The Glories of Raghava's Bag

BY: SUN STAFF


Jan 16, 2013 — CANADA (SUN) —

Today we begin a new Feature series, inspired by the story of 'Raghava's Bag'. Following today's introductory text, tomorrow we will begin a survey of the various wonderful contents of sri-raghavera-jhali: the categories of foodstuffs prepared for Lord Caitanya's traveling sankirtana party.

In his summary to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 10, Srila Prabhupada writes:

    "The following summary of Chapter Ten is given by Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amrta-pravaha-bhasya. Before the Ratha-yatra ceremony, all the devotees from Bengal started for Jagannatha Puri as usual. Raghava Pandita brought with him various kinds of food for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The food had been cooked by his sister, whose name was Damayanti, and the stock was generally known as raghavera jhali. Makaradhvaja Kara, an inhabitant of Panihati who accompanied Raghava Pandita, was the secretary in charge of accounting for the raghavera jhali, the bags of food carried by Raghava Pandita."

The Antya-lila 10 Summary continues:

"The day when all the devotees arrived at Jagannatha Puri, Lord Govinda was enjoying sporting pastimes in the water of Narendra-sarovara. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also enjoyed the ceremony in the water with His devotees. As previously, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed the cleansing ceremony at Gundica and chanted the famous verse jagamohana-pari-munda yau. After kirtana ended, He distributed prasada to all the devotees and also took some Himself. Then He lay down at the door of the Gambhira to take rest. Somehow or other Govinda came by and massaged His feet. Govinda could not go out that day, however, and therefore he was unable to accept prasada. From the character of Govinda it is to be learned that we may sometimes commit offenses for the service of the Lord, but not for sense gratification.

Govinda, the personal servant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, induced the Lord to eat all the food delivered by the devotees of Bengal for His service. All the Vaisnavas used to invite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to their homes. The Lord accepted the invitation of Caitanya dasa, the son of Sivananda Sena, and ate rice and yogurt there."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya lila 10, Summary

"All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Lord Nityananda Prabhu! All glories to Advaitacandra! All glories to all the devotees of Lord Caitanya!

The next year, all the devotees were very pleased to go to Jagannatha Puri [Nilacala] to see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Advaita Acarya Gosani led the party from Bengal. He was followed by Acaryaratna, Acaryanidhi, Srivasa Thakura and other glorious devotees.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had ordered Lord Nityananda to stay in Bengal, but nevertheless, because of ecstatic love, Lord Nityananda also went to see Him.

Indeed, it is a symptom of real affection that one breaks the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not caring for the regulative principles, to associate with Him.

During the rasa dance, Krsna asked all the gopis to return home, but the gopis neglected His order and stayed there for His association.

If one carries out Krsna's order, Krsna is certainly pleased, but if one sometimes breaks His order due to ecstatic love, that gives Him millions of times greater happiness.

Vasudeva Datta, Murari Gupta, Gangadasa, Sriman Sena, Sriman Pandita, Akincana Krsnadasa, Murari Gupta, Garuda Pandita, Buddhimanta Khan, Sanjaya Purusottama, Bhagavan Pandita, Suklambara Brahmacari, Nrsimhananda Brahmacari and many others joined together to go to Jagannatha Puri. It would be impossible to mention the names of them all.

The inhabitants of Kulina-grama and Khanda also came and joined. Sivananda Sena took the leadership and thus started taking care of them all.

Raghava Pandita came with bags full of food prepared very nicely by his sister, Damayanti.

Damayanti made varieties of unparalleled food just suitable for Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to eat. The Lord ate it continually for one year.

These are the names of some of the pickles and condiments in the bags of Raghava Pandita: amra-kasandi, ada-kasandi, jhala-kasandi, nembu-ada, amra-koli, amsi, ama-khanda, tailamra and ama-satta. With great attention, Damayanti also made dried bitter vegetables into a powder.

Do not neglect sukuta because it is a bitter preparation. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu derived more happiness from eating this sukuta than from drinking pancamrta [a preparation of milk, sugar, ghee, honey and curd].

Since Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He extracts the purpose from everything. He accepted Damayanti's affection for Him, and therefore He derived great pleasure even from the dried bitter leaves of sukuta and from kasandi [a sour condiment].

Because of her natural love for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Damayanti considered the Lord an ordinary human being. Therefore she thought that He would become sick by overeating and there would be mucus within His abdomen.

    PURPORT: Because of pure love, the devotees of Krsna in Goloka Vrndavana, Vrajabhumi, loved Krsna as an ordinary human being like them. Yet although they considered Krsna one of them, their love for Krsna knew no bounds. Similarly, because of extreme love, devotees like Raghava Pandita and his sister, Damayanti, thought of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as a human being, but their love for Him was boundless. By overeating, an ordinary human being becomes prone to a disease called amla-pitta, which is a product of indigestion characterized by acidity of the stomach. Damayanti thought that such a condition would afflict Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Because of sincere affection, she thought that eating this sukuta would cure the Lord's disease. Considering these affectionate thoughts of Damayanti, the Lord was very pleased.

"A dear lover strung a garland and placed it on the shoulder of his beloved in the presence of her co-wives. She had raised breasts and was very beautiful, yet although the garland was tainted with mud, she did not reject it, for its value lay not in material things but in love."

    PURPORT: This is a verse from the Kiratarjuniya by Bharavi.

Damayanti powdered coriander and anise seeds, cooked them with sugar and made them into small sweetmeats that were shaped like small balls.

She made balls of sweetmeats with dried ginger to remove mucus caused by too much bile. She put all these preparations separately into small cloth bags.

She made a hundred varieties of condiments and pickles. She also made koli-sunthi, koli-curna, koli-khanda and many other preparations. How many should I name?

She made many sweetmeats shaped like balls. Some were made with powdered coconut, and others looked as white as the water of the Ganges. In this way she made many varieties of long-lasting sugar confections.

She made long-lasting cheese, many varieties of sweetmeats with milk and cream, and many other varied preparations, such as amrta-karpura.

She made flat rice from fine, unboiled, sali paddy and filled a large bag made of new cloth.

She made some of the flat rice into puffed rice, fried it in ghee, cooked it in sugar juice, mixed in some camphor and rolled it into balls.

She powdered fried grains of fine rice, moistened the powder with ghee and cooked it in a solution of sugar. Then she added camphor, black pepper, cloves, cardamom and other spices and rolled it into balls that were very palatable and aromatic.

She took parched rice from fine paddy, fried it in ghee, cooked it in a sugar solution, mixed in some camphor and thus made a preparation called ukhda or mudki.

Another variety of sweet was made with fused peas that were powdered, fried in ghee and then cooked in sugar juice. Camphor was mixed in, and then the sweet was rolled into a ball.

I could not mention the names of all these wonderful eatables, even in a lifetime. Damayanti made hundreds and thousands of varieties.

Damayanti made all these preparations following the order of her brother, Raghava Pandita. Both of them had unlimited affection for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and were advanced in devotional service.

Damayanti took earth from the Ganges, dried it, powdered it, strained it through a

The condiments and similar items were put into thin earthen pots, and everything else was put into small cloth bags.

From small bags Damayanti made bags that were twice as large. Then with great attention she filled all the large ones with the small ones.

She then wrapped and sealed each and every bag with great attention. The bags were carried by three bearers, one after another.

Thus I have briefly described the bags that have become famous as raghavera jhali.

The superintendent for all those bags was Makaradhvaja Kara, who kept them with great attention like his very life.

Thus all the Vaisnavas from Bengal went to Jagannatha Puri. By chance, they arrived on the day when Lord Jagannatha performs pastimes in the water."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya lila 10:2-41

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.


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