SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Madhya Lila Chapter 17
All glory to Lord Gaurasundara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all glory to Lord Nityananda, the embodiment of the highest mood of devotional service. The narrations of pastimes in Madhya Khanda are a cascade of nectar that can wash away the contaminations of faithfulness within.
Lord Caitanya continued His non-stop kirtanas, although His true identity remained undisclosed to common men. When He moved through the town, people were stunned by His exquisite looks; they thought that He might be Cupid. People thought that His demeanor was arrogant; as He walked about in a carefree manner, the atheists and logicians felt He paid little attention or respect to the scholars holding titles. While out He associated mostly with His devotees.
The atheists would say to Lord Caitanya, "O Nimai Pandita, as Your friends we advise You to be careful because the king might summon You to his court any day now. The people do not see You, but they hear Your night-long kirtanas. That disturbs their sleep, so they curse You and send reports against You. Naturally the king believes the people."
Lord Caitanya replied, "Let it be so. Let your words come true. It has been My wish to see the king. I have studied all the scriptures since childhood, but no one inquires from Me on any subject, considering Me to be too young and immature. I usually do not meet anyone who wants to meet Me. So if someone is wanting to have an audience with Me, I am indeed pleased."
The atheists sarcastically continued, "The king is a Muslim. He will not want to engage in scriptural debate. He will only want to hear Your kirtana." The Lord just ignored them and went home.
The Lord said to His devotees, "Let us perform kirtana; I feel discontent because I have spoken to atheists today." The Lord of Vaikuntha, Nimai Pandita began to dance and all His associates danced around Him.
Suddenly, stopping everything, Lord Caitanya spoke hesitantly, "O My dear brothers, today everything I do lacks loving ecstasy. Maybe it is due to My having spoken to atheists. Or is it that I have offended you? In which case, kindly forgive Me and revive My withering soul."
The greatly blessed Advaita Acarya who was dancing, grimacing plainly said, "How will You feel ecstasy? Nada has drained it all out of You. Neither Srivasa Pandita nor I can get this love of Godhead, yet low class millers and gardeners are relishing the exchange of love and devotion with You. Even the Avadhuta, Nityananda is a recipient of Your love, but not Me or Srivasa Pandita. We have been downgraded and made ineligible for Your love. Yet this Avadhuta came from nowhere and became the store in charge of the storehouse of love of Godhead. Listen to Me, My Lord. If You do not give Me this love of Godhead, then I shall suck from You all the love. I cannot be blamed for this."
Advaita Acarya is always intoxicated with love for Lord Caitanya, and therefore never pays attention to what He says or does. He is an expert at incarnating the fame and glory of Krsna's devotees. He is the property of the Vaisnavas; they can sell Him wherever they want. Such is the degree of His surrender to the Vaisnava devotees. It is not surprising to hear Advaita's words to Lord Caitanya, for He is a devotee of such stature that He can sell even Krsna with His loving devotion.
Lord Caitanya arranges in so many ways for His devotees to advance in spiritual life. Who can understand His mercy or His ways of chastising? The Lord felt empty within, devoid of love of Godhead, while Advaita Acarya clapped his hands and danced.
Lord Visvambhara heard Advaita Acarya speak, but He did not reply. Right then He left the house, closing the door behind Him. Lord Nityananda and Haridasa Thakura went hurrying after Him. The Lord was brooding over His dilemma: now being devoid of love of Godhead, what would be the use of maintaining His body. So He plunged into the waters of the Ganga! Lord Nityananda and Haridasa Thakura almost simultaneously jumped into the water too. Swimming swiftly, Nityananda caught the Lord by His hair while Haridasa firmly gripped His feet.
They brought Lord Visvambhara to the safety of the river bank. The Lord inquired of them, "Why did you capture Me? What is the necessity of prolonging this lifeless soul which had no love of Godhead, Krsna? You have committed a mistake." Both Nityananda and Haridasa were shaking with anticipation as to what might happen next. Lord Gauracandra looked at Nityananda and said, "Why did You catch Me by My hair?"
Nityananda replied, "Why were You trying to commit suicide?"
Lord Caitanya said, "I know You are always engrossed in love of Godhead." Lord Nityananda replied, "O Lord, please forgive everything. The person You could have easily drowned is the person for whom You are trying to give up Your life. Your devotees have spoken to You harshly, but only out of loving insolence. For this reason must You go away from us, Your servitors, our most precious life?" Lord Nityananda, who is always relishing Lord Caitanya's love spoke this with a voice full of flattery, His eyes full of tears. Lord Caitanya means everything to Lord Nityananda.
The Lord said, "Listen carefully, Nityananda and Haridasa. Do not disclose to anyone that you have seen Me. If anyone asks, tell them you know nothing about My whereabouts. I will remain here in hiding. If You do not do as I say, I can not be responsible for the consequences." The Lord then went to Nandana Acarya's house. Neither of them revealed anything about the incident to anyone, having been bound by the Lord's order.
The devotees were in a state of painful shock when they did not receive any news of the Lord. They took shelter of Lord Krsna. They were torn apart by separation from their Lord, which was burning up their minds and hearts.
The devotees were thunderstruck, especially Advaita Acarya who was ravaged by a tremendous sense of guilt. Feeling intense separation from the Lord, He went home and began to fast without hearing His name.
The other devotees also went back to their homes, their hours darkened by deep sorrow. However, still ensconced within their hearts was their precious treasure, the Lord's lotus feet.
The Lord entered Nandana Acarya's house and sat on the throne of Lord Visnu. Nandan Acarya felt that his house was now most blessed by the Lord's presence. He fell flat on the ground to offer his obeisances to the Lord. Then he immediately brought fresh new clothes for the Lord, and Lord Caitanya changed out of His wet clothing.
Nandana Acarya then decorated the Lord with the Deities' flower garlands, sandalwood paste and scented oils, then brought Him chewing betel leaf in camphor. The Lord enjoyed these offerings made by His pure devotee with loving surrender, and He forgot His aching heart.
The Lord said, "O Nandan Acarya, kindly hear Me. I want you to hide Me here." Nandana replied, "My dear Lord, that is almost an impossible task. Where in this entire creation can You hide? You could not remain hidden within the hearts of living entities, but were made to appear in person by Your pure devotees. One who could not hide while lying in the middle of the vast ocean of milk, how can He hide in the middle of this congested human inhabitation?"
Lord Caitanya smiled appreciating Nandan Acarya's words, and passed the night at his house. Nandan was indeed very pious and fortunate. He conversed with the Lord the whole night with the greatest of pleasure, divining topics of Lord Krsna and His pastimes. As if in a short moment, the night was gone, and as the Lord looked out He saw the first faint light peeping through.
At first the Lord was chastising Advaita Acarya in His mind, but later He felt very compassionate towards Him. Lord Caitanya instructed Nandana Acarya: "Bring Srivasa Pandita here alone." Nandana left immediately for Srivasa Pandita's house, bringing him back to the Lord's presence.
Srivasa Pandita broke down in tears of love as soon as he saw Lord Caitanya. The Lord spoke to him ever so kindly, "Do not worry any more. Now tell Me: how is Advaita Acarya?" Srivasa Pandita after describing the critical conditions of the devotees said, "And here is more news: Advaita Acarya has fasted since yesterday, yet is somehow continuing to live, at least his body is still there. He is exceedingly afflicted. Be merciful to Him, my Lord, and appear before Him in person. If this concerned anyone other than Advaita then I would not feel responsible, but I know that You mean everything to Him. Without You, my Lord, our lives are dark and gloomy. What is the reason we suffer such excruciating pains of separation? Your leaving us is more than a harsh chastisement, so now kindly return and give us Your mercy."
Srivasa's words made Him feel supremely compassionate, and He went to see Advaita. The Lord found Advaita in a state of abysmal gloom, considering Himself the worst offender. He felt He had become overtly proud after receiving the Lord's special grace; now this punishment from the Lord had left Him trembling all over. This pitiable sight of Advaita's condition softened the Lord's heart. He spoke to Him gently, "O Advaita Acarya, get up and see that I, Visvambhara have come to see You." Feeling ashamed, Advaita remained silent and in intense love for the Lord, just meditated on His lotus feet.
Again Lord Caitanya addressed him, "Rise up, Advaita. Discard this mood of discontentment and return to Your normal routine."
Advaita Acarya replied, "O Lord, now You have made Me do something. All that You say about Me is superfluous praise. This turns My head and boosts My pride, leading Me to the path to hell. You have allowed every other devotee to develop a healthy mood of servitorship to You, but to Me You show Your reverence. You make Me do things and ascribe My position, but You also mete out chastisement accordingly. You say that I am Your servant; however in Your mind You harbor some other ideas. You are My life, treasure, body, mind; You are everything to Me. Yet You cause Me pain. Of course that is the prerogative of Your Supreme Position. My dear Lord, I just pray to You for one thing - kindly allow Me to serve You as Your eternal servant, and give Me shelter at Your lotus feet as You would a maidservant's son."
Lord Gaurasundara then spoke to Advaita Acarya in front of the assemble of Vaisnavas, "Listen Advaita, I will reveal to You the esoteric truth. Let Me cite an example that will explain My point. When a highly-placed and trusted officer of the king prepares to meet with the king, then all the guards and servants approach him with all their problems to present to the king. This officer very capably collects money on their behalf, then disburses it, properly sustaining the many families of those guards and servants. Should such a trusted officer commit a grievous offense, the king's order for his death does not put the guards and servants into anxiety for their sustenance. While appreciating his loyalty, the officer was entrusted with an important position, however that same officer for a serious offense may be executed.
"Similarly Lord Krsna is the Emperor of all the kings and emperors; He is the master of both Brahma, the creator of the Universe and Lord Siva, the annihilator of this creation. The Lord gave everyone their potency, whether to create or to do anything. No one dare raise objection if the Lord wants to punish individuals. Even Ramadevi, Laksmidevi, the Goddess of Fortune who is the eternal consort of Lord Narayana is punished; and still even Lord Brahma and other demigods are not exempt from His punishment. But the Lord is always prepared to forgive the offenses of His devotees. When Lord Krsna sees anyone committing any offense and actually punishes him, then know for certain that that person will attain a position as His eternal servant. So get up and bathe and complete your daily worship, then eat and stop worrying."
Advaita Acarya became elated - the servant felt happy hearing about His punishment from His master. Advaita said, "Now I can say that You are My Lord and Master," and He began to dance clapping His hands. Now assured of the Lord's shelter, He was overwhelmed with joy completely forgetting His previous sorrows.
The devotees became very happy, and Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura began laughing. Those who are unfortunate are deprived of relishing this nectarine pastime of the Lord.
Advaita Acarya is Lord Caitanya's eternal servitor. Anyone who considers Advaita's spiritual wealth or His position as the Lord's servant to be meager or low is certainly in illusion. One should never diminish the significance or standing of a servant of the Supreme Lord because the Lord never elevates anyone to the position of His servitor until that person has sufficient spiritual realization to attain that transcendental platform. A person first attains liberation, thus breaking the bonds of the materialistic concepts of life. Only then do they become eligible to be a servitor of Lord Krsna. This has been detailed by the great Acaryas who have commented on the Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Vedic scriptures. They all describe the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord Krsna, and worship Him. The pure devotees of Krsna are all invested with His spiritual potency, and if one of them commits an offense, Krsna mercifully punishes them only to rectify them.
Those devotees who are narrow-minded and bigoted start fighting over petty matters. This is a serious deviation from the path of spiritual realization - a real knowledgeable devotee will refrain from taking sides in such disputes.
Pure devotion means having no doubt at all that Lord Gauracandra is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Others who doubt are faithless, their impure devotion will lead them ultimately to degradation. Such faithless persons sometimes play the part of a 'guru' collecting disciples who have the intelligence of asses and foxes, instructing them to think that the guru is equal to the Supreme Lord Himself.
Those who possess the power to create, maintain and annihilate this material cosmos are certainly not greater than a pure devotee of Lord Caitanya. One of the best examples of such a devotee is Lord Balarama; although He is the support of the entire cosmic creation, still He is a perfect devotee of Lord Caitanya. All glory to Lord Nityananda, Haladhara, by whose mercy one is able to glorify Lord Caitanya. Only He can bless someone to develop attachment for Lord Caitanya; even my narration of all these pastimes is only possible due to His potency. One thought I always cherish in my mind is that my Lord and master, Nityananda Prabhu is the servant of Lord Caitanya.
Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu are my life and soul.
I, Vrndavana dasa, humbly offer this song at Their lotus feet.