BY: SUN STAFF
Feb 25, 2015 CANADA (SUN) Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's English introduction to "Srimad-Gaurangalila-Smaranamangal Stotram", in eight parts.
It was at the age of 14 or 15 that Mahaprabhu was married to Lakshmi Devi, the daughter of Ballabha Acharjya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered as one of the best scholars of Nadia, the renowned seat of Naya philosophy and Sanskrit learning. Not to speak of the smarta pandits, the naiyaiks were all afraid of confronting him in literary discussions.
Being a married man, he went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for aquirement of wealth. There he displayed his learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that he preached Vaishnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaishnavism he ordered Tapan Misra to go to and live in Benares. During his residence in East Bengal, his wife Lakshmi Devi left this world from the effects of snake bite. On returning home, he found his mother in a mourning state. He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at his mother's request that he married Vishnu Priya, the daughter of Raj pandit Sanatan Misra. His comrades joined him on his return from pravas or sojourn. He was now so renowned that he was considered to be the best pandit in Nadia. Keshab Misra of Cashmere, who had called himself the Great Digvijayi, came to Nadia with a view to discuss with the pandits of that place. Afraid of the so called conquering pandit, the tol professors of Nadia left their town on pretence of invitation. Keshab met Mahaprabhu at the Barokonaghat in Mayapur and after a very short discussion with him he got defeated by the boy and mortification obliged him to decamp. Nimai Pandit was now the most important pandit of the times.
It was at the age of 16 or 17 that he travelled to Gya with a host of his students and there took his spiri¬tual initiation from Iswar Puri a Viashnava san-yasi and a disciple of the renowned Madhavendra Puri. Upon his return to Nadia, Nimai Pandit turned out a religious preacher and his religious nature became so strongly represented that Adwaita Prabhu, Sribasa and others, who had before the birth of Chaitanya already accepted the Vaishnava faith, were astonished at the change of the young man. He was then no more a contending naiyaika, a wrangling smarta and a criticising rhetorician. He swooned at the name of Krishna and behaved as an inspired man under the influence of his religious sentiment. It has been described by Murari Gupta, an eye witness, that he shewed his heavenly powers in the house of Sribas Pandit in the presence of hundreds of his followers who were mostly well read scholars. It was at this time that he opened a nocturnal school of kirtan in the compound of Sribas Pandit with his sincere followers. There he preached—there he sang—there he danced and there he expressed all sorts of re¬ligious feelings. Nityananda Prabhu who was then a prea¬cher of Vaishnavism and who had then completed his travels all over India, joined him by that time. In fact a host of pandit preachers of Vaisnavism, all sincere at heart, came and joined him from different parts of Bengal. Nadia now became the regular seat of a host of Vaishnava acharjyas whose mission it was to spiritualize mankind with the highest influence of the Vaishnava creed.
The first mandate that he issued to Prabhu Nityananda and Haridas was this "Go friends, go through the streets of the town, meet every man at his door and ask him to sing the name of Hari with a holy life, and you then come and report to me every evening the result of your preaching." Thus ordered, the two preachers went on and met Jagai and Madhai the two most abominable characters. They insulted the preachers on hearing Mahaprabhu's mandate, but were soon converted by the influence of bhakti inculcated by their Lord. The people of Nadia were now surprised. They said, "Nimai Pandit is not only a gigantic genius but he is certainly a missionary from God Almighty." From this time to his 23rd year Mahaprabhu preached his principles not only in Nadia but in all important towns and villages around his city. In the houses of his followers he shewed miracles, taught the esoteric principles of bhakti and sang his sankirtan with other bhaktas. His followers of the town of Nadia commenced to sing the holy name of Hari in the streets and Bazars. This created a sensation and roused different feelings in different quarters. The bhaktas were highly pleased. The smarta Brahmins became jealous of Nimai Pandit's success and complained to Chand Kazi against the character of Chaitanya as un-Hindu. The kazi came to Sribas Pandit's house and broke a mridanga (khol) there and declared that unless Nimai Pandit would cease to make noise about his queer religion he should be obliged to enforce Mahamadanism on him and his followers. This was brought to Mahaprabhu's notice. He ordered the town people to appear in the evening, each with a torch in his hand. This they did and Nimai marched out with his sankirtan divided in 14 groups and on his arrival in kazi's house, he held a long conversation with the kazi and in the end communicated into his heart his Vaishnav influence by touching his body. The kazi then wept and admitted that he had felt a keen spiritual influence which had cleared up his doubts and produced in him a religious sentiment which gave him the highest ecstacy. The kazi then joined the sankirtan party. The world was astonished at the spiritual power of the Great Lord and hundreds and hundreds of heretics converted joined the banner of Vishwambhar after this affair.
It was after this that some of the jealous and low minded Brahmins of Kulia picked up a quarrel with Mahaprabhu and collected a party to oppose him. Nimai Pandit was naturally a soft hearted person, though strong in his principles. He declared that party feeling and sectarianism were the two great enemies of progress and as long as he should continue to be an inhabitant of Nadia belonging to a certain family, his mission would not meet with complete success. He then resolved to be a citizen of the world by cutting of his connexion with a particular family, caste and creed and with this resolution he embraced the position of a sanyasi at Cutwa under the guidance of Keshab Bharati of that town, on the 24th year of his age. His mother and wife wept bitterly for his separation but our hero though soft in heart was a strong person in principle. He left his little world in his house for the unlimited spiritual world of Krishna with man in general.
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