[Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga]
When Purusottama Jana went to Vidyanagara and attacked again, this time he defeated the king of Vidyanagara as well as Ganesa and Gopala and brought them, as well as the princess, back to his capital.
He kept Gopala at the Jagannatha Temple. The other Deities Radhakanta and Ganesa were also kept there. When Gopala was in the Jagannatha Temple, Jagannatha came and complained to the king and said, “I am an old man and my arms and legs don’t work, and this Gopala is very quick. He is stealing all My bhoga and not leaving anything for Me to eat, so please take Him away.” Gopala was thus removed from the temple and put into a separate temple in Katak, which later became known as the Saksigopala Temple. The king gave Radhakanta to Kasi Misra, who was the Guru of the king. Kasi Misra kept him in the Radhakanta Matha, which is now known as the Gambhira.
When Gopala arrived at the new temple, He said, “If there is no Radha-kunda or Syama-kunda I will not stay here. If there is a nice garden with many ponds then I will stay.”
So the king of Orissa made a Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, as well as many gardens. In the middle there is a Gopala Mandira and a very beautiful lake known as Manasi Ganga. There is also a pond there named Govinda-kunda.
If you go there you will see how beautiful it is. Gopala further insisted, “I will never eat rice and dahl like Jagannatha, it is so tasteless! Instead, give Me laddu, puri, pakvan, kacori, and samosa. Your old Jagannatha eats dahl and rice because His teeth no longer work. But I am young and my digestion is good, so I want only things that are fried in pure ghee, like puris, pakoris, laddu, halava, and barfi.”
How are the items cooked there? The laddus are so hard that it is very difficult to chew them. They will practically break your teeth. Gopala takes such hard laddu; they are like candies, but He likes them so much. They are very sweet and tasty. He eats many sweets like khoya, puris with sugar powder and ghee, and kacoris also. Everything there is very tasty and nice. Once a year, on the day of Annakuta, Gopala will take rice, otherwise He only takes these other tasty preparations. So Gopala stayed there, Radhakanta stayed at Gambhira Mandira where Mahaprabhu resided, and Ganesa was kept in the Jagannatha Temple.
As for the princess, she was put in prison.
The king declared, “I will marry her to a real sweeper.”
Hearing this, the ministers and Kasi Misra, the guru of the king, were thinking what to do. They plotted that, during the Ratha-yatra, when the king was sweeping, they would bring the princess out of jail and offer her in the hand of the king. That way they would be fulfilling the king’s vow of marrying her to a sweeper, and at the same time she would be married to a king. By this all the conflicts would be resolved.
Srila Gurudeva said that if someone has not taken a broom in their hands, then how can they take the impure things out of their hearts? Therefore we must do seva.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura said that we should beat our head and our mind a hundred times with a broom. Prabhupada would say the same thing, that we should beat our mind in the morning with a broom and in evening with shoes. That way we will become purified.
Prabhodananda Sarasvati-pada prayed:
yat-kinkarisu bahusah khalu kaku-vani
nityam parasya purusasya sikhanda-mauleh
tasyah kada rasa-nidher vrsabhanu-jayas
Sri Radha-Rasa-Sudha-Nidhi 8
“When will I become one stick in a broom that sweeps the kunjas of Vraja?” This is sat-marjan. By doing this our hearts become cleansed.
When my Guru Maharaja used to come to Mathura, he would bring a special vegetable called mamkochu, banana flowers, and jack fruits. He would also bring brooms. The brahmacaris would ask, “Why do you bring brooms all the way from Navadvipa, when we can buy many brooms here in Vraja?” He would reply, “Now I am not able to sweep myself, but if I can one way or another be involved in service by bringing brooms, then somehow I will receive some good fortune. I am really very unfortunate that I myself cannot sweep the floor of the streets of Vraja or of the temple.”
All of our acaryas had this seva-vrtti, or the inclination to perform service. For those who are just beginning on the path of bhakti, seva is the method to cleanse their hearts.
If we want to clean our hearts, we must do sat-marjana. Sat-marjana means that person who is very clean at heart.
Such a person will be very humble and will have seva-vrtti. Someone who is honest and clean at heart will go and clean everywhere wherever he goes. He will clean even in the corners and he will not have any kutinati. Kutinati means duplicity or hypocrisy. So a sat or honest person will not have any kutinati and will be able to clean the kutinati in other people’s hearts. This is real sad-vrtti.
Mahaprabhu described this cleansing process in the verse, ceto-darpana-marjanam. Srila Gurudeva said that if you desire to cleanse your heart, ceto-darpana-marjanam, then go be in sadhu-sanga. Sadhus will take a broom and sweep your heart clean of all anarthas and kutinati.
Mahaprabhu manifested the pastime of cleaning the Gundica Temple, and in this way all of the devotees’ hearts were purified. Unless our hearts become clean, we cannot make place there for God. Instead, our hearts will be filled with disrespectful moods, sinful tendencies, and anarthas.
During the time of Ratha-yatra, Mahaprabhu saw that the king was sweeping and was thus pleased with him. For some time the ratha, or cart, would stop at Balbandhi Udyan where some gold is offered to Jagannatha. Thousands of people also come to offer bhoga to Jagannatha there.
Before the river used to pass through this place, so Jagannatha would stop there and take some bhoga, and then the murtis of Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra would be carried to the other carts on the opposite side, where they would proceed to Sundaracala.
Mahaprabhu would also rest at the garden there while the carts were stationed. He would weep remembering the moods of the Vraja-devis and the separation of Radharani. Once when Mahaprabhu was resting, some bhaktas prepared Prataparudra Maharaja to go see Mahaprabhu. Dressed in very simple clothes, he went before the feet of Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu had previously explained the process of how we can cleanse our hearts.
Bhakta-pada-dhuli, bhakta-pada-jala, and bhakta-bhukta-avasesa—these will clean our hearts.
We must offer ourselves to the bhaktas, who are always situated near the feet of God. The bhaktas had told the king, “First take off your royal attire. You must adopt the vesa, the proper attire. Then you can become avesa, be in the proper environment, and finally samavesa, completely absorbed in the nature of the Vaisnavas and thus be qualified to receive Mahaprabhu’s mercy.” So he took on the attire of a Vaisnava, and when Mahaprabhu was resting, he began to sing Gopi-gita in a very beautiful voice:
jayati te ‘dhikam janmana vrajah
srayata indira sasvad atra hi
dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas
tvayi dhrtasavas tvam vicinvate
[The gopis said: ] O most beloved, because of Your birth in this land of Vraja, the entire area has become more glorious than Vaikuntha and other planets. It is for this reason that Laksmi, the goddess of beauty and wealth, eternally decorates it with her presence. O beloved, in this most blissful land of Vraja, it is only we gopis who are not happy. We maintain our lives solely for Your sake, being extremely anguished in separation from You, and are wandering from forest to forest in search of You. Therefore, please, appear before us now.
By the mercy of the bhaktas he had ability to massage the feet of Mahaprabhu. First he had swept before Jagannatha’s cart, then he took the foot dust of the Vaisnavas, and by their mercy he was able to approach Mahaprabhu and do kirtana for Him while massaging Him.
When he was massaging Mahaprabhu’s feet, he came to the following verse:
tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham
sravana-mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah
[The gopis said: ]We are always suffering in this material world, but just hearing the immortal nectar of Your words and narrations of Your pastimes gives us life. These narrations, coming from the lips of Your pure devotees, eradicate one’s sinful reactions and bestow the ultimate benediction upon whoever hears them with faith. Your pure devotees broadcast these narrations, which are full of spiritual beauty and opulence, all over the world. There is certainly no one more kind and compassionate than those souls who distribute this nectar.
Mahaprabhu said, “Speak more, speak more!” Then He sat up and embraced the king and said, “What can I give you? I have nothing that is worthy of reciprocating with that valuable wealth you have given Me by singing Gopi-gita. Who will distribute this Vraja-rasa? Who is eager for Vraja-rasa and for the mood of the Vraja-devis?”
Mahaprabhu was weeping and experiencing the ecstatic symptoms of love. In such a state He embraced the king, and by the touch of Mahaprabhu the king also manifested the symptoms of ecstasy and love on his body and began to weep in spiritual happiness. He had achieved the pure love of Krsna by Mahaprabhu’s touch and mercy.
When Mahaprabhu continued along with the Ratha-yatra precession, there were seven kirtana parties.
Mahaprabhu would appear from one kirtana party to another very quickly while dancing and jumping in the air. When Mahaprabhu jumped and danced in front of Jagannatha’s cart, the cart would slowly proceed forward. And when Mahaprabhu went behind Jagannatha’s cart, the cart would stop, and no matter how much they tried to the pull the cart, Jagannatha would not move forward.
There is also the pastime where the general of Prataparudra Maharaja was trying to clear the bhaktas out of the way so that king could have darsana of Mahaprabhu while He danced.
The seven different kirtana parties each had their own separate leader.
One was led by Nityananda, and another one was led by Srivasa Pandita. When Mahaprabhu was dancing with the party of Srivasa Pandita, the bhaktas made a boundary circle so that ordinary people would not be able to come inside and disturb Mahaprabhu.
The king was outside the circle accompanied by
his general Haricarana. Haricarana was trying to move aside the bhaktas so that the king could have a clear view of Mahaprabhu. He pushed Srivasa Pandita two or three times in an effort to move him to the side. Generally, Srivasa was never aggressive to anyone, but when the general tried to disturb him from the sankirtana and his being engaged in the kirtana with Mahaprabhu, he spun around and slapped Haricarana on one cheek and then the other cheek.
Haricarana immediately became red with anger and thought “Oh! I will kill him!” He went forward to strike Srivasa Pandita, but the king grabbed onto his arm and said, “Stop, you are so fortunate to be struck by the Vaisnavas.” At first Haricarana was red with anger, but the king subdued him and made him understand that actually he had received the mercy of the Vaisnavas by being punished by them.
The mercy of the Vaisnava comes in many forms; they may even beat us, abuse us, or chastise us. If they are a pure Vaisnava, whatever interaction they have with us is for our benefit.
There is saying, “If they have taken the Gaudiya Matha’s dal and gal, that is your kal; Gaudiya Matha ki dal aur gal tumhara kal hai.” This means that your material life will be finished if you take the very watery dal from the Gaudiya Matha, as well as the chastisement.
Once there was a sadhu who stayed in the Gaudiya Matha and was so strong that he would take his shoes and beat someone if he saw them doing anything wrong. If he had his danda nearby him, he would beat anyone who was disobedient. Seeing anything incorrect, he would either take his wooden shoes or his danda and beat the person responsible for the blunder.
From an ordinary perspective, you might think that this is material abuse. But if the persion who is chastising is a real Vaisnava, then this chastisement is greatly beneficial and purifies our hearts and cleans away our anarthas. This strong personality from the Gaudiya Matha would chastise people and say, “Why aren’t you doing bhajans? Why aren’t you entering into the path of bhakti? Why aren’t you doing service or chanting harinama?” The reality is that if people are not disciplined, they will resort to laziness.
Srila Gurudeva would also be very strict and would chastise like this. So, in the same way, Srivasa Pandita slapped Haricarana, and the general was thus humbled and achieved his welfare.
Who can understand the nature of the Vaisnavas or sadhus? Hanuman showed so much anger towards Ravana and Lanka, but really that was just his mercy to them. If Lanka had not burned down then what would have happened? Without Hanuman going there first, Rama would not have gone and blessed Lanka with His presence. In actuality, Hanuman’s act of disturbing Lanka was really his humility.
Srila Gurudeva would say that the acts of Hanuman were of the highest caliber. When Hanuman was captured by Ravana’s soldiers, Vibhisana attempted to kill Hanuman. He arranged for them to burn his tail by wrapping it up with rope and kerosene and lighting it on fire. With his tail afire, Hanuman went and torched all of Lanka. By doing this he purified all of Lanka and its residents, burning away all of their anarthas. It is the mercy of the Vaisnavas when they take away all our impurities.
Gurudeva said Hanuman’s anger destroys our anarthas, whereas our anger not only destroys ourselves but destroys and burns others as well. The krodha, or anger, of a Vaisnava purifies us. At first the general Haricarana was very proud and upset when he was chastised and punished by Srivasa, but in the end he actually felt so much better. Afterwards he understood that really it was mercy that he received.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]