Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Carita | Book 1 Chapter 11

Eleventh Sarga

Gaurāṅga Travels East for Wealth,
and Celebration of Lakṣmī Devī's Victorious Death


Then Śacī Mātā, having put on that very great festival with the assistance of the brāhmaṇa ladies, welcomed her son and daughter-in-law into her home.


With much devotion she gave grains, scented oils and garlands to the brāhmaṇas. To the chiefs of the craftsmen, the dancers and others she gave wealth.


Then as Prabhu dwelt happily in that auspicious house with His family members, resembling the moon surrounded by the stars in a clear sky.


Just by the sight of Śrī Śrī Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa in the home of Śacī Devī, each pf the personified qualities of good fortune came to reside there just to advertise the fame of their own opulence.


Since He was now situated in household life, Gaura Hari set forth eastwards with His associates to acquire wealth, and by so doing He purified those lands.


In whichever land the victorious Lord visited, the people became jubilant to see His face which appeared radiant like the lord of the night.


By seeing that face, men traversed the farthest limits of the ocean of pleasure. But the women remained unsatiated and they inquired, "Who can be the father of this person whose very sight purifies the beholder, and O, what pious acts did His mother perform that within her womb she held such a transcendental male? We have never before seen such a person. Simply by beholding Him, the pride of Cupid is crushed."


"And who is that fortunate woman blessed to become His wife? She must have worshipped Śaṅkara for a very long time." "No, no! Certainly since He is Nārāyaṇa, she can be none other than goddess Lakṣmī. There is no doubt about this."


Śrī Hari heard many such statements made by the people. The Lord cast His tear- moistened glance of love upon them and continued on His journey.


After journeying to the bank of the Padmāvatī river, He bathed as enjoined in śāstra, and resided there, while saintly men offered Him faithful worship.


The Padmāvatī is a very great river, equal with the Gaṅgā in her potency to purify conditioned souls. Her waters flow very swiftly and are surrounded on both sides by great sand-dunes.


The great and splendid banks of the Padmāvatī, which were the habitation for saintly folk, were beautified by crocodiles, dolphins and fish which flickered like lightning within her waters.


When Śrī Viśvambhara bathed there, He cleansed away the abundance of accumulated sins, and thus the Padmavatī became the most excellent and auspicious of holy rivers. Lord Hari dwelt on her banks.


The Lord is known as Madhu-hā, for in a previous avatāra He slew the demon Madhu who attempted to destroy the Vedas. He, whom saintly persons intensely hanker to see within their heart of hearts, took pleasure in giving pleasure to the eyes of those very pure and great-hearted souls.


The self-controlled and compassionate Master, eager to taste the mellows of scholarship, taught all those brāhmaṇas for a few months.


During this interval, the most fortunate Lakṣmī Devī, whose husband was dearer to her than her own life breath, remained firmly fixed in her vows of service. She served Śacī Devī in many ways, such as massaging her feet.


She cleansed and anointed the temple with fragrant oils and decorated the terrace with svastikas and other auspicious designs. She made very tasteful preparations, offered them with devotion to the śrī-mūrtis and then offered incense, lamps and garlands.


Śacī Devī, much pleased by Lakṣmī's services, her speech, her gentle behaviour, and her thoughtful deeds, pondered for a long time of some way to reward her.


Her hairs would thrill out of intense affection for her son's bride, and she cherished her like a daughter, doting on her just as she did her son.


Once while she was thus residing in Śacī's home, a snake came, incited by Divine Providence, and bit Lakṣmī Devī on the sole of her foot. Seeing this, Śacī Devī felt great anxiety for her daughter-in-law and immediately called for doctors specializing in snake-bites, who came and endeavoured to flush out the poison.


Although Śacī Devī chanted mantras and applied many other remedies, she was unable to alleviate the effects of the snake's poison. Therefore she considered her daughter-in-law's death to be an act of the almighty Lord in His form of Time.


She arranged that the Lord's young wife be decorated with a garland of tulasī leaves and placed in the waters of the daughter of Jahnu. Then, accompanied by other ladies, she chanted the names of Hari.


Then as a host of Gandharva airships entered that clear sky, the devas headed by Lord Brahmā and accompanied by perfect beings, recited the following auspicious song:


"Mahā-Lakṣmī, mother of the cosmos, has given up her body within the celestial Gaṅgā, while remembering the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in order to re-enter presence of her Master.


"Then she departed for her resplendent abode, the form of which is full of auspiciousness and which is unattainable even by Indra and the other devas. There in that planet which is worshipped by all other planets, Śrī Lakṣmī is replete with transcendental opulence."

Thus ends the Eleventh Sarga entitled "Gaurāṅga Travels East for Wealth, and Celebration of Lakṣmī Devī's Victorious Death," the First Prakrama of the great poem Śrī Kṛṣṇa-Caitanya Carita.