Sri Laksmi devi and Sri Gaurasundar
BY: SUN STAFF
Deities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His consorts, Visnupriya and Laksmipriya,
in Mayapur temple built by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.
Oct 25, CANADA (SUN) On the auspicious observance day of Laksmi Puja, from Chaitanya Bhagavat by Srila Vrindavan das Thakur.
Adi Lila, Chapter 10
Mother Sachi one day noticed that her son had grown into a handsome young man and she started thinking about his marriage. Sri Vallabha Acharya, a good and pious brahmana was then residing in Navadvip. He was equal to King Janaka, the father of Sita devi, and in every respect his daughter possessed unsurpassed beauty. She was Laksmi devi, the Goddess of Fortune in person. Her father was constantly thinking about finding a suitable match for her.
By divine arrangement Sri Laksmi devi once met Sri Gaurasundar on the banks of the Ganga when they had each gone for a bath. Lord Gaurachandr immediately recognised His eternal consort and smiled sweetly at Her. Laksmi devi also recognized her eternal master and offered Him prayers as she clasped His lotus feet. Both the transcendental personalities recognized each other, and they returned home in blissful expectation. Who can understand such sublime and supramundane pastimes of the Supreme Lord?
Again by arrangement of the Lord, a brahmana named Banamali came to visit Mother Sachi. After they exchanged respectful greetings, Mother Sachi affectionately offered the brahmana a seat. Then Sri Banamali Acharya asked, "Why aren't you seriously considering your son's marriage? In Navadvip resides a very pious and elevated brahmana. He is pure; he always follows the path of religion, and he is a descendent of good line of brahmanas. His daughter is certainly not inferior to Laksmi devi in beauty, character or respect."
"My son has lost his father," replied Mother Sachi. "Let Him study further and grow a little older; then I shall certainly consider His marriage." The apathetic reply made Banamali feel dejected and he left Sachimata's house. But by divine arrangement, on his way out he met Sri Gauranga. As soon as the Lord saw Banamali, He affectionately embraced him.
"Please tell me who you were just visiting," enquired the Lord.
"I came to pay my respects to your mother," answered Banamali. "I brought up the subject of Your marriage to her, but I don't know why she didn't respond positively to it."
The Lord fell silent, and having offered due respects to the brahmana, He went home, smiling within Himself. At home He immediately spoke to His mother, "Why didn't you favor the brahmana's proposal?"
Mother Sachi was more than pleased, for she could understand the Lord's indication. The next day she requested Banamali to return and told him, "The proposal you made yesterday -- I request you to please act on it immediately." After touching her feet in respect, the brahmana went straight to the house of Vallabha Acharya.
Sri Vallabha received the brahmana with all respect and offered him the seat of honor. "I think it is time you arranged your daughter's marriage," said Banamali. "I have found the fit candidate for her. His name is Visvambhar. He is the son of Sri Jagannath Mishra, a very elevated and respectable brahmana. Visvambhar is most scholarly and He is certainly an ocean of all good qualities. Please consider these points and tell me how you feel."
Vallabha Acharya was extremely pleased. He said, "Only through accumulating immense piety could a girl get such a husband. If Krishna were pleased with me or if the Goddess of Fortune were satisfied with my daughter, only then could I ever hope for such a son-in-law. Please don't delay; proceed with this proposal and complete all the necessary details. But first there is one thing that I must mention. I feel hesitant to speak about it. I have no means to give anything as a dowry. I can simply give my daughter and five pieces of auspicious hartaki fruit. Please convey this to them."
The brahmana was extremely satisfied with Vallabha Acharya's attitude and he returned to mother Sachi's house with the news of his success. "They are agreeable," he reported. "Now we have to choose the right day and right moment according to astrological calculations."
The news spread. Close relatives and friends were jubilant and they all came forward with great enthusiasm to make themselves useful on the occasion. A special ceremony held before the day of the marriage was conducted at an auspicious time amidst festivities where professional dancers and musicians performed. Brahmana priests sat in the four corners of the wedding area and chanted Vedic mantras. In the middle sat the crown jewel of the brahmana class, Lord Gauranga, as brilliant as the rising full moon. At the end of the function the brahmanas were gifted with incense, sandal wood, flower garlands and spices. Sri Vallabha Acharya had also come according to the customs and performed his ritualistic duties.
On the day of His wedding, Nimai respectfully offered oblations to His forefathers at dawn. The sound of sweet music and the tinkle of a dancer's ankle bells filled the air. Sounds of joyful chatter came from all directions. The guests that came were numerous and large groups of chaste women thronged the place. Relatives and respectable brahmanas also came. Mother Sachi satisfied all the chaste housewives with gifts of fruits, grains, vermilion, oils and other commodities. Different demigods, along with their wives, also came in human forms to see the marriage of the Lord. Vallabha Acharya performed his many rituals with increasing pleasure. In the evening just before sunset, Nimai went to the house of Sri Vallabha Acharya at the chosen auspicious time. He was accompanied by many people and when He arrived all the guests felt submerged in waves of ecstasy.
Vallabha Acharya offered the Lord a seat with utmost respect strictly according to the rules of the scriptures. He felt an indescribable joy within. Finally he brought his daughter Laksmi devi, fully decorated with beautiful ornaments, and presented her to the Lord. According to the marriage customs, Laksmi devi was lifted off the ground and carried seven times around the Lord. The chanting of Lord Hari's name resounded but Laksmi devi sat with folded hands and offered silent prayers to the Lord.
During the auspicious ceremony of exchanging glances between bride and bridegroom, people showered flowers jubilantly from all directions on Sri Laksmi and Narayana. That Sri Narayana, Visnu, had appeared as Lord Gauranga, and Sri Laksmi offered Him a garland of flowers at His lotus feet. She worshipped Him, surrendering herself as though she were those very flowers. Joyous sounds accompanied by loud chanting of Lord Hari's name rent the air. It was the only sound to be heard in any direction. The Lord drank in the moon-like beautiful face of Sri Laksmi devi as He sat with her on His left. His blooming youthful beauty excelled the attractiveness of Cupid himself. Who can possibly describe in detail the joy in Sri Vallabha's house?
Looking like Bhisma deva, Sri Vallabha Acharya then sat down to give away the bride. The Lord was exquisitely decorated with flower garlands and sandalwood paste and wore beautiful, shining clothes. Vallabha Acharya poured water on His lotus feet, those same lotus feet which are washed and worshipped by Lord Brahma and Lord Siva in order to acquire the strength and potency to create this material world. The brahmana then offered his daughter according to the regulations in the scriptures and all the while felt waves of ecstasy within his heart. The rest of the ceremonies were conducted properly and the Lord spent that night in their house.
The next morning Nimai returned to His own house with Laksmi devi. They were carried on a palanquin, and people came from everywhere to see the Lord and His bride. Beautifully decorated with flowers, gold ornaments, studded crowns and sandalwood paste artistically dotted over their beautiful faces, Laksmi devi and Lord Narayana were effulgent with a transcendental glow. People all around acknowledged their own good fortune at seeing this divine couple. The ladies especially stood mesmerized at the sublimely beautiful sight.
One lady commented, "She must have worshipped Lord Siva and Parvati for a long time with great devotion; otherwise it could not have been possible to get a husband like Him. Perhaps they themselves are Lord Siva and Parvati."
"They are either Indra and Saci or Lord Madana and Rati," said another lady.
Someone else suggested, "No they must be Laksmi and Narayana."
"They look exactly like Sita and Lord Ramchandra," said another woman, "and they are so charming as they ride on the palanquin."
The ladies each offered a variety of opinions as they watched the divine couple with mixed wonder and joy. The Lord brought His new bride home in the evening amidst joyful shouting, sweet music and laughter. Mother Sachi went out to meet the newly-wed couple and brought them into the house. She felt infinite joy, and bustled around distributing valuable gifts to everyone and pleasing the guests with sweet words. Whoever hears this narration of the Lord's marriage with devotion will certainly be able to break the ties of material bondage.
Sachi devi felt her house glowing with a new iridescent light. Now that Laksmi devi was in her rightful position next to Lord Narayana, Sri Gauranga, Sachi devi saw an extraordinary light everywhere, inside as well as outside the house. She could not describe the wonderful phenomenon. Sometimes she saw a very beautiful light right next to her son, but when she looked again she saw it was no longer there. At other times she could smell the divine fragrance of flowers and lotuses and this surprised her beyond description. She often wondered about the actual truth of all this.
"I think I know the reason for all this," Mother Sachi though to herself. "My daughter-in-law must be an incarnation or expansion of Laksmi devi. That is why I sometimes see a brilliant light or smell a divine lotus fragrance. My previous sufferings and our poverty seems to have vanished. I don't know how I have received this girl as my daughter-in-law for she is certainly Laksmi devi."
In this way Mother Sachi would speculate but the Supreme Lord Gauranga, although manifest, did not yet reveal His original and absolute identity. Who can understand the wonderful activities and the potencies of the Supreme Lord? However and whenever the Supreme Lord desires to act, He is free to do so. And if the Supreme Lord Himself does not reveal these esoteric truths, then even Laksmi devi does not have the potency to fathom the transcendental phenomenon. All the scriptures --Vedas and Puranas-- repeat the same truth : no one can know the Absolute truth, the Supreme Lord, without receiving mercy of the Lord.
Sri Krishna Chaitanya and Nityananda Prabhu are the life and soul of this insignificant servant Vrndavan das, and he offers his humble song at their lotus feet.