One day the Lord went to Suklambara Brahmanhari's and begged food from him to show His mercy upon him. The Lord said, "I feel an uncontrollable desire to eat your food, and believe Me there is no reason for you to be afraid." The lord persistently requested Suklambara and so Suklambara pleaded with the Lord saying, "O Lord, I am a most sinful person, despicable and worse, and You are the symbol of religious principles; O Lord, whereas You are to shelter me who is comparable to an insignificant insect caught up in this material illusion."
The Lord replied saying, "but do not consider My request to be an illusion. I very much want to eat food cooked by you. Go quickly and arrange for everything at midday I will come to your house."
Suklambara was still quite in anxiety and so he approached other devotees for comfort. They spoke reassuringly, "why should you be afraid. He is none other than the Supreme Lord. It is His nature to search out devotees who worship Him with single mindedness and from Them He likes to beg food. Remember He ate at Vidura's house, who was a sudra's son. Therefore, you quickly go to your house and prepare to cook for the Lord with care and devotion. Even after this if you are still afraid, then try to cook without directly touching the food. You are very fortunate, to have received this wonderful opportunity from the Lord." The brahman Suklambara hurried home feeling exceedingly elated.
Feeling clean after bathing Suklambara put scented water on the fire for cooking rice. He also began to cook a delicacy prepared from the pith of banana tree trunk. While this cooking was in progress Suklambara folded his hands and began to sing the names of the Lord, praising Him and invoking His grace. Attracted by Suklambara's devotion, Lakshmi devi, the Universal mother and the goddess of fortune blessed the brahman's endeavor with her favorable glance; the delectable taste of ambrosia immediately mixed in with the food.
Meanwhile Lord Visvambhar had completed His bath and came to Suklambara's house in dripping clothes. Suklambara's humble dwelling was situated on the banks of the Ganga. He was accompanied by Nityananda Prabhu and some of His associates. He changed to dry clothes and sat down to eat. The Lord served Himself according to His wish, as Suklambara watched Him with intense pleasure. As the Lord relished the food all the devotees looked on with delight. Supreme Lord Gauranga is the receiver and enjoyer of all pure oblations offered in sacrifices by no less than Lord Brahma and others of his stature, but now the Lord was thoroughly relishing Suklambara's cooking prepared from rice that he had begged, this is certainly very rare.
The blessed Lord said, "I have never tasted anything so delicious in My life. The rice and thor are so palatable that I find no words to describe. How did you cook this to get such a taste. Actually you are My eternal associate as a friend. I have advented only for Your sake and for the sake of others like you."
All the devotees present began to shed tears of joy as their Lord showered mercy upon Suklambara. In this way the Lord relished His food and enjoyed the company of His devotees. Let the atheistic people blinded with sinful activities open their eyes and see how Suklambara was blessed by the Supreme Lord. Lord Chaitanya is unapproachable to those who are puffed up with wealth, following, learning, etc.; the scriptures declare that the Supreme Lord is easily won over by surrender in loving devotion."
Finishing His meal the Lord sat down in a relaxed manner chewing on a betel pan, and smiled gently. The devotees rushed to have remnants from the Lord's eating plate He just left behind. The Lord's remnants are so rare that Lord Siva and Lord Brahma would feel extremely blessed to receive some and would carry the plate on their heads, but now it was so easily available to all the devotees of the Lord. Such a wonderful pastime was taking place in a beggar's house, this is the transcendental arrangement of the Lord.
The Lord engaged everyone in discussing the transcendental topics of Lord Krishna's pastimes for a while and then lay down to rest. The devotees following their Lord also lay down. One amongst the devotees of the Lord, Sri Vijay das, an exalted soul, had a wonderful vision. There were very few in Nabadwip whose handwriting could compare with Vijay's , and he had copied many of Lord Chaitanya's books. People simply knew him as 'Vijay the artist' but were unable to gain his spiritual depth due to their lack of devotion. As they all lay next to the Lord, the Lord placed His hand gently on Vijay's body, and Vijay began to see marvelous sights. He saw the Lord's hand glistening like a golden pillar, long and graceful; the entire arm was covered in brilliant gems and jewelry. the fingers of the hand were bedecked with rings full of priceless gems which shone with the dazzle of a thousand suns and moons. The marvellous radiance spread to the abode of Lord Brahma, the highest planet of the universe. Vijay was overcome with joyous amazement. He opened his mouth and was about to exclaim when suddenly he felt the Lord's hand covering his mouth. The Lord smilingly said, "as long as I am present in Nabadwip you should not speak about this to anyone."
Hearing these words Vijay jumped up from his position with a roaring sound, waking up all the devotees. The devotees saw Vijay in an excited state and tried to calm him down unsuccessfully. after a spell of excitement and temporary madness that great soul fell down in a swoon of ecstacy. Seeing these symptoms the devotees realised that Vijay had seen transcendental visions and feeling great joy for him began to cry and share his ecstacy.
The Lord enquired from everyone, "what has happened to Vijay? Quite suddently he started making these thunderous sounds. I know, he has a special sentiment for Mother Ganga and being so near Mother Ganga must have affected him. Otherwise it must be the presence of the deities in Suklambara's house, or maybe he has seen Lord Krishna here." Saying this Lord Chaitanya placed His hand on Vijay and brought him back to consciousness: the devotees were relieved and happy.
Although Vijay regained consciousness and was up and moving he was still silent, without responding like a stone. For seven days he roamed all over Nadia without food, sleep or any bodily care. People would not understand Vijay's spiritual trauma. After somedays Vijay returned to his normal self. These were extraordinary activities the Lord performed in Suklambara's house. Who can enumerate the extent of Suklambara's fortune. The Lord chose to sanctify Suklambara's house with His presence and the presenceof His intimate associates. He even ate food cooked by Suklambara. One who hears with faith these supramundane narrations of how the Lord graced Vijay and Suklambara will develop unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Lord, this is the dear verdict of the scriptures.
Everyday Lord Chaitanya accompanied by Lord Nityananda visited different Vaishnava's houses and manifest His transcendental pastimes. Lord Chaitanya was constantly steeped in ecstatic prema rasa, manifesting the mood and behaviour of different incarnations. Matsya, Kurma, Nrsimha, Varaha, Vamana, Raghunnath, Buddha, Kalki, Krishna all these moods were displayed by Him as and when He desired; they came and He quickly hid Them.
But somehow Lord Balaram's mood returned repeatedly to Him and He kept manifesting it.
As Haladhara, Balarama, Lord Chaitanya would become very excited and agitated, shouting loudly, "bring Me wine, bring wine!" Lord Nityananda always knew the Lord's different moods, He would immediately fetch a potful of Ganga water. Such was the volume of His voice that the entire creation shook and when He danced in that mood it was as if the earth would shatter to pieces and all the three worlds swayed precariously. The devotees were frightened to see such violent dancing and they sang songs glorifying the pastimes of Lord Balaram; these songs greatly pleased the Lord bringing Him to a state of supreme ecstacy. In this state He moved about like a madman, walking and swaying like a drunk. Yet the beauty of His face was indescribable, one's eyes never satiated from drinking into the exquisiteness of HIs face, the more one looked the desire to see His moonlike face increased. He constantly called out 'Nityananda! Nityananda!' and at short spells when He came out of His trance, He would say things like, "oh! life ebbs out of Me."
Then changing His mood Lord Chaitanya said, "O Krishna! You are my father, You protect Me, and Balaram My uncle educated Me with a stick." The Lord was so overwhelmed with spiritual ecstacy that it unnerved the devotees to see Their Lord in such a trance; They cried out in fear. All the activities of the Lord are so extraordinary. Sometimes He felt the mood of intense seperation from Krishna that tears flowed in streams. his wailing pierced everyone's heart. Esoterically, He was feeling seperation from Himself. As the gopis or the cowherd damsels of Vrndavana felt intense seperation from Krishna, loosing their minds in His absence, then seeing the rising moon and mistaking it for Krishna's glowing face they almost died due to mixed emotions, similarly all these ecstatic devotions possessed Lord Chaitanya and He rushed to His devotees clinging to their necks weeping continously. Mother Saci filled with consternation to see her son in that state. How can mere humans describe the wonderful ecstatic 'prema'the Lord exhibited. Such displays of the highest order of devotional love was a daily occurence with the Lord.
One day the Supreme Lord Chaitanya was immersed in the pastimes of the gopis of Vrndavan. He was nicessantly chanting, "gopi, gopi,". Along came a student scholar from somewhere and without understanding His mood said to Him, "O Nimai Pandit why are You chanting gopi! gopi!. You should better chant Krishna's name. What pious gain is there in chanting 'gopi! gopi!' But according to the Vedas one's piety increases manyfolds by chanting Krishna's name!" An ignorant man can never comprehend the Lord's spiritual state. The Lord said, "Krishna! He is a plunderer! Who woships Him? That ungrateful Krishna killed the innocent Bali and although His winsome looks and strength has won many women He deliberately cuts off a woman's nose. Again, He begs everything from Bali Maharaj leaving him with nothing and then sends him down to help. What will I gain chanting His name?" Saying this Lord Chaitanya picked up a stick and still immersed in 'prema bhava' He rushed towards the student menacingly. The student jumped up and ran out with the Lord close behind in hot pursuit, raving and ranting. The student ran in fear of his life not understanding the Lord's real mood.
The devotees ran after Their Lord, and catching up with Him brought Him back and pacified Him. The student in the meanwhile made good his escape. Panting heavily and drenched with perspiration he came to his freinds. They were all curious to see his plight and enquired the reason for his fright. He replied, "do not enquire further! i am lucky to be here alive and breathing. Everyone says, "Nimai Pandit is very saintly, but today when I visited Him I found Him chanting 'gopi, gopi'. He is only chanting these names day and night. So I told Him, "what are You doing o learned man, You should chant 'Krishna, Krishna' as is recommended in the scriptures. These words enraged Him to such an extent that He came charging at me with a stick. Not only that, He was even cursing and abusing Krishna, which I am afraid to repeat. Only destiny could have intervened to save my life today."
The students began to laugh foolishly and air their vacuous views. One said, "the people say He is a good 'Vaishnava' then why does He come chasing a brahmana wih violent intentions." Another offered, "how can you call Him a Vaishnava if He refuses to utter Krishna's name?" Yet another remarked, "it sounds very strange that a Vaishnava is chanting only 'gopi, gopi'!" Another said forcefully, "why should we feel cowered and shrivel in this hovel. Don't we also possess that power so characteristic of brahmanas. He maybe a brahman, so are we learned in the scriptures. Why should we tolerate His threatenings. He is not a king or officer that He can punish us, let us group together and next time He tries to intimidate us we will thwart Him. He maybe the son of the learned Jagannatha Misra but our parents are no less worthy. Just see, yesterday we were studying together as mates and today how does He become suddenly the big 'master'.
The offenders and atheists spoke so caustically against Him but Lord Chaitanya, the Supersoul residing in everyone's heart knew everything. One day He was sitting with all His devotees when suddenly He made a mysterious remark, whose meaning was too shrouded for anyone to understand. He said, "the medicine 'pippalikhanda' was prepared to cure the excess phlegm but instead it increased the phlegm in the body." Saying this the Lord began laughing loudly musing over something incomprehensible to all,the devotees became very concerned.
Lord Nityananda knew the inner meaning of the Lord's statement and the Lord's confidential mood. He thought, "soon the Lord will leave home and take sannyasa." Lord Nityananda fell into deep despair. The life air seemed to leave His body at the thought of seeing His beloved Lord Chaitanya, beautiful as He is to be shorn of those lovely locks of hair.
Lord Chaitanya suddenly clasped Lord Nityananda's hand taking Him away to a quiet and lonely spot. Lord Chaitanya said, "listen, dear Nityananda, I am revealing My heart to You. The purpose of My advent was to deliver the entire world, but instead of delivering the living entities it seems I have to ultimately destroy them. The people are supposed to attain salvation just by seeing Me, whereas now their material bonds become stronger. As soon as they contemplated on beating Me they became tightly chained to eternal bondage. I incarnated with the intention of liberating the good and innocent mass but now I have spoiled everything and am leading the people to their doom. Therefore, I have decided to shave off My head and take to the renounced life of a sannyasi, and go begging door to door. I will stand at the doors of those who wanted to attack Me with a begging bowl. then these same aggressors will fall at My feet and in this way I will deliver the whole universe. Everyone respects a sannyasi, no one will ever think of harming a sannyasi. Tomorrow when I take up begging as a sannyasi I can go safe anywhere. I have fully decided to take up the sannyas order and leave My home and family. Please do not feel sad due to this, rather please give Me permission to take up the renounced life. Whatever is Your desire I will certainly act in accordance, but You should consider that I have taken this incarnation for a specific reason and so require Your permission in this matter. If you really want to see that everyone in the world becomes liberated then you must not stop Me from My decision. And You are the last person to lament over this because You know the confidential reason for My advent."
When Nityananda heard from His dear Lord that He was shaving His beautiful locks and entering the renounced order, Nityananda's heart shattered to pieces in grief. He did not know what to say to Lord Chaitanya, but He was sure that the Lord will go ahead with His decision.
Lord Nityananda replied, "My dear Lord, You are absolutely independant, whatever You wish must be executed. Who can desist You or go against Your wishes, whatever You have decided is surely to happen. You are the maintainer and protector of this cosmic manifestation, Your wishes are always for the good of the people. Who but You can conceive the best method for liberating the conditioned souls. You are perfectly free to act in any way You think best. And yet I think You may present these facts to all the Vaishnavas and ask their opinion. After hearing them You may do whatever You think is necessary."
Lord Nityananda's words satisfied Lord Chaitanya and He embraced Nityananda again and again. Thus advised Lord Chaitanya went to meet the assembly of Vaishnavas. The paralysing thought that Lord Chaitanya will take sannyasa echoed in grey emptiness in Lord Nityananda's mind. He walked about normally but within Him raged a fitful storm. "How will Sacimata contain her grief stricken life once her Nimai abandons home." He thought, "How will she live through the long lonely days and nights without Him?" Each time these thoughts raised thtough His mind He felt devastated with despair and finding a secluded corner wept bitterly because He could not bear to think what will happen to Sacimata.
Lord Chaitanya came to Mukunda's house. Mukunda was overjoyed to see his beloved Lord coming personally to his house. the Lord said, "sing something about Krishna." Mukunda began to sing nd the Lord listened to the transcendental sweetness of Mukunda's singing. Withdrawing the ecstacy within Himself the Lord calmed Himself and spoke to Mukunda. The Lord said, "Mukunda, please listen to Me, I have decided to leave My family and home to join the sannyas order. Shaving My hair I shall travel all over." The Lord's words crushed Nukunda's joy he had felt earlier on seeing the Lord. Piteously he begged the Lord, "my Lord since You are firm in Your resolve to become a mendicant, it must happen, but wait a little longer and stay with us and pass time in 'Krishna kirtan' then do what You have to."
Lord Chaitanya left Mukunda's home and went to see Gadadhara Pandita. Gadadhara offered obesiances to his Lord,praying at His lotus feet. The Lord addressed Gadadhara, "I want you to hear Me carefully please. Gadadhara, I have to leave My family and home for the sake of My Lord Krishna. I shall shave My head and as a mendicant go wherever the road leads." Gadadhar remained motionless, thunderstruck. Feeling a burning grief swallowing him within, he replied, "Your words are very strange My Lord. You mean to say that one can attain Krishna simply by shaving the head and leaving home, and not by staying in the householder life? What spiritual gain is there in shaving one';s head, all this maybe Your opinion, but certainly not found anywhere in the Vedic scriptures. How do You propose to leave a widowed mother all alone, at the very outset You will be burdened with the sin of bringing about Your mother's death. You are her life a dream, if You are gone what reason will she have to remain alive. Is one not dear to the Supreme Lord if one remains in the house, in fact a householder is liked by everyone. And if inspite of everything I told You, You still want to cling on to Your decision, then do what You like."
Like this the Lord visited all His dear and near ones and told everyone of His plan to take sannyas. Whoever heard this was shocked with grief. They wept bitterly at the thought of seeing their beloved Lord, beautiful as the springtime full moon, shorn off all His black cascading curls. They lamented, "what will be the use then to string a garland for His curly locks." Yet another said, "how will I live without seeing His delightful locks." Yet another said beating his head, "I will never be able to smell the transcendental aroma from His hair anymore." The devotees were wailing in grief, tossed about in an ocean of despair, loudly they wailed, for they were going to lose their beloved Lord.
Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda are my life and soul, I Vrndavan das offer this song at Their lotus feet.