Lord Caitanya's Prasadam Pastimes, Part 4
BY: SUN STAFF
Jul 22, 2011 CANADA (SUN) A re-presentation of the 2007 series on the Sankirtan travels and prasadam pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Taking Prasada at Sarvabhauma Battacarya's
"Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's wife was known as the mother of Sathi. She was a great devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and she was affectionate like a mother.
After returning to his home, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya gave orders to his wife, and his wife, known as Sathira Mata, the mother of Sathi, began cooking with great pleasure.
At Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's house, there was always a full stock of food. Whatever spinach, vegetables, fruit and so on were required, he collected and brought back home.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya personally began to help his wife cook. His wife, the mother of Sathi, was very experienced, and she knew how to cook nicely.
On the southern side of the kitchen were two rooms for offering food, and in one of them the food was offered to Salagrama Narayana.
PURPORT: Among the followers of the Vedic way, salagrama-sila, the vigraha of Narayana, is worshiped in the form of a stone ball. In India, every brahmana still worships the salagrama-sila in his home. The vaisyas and ksatriyas may also engage in this worship, but it is compulsory in the house of a brahmana.
The other room was for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's lunch. The Lord's lunch room was very secluded, and it was newly constructed by Bhattacarya.
The room was so constructed that there was only one door as an entrance from the outside for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There was another door attached to the kitchen, and it was through this door that the food was brought.
First, three manas of cooked rice-almost six pounds-was poured on a big banana leaf.
PURPORT: This is the beginning of a description of the food prepared for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This description is given by Kaviraja Gosvami, who, it is assumed, was an expert cook who knew both how to prepare and how to serve food.
Then, the whole stack of rice was mixed with so much yellowish and fragrant clarified butter that it began to overflow the leaf.
There were a number of pots made of the bark of banana trees and the leaves of the keya plant. These pots were filled with various cooked vegetables and placed on all sides of the leaf.
There were about ten kinds of spinach, a soup called sukhta, which was made with bitter nimba leaves, a pungent preparation made with black pepper, a mild cake made of fried curd, and buttermilk mixed with small fried pieces of dhal.
There were preparations of dugdha-tumbi, dugdha-kusmanda, vesara, laphra, moca-ghanta, moca-bhaja and other vegetables.
There were unlimited quantities of vrddha-kusmanda-badi, phula-badi, fruits and various roots.
Other preparations included eggplant mixed with newly grown nimba leaves fried together, light badi, fried patola, and fried rounds of squash and pumpkin.
There was a soup made with fried urad dhal and mung dhal, defeating nectar. There were also sweet chutney and five or six kinds of sour preparations, beginning with badamla.
There were bharats made of mung dhal, of urd dhal and of sweet bananas, and there was sweet rice cake, coconut cake and various other cakes.
There was kanji-bada, dugdha-cida, dugdha-laklaki and various cakes, which I am unable to describe.
Sweet rice mixed with ghee was poured into an earthen pot and mixed with canpa-kala, condensed milk and mango.
Other preparations included a very delicious churned curd and a variety of sandesa sweetmeats. Indeed, all the various eatables available in Bengal and Orissa were prepared.
Thus Bhattacarya prepared a great variety of food and spread a fine cloth over a white wooden platform.
On two sides of the stack of food were pitchers filled with scented cold water. The flowers of the tulasi tree were placed above the mound of rice.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya also included several types of food that had been offered to Lord Jagannatha. This included sweetballs known as amrta-gutika, sweet rice and cakes. All these were kept separately.
PURPORT: Although the remnants of food left by Jagannatha were brought into Bhattacarya's house, they were kept separate from the preparations he had made at his home. It sometimes happens that prasada is mixed with a larger quantity of food and then distributed, but in this case we find that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya kept the jagannatha-prasada separate. He kept it aside particularly for the satisfaction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
When everything was ready, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came there alone after finishing His midday duties. He knew the heart of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.
After Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya washed the Lord's feet, the Lord entered the room to take His lunch.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a little astonished to see the gorgeous arrangement, and, gesturing, He spoke to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.
"This is most uncommon! How was this arrangement of rice and vegetables finished within six hours?
"Even a hundred men cooking on a hundred ovens could not possibly finish all these preparations within so short a time.
"I hope the food has already been offered to Krsna, since I see there are tulasi flowers over the plates.
"You are most fortunate, and your endeavor is successful, for you have offered such wonderful food to Radha-Krsna.
"The color of the rice is so attractive and its aroma so good that it appears Radha and Krsna have directly taken it.
"My dear Bhattacarya, your fortune is very great. How much shall I praise you? I also am very fortunate to be able to take the remnants of this food.
"Take away Krsna's sitting place and put it aside. Then give me prasada on a different plate."
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya said, "It is not so wonderful, my Lord. Everything has been made possible by the energy and mercy of He who will eat the food.
"My wife and I did not especially exert ourselves in the cooking. He by whose power the food has been prepared knows everything.
"Now please sit in this place and take Your lunch." Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, "This place is worshipable because it was used by Krsna."
PURPORT: According to etiquette, things used by Krsna should not be used by anyone else. Similarly, things used by the spiritual master should also not be used by anyone else. That is etiquette. Whatever is used by Krsna or the spiritual master is worshipable. In particular, their sitting or eating places should not be used by anyone else. A devotee must be very careful to observe this.
Bhattacarya said, "Both the food and the sitting place are the Lord's mercy. If You can eat the remnants of the food, what is the offense in Your sitting in this place?"
Caitanya Mahaprabhu then said, "Yes, you have spoken correctly. The sastras enjoin that the devotee can partake of everything left by Krsna.
" 'My dear Lord, the garlands, scented substances, garments, ornaments and other such things that have been offered to You may later be used by Your servants. By partaking of these things and eating the remnants of food You have left, we will be able to conquer the illusory energy.' "
PURPORT: This is a quotation from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.6.46). In the Hare Krsna movement, the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, the dancing in ecstasy and the eating of the remnants of food offered to the Lord are very, very important. One may be illiterate or incapable of understanding the philosophy, but if he partakes of these three items, he will certainly be liberated without delay.
This verse was spoken by Uddhava to Lord Krsna. This was during the time when the Uddhava-gita was spoken. At that time there was some disturbance in Dvaraka, and Lord Krsna had to leave the material world and enter the spiritual world. Uddhava could understand the situation, and he talked with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The verse quoted above is an excerpt from their conversations. Sri Krsna's pastimes in this material world are called prakata-lila (manifested pastimes), and His pastimes in the spiritual world are called aprakata-lila (unmanifested pastimes). By unmanifested we mean that they are not present before our eyes. It is not that Lord Krsna's pastimes are unmanifest. They are going on exactly as the sun is going on perpetually, but when the sun is present before our eyes, we call it daytime (manifest), and when it is not present, we call it night (unmanifest). Those who are above the jurisdiction of night are always in the spiritual world, where the Lord's pastimes are constantly manifest to them. As the Brahma-samhita confirms:
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency [hladini]. Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with everblissful spiritual rasa. I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Syamasundara, Krsna Himself with inconceivable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love." (Bs. 5.37-38)
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then said, "There is so much food here that it is impossible to eat." Bhattacarya replied,"I know how much You can eat.
"After all, at Jagannatha Puri You eat fifty-two times a day, and each time You eat hundreds of buckets filled with prasada.
"At Dvaraka, You keep sixteen thousand queens in sixteen thousand palaces. Also, there are eighteen mothers and numerous friends and relatives of the Yadu dynasty.
"In Vrndavana You also have Your father's elder brothers, Your father's younger brothers, maternal uncles, husbands of Your father's sisters and many cowherd men. There are also cowherd boy friends, and You eat twice a day, morning and evening, in the house of each and every one.
PURPORT: In Dvaraka, Lord Krsna had eighteen mothers like Devaki, Rohini and others. Besides these was. His foster mother Yasoda in Vrndavana. Lord Krsna also had two uncles, who were brothers of Nanda Maharaja. As stated by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Sri-krsna-ganoddesa-dipika, upanando 'bhinandas ca pitrvyau pur-va-jau pituh: "The elder brothers of Nanda Maharaja were Upananda and Abhinanda." Similarly, in the same book the names of the younger brothers of Nanda Maharaja are given. Pitrvyau tu kaniyamsau syatam sannanda-nandanau: "Sannanda and Nandana, or Sunanda and Pandava, were the younger brothers of Krsna's father, Nanda Maharaja." Sri Krsna's maternal uncles were also described there. Yasodhara-yasodeva-sudevadyas tu matulah: "Yasodhara, Yasodeva and Sudeva were the maternal uncles of Krsna." Krsna's uncles are also mentioned. Mahanilah sunilas ca ramanav etayoh kramat: "Mahanila and Sunila are the husbands of Krsna's aunts."
"Indeed," Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya continued, "at the Govardhana-puja ceremony You ate stacks of rice. In comparison to that, this small quantity is not even a morsel for You.
"You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whereas I am a most insignificant living being. Therefore You may accept a little quantity of food from my house."
PURPORT: A sannyasi is expected to collect a little food from each and every householder. That is to say, he should take whatever he requires to eat. This system is called madhukari. The word madhukari comes from the word madhukara and means "honey-collecting bees." Bees collect a little honey from each flower, but all these small quantities of honey accumulate to become a beehive. Sannyasis should collect a little from each and every householder and should eat simply what is necessary to maintain the body. Being a sannyasi, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu could collect a little food from the house of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, and this was the Bhattacarya's request. Compared to the food eaten by the Lord on other occasions, Bhattacarya's feast was not even a morsel. This is what Bhattacarya is pointing out to the Lord.
Hearing this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu smiled and sat down to eat. Bhattacarya, with great pleasure, first offered Him the prasada from the Jagannatha temple.
At this time Bhattacarya had a son-in-law named Amogha, who was the husband of his daughter named Sathi. Although born in an aristocratic brahmana family, this Amogha was a great faultfinder and blasphemer.
Amogha wanted to see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu eat, but he was not allowed to enter. Indeed, Bhattacarya guarded the threshold of his house with a stick in his hand.
However, as soon as Bhattacarya began distributing prasada and was a little inattentive, Amogha came in. Seeing the quantity of food, he began to blaspheme.
"This much food is sufficient to satisfy ten or twelve men, but this sannyasi alone is eating so much!"
As soon as Amogha said this, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya turned his eyes upon him. Seeing Bhattacarya's attitude, Amogha immediately left.
Bhattacarya ran after him to strike him with a stick, but Amogha fled so fast that Bhattacarya could not catch him.
Bhattacarya then began to curse and call his son-in-law ill names. When Bhattacarya returned, he saw that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was laughing to hear him criticize Amogha.
When Sathi's mother, Bhattacarya's wife, heard of this incident, she immediately began to strike her head and chest, saying again, "Let Sathi become a widow!"
Seeing the lamentation of both husband and wife, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu tried to pacify them. According to their desire, He ate the prasada and was very satisfied.
After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu finished eating, Bhattacarya washed His mouth, hands and legs and offered Him flavored spices, tulasi-manjari, cloves, and cardamom.
The Bhattacarya then placed a flower garland over Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and smeared His body with sandalwood pulp. After offering obeisances, the Bhattacarya submitted the following humble statement.
"I brought You to my home just to have You blasphemed. This is a great offense. Please excuse me. I beg Your pardon."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "What Amogha has said is correct; therefore it is not blasphemy. What is your offense?"
Falling down at the Lord's feet, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya said many things in self-reproach. The Lord then pacified him and sent him back to his home.
After returning to his home, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya consulted with his wife, the mother of Sathi. After personally condemning himself, he began to speak as follows.
"If the man who blasphemed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is killed, his sinful action may be atoned." [Purport not included]
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya continued, "Or, if I give up my own life, this sinful action may be atoned. However, neither of these ideas are befitting because both bodies belong to brahmanas.
"Instead, I shall never see the face of that blasphemer. I reject him and give up his relationship. I shall never even speak his name.
"Inform my daughter Sathi to abandon her relationship with her husband because he has fallen down. When the husband falls down, it is the wife's duty to relinquish the relationship. [Purport not included]
"When a husband is fallen, his relationship must be given up."
PURPORT: This is a quotation from smrti-sastram. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.11.28):
apramatta sucih snigdha
patim tv apatitam bhajet
"A wife who is satisfied, who is not greedy, who is expert and knows religious principles, who speaks what is dear and truthful and is not bewildered, who is always clean and affectionate, should be very devoted to her husband who is not fallen."
That night Amogha, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's son-in-law, fled, and in the morning he immediately fell sick with cholera.
When Bhattacarya heard that Amogha was dying of cholera, he thought,"It is the favor of Providence that He is doing what I want to do.
"When one offends the Supreme Personality of Godhead, karma immediately takes effect." After saying this, he recited two verses from revealed scripture.
" 'What we have had to arrange with great endeavor by collecting elephants, horses, chariots and infantry soldiers has already been accomplished by the Gandharvas.'
PURPORT: This is a quotation from the Mahabharata (Vana-parva 241.15). Bhimasena made this statement when all the Pandavas were living incognito. At that time there was a fight between the Kauravas and the Gandharvas. The Kaurava soldiers were under the command of Karna, but the commander-in-chief of the Gandharvas was able to arrest all the Kauravas by virtue of superior military strength. At that time Duryodhana's ministers and commanders, who were living in the forest, requested Maharaja Yudhisthira to help. After being thus petitioned, Bhimasena spoke the verse given above, remembering Duryodhana's former nefarious and atrocious activities against them. Indeed, Bhimasena felt it very fitting that Duryodhana and his company were arrested. This could have been accomplished by the Pandavas only with great endeavor.
" 'When a person mistreats great souls, his life span, opulence, reputation, religion, possessions and good fortune are all destroyed.' [Purport not included]
At this time, Gopinatha Acarya went to see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Lord asked him about the events taking place in Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's house.
Gopinatha Acarya informed the Lord that both the husband and wife were fasting and that their son-in-law Amogha was dying of cholera.
As soon as Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard that Amogha was going to die, He immediately ran to him in great haste. Placing His hand on Amogha's chest, He spoke as follows.
"The heart of a brahmana is by nature very clean; therefore it is a proper place for Krsna to sit.
"Why have you allowed jealousy to sit here also? Because of this, you have become like a candala, the lowest of men, and you have also contaminated a most purified place-your heart.
"However, due to the association of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, all your contamination is now vanquished. When a person's heart is cleansed of all contamination, he is able to chant the maha-mantra, Hare Krsna.
"Therefore, Amogha, get up and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra! If you do so, Krsna will unfailingly bestow mercy upon you." [Purport not included]
After hearing Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and being touched by Him, Amogha, who was on his deathbed, immediately stood up and began to chant the holy name of Krsna. Thus he became mad with ecstatic love and began to dance emotionally.
While Amogha danced in ecstatic love, he manifested all the ecstatic symptoms-trembling, tears, jubilation, trance, perspiration and a faltering voice. Seeing these waves of ecstatic emotion, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to laugh.
Amogha then fell before the Lord's lotus feet and submissively said, "O merciful Lord, please excuse my offense."
Not only did Amogha beg the Lord's pardon, but he also began slapping his own cheeks, saying, "By this mouth I have blasphemed You."
Indeed, Amogha continued slapping his face over and over until his cheeks were swollen. Finally Gopinatha Acarya stopped him by catching hold of his hands.
After this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu pacified Amogha by touching his body and saying, "You are the object of My affection because you are the son-in-law of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.
"Everyone in Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's house is very dear to Me, including his maids and servants and even his dog. And what to speak of his relatives?
"Amogha, always chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and do not commit any further offenses." After giving Amogha this instruction, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Sarvabhauma's house."
Upon seeing the Lord, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya immediately caught hold of His lotus feet. The Lord also embraced him and sat down.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu pacified Sarvabhauma, saying, "After all, Amogha, your son-in-law, is a child. So what is his fault? Why are you fasting, and why are you angry?
"Just get up and take your bath and go see the face of Lord Jagannatha. Then return here to eat your lunch. In this way I shall be happy.
"I shall stay here until you return to take Lord Jagannatha's remnants for your lunch."
Catching hold of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's lotus feet, Bhattacarya said, "Why did You bring Amogha back to life? It would have been better had he died."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Amogha is a child and your son. The father does not take the faults of his son seriously, especially when he is maintaining him.
"Now that he has become a Vaisnava, he is offenseless. You can bestow your mercy upon him without hesitation."
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya said, " Please go, my Lord, to see Lord Jagannatha. After taking my bath, I shall go there and then return."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then told Gopinatha, "Stay here and inform Me when Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya has taken his prasada."
After saying this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to see Lord Jagannatha. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya completed his bath, went to see Lord Jagannatha and then returned to his house to accept food.
Thereafter, Amogha became an unalloyed devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He danced in ecstasy and peacefully chanted the holy name of Lord Krsna.
In this way, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed His various pastimes. Whoever sees them or hears of them becomes truly astonished.
Thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu enjoyed eating in Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's house. Within that one pastime, many wonderful pastimes were manifest.
These are the peculiar characteristics of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes. Thus the Lord ate in Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's house, and in this way Sarvabhauma's love for the Lord has become very well known.
PURPORT: As stated in the Sakha-nirnayamrta:
"I offer my obeisances unto Amogha Pandita, who was accepted by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. As a result of this acceptance, he was always merged in ecstatic love, and he manifested ecstatic symptoms such as choking of the voice and standing of the hairs on his body."
Thus I have related the ecstatic love of Sarvabhauma's wife, who is known as the mother of Sathi. I have also related Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's great mercy, which He manifested by excusing Amogha's offense. He did so due to Amogha's relationship with a devotee.
PURPORT: Amogha was an offender because he blasphemed the Lord. As a result, he was about to die of cholera. Amogha did not receive an opportunity to be freed from all offenses after being attacked by the disease, but Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and his wife were very dear to the Lord. Because of their relationship, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu excused Amogha. Instead of being punished by the Lord, he was saved by the Lord's mercy. All this was due to the unflinching love of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Externally, Amogha was Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's son-in-law, and he was being maintained by Sarvabhauma. Consequently if Amogha were not excused, his punishment would have directly affected Sarvabhauma. Amogha's death would have indirectly brought about the death of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.
Whoever hears these pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with faith and love will attain the shelter of the Lord's lotus feet very soon.
Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Fifteenth Chapter, describing the Lord's eating at the house of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya."
Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 15:207-302
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
Curd Rice in Banana Leaf
4 banana leaves
3 cups Basmati Rice cooked with 1 tbspn of ghee
3 cups loose Curd
1-1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp finely sliced Green Chillies
1 tsp minced Ginger
2 finely chopped Cucumbers or 1 Green Mango
2-3 grated Carrots (optional)
A handful of green and purple grapes
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
Curry leaves, a few
3-4 Dry Chillies
3 tbspn Ghee
3 tbspns Coriander leaves
Put the cooked Rice in a deep dish, add the grated ginger, carrots, cucumber or mango, chillies, salt, curds mix nicely with hand, mashing the Rice a little. Add the grapes and set aside. In ghee, fry the dry chillies, curry leaves and mustard seeds. When they crackle remove and add to the Curd Rice mixture, gently stir the seasoning into the rice. Divide up the Rice mixture, laying it on the four banana leaves. Shape with your hands so that it can be snugly rolled up in the leaf. Before rolling, top the rice with the Coriander leaves. If needed, lightly steam the banana leaf to make it pliant enough to roll. Roll up into a tube and roast over coals or in the over for 10 minutes, to mix the flavour. Offer and serve the banana leaf bundle with chutney on the side.
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