Prabhuji: Why did Srila Madhavendra Puri leave Vrndavana? He went to get candana for Gopala, on Gopala’s request, but on the way back he gave it to Gopinatha—why? What is the secret behind this? Why did he become involved and attached with Gopinatha? Why did he forget Nathaji (Gopala)? Gopinatha stole him? Is it because He gave him ksira? Are sadhus greedy for sweets and facility? Is that why Madhavendra Puri stayed? Please answer these questions.
Sravan Prabhu: Pujyapada Madhavendra Puri…
Prabhuji: Not Pujyapada; Paramaradhyatama. Pujyapada is not complete for the Guru-varga. It is practically disrespect for someone as exalted as Srila Madhavendra Puri.
je jana vaiṣṇava ciniyā laiyā ādara kariba jabe
vaiṣnavera kṛpa jāhe sarva siddhi avaśya pāibe tabe
To show respect and to cause the respect of others to increase—this is real puja. If you offer proper respect then sabda-brahma, Parabrahma, and all truths will be manifest to you. He who cannot offer respect is a fool and an ungrateful coward.
Please continue, but remember; if you go to Vraja-dhama you will be teased also. You will get pinched from all sides there. This world is very good. There is not so much pinching here, but if you go there you will become crazy. Anyone who had close association with Srila Gurudeva will remember how much he could tease. Just imagine what Vraja is like. There are so many manjaris there.
This is very sweet. If there are no questions, no answers, and no teasing, then life is dry. We are like useless tree trunks or stones. Srila Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja always poked and teased Srila Gurudeva. Why? What for? To bring out more sweetness.
Sravan Prabhu’s answer in brief: Wherever Vaisnavas like Madhavendra Puri go, they carry Vrndavana with them. They never leave Vrndavana, just as Krsna never leaves Vrndavana—vrndavana parityajya pada ekam na gacchati. Also, after studying the nature of Madhavendra Puri’s moods and prayers, we can conclude that Gopinatha, not Gopala, is his ista-deva. So it is not that he left his original deity and went to another one; he gradually was led to his ultimate ista-deva by the will and mercy of Gopal.
Prabhuji: Good. But we must go deeper.
Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami says:
gopi bhava vina na paya krsnake
Everyone was serving Gopinatha by vaidhi marga. He was there to give people entrance into gopi-bhava and to taste the gopis’ love but no one was serving Him like the gopis. When Madhavendra Puri came, Gopinatha told him, “Stay here and teach gopi-bhava.”
śrī-rādhā-saha śrīla ‘śrī-gopīnātha’
ei tina ṭhākura haya ‘gauḍiyāra nātha’
Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 20.142–143
The Vṛndāvana Deities of Madana-mohana with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Govinda with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and Gopīnātha with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī are the life and soul of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.
Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has said these things.
Who first brought gopi-bhava—the cherished wealth of the Gaudiyas—to this world? That was Madhavendra Puri. Before him no acarya or anyone manifested such a thing. Gopinatha desired that he manifest this so that everyone could understand Vrndavana and the Vraja-devis’ supremacy among followers of bhakti. Before this, no one understood the Vrajavasis’ special mood and seva.
So, Madhavendra Puri stayed there in Remuna and continuously served Gopinatha in gopi-bhava. Applying candana on Krsna’s body is a very special seva done by the Vraja-devis. When Gopinatha was fully covered in candana He become most pleased. That candana is golden and when it is applied to Krsna’s entire body He becomes radhalingita-vigraha.
Krsna likes this seva.
Dressed in yellow cloth and a garland of forest flowers, with sandalwood paste smeared upon his dark limbs, Kṛṣṇa feels the utmost elation as he enjoys pastimes with captivated young brides in this Vṛndāvana forest. His earrings swing to and fro, the beauty of his cheeks is astonishing and his face displays a wondrous sweetness with the honey of his playful laughter.
Candana is actually the Vraja-devis’ footdust. Gopinatha ordered Madhavendra Puri to teach everyone these things.
Madhavendra Puri daily pasted candana with his own hands and thus gave vrndavaniya-seva-adhikara to those who followed him. This was greatly pleasing to Gopinatha who always just wants to glorify the Vrajavasis.
Once, in Treta-yuga, Lord Ramacandra, having taken up vana-vasa, was sitting alone while Laksmana collected fruits and Sita-devi took bath. Taking a small stone in His hand, He started to scratch some form of art on the ground. When Sita-devi returned from Her bath, she noticed this unusual behavior of Ramacandra. She tried to see what He was doing but He hid it from her.
“What are you doing?” she asked. “What are you hiding?”
“It’s nothing,” Ramacandra said.
Sita-devi repeatedly requested that He show her but Ramacandra was unwilling. Then she said, “I am your chaste wife. May whatever You are hiding from me be manifest now.” And she took some water in her hand and threw it on the ground.
Where the water fell, a most charming form appeared.
tri-bhaṅga-bhaṅgima rūpa, vaṁśī-dhārī aparūpa
Standing in His three-curved form and holding His flute, He thus displays His unprecedented beauty. He is an ocean of rasa and a reservoir of all good qualities.
Sita-devi was amazed to see the beauty of that form of a boy in a dancing pose, with His broad chest and enchanting feet.
“Who is He?” She asked. Sri Rama did not answer.
“What is happening today? You are being so secretive.”
Finally, Ramacandra said, “This is My original svarupa.”
“But it can’t be. You do not have a flute and Your body is not crooked in three places like this.”
“This is a very secret svarupa. I will come in this svarupa in Dvapara-yuga and live in Vrndavana.
“What will be Your name?” Sita-devi asked.
“And what will be my name?”
“You cannot serve this svarupa.”
Sita-devi was devastated. Just thinking of being separated from Her Lord caused Her so much grief that she could not speak. Then Ramacandra said, “For the service of Gopinatha, the mood of a gopi, the body of a gopi, and the guidance of a gopi is needed. Otherwise, serving Him is impossible.”
Sita-devi said, “May You accept me wherever You go, and in whatever form You take. Please don’t reject me.”
She prayed like this over and over again. At last, Ramacandra said, “Dear Sita, I will soon enter the Dandaka Forest. I wish to kill the demons who live there as well as the demons of other places. During this time I want you to be absent from My side. You may stay as a shadow, or an illusion, but not in your real form. This svarupa of mine which has shown Himself to you today will be here permanently and while you wait for the proper time to return to me, You can serve this hidden svarupa. For now, and for ages to come, this Deity will stay here. This place is called Adi Vrndavan.”
So, at the appropriate time, Sita-devi took on the svarupa of a cowherd girl and lived in Gopi-vallabhapura, which is near to Adi Vrndavana—or Remuna—and engaged in the seva of Ramacandra’s cowherd boy svarupa, Gopinatha. She took care of cows, milked them, and made ksira for Gopinatha.
Rama killed the demons and then took Sita back. Now who would serve Gopinatha there in the forest? Imagine Gopinatha’s happiness to finally meet Madhavendra Puri in Kali-yuga. Ramacandra made a promise. He said, “Anyone who comes to this place and serves Gopinatha will attain entrance into Vraja-dhama.”
The sages of Dandakaranya, who chanted Gopala-mantra and desired to serve in madhura-rasa, came to this place on the order of Sri Ramacandra. After years of sadhana and sincere service to the Deity of Gopinatha, those sages obtained bhava-siddhi. They were given entrance into Vraja.
Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and all the bhaktas found great bliss in visiting the temple of Ksira-cora Gopinatha and engaging in sankirtan and remembering the glories of Madhavendra Puri.
Madhavendra Puri’s Samadhi-mandira is present there in Remuna. Guru and Vaisnavas used to take us there and explain that if you come to this place with the desire for vraja-seva then Gopinatha will happily make all arrangements for you.