North Shore, Hawaii: 30 January 2007
During the rainy season in India, in July, on Guru-purnima (Vyasa-purnima), devotees of all sampradayas – Ramanuja, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami, Nimbiditya, and even Sankaracarya – worship Srila Vyasadeva. In Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, as that day was approaching, Mahaprabhu asked Sri Nityananda Prabhu, “Where will We perform Vyasa-puja?”
Nityananda Prabhu took the hand of Srivasa Thakura and replied, “In the house of this brahmana.” Mahaprabhu agreed and said, “Let us go to Srivasa Pandita’s house to prepare. *[See endnote 1]
Srivasa Pandita said, “I have all the paraphernalia for worship. I don’t have the book in which all procedures for Vyasa-puja are written down (Vyasa-puja Paddhati), but I will borrow it from someone.
Mahaprabhu then declared, “Tomorrow will be Vyasa-puja; everyone should come.”
The next day all of Mahaprabhu’s associates came. Everything was ready, but Mahaprabhu was purposely somewhat late in entering the area of the worship.
Srivasa Pandita told Sri Nityananda Prabhu, “Mahaprabhu is a little late, but we should begin. Please give the garland to Srila Vyasadeva and let us begin Vyasa-puja.” Nityananda Prabhu began to make the sounds “Hmm Hmm,” and said, “I’m doing it, I’m doing it.”
Srivasa Thakura complained to Mahaprabhu, saying, “Your Sripada is not performing Vyasa-puja.”
Mahaprabhu then approached Nityananda Prabhuand told Him, “Oh, Nityananda prabhu, You should do it now.” *[See endnote 2]
Now seeing Mahaprabhu before him, Nityananda Prabhutook the garland and all the paraphernalia for worship, and offered them all to Him – to show everyone that He is the supreme Guru. Mahaprabhu is the Guru of Vyasa and all Vyasas (all the Vyasas that have appeared in the Creation so far). *[See endnote 3] Thus, Nityananda Prabhu declared that Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself.
While Sri Nityananda Prabhu was traveling throughout many of the pilgrimage places of India, He came to Vrndavana. There He was searching and calling out, “Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?” and embracing the cows and cowherd boys. He would run here and there, weeping like a mad person and calling out, “Oh, where is My Krsna? Where is Krsna?” Those who heard and saw Him thought, “Who is this person? He is totally mad.”
Then, one day an aerial voice called to him: “Nityananda Prabhu, Your brother is not here now. He is in Navadvipa. He has taken birth there and is now in His youth.”
Nityananda Prabhu at once left there and went to the border of Navadvipa-dhama, near the Ganges, and there He hid Himself at the house of Sri Nandana Acarya. He considered, “If Mahaprabhu – Krsna – is here, and He will search for Me, only then will I know that He is really Nanda-nandana Krsna.
At that time Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was at Srivasa-angana, and he told the devotees, “Oh, a very great Vaisnava has come to Navadvipa. Please go to Him and bring Him here.”
Srivasa Pandita and the other devotees searched everywhere, but they could not find him. Then Mahaprabhu said, “Come with Me. Let us find Him.
Mahaprabhu and His associates suddenly arrived at the house of Nandana Acarya, and when they entered He saw Nityananda prabhu. Nityananda Prabhu and Mahaprabhu saw each other. This was their first meeting, and for some time they both simply stared at each other. *[See endnote 4] They embraced, and They both fainted. Mahaprabhu later told Srivasa Pandit to recite a verse, which he uttered as follows:
barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaramBoth the Lords then returned to external consciousness and began to dance.
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam sva-pada-ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih
[“Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the vaijayanti garland, Lord Krsna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrndavana, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories.”
Sometimes Nityananda Prabhu would reside at Srivasa-angana with Srivasa Pandita. Sometimes He would be naked. At that time He would sit on the lap of Malini devi, the wife of Srivasa Pandita, like a baby, and Malini devi would give Him her breast milk.
Once, Sri Nityananda Prabhu took off his dhoti and put it on his head, and in this way He went to Saci-mata’s house, calling, “Mother! Mother! I am very hungry!” Then, totally absorbed in the mood of Sri Baladeva Prabhu, He searched for Krsna, calling, “Where is Kanai?” Mahaprabhu then gave Nityananda Prabhu His chadar, personally wrapping it around Him, and Saci-mata gave Him prasadam.
Malini devi had a metal bowl that was full of ghee *[See endnote 5] and was meant for offering to the Deity. Once a big crow came and took the bowl away, and Malini devi began to weep. Seeing this, Nityananda Prabhu called to the crow, “Come on, come on. Bring back that pot!” The crow at once came back with the bowl.
Sri Nityananda Prabhu was present when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa. After Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, He wanted to go to Vrndavana, but Nityananda Prabhu brought Him by a trick to Advaita-bhavana (the house of Sri Advaita Acarya) in Santipura. There, all the residents of Nadia, including Saci-mata, came and met with Him.
Nityananda Prabhu broke Mahaprabhu’s danda in Orissa, in a place that later became known as Danda-bhanga-nadi. *[See endnote 6]
He sometimes used to mock-quarrel with Sri Advaita Acarya
Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!
[Devotee:] Did Sri Visvarupa enter into Nityananda Prabhu when he left the world?
[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] In Navadvipa Parikrama it has been written that when Visvarupa disappeared, His power manifested in Sri Nityananda Prabhu.
During the manifest pastimes of Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu married the two sisters, Vasudha and Jahnava, who were none other than Revati and Varuni, Sri Baladeva Prabhu’s wives during the pastimes of Sri Krsna. When Nityananda Prabhu married, many people became confused and did not want to honor Him as before.
Advaita Acarya had six sons. Three of his sons, Balarama, Svarupa, and Jagadisa, used to respect Mahaprabhu and Advaita Acarya, but they were confused about Nityananda Prabhu and did not honor Him. Advaita Acarya therefore rejected these sons, and accepted his other three sons, Acyutananda, Sri Krsna Misra, and Gopala Misra, who were pure devotees.
Mahaprabhu always respected Nityananda Prabhu, and told Him to preach in Bengal. In this regard Vrndavana dasa Thakura has said, “If anyone, after hearing the glories of Nityananda Prabhu, criticizes Him, I will kick that person on his head. *[See Endnote 7]
– Lord Visvambhara spoke to Lord Nityananda Prabhu, "Listen, My dear Nityananda Gosvami, where shall we hold Your Vyasa-puja ceremony? Tomorrow is a full moon, and on this day, Srila Vyasadeva is worshiped. Therefore, You may choose anyone's home, and make arrangements with him."
Nityananda Prabhu could understand Lord Visvambhara's mind, so He took Srivasa Pandita by his hand and smiling, said, "Listen Visvambhara, I will have My Vyasa-puja in this brahmana's house."
Lord Visvambhara then spoke to Srivasa Pandita, "Now you have a heavy responsibility over your head." Srivasa replied, "No my Lord, this is no botheration, by Your grace everything is in this house." The paraphernalia required like clothes, grains, Brahmin thread, ghee, etc., are all available here. I have only to borrow the book, which gives the procedure for performing a Vyasa-puja ceremony. Then tomorrow, by my great fortune, I shall witness the Vyasa-puja." Lord Visvambhara was very pleased with Srivasa's reply, and all the devotees were jubilant.
Lord Visvambhara said, "Listen Nityananda Gosani, let us all make preparations to go to Srivasa Pandita's house.” (Sri Caitanya-bhagavat Madhya-lila Ch. 5)]
[*Endnote 2 –
Soon after, all the devotees assembled and began chanting the Holy Name of Lord Krsna. Srivasa Pandita was appointed the head preceptor for the Vyasa-puja, and upon receiving instructions from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he executed them carefully. A continuous, sweet kirtana converted Srivasa Pandita's house into the spiritual world of Vaikuntha. Well versed in all scriptures, Srivasa Pandita performed the ceremony according to the strict injunctions of the scripture. He gave Nityananda a garland of fragrant flowers and said, "Oh Nityananda Prabhu, please take this garland, and after reciting the appropriate mantras, offer Your prayers and obeisances to Srila Vyasadeva. The scriptures enjoin that one should personally garland Srila Vyasadeva in his worship, and if Srila Vyasadeva is satisfied then all one's spiritual desires will be fulfilled."
The more Srivasa Pandita spoke, the more Nityananda repeated, "Yes, yes, yes." Apparently, He paid no heed to Srivasa's words and seemed to not know which mantras to recite. He held the garland and muttered something softly underneath his breath, which nobody could hear, and He just looked all around.
Srivasa Pandita reported the matter to Lord Caitanya, "Your Sripada does not want to worship Srila Vyasadeva." The Lord immediately came to the presence of Nityananda and said, "Nityananda, please listen to Me. Offer the garland to Srila Vyasadeva and worship Him." Nityananda saw that Caitanya was there and He immediately placed the garland upon the Lord's head. The fragrant flower garland on the Lord's curly hair made a beautiful sight. (Caitanya-bhagavat, Madhya-kanda, Chapter 5)]
[*Endnote 3 –
Vyasa is not just a person, but also a post. In the previous manvantara, Vyasa was Parasara Muni, in this one he is Lord Narayana Himself, and in the next one Asvatthama will become Vyasa. (Visnu Purana) -ed]
[*Endnote 4 –
Unalloyed devotees such as Srivasa Pandita and Haridasa Thakura are fully realized in such esoteric understandings, yet for some mysterious reason, they could not find Nityananda Prabhu. Then Lord Caitanya, laughing mildly said, "Come with Me, and let us go find Him." All the devotees became very jubilant and chanted, "Jaya Sri Krsna!" as they accompanied the Lord.
The Lord took all the Vaisnavas directly to the house of Nandana Acarya. Inside the house, they saw a great personality-effulgent like a million suns. Without proper spiritual vision, one cannot see Lord Nityananda. A sweet smile played upon His lips; He was blissfully absorbed in meditation upon Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing the towering spiritual stalwart, Lord Visvambhara, along with all the devotees, offered their prostrated obeisances. They arose respectfully and looked upon Sri Nityananda with great awe and reverence, without speaking a word. Lord Visvambhara stood at the head of all the Vaisnavas, directly in front of Lord Nityananda, who immediately recognized Lord Visvambhara as the beloved Lord of His heart.
Lord Visvambhara was looking so beautiful, even more beautiful than Cupid Himself. A fragrant flower garland hung around His neck. His face was decorated with sandalwood paste, and He had nice fine clothes. What is glittering gold next to the Lord's aura? The full moon has lost interest in her own beauty and she yearns to see the glowing face of the Lord. (Caitanya-bhagavat, Madhya-kanda, Chapter 3)]
[*Endnote 5 –
Malini devi fed Him like a loving son. This chaste mother knew the transcendental glories of Nityananda. Therefore, she served Him exactly as a mother serves her son. One day a crow came and took a bell metal bowl and flew away to the forest. As soon as the crow went out of sight, mother Malini became worried. The crow left the bowl in its nest and then returned. Malini devi saw the crow's mouth was empty. The behavior of Srivasa Pandita was very strict. Moreover, the bowl stolen by the crow was used to keep ghee for Krsna. She was afraid Her husband would be very upset when he heard what happened. Unable to know what to do, she began to cry
Then Nityananda came there and saw Malini devi crying for some reason. Nityananda smilingly said, "Why are you crying? Tell me what's your distress and I will surely relieve it." Malini devi replied, "Please listen, Sripada Gosai. A crow has taken away the bowl which we use for keeping Krsna's ghee." Nityananda replied, "Mother, do not worry. I will bring back the bowl." Turning to the crow, He said, "O crow, go at once and bring back the bowl." Lord Nityananda is within everyone's heart. Who can disobey His order? Ordered by Nityananda, the crow instantly flew away. Malini devi looked on overwhelmed with lamentation. Soon the crow went out of sight and in a short while returned with the bowl in his mouth. The crow placed the bowl in front of Malini devi and left. Malini devi knew well the glories of Lord Nityananda. Seeing this wonderful incident, she swooned in ecstatic love. After recovering, she stood up with folded hands and began to offer prayers.
"He brought back the dead son of His guru. He maintains the entire universe. He can bring anyone back from the house of Yamaraja. For Him to bring the bowl from a crow is not at all wonderful. On His head rest innumerable universes and He maintains them out of His own sweet pastimes. His holy names destroy all ignorance. For Him to bring the bowl from a crow is not at all wonderful.
"In an earlier incarnation, You constantly protected Sita during the exile as Laksmana. You never saw any of Sita's body except her lotus feet. Your formidable arrows killed the family of Ravana. For You to bring the bowl from a crow is not a wonderful thing. Seeing Your great power, Kalindi fell at Your lotus feet and offered prayers. You possess the strength to maintain the fourteen worlds. For You to bring the bowl from a crow is not a wonderful thing. Still, Your activities are not ordinary. Whatever You do is a truth. This is confirmed by all the four Vedas."
Hearing Malini devi's prayers, Lord Nityananda began to smile. In His childhood mood He said, "O mother, I want to eat something." Whenever Malini devi saw Nityananda, milk would flow from her breasts. Nityananda in the mood of a child would drink that milk. Nityananda Prabhu's activities are inconceivable. What more can I describe? All the world knows them. His activities are mysterious and extraordinary. One who knows them in truth accepts them all as facts. (Nityananda Caritamrta Madhya-khanda Ch. 6)]
[*Endnote 6 –
“When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the temple of Lord Siva known as Kapotesvara, Nityananda Prabhu, who was keeping His sannyasa staff in custody, broke the staff in three parts and threw it into the river Bharginadi. Later this river became known as Danda-bhanga-nadi."
Purport: The mystery of the sannyasa-danda (staff) of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has been explained by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the order of sannyasa from a Mayavadi sannyasi. The Mayavadi sannyasis generally carry one staff, or danda. Taking advantage of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's absence, Srila Nityananda Prabhu broke the staff into three parts and threw it into the river… (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 5.142-143 verse, and purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)]
[*Endnote 7 –
His activities are extraordinary and difficult to understand, those who know Him in truth can easily accept all His pastimes, for Nityananda is always immersed in ecstasy. He moves freely about Nadia, as does the brilliant sun across the azure vault.
A mystic yogi or a learned scholar or anybody may think and say anything about Nityananda, people may comment that Nityananda is not a close associate of Caitanya, I do not care to hear about any such remarks, I only pray that His lotus feet remain imprinted in the depths of my heart.
In spite of hearing of His glory, many atheists criticize Nityananda. I kick them on the head, hoping for the Lord's mercy upon them. Nityananda is so lost in His transcendental pastimes in Srivasa Pandita's house that Lord Gauranga has to look after Him. (Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-kanda ch. 11)
Different people know Nityananda in different ways. Some say He is exactly like Balarama. Others say He is the foremost and dearest of Sri Caitanya's devotees. Again, someone else says He is supremely potent, an expansion of the omnipotent Lord. Many persons honestly admit that they cannot fathom His character at all. In this manner, people freely air their opinions about the Lord. Whatever the people might say about Sri Caitanya and Sri Nityananda, may the lotus feet of these two Lords be ever imprinted upon my heart. I pray at the feet of all devotees to invoke this blessing: Birth after birth, may I remain the servant of my eternal master, Sri Nityananda. This is my only desire.
After hearing all this about the boundless mercy of Sri Nityananda, if anyone is so degraded and sinful as to still criticize the Lord, then I firmly kick him on his head. Sri Caitanya is the Lord of my Lord and Master, Sri Nityananda. This fact gives me great hope and strength. Will I ever be blessed to see my Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu sitting together upon a throne, surrounded by all Their servitor associates? All glory to Sri Caitanya. O Gauranga, kindly bless me so that I may have the shelter of Sri Nityananda. (Caitanya-bhagavata Antya-kanda chapter 6)]
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