SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Antya Lila Chapter 4
All glory to Lord Gauracandra, who is an ocean of mercy, and whose lotus feet are all auspicious. I offer my obeisances to Sri Krsna Caitanya, the pride of the sannyasa order, and His devotees.
After delivering everyone in Kulia, the Lord proceeded towards Mathura accompanied by His associates. He traveled along the banks of Gangadevi, often drinking her waters or bathing in them, thus fulfilling her long-standing wishes. On the banks of the Ganga and near the city of Gaura lay Ramakeli, a township with a large community of brahmanas. Here the Lord remained incognito for a few days. But soon everyone came to know that Lord Caitanya had arrived - just as it is an exercise in futility to try to hide the sun. Therefore men and women of all kinds and ages poured in from every direction, feeling excited and flushed with pleasure.
The Lord was as usual totally absorbed in divine ecstasy - nothing interfered with it. One after another the different ecstatic symptoms manifested in His person, and He fell swooning again and again. The devotees were also wrapped in the Lord's blissful mood, and they performed continuous kirtan, leaving aside all other business. At times the Lord cried out in a spiritual mood this sound would be carried far and heard by travelers a couple of miles away. Although most of the people were simple rustic folk, ignorant about the intricacies of devotional service and mellows, still by seeing the Lord in all His variegated splendor they became very happy.
The people remained watching the Lord from a distance, and offered their prostrated obeisances, resounding the holy name of "Hari! Hari!" When the Lord's name entered Lord Caitanya's ears, His bliss increased severalfold. He lifted His arms and encouraged them saying, "Go on - chant, chant, chant!" The Lord blessed these people with such a feeling of overwhelming joy that even the Muslims joined in chanting "Hari! Hari!" - what to speak of others. The Lord was emanating so much compassion that even the Muslims offered prostrated obeisances from a distance to the Lord. And the Lord had no other thought in His mind than kirtana and dancing.
The crowd began to swell and grow. They watched entranced. No one had any desire to leave. The people were jubilant, and their chanting made a tumultuous sound that rose upwards and filled the atmosphere for miles around. The only sound was "Hari! Hari!" Close by, within earshot, was the ruling Muslim king's assembly house, yet this did not diminish their spirits. They fearlessly chanted loudly, forgetting all attachments to home and family. But in the meantime, the police inspector had gone to the king's palace and reported the arrival of a sannyasi in Ramakeli. He also reported that this sannyasi's continuous chanting of some ghostly mantra of the faithless had attracted a huge gathering. To this news the king asked, "Tell me, how is this sannyasi? What does He eat? What is His name? Describe His appearance."
The inspector said, "Listen, your majesty, I have never seen anything so marvelous. His beauty far excels the beauty of Cupid. His complexion overshadows the brilliance of gold. His tall, majestic appearance, long arms extending to His knees, and His slender concave abdomen are all most charming.
"His lion's neck, elephant's shoulders, lotus eyes, and exquisite face more effulgent than a million moons are incomparable. With red coral lips, a perfect set of pearly teeth, arched brows like Cupid's bow, a full broad chest decorated with sandalwood pulp, and generous hips covered by cloth with the color of the rising sun, completely capture the mind. His feet are like two blooming pink lotuses. His ten toenails are like ten shining mirrors. I think He must be a prince out traveling in a sannyasi's dress.
"The most remarkable thing about Him is that His body, which is as soft as fresh churned butter, keeps falling to the ground with great force. He crashes down at least a hundred times in an hour, yet His body remains unhurt, unscathed. The hairs of His body are always standing on end like a jack fruit.
"At times He shivers so violently that hundreds of people cannot keep Him calm.
"His eyes emit tears like two raging rivers flowing endlessly, and sometimes He laughs out so long and loud that for a couple of hours He does not stop. Then suddenly He falls swooning to the ground, overcome by the kirtana and remains lying unconscious, to the petrification of all onlookers. When He danced, it was a treat for the eyes, how He raised His hands and incessantly chanted, "Hari! Hari!" He seemed to forget every other activity.
"People who converged on that spot from all directions had no desire to leave. I myself have come across many sannyasis, mystics and wisemen in my lifetime, but this sannyasi is certainly extraordinary. I repeat, your majesty, this sannyasi's arrival in your land is indeed a great blessing. He does not eat or sleep; He is all the time enrapt in dancing and kirtana." The king, although grossly materialistic, heard everything, and he marveled at the stories about the sannyasi.
The king called for Kesava Khan and inquired from him still in disbelief, "Kesava Khan, I want your opinion on this matter. Tell me what you think about this person everyone calls Sri Krsna Caitanya. Let me know in detail about this powerful guru and sannyasi's character. People are running from everywhere to see Him. What brings Him here?" Kesava Khan, a noble upright gentleman became wary. He answered, "Who says He is a gosani, or famous guru? He is a mendicant sannyasi, a poor foreigner. He just travels living under trees."
The king replied, "Do not refer to Him as poor. It is offensive even to hear such things. This sannyasi is not an ordinary mortal. He is that Person whom the Hindus call Krsna and the Muslims call Khoda. This kingdom of mine runs under my direction, but His orders control the entire universe. And even in my own kingdom there are so many who are inimical to me, whereas, if He were not the Supreme Godhead, why should one and all everywhere worship Him with full surrender? If I stop my staff's salary for six months, they will have so many complaints against me, but in His case, I see that people are maintaining themselves at their own expense and then going eagerly to serve Him. Therefore, please understand that this sannyasi is God. Do not say that He is simply some poverty stricken mendicant."
After a thoughtful pause the king continued to speak, "Now hear my orders concerning this sannyasi. I do not want anyone to disturb Him. He is free to go anywhere and preach anything He wants from His scriptures. Let Him perform kirtana with the people and be satisfied and stay wherever He desires.
"If anyone tries to stop Him for anything, be they the Kazi, a police inspector, or anyone, I will punish them with death." These were the commands of the king from within his inner quarters. Such are the wonderful ways of Lord Caitanya, that this was the same King Hussain Shah who had been responsible for desecrating and destroying hundreds of temples in Orissa.
Although Hussain Shah was such a fanatic and despotic Muslim ruler, even he accepted Lord Gauracandra as the Supreme Lord, but the spiritually blind cannot see Him as the Supreme Personality. They shave their heads and become sannyasis, but when they hear the Lord's eulogies, they burn within with envy.
The whole universe resounds with the Lord's tributes, and ignorance is dissipated by hearing of His glories. Ananta Sesa, Laksmidevi, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are all intoxicated and mad after relishing the superexcellent pastimes of the Lord.
The Vedas sing laudatory hymns in His praise, describing His supreme lordship over everything. So if anyone feels irked hearing the transcendental qualities of Lord Krsna Caitanya, then even if they are endowed with all good characteristics, they become degraded and distressed. On the other hand, if a person bereft of all good qualities remembers the Lord's lotus feet, he is immediately elevated to the spiritual abode of Vaikuntha. The concluding portion, or Antya-lila of this book reveals the transcendental activities of the Lord performing sankirtana.
The King's wise words created new confidence in him amongst the pious circles. They secretly assembled in a house and began discussing this news. They said, "Our king's character is terribly tyrannical. He is always influenced by the mode of ignorance. He has caused widespread devastation, demolishing thousands of temples in Orissa. Suddenly by some divine arrangement he is now being prompted by the mode of goodness. His words strongly indicate this change. But now again if someone influential comes along and sways the King with ill advice against Lord Caitanya, then the King might have Him brought into his presence and then anything could happen. So we must immediately send a message to the Lord suggesting that this place, being always under the surveillance of the Muslim king, is unsafe, therefore He must proceed to the next village." A secret message was dispatched to Lord Caitanya through a reliable and honest brahmana.
The Lord was then totally submerged in divine ecstasy relishing the bliss within Himself, and was continuously roaring like the rumbling of thunder. Millions of people chanted "Hari! Hari!" and Lord Caitanya danced in ecstasy.
No unnecessary words or other activities distracted Him from dancing, singing and encouraging the others to sing. The messenger brahmana stood there amazed at the sight. He failed to find the right opportunity to speak; the Lord even refused to converse with His own associates. The Lord was swimming in the tides of ecstatic bliss. He was tasting the nectar of His sweet devotion unto Himself forgetting every other activity.
The messenger did not find the occasion to speak to the Lord, so he approached His devotees. The brahmana said, "You are all followers of the Lord, so please approach Him timely and give Him a message from the pious section of our village. It says, 'What is the necessity of staying so close to the King's palace?'" The brahmana offered his repeated dandavats to the Lord from a distance and left. The Lord's associates were worried by the implications of the message. Yet they could not deliver the message to Him because the Lord was oblivious to everything else and was simply engrossed in dancing. Raising both His arms He sang, "Sing, sing the name of Hari!" And the millions who now swayed to the music joined in with clapping hands and sung "Hari! Hari!"
Simply by remembering the Lord's devotees, all obstacles are removed, and the noose of material entanglement falls away. The living entities are able to perform their slightest activity only by the help of His energy. He is glorified in the Vedas as the Supreme Brahman, Absolute Truth, eternal and pure. His illusory potency, Maya, puts the living entity into illusion whereby they forget their constitutional position and becomes shackled by the chains of material life. This very same Supreme Lord has appeared only to liberate the conditioned soul by bringing down with Him, and distributing the nectar of love of Godhead amongst all.
Which king can cause fear in the Lord? The Vedas declare that Yamaraja, the lord of death, and death personified is the Lord's menial servant. Lord Gauracandra, the son of Mother Saci, is the Lord of both the material and spiritual worlds. Now He continued kirtana with unbounded joy, unconcerned about everything else. The Lord had ignited the hearts of the teeming millions who came to see Him with such transcendental happiness that they had no fear of the King's close proximity. The Lord Himself was completey unintimidated by the King. Although the spectators were mostly very ignorant, when they saw Lord Caitanya they became fearless of even death. Then why should the thought of a mere king invoke panic in them? The atmosphere resounded with jubilant chanting of "Hari! Hari!" as the crowd appreciated the presence of the Lord of Vaikuntha mingling amongst them, singing, and dancing, freely.
Suddenly the devotees began to worry, and this was immediately felt by the Lord who is the Supreme Soul within everyone's heart. The Lord smiled and returned to His normal behavior. He then spoke, cutting asunder the anxiety of His devotees. He said, "I know you are very concerned and afraid, but why should the King call for Me? It is natural for Me to meet someone who wants to see Me, but it is not possible that everyone would like to meet Me. So why be worried? If the King wants to see Me, then I will see him. And how can the King order Me to come to him? What power does he have to do so? Only on My prompting can the King say these words. What is his ability to see Me when others more powerful search the Vedas to seek My grace and sight? Kings, sages, demigods and perfected yogis fail to see Me even after a long arduous search.
"I have advented to propagate the congregational chanting of the holy names of God, and with this I will deliver this sinful material world. Those demons and evil forces who never accepted My authority and lordship will weep in joy in this age by chanting My names. In this age I will vigorously distribute such extraordinary devotional service, which is sought even by demigods, sages and perfected beings, such that even the most abominable sinners, dog-eaters, untouchables and women will receive it. But those who, becoming intoxicated with education, wealth, family background or knowledge, criticize and offend My devotees I deprive them of everything, and they can never know My true identity.
"I declare truly that My name will be preached in every town and village of this earth. I have appeared in this universe. I want people to seek after Me, yet nobody is doing so. Therefore it is highly improbable that the King would want to see Me." The Lord finished His talk giving the devotees hope and joy. The Lord stayed in that village for another few days performing kirtana and dancing without the shadow of fear hanging over the people. Who can understand the Lord's mind? The Lord went back to Bengal instead of proceeding to Mathura.
Lord Caitanya told the devotees, "I am going to see the Lord of Nilacala." The supremely independent Lord, the source of the highest spiritual bliss, traveled southward, singing and dancing on the way. He stayed close to the Ganga all the way, and in a few days He arrived at Advaita Acarya's house. Advaita Acarya's days were fully taken up blissfully absorbed in watching the wondrous activities of His son, neglecting all other work. Now I will describe these wondrous activities of the son that had so captivated the whole attention of the father, Advaita Acarya.
Advaita Acarya's son's name was Acyutananda. He was certainly the fit son of an able father. One day an elevated sannyasi visited their house and met with Advaita Acarya. The sannyasi was at first hesitant, then Advaita Acarya offered his respects and seated him. Advaita inquired, "How can I serve you, master?" The sannyasi replied, "There is one thing I want to beg from You. I have a few questions I want You to answer." Advaita Acarya replied, "Kindly eat first and we can talk later." But the sannyasi insisted, "I want to first know the answers to my questions." Advaita Acarya relented and said, "All right, please ask your questions."
The sannyasi said, "Please tell me what is Kesava Bharati's relationship with Lord Caitanya?" Advaita Acarya considered the question in His mind and thought, "There are two concepts, social norms and spirituality. Although the Supreme Lord does not have parents, still we say 'Krsna, the son of Mother Devaki'. In a spiritual sense, the Supreme Lord does not need a guru, yet we find that the Lord takes a guru and we glorify these activities of His. Therefore, why should I talk about the spiritual aspect first? Better I speak about the social norms first."
After thinking in this manner, Advaita Acarya said to the sannyasi, "Sri Kesava Bharati is Lord Caitanya's guru. You already know that, so why should you ask?" As Advaita Acarya was speaking these words, Acyutananda came running into the room. Acyutananda was five, without any clothes, his chubby and charming form was covered with dust. He was as beautiful and attractive as Kartikeya. At this age he was already very knowledgeable, devoted, and an extremely potent personality. When he heard his father's words saying that Lord Caitanya has a guru, he became very upset and angry. But when he spoke he smiled and said, "Father, what did you say? Can you please repeat it. Do You really think that Lord Caitanya has a guru? I cannot understand how You can dare to say such a thing. If such words have emanated from Your mouth, then surely we find ourselves in Kali Yuga now. Or maybe it is because the illusory potency of Lord Caitanya is insurmountable; even Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are deluded by it. I can understand that you have been affected by Lord Caitanya's deluding potency. It must be under the influence of the Lord's illusory potency that You have uttered such a statement as, 'Lord Caitanya has a guru.'
"By Lord Caitanya's desire the entire cosmic manifestation enters into the pores of His transcendental body as He lies in the waters of the Causal Ocean. Many wise and powerful sages, proud of their status, find themselves confused and lost. Just as when Lord Brahma came out of the lotus that grew out of Lord Caitanya's navel by Lord Caitanya's desire to participate in this pastime. Lord Brahma was lost and could not see or understand anything. Finally Lord Brahma began meditating on the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord being satisfied then gave him transcendental knowledge. With this knowledge, Lord Brahma began to create this material universe. This knowledge was then passed down to the great sage, Sanaka, and others. Very mercifully they propagated this knowledge to others. Gradually, by disciplic succession the knowledge has come down. Then how is it possible that You say that that very same Supreme Personality, Lord Caitanya, has a guru? You are my father and my instructing spiritual master, so I am to learn from You. Why then are You giving wrong instructions?"
Acyutananda became silent. Advaita Acarya felt rising pride mixed with unbounded joy within Himself. He cried out, "Dear son, dear son!" and picked Acyutananda up in his arms, drenching him with tears of ecstasy. He said to His son, "As a matter of fact, you are My father and I am your son. You have come to Me as My son to give me spiritual instructions. I have certainly offended you, so please forgive Me. I promise never to say such things any more." Acyutananda became immediately shy hearing his own praises, and he kept his head down. The visiting sannyasi was overwhelmed hearing Acyutananda's words, and he fell down to the ground like a stick, offering his obeisances. He said, "He is truly a worthy son of Advaita Acarya. Like father, like son. All this is very wonderful to me. Right here is proof of the Lord's inconceivable potency. Otherwise how could such words emanate from a mere child's mouth? I have chosen an auspicious moment to come and see Advaita Acarya - I have seen the most amazing miracle." He offered repeated obeisances to Advaita Acarya and His son, and feeling content and blissful, the sannyasi left chanting Lord Hari's holy name.
Acyutananda was indeed a worthy son of Advaita Acarya because he had taken complete shelter of Lord Caitanya's lotus feet. If someone worships Advaita Acarya but disregards Lord Caitanya, even if they are Advaita Acarya's son, they will be doomed. Advaita Acarya was so impressed with His son that He forgot all other duties. He took him in His arms and wept in great satisfaction. He smeared the dust from His son's body all over His own body. He began to dance happily saying, "Lord Caitanya's associate has appeared in My home." Who can know the extent of Advaita Acarya's devotion as He danced with His son in His arms?
Lord Caitanya found Advaita Acarya engrossed in dancing when He arrived at His house with all His associates. When Advaita Acarya saw that the dear Lord of His heart had arrived, He fell to the ground and offered His obeisances chanting "Hari! Hari!" He immediately went into a state of intense ecstasy oblivious to His body and home. The ladies of the house chanted loudly, praising the Lord. Advaita Acarya's house echoed with jubilant sounds. Lord Caitanya firmly took Advaita Acarya in His embrace and showered Him with tears of immense joy. Advaita Acarya fell to the ground and placed the Lord's lotus feet on His chest, weeping profusely. The devotees were amazed to see such wonderful loving exchanges between the Lord and His dear associate, so they also were unable to contain their tears of happiness.
Advaita Acarya Prabhu composed Himself, and with utmost humility He offered Lord Caitanya a seat. The Lord sat down on the elevated seat, and His associates sat surrounding Him. Meanwhile, Advaita Prabhu and Nityananda Prabhu grasped each other in a warm embrace, reading each other's hearts, effervescent with joy. All the devotees offered obeisances to Advaita Acarya, who in turn clasped everyone in a loving embrace. Only Vedavyasa is able to fully describe the transcendental joy that descended on Advaita Acarya's house that day.
Suddenly, Advaita Acarya's son, Acyutananda appeared in that assembly and fell at Lord Caitanya's lotus feet. The Lord quickly picked him up in His lap and bathed him in tears of love. The Lord kept him lovingly, not letting him go, and Acyutananda clung to the Lord not wanting to get down. The devotees were moved to tears of joy seeing the Lord's extraordinary mercy upon this small boy. Acyutananda was dearly loved by everyone, and all the Lord's associates were very much loved and respected by Acyutananda. Lord Nityananda and Swarupa Damodara loved him dearly. He was amongst the foremost of Gadadhara Pandita's disciples. For these reasons, Acyutananda was considered by everyone to be the worthy son of an equally worthy father. Thus the Lord was experiencing divine bliss to be amongst His old and dear associates once again. He remained for a few days in Advaita Prabhu's house immersed in the ecstasy of kirtana. Advaita Acarya's joy at having his dear Lord in his home was ever-increasing.
After the initial excitement, Advaita Acarya gave more thought to other matters. He sent a messenger to Navadvipa to inform Mother Saci of the Lord's arrival in Santipura. The messenger was transported in a palanquin for speed. He requested Mother Saci to immediately accompany him back to Advaita Acarya's house. Since Lord Caitanya had left home, Mother Saci had gradually become more and more immersed in an ocean of spiritual bliss of love of Godhead. She was unaware of external situations. She spoke things that had no immediate relevance, or seemed to be listening to someone unseen.
When Mother Saci met anyone, she would ask, "Please tell me the news from Mathura, Vrndavana. How are Krsna and Balarama faring in Mathura? And how well is that sinful demon, Kamsa continuing his tyrannical activities? What about that thief, Akrura who stole my Rama and Krsna? In fact, I heard that that demon, Kamsa died and Ugrasena was crowned the new king." Sometimes Mother Saci cried out loud, "Rama! Krsna! Quickly go and milk the cows. I will go and sell the milk in the market." Sometimes she was seen running absorbed in deep thought with her hands stretched out in front saying, "Hold Him! Hold Him! There runs the butter thief. Let me see how You escape today. I will catch You and bind You." At other times she would say, "Come, let us go to the Yamuna for a bath." Many times she waited piteously, her eyes releasing endless gushing streams of tears in such a manner that even stone hearts melted.
Lord Krsna would sometimes appear in her meditation then she laughed, in loud peals in the same manner for hours, exuding inexplicable joy. Then suddenly she would fall into an ecstatic swoon lasting several hours, when the external world stopped existing for her. Another amazing symptom was when she began to tremble it was as if someone were repeatedly lifting her up in the air and hurling her down to the ground. No one other than Mother Saci could exhibit such ecstatic feelings of love of Godhead.
Lord Caitanya is certainly the unlimited reservoir of love of Godhead, Krsna. He has also infused into Mother Saci that same spiritual loving potency. Therefore who can fully describe the various ecstatic transformations of Mother Saci? Day and night she is immersed in an ocean of devotional bliss. From time to time when her consciousness focused on the immediate present, it was only to perform worship of the Deities of the Supreme Lord. All her activities are devotional service to Krsna. The messenger from Santipura arrived at a time when Mother Saci was engaged in remembering Krsna.
The messenger said, "Lord Gaurasundara has come to Santipura. Come, Mother Saci, let us go right away to see Him." This news deeply moved Mother Saci into a state of overwhelming placid bliss. She was indescribably content. The other devotees of the Lord were jubilant. Gadadhara Pandita, Murari Gupta and other beloved devotees of the Lord immediately accompanied Mother Saci to Santipura. When Mother Saci and the devotees arrived in Santipura, the news was quickly brought to Lord Caitanya.
The Lord rushed to meet His mother. When He saw her from a distance, He fell to the ground like a rod and offered obeisances. He circumambulated her while chanting many verses and offering repeated dandavats. He prayed, "You are the Universal Mother, the embodiment of pure devotion, transcendental to all material inebriety. By your gentle glance upon the living entities alone, the jivas can develop love and attachment for the Supreme Lord Krsna. You are personified devotional service to the Supreme Lord. You have the potency to fulfill everyone's desires. You are in fact Gangadevi, Mother Devaki, Yasoda, Devahuti, Prsni, Anasuya, Kausalya and Aditi. They have all emanated from you and will finally merge back in you. Who can describe your transcendental glories? You dwell in everyone's heart." The Lord chanted eulogies in this manner, and He fell to the ground in joy, offering obeisances.
Who other than Krsna Himself can exhibit such extraordinary heights of devotion to father, mother, guru, or to any superiors. As He offered obeisances and chanted prayers, His whole body was bathed in ecstatic tears. And when Mother Saci saw her son for the first time after such a long interval, she became inert with ecstatic bliss. While the Lord sang verses of praise, she remained stiff in spiritual shock, like a wooden doll. The Lord continued exuberantly, "Whatever devotion I have for Krsna is only due to your grace. And all the millions of servitors of the Lord who have the slightest relationship with you are extremely near to My heart. Anyone who simply remembers you will become free from all material bondage. Gangadevi and Tulasi-devi are famous for purifying everything by their mere touch, but even they are highly privileged to have your association.
You have put so much time, energy, and love into raising Me from birth. I have always been cushioned by your affection at every step of My life. I will never be able to repay this incalculable debt of love to you. Here again, only your wonderful qualities can counteract this burden of debt." It gave the Lord a special satisfaction to glorify His mother. The devotees also experienced transcendental joy hearing the Lord. Mother Saci, or Ai as she is more popularly known, knew that her son was Narayana, the Supreme Lord, incarnated on Earth, and therefore He could say anything at any time.
Mother Saci then spoke up saying, "Who can understand Your words? Logs in an ocean are tossed about and drawn away by waves not having any control of direction. Similarly, the living entities are in this material ocean, being swept away without volition by the waves of Your illusory potency. This is all I am able to say. You know what is best to be done. I see You are praising me and offering obeisances to me, but my understanding of all this is that You are independent, hence You can act as You wish." The devotees greeted Mother Saci's words with spontaneous appreciation. Who can really glorify the extent of Mother Ai's devotion to the Supreme Lord? It was in her glorious womb that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Gaurasundara appeared. Even if someone speaks the name Ai without understanding its spiritual significance, still by the transcendental potency of the word they are alleviated from all suffering.
Mother Saci's heart was filled with immense satisfaction at seeing her son. The devotees were swept away by tides of trembling ecstasy. It is impossible for a puny mortal to fully describe the joy that permeated there. Even Lord Nityananda was overwhelmed with happiness seeing Mother Saci's satisfaction. Advaita Acarya was reciting prayers to Devaki-devi and offering repeated obeisances to Mother Saci. All the devotees like Haridasa, Murari, Srigarbha, Narayana, Jagadisa, Gopinatha and others were very blissfully affected by her joys. Whosoever reads and hears these ecstatic narrations is enriched with the jewel of love of Krsna.
Advaita Acarya came to the Lord and gained permission for the fortunate Mother Saci to cook for Him. Mother Ai went to the kitchen with bubbling joy thinking, "I am cooking for my Gauracandra who is the Supreme Lord Narayana."
Innumerable items of food appeared as if by magic. Many of the preparations she cooked were unknown to me and so I have no name to describe them. Mother Saci knows that the Lord loves to eat shak or spinach, so she presented twenty varieties of shak. In fact, each vegetable was prepared in ten to twenty different ways. After cooking, she brought all the dishes and placed them neatly in the dining hall and put some tulasi buds on each item. In the middle of the room she spread a very nice sitting mat for the Lord.
The Lord came with all His associates to eat. When He saw the elaborate arrangements, with the countless dishes, He fell down and offered dandavats. The Lord exclaimed, "Even without tasting these foodstuffs - simply by seeing this transcendental food, one becomes free from all material entanglements. And how can I sufficiently glorify the quality of the cooking? In fact, simply by smelling the food, one develops pure devotion to Lord Krsna. Now I can understand that Lord Krsna Himself, along with His associates must have already tasted this delectable food."
The Lord then circumambulated the bhoga and sat down to eat. Taking permission from the Lord, the devotees also sat down to watch Him eat. As the Lord of the Vaikuntha planets ate, the fortunate Mother Ai feasted her eyes on Him. He tasted every single item that was there with childish relish. But amongst all the dishes, the Lord preferred the different types of shak spinach. He ate that again and again. Thus shak gained the special favor of the Lord. The devotees were thoroughly enjoying this scene as the Lord always went back to eat the shak. The Lord then began to explain the esoteric efficacy of eating shak.
The Lord smiled and said, "This shak here is known as acyuta. By relishing this shak one quickly develops a special attachment for Krsna. And the result of eating patal, bastuka and kal shaks is that one attains the association of pure Vaisnavas birth after birth. By eating salinca and helanca shak, one is not only free from diseases, but also achieves the platform of pure devotion to Lord Krsna." The Lord ate, and in between spoke about the transcendental qualities of eating different kinds of shak. Everyone experienced such spiritual ecstasy that day while the Lord took prasada that only Lord Ananta Sesa knows these facts in detail and is constantly describing them with his thousand tongues. In Kali yuga that same Lord Ananta Sesa has appeared as Lord Nityananda, the Avadhuta. All these things that I write are simply pointers and are only presented by His grace. They are all explained by Srila Vyasadeva in detail. Anyone who reads and hears these descriptions becomes free from the darkness of ignorance.
After this pleasurable experience of eating, the Lord got up and washed Himself. As soon as He left the seat to wash and again sat down to relax, the devotees pounced on the Lord's remnants and began to eat. Someone said, "Why should a brahmana take these remnants? I am a sudra; only I have the right to eat this." The other replied, "I am not a brahmana." Many just slipped in through the crowd and taking a handful of prasada, ran away. Someone said, "The sudras are not eligible to eat remnants. Try to understand this by analysis. It is already stated in the scriptures." Another said, "I do not want any remnant food. I just want the food vessels." Yet another devotee said, "It has always been my duty to throw away the Lord's leaf plate, but now you are forcibly taking the remnants, simply demonstrating your bossy nature." In this way the devotees used all cunning to steal some of the nectarean remnants touched by the lotus mouth of the Lord. Considering that the food was cooked by Mother Ai and then taken by the Supreme Lord, it was natural that everyone became so greedy for it. Happily licking their fingers after eating, they washed, and returned, and sat in front of the Lord.
The Lord looked at the devotees sitting around Him and spotted Murari Gupta. The Lord smiled and said to him, "Murari, I heard that you have composed something about Lord Raghava in eight verses. Please read it." Murari then began to read the verses in Sanskrit as if in a trance of ecstasy. The meanings of which are, "I constantly serve the lotus feet of Lord Ramacandra, the spiritual master of the three worlds, whose brother, Laksmana is Lord Ananta. Laksmana is dressed in opulent kingly attire, with a bright golden complexion, always meditating on serving his older brother, Lord Rama, and who is a most expert archer and is always walking in front of the Lord.
"I constantly serve the lotus feet of Lord Ramacandra, the spiritual master of the three worlds, who with His family slew Khara, Trisira and Kabandha, thus clearing the idyllic forest of Dandaka of mischievous demons, and who killed King Bali and made friends with Sugriva." Like this, Murari Gupta recited all eight verses. Then on the Lord's instruction he began to explain the meanings of those verses.
Murari explained, "With a complexion like that of fresh durba grass, He is seated on a gem-studded majestic throne, smiling graciously. Sri Janakidevi, Sita is on His left. He is the supreme archer, teaching everyone the art of archery. He is the desire tree who more than fulfills all the yearnings of His devotees. His younger brother, Laksmana is Lord Ananta Sesa.
"He is constantly absorbed in serving his elder brother. Walking everywhere ahead of his elder brother, Laksmana is an extraordinary archer. Lustrous with a golden complexion, he dons a stately golden robe. Lord Ramacandra, the pride of the Raghu dynasty, is the supreme teacher of everyone. I worship His lotus feet birth after birth. Bharata and Satrughna fan Him with whisks, and Hanuman and his army of monkeys kneel with folded hands singing of their Lord's glorious activities.
"I pray that birth after birth I may sing of His transcendental activities, for it is He who befriended and graced Guha, who belonged to the lower caste of dog-eaters. The Lord willingly renounced His kingdom and crown to satisfy His guru's instruction to live in the forest and perform divine deeds. He killed King Vali, and mercifully offering His friendship to Sugriva whom He made King. Everyone should take shelter of His lotus feet for He is the Lord of all three worlds and He kindly liberated Ahaya. Worship the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord who built a bridge across the ocean with the help of the monkey army and Laksmana, and then later killed the demon, King Ravana who was powerful enough to defeat even Indra, the king of the heavens.
Worship the lotus feet of the best of the Raghu kings. By His mercy, the devout Bibhisana became the king of Lanka although he was not in the least interested in the position. Such are the Lord's wondrous activities, that even the Yavanas and Muslims are eager to hear of His pastimes. He is always carrying His bow only to suppress the miscreants. He cares for His subjects in the kingdom just like His own children. By His mercy alone all the residents of Ayodhya were transported to the spiritual sky in their selfsame form and became permanent residents of Vaikuntha. Just worship the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Raghavendra, who is eulogized in the Vedas as the Supreme Brahman, the Lord of the universe. Mahesvara, Lord Siva, looses his clothes intoxicated by the nectar of chanting His holy name, and Laksmidevi is eternally engaged in massaging His lotus feet."
Thus Murari Gupta recited and explained all the eight nectarean verses he had composed in praise of Lord Ramacandra. Lord Caitanya was very satisfied with Murari Gupta, and He placed His lotus feet on Murari's head in blessing. The Lord said, "Listen, dear Gupta. I am blessing you that you can eternally serve the lotus feet of Lord Ramacandra. Whoever takes your shelter and association for a single moment will easily attain Lord Rama's lotus feet." The devotees resounded their loud approval hearing the Lord shower His blessings upon Murari Gupta. In this way the magnanimous Lord dispensed boons to the devotees, always surrounded by the bee-like associates who are eternally attracted to the lotus feet of the Lord.
Suddenly a leper appeared in that assembly and came before the Lord. He threw himself down on the ground like a stick groaning in pain. Then getting up he lifted his arms high and began to wail loudly. He said, "O merciful Lord, You have risen like the sun on this earth only to dissipate the sufferings of this material life. Your compassionate nature is always moved by the distress of others, and so I have come to You. I am burning in the pain of leprosy. Kindly tell me how I can be relieved of this." When the leper had finished speaking, the Lord addressed him angrily with a thundering voice. He said, "Go! Go away from here! Just seeing you incurs sin. Even if a very pious man sees your face, the day will bring him only woe.
"You are a wretched sinner and a Vaisnava offender. Much more suffering is in store for you. You cannot even tolerate this pain, you contemptuous reprobate. How are you going to live through the sufferings in Kumbhapaka hell.
"A Vaisnava is so pure that just uttering his name can cleanse the entire universe. Lord Brahma takes pleasure in singing praises to the Vaisnava. One easily attains the inconceivable association of the Supreme Lord Krsna simply by serving a Vaisnava. In fact nothing is superior to the worship of a Vaisnava. The Srimad-Bhagavatam unequivocally explains that a Vaisnava is more dear to Lord Krsna than even elevated personalities like Lord Ananta Sesa, Laksmidevi, Lord Brahma or Lord Siva. In Srimad-Bhagavatam [Verse 11.14.15] it says 'O Uddhava, you, My devotees are more dear to Me than anyone else. Although Brahma is My son, Siva My partial expansion, Sankarsana My brother, and Laksmidevi My wife, they are not so dear as you are. What to speak of others, even I in My Deity form am not so dear.'
"So anyone who offends a Vaisnava or criticizes him has to suffer terrible consequences life after life. A person's piety, education and austerity are rendered useless by criticizing a Vaisnava. Lord Krsna even refuses to accept worship from a Vaisnava offender. Mother Earth feels blessed when the Vaisnava dances on her. The very sight of a Vaisnava destroys nescience and sin in every direction, who when dancing, lifting his arms to the sky waives away all ill-fortune in the heavenly abodes. Such an elevated devotee is Srivasa Pandita, but you are so demoniac that you have offended him. Your leprosy is just a mere reminder of your offenses. The actual punishment is yet to come, to be meted out by Yamaraja, the demigod of death. Therefore I do not even want to see you, and I am not the one to deliver you."
The leper quietly heard the Lord's chastisement, then with utmost humility and meekness, holding straw in his teeth he began to speak. He prayed, "In my ignorance I have destroyed myself. Delirious with the material disease, I have grievously criticized and offended a Vaisnava. For this heinous act I have rightly deserved my painful due. Now my Lord, pray think of my deliverance. It is the nature of saintly personalities to heal the suffering of the wretched, and forgive the blasphemers. Therefore I have taken shelter of You, but if You turn me away, who will save me? You know the penances for the different sinful activities, so as a kind father to all, please tell me what penances will vanquish my offenses. As I have sown by Vaisnava aparadha, so I have painfully harvested my great grief."
The Lord replied, "Leprosy for an offender is just his first punishment. It is only the beginning. The worst is yet to come. Yamaraja has eight lakhs forty thousand types of excruciating punishments waiting for the offenders. You should go right away to Srivasa Pandita and throw yourself at his feet. It was Srivasa Pandita you offended, so you can be excused by his mercy alone. If a thorn is stuck in the throat, then it has to be pulled out by another thorn, not that when a thorn gets stuck in the feet the shoulders have to be treated. This is the only means for your reprieve. Srivasa Pandita is very elevated and intelligent. If you beg him, then he will surely forgive you."
The devotees expressed their loud approval of the Lord's perfect and honest instructions. The leper paid his obeisances to the Lord and the devotees, and hurried off to see Srivasa Pandita. Srivasa Pandita, out of his causeless mercy exonerated the leper from all offenses and saved him from the worst fate. The Lord had clearly described the horrific results of offending a Vaisnava. In spite of hearing this, if a person is still so foolish to indulge in criticism and blasphemy of Vaisnavas, then Lord Caitanya will personally mete out the due punishments.
If one sees two Vaisnavas quarreling, then one should never think that something is amiss, or that there is enmity or malice between them. Such quarreling is in fact pleasing to the Lord and is transcendental. The arguments and abuses exchanged between Rukminidevi and Satyabhamadevi, although sounding like serious fighting, are factually not - because the two are forever united in their service to their common Lord and master. There is no enmity between Vaisnavas. The Supreme Lord Himself induces these fights due to His frolicsome nature. However if anyone foolishly sides with one Vaisnava against another, then they are doomed due to the offending of a Vaisnava.
The Vaisnavas are the extensions of the Lord's limbs, so how can one benefit by serving Him with one hand and inflicting pain on Him with the other? One who has developed such vision becomes steady in devotional service. One who understands that Lord Krsna and His devotees, the Vaisnavas are nondifferent, and with this knowledge serves the Lord, can easily cross the ocean of nescience. One who glorifies, hears and understands these transcendental subject matters can always avoid Vaisnava aparadha.
The Lord remained a few days more in Santipura enjoying His stay in Advaita Acarya's house. Soon it was time to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Srila Madhavendra Puri's appearance day. Although there is no difference between Madhavendra Puri and Advaita Acarya, yet Advaita Acarya considered Himself to be Madhavendra Puri's disciple. It is certain that Lord Gaurasundara is eternally present in Madhavendra Puri's body. His devotion to the Supreme Lord is unparalleled. By Lord Krsna's grace, the Lord's transcendental potencies were fully manifest in Madhavendra Puri. Kindly hear attentively how Advaita Acarya became a disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri.
Before the advent of Lord Sri Caitanya in this world, the entire planet was bereft of any devotional feelings towards the Supreme Lord. Even then, Srila Madhavendra Puri, by the special mercy of Lord Caitanya was constantly experiencing devotional ecstasy. All the ecstatic symptoms would manifest on his person. He was so totally saturated in meditating on the Supreme Lord Krsna that he was not aware of what he was doing. While walking on the streets suddenly he would start to dance very gracefully and chant the holy name. Sometimes due to intense devotional feelings, he would go into a spiritual coma lasting several hours. Again at times experiencing acute love in separation, he would cry shedding torrential tears gushing like the flooding River Ganga. Then there were instances where he would break out in loud peals of laughter and, intoxicated by the nectar of love of Godhead, he became unaware that he had lost the clothes he was wearing.
Srila Madhavendra Puri spent his days happily relishing his sublime relationship with Lord Krsna. Only the absence of devotion amongst the general populace disturbed him and made him morose. He gave much thought to how to alleviate this suffering of the people. He arrived at the conclusion that the Supreme Lord Krsna must appear. The society then had no interest in or understanding of the reason for celebrating festivals of Lord Krsna's pastimes or for holding night-long kirtans glorifying Sri Krsna. People's understanding of a perfect religious activity was to stay up nights listening to songs about the demigoddess Mangal Candi. The only gods they knew were demigods like Sasti and Visahari, and they worshiped these demigods with much fanfare and ostentation.
Many persons simply desired to increase their wealth and dynasty. To reach this end, they worshiped demons and ghosts with offerings of animal flesh and wine. Their fondest enjoyment was to listen to banal songs of equally mundane songsters. It was truly a sign of great piety if someone uttered the names of God, "Govinda or Pundiraksa" even once, at the time of the morning bath. People were so steeped in the mode of ignorance and deluded by Lord Krsna's maya that they had no concept of who a Vaisnava is, what is Krsna kirtana, or why do devotees dance or weep in ecstasy during kirtana.
Srila Madhavendra Puri was deeply pained by the godlessness of the people, and he could find no one to speak to. Thinking that sannyasis would be sympathetic to his concern because of their renounced order, he approached them, but to his dismay he found that they were polluted by the desire to become one with God. Therefore he gave up further attempts to talk to them. He felt forlorn; he had no place to turn, where he could discuss topics of Lord Krsna's pastimes. Learned scholars, yogis, hermits and even sannyasis were never heard speaking any instructions guiding the people to serve the Supreme Lord. All of them were only interested in exhibiting their learning by presenting logic and argument. In fact they had become agnostics refusing to even accept and revere the Deity forms of the Supreme Lord. Seeing these negative conditions and himself all alone, Srila Madhavendra Puri decided to live away from society in a forest.
Srila Madhavendra Puri observed, "Why am I roaming amongst people searching for a Vaisnava? How can I meet one amongst them if they themselves have no appreciation for a Vaisnava? Therefore let me just go to the forest and live there. There at least I will not have to associate with non-devotees." About the same time he decided to withdraw from society, by divine arrangement he met Advaita Acarya. Sri Advaita was also greatly afflicted for the same reason. He felt despondent seeing that the lives of people were empty and meaningless without devotion to the Supreme Lord.
Sri Advaita Acarya in the meantime, in spite of such reverse conditions had continued to preach about devotional service to Lord Krsna by the Lord's mercy alone. His discourses on the Gita and Bhagavatam always stressed devotional service to Lord Krsna, which is in fact the essential truth in these books. So when Sri Madhavendra Puri came to Sri Advaita's house it was a wonderful meeting of two highly elevated Vaisnavas. When Sri Advaita saw Srila Madhavendra Puri, recognizing all the signs of saintliness in him, he immediately fell to the ground offering His obeisances. Srila Madhavendra Puri picked up Sri Advaita and embraced Him warmly, drenching Him with tears of spiritual ecstasy.
They sat down and entered the unlimited ocean of nectar of Lord Krsna's pastimes. They forgot about themselves and everything else, talking to each other about Krsna. Srila Madhavendra Puri was such an elevated devotee and lover of Lord Krsna that just by seeing a blackish cloud he would become unconscious due to uncontrollable spiritual agitation. Hearing Lord Krsna's name brought him immediate ecstasy, and roaring loudly he would manifest various symptoms of divine love. Sri Advaita could see all these Vaisnava qualities in Srila Madhavendra Puri. He was extremely pleased to meet him and wanted to hear spiritual instructions from him. This was how the two spiritual stalwarts met.
Ever since their meeting, Sri Advaita Acarya had always celebrated Srila Madhavendra Puri's appearance day with great festivity leaving all other work. So now He applied Himself fully to commemorate this special occasion. Lord Caitanya and His associates were also very happy to join in the festivities, especially seeing how vigorously Sri Advaita decorated and made endless preparations for the celebration. Necessary requirements began pouring in from different people - a clear indication of how so many persons were attracted to the saintly qualities of Srila Madhavendra Puri. The devotees distributed different duties amongst themselves according to their capabilities to help with the preparations.
Mother Saci accepted the responsibility for all the cooking. The housewives gathered around her and began to get things ready. Lord Nityananda who was always self-satisfied, wanted to serve and worship the Vaisnava. One devotee expressed his desire, "I want to make all the sandalwood paste." Another said, "I will make the flower garlands." "I will fetch water," said another. "Then give me the duty to wash and clean the floors," said yet another. Another devotee said, "All right then let me wash the feet of all the Vaisnavas." Everywhere devotees were very busy. Some were spreading the multicolored cloth awning overhead and tying the corners to the nails. Others hurried to bring vegetables, oils and so on to the kitchen. Many devotees began kirtan and danced, while some joined in playing the gong or blowing conchshells. Devotees were jubilant, loudly chanting "Hari! Hari!" while they enthusiastically performed their various services. The festive mood had everyone in a grip. Happy tumult echoed everywhere. The loud chanting of the holy name, the blowing of conches, and the sounds of cymbals, gong and drums transformed Sri Advaita's house into Vaikuntha.
The Lord was very satisfied with all the elaborate arrangements. He went around the house looking at everything. A couple of rooms were packed with bags of rice. The fire wood was stacked like high mountains. Several rooms were being used for cooking with innumerable pots strewn everywhere. A few rooms were filled with lentil dahl; about seven rooms were packed with clothes. Room after room had just flat rice, puffed rice and leaf plated. It was impossible to count the number of bananas, coconuts, and big lumps of gur, molasses lying around. Then came the many, many rooms filled with an array of all sorts of vegetables like patal, aubergine, banana tree stem, potatoes, spinaches and so on. Another spectacle that met His eyes was the rows upon rows of large containers filled with milk, yogurt and cream. Sugar cane was piled high, and next to it were large vessels of oil, ghee and salt. This miraculous display which appeared as if from nowhere was indescribable in its variety and volume.
The Lord was filled with wonder for He knew that all this was not humanly possible to accomplish on such short notice for any one person. The Lord said, "Such a manifestation of opulence cannot be the work of an ordinary mortal. Sri Advaita must be Mahesa, Siva. This is what I strongly feel. This miracle is possible only for Mahadeva, Lord Siva. Advaita Acarya must be the incarnation of Lord Siva." The Lord smiled and kept repeating these words. In this manner, through insinuations the Lord revealed the actual spiritual identity of Advaita Acarya. One who is pious will accept these statements of Lord Caitanya with great spiritual joy. And those nonbelievers who have no faith in the Lord's words, will be confronted by Advaita Acarya himself as a horrendous consuming conflagration. Although Sri Advaita is inherently very compassionate, and his shelter is as cooling as the embalming rays of millions of moons, still He transforms Himself into the terrible form of all-devouring death to those who have no faith in Lord Caitanya.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam clearly declares that if anyone utters Lord Siva's name even without proper understanding of the esoteric truth about him, still they are absolved of all sins immediately; if there is such a wretched person who denounces Lord Siva's name or feels depressed upon hearing his name, then they are certainly thrown into an ocean of dark despondency. Lord Krsna Himself asks how can any person worship Him, but not worship Siva? How can one develop love for Lord Krsna if they disregard Lord Siva who is so dear to Lord Krsna?
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it asks, "How can anyone render devotional service to Me (Lord Krsna) without worshiping My dear devotee Siva in the proper devotional mood. A person who does not respect Siva is envious of the Vaisnavas and is a sinful reprobate." Again, in the Skanda Purana it says, "First one should worship Lord Krsna, the cause of all causes, and then worship the best of the demigods, Lord Siva. Then all the other demigods should be worshiped with great faith and devotion." Sri Advaita Acarya is accepted by the saintly personalities as Siva himself. This is so because Lord Caitanya gave sufficient indications to establish this truth. Naturally, less intelligent persons raise clamorous objections against such truths. This is because they cannot gauge Sri Advaita Acarya's transcendental potencies.
Thus the Lord went around taking note of all the elaborate arrangements, although it is impossible for me as the author to provide extensive detail, such was the elaborate array. The Lord was very pleased, and He began to glorify Sri Advaita to everyone. The Lord again came back to the place of kirtana. His presence immediately accelerated the enthusiasm of the kirtana, and drowned the devotees in a deluge of divine nectar. Devotees danced in every direction, singing and clapping, their uncontained joy increasing with every passing moment. Far above all the sounds was the clearly discernible singing of the holy names of God. The devotees were now shining with greater effulgence, their bodies decorated with sandalwood paste and flower garlands. The Lord's associates were all very near and dear to Him, and their joyous singing of the holy name spread everywhere, purifying the entire universe.
Lord Nityananda, with His tall impressive stature like that of a wrestler, danced and strutted about like a little boy chuckling with pure innocent glee. Sri Advaita Acarya was totally absorbed in dancing, unaware of the passage of time. Haridasa Thakura and all the other devotees danced and sang jubilantly. And at last Lord Caitanya joined the dancing after inspiring everyone else to dance first. He danced together with all the devotees. The devotees encircled Him and danced, keeping Him in the center. The whole day passed in the ecstasy of dancing and kirtan, and finally the Lord sat down with all the devotees. Sri Advaita begged permission from the Lord to prepare for eating, and busied himself making the necessary arrangements for all the Vaisnavas' prasadam.
The Lord sat down to eat with His entire throng of devotees. As usual, the devotees sat around Him, everyone wanting Him to be in the center. Like the many shining luminaries in the dark purple sky were the devotees, and the Lord arose on the horizon looking more iridescent than a million moons. Mother Saci had prepared a delicious feast in honor of Sri Madhavendra Puri with an incredible variety of rice preparations, vegetables and sweets. The Lord relished the transcendental delicacies, and spoke about the glories of Srila Madhavendra Puri between mouthfuls. It was difficult to say which mouthful He relished more. The Lord said, "If one is fortunate enough to taste this wonderful prasada in honor of Srila Madhavendra Puri's appearance day, then one is immediately showered with loving devotion to Lord Krsna."
The Lord then got up from prasada, and after washing Himself, He sat down. Sri Advaita brought many flower garlands and sandalwood paste, then placed them before the Lord. First the Lord garlanded and smeared sandalwood paste on Lord Nityananda and Swarupa Damodara Prabhu with great affection. Then one by one the Lord garlanded and smeared sandalwood paste on all the Vaisnavas with His own hands. The devotees were extremely happy to have received these directly from the Lord. They all cried out loudly the Lord's holy name making a joyous clamor that is impossible to describe. There was no way to gauge the pinnacles of ecstasy Sri Advaita climbed, because above everything He had the Lord of Vaikuntha Himself as His guest.
How is it humanly possible to fully describe all these transcendental pastimes of the Lord? The different activities the Lord performs within the span of a day cannot be recorded by anyone, even if they would be allowed a period of a million years to record them. Like a bird flying in the vast vault of the sky is unable to find its limits, similarly the pastimes of the Lord are unlimited; one is only able to know as much as He empowers them to see and understand. The wooden doll is completely controlled by the puppeteer, so also can I only say as much as the Lord prompts me to say. I do not know the chronological order of these pastimes. Somehow I am writing the glories of the Lord.
I beg humbly at the feet of all the Vaisnavas to forgive me for my offenses in this effort of writing. One who listens to these transcendental topics will certainly attain loving devotion to Lord Krsna.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda are my life and soul.
I, Vrndavana dasa, humbly offer this song at Their lotus feet.