Please read in this chapter about Lord Chaitanya's pleasurable pastimes as a young scholar. He totally absorbed Himself in scholarly pursuits not finding time for anything else. After completing His daily brahminical duties early each morning, the Lord of the Universe, Sri Nimai Pandita, went to the house of Sri Gangadasa Pandita. He was accompanied by students who respected Him as an authoritative scholar and considered themselves his disciples. At Gangadasa's place He conducted debates. Many students who were not in His group for the debate and who did not submit to his tutorship were affronted or slighted by Nimai and His followers. After establishing His arguments in the debate, Nimai would discuss the different points He had made with His group, just as the other groups would do. Murari Gupta was not amongst Nimai Pandita's group, so Nimai confronted him and refuted his arguments.
Nimai wore His dhoti neatly wrapped around His slim, elegant frame, and sat amidst the students in the mood of a valiant prince. The sandalwood paste tilak decorating His forehead shone with a soft golden glow, and His exquisite and regular set of teeth were so effulgent that brilliant white pearls looked old and lack-luster in comparison. At age sixteen, Nimai's youth blossomed like spring. He was beauty personified and even cupid fell captive to His charm.
The erudition He exhibited in His pastimes as a scholar far superseded the knowledge and learning of Brhaspati. If any of the students tried to learn the scriptures on his own, Nimai was quick to taunt him.
The Lord would challenge, "Who is here? Such a great scholar to refute my arguments? Without even knowing the rules of proper conjugation some persons try to understand grammar by themselves and fool themselves into complacency. Yet in spite of their vanity, because of their ignorance they cannot answer My arguments properly. They cannot even debate the arguments properly."
Murari Gupta heard these provocative and boastful words of the Lord but remained silent and continued to do his work. Still Nimai would not leave him alone. He taunted Murari Gupta at every opportunity, but seeing the calm reaction of His dear servant, the Lord was actually very satisfied.
Once Nimai said to Murari Gupta, "You are a Vedic doctor. Why do you study grammar here? Go to your leaves and herbs and make a compound so you can cure the sick. Grammar is extremely difficult to learn. Here there is no mention of mucus, bile or indigestion. How do you want to accomplish anything in learning grammar just by studying on your own? Rather, go home and try to cure the sick."
Sri Murari Gupta was the partial expansion of Rudra, Lord Siva, and had a volatile temper. Yet Lord Visvambhara could not see a single trace of anger in him.
In reply Murari Gupta said, "O learned Brahmin, please tell me one thing: I see that you taunt everyone. Why are You so arrogant? On what subjects did You not receive a proper answer from me? Whether the discussion was on verb rules, astrology with its different purports, or other philological questions, I answered them all. Without asking and waiting for a reply You flaunt me. What do You really know? You are a learned brahmin, so why do You act like this? What more can I say?"
"Alright, discuss and analyze what you have read today," said Nimai. Murari Gupta began his explanations and the Lord immediately refuted them. Murari Gupta explained in a certain way but the Lord would explain the same subject in another way. At last the master, not His servant, accepted defeat. By the Lord's influence Murari exhibited great erudition and the Nimai was extremely pleased by Murari's explanation. The Lord placed his soft lotus hands on Murari Gupta, and upon receiving that sublime touch, Murari experienced indescribable bliss.
"This Nimai cannot be an ordinary person," though Murari to himself. "How would it be possible for an ordinary person to possess such vast learning? My body felt such spiritual excitement just by the touch of His hands. I think that I should not be ashamed to learn under his tutorship. There is no one as intelligent or learned in all of Nabadwip."
Then Murari Gupta, the Ayurvedic doctor, submitted to the Lord, "O Visvambhara, I will learn under your tutorship." In this affectionate manner the master and His servant interacted. The Lord then took all his friends to the Ganga for a bath. The divine pastimes of Sri Chaitanya as a scholar were enacted in this mood.
Sri Mukunda Sanjaya is truly a very fortunate soul for in his house in Nabadwip the Supreme Lord displayed many of these scholarly pastimes. Mukunda's son was studying under Nimai Pandita and he himself was very attached to the lotus feet of the Lord in devotional service. Annexed to Mukunda's house was a temple of Goddess Durga and in that courtyard students sat around the Lord, crowding the entire compound. There sat Nimai Pandita,the best of the brahmanas. It looked as though Lord Gauranga was holding a court of scholars. Nimai Pandita would deliver many explanations and establish many arguments, and then He would refute those arguments with new arguments.
He often spoke out against teachers in Nabadwip. Once the Lord said, "Sometimes people do not even possess fundamental knowledge about conjugation, but because it is Kali Yuga such a person accepts the title of Bhattacarya. Let me see if any one of these Bhattacarya"s can find discrepancies in My arguments and explanations . Then I will accept when they flout their big titles like Bhattacarya and Misra." In this way the Lord would act like a proud scholar; none of His servants could understand His mood nor could they recognize Him as their worshipful Supreme Lord.
Mother Saci one day noticed that her son had grown into a handsome young man and she started thinking about his marriage. Sri Vallabha Acarya, a good and pious brahmana was then residing in Nabadwip. 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 Gaurasundara on the banks of the Ganga when they had each gone for a bath. Lord GauraChandra 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 Saci. After they exchanged respectful greetings, Mother Saci affectionately offered the brahmana a seat. Then Sri Banamali Acarya asked, "Why aren't you seriously considering your son's marriage? In Nabadwip 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 Saci. "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 Saci'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 Saci 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 Acarya.
Sri Vallabha received the brahmana with all respect and offered him the seat of honor. "I think is time you arranged your daughter's marriage," said Banamali. "I have found the fit candidate for her. His name is Visvambhara. He is the son of Sri Jagannatha Misra, a very elevated and respectable brahmana. Visvambhara is most scholarly and He is certainly an ocean of all good qualities. Please consider these points and tell me how you feel."
Vallabha Acarya 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 Acarya's attitude and he returned to mother Saci'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 Acarya 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 Saci 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 Acarya performed his many rituals with increasing pleasure. In the evening just before sunset, Nimai went to the house of Sri Vallabha Acarya 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 Acarya 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 Hari's name resounded but Laksmi 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 Acarya 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 Acarya 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 RamaChandra," 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 Saci 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.
Saci 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, Saci 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 Saci 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 Saci would speculate but the Supreme Lord Gauranga, although manifest, did not yet reveal His original and absolute identity. Who can understand 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 Vrndavana dasa, and he offers his humble song at their lotus feet.