The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Mithila


Mithila's Poet, Vidyapati

May 23, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 95.

Holy Mithila is mentioned throughout Vaisnava literature dealing with Lord Chaitanya's lila. Some of the Lord's intimate associates lived in Mithila; while others passed through it during their travels, engaging in various pastimes. We begin with a passage from Sri Gaura Ganodesa Dipika by Srila Kavi Karnapura:

    "44. The same person who was Maharaja Janaka, the king of Mithila, appeared during Lord Caitanya's pastimes as Vallabhacarya. Some people differ from this view, and say that Vallabhacarya was an incarnation of Maharaja Bhismaka.

    45. The same person who formerly appeared as Janaki-devi and Rukmini-devi appeared during Lord Caitanya's pastimes as Srimati Laksmipriya, the daughter of Vallabhacarya.

    46. Vallabhacarya's daughter, Srimati Laksmipriya, was an incarnation of Srimati Laksmi-devi, the goddess of fortune. One day, as she was walking with her friends towards the bank of the Ganges to bathe, she entered the path of Lord Caitanya's vision. In this way the Lord saw Laksmipriya for the first time."

While on pilgrimage, Sri Advaita Prabhu went to Mithila. Srila Ishana Nagara states in his Advaita Prakasha that:

    "Advaita Prabhu went to Mithila, the birthplace of Sita. He rolled on the ground there and then chanted and danced in ecstasy."

In Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates we read:

    "When Kubera Pandit and Nabha Devi disappeared, Advaita went to Gaya on the pretext of performing the appropriate rituals of mourning, and thence continued on a pilgrimage tour of all of India's holy places. When he came to Vrindavan, he became absorbed in the worship of Krishna, but through his meditation he was able to understand that Krishna was about to appear in Nabadwip. While on this pilgrimage tour, he came to Mithila where he met the poet Vidyapati. This encounter is beautifully described in the Advaitavilasa. Advaita Prabhu finally returned from Vrindavan to Shantipur after spending several days in Nabadwip. The people of Shantipur had been suffering from his separation for a long time and were very happy to see him back."

The poet Vidyapati composed many songs about the pastimes of Radha and Krsna (Cc Adi 13.42) in the early 14th Century, before the Appearance of Lord Chaitanya, and Sri Svarupa Damodara used to read his poems to the Lord:

    "Sri Svarupa Damodara used to read the poems of Vidyapati and Candidasa and Jayadeva Gosvami's Sri Gita-govinda. He used to make Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu very happy by singing these songs."
    (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 10.115)

Here is the narration of Sri Advaita Acarya's pilgrimage to Mithila and His meeting with the poet Vidyapati, from Advaita Prakasha:

    "Now hear about the wonderful incident that took place at that time. The Lord heard a sweet, melodious song in glorification of Krsna. He rushed in the direction of the sound and found a first-class brahmana sitting under a banyan tree singing the nectarean glories of Lord Krsna like a Gandharva. Advaita Prabhu was struck with wonder on hearing the descriptions of Krsna's form. He was filled with love and embraced the brahmana. On the pretext of embracing the brahmana, Advaita bestowed His mercy by giving him love of God just as iron is turned to gold by the contact of touchstone.

    The brahmana understood that Advaita was the Supreme Lord and offered Him obeisances. Advaita remembered Lord Visnu and asked the brahmana his name and the name of the author of the nectarean song.

    Advaita Prabhu said, "Such a sweet composition is hardly heard, and the pleasing sound of your voice is most excellent. I became intoxicated by hearing that nectarean song of yours, and out of attraction I came running here."

    The brahmana said, "My name is Vidyapati. Since I am maintained by the king, my consciousness is contaminated. I composed this song in this maddened condition. You became pleased with the song because You are a paramahamsa, who has accepted the essence of everything. Otherwise, who has the power to attract You? You have delivered me simply due to Your saintly qualities."

    Advaita Prabhu said, "What to speak of ordinary living entities, even Krsna Himself is attracted by your nectarean song. By some great fortune Krsna has bestowed His mercy on Me and I am able to associate with Vidyapati, the composer of this song."

    Saying this, Advaita embraced him again and then started for Ayodhya while remembering Lord Hari."


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