Sri Jayadeva Gosvami was a very high class of maha-bhagavata, and he wrote a book called “Gita Govinda”, “The Glories of Govinda”. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw this book, He made a copy and instructed His followers to also obtain one. At that time there was no press the books were reproduced by hand so Mahaprabhu ordered His followers to write it down and then preach. In Jagannatha Puri, all the Vaisnavas and associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wrote down that book and made a necklace for themselves of the beautiful songs therein.
The first song in this book is Srita Kamala. The words and meaning of the song are very near and dear to Krsna, so much so that when Krsna as Jagannatha-deva heard it, He became attracted. A devi dasi was singing it in the forest at night; and, hearing this sweet kirtana, Jagannath-deva opened His door. It may seem that He is a statue of wood, but He is not. He left the temple and began to run very quickly through the forest, towards that singing, and the many thorny bushes in that forest scratched His body and tore His clothing. Before He reached that devi dasi she stopped her kirtana, but He had already become maddened.
Jagannatha somehow returned to His temple and closed the door. In the morning, when the pujari came for mangala arati, he found Jagannatha covered with scratches and His cloth torn. The pujari called the main priest and the king, who both became very anxious wondering, “Who could have done this?” They wanted to arrest the culprit, but of course, Jagannath Himself was the “culprit”.
Why did Jagannatha run away after a lady? It was because of His intense attraction for that song. Jagannatha deva appeared to the king in a dream and explained that He had heard His maidservant singing from very far away and was so attracted that He had to run to her. He told the king that it was the bushes and thorns of the forest that had scratched His body.
After this incident, it was mandated as a precaution that this song be sung only in the presence of Jagannatha deva. Everyone was ordered to be very careful not to sing this song in a distant place.
Once at night, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was going to Cataka Parvata, a mountainous land located in Jagannatha Puri on the coast of the Indian Ocean, a lady was sweetly singing Srita Kamala in a very beautiful tune. Mahaprabhu could not restrain Himself. He was oblivious to who was singing and began to run in the direction from which the song was coming. His servant Govinda knew that this song was coming from a very young lady. He chased after Mahaprabhu, calling, “Dont go! Dont go! Otherwise You will give up Your life for having embraced a lady!” He was running after Mahaprabhu, but he could not run like Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was moving very swiftly. Then he loudly shouted, O Prabhu, what are You doing? This song is coming from a very beautiful young lady! Don’t go and embrace her!” Hearing this, Mahaprabhu became alert and came to His external senses. He then said, Oh Govinda, if you had not stopped Me and I had touched that lady, I would have jumped into the ocean and given up My life. This song is so full of rasa.
Los Angeles May 12 2003