May 2021
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Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha

leaving Vrindavana

“All the devotees engaged in the cleansing ceremony of the Gundica temple and danced in front of the Ratha-yatra chariot, just as they had done in the past. For four consecutive months, the devotees observed all the festivals. The wives, such as Malini, extended invitations for lunch to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. From Bengal the devotees had brought varieties of Bengali food that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu liked. They also cooked various grains and vegetables in their homes and offered them to the Lord. During the day, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu engaged in various activities with His devotees, but at night He felt great separation from Krishna and used to cry. In this way the Lord spent the four months of the rainy season in various pastimes, and then He ordered the Bengali devotees to return to their homes. All the devotees from Bengal would regularly invite Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch, and the Lord would speak to them in very sweet words. “All of you come to see Me every year,” the Lord said. “To come here and then return must certainly give you great trouble. I would like to forbid you to do this, but I enjoy your company so much that My desire for your association only increases. I ordered Sri Nityananda Prabhu not to leave Bengal, but He has transgressed My order and come to see Me. What can I say? Out of His causeless mercy upon Me, Advaita Acharya has also come here. I am indebted to Him for His affectionate behavior. This debt is impossible for Me to liquidate. All My devotees come here just for Me. Leaving aside their homes and families, they travel by very difficult paths to come here in great haste. There is no fatigue or trouble for Me, for I stay here at Nilachala, Jagannatha Puri, and do not move at all. This is the favor of all of you. I am a mendicant and have no money. How can I clear My debt for the favor you have shown Me? I have only this body, and therefore I surrender it unto you. Now, if you wish, you may sell it anywhere you like. It is your property.” When all the devotees heard these sweet words of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, their hearts melted, and they began to shed incessant tears. Catching hold of His devotees, the Lord embraced them all and began to cry and cry. Unable to leave, everyone remained there, and five to seven more days thus passed by. Advaita Prabhu and Lord Nityananda Prabhu submitted these words at the lotus feet of the Lord: “The entire world is naturally obligated to You for Your transcendental attributes. Yet You bind Your devotees again with Your sweet words. Under these circumstances, who can go anywhere?” Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu peacefully calmed them all and bade each of them farewell. The Lord specifically advised Nityananda Prabhu, “You should not come here again and again. You will have My association in Bengal.” The devotees of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began their journey crying, while the Lord remained morosely at His residence. The Lord bound everyone by His transcendental mercy. Who can repay his debt for the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the fully independent Personality of Godhead and makes everyone dance as He likes. Leaving His company therefore all the devotees returned to their homes in different parts of the country. As a wooden doll dances to the will of a puppeteer, everything is accomplished by the will of the Lord. Who can understand the characteristics of the Supreme Personality of Godhead?”[1]

So far we read about these intimate dealings between the devotees and the Lord. Does this situation remind you of anything?

Manjari: Like Gurudev is coming here instead of we going to him, taking the difficulties during the travel all the time.

Tirtha Maharaj: This is your very romantic version, but let’s stick to philosophy. This situation reminds of that other situation when Krishna wants to leave Vrindavan. This is a story of separation and that is a story of separation. Here the devotees have to go and Mahaprabhu, and of course the devotees as well, are broken-hearted. There Krishna has to leave. And in a very unique way He wants to leave and He doesn’t want to leave, I mean Krishna. So, in certain of His aspects, He leaves Vrindavan. But the real aspect never leaves Vrindavan. Still, He poses as leaving, and all the gopis are ready to die to stop Him from going. They are ready to hold the reins of the horses, the other stands in front of the chariot: “Stop, don’t move!” Others were trying to hold on the wheels on the chariot, or even ready to jump under the wheels. So, this habit of jumping under the wheels of either Krishna or Jagannath’s chariot is a bona fide practice. Of course, if you look up your English dictionaries what you will find under this word – juggernaut (sic. Jagannath)? Have you ever checked?

Sarvabhauma: I think the Englishmen they made this word. It’s connected with this practice. I don’t know what exactly means, but something not very pleasant.

Tirtha Maharaj: Yes. It means utmost religious fanaticism. Of course from the outside it looks like suicide. But you know, the great love stories from the outside look like simple suicide. Romeo and Juliet? It’s not called utmost fanaticism, it’s called: “Oh, the most beautiful story ever!” What is your vision of certain things happening – this is the question.

(to be continued)

[1] Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya-lila, 12.61-85

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