SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Adi Lila Chapter 15
All glories to Lord Gauracandra and all glories to Lord Nityananda. Kindly offer me Your lotus feet so that I may hold them in the inner recesses of my heart. All glories to Lord Gauranga and His associates; one achieves devotional service to the Supreme Lord just by hearing the wonderful pastimes of Sri Caitanya.
The Lord continued to perform His pastimes as a scholar without anyone detecting His real identity. He rose early each morning, performed His daily religious duties, offered obeisances to His mother and went to teach His students.
Mukunda Sanjaya was an eternal servant of the Lord and his son was Purushottam Dasa. He was so fortunate that the Lord went to his house everyday to teach. Nimai would sit alone in the courtyard in front of the temple of Durga and gradually His students would assemble. Occasionally some student would forget to mark his forehead with urdhapunda tilaka. As the propagator and maintainer of Santana Dharma, Nimai felt compelled to protect the conditioned souls from deviating from the path of religion. Therefore He never neglected to rectify His students when necessary. He would chastise the forgetful boy to such a degree that the student would acquiesce in shame, and certainly never again forget to apply his tilaka.
"My dear boy, I see that you have not put on tilaka. What is the reason for this?" demanded Nimai. "The Vedic literature says that the forehead which does not bear the mark of tilaka is as good as a crematorium. I can also understand from this oversight that your brahmanical practices have been rendered useless. Go home and perform your brahminical duties again, and then with tilaka on your forehead you may return to the school."
In this way the Lord taught all His students to maintain the proper standards of brahminical and religious practice. The Lord did not modify His arrogant spirit, nor did He spare anyone His criticism. Whoever was negligent was eligible for the Lord's strict correction. Nimai's character was always exemplary; He never made jokes or laughed in the company of women.
In fact, He kept His distance from women and avoided meeting them.
Nimai especially liked to taunt and find fault with the residents of Sri Hatta, imitating their peculiar pronunciation. The infuriated residents of Sri Hatta would retort, "Oh Lord, which land do You hail from? Tell us where Your father and mother and their descendants come from. Which one of you was not born in Sri Hatta? You Yourself are a descendent of Sri Hatta. So why do You make such fun of us?" The more they tried to chastise the Lord, the more fun He had imitating their pronunciation and making jokes at their expense. It required little provocation to infuriate them further, and occasionally one of them would chase the Lord with cowardly intentions. The chase was usually futile, for the Lord could not be caught easily, and ultimately the angry fellow would simply stomp the ground in frustration and shout inslts. Occasionally someone managed to capture Him and drag Him to the local Muslim Magistrate to register a complaint. His friends would arrive in time to pacify the angry parties and reach some mutual understanding.
The Lord would also search out the house of a person from East Bengal. He would break in, destroy the foodstuffs and run away in mock fear. In this way He created havoc in Navadvipa, but He never had any incident which involved women. He never even looked at a woman.
In this incarnation, the Supreme Lord did not even hear the name of a woman. Therefore, those realized souls who are fixed in the scriptural conclusions never glorify Lord Caitanya as Gauranga Nagara, the Lord in the mood of a paramour. Although every kind of eulogy is applicable to the Lord, knowledgeable pure devotees glorify the nature that the Lord manifests in a particular incarnation.
In Navadvipa the Supreme Personality of Godhead was Nimai Pandita, the scholar. The Lord of the Vaikuntha planets enjoyed His transcendental activities as a teacher in the house of Sri Mukunda Sanjaya. All His students sat around Him and He taught them with great pleasure. Sometimes He pretended to have a headache and ordered medicated oil massaged into His head. Then He continued His discussion, submerged again in His intimate spirituality.
From early morning till afternoon He taught His students and then went to the Ganga for His bath. Then again, from early evening to late evening He continued His discussions and teaching. If any student studied under Nimai for a year, he left His tutelage as a full-fledged scholar well-versed in scriptural conclusions.
While the Lord was absorbed in His activities, Mother Saci constantly thought of the Lord's marriage. She searched all of Navadvipa for a daughter-in-law suitable for her Nimai. Sri Sanatan Misra was a pious and charitable brahmana, a benevolent and pure-hearted devotee of Lord Visnu. He lived in Navadvipa and engaged himself in serving guests and assisting less fortunate people. Born of a noble family, he was truthful and self-controlled. As a scholar he earned the title Raja Pandita and as a gentleman in Navadvipa he personally maintained many needy people.
Sanatan Misra's daughter was like Laksmi-Devi in beauty and character. As soon as Mother Saci saw Her, she was convinced that this girl was the best choice to be her son's wife. From early childhood the young girl bathed regularly in the Ganga, two or three times a day. She was dedicated and obedient to Her parents and She had no interest other than devotion to Lord Krsna. Every day, when She met Mother Saci at the bathing place at the Ganga, She humbly offered Her respects. Mother Saci reciprocated and blessed Her saying, "May Krsna bless You with a suitable husband." But as Mother Saci bathed she thought, "This girl should marry my son." Sri Sanatan Misra and all his near relatives were equally eager to have the Lord as a son-in-law. One day Mother Saci sent for Kasinath Pandita and told him, "My dear Sir, I have a proposition. Go tell the Raja Pandita that if he so desires he may offer his daughter's hand in marriage to my son." Kasinath Pandita proceeded immediately to Sri Sanatana Misra's house, repeating the Lord's name in silent joy.
When the Raja Pandita saw Kasinath Pandita at his door he immediately offered him a seat with due respect. "What brings you here, my dear Sir?" asked Sri Misra.
"I have come with a proposal, and if you so desire I will reveal it to you", replied Kasinath Pandita. "You should offer your daughter, Visnupriya in marriage to Visvambhara Pandita. I think it is a perfect match. He is a divine personality, suitable in all respects for your daughter. Your daughter, who is chastity personified, will be the best for Him. Visnupriya and Nimai Pandita remind me of the Divine Couple Krsna and Rukmini, so perfectly suited They are for each other."
Raja Pandita disclosed the news to his wife and near relatives and waited for their advice and comments. Unanimously they agreed, "What is the need for further debate? This is a perfect proposition. Quickly make all the necessary arrangements." Then Raja Pandita happily replied to Kasinath Pandita, "I have decided to marry my daughter to Visvambhara Pandita, so I will proceed with all the arrangements. If the Lord desires my family and ancestors will be greatly blessed by this marriage of my daughter. Kindly go to their house and tell them everything. I am fully in favor of this marriage."
Sri Kasinath Pandita was extremely satisfied with the outcome of his mission and he promptly told Mother Saci everything that had transpired. Mother Saci was relieved that everything had gone smoothly. Without wasting further time she began the preparations.
Nimai's students were jubilant when news of His marriage reached them. A rich gentleman named Buddhimanta Khan immediately offered, "I shall bear the cost of the entire marriage." But Mukunda Sanjaya objected, "My dear brother and friend, if you take all the responsibilities, then what am I supposed to do?" "Listen my dear friend," said Buddhimanta Khan, "I will not allow this marriage to become another poor brahmin's wedding, I will make such arrangements for Nimai Pandita's wedding that everyone will think a prince is getting married."
Adhivas, an important ceremony before the day of the marriage was held at an auspicious time amidst great joy and festivity. The area set aside for the actual marriage ceremony was decorated with colorful hangings around the sides and across the top. Water pots with intricate designs, ghee lamps, grains, yogurt, and strings of young mango leaves were all around. Different auspicious ingredients required for such an occasion were placed on the floor which had been beautifully designed with colored rice paste.
The Vaisnava devotees of the Lord, the brahmanas and all the gentlemen of Navadvipa attended the auspicious occasion. Invitations had been sent to all of them requesting that they to attend the feast in the evening of the day of the adhivas. By early afternoon the musicians had already arrived and began to play. Loud and melodious sounds of mrdanga and other drums, shani, and cymbals were carried in all directions. The priests began to chant the Vedic mantras and the ladies ululated, adding to the festive mood.
The crest-jewel of the brahmana race, Nimai Pandita seated Himself in the midst of the Vedic chanters. The priests and brahmanas around Him felt a surge of joy in His presence. Different objects required to formally receive the guests were brought to Nimai Pandita. He garlanded the respectable gentlemen with flowers and applied sandalwood paste to their foreheads, offering each of them a betel nut and betel leaf according to the custom of the time.
The brahmin population in Navadvipa was large in those days, so countless gentlemen came and went with no one keeping track. Some amongst them were very greedy and returned again and again, mixing with the crowd and pretending they had just arrived in order to receive another gift. Having received invitations, people came from distant places and were unknown to each other, but despite such anonymity there was a strong festive spirit. The Lord was in a joyful mood and He played the perfect host.
"Give all the flower garlands, sandalwood paste and other gifts to the guests at least three times," ordered Nimai. "Do not think about the cost, just give freely to everyone. The greedy brahmins who were endeavoring to take the free gifts several times were suddenly checked and felt ashamed because of the Lord's generosity. The brahmanas were dear to the Lord and He wanted to protect their religiosity. Some men were committing offenses by deceitfully collecting extra gifts. Therefore He gave the instruction to give the gifts three times to any person. After receiving the gifts three times, no one wanted any more. They were satisfied.
No one amongst the milling guests knew that the flower garlands, sandalwood paste and betel leaf they had received were actually expansions of Lord Ananta Sesa serving His master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nimai Pandita. In the profuse distribution of gifts, some flowers, sandal paste and betel leaf fell to the ground, and the quantity of those remnants would have sufficed for five opulent weddings, not counting those gifts which were taken home by the guests. Every visitor was impressed by the arrangements and left the wedding praising the opulence of the ceremonies. Even the wealthiest men of Navadvipa were impressed, for their father's had not spent so lavishly for their weddings. The profusity of flowers, sandal paste, betel leaf, betel nut and other gifts had never been seen in Navadvipa before.
Raja Pandita, Sri Sanatana Misra was extremely happy. He and his close relatives attended the Adhivas, laden with valuable gifts. At an auspicious moment, he joyfully applied tilaka to the Lord's forehead, as the Vedas recommend. The excitement of the moment was heightened by the loud chanting of Lord Hari's name accompanied by the musicians and the ululating ladies.
Having completed all of his ceremonial duties, Raja pandita returned home. The relatives of Nimai Pandita then went to Raja Pandita's house to perform the same adhivas ceremony for Visnupriya. Whatever was customary for a marriage in those days was performed in the midst of great festivity.
Early the next morning the Lord went for His bath in the Ganga, and on returning He went directly to the temple to worship the Supreme Lord Visnu. Thereafter He sat with His close relations to offer obeisances to their forefathers for their satisfaction. The festive mood was maintained by the musicians, dancers and singers performing loudly enough for everyone to hear.
Every corner of the house was decorated. There were beautiful designs on the floor; there were water pots, grains, yogurt, lamps and strings of auspicious mango leaves hung everywhere. Colored festoons fluttered like flags in the wind, and the air was filled with festive excitement. The chaste ladies of Navadvipa accompanied Mother Saci while performing all the customary and traditional rituals. First they went to the Ganga for their bath and then, followed by musicians, they visited the village deity Sasti where they prayed for her blessings. From the temple they visited the house of different relatives and then returned home. She distributed khoi, bananas, oil, betel nut, betel leaf, and vermillion to the ladies who had accompanied her and satisfied them in every respect. By the will of the omnipotent Supreme Lord, there was no dearth of anything, so Mother Saci generously distributed her gifts to the ladies several times over. Not a single lady was dissatisfied. They happily rubbed oil on their bodies and bathed.
Laksmi Devi's house was also in a state of great excitement; Her mother bustled with happiness. Caught in the waves of ecstasy, Raja Pandita spent lavishly and offered his daughter wholeheartedly to Lord Gaurasundara.
After completing all of His rituals, the Lord sat down to rest, and from that place He humbly distributed food and clothes to all the assembled brahmanas. He offered respects to each person according to their position, and gave in charity to satisfy each person's need. The brahmanas blessed the Lord and returned to their homes fully satisfied.
In the afternoon the relatives came to dress Lord Gaurasundara for His marriage that evening. They decorated His entire body with sandalwood paste and applied aromatic perfumes on different parts of His body. On His forehead they drew a half-moon shaped tilaka with sandalwood paste, placed a beautiful crown lightly on His head, and draped His neck with fragrant flower garlands. A fine, expensive silk dhoti was tied expertly around His hips; it shone golden yellow like the setting sun. His pink lotus-shaped eyes were smeared with kaajal ointment, black as the bumblebee. He held the auspicious three-bladed grass and the pit of a banana tree, while exquisite and expensive golden earrings swayed from His ears and other valuable jewelry decorated His upper arms and His neck. Each of the relatives decorated the Lord according to his own taste, hanging different types of jewelry on different parts of His body. Men and women both marveled at the Lord's exquisite beauty. They forgot themselves, fixed as they were on the beauty of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Almost an hour before the time of marriage, the relatives decided that the Lord should proceed to the house of the Bride. "Let us begin the journey," they announced. "For an hour the Bridegroom will parade through the town before arriving at the Bride's house." Buddhimanta Khan appeared suddenly with a beautiful palanquin. The musicians started up afresh and the priests began chanting Vedic mantras. Singers, dancers and guests all joined in a jubilant clamor. The Lord first circumambulated Mother Saci and offered her respects, then offered respects to the brahmanas and sat on the palanquin in the midst of the joyful confusion which included the ululating ladies.
It was early evening and the marriage procession went first to the bank of the river Ganga. The waxing moon hung nearly full above their heads and shimmered in the water of the Ganga. Hundreds of lamps were lit and music played on with undying enthusiasm. In front of the Lord's palanquin were two long rows of Sri Buddhimanta Khan's estate employees followed by the festoon holders bearing colored flags. In their midst were the jesters, joking and evoking laughter. There were a variety of dancers performing many different dance styles, while the countless musicians played at least five kinds of drums, cymbals, conch shells, flutes, bells, kettle drums and a variety of horns. Excited young children danced amongst the musicians and, caught in the festive atmosphere, even older people abandoned their reserve and joined the children while the Lord smiled at the happy sight. On the bank of the Ganga they stopped for a while singing, dancing and playing the instruments before proceeding to the Bride's house. After offering flowers to Mother Ganga, the entire procession turned towards town.
Whoever witnessed the parade was struck with wonder at its opulence. "I have seen many extravagant marriages, but I have never witnessed anything like this one before", said one person. The residents of Navadvipa were fortunate to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead in person as He swayed past them in His palanquin.
The brahmanas who had beautiful unmarried daughters in their homes all lamented. "It is a great pity and certainly my misfortune that I could not give my daughter in marriage to this handsome young man. But what can I do?" I offer my obeisances at the feet of all the residents of Navadvipa who witnessed this transcendental joyful pastime of the Lord.
After the procession had passed through all the different neighborhoods of Navadvipa they arrived at the house of Sri Sanatana Misra, the Raja Pandita. Everyone came out of the house, ululating and making other loud sounds of welcome for the procession. Raja Pandita came forward to receive the Lord from the palanquin, helped Him step down and took Him inside where a seat had been prepared. The joy Raja Pandita felt was indescribable; and the love and respect he felt for the Lord was visible on his face as he escorted Nimai Pandita into his house. He showered flowers on the Lord as a blessing and welcome.
The reception party from the Bride's side consisted of relatives and priests who came forward with fine clothes, jewelry and other precious gifts for the Lord. The Bride's mother placed the auspicious three-bladed grass on the Lord's head and then worshiped Him with seven ghee lamps. At that time, Laksmi Devi who had been dressed exquisitely took Her seat.
The relatives of Nimai Pandita were both impressed and satisfied to see such a beautiful Bride. They lifted the Lord onto His seat according to the marriage ritual. They hung a curtain around the Lord, and Laksmi Devi circumambulated Sri Gaurasundara seven times.
Then facing Him with folded hands, She offered Her respectful obeisances. The relatives threw flowers on the couple, and the air filled with loud music and the ululations of the ladies. Laksmi Devi placed a flower garland at the lotus feet of Her Lord, offering Him Her life and soul.
The Lord picked up the flower garland and smiling sweetly, then placed it around Her neck. Again the Divine Couple was drowned in a shower of flower petals. Unseen by the common men, demigods like Lord Brahma also showered flowers on Sri Laksmi Devi and Sri Gaurasundara. Lord Gaura Sundara's group competed with Laksmi Devi's group in showering flowers and making joyous sounds.
Absorbed in the contest, everyone forgot their own cares and worries. Sometimes the Lord's side seemed to be victorious and at other times Laksmi Devi's side seemed more enthusiastic. The Lord was pleased to see everyone enjoying themself in such a wonderful way.
Thousands of lamps shed bright light everywhere and the loud and joyous sounds of song and instruments filled the sky. By the time the moment came for the Bride and Bridegroom to exchange glances, the universe seemed inundated by tumultuous and joyful sounds. Then the Divine Couple sat down and Raja Pandit sat with Them to officially offer his daughter to Lord Gaurasundara. In the midst of all rituals and chanting of mantras, the marriage began with Raja Pandit offering his daughter and praying for the Lord's pleasure.
Along with his daughter Raja Pandita also gave nice cows full of milk, a lot of land and property, beds and furniture, maids and servants, and other valuable gifts. Laksmi-Devi sat on the left of the Lord as the Brahmins lit the fire and began the 'Homa'. After all the customs and traditional rituals were complete, the Bride and the Bridegroom went into a well-decorated reception room.
Raja Pandita's house was transformed into Vaikuntha, and the guests came in to enjoy the marvelous feast. Countless people came and all left fully satisfied.
The newlywed Bride and Groom spent the night in Laksmi Devi's house amidst great joy.
The happiness Sanatana Pandita felt cannot be described. He reveled in the same inconceivable good fortune which befell great sages such as Nagaajit, Janaka, Bhisma and Jambuvan who also became the fathers-in-law of Lord Krsna or Lord Ramacandra.
The divine couple passed the night and next morning till midday in Sanatana Misra's house. Then Raja Pandit and his relatives bid farewell to Lord Gaurasundara and Visnupriya. In the midst of music, kirtan, the blessings of the brahmanas and the chanting of mantras appropriate for such a journey, Nimai offered His respects to the elderly members of His father-in-law's family; then left with Laksmi Devi on a palanquin for Saci Mata's house.
The people They met on the way all blessed Them and congratulated Them. Ladies spoke respectfully of the good fortune of the Bride saying, "She is very fortunate; She must have worshiped Laksmi Devi for many births."
Others commented, "This couple is just like Lord Siva and Gauri."
Still others said, "They must be Laksmi and Sri Hari."
"They are Cupid and Rati, or Indra and Saci, or They must be Ramacandra and Sita Devi."
Truly, the good fortune of the residents of Navadvipa is unfathomable, for they were able to see the Supreme Lord and His eternal consort. Such was the extent of their piety. The whole of Nadia was blessed and the residents experienced unrestrained joy by being able to see Laksmi Devi and Lord Gaurasundara, Narayana.
Finally the Divine Couple arrived in the house of Mother Saci. Accompanied by other ladies, Mother Saci went out to jubilantly welcome the Divine Couple into her house, where she seated Them amidst joyous sounds and music. How can one express the joy Mother Saci and everyone else felt at the presence of Visnupriya and Gaurahari?
So magnanimous is the Supreme Lord that one becomes completely free from all sinful activities and their reactions just by looking at the transcendental luster of the Lord. Moreover, they become eligible to enter the spiritual sky, the Vaikuntha planets. Everyone from all walks of life could see the Lord and His spiritual effulgence. Therefore He has been called the most compassionate - the only friend of the fallen souls.
Nimai Pandit freely distributed clothes and gifts to all the performers, dancers and beggars who had come to the house of Mother Saci. To the brahmana relatives and friends, He gave sufficient gifts to satisfy them all, and satisfy Himself as well. To Buddhimanta Khan the Lord gave a tight and affectionate embrace, leaving Buddhimanta Khan in indescribable ecstasy.
According to the Vedic literature, there is no end to the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. Those divine activities which transpired in only a few hours can not be described by hundreds and hundreds of years of discourse. As for myself, I am simply giving brief descriptions, and I do that only by His mercy. I am unable to fully describe His wonderful pastimes. Whoever hears or reads these transcendental activities of the Supreme Lord can certainly reside in Lord Gauracandra's eternal association.
Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu are my life and soul.
I, Vrndavana dasa, humbly offer this song at Their lotus feet.