SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Madhya Lila Chapter 21
All glory to Lord Visvambhar, the life of Nityananda, the master of Gadadhara Pandita and the Lord of Advaita Acarya. He is the most endearing object of Srinivas and Haridas Thakura's love. He is the revered Lord of Gangadas Pandit and Vasudeva.
May the Lord be glorified along with all His eternal servitors and associates.
One can easily attain pure devotion by properly hearing the wonderful pastimes of Lord Caitanya.
Navadvipa saw their Lord Visvambhar performing His endless pastimes with Gadadhara Pandita, Nityananda Prabhu and others.
One day the Lord was out walking with His associates. He decided to visit Maheswara Visharad who lived near a dam on the Ganga. Right next to this place was the residence of Devananda Pandit, an equipoised brahman scholar who was aspiring for liberation. He was learned, renounced and from his birth unattached to material life. He was also a teacher of Srimad-Bhagavatam, but unfortunately he was devoid of any devotional fervor.
People praised him as a being well-versed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, but factually he was really not acquainted with the real essence of the Bhagavatam because his latent devotional feelings for the Lord had not yet stirred within his heart. He still had no eligibility to perceive the transcendental truth in the Bhagavatam. In spite of his reading the Bhagavatam he was not situated in devotional service; only Krishna knows what offenses caused such a mishap.
By some unknown coincidence, the Lord with His associates were passing by Devananda's house while he was lecturing on the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Lord Visvambhar, the Supersoul in everyone's heart and the Absolute omniscient Supreme Lord, overheard his explanations which were devoid of references to the process of devotional service. Enraged by this, the Lord said, "What does this foolish man say? He is completely ignorant about the essential teachings of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. What right does he have to speak on the Bhagavatam?
"Srimad-Bhagavatam is the book incarnation of Lord Krishna. The ultimate goal of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is devotional service to the Supreme Lord; the Vedic scriptures have declared that the Bhagavatam unequivocally establishes the imperativeness of a loving relationship with the Supreme. The four Vedas are likened to the pot of yogurt which when churned is converted to butter cream, which is the Srimad-Bhagavatam. This yogurt was churned and served by Srila Sukadeva Goswami, and was relished by Pariksit Maharaj.
"Sukadeva Goswami is very dear to Me and he is fully conversant with the esoteric truths revealed in the Bhagavatam. It is complete with descriptions about My absolute position and nature as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whosoever makes any differences between Me, My pure devotees, and the Srimad-Bhagavatam is forever lost."
Although the Lord spoke these words angrily, the assembled Vaisnava devotees were greatly pleased to hear them. The Lord continued speaking, "This fool does not know anything about the Bhagavatam. He tirelessly toils explaining the Bhagavatam without mentioning devotional service. Today I will tear his book to shreds." An irate Lord Visvambhar was seen rushing off to carry out His resolve as the Vaisnavas collected around Him hoping to dissuade Him.
The entire range of Vedic scriptures eulogize the Srimad-Bhagavatam as the most elevated theological literature: the esoteric truths contained in this great literature are unfathomable by mundane scholars and materialistic men. One who claims to "fully understand" the Srimad-Bhagavatam completely misses the truth this book is expounding. But one who understands that the Srimad-Bhagavatam speaks of the inconceivable Supreme Truth automatically perceives its essence, namely devotional service to the Supreme Lord.
Devananda Pandita was a learned scholar equaled in erudition by only a handful. All those who acknowledge such mundane scholars with no understanding of the Srimad-Bhagavatam will also be punished by the demigod of death, Yamaraja. Even if one is a professor teaching others about the Srimad-Bhagavatam, he will become misled in spiritual understanding if he disrespects Lord Nityananda who is the ultimate shelter of the entire creation.
The Lord was fond of going about Navadvipa accompanied by His associates. One day He came to the outer precincts of the town and happened to pass by a drinking place. As he smelled the alcohol He was reminded of Barum, a similar intoxicating drink made from honey that is such a favorite of Lord Balarama. The Lord was immediately overcome with the emotions of Lord Balarama. In a trance He loudly boomed to Srivas Pandita, "Go inside". When the Lord insisted, Srivas fell at His feet and begged Him not to go inside.
The Lord said, "Do I also have to be restricted by rules and regulations?" But Srivas Pandit continued to dissuade the Lord from His decision. Srivas Pandit explained, "You are the universal Father and the perfect example. If you transgress the social laws then who is left to uphold them? Those who out of ignorance will criticize you will certainly have to suffer lifetimes of misery. You are the emblem of eternal religious principles. Who will be able to understand the pastimes You are about to display? And even after this, if You insist on going to the drinking house, then I shall drown myself in the Ganga."
The Lord never minimizes the promise of His devotees; now He benignly smiled hearing Srivas' words. The Lord said, "I do not want to act against your wish. I will not go inside." The Lord gradually withdrew within Himself the mood of Lord Balaram, and continued on His way.
When the drunkards from inside the drinking house saw Nimai they became excited and called out loudly at Him, "Hari! Hari!" One of them said, "Yes, Nimai Pandit is a good and honorable person. I like His behavior, especially the way He sings and dances." A few of them stood up swaying, and clapping their hands started to hop around making an attempt to dance. They tried to go out and meet Nimai in the street. The drunks were now well-enthused and sang "Haribol, Haribol, Jai Narayana" as they danced about in great joy.
The drinking place became the scene of loud joyous chanting of God's name; such reactions are understandable when anyone sees the Supreme Lord Visnu and His pure devotees, the Vaisnavas. The Lord was pleased by the drunken efforts of the drunkards to chant the holy name. Seeing such a transcendental display of the Lord's potency, Srivas Pandit's heart melted in tears of happiness. The drunkards were very happy to see Lord Caitanya, but the envious people were finding faults and criticizing the Lord.
Those who become displeased when they hear the glories of the Supreme Lord will never know any joy in any birth. Therefore, I offer my obeisances to the one who beholds the Supreme Lord with faith, even if he is a drunkard. The Lord blessed the drunks with His glance and went away.
After walking some distance, the Lord saw Devananda Pandita coming in the opposite direction. Upon seeing him the Lord felt rage rising within Him. It came back to Lord Gauracandra's memory that sometime ago Devananda Pandita had committed a grievous offense against Srivas Pandit. At the time when this incident had taken place, Lord Visvambhar had not yet revealed His sankirtan pastimes. The world was then too engrossed in materialistic pursuits to cultivate an eternal loving relationship with the Supreme Lord; all the devotees of the Lord felt despondent because of it.
Although some scholars were lecturing about the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad-gita, neither the lecturers nor the audience accepted or appreciated the devotional essence of these texts. Devananda Pandita was also lecturing on the Bhagavatam in those days. He was very erudite and gentle, and people respected him. He lectured continuously on the Bhagavatam and maintained strict celibacy vows like a sannyasa.
One day while he was lecturing on the Bhagavatam to a group of students, Srivas Pandita thirsting to hear the transcendental sound of the Bhagavatam came and sat in the audience. Every syllable of the Bhagavatam is steeped in the nectar of love of God, and when they entered the ears of Srivas Pandit his heart melted in loving ecstasy. He began to cry and sigh deeply. The students around him were mundane, agnostic logicians who felt disturbed by Srivas Pandit. They said, "This man is creating a nuisance. We cannot study in this atmosphere. It is a waste of time for us." Srivas Pandit is very dear to Lord Gauracandra and is a highly elevated Vaisnava who can deliver the entire world. He was unaware of others' comments, as unchecked tears streamed out in ecstatic love.
The students then plotted amongst themselves and dragged Srivas Pandit out of the house. Devananda Pandita did not utter a word in protest. When the teacher is bereft of devotional understanding, his students can also be expected to be the same. When Srivas Pandit came out of his ecstatic trance he returned home, his feelings hurt. The Supersoul, Lord Visvambhar in everyone's heart took note of every thought and deed of everyone involved.
Now as Lord Visvambhar saw Devananda Pandita approaching, the entire episode raced through His mind. The Lord accosted him with angry words, "You there, Devananda! I hear you give discourses to many on the Srimad-Bhagavatam. One devotee by the name of Srivas Pandit went to listen to your lecture one day, but while he was engrossed in the pastimes of Krishna he was dragged outside the premises by your students. What was his offense?
"One who is moved by spiritual emotions to cry listening to the Bhagavatam appreciating the mellows of a loving relationship with Krishna, should he be treated with such contempt and be dragged out? This same devotee who is so eagerly sought after by Gangadevi herself was maltreated in such an offensive manner by you and your agnostic students.
"You may be a teacher of the Bhagavatam, but you do not possess even one particle of the piety required to understand the real purport of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. When a person has eaten to his full satisfaction, only then does he feel amicably disposed to the world around him. As for you, although you teach others about the Bhagavatam, you yourself cannot relish its divine nectar that can give one unlimited pleasure."
Devananda Pandita who was indeed a learned brahman heard every word, but feeling very ashamed, he did not speak. Lord Visvambhar finished His chastisement and left. Devananda Pandita also left for his home feeling broken and dejected. Although the Lord chastised Devananda he is still a very fortunate soul because to be chastised by Lord Caitanya is a rare blessing. Even those demons who are killed by the Lord attain the spiritual world. One who faithfully and sincerely accepts the Lord's chastisement is soon blessed with pure devotional service unto Him, while others who do not care for the Lord's wrath will perish in eternal damnation.
Lord Krishna manifests Himself in four special forms such as the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tulasi, Ganga, and the pure Bhagavata devotee; Krishna is directly perceived in them in their original form. The Deity form of the Lord needs first to be installed with mantras whereby the Lord is requested to accept that deity form - only then do the Deities become worshipable in the temple with the recommended rituals. The Vedas are clear on this point.
The pastimes of Lord Caitanya are causeless, without beginning, without end. Somehow I am trying to put them in some orderly sequence. I offer my obeisances to the feet of all the devotees of Lord Caitanya in hope that my offenses may be forgiven.
All these pastimes of the Lord as they manifest in the pages of the Madhya-Khanda are showers of nectar that can sweeten the bitterness of agnosticism within the heart. May Lord Nityananda who is so dear to Lord Caitanya never take away the shelter of His lotus feet.
Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu are my life and soul.
I, Vrndavana dasa, humbly offer this song at Their lotus feet.