Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Carita | Book 1 Chapter 16

Sixteenth Sarga

Śrī Gaura Returns Home from Gayā


Thus Śrī Gaurāṅga spontaneously showed the world the correct process of devotional service unto Śrī Guru. Then with folded hands, He performed worship of his forefathers and the devatās in the waters of the Phalgu river, and contemplating the Supreme Lord, He placed the dust of His father's remains in the waters of that river. He then offered piṇa in the form of Viṣṇu-prasāda to His father on the mountain named Ādi-Śṛṅga.


After properly worshipping the universal controllers, for the sake of His ancestors He gave in charity to the brāhmaṇas as much as they desired. Then at once He descended and travelled northwards to the city named Dakṣiṇā-mānasa, where He performed another ceremony for the welfare of His ancestors.


Having also performed a śraddhā ceremony in the northern part of -Dakṣiṇā- mānasa, He then went to the tīrtha named Jihvā-capala and, together with the brāhmaṇas, performed a śraddhā ceremony for His forefathers and also worshipped the devatās. Then in a jubilant mood, He returned to the northern part of the city of Gayā.


With the help of elevated brāhmaṇas, Lord Gaurāṅga then performed an offering of piṇa to His father on sixteen altars together with rites to release His father from all distress. Then that personality who had been known as Śrī Jagannātha Purandara became distinctly visible to them and joyfully accepted the offering.


Just as Lord Rāma Candra offered piṇa in ancient times and His father, Mahārāja Daśaratha came and accepted it, so in every way Gaura Hari's behaviour was the similar. Still Gaurāṅga's pastimes are the most unique of all.


When He saw the footprint of Viṣṇu adorned with the characteristic signs of Śrī Viṣṇu's feet, Gaura Hari became very jubilant but He wondered, "How can it be that My eyes have seen the marks on Hari's lotus foot, yet prema has not arisen in My heart?"


At that moment by Divine arrangement a continuous shower of very cool water fell the illustrious Lord's eyes bathing the footprint of Śrī Viṣṇu. His body trembled, His hairs stood erect out of happiness, and His chest was bathed by hundreds of streams of prema-tears.


Because of His ecstatic love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, at once He became oblivious to externals. He wished to leave the charming city of Gayā, frequented by holy men behind Him and depart for Madhuvana, the eternal abode of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.


Then a celestial being, without manifest form, spoke a message from the sky, resounding like the echo of monsoon clouds newly arrived in the sky: "Dear Lord, please return to Your home. Later, You shall certainly go to Madhuvana, and there You shall perform all other pastimes in accordance with Your unique character.


"Being the Supreme Lord, You are able in all respects to do or not do according to Your own desire. Still, O Master, please consider these words of Your servant."


Having heard those supernatural words, Śrī Hari returned to His home, where His kinsfolk at once surrounded Him. He fell and bowed at the feet of His mother, and Śacī Mātā's eyes became filled with tears of joy.


While dwelling in His home, His gravity was sometimes broken by His sentiments of love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. At times He would weep, at other times He would repeatedly make thundering sounds. At times His body trembled and at other times He would joyously utter with faltering voice, "Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare..."


Sometimes accompanied by Śrīvāsa and other spiritually enlivened persons, He sang and danced in novel ways, always filled with ecstasy. He delighted in teaching human society by displaying as if in imitation, the pastimes of many other avatāras of the Lord.


Gaurāṅga renounced all worldly activities for the lotus feet of Śrī Hari. Thus He became the topmost of all sannyāsīs. Then surrounded by great souls headed by Mukunda all of whom felt love for Śrī Hari, He went to Śrī Kṣetra.


There for a long time, aloof from the ignorance of the material world, He gazed upon that Ultimate Person, Lord Jagannātha. After He had repeatedly relished pure bliss in unlimited ecstasy for a long time, accompanied by saintly devotees He departed on the path for Setu-bandha, the bridge built by the Lord of the Raghu dynasty.


There after embracing seven tamāla trees, He wept much. Then Prabhu went to the holy place known as Kūrma Kṣetra and saw the Lord of the universe in His transcendental form of a tortoise.


He then returned to Jagannātha Purī, which is known as Puruṣottama Kṣetra or the field of activities for the Supreme Male. For many days Acyuta resided there. Then having prepared Himself, the enemy of Madhu departed for Mathurā.


Upon reaching that spot ornamented by the marks of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, the jagad-guru wept profusely, and without hesitation rolled upon the earth in exultation. How many days did Mahāprabhu stay there solely eager to relish Kṛṣṇa- prema-rasa?


Thus did Prabhu joyously display transcendental happiness throughout the land of Madhu-purī, which is filled with the honey of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. Then suddenly He left, and returned step by step to the supreme abode of Śrī Puruṣottama's pleasure sports, just to reciprocate loving relationships with His devotees.


A man who hears with full faith and ardent longing of Śrī Hari's practice of scriptural injunctions concerning holy places can achieve whatever excellent benefit is conferred by service to Gayā, and then he travels on to the abode of the Lord, the pure destination.

Thus ends the Sixteenth Sarga entitled "Gaura Returns Home from Gayā," in the First Prakrama of the great poem Śrī Caitanya Carita.