SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Antya Lila Chapter 5
All glory to Lord Gaurasundara, the spiritual preceptor of the entire universe. You are the desire tree of all the surrendered devotees. All glory to You, who are the most brilliant gem of the sannyasa order, the Lord of Vaikuntha. Please bless the living entities with Your merciful glance. All glory to the Supreme Lord Gauranga along with all His devotees and associates, for You are the most munificent Lord, an ocean of divine compassion.
Please hear attentively the topics narrated about the Lord in the concluding portion of this book. The Lord stayed another few days in Sri Advaita's house, and then went to Kumarahatta to Srivasa Pandita's house. Srivasa Pandita at this time was immersed in meditation on Lord Krsna, so when Lord Gaurasundara, the Lord of his life, appeared in person before him, it was like the object of his meditation was suddenly there in his presence, as though his desire in deep and sincere meditation was fulfilled.
Srivasa Pandita threw himself to the ground like a stick and paid his respects to the Lord. He clasped the Lord's lotus feet to his chest, and heaving long sighs of love he wept profusely. The Lord picked up Srivasa Pandita and embraced him, drenching him with tears of divine love.
Srivasa Pandita's entire family was truly blessed by the Lord's causeless mercy. They all crowded to see the Lord, and raising their arms in a gesture of overwhelming joy, they began to weep. Srivasa Pandita was beside himself with happiness. He could not fathom the exhilaration he experienced in the presence of the Lord of Vaikuntha in person as a guest in his house. He picked up the best seat on his head and brought it to the Lord. The lotus-eyed Gauranga sat down. The devotees sat surrounding Him and began kirtana. The ladies of the house all made auspicious sounds of welcome to the Lord, and Srivasa Pandita's house resounded with joy.
Quickly the news spread about the Lord's arrival at Srivasa Pandita's house. Acarya Purandara came immediately to meet the Lord. The Lord embraced him with warm affection and reverence, considering him to be His father. Acarya Purandara was overwhelmed with spiritual emotion and could not hold back his tears of extreme joy as he embraced the Lord. Sri Vasudeva Datta was very dear to the Lord. He knew all the esoteric conclusions by the Lord's grace. Sri Vasudeva was always meditating on how to properly benefit the living entities. Compassionate to everyone, he was perpetually absorbed in thoughts of Lord Caitanya.
He never looked for faults in others, but always praised their good qualities. He had great attraction and love for the Supreme Lord and His service, and he was always respectful to the Vaisnavas and rendered humble service to them. When the Lord saw Sri Vasudeva Datta He was very pleased and He embraced him weeping profusely in ecstasy. Sri Vasudeva fell down to the ground and clasped the Lord's lotus feet and began to cry loudly. He cried so piteously that, what to speak of men, even the stones were moved to tears. Sri Vasudeva was endowed with such wonderful qualities that he alone could exemplify himself.
The Lord loved Sri Vasudeva so dearly that He said, "It is indeed true that I belong to Vasudeva." Repeatedly the Lord said, "My body is Vasudeva's property. He can sell Me anywhere he wants. This is true and does not mean anything else. A moment's association with Sri Vasudeva can bless anyone with Lord Krsna's protection from all dangers. O Vaisnava devotees, please hear Me. I say truly that Sri Vasudeva owns Me completely." The devotees became jubilant hearing the Lord shower such causeless mercy on Sri Vasudeva, and they loudly chanted the holy name. Lord Gaurasundara is expert in praising His devotees and increasing their glories. Just as the devotees are always eulogizing the Lord's transcendental qualities, the Lord equally praises His devotees in the same manner.
The Lord stayed for some time in Srivasa Pandita's house performing exhilarating pastimes. Srivasa Pandita and his brother Ramai Pandita were always engaged in singing the glories of the Lord. The Lord feeling spiritually animated by their singing danced in ecstasy. Both the brothers, Srivasa Pandita and Ramai Pandita are very beloved of the Lord. They are like the two bodies of the Lord. Srivasa Pandita pleased the Lord in many ways by performing kirtana, discussing the Srimad-Bhagavatam and maintaining proper standards of Vaisnava etiquette. It was in Srivasa Pandita's house that the Lord performed some of His most wonderful pastimes.
One day the Lord called Srivasa Pandita aside and asked him confidentially about some family matters. The Lord said, "I see you never go anywhere. How will you manage to make ends meet for the family, and how are you doing it presently?" Srivasa Pandita replied, "My Lord, I have not the heart to go anywhere." The Lord gently prodded the subject further, "You have a large family to maintain - how then will you look after them?" Srivasa Pandita said, "Whatever comes because of my fate will certainly come as a provision." The Lord then said, "Then Srivasa, take sannyasa!" Srivasa replied, "That is not possible for me."
The Lord said, "On one hand you refuse to accept sannyasa, and on the other hand you do not go to beg alms. How do you plan to maintain your family? I am unable to understand you. These days if one does not make the effort of going hither and thither then nothing comes of its own. Under these circumstances, please tell Me what you propose to do." Srivasa Pandita said clapping his hands thrice, "Here is my explanation - one, two, three." The Lord insisted, "Please explain properly why you clapped thrice and what does 'One, two, three' imply?" Srivasa Pandita replied calmly, "I have taken a solemn vow that if after fasting for three meals I do not get any food then I will surely tie a stone around my neck and drown myself in the Ganga."
As soon as the Lord heard these words He roared like thunder and said, "What did you say, Srivasa Pandita? You will be fasting because of a lack of food? Even if Laksmidevi by some rare chance has to go begging, your family will never experience poverty. Srivasa Pandita, you have already forgotten what I have said in the Bhagavad-gita (9.22) 'Those who worship Me with devotion meditating on My transcendental form, to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.' One who is fixed in undeviating meditation on Me has never to beg at anyone's steps. All the mystic potencies automatically manifest in him. My devotees are fully protected by My Sudarsana disc at all times, and even at the time of the total annihilation of this material universe, they remain transcendental and unaffected."
The Lord continued, "One who simply remembers My devotee, I take the responsibility of maintaining him. The servitor of My servitor is dear to Me, and they certainly attain My shelter. My servitors need not have any concern about their maintenance since I am taking their responsibility on My shoulders. So Srivasa Pandita, you just remain happily in your house and every requirement will automatically come to you. I am blessing you and Sri Advaita with the boon that none of you will ever be affected by old age, debility, or senility."
The Lord then called for Ramai Pandita and told him, "Listen, Ramai Pandita, I instruct you to always serve your elder brother, as if he were the Supreme Lord. Know also that you are as dear to Me as My very life, so I want that you never deviate from this service to Srivasa Pandita." Both Srivasa Pandita and Ramai Pandita were overwhelmed with divine bliss. The blessed Lord had filled their hearts with indescribable joy. By Lord Caitanya's causeless mercy, even now, in some pastime, all requirements are coming on their own to Srivasa Pandita's doorsteps.
The Lord remained a few days more in Srivasa Pandita's house enjoying His stay in the company of His associates and the affectionate family members of Srivasa Pandita. From there He went to Sri Raghava Pandita's house in Panihati. Sri Raghava Pandita was always busy serving Lord Krsna. So when the Lord arrived, Sri Raghava Pandita was overwhelmed to see his beloved Lord face to face. He fell to the ground offering obeisances, and clasped His lotus feet, the very same lotus feet that are the source of Laksmidevi's constant joy. He began to weep in jubilation. The Lord was also extremely happy to see His dear devotee, and He picked him up and embraced him, while His unrestrained tears of joy bathed Raghava Pandita. Sri Raghava Pandita did not know what to do or how to receive the Lord, such was his effusive bliss. The Lord of Vaikuntha, Sri Caitanya was very pleased with Srila Raghava Pandita's devotion, and He showered His mercy upon him.
The Lord said, "By coming to Raghava Pandita's house and seeing him, all My gloom has been dispelled. Coming to his house has resulted in the same purification, and hence satisfaction, as bathing in the holy Ganga." Then smiling benignly at Srila Raghava Pandita, the Lord said to him, "Dear Raghava Pandita, please go immediately and prepare food for Lord Krsna's satisfaction." Raghava Pandita immediately went off swimming in ecstasy to execute the Lord's order. With his heart inundated with divine love, he cooked as his heart dictated - a plentiful variety.
The Lord came to eat accompanied by Nityananda Prabhu and all Their associates. The Lord relished Srila Raghava Pandita's cooking and praised each and every preparation. The Lord said to Raghava Pandita, "Raghava Pandita has cooked everything so excellently well. Especially I have never tasted such a delectable preparation of spinach, shak, ever before. Raghava Pandita already knew that the Lord was very fond of shak, so He made it a point to prepare it in many delicious ways. The Lord, finishing His food, washed and then came and sat down.
Meanwhile, word had spread that the Lord was staying in Srila Raghava Pandita's house. Sri Gadadhara dasa heard the news and came hastily to meet the Lord. Srila Gadadhara das was very near and dear to the Lord. He epitomized pure devotion to the Lord.
The Lord was extremely pleased to see Gadadhara dasa and out of great love for him He placed His lotus feet on his head. Sri Purandara Pandita and Srila Paramesvari dasa also came rushing to see the Lord. Paramesvari dasa was so surrendered to the Lord that the Lord reciprocated and manifest Himself in person in his Deity. Both these saintly devotees were in great ecstasy to see the Lord, and they cried tears of divine love. Srila Raghunatha Vaidya, that very exalted Vaisnava, also came to meet the Lord. In this way, an endless stream of devotees came to see the Lord. Panihati village experienced an extraordinary spiritual event by the Lord's advent and stay there. The Lord inundated the whole village with divine ecstasy by His personal presence.
Once, the Lord called Srila Raghava Pandita aside and spoke to him alone. He said, "Raghava, I want to reveal to you confidentially that Nityananda Prabhu is not different from Myself. You must understand that whatever Nityananda wants of Me, I do. Without sophistry I say that everything I do is through Nityananda. We are one and the same. That which is rarely attained by great mystics steeped in meditation is easily obtained from Lord Nityananda. Therefore, engage yourself with sincerity and reverence in Nityananda's service, knowing Him to be the Supreme Lord." Before leaving the fortunate village of Panihati, the Lord instructed Makardhavaja, "Serve Raghava Pandita nicely. Know that the loving attachment you have developed for him is highly appreciated by Me."
The Lord then came to a place called Varaha-nagara. He visited the residence of an exalted and saintly brahmana. The brahmana was well-versed in the Srimad- Bhagavatam, and upon having the Lord's audience, he began to recite some verses. As the Lord heard the verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam read by him with sublime devotion, He went into an ecstatic trance. With a voice resembling the roll of thunder, He cried out "Read on! Read on!" The pious brahmana was blissfully submerged in the text reading aloud and the Lord began to dance in divine exultation, oblivious to everything around Him. Verse after verse described the transcendental glory of loving devotional surrender, and the Lord swooned again and again falling like a rod on the ground with tremendous force. Such was the Lord's spiritual ecstasy that the people were amazed and afraid to see Him fall with such intensity. This pastime lasted late into the night. The brahmana read and the Lord danced.
Gradually the Lord came out of His ecstatic trance and calmly sat down. He was extremely happy with the brahmana, so He embraced him. The Lord said to him, "I have never heard anyone recite the Srimad-Bhagavatam so sweetly, therefore I name you Bhagavat acarya or the spiritual preceptor of the Bhagavatam. You need not engage in any other activity; just go on reciting the Bhagavatam." Everyone was jubilant with the brahmana's new and deserving title. They appreciated it with loud chanting of the Lord's name. Blessing the residents of that place, the Lord traveled along the banks of the Ganga visiting many devotees' homes. He satisfied all the devotees, fulfilling their hearts' yearning to see Him. Finally He returned to Nilacala, Puri. One who hears these descriptions of the Lord's return to Bengal becomes immediately free from all distresses.
Great crowds of people greeted the Lord as He entered Jagannatha Puri with jubilant sounds saying, "The moving Lord Jagannatha has come back to Nilacala." The news flashed with the speed of lightening everywhere.
Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and the other Oriyan associates of the Lord came running to see Him. The devotees were morose because of feelings of separation since the Lord was away, and now on His return they were exulting and welcoming Him with loud kirtana. The Lord, the reservoir of divine love, embraced them, reciprocating their spiritual affections, and bathed everyone with His effusive tears. Once in Nilacala, He began to reside in Kasi Misra's house.
Here in Puri, the Lord spent all His time dancing in ecstasy and performing sweet, sublime kirtanas everywhere. Often He danced before Lord Jagannatha losing Himself in ecstatic graceful movements, sometimes within the closed precincts of Kasi Misra's residence, and at other times He simply ran out to the ocean shores and danced to the rhythmic crashing of the waves on the sand.
Blissfully oblivious to every other activity, the Lord now engaged in this wonderful pastime. He was up early with the first blowing of the conchshell from the temple, and as the doors to Lord Jagannatha opened He was there bowing before the Lord. So wonderful was His love for Lord Jagannatha that tears cascaded from His eyes and flowed like the river Ganga. All the people stared, transfixed in amazement, their worries and sorrows long forgotten. Crowds followed Him wherever He went. They were moved and inspired. Loudly they chanted "Hari! Hari!" as they followed behind the Lord's dancing form.
The King of Orissa, Maharaja Prataparudra, also heard the news of the Lord's return to Nilacala. He immediately left the capitol, Cuttaca, and hurried to Nilacala, Puri. The King was very keen to see the Lord and meet Him. He had been trying a long time but without success. He had requested many of the Lord's associates, including Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, to approach the Lord on his behalf, but all of them were afraid to approach Him on this matter. So exasperated, he said to Sri Sarvabhauma, "If you are so afraid to speak to Him about me, then at least point Him out to me without Him seeing me." Appreciating the King's intense desire to see the Lord, the devotees decided to help him. They conferred and said, "The Lord becomes totally absorbed while dancing, and the external world fades into oblivion from His consciousness. At that time the King, who is so deeply religious, can see the Lord from his place of hiding."
The devotees explained their plan to the King, and the King eagerly responded saying, "I just want to see Him once by any means." So one day the King was informed that the Lord was dancing, and he hurried to the spot. He quickly found a vantage point that was well hidden. From there he saw the most wonderful sight of his life. The Lord's eyes were like two river sources spouting unlimited tears like waterfalls, and all the ecstatic symptoms manifested on His person at different times. He sometimes fell to the ground with such terrible force that people gasped in horrified alarm. When the Lord began His roaring like thunderclaps, the King had to hold his hands over his ears. Then suddenly the Lord would be overcome with the mood of intense separation from Krsna and break down in heartbreaking tears. So many subtle spiritual moods played on the Lord's person that it is impossible for anyone to describe.
Dancing constantly with His long arms up in the air, and chanting "Hari! Hari!," the Lord was fully saturated in ecstasy. Finally, when He became aware of His immediate surroundings, He came and sat down amongst the devotees.
The King after watching the Lord's dancing until the end, stealthily slipped away, his heart full with effervescent joy, his inner eye still viewing the graceful movements of the Lord. Though the King was fully satisfied, his mind was stuck with a gnawing doubt, which later turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
When the Lord was submerged in dancing, tears cascaded down from His eyes, and saliva drooled out of His mouth and nose in the acme of divine ecstacy. His body was smeared all over with drool and dust, and the King could not comprehend that these were symptoms of spiritual love for the Supreme Lord Krsna. Doubt crept into his mind, but without revealing this to anyone he went away feeling happy and content. After returning home, he went to rest for the night. The King had failed to understand even after the day's experience that his worshipable Lord Jagannatha had appeared dancing before him incarnated as Lord Caitanya, the topmost sannyasi, so the Lord Himself set about to communicate this truth to the King.
That night, the pious King Prataparudra saw Lord Jagannatha appear in his dreams. He saw that Lord Jagannatha's body was covered with dust. His eyes like torrential springs gushed out incessant tears. Drool was dropping out of His mouth and nose wetting His body and making it gleam. In the dream, the King thought to himself, "What kind of pastime is this? All these activities of Lord Jagannatha are incomprehensible to me." The King approached his beloved Lord to touch His lotus feet, and Lord Jagannatha said, "No, no, this is not proper. When I am smeared with camphor, musk, sandalwood paste, vermillion and other perfumed oils, then I am the most desirable and clean, but see now My body is covered with dust and drool and I am not fit to be touched by you. Today you came to see Me dancing and when I was covered in dust and drool you found Me repulsive. Now that I am in that same dirty condition, how can you think that now I am clean enough to be touched by one who is a great monarch with an illustrious ancestry?" Speaking in this manner, Lord Jagannatha, the most merciful Lord, smiled at His servitor.
The next moment, the King saw, still in the dream, that Lord Jagannatha was no longer seated on the throne. The new occupant of the throne was Lord Caitanya.
His body was covered with dust, and smilingly He spoke to the King, "How can this be possible. Today you went away having found Me repugnant, then why do you want to touch Me now?" After the Lord finished speaking, He continued to smile benignly upon the King, thus showering unlimited mercy on him. Awakening after a while, the King began to weep bitterly and condemned himself for his act.
He repented, "I am the most sinful wretch alive. I could not recognize that Lord Caitanya was the Supreme Lord. Of course, how much intelligence does a human need to possess to understand the infinite truth on his own? Even Lord Brahma is deluded by His illusory maya. Therefore my Lord, please be gracious to me, forgive me for my offensive behavior. Accept me, a lowly person, as Your servant and bless me." Then the King realized that his worshipable Deity, Lord Jagannatha was in fact Lord Caitanya. With this realization his yearning to meet the Lord increased manifold. Yet none of the Lord's associates could arrange an encounter with the Lord.
One day, soon after this incident the Lord was sitting in a garden surrounded by all His devotees. Mustering up the courage, alone the King approached the group and fell flat at the Lord's lotus feet. Immediately the King was raised high on waves of ecstasy. Shivering, weeping, and horripilation all manifested on his person. The Lord, seeing that the King was indeed imbued with the spiritual sentiments of a Vaisnava placed His hands on him and said, "Rise, O King." The touch of the supreme master's hand on him brought him out of his ecstatic trance and he clasped his hands around the Lord's feet and began to cry.
The King began to pray to the Lord, "Save me, O Lord! Save me! You are an ocean of mercy and the Lord of all living entities. Please look upon me favorably and forgive a fallen sinner like me. You are the fully independent Supreme Lord, most munificent. O Lord Caitanya, You are the friend of the poor and meek. Please protect me, for You are eulogized with chosen verses by all the most powerful demigods. You are the husband of the Goddess of Fortune, Laksmidevi. You are the only shelter and Lord of all the surrendered souls. Your form is absolutely transcendental to all material inebriety. You are the initiator of congregational chanting, fearlessly propagating it, for You are the conqueror of the terrible demon, Mura. Your transcendental qualities and names are all unfathomable, and You are the repository of all supramundane excellences. Your lotus feet are constantly worshiped and glorified by Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, Lord Sesa, Sridevi and others. You are also the priceless gem amongst all the sannyasis. O Lord Gaurasundara, I bow humbly before You with this prayer that You may never reject me and deprive me of Your sublime shelter."
Lord Caitanya was very satisfied with King Prataparudra's prayers. He blessed him saying, "May you develop an unalloyed taste for serving Lord Krsna. Do not engage in any other activity except rendering devotional service to Lord Krsna. Go and perform continuous chanting of the holy name, and you will always be protected by the Lord's Sudarsana disc. My reason for coming to Nilacala was to meet the three of you - Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Ramananda Raya, and yourself. There is just one request of Mine I want you to keep: do not broadcast about Me. If you do, then I will leave right away." Saying this, He lifted the flower garland adorning His neck and placed it around the King. The Lord bade him farewell, feeling very satisfied with him.
Offering repeated dandavats to the Lord, the King left, taking seriously to heart the Lord's instructions to him. The King's mission was complete. He had seen and met the Lord. From then on he was always engrossed in meditation on the Lord's lotus feet. One who hears this narration of how King Prataparudra met Lord Gaurasundara is guaranteed to receive divine love of Godhead. The Lord's pastimes in Nilacala are numerous, and He enjoyed His own activities.
The Lord's eternal associates who appeared in Nilacala all spontaneously recognized Lord Caitanya as the Lord of their heart. Sri Pradyumna Misra is an ocean of love for Krsna. Lord Caitanya personally gave him shelter at His lotus feet. Then there is Sri Paramananda Mahapatra, who is an embodiment of nectarean love for Lord Caitanya. Sri Kasi Misra was always in a state of divine ecstasy relishing the sublime nectar of Krsna prema. The Lord stayed in his house. The Lord spent most of His time in congregational chanting in the company of these servitors.
Most of the Lord's followers who had developed disinterest in continuing family life, all came to stay in Nilacala. Lord Nityananda spent a long time in Nilacala. He was always enthusiastic and jubilant as He roamed everywhere in Nilacala like the noon sun. He was perennially saturated and intoxicated with divine love. I am incapable of writing fully about His unlimited ecstatic love. He is always chanting just one name, Sri Krsna Caitanya; no other name escaped His lips even in a dream. Just like Sri Laksmana was completely devoted to Lord Ramacandra, so is Nitai also fully surrendered to His love for Lord Caitanya. The reason for the whole world glorifying Lord Caitanya even today is solely due to Lord Nityananda's mercy. In this way, the two brothers, Lord Caitanya and Nityananda Prabhu passed Their days in Nilacala.
One day Lord Gaurasundara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead now present in human form, was sitting in a secluded place conversing with Lord Nityananda. The Lord said to Nityananda Prabhu, "O exalted one, dear Nityananda, please listen. You must return to Navadvipa immediately. In My own words I have promised, 'I will drown every ignorant, wretched and fallen soul in a deluge of Krsna prema.' But now if You also take to the life of a hermit discarding Your indomitable enthusiasm, then who will deliver all these fallen souls? You are the storehouse of devotional mellows, distributing divine love to everyone. Now if You withdraw within Yourself from these activities, then what was the necessity of Your appearance on this planet? If You want My opinion, then I think You should go immediately to Bengal and relieve the sufferings of the conditioned souls there by showering them with a mood of devotional service."
On receiving these instructions from the Lord, Nityananda Prabhu started for Bengal with all His devoted associates. These elevated souls were, Ramadasa, Gadadhara dasa, Raghunatha Vaidya, Krsnadasa Pandita, Paramesvari dasa, and Purandara Pandita. On the way, Lord Nityananda was the first to be overcome with spiritual ecstasy. This spiritual mood infected all the other associates.
They were filled with wonderment seeing Lord Nityananda. Soon they were also experiencing unlimited divine bliss. Ramadasa, a stalwart amongst the Vaisnavas, was imbued with the spiritual mood of the Supreme Lord Krsna Himself. Right in the middle of the road he stood like Gopala, bent in three places for almost an hour, oblivious to his surroundings.
Gadadhara dasa was overcome with the mood of Srimati Radharani. Laughing in sweet peals he said, "Who wants to buy yogurt?" Raghunatha Vaidya was draped in the sublime personality of Mother Revati. Paramesvari dasa and Krsnadasa were both experiencing the mood of Gopala and the cowherd boys. They began to make sounds with their mouths when herding the cows. Purandara Pandita had climbed up a tree. Shouting he said, "I am Angada," then jumped down in a leap from the branch. Lord Nityananda had infused in everyone's heart the ecstatic experiences of exhilarating spiritual moods. They traveled like this for a few miles, sometimes going to the left sometimes going to the right, without any direction at all.
After a while they asked the local people, "Please tell us how we can reach the Ganga." They replied, "O goodness, you have already come too far. You must go back a distance of two hours." They changed direction according to the direction of the locals, and traveled for awhile in the right direction, but again after some distance they became aimlessly lost in their mood of ecstasy. They had to stop someone and ask again for directions.
Again one of them pointed out, "You have to travel another twenty miles to the left." Realizing their confusion, they laughed looking at each other and embarked once more on their journey. They had forgotten the existence of their own bodies, not to mention remembering the right direction. Unconcerned about the needs of the body like thirst, hunger, fear and suffering, they were always experiencing great joy. Who can describe the transcendental activities of Lord Nityananda as He traveled, because they are inexhaustible.
Finally they arrived at Panihati village on the banks of the River Ganga. Lord Nityananda went first to Sri Raghava Pandita's house, and stayed there with all His devotees. Both Raghava Pandita and Sri Makardhavaja Kan and their families were very happy to receive their most exalted guests. The guests remained there a few days. In that wonderful atmosphere Lord Nityananda and His devotees felt always spiritually exhilarated. Every once in a while Lord Nityananda would roar out His appreciation. Once He felt strongly within Himself the spiritual urge to dance. Suddenly all the singers began appearing there. Sri Madhava Ghosa, the famous kirtana singer came. His kirtana singing was the best in the whole world. He was known as the singer from Vrndavana because he was especially expert in singing about the Lord's pastimes in Vrndavana, which were Lord Nityananda's favorite kirtanas.
Lord Nityananda danced with such ecstatic abandon that the earth reeled under His weight. Roaring sounds like thunder incessantly issued from His mouth, and when He fell crashing to the ground people stood back in amazement. When His merciful glance fell on any person, they were instantaneously infused with divine love of Godhead, and by the power of that love the recipient also fell to the ground swooning. Lord Nityananda is the embodiment of the highest spiritual love, and He has advented simply to alleviate the suffering due to ignorance in this world. While dancing, He manifested all the different ecstatic symptoms of divine love. Finally He sat down on Lord Visnu's throne and acquiesced to a request to be bathed by the devotees.
Sri Raghava Pandita and His other eternal associates immediately made preparations for the abhiseka or bathing ceremony. They carried in hundreds of pots filled with Ganga water and perfumed it with delicate aromas. The devotees one by one poured water over His head with a gladdened heart, all the while chanting the Lord's holy name. The devotees chanted appropriate mantras for the abhiseka and felt divine exhilaration surge through their persons. After the abhiseka they clothed Him in fresh new clothes, decorated Him with sandalwood paste, and covered His full broad chest with garlands of fragrant wild flowers and tulasi leaves. Then they made Him sit on the ornate Visnu throne of shining gold draped with flower garlands and leaves. When Lord Nityananda sat down, Sri Raghava Pandita went behind the throne and held an open umbrella over His head.
The whole house now began to reverberate with jubilant sounds of human voices chanting the holy name mingled with the melody of musical instruments. Lifting their arms and begging the Lord to protect them, the devotees forgot all their cares and worries and even their own bodies. Lord Nityananda, now totally steeped in the ecstasy of His own divine self, glanced all around, emanating love of Godhead from His eyes, showering everyone with merciful drops of tears.
He called Raghava Pandita and ordered, "Dear Raghava Pandita, go and bring Me right this moment a garland of kadamba flowers. I am very fond of kadamba flowers. In fact I am always attracted to stay in the kadamba forest." With folded hands Sri Raghava Pandita replied, "But my Lord, this is not the season for kadambas." The Lord gently pressed, "Go and look carefully in the garden. Maybe a few can be seen blooming somewhere." Sri Raghava Pandita went inside the house to the garden and was very astonished to see what met his eyes. Fresh and lovely kadamba flowers were blooming gleefully on his lemon tree. The flowers were a beautiful hue and gave out sweet fragrance. In fact, these extraordinary flowers could destroy all the material attachments of anyone looking at them. Sri Raghava Pandita was beside himself with joy as he beheld this supramundane phenomenon.
He quickly gathered the kadamba flowers and began to deftly string them into a garland. Then he brought it before Lord Nityananda. Lord Nityananda was greatly pleased to see the kadamba garland, and He placed it around His neck. The Vaisnavas were intoxicated with the heavy aroma of the flowers and were fascinated by the miracle. But soon another miracle took place. Suddenly the whole room was fragrant with a new scent. The delectable fragrance of Dona flower filled the air captivating everyone's mind. Laughing aloud, Lord Nityananda teased saying, "Tell Me which flower smells like that." The devotees replied with folded hands, "The air carries the delightful scent of dona."
Letting everyone speak first, Lord Nityananda finally revealed to them a great secret. He said with overflowing compassion, "Pay good attention to this very mysterious happening. Lord Caitanya has come from Nilacala and is present here and now to hear your kirtana. He is laden with dona flower garlands around His neck, and He has entered the form of a tree. The scent from these divine garlands has now permeated everywhere. He has come personally from Puri to hear your kirtana and witness your dancing. Therefore, all of you leave everything else aside and just constantly chant the holy names of Krsna.
"Let the nectar of the wonderful activities of Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya infuse love of Godhead in you."
Revealing this transcendental happening, Lord Nityananda began to roar loudly, chanting, "Hari! Hari!" He glanced at everyone, His vision emanating sublime love of Godhead. The devotees, touched by the Lord's infinitely tender glance were instantaneously transported to a region transcending the mundane plane of physical awareness. Dear readers, please try to comprehend the extraordinary potency of Lord Nityananda, how He inundated the entire planet with the knowledge and taste of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. That superexcellent mood of devotional surrender of the damsels of Vrndavana as is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam was readily made available by the mercy of Lord Nityananda to the whole world.
Lord Nityananda was sitting on the throne, and all the devotees sang and danced in front of Him. Some of the devotees, unable to contain their surging glee, climbed up a tree and began to move on tender branches and twigs, but miraculously did not fall. Others roared thunderously and jumped down from the tree. There were others who circled their arms around a tree trunk and uprooted the whole tree - all the while loudly chanting "Hari! Hari!" Some became surcharged with such immense spiritual strength that they ran to the nearby rows of betel nut trees and, putting their arms around a few of them, uprooted them all at once like a bunch of grass.
Lord Nityananda's extraordinary potency to infuse the devotees with blissful love of Godhead was so dynamic that their bodies began manifesting all the ecstatic symptoms of love of Godhead as described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam like crying, shivering, being paralyzed, perspiring profusely, horripilation, roaring, hoarseness, turning pale, and so on.
Wherever Lord Nityananda glanced, He saw everyone being showered by the nectarean rain of devotional ecstasy. As His transcendental glance rested on any devotee, they were instantaneously injected with divine love, and swooning, that devotee fell to the ground unaware of the loss of their clothing. Magnetically drawn to the Lord's divine person, the devotees stretched out in an attempt to reach Him. The Lord, a perfect picture of complacency, remained seated on His throne smiling pleasantly. All His main associates became imbued with extraordinary spiritual potency and mystic opulences. They became omniscient. Their every word became true. Their features flowered into Cupid's beautiful attractiveness. Whoever they touched became electrified with spiritual current, thus making them lose all affiliations with the mundane, even their own bodies.
Lord Nityananda spent three months in Panihati performing transcendental pastimes with His associates. The three months passed quickly, carrying the devotees in the waves of divine ecstasy. Unconcerned about their physical needs, they sang and danced. Only the Vedas will try to fully describe in detail the activities that went on in Panihati. What Lord Nityananda did in the span of an hour is practically impossible for anyone to narrate exhaustively. Sometimes He danced in a stately manner surrounded by the devotees, and then suddenly He decided to sit on the throne and order the devotees to dance before Him one by one.
During each of the devotees' dance performances, many incidents occurred. The dancing inspired transcendental loving emotions amongst the devotees, drowning them in a deluge of love of Godhead. All the spectator devotees fell swooning in a moment when the ecstasy reached an apex. It looked like a cluster of banana trees being uprooted in a storm. The devotees did as directed by Lord Nityananda. They constantly chanted Lord Caitanya's glories, led by Lord Nityananda. The whole atmosphere was spiritually highly volatile. Whoever came even to watch the happening would be so infected with this spiritual mood that they would also become totally involved, oblivious to everything else. Each devotee's desire was immediately fulfilled. Thus the three months seemed to fly by without anyone noticing.
One day during these three months, Lord Nityananda felt the desire to decorate Himself with ornaments and fine attire. No sooner than He felt the urge, fineries were brought by different people without even being given advance notice.
All these gifts were very precious and of the highest quality - the finest silks, exquisite gold jewelry studded with brilliant gems. The people came with their gifts and offered them to the Lord with great reverence. The Lord tried on all the different ornaments. There was such a wide variety of shapes and designs of jewelry never before seen. Golden ornaments were studded with pearls, emeralds, and rubies all mounted in gold intricately fashioned into exquisite designs.
He wore beautiful rings on all His ten fingers. Many brilliant necklaces of priceless gems decorated His neck and chest. Then showing special favor to Lord Siva, He slipped two Rudraksa necklaces around His neck. As He moved, the light set the gems afire set in His golden earrings. The silver anklets around His lotus feet tinkled pleasingly. White, cream, blue and yellow silks draped Him in flowing grace. An enchanting sight it was indeed. Devotees had lovingly made beautiful garlands of fragrant flowers like malati, malika, yuthi, and campaka and now put them over His head to sit delicately on His chest with the rest of the shimmering gems. With every move, the garlands swayed. Their fragrances mingled with the aroma of the fresh sandalwood paste that had been applied on His body, filling the air with a heavy sweet scent.
Soft shining silks of different hues were tied around His head to make a multicolored turban. Bright flower garlands were neatly placed on the turban to make a unique headpiece. His happy face exuded irresistible glowing charm, enough to overshadow the brilliance of a million moons. Smiling, He constantly chanted the Lord's name. His lotus-eyed glance roamed the room releasing in every heart the floodgate of love of Godhead. Two iron rods that shone like silver stood on either side of His throne. He held one in His hand as Lord Balarama holds His plough. His associates who were actually the expansions of the cowherd boys of Vraja took up the different ornaments and instruments that decorate them while they herd the cows. They dressed themselves with armlets, belts, anklets, and necklaces; tied horns, flutes and reeds to their belts; and looped the rope for tying cows around their shoulders.
Then with all His associates, Lord Nityananda went out as though going to graze the cows. They visited the houses of all the Vaisnavas residing on both banks of the Ganga. Immersed in an ocean of ecstasy that was within Himself, the Lord blessed everyone with His association. The people were helplessly drawn to Him on sight, captivated by His power and beauty. He is the embodiment of all transcendental mellows, representing both the holy name and the Supreme Godhead Himself. Even the atheists and agnostics upon seeing Him began to offer prayers to Him feeling an urge in their melted hearts to offer everything to Him. The most munificent Lord showered causeless mercy upon all.
Wherever He went, whatever He did, Lord Nityananda was constantly absorbed in sankirtana. And when He began dancing and singing kirtan, He sent everyone reeling in spirals of divine exultation. Even the young children exhibited wonderful powers in His presence. Children from ordinary households manifested such strength that they uprooted big trees roaring loudly like thunderbolts. They said, "I am a cowherd boy," and ran about. Hundreds tried to hold these children but failed to do so. This was such an extraordinary feat for a mere child. The children chanted jubilantly, "Sri Krsna Caitanya, Jaya Nityananda!"
A more wonderful phenomenon then came to light. The children had gone without food for an entire month. Everyone was amazed, so before they lost their minds, they prayed to Lord Nityananda and took shelter of Him. The Lord looked after the children like a father. He fed them, actually putting food directly into their mouths. Sometimes He bound them, making them sit next to Him. He would even beat them as a disciplinarian, and enjoying Himself, He would laugh out loud.
One day Lord Nityananda came to the house of Gadadhara dasa, feeling great affection for him. Sri Gadadhara dasa was always submerged in the ecstatic mood of the gopis of Vraja. Lifting a water pot filled with Ganga water on his head, he would go around vending, "Who wants to buy cow's milk?" Such was his absorption in the mood of Vraja. In his house he worshiped a beautiful Deity of Lord Bala Gopala, Krsna. When Lord Nityananda came inside the house and saw the charming Bala Gopala Deity, He immediately picked Him up and held Him to His chest. All the devotees began to chant Krsna's name loudly, and Lord Nityananda roaring like a lion, began to dance.
Sri Madhava Ghosa started singing. He was specially gifted with a very sweet voice, so when his song described Krsna's pastimes of levying taxes on the gopis, Lord Nityananda was overwhelmed with a surge of divine emotions. Thus the Lord was engaged in ecstatic pastimes with the most fortunate Gadadhara dasa, who never once forgot for a moment that he was a gopi.
The Lord continued to dance so gracefully that it is impossible to describe His elegant movements. He manifested all the ecstatic symptoms and transformations of ecstatic love of Godhead. His movements were like flashes of lightning, yet charming and delicate. The expressions with His eyes and eyebrows were subtle. He always kept a mild smile dancing on His lips. The movements of His head were expertly done like a seasoned classical dancer knowing the correct nuances to express the various transcendental moods. Then bringing His exquisite feet together, He began to jump with an easy flowing grace. He was the all-merciful Lord, so wherever He looked all the men and women felt drawn into an ocean of indescribable bliss. Such was the impact of His merciful glance that everyone lost all sense of time, body and matter as they experienced only an overwhelming joy.
The divine devotional bliss that Lord Nityananda showered on everyone without discrimination by His causeless mercy was the object of great value for very elevated yogis and sages. By His mercy, other miracles also came to be manifest. When a grownup man as strong as an elephant has to fast for three days, he becomes weak. The children were fasting for a month, but now when they danced they seemed to have more energy and stamina than a lion. And although Lord Nityananda manifested such miraculous powers, no one could understand how everything was happening due to the illusory potency of the Lord, Sri Krsna Caitanya. Lord Nityananda spent a few days in Gadadhara dasa's house drowning everyone in an ocean of transcendental bliss. Gadadhara dasa felt divine exhilaration. Forgetting the mundane surroundings, he constantly chanted and also made everyone else chant, encouraging them tirelessly.
In that same village lived a very tyrannical Muslim priest, or Kazi. He was strongly opposed to the congregational chanting of the holy names. Intoxicated with spiritual ecstasy, Gadadhara dasa one night made his way to the Kazi's house. Everyone was mortally fearful of the Kazi, but this night Gadadhara dasa strode fearlessly to his residence. Never once did he stop chanting as he entered the house. The Kazi's friends and family members stared speechlessly in disbelief at Gadadhara dasa. Gadadhara dasa said, "Where is that rascal Kazi? He had better chant Krsna's name or I will sever his head." The Kazi came charging in, fuming with rage, but upon seeing Gadadhara dasa he calmed himself.
The Kazi inquired, "Why have you come here, Gadadhara dasa?" Gadadhara dasa replied, "I have some things to discuss with you. Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda have incarnated in this age, and have inspired the entire world to chant Krsna's holy name. Only you remain to chant, so I have come to urge you to chant Lord Hari's name. The Lord's holy name is all-auspicious and supremely beneficial. I will take responsibility for saving you from all your sins, if you simply chant." Although the Kazi was known to be very cruel, now he was speechless and stupefied. Slightly smiling the Kazi said, "Listen, Gadadhara dasa, tomorrow I will certainly comply with your request to chant 'Hari! Hari!' but tonight please go home." As soon as Gadadhara dasa heard Lord Hari's name from the Kazi's mouth, he became jubilant. He said, "Why wait for tomorrow? Just now you have taken the Lord's name, and now you are completely free from all sins and inauspiciousness."
Saying this to the Kazi, Sri Gadadhara dasa began to dance like a madman clapping his hands. Then suddenly he turned around and left, leaving a surprised Kazi still staring after him. Gadadhara dasa returned to his residence. Gadadhara dasa was always absorbed in meditating on Lord Nityananda. He is counted amongst the foremost of Lord Caitanya's associates. This Kazi was considered so evil that no saintly persons would come near him. In fact, they said his close proximity would contaminate anyone. Yet Gadadhara dasa showed his mercy even to such a demoniac person as him. Gadadhara dasa was able to make him temporarily forget his malicious ways and inspire him to take Krsna's holy name once.
The truth is that one who is imbued with love of Krsna can never be attacked by snakes, tigers or any wild beasts, or be burned by fire. The devotional surrender to Krsna Lord Brahma strives for, and the intimate loving exchanges of the gopis of Vrndavana with Krsna were all manifest in the persons of Lord Nityananda's associates solely by the causeless mercy of Lord Nityananda. Therefore, all of you, my brothers, please serve the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. By His infinite grace one can attain the eternal shelter of Lord Caitanya.
A few days passed, then Lord Nityananda had the urge to see Mother Saci. He left the next day, journeying towards Navadvipa with His associates. On the way He came to a village called Khardaha. He went to the house of Purandara Pandita. The Lord felt such great ecstasy that He began to dance jubilantly. It is impossible to describe His flexible and graceful movements. Purandara Pandita was also a great devotee who was already mad with love of Godhead. He climbed up a tree and began to roar loudly like a lion. Another devotee named Caitanya dasa had become so surcharged with spiritual ecstasy that he was oblivious to everything around him. He ran into the forest chasing away the wild beasts with his rumbling roars. Once he saw a tiger and jumped on its back. The tiger was helpless, unable to do anything. Such is the potency of Lord Krsna's mercy. He then picked up a huge python and placed it on his lap, and began to play with it fearlessly as he had earlier played with the tiger. All these miracles were taking place by Lord Nityananda's mercy.
Lord Nityananda is especially inclined and affectionate to His devotees. He makes them very subtlely taste the highest devotional mellows for which even Lord Brahma hankers. Sri Caitanya dasa was deep in ecstasy, totally forgetting himself. He continuously spoke his intimate thoughts. He remained in water for several days without a trace of discomfort. He seemed practically motionless, like an inert being. His devotional ecstasies were too numerous and subtle to be described. Sri Caitanya dasa was truly a very surrendered devotee, just like the great Murari Pandita. Even if the breeze that has touched his body touches someone, they can immediately feel growing attachment for Lord Krsna.
There are some who call themselves Caitanya das, or servant of Lord Caitanya, but even in their dreams they never glorify the Lord. Lord Caitanya is the heart and soul of Advaita Acarya, and by the Lord's mercy and Advaita Acarya's loving devotion to the Lord, that Advaita Acarya is always situated in transcendence. All glory to Advaita Acarya whose devotion to the Lord is exemplary. He is supremely powerful due to the Lord's grace. The real devotees consider that this relationship between Lord Caitanya and Advaita Acarya as His servitor has made Advaita Acarya great, whereas the pretender devotees think that such descriptions of Advaita Acarya minimize His glory. How can such reprobates keep names like "servant of Lord Caitanya" or take shelter of Advaita Acarya? As for those who refer to these sinful reprobates as Advaita Acarya's followers, they also do not actually know the Acarya's heart. Their keeping names like Caitanya dasa is the same as demons keeping names like punyajana (or pious person).
Lord Nityananda remained in Kardaha for a few days and then left with His followers for the village of Saptagrama. In this village, the famous seven sages (sapta rsis) performed severe austerities sitting on the bank of the Ganga, finally attaining the lotus feet of Krsna, Govinda. This place is known throughout the universe as Triveni ghat. The three most holy rivers - Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati confluence at this spot. The mere act of seeing this place purifies one of all sins. Lord Nityananda and His associates bathed there feeling sublime joy. From there, they went to Uddharana Datta's house, which was also situated on the banks of the Ganga, and there sojourned a few days.
Sri Uddharana datta received the Lord with great love and reverence, and worshiped Him with all his heart, body and words. In this way, Sri Uddharana datta inherited the transcendental fortune to serve Lord Nityananda, who is the Supreme Lord eternally for His servitor Sri Uddharana datta. Because of Sri Uddharana Datta, the entire community of traders became purified - of this there is no doubt. It was as if Lord Nityananda had advented specifically to deliver this community and elevate them to receive loving devotional service of the Supreme Lord.
Lord Nityananda spent all His time going from one trader's house to another performing congregational chanting of the holy name. The traders' families surrendered fully at the Lord's feet, taking His shelter. It was a rare and amazing sight to see how this inherently pound-shilling-pence community responded so spontaneously to the process of pure devotional service to Lord Krsna. This clearly indicates the unlimited potency of Lord Nityananda that He could imbue in this materialistic and ignorant community the urge for self-realization. The Lord tirelessly kept up an enthusiastic sankirtana with His associates as long as He stayed in Saptagrama. His sankirtana pastimes here will take more than a thousand years to fully describe.
The blissful feelings experienced in sankirtana here in Saptagram reminded everyone of their ecstasy in the Navadvipa sankirtana. People and devotees were so surcharged with the holy names that they ignored eating and sleeping. The whole village resounded with the holy name. Lord Nityananda led the sankirtana to every home through all the streets and neighborhoods of Saptagrama. When the people beheld the Lord's dancing form, it was impossible for anyone to check themself from swooning in joy. What to speak of others, even a meat-eating Muslim who generally do not believe in Lord Visnu, Krsna, was moved to tears of ecstasy, so much so that a brahmana derided himself for not being able to match this devotion. All glory to Lord Nityananda, whose mercy can make the impossible possible. The days in Saptagram passed amidst such miracles and ecstasy, with Lord Nityananda as its main actor.
Lord Nityananda then traveled for a few days to Santipura and went directly to His beloved compatriot, Advaita Acarya's house. Sri Advaita Acarya felt an indescribable pleasure spreading through His heart upon seeing Lord Nityananda. Roaring loudly "Hari! Hari!" Sri Advaita offered repeated obeisances and circumambulated Him. He encircled his arms around the Lord in a loving embrace and bathed Him in His cascading tears of joy. They were both almost unconscious with overwhelming spiritual emotions as loving exchanges welled up in Their hearts. They rolled in the courtyard, tight in each other's embrace, and then both tried to touch the other's feet. Each of them roared continuously like a thousand lions, unable to contain the madness. Finally, after a long time, They sat down quietly by Themselves.
Advaita Acarya then folded His hands and began to pray to the Lord in sublime pleasure. He said, "Your transcendental form is saturated with eternal joy, hence You are named Nityananda. You are the embodiment of Lord Caitanya's transcendental qualities. You are the cause of liberation of the conditioned souls. You are also the firm pillar of religion unswayed by the destructive forces of total dissolution; You are the only shelter. You teach the science of love of Godhead, devotional service to Lord Caitanya. You are truly the solid main trunk of the tree of Lord Caitanya's family, possessing full spiritual potency. You are the supreme teacher of all devotees of the Lord like Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Narada Muni and so on.
"Although everyone can attain the platform of devotional service to the Supreme Lord only through Your grace, You are not affected by pride in spite of this most elevated position. You are the deliverer of the most fallen souls, never scrutinizing anyone's faults. Thus only those who are endowed with volumes of piety are able to know You. You are personified supramundane knowledge. Anyone can destroy nescience simply by remembering You. No one can know You as You are unless You personally reveal Yourself. Transcendental qualities like freedom from anger and ever-blissfulness decorate Your personality. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the support and mainstay of Ananta Sesa and the other demigods.
"You are Sri Laksmana, the slayer of demons, and in Vrndavana You are Lord Haladhara or Baladeva, the son of a gopi. You have appeared in this material world simply to deliver the wretched conditioned souls. The pure devotion that is so intensely desired by great mystic yogis and philosophers is readily given by You to anyone."
Speaking eloquently in the Lord's praise, Sri Advaita felt an upsurge of great spiritual emotions, and He went into an ecstatic trance. Sri Advaita is one of the few who are fully aware of Lord Nityananda's real personality, for this knowledge is accessible to the meager few who possess sufficient spiritual insight.
The arguments and verbal fights that are sometimes seen between Lord Nityananda and Sri Advaita Acarya are actually just mock battles, done in a spirit of deep comradery and cannot be fathomed by all. Very few can comprehend the essence of Sri Advaita's words. He is not different from the Supreme Lord. But now They spent intimate moments together discussing topics of Lord Krsna's pastimes. This increased Their attachment and respect for one other. Lord Nityananda finally begged permission from Sri Advaita to leave, and proceeded to Navadvipa.
On reaching Navadvipa, Lord Nityananda first went to meet Mother Saci. He offered obeisances at her feet. Mother Saci was excessively happy to see Lord Nityananda. She said, "My dear, You are truly the Supersoul who knows everything. I was yearning to see You, and now immediately You appear from nowhere. Who can know Your true self? Now please stay in Navadvipa for some time so I can see You once every ten days or so. I am miserable and I wanted to see You. You have come miraculously to wipe away my tears." Lord Nityananda smiled gently as He listened to Mother Saci's words.
Lord Nityananda was not confused about Sacimata's spiritual potency and position. He said, "Listen, Ai, you are the Universal Mother. The purpose of My coming to Navadvipa was to see you. I also have a strong desire for your transcendental association; thus I will now remain in Navadvipa in accordance with your instructions." Thus presenting Himself to Mother Saci and addressing her in a befitting manner, the Lord went about Navadvipa doing His business.
Lord Nityananda gathered His associates and went to every house in Navadvipa performing congregational chanting. He was in constant ecstasy as He did incessant sankirtana. The Lord dressed in a special and very attractive way that was a pleasure to behold. He wrapped many colored silk cloths around His head like a maharaja, and on top of this turban were strand after strand of flower garlands. His chest was covered with innumerable glittering necklaces of gold, pearls and assorted studded gems. From His ears gently dangled golden earrings set with shiny white pearls. Bejeweled armlets and bracelets graced His hands and arms. His whole body was covered with countless jewelry of priceless value. Different parts of His body were exquisitely decorated with designs of sandalwood paste. Often He acted like Bala Gopala, Krsna, as a small chubby toddler of Vrndavana.
Sometimes He picked up an iron rod overcome with ecstatic emotions and held it with both hands All His fingers were decorated with golden rings, and multicolored silks draped all over Him. A cane, flute and horn were stuck in His belt with leisurely carelessness. His very sight captured the minds of the people. His gait was that of the royal elephant. With every step the silver ankle bells jangled musically. The Lord's transcendental glances immediately invoked spiritual love of Godhead wherever they rested. Lord Nityananda moved about in the town of Lord Caitanya's birth with great pleasure, dressed in this wonderful fashion to give joy to the hearts of everyone.
Navadvipa was like the capitol city of Mathura, teeming with people. Many pious people lived there. They were so religious that wretched sinners could become free from their sins just by seeing them. There were also such abominable reprobates that if their shadow touched anyone they would become bereft of all their piety. All these people, whoever they were, were inspired on the path of pure Krsna consciousness by the mercy of Lord Nityananda. Lord Caitanya had earlier liberated so many of these people, and now Lord Nityananda was purifying many others. He saved the thieves, rogues, derelicts and wretches.
Listen to the wonderful story of how Lord Nityananda saved the most fallen. In Navadvipa lived a young brahmana who was the biggest rogue and dacoit. Although born in a brahmana family, he was a cesspool of all depraved habits and he was the leader of the dacoits. He was brutally malicious, killing without feeling. He was always in the company of rogues. Once this dacoit leader saw Lord Nityananda bedecked with all His fineries and priceless jewels. He immediately desired to steal all that treasure from the Lord. Pretending to be a member of the Lord's sankirtana party, the dacoit went along with the chanting party wherever they went. He was biding time for the right opportunity to steal everything. But Lord Nityananda immediately knew his wicked intentions.
The Lord, learning of this, left His party and went quietly to live in Hiranya Pandita's house. Hiranya Pandita was a very pious brahmana who lived frugally, becoming of a true brahmana. In the meanwhile, the dacoit leader called his men and chalked out a plan. He said, "My brothers, why should we worry any longer? Our protector, Goddess Candi has arranged for all the wealth to be in one place. This avadhuta has on His person gold, gems and jewelry worth a fortune. He is right now hiding in Hiranya Pandita's house which is in a secluded and lonely part of town. Collect your swords and shields and we shall meet tonight and raid that house and loot everything." They dispersed quickly and quietly, eagerly waiting for night to descend when they could commit the villainous crime.
That night armed with their weapons the dacoits collected near the house where the Lord was residing. They sent a spy to get proper information. The Lord was then enjoying a sumptuous meal with all His associates sitting around Him chanting loudly. The devotees were all submerged in the bliss of chanting Lord Krsna's holy name. Some roared jubilantly like thunderclaps, others wailed loudly in insatiable joy, and still others clapped their hands and rolled in peals of laughter. All around, the devotees were shouting loudly to express their child-like unrestrained glee. They were all wide awake. The spy returned to his gang informing them, "The avadhuta is eating, and everyone else is wide awake and jubilant." So the dacoits decided that, "Let them eat and go to sleep, then we will attack the house."
They made themselves comfortable under a tree and settled down to wait. They started talking amongst themselves, dreaming of their future fortunes. Someone said, "I want the gold bracelets." Another said, "I will take the pearl necklace." Another fancied, "The earrings are mine." Yet another dreamed, "I'll have the gold chains and necklaces." Someone else said, "But leave the silver ankle bells for me." Thus they went on daydreaming of enormous riches. Just then, by Lord Nityananda's desire, slumber overcame the whole dacoit gang.
Right there under the tree, the dacoits went into a deep sleep. Such was the workings of the Lord's divine potency that they slept through the night undisturbed, almost in a state of unconsciousness.
The crows' harsh cawing woke them up early the next morning. They became disheartened and frustrated to find that the night had already passed. They collected their weapons and kept them hidden, then they went to the Ganga for their baths. After bathing they began to blame each other. One of them accused the other, "You were the first to fall asleep," and he retorted, "So you were the one who stayed awake the whole night?" Someone tried to pacify them saying, "Why do you have to fight like this? Be thankful that Goddess Candi has saved us from total shame." The young brahmana dacoit leader said, "Of what use are these arguments? Whatever has happened is due to Goddess Candi's desire. The passing of one day is not the end of everything. I can understand that because we did not worship Mother Candi before, she has deluded us all. Today let us perform a grand Candi worship with a lot of meat and wine."
They eagerly collected the required ingredients with meat and wine and worshiped Goddess Candi that night. The next day the dacoits sharpened and cleaned their weapons. In the night they came to Lord Nityananda's residence dressed in dark blue clothes. The residents of the house were already in deep slumber. Hiding near the house, the dacoits saw that it was guarded by many sentries. The sentries were all well-armed and were all loudly and continuously chanting the holy name as they walked about guarding the house. All of the sentries were giant-sized, able-bodied men. They carried many different weapons. The dacoits could readily see that any one of these sentries could easily handle a hundred dacoits all by himself.
These sentries were not ordinary guards. They wore tilaka marks on their foreheads and bodies, and wore tulasi beads around their necks. They constantly chanted Lord Krsna's holy name while Lord Nityananda slept inside the house. The dacoits were taken by complete surprise. They slowly slouched to a distance away from the house and sat down. They wondered dejectedly, "From where did these sentries come suddenly?" One of them said, "The avadhuta must have somehow known of our coming and He brought these sentries from somewhere." His friend replied, "This avadhuta person is very knowledgeable and is a seer. I have heard this from many people. He can certainly protect Himself. The sentries that are on guard are all more formidable than normal sentries. They are almost superhuman. I suppose this is another display of His divine potency. No wonder they call Him Goswami." Another interjected, "I think you are quite ignorant, for one who eats and wears such fancy things, how can He be called a goswami, controller of the senses?"
Finally the dacoit leader, the young brahmana spoke up saying, "I have calmly considered all the factors. I see that many powerful and influential people come to meet the avadhuta. These sentries must be the best soldiers of some powerful king sent here to guard Him. These sentries by His influence have become attracted to spiritual elevation, hence they also chant 'Hari! Hari!' So as long as these sentries are here, we should stay away. I think after about ten days we can expect them to be gone. Then we can return, but now let us disperse quietly and go back to our houses." The dacoits stealthily left that place, and were gone. Lord Nityananda inside the house continued to perform His pastimes undisturbed.
Anyone can easily overcome all reverses just by remembering those souls who have taken the full shelter of Lord Nityananda's lotus feet. Who can harm such an omnipotent Supreme Lord, when simply by remembering His servitors one can surmount the insurmountable ocean of nescience? Lord Ganesh, the remover of all obstacles, along with his associates, are Lord Nityananda's servants. The Lord's partial expansion, Rudra, Lord Siva is the destroyer of the entire material world. Another of the Lord's partial expansions, Lord Ananta holds the cosmic manifestation on one of His hoods. If by chance He moves, there are terrible earthquakes. Who could possibly make such a supremely powerful Lord fearful of anything or anyone?
The Lord is moving about in Navadvipa freely, performing ecstatic kirtanas wherever He goes. Undisturbed, He eats, sleeps and enacts His pastimes, His entire body still decorated with priceless gems and jewelry. He is Lord Baladeva, the son of Rohinidevi. Chewing pan mixed with camphor, He smiles enchanting the whole world. Fearless and with endless exuberance, the Lord, accompanied by His associates, roams everywhere. Even His devotees remained unassailed by any kind of anxiety.
The dacoits made another attempt to lay siege to Lord Nityananda's residence. That night, by divine arrangement, the sky was overcast with black, billowing clouds that plunged the earth into pitch darkness. The streets were deserted. The dacoits held their weapons close to their bodies feeling insecure in this sudden terrible gloom. As they came close to the house, they were suddenly struck by blindness. They stumbled forward, groping as if in a dark abyss, their minds paralyzed, their intelligence unable to function. Some of them plunged into the moat surrounding the house and were immediately attacked by leeches, insects and giant mosquitoes. Some of them lost their way and fell into the refuse garbage pit.
The insects and scorpions were merciless and vicious. Other dacoits walked into a bush of thorns and became completely entangled and bruised by large cruel thorns. Afraid to move in the dark and be further punctured, they remained like prisoners, motionless. Others had veered far into the darkness falling into the canal near the house and there lay moaning and groaning in pain with fractured legs and hands. Many dacoits began to feel suddenly very feverish. They began to slowly consider their plight.
Just at this moment, Lord Indra with great pleasure sent down sheets of rain accompanied by raging storms and ominous lightening. Already the dacoits were being ravaged by leeches, scorpions and insects, and now they were being further inflicted by the merciless downpour. Then came the large pieces of hail pounding them endlessly. Although the dacoits did not die, they were tossed about in an ocean of excruciating pain and misery. Blinded and drenched, they began to shiver in the clammy coldness, standing helpless against the fury of nature. Lord Indra knowing that the dacoits had come to harm Lord Nityananda, became angry and punished them especially hard.
After suffering this punishment for some time, the dacoit leader, a young brahmana was suddenly struck by a thought. He reasoned in his mind, "This Nityananda is not a mortal. He is certainly the Supreme Lord. The first time, He put us in deep slumber, but I did not understand because of His illusory potency. The next time, it was these very strange and almost superhuman sentries, but even then I could not realize the truth.
"Hence I deserve this misery because I am such a sinful reprobate that I wanted to steal from the Lord His wealth. Yet now faced with this insurmountable danger, who can save me except Lord Nityananda Himself?" Thinking in this manner he began to meditate on Lord Nityananda's lotus feet taking full shelter in Him. The result of taking shelter and remembering the Lord's lotus feet is that such a person, even though the lowest of sinners is immediately saved.
The young brahmana prayed, "You are the Supreme Lord, Bala Gopala. Please save me, please protect me. You are the maintainer of all living entities. O Lord, a person who falls to the earth, their only shelter is Mother Earth herself. Similarly one who commits offenses at Your lotus feet can seek the only shelter, Your lotus feet by which all miseries are mitigated. You are so merciful that You forgive all the offenses of the most wretched living beings. I am the black sheep and destroyer of the brahmana society, a slayer of cows. There is no one more degraded than myself. Yet it is also true that even if the most sinful person prays for Your shelter, then they can become free from this material imprisonment. O Lord, You sustain all the living entities throughout their lives, and at the end only You are there to protect them. So Lord, please save me today from this predicament, and if I should remain alive, then I have certainly learned my lesson. I only desire that I can have You birth after birth as my Lord and master, and that I will be Your eternal slave."
Lord Nityananda is the most munificent Supreme Lord. When He heard the piteous prayers of the dacoit leader, He immediately alleviated their misery. Suddenly, the dacoits found themselves able to see again. By the Lord's divine powers, the storm and gail stopped pounding them. Gradually they began to move and walk as though they had risen from their graves. They returned to their individual homes, and immediately bathed in the purifying waters of the Ganga. The dacoit leader had different feelings; he began to weep incessantly. He did not go anywhere, but instead went inside the house wanting to meet and throw himself at the Lord's feet.
Inside, the Lord of the universe, Lord Nityananda, was sitting and glancing benignly at all the miserable conditioned souls. The devotees all around Him were chanting loudly, and the Lord Himself roared like thunder with divine bliss. At the moment the dacoit leader entered the Lord's presence, he threw his arms in the sky, and crying out "Save me!" he threw himself down before the Lord. His whole body quivered, and the hair on his body stood on end as tears flowed in streams. Totally absorbed in sublime ecstasy, he became oblivious to everything around him; then he roared like a lion, unable to stop the surge of divine emotions.
Such was the spiritual influence of Lord Nityananda that the brahmana began to suddenly dance with his arms raised high, chuckling in irrepressible glee. He sang continuously, "O Lord Nityananda, savior of the fallen souls, You are my only master." The devotees and the other people assembled there were astounded at this sight. They exclaimed, "What a miraculous transformation; from a deadly dacoit to this condition." The more cautious ones said, "Maybe this is just a trick. Suddenly he will start his real business of looting." Others said, "Our Lord Nityananda is the savior of the most abominable sinners. By His mercy even this reprobate has been transformed."
Lord Nityananda, seeing this display of extreme spiritual emotions, smiled and said, "O brahmana, please explain the reason for your present behavior. I have noticed some wonderful expressions in you. What have you seen or heard relating to Lord Krsna that has prompted you to act in this manner. Tell us everything without being constrained." Hearing the Lord's words, the fortunate brahmana remained dumbfounded for some time, with unrestricted tears flowing freely from his eyes. He then rolled on the ground and sometimes cried loudly, sometimes laughed out loudly, then suddenly springing up he began to dance and sing. All his actions were spontaneous and natural.
The brahmana calmed himself after a while and began to speak in the Lord's presence. He said, "O Lord, I am a resident of Navadvipa and a brahmana in name only. Actually my demeanor is that of the lowest caste of candalas or dog-eaters. My nature is as vicious as a hunter's. From my early days I have always been in the company of thieves and dacoits. Hence I know only violence, hate and murder. The residents of Navadvipa shake in fear at the sight of me and there is not a sin left that I have not committed. When I saw Your beautiful ornaments I wanted to steal them. So one night I gathered my dacoit gang and came to loot those jewels from Your transcendental body. But that night You put everyone of us into deep slumber, yet by Your illusory potency I could not understand Your hand was behind this extraordinary phenomenon.
"A few days later we made another attempt. But this time we had properly worshiped Goddess Candi and came with well-oiled and sharpened weapons. Yet another miraculous spectacle awaited us: Your house was surrounded by tall strong guards marching about chanting the holy name loudly. All of them were wearing long garlands reaching down to the knees. You were safe and undisturbed sleeping inside the house. We are so wretched that even then we could not recognize Your divine status. Disgruntled we muttered, 'Who knows where these sentries have come from?' then we shuffled back to our houses.
"Before our third attempt we waited a number of days; then yesterday we came, and instantly upon our arrival we lost our vision. We stumbled into the compound of this house unable to properly see, falling into ditches and thorny bushes. A storm, hail and rains mercilessly tortured us; we were helpless against them. After we had gone through hellish punishment and pain, everyone gradually became enlightened about the boundless mercy of the Lord. By Your grace we began to remember Your lotus feet. Our sight returned, and we were able to see in the true sense. Such is Your causeless mercy, hence You are the savior of the most fallen souls. You are so magnanimous that simply by thinking of You I was let free from the hellish distress. Anyone can easily enter the spiritual world vanquishing the nescience within just by meditating on You." Speaking in this manner, the brahmana began to cry and dance with raised flaying arms. Such are the super-excellent pastimes of the Supreme Lord Nityananda.
The assembled devotees were astounded to hear the brahmana speak, and they felt great regard for him and offered him respect. The brahmana began speaking once more, "O Lord, now I beg permission to leave. I have no desire to maintain this body any further. As I have nurtured malicious intent in my heart towards You, I must repent. I will cast this useless body into the Ganga and finish my life." The Lord and the devotees were moved by the brahmana's sincerity. The Lord then replied, "O brahmana, you are truly a very fortunate soul. You are an elevated servitor of Lord Krsna.
"How is it otherwise possible for you to witness this miracle? It is because you are the recipient of the Lord's mercy, and His beloved servant. The Supreme Lord Caitanya has advented to save the most fallen souls - of this there is no doubt. Now listen carefully, O brahmana. From this moment if you give up your ghastly sinful activities then I am willing to take responsibility for all your previous misdeeds. No more aggression, violence, looting or murder; forever get rid of them. Practice religious life and chant the holy names of the Supreme Lord. Then later you can also save others. Go and meet other dacoits and murderers and bring them to the path of pure religious living."
Being very pleased with him, the Lord then took the garland from His neck and placed it over the brahmana's head. The air was resounding with the devotees' jubilant cheers of the holy name. The shackles of material nescience broke away from the brahmana. The brahmana threw himself at the Lord's feet and grasping tightly he began calling out His name again and again, tears streaking down his cheeks. He cried out, "O Lord Nityananda, You are the savior of lost souls. Please allow this wretch a little place at Your lotus feet. I was so abominable that I was malicious toward even You; there is no other place for me to go."
Lord Nityananda is an ocean of compassion. He placed His lotus feet on the brahmana's head. The brahmana became instantly purified of all offenses. Later this converted dacoit brought many others to take shelter of Lord Caitanya by chanting and leading a pure life. All of them discarded their old ways of looting and murder and began to behave gently. They were chanting lakhs of holy names, and soon became experienced and fixed in devotional service to the Supreme Lord.
They absorbed themselves all the time in singing the pastimes of Lord Krsna with divine love. Such is the magnanimity of Lord Nityananda. In none of the previous incarnations was the Supreme Lord so compassionate as Lord Nityananda. Lord Nityananda gives liberation and love of God instantly to the conditioned souls. Hence if anyone, even an elevated brahmana, disregards Lord Nityananda, then such a person is degraded to the level of dacoits and murderers.
The ecstatic symptoms of love of Godhead which are so intensely desired by the master yogis who want to experience crying, shivering, horripilation and other such spiritual emotions are now made easily available to even rogues and thieves by the wonderful divine potency of Lord Nityananda. Therefore, all of you, please worship such a merciful Lord Nityananda. By His grace one can attain the shelter of Lord Gauracandra. One who hears Lord Nityananda's pastimes will indeed reach Lord Caitanya. And one who hears properly this story of the deliverance of the dacoits is assured to see face to face both Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya. In this way Lord Nityananda performs His pastimes undisturbed and with great pleasure.
Lord Nityananda went on with daily congregational chanting parties in different villages all over Nadia with His associates. He visited Khancanda, Badagaci, Dogacia, and sometimes they crossed to the other side of the Ganga to Kulia village. Badagaci village folk were especially fortunate because of their piety. Lord Nityananda spent much time there. One cannot estimate the amount of blessings the residents of Badagaci received.
Lord Nityananda's associates were always in very blissful spirits. They had no other business than chanting and dancing and accompanying the Lord as He went everywhere. Steadily the mood of the Vrndavana cowherd boys increased in them. They were now always dressed as cowherd boys with cow horns, flutes, ropes for tying the calves, garlands of Gunja flowers worn around their necks, a metal bangal on their wrists, and small foot bells around their ankles.
They constantly exhibited sublime ecstasy, sometimes crying, sometimes shivering, and again at times horripilating in love of Lord Krsna. Each one's handsomeness blossomed to match Cupid's beauty as they joined in the congregational chanting.
With an inspiring and fearless master like Lord Nityananda always leading them, the devotees were submerged in divine exhilaration. The transcendental excellences of the Lord's associates are so limitless that even with a thousand years I would be unsuccessful in fully describing them. However I still must mention the names of as many associates as I can remember and try to describe their glories. Just by recollecting the names of Lord Nityananda's associates, a person can transcend this material existence. All these associates are incarnations of the family members of Nanda Maharaja of Vraja. They are cowherd boys and damsels from Lord Krsna's pastimes in Vrndavana. Lord Nityananda has specifically instructed His associates not to mention their previous names and identities.
Sri Ramadasa Mahasaya is a very great devotee of Lord Nityananda. He spoke from a transcendental level as if the Supreme Lord were Himself speaking. Nobody could fathom his words. He carried Lord Nityananda always in his heart.
Sri Ramadasa was considered amongst the associates as the most feeling devotee submerged in ecstatic thoughts. Lord Krsna on a particular occasion entered his body for three months.
Murari Gupta is famous as Lord Caitanya's intimate servitor. He was so fearless that he actually played with a tiger and a snake. Sri Raghunatha Upadhyaya, an Ayurvedic doctor, was a pure devotee, and by his mere glance he invoked devotional attraction for Lord Krsna in others. Sri Gadadhara dasa was always tasting the transcendental nectar of divine mellows. The very sight of him cleansed others of all sinful reactions. Sri Sundarananda was like an ocean of devotional ambrosia. He was one of the foremost of the Lord's associates. Sri Kamalakanta Pandita was at every moment exuberant in devotional service. Lord Nityananda gave him the village of Saptagrama.
Sri Gauridasa Pandita is a most fortunate soul. He served Lord Nityananda with his body, mind and words. Indeed the Lord was his very life. Sri Purandara Pandita was extremely peaceful and grave, always experiencing divine ecstasy in the Lord's association. Lord Nityananda is also the life and soul of Sri Paramesvari Thakura. The Lord being especially inclined towards him is always present in his body. Sri Dhananjaya Pandita was a stalwart preacher of bhagavat dharma, so Lord Nityananda made His permanent residence in his heart. Sri Balarama dasa was always absorbed in loving devotional service. Anyone in his presence became free from all sinful reactions.
Sri Yadunatha Kavicandra was incessantly swimming in a nectarean ocean of love of Godhead. His constant guide and shelter was Lord Nityananda. Sri Jagadisa Pandita emanated spiritual brilliance everywhere he went. Lord Nityananda was his prime source of divine inspiration. Sri Purusottama Pandita appeared in Navadvipa. He was fully surrendered at the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. In His earliest pastimes, Lord Nityananda stayed in his house. By his mercy one is drawn to the divine lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. Sri Dvija Krsnadasa appeared in the Radha district in Bengal, as did Lord Nityananda. He is amongst the foremost of the Lord's eternal associates. Sri Kaliya Krsnadasa is famous in all the three worlds. Simply by remembering him one attains the association of Lord Caitanya.
Sri Sadasiva Kaviraja was also a very blessed personality. The glorious Purusottama dasa was his son. Sri Purusottama dasa was always in deep meditation, unconcerned with his own body and surroundings. Lord Nityananda is forever situated within his heart. Sri Uddharana Datta was a very magnanimous Vaisnava who was especially qualified to render direct service to Lord Nityananda. Sri Mahesa Pandita and Paramananda Upadyaya are stalwart Vaisnava devotees of the Lord, both grave and compassionate. Sri Gangadasa, son of Caturbhuja Pandita, also received the Lord's special mercy because the Lord stayed in his house. Acarya Vaisnavanda was a very magnanimous soul. Previously he was famous by the name of Sri Raghunatha Puri.
Sri Paramanda Gupta was a very eminent person. Lord Nityananda also spent a long time staying in his house. The pious Sri Krsnadasa, who lived in Badagaci was another very fortunate soul, because Lord Nityananda also stayed with him.
Sri Krsnadasa, Sri Devananda, and the spiritual instructor Acarya Candra, were all pure and very elevated Vaisnavas whose only attraction was the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. The two brothers, Sri Madhavananda Ghosa and Sri Vasudeva Ghosa, were famous for their nectarean singing. They constantly relished spiritual mellows. Sri Jiva Pandita was the recipient of the Lord's special mercy. The Lord had stayed in his house. Then there were the four who were very dear to Lord Nityananda. They were Sri Manohara, Sri Narayana, Sri Krsnadasa and Sri Devananda.
In a thousand years I would not be able to enumerate the names of all the servitors and associates of Lord Nityananda. The hundreds and thousands of devotees were all heart and soul surrendered to Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda. By receiving Lord Nityananda's mercy His associates are all spiritual guides for the whole world. They constantly meditated on Lord Caitanya. I have but mentioned only a few whom I know personally. Later Vedavyasa will reveal more divine personalities.
The last of Lord Nityananda's servitors is Vrndavana dasa (the author). He was conceived in the womb of Srimati Narayani who had received the remnants of Lord Caitanya's foodstuff. Even today the Vaisnavas glorify her as the one who ate Lord Caitanya's remnants, which was recognized as a rare blessing.
Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda are my life and soul.
I, Vrndavana dasa, humbly offer this song at Their divine lotus feet.