…we get a whole chapter of Madhavendra Puri’s story and it’s all about Madhavendra Puri and discovering the Deity at Govardhana and we sort of think, “Well, what does this have to do Lord Caitanya going to Jagannatha puri?” So is a flask-back sort of.
All right, it begins to tell the story of Madhavendra Puri, how he discovered the Deity at Govardhana and how after he worshiped the Deity very nicely and installed the Deity at Govardhana and how the Deity said, “I’m still very hot.” And how He wanted that Madhavendra Puri would bring some sandalwood paste to cover His whole body with sandalwood paste. So Madhavendra Puri traveled a long distance for sandalwood. Now, that was coming from the Malayan hills, nowadays it is known as Malaysia, but he didn’t have to go all the way there because in Puri they had a good stock from Malaysia. So then Madhavendra Puri went to Puri. So then you get this whole description that on the way he came to Remuna and then you get the story of Remuna and how the Deity was there and how He wanted that special kheer- the stuff you boil down, which is called…Amrta keli! (audience) Amrta keli- ha, I’ve spoken about that before! So anyway, it goes through that place Remuna and we get that whole story.
Then in the next chapter of Caitanya Caritamrta you get again, another story- unrelated story- about Saksi Gopala: Once long, long ago there were two brahamana’s- older, younger one- they went to Vrndavana, younger one served the older one, older one very happy and said, “Oh you must marry my daughter,” “No dear brahmana, you are very rich, I’m very poor. Don’t give me your daughter, will give trouble in your family,”
“Don’t worry, I will deal with my family. Everything fine. Take my daughter.” “Well dear brahmana, if you mean it then go before Gopala who is our witness- Saksi Gopala.” So a whole chapter about Saksi Gopala, and of course, old brahmana comes back, his son is a real creep who is absolutely causing real trouble, manipulates…and the whole family is sort of claiming that they’re going to commit suicide and they forced the father to say that the young brahmana gave him datura and made him like totally confused and that he doesn’t know anymore what was going on. So all this lying and cheating is going on. Young brahmana goes off to Vrndavana all the way and brings Gopala and yes, Gopala is walking behind him all the way but not allowed to look back and “How do I know You’re following me?” “You’ll hear it by My ankle bells” then at one point, when they come close to home, he heard no ankle bells!
“No ankle bells- where is Gopala!” and the Deity stood there and stopped and the young brahmana said, “But we’re not there yet.”
And the Deity said, “Don’t worry, I’ll stay here but you go bring the villagers and this will so the job.”
So he did bring the villagers, they came and sure enough, sure enough everyone was amazed and they all knew it, Gopala confirmed the whole thing and so on. And the old brahmana was happy and you know, and then there was a marriage and they lived happily ever after! And you know the story- hmmm, wonderful!
Yes, very nice. So we have these stories and then it continues again with Lord Caitanya! So we had these two flash-back stories sort of “well, I guess a little background information may be…” No, no no no, oh no! No, because Remuna is about one third from Bengal towards Orissa, ha, and the location of Saksi Gopala is about more than two thirds. So with these stories we are actually going to Jagannatha Puri! Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami takes us to Jagannatha Puri but he’s not only taking us to Jagannatha Puri, he has also shown in these two stories, they are two stories about devotees relating to the Deity and the Deity does more than just standing there and receiving the incense and the flowers and looking beautiful with a wonderful smile and giving His blessings and all His mercy and so many things; the Deities do more- They talk, They walk, They appear in dreams, They’re directly showing that They are directly Krsna.
So, Lord Caitanya went to Jagannatha Puri with these two stories and Krsnadas Kaviraja takes us with these stories to Puri and at the same time he times us for what is coming- that Lord Caitanya comes in the Jagannatha temple and He sees Lord Jagannatha and then Lord Caitanya jumps, jumps towards the altar to embrace the Deities but crashes to the ground unconscious just before because He is seeing that the Deities are non-different from Krsna!
“I already knew that because in the previous chapter we sort of learnt that, that the Deities are indeed non-different from Krsna. So in this way Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami has in a very brilliant way timed us for Lord Caitanya’s arrival in Jagannatha Puri. If I’m continuing and tell you the whole Caitanya Caritamrta I guess it becomes a seminar! It becomes more than a lecture- it becomes a series of lecturers or it becomes a sit. If you really want to hear Caitanya lila, then you have to come for breakfast and we’ll sit till lunch but don’t worry, we’ll have kirtana’s in between to stretch the legs and work up the appetite.
And then by the evening, maybe, maybe we will come to the end of the Caitanya Caritamrta!
Then we come maybe, as we are approaching the end, we will come to the chapter where Lord Caitanya is telling Pradyumna Misra, a pious brahmana, who has come to Him and who has requested Him, “Please, tell me something about Krsna.”
Lord Caitanya says, “What do I know about Krsna? I don’t know anything about Krsna. If you want to hear about Krsna, you should hear from Ramananda Raya because I am hearing also from Ramananda Raya about Krsna.”
So alright, Pradyumna Misra off to Ramananda Raya, who was a governor, he comes in his huge house and this that, and well, he has to wait, he has to wait and he has to wait for a long time and he asks his servant, “Does he have any time? Is it going to happen today or what? Am I going to meet him?”
And after a while he asks, “Is he still busy?” And the servant says, “Yes he’s very busy. He is training these young girls; he has written a drama- the ‘Jagannatha-vallabha Natarka’- and in this drama there are girls who are dancing and he’s teaching these girls how to dress as gopis and he is personally helping them to dress: he’s massaging their bodies with oil, bathing them, massaging their bodies with oils, then dressing them and then teaching them to dance…” and Pradyumna Misra goes, “Bathing them? Young girls? Massaging bodies with oil? Personally dressing them? Then teaching how to dance? I see, I see…very good…thank you…I will come back tomorrow…”
“No, no, no, no problem, just wait! He will be seeing you very soon now. He’s sent a message, he will be right there.” So the brahmana was still waiting. Finally he saw Ramananda Raya then and Ramananda Raya said, “My dear brahmana, I’m so blessed that you have come to my house. Please have a seat. How can I serve you?” and the brahmana goes, “No, no. That’s fine…(gulp)…I’m very happy that I’ve seen you. That’s really all I wanted…(gulp) thank you so much, I’ve got to go…”
He’s thinking, “Oh my God, Ramananda Raya! Everybody knows him as a great devotee and now the truth is coming out.” So the next day Lord Caitanya was asking, “Did you hear from Ramananda Raya?” “Well, I’ll tell you some thing about Ramananda Raya…” and Lord Caitanya said, “Yes, that is Ramananda Raya. He is so transcendental; he can do like that. No one else can do it. Even I Myself, if I see the wooden form of a women, I notice changes in My body, I notices changes in My behaviour, I notices changes. But Ramananda Raya, he is so transcendental. He can do like that.” So the next day, Pradyumna Misra went back and he heard again from Ramananda Raya. And this time they started in the morning and Ramananda Raya said, “My dear brahmana what would you like to hear about Krsna?” He said, “I want to hear everything that you told Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! That’s what I want to hear!” So, well, they started in the morning and then as it was evening, the servant came and said, “The day is over!” “The day is over? We just started! We just started…” So this is towards the end of the Caitanya Caritamrta. So we’re also getting to that point where we’ve just started; we just scratched the surface, we just sampled. It is like, we have a huge plate with many delicious preparations and we sort of, “Well, okay taste this…taste that…” but we haven’t really started eating, we haven’t really started relishing or tasting that- we are just scratching the surface.
So, because each of these pastimes are full of unlimited depth, full of unlimited displays of what bhakti actually is. Of course we are not meant to imitate Ramananda Raya, of course- that’s obvious. It’s not for that, it’s not for that that Ramananda Raya is performing these activities so that we can think, “Well maybe when I get more advanced in my chanting I’ll also get a few young dancing girls for Radha Radhanatha! We can line that up for next Ratha Yatra! No problem!” No, it’s not for that, but rather it is that we understand how transcendental a devotee can become. That is the deeper purport of this story. How transcendental can a devotee become? How much can a devotee actually realize that the pictures, the pastimes of Krsna are a reality and the waving palms that are waving at us through the windows are just illusion? Illusion in the sense, they are there- don’t after test it and say, “Well, I learnt one thing today, I never knew it- these trees are illusion!” and you walk up to the tree and you try to walk right through the tree! You’re going to smash your nose! If you have glasses do take them off before trying that!
But it is not that but it is the old principle that, nothing in this world is permanent. Once this little table, I remember it when it was perfectly round and when it was nice, now it looks as if the mice and the rats have been feasting on it here as well on this side; it looks like someone has been nibbling on the table! You cannot see, but take my word for it! Maybe Radha Radhanatha needs a new table. The rats must be very hungry! Prabhupada’s father would put a bowl of rice out for the rats because he had a cloth shop and they would eat all the cloth. So you can also feed them outside. (Conchshell blows) That was a nice arati! I was the kirtana and the bell as well! It is said the bell is actually the kirtana so therefore when we speak I am the bell. That’s my service then! So in conclusion to this presentation about Lord Caitanya, we are seeing through the pastimes of Lord Caitanya the extraordinary nature of what transcendence really means, what pure devotional service really mean. And that’s why it’s amazing to hear these pastimes- we hear about the Lord and we hear about His devotees and how amazing they are.
And we realize that we’ve got a long, long way to go! That’s a fact, that is a fact. But still there is so much going on, there is definitely so much going on- so many flavors, so many different experiences, we’ve just had Radhastami, Janmastami and today a little bit of Caitanya flavor- somehow or other that is what did it for me.
When I first came to Vrndavana- the temple where I started my Krsna consciousness- I always…well, we have three altars, so you have to make a choice; you cannot stand in a spot and see all three because we also have a tree in the middle of the courtyard, so if you stand in the back you cannot see all three altars all at once. So you have to make a choice in Krsna-Balarama mandir. So, I found it hard to make a choice! So I thought, okay, I positioned myself in a spot that I could see on the one side Radha Syamasundara and on the other side Krsna Balarama, and then do a quick pranamas to Gaura-Nitai and then go back to my spot. That sort of was my spot! My spot! And different people have their spots, you know: some people would be right upfront of Radha Syama’s railing and there was always one devotee who couldn’t sing, ah God it was like impossible! You couldn’t take darshan there, it was so bad! Darshan with earplugs was the only solution! Anyway, yes these are the practical things in life you know! You don’t think of that but it gets like that! Nice devotee, very sincere…but I wish he wouldn’t sing! Have you also noticed that people that cannot sing, they sing very loud every time! I always try to tell them, “Sing soft…” but whatever may be…But somehow or other, as time moved on, I drifted towards the altar of Gaura-Nitai more and more. And one day I was standing in front of the altar of Gaura Nitai and I saw how They were flexing Their muscles as if getting ready to jump of the altar…and They didn’t do it! Shoo! That was close!
So somehow or other…and it wasn’t long after that, that They sent me out of Vrndavana. Although I stayed there so long, although I thought this is my lifetime service, although I had the opportunity to serve so much in Vrndavana and although I thought, “I will stay here and serve Krsna and Balarama and the Deities- the other ones also- for the rest of my life- it didn’t quite go the way I thought it would because by some arrangement Gaura-Nitai sent me to the West!….contd in part3