Advaita Prakasha, Chapter Fifteen
BY: SUN STAFF
Aug 15, 2011 CANADA (SUN) Advaita Prakasha: Lord Advaita Acarya by Shrila Ishana Nagara, translated by HH Subhag Swami.
All glories to Shri Chaitanya! All glories to Sitanatha! All glories to Nityananda, along with all the devotees!
Now I will describe Advaita Prabhu's other main branches. I have not described them previously to avoid breaking the sequence of events. The fourth son of Sitadevi was born in the month of Pausha [December-January] 1504. Some people said, "Indra has appeared," and others said, "Candra has appeared."
In due course of time an astrologer came and calculated the newborn boy's horoscope. He said, "This child is the incarnation of Kuvera. Kamala [Lakshmi] has bestowed great mercy on him. He will be very handsome and as intelligent as Brihaspati. He will put forward false arguments against the principles of religion, but by the association of devotees, he eventually will be freed from illusion."
After hearing the astrologer's predictions, the devotees chanted the name of Hari and the ladies joyfully made auspicious sounds of hulu. The brahmana said, "This boy will be very strong, therefore I name him Balarama."
When Balarama attained the age of seven months, Sitanatha held the child's first grain ceremony. He organized a large festival, wherein He offered foodstuffs to Krishna and then fed the blind, the poor, the brahmanas, and the Vaishnavas. He pleased everyone by giving them small conchshells and cloth, and in return they offered their blessings to the child before returning to their residences.
Twin sons were then born to Sitadevi in the month of Jyaishtha [May-June] 1508. At the appropriate time the name-giving ceremony was held, and the children were named Svarupa and Jagadisha. The astrologer said, "Both boys will be as intelligent as kings in materialistic knowledge. They will be equal to Lava and Kusha in the development of love and affection. And they will have melodious voices equal to those of Gandharvas."
At the proper time the ceremony of giving the children their first rice was joyfully held. Advaita happily fed the brahmanas and Vaishnavas and gave cloth and conchshells in charity, and thus everyone blessed the children.
After offering arati to Krishna one day, Advaita Prabhu joined the devotees in loudly chanting the holy names. At that time one Vaishnava came and told Advaita some news from Nadia.
The Vaishnava said, "Nimai has left home. He went to Kantaka-nagara and had His head shaved. Keshava Bharati has initiated Him into sannyasa and given Him the name Shri Krishna Chaitanya. In lamentation, mother Shaci has lost external consciousness. She sometimes faints and falls to the ground whether the place is proper or not. Sometimes she calls out Nimai's name and cries loudly. Her grief is like a thunderbolt that breaks apart stone. Sometimes she runs here and there like a madwoman, and sometimes she goes to the bank of the Ganges to kill herself. The condition of Vishnupriya cannot possibly be described. The incessant flow of her tears inundates the world."
Advaita Prabhu was stunned on hearing the Vaishnava's description. After three hours, He began crying. Understanding the reason for Advaita's behavior, Sita also cried loudly. The associates of Advaita all merged in the ocean of lamentation.
After three more hours, Advaita began laughing loudly. Who has the ability to understand His activities? The dawning of Gaura's ecstatic love had arrived. Advaita Prabhu then said to His intimate devotees, "One may cross the great ocean after a long time, but one will never cross the ocean of Krishna's mercy. Krishna manifests various pastimes for the deliverance of the living entities, and He displays great humility to fulfill the desires of the devotees. All the scriptures declare that Krishna is always controlled by His devotees, and this is substantiated by this pastime."
While speaking these words, Advaita became overwhelmed with love and said, "I can understand Your confidential activities. You have taken sannyasa in order to educate people just as an actor enchants the audience with different dresses."
Then Advaitacandra regained His external senses and began to perform loud sankirtana. At that time Shri Acaryaratna Mahashaya came to the house of Sitanatha. Seeing him, Advaita Prabhu anxiously inquired, "Please tell Me, what is the news from Nadia?"
Shri Acaryaratna replied, "Listen, Gosani, after taking sannyasa Nimai has come here."
Thrilled, Advaita Prabhu said, "Where is He?"
Acaryaratna said, "He is on the other side of the Ganges. Take a boat and bring Him here. He has been fasting continuously for four days in His ecstasy of love for Krishna."
Hearing this, my Lord was distressed and He exclaimed, "Alas! Alas!" He quickly went and took a boat across the Ganges. Upon seeing Advaita, Gaura, who was absorbed in love, said, "How surprising! Acarya, You have come to Vrindavana?"
Advaita Prabhu replied, "The scriptures all declare that wherever You are, that is Vrindavana."
Saying this, Advaita Prabhu brought Shri Chaitanya and Nityananda across the Ganges to Shantipura. When mother Sita saw Gauranga in the dress of a sannyasi, her lamentation was beyond description. She then controlled herself and began to cook rice, various vegetables, cakes, and other preparations that Gauranga likes. With great devotion she cooked large quantities of divinely fragrant, nectarean foods. She decorated each preparation with tulasi-manjaris and joyfully offered everything to Krishna. Then Gaura and Nityananda were invited for prasada and attentively offered appropriate seats.
On Advaita Acarya's request, Gauranga and Nityananda sat down to eat, while Advaita Prabhu stood there to serve Them. On seeing this, Gauranga smiled and said to Sitanatha, "Sacrifice can never be successful without the presence of Lord Shiva."
Advaita Prabhu smiled and said, "You are the origin of Shiva. By Your grace all living entities can attain auspiciousness."
Mahaprabhu then said, "Give up this pretension. I cannot eat without You."
Nityananda laughed loudly and said, "O kind-hearted Gauranga, please listen to Me. Don't pay much attention to this gluttonous brahmana. If He eats with four hands, He will still be unsatisfied. Sometimes He eats as voraciously as fire. No one else has such mystic potency."
Hearing this, Shri Advaita laughed and said in loving anger, "You enjoy in one place after another like a showman who displays different forms. You alone eat with unlimited mouths, so who is able to satisfy Your hunger?"
Gauranga smiled while listening to Nityananda and Advaita reveal the truth about each other.
Taking the role of a mediator, Mahaprabhu said, "You two are comparable in Your eating."
In a mood of pure devotion, Advaita Prabhu replied, "You alone are immeasurable in this world. Unlimited universes are balanced by You. I don't see any scale that can perform such a feat."
Thus Mahaprabhu and the two Prabhus directly and indirectly revealed the Absolute Truth. After eating, the three Lords took rest. Later They spoke highly about the great potency of good association. They raised Their arms and declared, "Listen, everyone, about the inconceivable nature of saintly association. Thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street, more tolerant than a tree, devoid of the desire for honor, always ready to offer respect to others, and constantly chanting the holy names—these are the personal characteristics of devotees. Therefore everyone should take shelter at the feet of the devotees and thus attain the eternal treasure of the Supreme Truth. Who can understand the purport of the unlimited scriptures? Only one who follows the path of the devotees. The devotees accept the essence of the scriptures, and they reveal the proper path that is easily accessible. One who follows that path has eyes to see, and one who turns away from that path is like a blind man. Just as glass can only be cut by a diamond and a needle can be threaded only if there is a hole, similarly a fool can cross over the material world only if he follows the path shown by the devotees. That is why sages of the past have said that the heart cannot be purified without the association of saintly persons. It is the nature of saintly persons to be kind to all living entities. That nature is endowed in others only through association. Just as the worm naturally becomes a weevil by association, without the association of devotees one cannot engage in devotional service to Krishna or attain saintly qualities. Even if one is most sinful and misbehaved, he is certainly purified by the rising sun of a devotees' association. By contact with a touchstone, iron is turned to gold. Similarly, by association with devotees, the living entities attain the spiritual world."
In this way They spoke about eternal religious principles, and all the Vaishnavas present there were drown in ecstasy. Meanwhile in Navadvipa, mother Shaci heard that Gauranga had gone to Shantipura. All the devotees in Nadia met together and joyfully went to Shantipura.
When Shri Chaitanya saw His mother, He offered her obeisances, and mother Shaci began to cry. She said, "Nimai, on seeing You in this dress I feel like my heart is being pierced with sharp arrows."
Gradually the waves of mother Shaci's ocean of lamentation expanded, and all living entities began floating in that current. Mahaprabhu then explained the purpose of life to His mother, and she became free from all lamentation.
Then Shaci cooked fine rice and varieties of vegetables that were dear to Gaura. She also cooked sweet rice and other sweet meats that were just like nectar. Shri Chaitanya along with His associates then blissfully enjoyed the feast.
The happiness they enjoyed for the next few days in the house of Sitanatha was beyond description. During the day Mahaprabhu would give instructions on chanting the holy names, and at night He would join the devotees in sankirtana. They all became mad in the ecstasy of love, and their tears inundated the town of Shantipura.
One day, in a sweet voice, Gauranga asked permission to leave. On hearing this, the devotees felt overwhelmed with poisonous lamentation. That burning sensation troubled everyone with great anxiety. What can I say about the fire of Shaci's lamentation? Even Agni would have been burnt to ashes. Mother Shaci exclaimed, "Alas! Leaving me in lamentation, where will You go? Why don't You stay here and worship the Lord?"
Mahaprabhu replied, "Don't speak like that. Religious principles forbid a sannyasi to remain near his residence."
Though Shri Shacidevi is the reservoir of motherly affection, she nonetheless conquered ignorance and instructed her son, "Vrindavana is far away. Stay in Shri Purushottama-kshetra (Jagannatha Puri), so I can get news about You."
Shri Gauranga accepted His mother's order on His head. As He departed His dear devotees fell at His feet and begged, "We don't know whether we will see You again or not. Let us see You this last time to mitigate our distress."
Shri Chaitanya felt compassionate and said, "Don't lament for Me. Birth after birth we have never been separated for even a moment. Just as we've held festivals together in this life, the next two lives we will again have festivals. I have only an empty body, while you are my five life airs. Leaving you, where can I go? But for now I must maintain the religious principles of sannyasa by traveling to various holy places. You should all daily meet together to perform sankirtana, preach religious principles, and serve the saintly persons. In this way, you will enjoy the bliss of pure love and forget the distress of separation from Me."
Gauranga consoled the devotees in this way and then left on His way to Shri Purushottama. Nityananda, Shri Mukunda, Damodara Pandita, and Shri Jagadananda accompanied Him. Shri Chaitanya showered His mercy on the way and thus delivered many atheists and miscreants. His four associates loudly chanted the holy names, and the lionlike Gauranga roared in ecstasy.
Gradually they arrived in Shri Remuna, where they felt great ecstasy on seeing Lord Gopinatha. Gauranga danced, cried, and rushed here and there in the madness of ecstatic love. Nityananda was also overwhelmed with love. He attracted everyone's heart and then drown them in that love.
Traveling on, they took darshana of Sakshi-gopala, and thereafter Gaura went ahead to Shri Purushottama. When Lord Gaurachandra saw Lord Jagannatha, He experienced the highest ecstasy. He cried, laughed, and then eventually fell unconscious. While Gaura was lying unconscious, the great scholar Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who was equal in learning to Brihaspati, arrived there. He saw the transcendental symptoms of maha-bhava on the body of Gauranga and noted, "He must be a great personality."
Then Sarvabhauma took Gauranga to his house. Soon after, Nityananda and the others found Gauranga there, still lying unconscious. All of the devotees surrounded Gauranga and began to loudly chant the Hare Krishna mantra until He regained consciousness and got up, chanting "Hari bol!"
Sarvabhauma sent for some maha-prasada and then fed Shri Chaitanya and His associates. After some days Gaura displayed His transcendental opulences to Sarvabhauma, who thus became filled with devotional jubilation. Previously Sarvabhauma had been a dry speculator, but by the contact of the touchstone of Lord Gauranga, he became a great devotee.
Gauranga thereafter visited the holy places of South India. During His travels He met Ramananda Raya, who was very expert in the conclusion of the devotional scriptures. My Lord, Advaita Prabhu, said he was an associate of Lord Krishna.
Ramananda took the role of the speaker and Shri Chaitanya took the role of the listener. Their transcendental discussion delights the hearts of the devotees. Gauranga then returned to Shri Purushottama and became immersed in pure love on seeing Lord Jagannatha. Gaura accepted Maharaja Prataparudra as His devotee and bestowed mercy on him. He satisfied the King's desire by displaying His divine opulences to him.
Out of His unlimited mercy, Gaura displayed His six-armed form. Seeing that form, the devotees were immersed with love. Some fortunate devotees drank the Gangalike nectarean beauty of that form, and some lamented because of not seeing it. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the embodiment of ambrosial compassion. That mercy is certainly manifest through the devotees.
On the occasion of Jagannatha Ratha-yatra, Advaita Prabhu would go to Shri Kshetra to see Gauranga. Many devotees would accompany Advaita, and once Krishna Mishra also decided to go. Shri Advaita told him, "The path is very difficult. It is not necessary for you to go this time."
Krishna Mishra replied, "This material world is a useless place. The only thing of value is the shelter of Gauranga's lotus feet."
Although Krishna Mishra was generally renounced, when he was absorbed in the thought of Gauranga, he became even more renounced. Knowing this, Sita, Krishnadasa's mother, told him, "You don't have time to go to Shri Kshetra. Listen to me and honor your mother's words. Stay home and worship Krishna, for that will be most auspicious. Your older brother Acyuta has been renounced from his childhood. I consider you competent to serve Krishna and your father. Along with your wife, Shri Vijaya, take initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. You will then without doubt attain all perfection by serving Krishna."
Saying this, Sita took them both to the bank of the Ganges and initiated them in chanting her perfect mantra. When the couple received that transcendental Krishna mantra, they joyfully offered obeisances and glorified mother Sita. This is a very brief narration on this confidential event.
Meanwhile, Advaita went to Shri Kshetra. Gauranga was filled with ecstasy on receiving His intimate associates, and they wandered the streets enthusiastically chanting the holy names of the Lord. They offered respect to Advaita Acarya by keeping Him in front. Nityananda and Gauranga remained in the middle, and the rest of the devotees followed behind. The people were enchanted by their wonderful dancing, and everyone drown in the sweetness of the kirtana. Some people laughed, and some cried out of love. The loud chanting of Hare Krishna by some people resembled the rumbling of clouds.
After performing sankirtana for a long time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees went to take bath. As the pure devotees engaged in water sports, Shri Advaita and Nityananda had great fun. Then, in ecstasy, Gaura had Advaita lie down on the water. Mahaprabhu then climbed on Advaita's chest, and my Lord then floated in the water carrying Gaura.
No one could understand the potency that They exhibited at that time. The devotees were all overwhelmed in loving ecstasy. Gauranga enjoyed pastimes lying on Advaita just as Maha-Vishnu lies on the bed of Ananta Shesha. Seeing the wonderful manifestation of Their pastimes as human beings, all the devotees chanted "Hari! Hari!" After performing the pastime of Sheshashayi in this way, Gauranga went with His associates to honor Advaita Acarya's invitation.
As Shri Krishna Chaitanya ate along with His associates, Sitanatha glorified Him in great ecstasy. I was unable to see this wonderful pastime, which could be seen only by the most fortunate. I was purified simply by drinking the nectar of these pastimes as they emanated from the lotus mouth of Shri Nityananda Prabhu.
Praying at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha.