Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Carita | Book 3 Chapter 18

Eighteenth Sarga

Caitanya Deva Beholds Lord Gopīnātha


Then surrounded by the bhaktas, Śrī Kṛṣṇa went to the town of Rāmakeli. When Sanātana heard of this, he came to see the feet of Mahāprabhu.


Seeing the Lord, his heart became much engladdened. Sanātana and his younger brother, Rūpa, fell to the earth before Mahāprabhu, holding grass in their teeth, and they addressed Gaura Keśava:


"There is nowhere a sinful person nor such an offender as us. And although I have now abandoned all shame to speak to You, still what have I that is worth saying, O best of persons?"


Lord Janārdana placed His own foot upon Sanātana's head and declared, "Truly! Truly! Without doubt, you are a resident of Vṛndāvana!


"If you wish, I shall go with you to Mathurā Maṇala, to reveal the lost tīrthas of Mathurā and Vṛndāvana.


"It is your duty to accomplish all of this. Certainly by My mercy it will come to pass, for that mercy is devotional service personified, the bestower of prema- bhakti."


After hearing this, the highly intelligent Sanātana and his younger brother then said, "Vṛndāvana is the pleasure garden of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Candra. It is delightful and sublime.


"Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa forever sport there. That place is unattainable even by yogīs, devas, perfected beings, men and others.


"Dear Lord, if You go to that solitary place in the company of so many followers, what happiness will You feel there? O Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, with the sword of Your mercy, You have cut the strong shackles of my ministerial post and so forth which bound me to saṁsāra. Now that I have obtained Your direct association, if it pleases You, kindly empower me to fulfil Your mission."


After drinking the ambrosia of Śrī Sanātana's words, Prabhu replied laughingly, "Certainly Śrī Kṛṣṇa always satisfies every desire of His great bhaktas like your good self."


After fully satisfying heart of Sanātana, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya then went to Kānāi Naṭaśālā. That night He thought, "The statement of the learned Sanātana is undoubtedly true. Lord Mādhava has spoken to Me through his mouth. Alas! Truly the solitary forest of Vṛndā is very difficult to attain.


"Without doubt, it is always a source of botheration to travel with many people on pilgrimage. Only after giving up this group of followers shall I go to Vṛndāvana. Presently I shall proceed southwards."


So considering, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the embodiment of condensed ānanda-rasa, rose early that morning with Nityānanda.


In a joyous mood, He travelled speedily to the abode of Advaitācārya. Engladdening that bhakta's heart, He rested there and was well honoured by Him.


The Lord expanded ceaselessly in blissful eagerness, delighting in joking mellows with Advaita's son, Acyutānanda. He also showed incomparable mercy to Thākura Haridāsa.


At night, surrounded by His devotees, He performed hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana, dancing with Nityānanda in the spirit of parama-prema.


That crest-jewel among devoted sons then called for His mother and all the Navadvīpa-bhaktas. Thus they become fully freed from all melancholy.


In accordance with Śacī-nandana's requirements, Śacī Devī cooked the four kinds of food, and the Lord enjoyed them in the company of hundreds of blissful bhaktas, of whom Nityānanda was the chief celebrant.


In the same way, from home to home, from village to village, to wherever His bhaktas dwelled, Mahāprabhu went accepting food and drink and awarding joy. Then He departed for Śrī Puruṣottama Dhāma.


Śrīman Nityānanda Rāma and Paṇḍita Śrī Gadādhara were intoxicated by the nectarean love they felt for Gaurāṅga. Indeed, that love was the vital energy which sustained their life.


Followed by them, Kṛṣṇa Caitanya went take darśana of Śrī Kṣīra-Corā Gopīnātha, who is the all-pervading player of the bamboo flute, the son of Nanda Mahārāja in person.


Delighting in Gopīnātha in the mood of the gopīs, Gaura Hari embraced Him, and at that moment Gadādhara's heart grew happy as he saw Gaura and Kṛṣṇa as a single identity.


Since Śrī Gadādhara in his original form, is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Herself, he also eagerly drew Gopīnātha to his chest, and then left Him standing motionless.


Gadādhara cooked for Gopīnātha. Then, with his hairs bristling out of ecstacy, he brought Gopīnātha's remnants before Gaura Candra.


As approved by Gaura, Gadādhara happily divided the prasāda of Gopīnātha into three portions. Śrīman Mahāprabhu ate first.


Gadādhara fed the prasāda to Nityānanda with his own hand. Then being eager to taste rasa, Gadādhara also delighted in those rasa-imbued remnants.


While Nityānanda Rāma rested, Śrī Gaurāṅga became pleasantly seated in the company of Gadādhara, and out of spontaneous attraction that connoisseur of rasa eagerly heard from him of the rāsa-līlā. Thus inebriated by mādhurya-rasa, Gaura left the world of externals and solely delighted in the reservoir of all delight and the form of all rasa, Lord Gopīnātha.

Thus ends the Eighteenth Sarga entitled "Caitanya Deva Beholds Lord Gopīnātha," in the Third Prakrama of the great poem Śrī Caitanya Carita.