Lord Caitanya's Prasadam Pastimes, Part 7
BY: SUN STAFF
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Dec 23, CANADA (SUN) The Sankirtan travels and prasadam pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Sivananda Sena and Son Caitanya
"From time to time, Advaita Acarya and others would invite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for home-cooked rice and varieties of vegetables.
They offered pungent preparations made with black pepper, sweet-and-sour preparations, ginger, salty preparations, limes, milk, yogurt, cheese, two or four kinds of spinach, soup made with bitter melon, eggplant mixed with nimba flowers, and fried patola.
They also offered phula-badi, liquid mung dhal and many vegetables, all cooked according to the Lord's taste.
They would mix these preparations with the remnants of food from Lord Jagannatha. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the invitations, He went sometimes alone and sometimes with His associates.
Devotees like Acaryaratna, Acaryanidhi, Nandana Acarya, Raghava Pandita and Srivasa were all of the brahmana caste.
They would extend invitations to the Lord. Vasudeva Datta, Gadadhara dasa, Murari Gupta, the inhabitants of Kulina-grama and Khanda and many other devotees who were not brahmanas by caste would purchase food offered to Lord Jagannatha and then extend invitations to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
PURPORT: The inhabitants of Kulina-grama, such as Satyaraja Khan and Ramananda Vasu, were not brahmanas by caste, nor were the inhabitants of Khanda, such as Mukunda dasa, Narahari dasa and Raghunandana. Therefore they would purchase prasada from the market where the remnants of Lord Jagannatha's food was sold and then extend invitations to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, whereas Acaryaratna, Acaryanidhi and others who were brahmanas by caste would cook at home when they invited the Lord. Caitanya Mahaprabhu observed the etiquette then current in society by accepting only prasada cooked by members of the brahmana caste, but on principle He accepted invitations from His devotees, regardless of whether they were brahmanas by caste.
Now hear about the invitation Sivananda Sena extended to the Lord. His eldest son was named Caitanya dasa.
When Sivananda brought his son, Caitanya dasa, to be introduced to the Lord, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inquired about his name.
When the Lord heard that his name was Caitanya dasa, He said, "What kind of name have you given him? It is very difficult to understand."
Sivananda Sena replied, "He has kept the name that appeared to me from within." Then he invited Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch.
Sivananda Sena had bought very costly remnants of Lord Jagannatha's food. He brought it in and offered it to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who sat down to accept the prasada with His associates.
Because of Sivananda Sena's glories, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ate all kinds of prasada to honor his request. However, the Lord ate more than necessary, and therefore His mind was dissatisfied.
The next day, Caitanya dasa, the son of Sivananda Sena, extended an invitation to the Lord. He could understand the Lord's mind, however, and therefore he arranged for a different kind of food.
He offered yogurt, limes, ginger, soft bada and salt. Seeing all these arrangements, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased.
PURPORT: By the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Caitanya dasa understood the Lord's mind. Therefore he arranged for food that would counteract the heavy meal the Lord had eaten the previous day.
Later in life, Caitanya dasa became a very learned Sanskrit scholar and wrote many books. Among these books, his commentary on Krsna-karnamrta is very famous. There is another book called Caitanya-caritamrta, which is a work of Sanskrit poetry. It is said that this was also composed by him.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "This boy knows My mind. Therefore I am very satisfied to keep his invitation."
After saying this, the Lord ate the rice mixed with yogurt and offered Caitanya dasa the remnants of His food.
The four months of Caturmasya passed in this manner, with the Lord accepting invitations from His devotees. Because of a heavy schedule of invitations, however, some of the Vaisnavas could not get an open day on which to invite the Lord.
Gadadhara Pandita and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya had fixed dates on which Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would accept their invitations every month.
Gopinatha Acarya, Jagadananda, Kasisvara, Bhagavan, Ramabhadracarya, Sankara and Vakresvara, who were all brahmanas, extended invitations to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and offered Him food cooked at home, whereas other devotees would pay two panas of small conchshells to purchase Jagannatha's prasada and then invite the Lord.
At first the cost of Jagannatha prasada for an invitation was four panas of conchshells, but when Ramacandra Puri was there, the price was cut in half.
The devotees who came from Bengal stayed with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for four consecutive months, and then the Lord bade them farewell. After the Bengali devotees departed, the devotees who were the Lord's constant companions at Jagannatha Puri stayed with the Lord.
Thus I have described how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted invitations and how He accepted and tasted the prasada offered by His devotees.
In the midst of that narration are descriptions of Raghava Pandita's bags of food and the dancing in the temple of Jagannatha.
One who hears about the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with faith and love will certainly attain ecstatic love for the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu without fail.
Narrations of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's activities are just like nectar to hear. Indeed, they satisfy both the ears and mind. One who tastes the nectar of these activities is certainly very fortunate.
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, Antya-lila, Tenth Chapter, describing how Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu tasted the prasada offered by His devotees."
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya lila 10:134-162
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
Crispy Diced Eggplant with Bitter Neem Leaves
Eggplant, 1 Medium
Turmeric, 2 Teaspoons
Ghee, 1/2 Cup
Lemon juice, 1 Teaspoon
(Because Neem flowers are so difficult to get outside of India, replace them with a little spinach anad 1/2 tsp. powdered Fenugreek seeds.)
Cut the eggplant into slices. Toss well to coat in the salt and turmeric, and let set for 15 or 20 minutes. Heat the ghee in a frying pan and fry the eggplant until crispy and browned. When nearly cooked, add the powdered Neem or Fenugreek and toss well, cooking for another minute. (Overcooking well make the preparation too bitter.) Deglaze the pan with a spritz of fresh lemon juice to get the brown juices.