual path and the ultimate absolute worshipable object. He constantly chanted the holy name of Krsna, yet he felt dissatisfied in the absence of proper spiritual practice. He had lived in a perturbed state of mind for some time, but because of his piety he was awarded a vision in an early morning dream. An effulgent person who looked like a demigod spoke some confidential instructions to him. "Listen, O brahmana. You are a renounced soul - so do not worry so much. Pacify your mind. Go and meet Nimai Pandita. He will explain all that you want to know about the spiritual path and spiritual goals. He is not an ordinary mortal, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. He has appeared in this material world, accepting a human body to perform His wonderful transcendental pastimes. But I warn you not to repeat to anyone what I have just told you - for this knowledge is most confidential. It is not available even in the Vedas. If you reveal this then you will suffer unbearable pain, life after life."
The demigod disappeared from his dream and the brahmana woke up. He was thrilled by his wonderful vision and shed tears of joy. Convinced that his fortune had changed, the brahmana received new life and left immediately to meet the Lord. When he reached the bank of Padmavali he saw Lord Gaurasundara surrounded by many hundreds of disciples. In the midst of that enchanting scene he threw himself down at the Lord's lotus feet and then stood up with folded hands.
The brahmana said, "I am a fallen and wretched person. Please look upon me mercifully and destroy my bewilderment. I have no knowledge about the perfect spiritual path and the ultimate goal of human life. Be gracious and impart this knowledge to me. My heart does not long for material enjoyment and luxuries. Please tell me, O merciful Lord, what will be the ultimate shelter for my soul?"
The Lord said, "O brahmana, who can describe your good fate? You have a desire to worship the Supreme Lord Krsna, and that is the highest and most perfect path. It is very difficult to be a devotee of the Lord, so the Lord comes in every millennium to establish proper standards of religion. He appears in each of the four Yugas to establish the particular religious practice for that Yuga Himself, and then He returns to His spiritual abode. 'In order to deliver the pious and annihilate the miscreants as well as to reestablish the principles of religion I advent millennium after millennium.'
"The Lord appears in every millennium, accepting different incarnations with different complexions like white, red and yellow. Most recently, in the later portion of Dvapara Yuga, He appeared with a blackish complexion so He was called Krsna. In the four yugas there are four different authorized processes of religion for the elevation of human society. The religious practice for the age of Kali is congregational chanting of the holy name of Lord Krsna. The real purpose of religion is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Hari."
"In different yugas different religious practices were established by the Supreme Lord Himself to achieve this end. In Kali Yuga the recommended authorized religious practice is the congregational chanting of Krsna's name, and this process includes all the other previous processes. Therefore, in Kali Yuga chanting the holy name is the essential religious principle, and no other religious practice can help one cross over the material ocean of nescience. Constantly chant the Lord's name in any situation. Even the Vedas fail to sufficiently describe the super-excellent qualities of chanting the holy name of the Lord."
"Listen my dear Misra, in Kali Yuga there is no need for severe penances or performance of opulent sacrifices; whoever worships the Supreme Lord Krsna will be crowned with fortune and success. So go back to your home and worship Lord Krsna with undeviating faith and attention, giving up falsehood and pretension. By chanting the holy name of Lord Hari, Krsna, you will simultaneously obtain both the proper spiritual practice and the ultimate goal. In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way. I am repeating this great chant for deliverance to you. This consists of sixteen names of the Supreme Lord with thirty two syllables: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. By constantly chanting and worshiping this Maha Mantra, your heart will feel the first blossoming of love and God; then gradually you will understand the truth about the proper spiritual path and the ultimate spiritual goal."
Having received such sublime instructions from the Lord, Tapan Misra offered repeated obeisances at His lotus feet and then said, "O Lord, with Your permission, I would like to accompany You." The Lord replied, "You should go immediately to Varanasi; there I shall reveal the answers to your request."
The Lord then embraced him, and the brahmana felt his entire body surge with horripilations and spiritual ecstasy. The Lord's embrace filled Sri Misra with immeasurable happiness. As the Lord prepared to leave, Misra held His feet tightly and confidently narrated his entire dream. After hearing it the Lord said, "You must be very careful not to reveal this to anyone." He repeated the same instruction to the brahmana, and then sensing that the auspicious moment had arrived for Him to leave, He laughed loudly and proceeded to Navadvipa. Thus the Lord purified the entire tract of East Bengal; then returned home.
The Lord reached Navadvipa in the evening, ladened with the gifts He had received. He offered full obeisances at His mother's lotus feet and gave her all the gifts. Then the Lord and His students left to bathe in the Ganges. Although her heart was breaking with pain, Mother Saci busied herself preparing a meal for her son.
Nimai Pandita acted as the instructing spiritual master to all His students. He joined them in offering deep and repeated obeisances to the Ganga, and then sported for some time in the water. When His bath was complete He returned home, performed His daily religious rituals and then sat down to eat. The Lord of the Vaikuntha planets, Sri Gaura Hari ate with great satisfaction and then went to the temple room. One by one His relatives came forward to greet Him after His long absence. They sat around Him as He joked and laughed while describing His stay in Bangladesh. Nimai imitated the strange habits of the people of East Bengal and everyone had a good laugh. None of them mentioned the passing of Laksmi-Devi, knowing that the shock would cause the Lord grief. After some time, the relatives all returned to their homes, and the Lord sat quietly chewing on the betel pan and reflecting on the humorous conversation.
Mother Saci avoided meeting the Lord; she stayed in her room, affected by the pain of Lakshmi's death. When Nimai found His mother He saw the marks of deep sorrow which lined her face. In a sweet, comforting voice He said, "What is the reason for your sorrow, mother? I have returned from My journey in good health, so you should be happy - but I see only sadness on your face. Tell me the truth, mother, what is the reason?" Her son's words simply increased her pain and she wept silently, unable to speak.
"Mother, I know everything," said Nimai. "Tell Me what has happened to your daughter-in-law."
Some relatives stepped forward to speak, "Listen, Nimai Pandita. Your mind must have reached the lotus feet of the Lord."
The Supreme Lord Sri Gaura Hari remained silent, casting His head down as He contemplated the death of His eternal consort and wife Sri Laksmi Devi. He allowed the pain of separation to engulf Him, and although He was the personification of all Vedic truths, He remained silent. Like any ordinary human being, He displayed the emotions of deep sorrow, but after controlling Himself, He spoke, "Because of bodily attachment one is regarded as a husband or son. These illusory relationships are caused by misunderstandings. O mother, why do you feel sad? How can you hope to change that which is ordained by the Lord's desire? No one can check the passage of time, and all relationships in this world are temporary. This is the verdict of the Vedas.
"The activities of the entire cosmic creation rest in the hands of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Who but our Lord can bring people together and then separate them? Why should these arrangements of the Supreme Lord, make you so unhappy? It is fortunate for the wife if she can leave before her husband. This is proof that she was a very pious woman."
The Lord tried to console His mother by these philosophical truths, and everyone felt the veil of sadness dissipate by the soothing words of the Supreme Lord. In this way the Lord of Vaikuntha, Sri Gaura Hari performed wonderful pastimes in the mood of a scholar.
Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu are my life and soul.
I, Vrndavana dasa, humbly offer this song at Their lotus feet.