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Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Travels to Vrindavana

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<font face="Georgia" color=darkgreen><blockquote>




(Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila, Chapter 17)



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gacchan vRndAvanaM gauro

vyAghrebhaiNa-khagAn vane

premonmattAn sahonnRtyAn

vidadhe kRSNa-jalpinaH</center>

“Going to Vrindavana, Gaura made the tigers, elephants, deers and birds of the forest dance and chant the name of Krishna, maddened by prema!”</blockquote>All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Lord Nityananda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to all the devotees of the Lord!


When autumn arrived, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu decided to go to Vrindavana. In a solitary place, He consulted with Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami.  The Lord requested Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami to help Him go to Vrindavana. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I shall leave early in the morning and go incognito, taking the road through the forest. I shall go alone—I shall not take anyone with Me. If someone wants to follow Me, please stop him. I don’t want anyone to go with Me.  Please give Me your permission with great pleasure and do not be unhappy. If you are happy, I shall be happy on My way to Vrindavana.”


Upon hearing this, Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami replied, “Dear Lord, You are completely independent. Since You are not dependent on anyone, You will do whatever You desire. Dear Lord, kindly hear our one petition. You have already said that You will derive happiness from our happiness. This is Your own statement. If You will please accept just one request, we shall be very, very happy. Our Lord, please take one very nice brahmana with You. He will collect alms for You, cook for You, give You prasadam and carry Your waterpot while traveling. When You go through the jungle, there will be no brahmana available from whom You can accept lunch. Therefore please give permission for at least one pure brahmana to accompany You.”


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I shall not take any of My associates with Me, because if I choose someone, all the others will be unhappy. Such a person must be a new man, and he must have a peaceful mind. If I can obtain such a man, I shall agree to take him with Me.”


Svarupa Damodara then said, “Here is Balabhadra Bhattacarya, who has great love for You. He is an honest, learned scholar, and he is advanced in spiritual consciousness. In the beginning, he came with You from Bengal. It is his desire to visit and see all the holy places of pilgrimage. In addition, You may take another brahmana who will act as a servant en route and make arrangements for Your food. If You can also take him with You, we will be very happy. If two people go with You through the jungle, there will certainly be no difficulty or inconvenience. The other brahmana can carry Your cloth and waterpot, and Balabhadra Bhattacarya will collect alms and cook for You.”


Thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the request of Svarupa Damodara Pandita and agreed to take Balabhadra Bhattacarya with Him. On the previous night, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had visited Lord Jagannatha and taken His permission. Now, near the end of the night, the Lord got up and started immediately. He was not seen by others.


Because the Lord had departed, the devotees, unable to see Him early in the morning, began to search for Him with great anxiety. While all the devotees were searching for the Lord, Svarupa Damodara restrained them. Then everyone fell silent, knowing the mind of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord abandoned walking on the well-known public road and went instead along a bypass. He thus kept the city of Kataka on His right as He entered the forest.


When the Lord passed through the solitary forest chanting the holy name of Krishna, the tigers and elephants, seeing Him, gave way. When the Lord passed through the jungle in great ecstasy, packs of tigers, elephants, rhinoceros and boars came, and the Lord passed right through them. Balabhadra Bhattacarya was very much afraid to see them, but by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s influence, all the animals stood to one side.


One day a tiger was lying on the path, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, walking along the path in ecstatic love, touched the tiger with His feet. The Lord said, “Chant the holy name of Krishna!” The tiger immediately got up and began to dance and to chant “Krishna! Krishna!” Another day, while Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was bathing in a river, a herd of maddened elephants came there to drink water. While the Lord was bathing and murmuring the Gayatri mantra, the elephants came before Him. The Lord immediately splashed some water on the elephants and asked them to chant the name of Krishna. The elephants whose bodies were touched by the water splashed by the Lord began to chant “Krishna! Krishna!” and dance and sing in ecstasy. Some of the elephants fell to the ground, and some shouted in ecstasy. Seeing this, Balabhadra Bhattacarya was completely astonished. Sometimes Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted very loudly while passing through the jungle. Hearing His sweet voice, all the does came near Him.


Hearing the Lord’s great vibration, all the does followed Him left and right. While reciting a verse with great curiosity, the Lord patted them.


<center>dhanyAH sma mUDha-matayo ’pi hariNya etA

yA nanda-nandanam upAtta-vicitra-vezam

AkarNya veNu-raNitaM saha-kRSNa-sArAH

pUjAM dadhur viracitAM praNayAvalokaiH</center>

“Blessed are all these foolish deer because they have approached Maharaja Nanda’s son, who is gorgeously dressed and is playing on His flute. Indeed, both the does and the bucks worship the Lord with looks of love and affection.”


While Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was passing through the jungle, five or seven tigers came. Joining the deer, the tigers began to follow the Lord. Seeing the tigers and deer following Him, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately remembered the land of Vrindavana. He then began to recite a verse describing the transcendental quality of Vrindavana.


<center>yatra naisarga-durvairAH

sahAsan nR-mRgAdayaH



“Vrindavana is the transcendental abode of the Lord. There is no hunger, anger or thirst there. Though naturally inimical, human beings and fierce animals live together there in transcendental friendship.”


When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said “Chant ‘Krishna! Krishna!’” the tigers and deer began to chant “Krishna!” and dance. When all the tigers and does danced and jumped, Balabhadra Bhattacarya saw them and was struck with wonder. Indeed, the tigers and deer began to embrace one another, and touching mouths, they began to kiss. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw all this fun, He began to smile. Finally He left the animals and continued on His way.


Various birds, including the peacock, saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and began to follow Him, chanting and dancing. They were all maddened by the holy name of Krishna. When the Lord loudly chanted “Haribol!” the trees and creepers became jubilant to hear Him. Thus all living entities in the forest of Jharikhanda—some moving and some standing still—became maddened by hearing the holy name of Lord Krishna vibrated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

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In all the villages through which the Lord passed and in all the places He rested on His journey, everyone was purified and awakened to ecstatic love of God. When someone heard the chanting of the holy name from the mouth of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and someone else heard this chanting from that second person, and someone again heard this chanting from the third person, everyone in all countries became a Vaisnava through such disciplic succession. Thus everyone chanted the holy name of Krishna and Hari, and they danced, cried and smiled.


The Lord did not always manifest His ecstasy. Being afraid of a great assembly of people, the Lord kept His ecstasy concealed. Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not manifest His natural ecstatic love, everyone became a pure devotee simply by seeing and hearing Him. In this way, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally toured Bengal, East Bengal, Orissa and the southern countries, and He delivered all kinds of people by spreading Krishna consciousness.


When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Jharikhanda on His way to Mathura, He found that the people there were almost uncivilized and were devoid of God consciousness. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave even the Bheels an opportunity to chant the holy name and come to the platform of ecstatic love. Thus He delivered all of them. Who has the power to understand the transcendental pastimes of the Lord?


When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu passed through the Jharikhanda forest, He took it for granted that it was Vrindavana. When He passed over the hills, He took it for granted that they were Govardhana. Similarly, whenever Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw a river, He immediately accepted it as the river Yamuna. Thus while in the forest He was filled with great ecstatic love, and He danced and fell down crying.


Along the way, Balabhadra Bhattacarya collected all kinds of spinach, roots and fruit whenever possible. Whenever Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited a village, a few brahmanas—five or seven—would come and extend invitations to the Lord. Some people would bring grain and deliver it to Balabhadra Bhattacarya. Others would bring milk and yogurt, and still others would bring ghee and sugar. In some villages there were no brahmanas; nonetheless, devotees born in non-brahmana families came and extended invitations to Balabhadra Bhattacarya.


Balabhadra Bhattacarya used to cook all kinds of vegetables gathered from the forest, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to accept these preparations. He used to keep a stock of food grain that would last from two to four days. Where there were no people, he would cook the grain and prepare vegetables, spinach, roots and fruits collected from the forest.


The Lord was always very happy to eat these forest vegetables, and He was even happier when He had an opportunity to stay in a solitary place. Balabhadra Bhattacarya was so affectionate to the Lord that he was rendering service just like a menial servant. His assistant brahmana carried the waterpot and garments. The Lord used to bathe three times a day in the warm water of the waterfalls. He also used to heat Himself morning and evening with a fire made with the limitless wood.


While traveling in this secluded forest and feeling very happy, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: “My dear Bhattacarya, I have traveled very far through the forest, and I have not even slightly received any trouble. Krishna is very merciful, especially to Me. He has shown His mercy by bringing Me on this path through the forest. Thus He has given Me great pleasure. Before this, I decided to go to Vrindavana and on the way see My mother, the river Ganges and other devotees once again. I thought that once again I would see and meet all the devotees and take them with Me to Vrindavana.


Thus I went to Bengal, and I was very happy to see My mother, the river Ganges and the devotees. However, when I started for Vrindavana, many thousands and millions of people gathered and began to go with Me. Thus I was going to Vrindavana with a big crowd, but through the mouth of Sanatana, Krishna taught Me a lesson. Thus by making some impediment, He has brought Me on a path through the forest to Vrindavana. Krishna is an ocean of mercy. He is especially merciful to the poor and fallen. Without His mercy, there is no possibility of happiness.”


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Balabhadra Bhattacarya and told him, “It is only by your kindness that I am now so happy.”


Balabhadra Bhattacarya replied, “My dear Lord, You are Krishna Himself, and therefore You are merciful. I am a fallen living entity, but You have bestowed a great favor upon me. Sir, I am most fallen, yet You have brought me with You. Showing great mercy, You have accepted food prepared by me. You have made me Your carrier Garuda, although I am no better than a condemned crow. Thus You are the independent Personality of Godhead, the original Lord.


<center>mUkaM karoti vAcAlaM

paGguM laGghayate girim

yat-kRpA tam ahaM vande


“The Supreme Personality of Godhead has the form of sac-cid-ananda-vigraha—transcendental bliss, knowledge and eternity. I offer my respectful obeisances unto Him, who turns the dumb into eloquent speakers and enables the lame to cross mountains. Such is the mercy of the Lord.”


In this way Balabhadra Bhattacarya offered his prayers to the Lord. By rendering service unto Him in ecstatic love, He pacified the Lord’s mind. Finally the Lord arrived with great happiness at the holy place called Kasi. There He took His bath in the bathing ghat known as Manikarnika.


At that time, Tapana Misra was taking his bath in the Ganges, and he was astonished to see the Lord there. Tapana Misra then began to think, “I have heard that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has accepted the renounced order.” Thinking this, Tapana Misra became very jubilant within his heart. He then clasped the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and began to cry. The Lord raised him up and embraced him. Tapana Misra then took Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to visit the temple of Visvesvara. Coming from there, they saw the lotus feet of Lord Bindu Madhava. With great pleasure Tapana Misra brought Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home and rendered service unto Him. Indeed, he began to dance, waving his cloth. He washed the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and afterwards he and his whole family drank the wash water. He also worshiped Balabhadra Bhattacarya and showed him respect.


Tapana Misra invited Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to take lunch at his home, and he had Balabhadra Bhattacarya cook. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took His rest after lunch, the son of Tapana Misra, named Raghu, used to massage His legs. The remnants of food left by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were taken by the whole family of Tapana Misra. When news spread that the Lord had come, Candrasekhara came to see Him. Candrasekhara happened to be a friend of Tapana Misra’s, and he was long known to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as His servant. He was a physician by caste, and by profession he was a clerk. At the time he was living in Varanasi.


When Candresekhara came there, he fell down before the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and began to cry. The Lord, standing up, embraced him out of His causeless mercy. Candrasekhara said, “My dear Lord, You have bestowed Your causeless mercy upon me because I am Your old servant. Indeed, You have come here personally to give me Your audience. Due to my past deeds, I am residing at Varanasi, but here I do not hear anything but the words ‘maya’ and ‘Brahman.’”


Candrasekhara continued, “There is no talk at Varanasi other than discussions on the six philosophical theses. Nonetheless, Tapana Misra has been very kind to me, for he speaks about topics relating to Lord Krishna. My dear Lord, we two think of Your lotus feet incessantly. Although You are the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, You have granted us Your audience. My Lord, I have heard that You are going to Vrindavana. Please stay here at Varanasi for some days and deliver us, for we are Your two servants.”


Tapana Misra then said, “My dear Lord, as long as You stay at Varanasi, please do not accept any invitation other than mine.” Even though He had not made such a plan, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu remained for ten days at Varanasi, being obligated by the requests of His two servants.


At Varanasi there was a Maharashtriyan brahmana who used to come daily to see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This brahmana was simply astonished to see the Lord’s personal beauty and ecstatic love for Krishna. When the brahmanas of Varanasi would invite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to lunch, the Lord would not accept their invitations. He would reply, “I have already been invited somewhere else.”


Every day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu refused their invitations because He feared associating with Mayavadi sannyasis.


There was a great Mayavadi sannyasi named Prakasananda Sarasvati, who used to teach Vedanta philosophy to a great assembly of followers. A brahmana who saw the wonderful behavior of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Prakasananda Sarasvati and described the Lord’s characteristics.


The brahmana told Prakasananda Sarasvati, “There is a sannyasi who has come from Jagannatha Puri, and I cannot describe His wonderful influence and glories. Everything is wonderful about that sannyasi. He has a very well built and luxuriant body, and His complexion is like purified gold. He has arms that extend to His knees, and His eyes are like the petals of a lotus. In His person are all the transcendental symptoms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one sees all these features, one takes Him to be Narayana Himself. Whoever sees Him immediately begins to chant the holy name of Krishna. We have heard about the symptoms of a first- class devotee in Srimad- Bhagavatam, and all those symptoms are manifest in the body of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. His tongue is always chanting the holy name of Krishna, and from His eyes tears incessantly fall like the flowing Ganges. Sometimes He dances, laughs, sings and cries, and sometimes He roars like a lion. His name, Krishna Caitanya, is all- auspicious for the world. Everything about Him—His name, form and qualities—is unparalleled. Simply by seeing Him, one understands that He possesses all the characteristics of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such characteristics are certainly uncommon. Who will believe it?”


Prakasananda Sarasvati laughed very much to hear this description. Joking and laughing at the brahmana, he began to speak as follows. “Yes, I have heard about Him. He is a sannyasi from Bengal, and He is very sentimental. I have also heard that He belongs to the Bharati-sampradaya, for He is a disciple of Kesava Bharati. However, He is only a pretender. I know that His name is Caitanya and that He is accompanied by many sentimentalists. His followers dance with Him, and He tours from country to country and village to village. Whoever sees Him accepts Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since He has some mystic power by which He hypnotizes people, everyone who sees Him becomes illusioned. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was a very learned scholar, but I have heard that he also has become a madman due to his association with this Caitanya. This Caitanya is a sannyasi in name only. Actually He is a first-class magician. In any case, His sentimentalism cannot be very much in demand here in Kasi. Do not go to see Caitanya. Just continue hearing Vedanta. If you associate with upstarts, you will be lost in this world and in the next.”


When the brahmana heard Prakasananda Sarasvati speak like this about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he became very much grief-stricken. Chanting the holy name of Krishna, he immediately left. The mind of the brahmana was already purified by his seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He therefore went to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and described what had taken place before the Mayavadi sannyasi Prakasananda. Hearing this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu mildly smiled.


The brahmana then spoke again to the Lord: “As soon as I uttered Your name before him, he immediately confirmed the fact that he knew Your name. While finding fault with You, he uttered Your name three times, saying ‘Caitanya, Caitanya, Caitanya.’ Although he spoke Your name three times, he did not utter the name ‘Krishna.’ Because he uttered Your name in contempt, I was very much aggrieved. Why could Prakasananda not utter the names ‘Krishna’ and ‘Hari’? He chanted the name ‘Caitanya’ thrice. As far as I am concerned, simply by seeing You I am moved to chant the holy names ‘Krishna’ and ‘Hari.’”


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “The Mayavadis are offenders unto Lord Krishna; therefore they simply utter the words ‘Brahman,’ ‘atma’ and ‘caitanya.’


“Because they are offenders unto Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is identical with His holy name, the holy name ‘Krishna’ does not manifest in their mouths. The Lord’s holy name, His form and His personality are all one and the same. There is no difference between them. Since all of them are absolute, they are all transcendentally blissful. There is no difference between Krishna’s body and Himself or between His name and Himself. But as far as the conditioned soul is concerned, one’s name is different from one’s body, from one’s original form and so on.


<center>nAma cintAmaNiH kRSNaz


pUrNaH zuddho nitya-mukto

’bhinnatvAn nAma-nAminoH</center>

‘The holy name of Krishna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krishna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krishna’s name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krishna Himself. Since Krishna’s name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krishna’s name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krishna and Krishna Himself are identical.’


The holy name of Krishna, His body and His pastimes cannot be understood by the blunt material senses. They are manifested independently. Krishna’s holy name, transcendental qualities and transcendental pastimes are all equal to Lord Krishna Himself. They are all spiritual and full of bliss. Therefore material senses cannot appreciate Krishna’s holy name, form, qualities and pastimes. When a conditioned soul is awakened to Krishna consciousness and renders service by using his tongue to chant the Lord’s holy name and taste the remnants of the Lord’s food, the tongue is purified, and one gradually comes to understand who Krishna really is. The mellows of Lord Krishna’s pastimes, which are full of bliss, attract the jnani from the pleasure of Brahman realization and conquer him.


<center>sva-sukha-nibhRta-cetAs tad vyudastAnya-bhAvo

’py ajita-rucira-lIlAkRSTa-sAras tadIyam

vyatanuta kRpayA yas tattva-dIpaM purANaM

tam akhila-vRjina-ghnaM vyAsa-sUnuM nato ’smi</center>

‘Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, the son of Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami. It is he who defeats all inauspicious things within this universe. Although in the beginning he was absorbed in the happiness of Brahman realization and was living in a secluded place, giving up all other types of consciousness, he became attracted by the most melodious pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna. He therefore mercifully spoke the supreme Purana, known as Srimad- Bhagavatam, which is the bright light of the Absolute Truth and which describes the activities of Lord Krishna.’


The transcendental qualities of Sri Krishna are completely blissful and relishable. Consequently Lord Krishna’s qualities attract even the minds of self- realized persons from the bliss of self- realization. Those who are self- satisfied and unattracted by external material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Sri Krishna, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Krishna because He has such transcendentally attractive features. Apart from the pastimes of Lord Krishna, when tulasi leaves are offered at the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, even the aroma of the leaves attracts the minds of self- realized persons.


<center>tasyAravinda-nayanasya padAravinda-


antar-gataH sva-vivareNa cakAra teSAM

saGkSobham akSara-juSAm api citta-tanvoH</center>

‘When the breeze carrying the aroma of tulasi leaves and saffron from the lotus feet of the lotus- eyed Personality of Godhead entered through the nostrils into the hearts of those sages [the Kumaras], they experienced a change in both body and mind, even though they were attached to the impersonal Brahman understanding.’


Because the Mayavadis are great offenders and atheistic philosophers, the holy name of Krishna does not come from their mouths. I have come here to sell My emotional ecstatic sentiments in this city of Kasi, but I cannot find any customers. If they are not sold, I must take them back home.


I have brought a heavy load to sell in this city. To take it back again is a very difficult job; therefore if I get but a fraction of the price, I shall sell it here in this city of Kasi.”


After saying this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted that brahmana as His devotee. The next morning, rising very early, the Lord started for Mathura. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu started for Mathura, all three devotees started to go with Him. But the Lord forbade them to accompany Him, and from a distance He asked them to return home. Feeling separation from the Lord, the three used to meet and glorify the holy qualities of the Lord. Thus they were absorbed in ecstatic love.


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then went to Prayaga, where He bathed at the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna. He then visited the temple of Veni Madhava and chanted and danced there in ecstatic love. As soon as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw the river Yamuna, He threw Himself into it. Balabhadra Bhattacarya hastily caught the Lord and very carefully raised Him up again.


The Lord stayed at Prayaga for three days. He delivered the holy name of Krishna and ecstatic love. Thus He delivered many people. Wherever the Lord stopped to rest on the way to Mathura, He delivered the holy name of Krishna and ecstatic love of Krishna. Thus He made the people dance. When the Lord toured South India, He delivered many people, and when He traveled in the western sector, He similarly converted many people to Vaisnavism.

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While the Lord was going to Mathura, He came across the river Yamuna several times, and as soon as He saw the river Yamuna, He would immediately jump in, falling unconscious in the water in the ecstasy of love of Krishna. When He approached Mathura and saw the city, He immediately fell to the ground and offered obeisances with great ecstatic love. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered the city of Mathura, He took His bath at Visrama- ghata. He then visited the birthplace of Krishna and saw the Deity named Kesavaji. He offered His respectful obeisances to this Deity. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted, danced and made loud vibrations, all the people were astonished to see His ecstatic love.


One brahmana fell at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and then began to dance with Him in ecstatic love. The two of them danced in ecstatic love and embraced each other. Raising their arms, they said, “Chant the holy names of Hari and Krishna!” All the people then began to chant, “Hari! Hari!” and there was a great uproar. The priest in Lord Kesava’s service offered Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu a garland.


When the people saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s dancing and chanting, they were struck with wonder, and they all said, “Such transcendental love is never an ordinary thing.” The people said, “Simply by seeing Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, everyone is maddened with love of Krishna. Indeed, everyone is laughing, crying, dancing, chanting and taking the holy name of Krishna.


“Certainly Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is in all respects the incarnation of Lord Krishna. Now He has come to Mathura to deliver everyone.” After this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took the brahmana aside. Sitting in a solitary place, the Lord began to question him. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You are an elderly brahmana, you are sincere, and you are advanced in spiritual life. Wherefrom have you gotten this transcendental opulence of ecstatic love for Krishna?”


The brahmana replied, “His Holiness Srila Madhavendra Puri came to the city of Mathura while he was on tour. While at Mathura, Sripada Madhavendra Puri visited my house and accepted me as a disciple. He even took lunch at my home. After installing the Deity of Gopala, Srila Madhavendra Puri rendered Him service. That very Deity is still being worshiped at Govardhana Hill.”


As soon as Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard about Madhavendra Puri’s relationship with the brahmana, He immediately offered obeisances at his feet. Becoming fearful, the brahmana also immediately fell at the Lord’s feet. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You are on the platform of My spiritual master, and I am your disciple. Since you are My spiritual master, it is not befitting that you offer Me obeisances.”


Upon hearing this, the brahmana became afraid. He then said, “Why do You speak like this? You are a sannyasi. Upon seeing Your ecstatic love, I can just imagine that You must have some relationship with Madhavendra Puri. This is my understanding. This kind of ecstatic love can be experienced only when one has a relationship with Madhavendra Puri. Without him, even a scent of such transcendental ecstatic love is impossible.”


Balabhadra Bhattacarya then explained the relationship between Madhavendra Puri and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. After hearing this, the brahmana became very pleased and began to dance. The brahmana then took Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home and, out of his own free will, began to serve the Lord in various ways. He asked Balabhadra Bhattacarya to cook Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lunch. At that time the Lord, smiling, spoke as follows: “Madhavendra Puri has already taken lunch at your place. Therefore you may cook and give Me the food. That is My instruction.”


<center>yad yad Acarati zreSThas

tat tad evetaro janaH

sa yat pramANaM kurute

lokas tad anuvartate</center>

“Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.”


The brahmana belonged to the Sanodiya brahmana community, and a sannyasi does not accept food from such a brahmana. Although the brahmana belonged to the Sanodiya community, Srila Madhavendra Puri had seen that he behaved like a Vaisnava and had therefore accepted him as his disciple. The food he had cooked had also been accepted by Madhavendra Puri. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu willingly requested food from the brahmana, and the brahmana, feeling natural humility, began to speak as follows: “It is a great fortune for me to offer You food. You are the Supreme Lord, and being in the transcendental position, You are not restricted in any way. Foolish people will blaspheme You, but I shall not tolerate the words of such mischievous people.”


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “The Vedas, Puranas and great learned sages are not always in agreement with one another. Consequently there are different religious principles. A devotee’s behavior establishes the true purpose of religious principles. The behavior of Madhavendra Puri Gosvami is the essence of such religious principles.”


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, “Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self- realized person. Consequently, as the sastras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahajanas advocate.”


After this discussion, the brahmana served lunch to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then all the people residing in Mathura came to see the Lord. People came by the hundreds of thousands, and no one could count them. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came out of the house to give audience to the people. When the people assembled, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu raised His arms and said very loudly, “Haribol!” The people responded to the Lord and became ecstatic. As if mad, they began to dance and to vibrate the transcendental sound “Hari!”


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bathed in the twenty-four ghats along the banks of the Yamuna, and the brahmana showed Him all the places of pilgrimage. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited all the holy places on the banks of the Yamuna, including Svayambhu, Visrama-ghata, Dirgha Visnu, Bhutesvara, Mahavidya and Gokarna. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to see the various forests of Vrindavana, He took the brahmana with Him. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited the different forests, including Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudavana and Bahulavana. Wherever He went, He took His bath with great ecstatic love.


When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu passed through Vrindavana, herds of grazing cows saw Him pass and, immediately surrounding Him, began to moo very loudly. Seeing the herds approach Him, the Lord was stunned with ecstatic love. The cows then began to lick His body out of great affection. Becoming pacified, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to caress the cows, and the cows, being unable to give up His company, went with Him. It was only with great difficulty that the cowherd men were able to keep the cows back.


Then when the Lord chanted, all the deer heard His sweet voice and approached Him. When the does and bucks came and saw the Lord’s face, they began to lick His body. Not being at all afraid of Him, they accompanied Him along the path. Bumblebees and birds like the parrot and cuckoo all began to sing loudly on the fifth note, and the peacocks began to dance in front of the Lord.


Upon seeing Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the trees and creepers of Vrindavana became jubilant. Their twigs stood up, and they began to shed tears of ecstasy in the form of honey. The tree branches and creepers, overloaded with fruits and flowers, fell down at the lotus feet of the Lord and greeted Him with various presentations as if they were friends. Thus all the moving and nonmoving living entities of Vrindavana became very jubilant to see the Lord. It was as if friends were made happy by seeing another friend.


Seeing their affection, the Lord was moved by ecstatic love. He began to sport with them exactly as a friend sports with his friends. Thus He voluntarily came under the control of His friends. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to embrace each and every tree and creeper, and they began to offer their fruits and flowers as if in meditation. The Lord’s body was restless, and tears, trembling and jubilation were manifest. He said very loudly, “Chant ‘Krishna!’ Chant ‘Krishna!’”


All moving and nonmoving creatures then began to vibrate the transcendental sound of Hare Krishna, as if they were echoing the deep sound of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The Lord then clasped the necks of the deer and began to cry. There was jubilation manifest in the bodies of the deer, and tears were in their eyes.


When a male and female parrot appeared on the branches of a tree, the Lord saw them and wanted to hear them speak. Both parrots flew onto the hand of the Lord and began to chant the transcendental qualities of Krishna, and the Lord listened to them.


<center>saundaryaM lalanAli-dhairya-dalanaM lIlA ramA-stambhinI

vIryaM kandukitAdri-varyam amalAH pAre-parArdhaM guNAH

zIlaM sarva-janAnuraJjanam aho yasyAyam asmat-prabhur

vizvaM vizva-janIna-kIrtir avatAt kRSNo jagan-mohanaH</center>

The male parrot sang, “The glorification of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beneficial to everyone in the universe. His beauty is victorious over the gopis of Vrindavana, and it subdues their patience. His pastimes astound the goddess of fortune, and His bodily strength turns Govardhana Hill into a small toy like a ball. His spotless qualities are unlimited, and His behavior satisfies everyone. Lord Krishna is attractive to everyone. Oh, may our Lord maintain the whole universe!”


After hearing this description of Lord Krishna from the male parrot, the female parrot began to recite a description of Srimati Radharani.


<center>zrI-rAdhikAyAH priyatA su-rUpatA

su-zIlatA nartana-gAna-cAturI

guNAli-sampat kavitA ca rAjate


The female parrot said, “Srimati Radharani’s affection, Her exquisite beauty and good behavior, Her artistic dancing and chanting and Her poetic compositions are all so attractive that they attract the mind of Krishna, who attracts the mind of everyone in the universe.”


Thereafter the male parrot said, “Krishna is the enchanter of the mind of Cupid.” He then began to recite another verse.


<center>vaMzI-dhArI jagan-nArI-

citta-hArI sa zArike

vihArI gopa-nArIbhir

jIyAn madana-mohanaH</center>

“My dear sari [female parrot], Sri Krishna carries a flute and enchants the hearts of all women throughout the universe. He is specifically the enjoyer of the beautiful gopis, and He is the enchanter of Cupid also. Let Him be glorified!”


Then the female parrot began to speak jokingly to the male parrot, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was struck with wonderful ecstatic love to hear her speak.


<center>rAdhA-saGge yadA bhAti

tadA ‘madana-mohanaH’

anyathA vizva-moho ’pi

svayaM ‘madana-mohitaH’</center>

“When Lord Sri Krishna is with Radharani, He is the enchanter of Cupid; otherwise, when He is alone, He Himself is enchanted by erotic feelings even though He enchants the whole universe.”


Both parrots then flew onto a tree branch, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to watch the dancing of the peacocks with curiosity. When the Lord saw the bluish necks of the peacocks, His remembrance of Krishna immediately awakened, and He fell to the ground in ecstatic love. When the brahmana saw that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was unconscious, he and Balabhadra Bhattacarya took care of Him.


They hastily sprinkled water over the Lord’s body. Then they took up His outer cloth and began to fan Him with it. They then began to chant the holy name of Krishna into the Lord’s ear. When the Lord regained consciousness, He began rolling on the ground. When the Lord rolled on the ground, sharp thorns injured His body. Taking Him on his lap, Balabhadra Bhattacarya pacified Him.


The mind of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wandered in ecstatic love of Krishna. He immediately stood up and said, “Chant! Chant!” Then He Himself began to dance. Being thus ordered by the Lord, both Balabhadra Bhattacarya and the brahmana began to chant the holy name of Krishna. Then the Lord, dancing and dancing, proceeded along the path. The brahmana was astounded to see the symptoms of ecstatic love exhibited by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He then became anxious to give the Lord protection.


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mind was absorbed in ecstatic love at Jagannatha Puri, but when He passed along the road on the way to Vrindavana, that love increased a hundred times. The Lord’s ecstatic love increased a thousand times when He visited Mathura, but it increased a hundred thousand times when He wandered in the forests of Vrindavana.


When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was elsewhere, the very name of Vrindavana was sufficient to increase His ecstatic love. Now, when He was actually traveling in the Vrindavana forest, His mind was absorbed in great ecstatic love day and night. He ate and bathed simply out of habit.


Thus I have written a description of the ecstatic love Lord Caitanya manifested in one of the places He visited while walking through the twelve forests of Vrindavana. To describe what He experienced everywhere would be impossible. Lord Ananta writes millions of books elaborately describing the transformations of ecstatic love experienced by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Vrindavana. Since Lord Ananta Himself cannot describe even a fragment of these pastimes, I am simply pointing out the direction. The whole world became merged in the inundation of the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One can swim in that water to the extent that he has the strength.


Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krishnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.


<center>(Adapted from the BBT edition of Sri Caitanya Caritamrita)</center>

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