Today is a most auspicious day: the holy disappearance day of Srila Madhavendra Puripad. The sprout of divine love for Krishna (Krishna-premankur) appeared in this world in the form of Srila Madhavendra Puri. Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu glorified Srila Madhavendra Puri so much. Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu were disciples of Srila Madhavendra Puri.
Isvar Puri and so many other sannyasis of that time were very famous. You know Isvar Puri was the very devoted and intimate servitor of Srila Madhavendra Puri, and it was he who appeared as the Guru of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So, Srila Madhavendra Puri’s position is so high in our sampradaya.
Actually, we formally introduce our sampradaya as the Brahma–Madhva–Gaudiya sampradaya, but Madhva Acharya received initiation from Vyasadev in Badarik Ashram, Vyasadev received inititation from Narad Goswami, the famous Narad Goswami is both the son and disciple of Lord Brahma, and Brahma was initiated by Krishna.
So, our sampradaya started from Krishna, but at a certain period after Madhva Acharya, the Krishna conception was hidden but again took a very brilliant form through Srila Madhavendra Puri. By the grace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we consider him to be the actual Guru of raga-marg. The path of loving service divine made its appearance in this world through Srila Madhavendra Puri. The sprout of Krishna-prema has appeared as Srila Madhavendra Puri, and after that came the great tree in the form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As you know, Mahaprabhu is the nondifferent form of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. All His associates, such as Sri Rupa Goswami and Sri Sanatan Goswami, appeared in our exalted Rupanuga sampradaya. From Krishna to Srila Madhavendra Puri is one part, and another part is from Srila Madhavendra Puri up to our Guru Maharaj. Today is the disappearance day of that Srila Madhavendra Puri.
He was a very intimate devotee of Krishna and Radharani. Radharani Herself fully bestowed Her mercy upon Srila Madhavendra Puri. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was on His way to Puri Dham, He told the transcendental story of Srila Madhavendra Puri to His associates as they halted at Remuna, Odisha. Mahaprabhu said that He had heard this from Isvar Puri.
Srila Madhavendra Puri was of a very renounced mentality. He never asked anything from others, but whatever came to him, he accepted as the mercy of Krishna. He never begged for food, but he would accept whatever he required when it was given to him. If he didn’t receive anything at all, he would fast that day; but he would not go to anyone’s house for begging. That was his nature. He was always chanting the Name of Krishna. In this way, he circumambulated all over India, especially Vrndavan. Now, Mahaprabhu told his story to His devotees in Remuna.
One day, Srila Madhavendra Puri was circumambulating Govardhan, and at night he stayed there under a tree at Govinda Kunda. He did not beg at any house for food; Krishna appeared to him in the form of a cowherd boy, bringing milk. Krishna said, «Oh, Puri Gosai, I see that you don’t go to anyone’s house for food; now the ladies of this village have sent this milk for you. Take it.»
Srila Madhavendra Puri was very surprised at how they could have known he was fasting. So, he asked that boy, «How do you know I am fasting?» The boy said, «The ladies came for taking water from the pond, and they saw you. They felt that you were hungry, so they sent this milk. Take it. I have some duties to do, milking the cows, so I shall go for that and come back again and take this pot back.»
Seeing that boy’s effulgence, Madhavendra Puri was astonished. Anyway, he took that milk and waited to return the pot to the boy, but the boy didn’t return. Madhavendra Puri sat there chanting the Name of Krishna until after midnight, when he fell asleep. He saw that boy come to him in his dream, revealing His identity:
‘sri-gopala’ nama mora, — govardhana-dhari
vajrera sthapita, ami iha adhikari
«My name is Sri Gopal, and I am the master of this village. Vajra [Krishna’s grandson] installed Me as Sri Gopal, and from that day I have lived here.
«But there were disturbances from the anti-religious section, and they wanted to disturb Me, so My servitor kept me in a kunja [grove] of Govardhan and fled. From that day, I am living in this grove. See, here is that place. I am suffering very much here from the cold, heat, rain, and wind. So, bring the people of the village and bring Me out of this place. Establish My worship in a Math on top of the Govardhan Hill. For so long I have been waiting for you, Madhava, to come and do My service.»
Madhavendra Puri awoke, and fell to weeping. Then he composed himself to follow the order of the Lord. He assembled many of the villagers with implements, spades, shovels, and other things, and they all worked hard to clear the entrance to the grove, which had become thickly overgrown with jungle creepers and plants. The Thakur was extremely heavy, and only the strongest men together were able to lift Him. Then Madhavendra Puri had them bring Him to the top of Govardhan Hill, where He was placed on a large rock altar, with another rock behind as a support. Madhavendra Puri arranged many brahmans for the Lord’s grand worship. He made all those brahmans into Vaisnavas, and arranged for the great festival of Annakut where a mountain of rice and other foods is offered to the Lord. That festival was seen to be identical with the same festival that was performed by Nanda Maharaj by the wish of Krishna. The news spread, and thousands and thousands of people from different villages attended that festival with great joy. Everyone was astonished to see the transcendental power of Srila Madhavendra Puripad.
There were hundreds of different preparations offered to the Lord, yet that night Madhavendra Puri put the Lord to rest and himself took nothing but a little milk. And every day there was such a grand festival. Madhavendra Puri accepted as disciples two of those brahmans, and they continued the worship of Gopal in a royal style as befitting the Lord.
Then Srila Madhavendra Puri got a dream in which Gopal told him to fetch Malayaja sandlewood and have it smeared on His body, to give Him relief from the burning heat. Madhavendra Puri arranged for the Lord’s proper worship in his absence and went to Bengal. At Santipur he initiated Sri Advaita Prabhu. Then he continued on to Remuna in the south, eight kilometres from Balesvara. There, he had the darsan of Gopinath.
As before, he never asked anyone for food. But he wanted to know what was being offered to Gopinath. The brahman there described to him all the offerings, and told him how in the evening they were offering Gopinath twelve pots of ksir or condensed milk. For a moment Madhavendra Puri thought, «If I could get a little of that ksir and taste it, I could make the same thing to offer to Krishna when I go back to Vrndavan.» But immediately he felt to revile himself as unchaste, only for the thought to taste that ksir. He left, and went to the village market, and sat under a tree there, chanting the Holy Name of the Lord.
In the meantime, the pujari made the offering (bhoga) to Gopinath as usual. He or the other brahmans there didn’t particularly think anything about Madhavendra Puri. After the offering they all took the prasadam. After going to sleep, the head pujari got a dream in which Gopinath told him, «O pujari, you don’t know it, but I have stolen a pot of ksir for Madhavendra Puri and hidden it under My cloth. He is My best devotee, he has come here, and now he is staying in a marketplace. He is fasting; go and give this ksir prasadam to him. You thought that you took twelve pots back out from the offering, but it is not so. By My illusion you took only eleven pots, and one pot is still underneath My cloth. Take that, and give it to Madhava Puri.»
That pujari was astonished. Anyway, he went and opened the door, and found the pot of ksir under the cloth of Gopinath. A beautiful fragrance emanated from that ksir prasadam. He immediately took it and went from one marketplace to another, calling loudly:
ksira laha ei, yara nama ‘madhava-puri’
toma lagi’ gopinatha ksira kaila churi
«Oh! Madhava Puri! Where are you? Take this ksir; Gopinath has stolen it for you. He knows you are hungry, and He has stolen this ksir just for you. Where is the person called Madhava Puri?»
Madhavendra Puri was surprised and finally admitted his identity, «I am here». And that pujari glorified him profusely and said, «Gopinath Himself stole this ksir for you. So take it.» Madhavendra Puri took that ksir. He was so intoxicated with divine love; he ate that ksir prasadam with great ecstasy and kept the remains of the clay pot, tying it in a knot of his cloth.
But he thought that tomorrow this news would spread to all corners and everyone would consider him a great soul. So, he fled Remuna out of the fear of fame, and went to Jagannath Puri. But when he arrived at Puri Dham, he found that everyone knew who he was, and how Gopinath had stolen the ksir for him. The news had already reached Puri before him. So, he could not conceal himself from anyone.
As Krishnadas Kaviraj mentioned in his Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, «It’s well known in the world that name and fame runs after those who are indifferent to it.» This is the nature of fame, and such was the case with Madhavendra Puri. When he was recognised by everyone, he also thought of the positive side of it — he would be helped in collecting that sandlewood for Gopal. The King’s ministers and entourage, and so many servitors of Sri Jagannathdev, came to see Madhavendra Puri, and he told them about his necessity. There would have been many dangerous obstacles from the mlechchhas on the way from Odisha to the place where sandlewood was available, but by the King’s influence he gained much help. The King also owned much jungle area containing sandlewood. He was given two men to help him carry that sandlewood, and they set out for Vrndavan. Remuna is on the way to Vrndavan, so they stopped there. Again, everyone recognised Madhavendra Puri, and he was received with great honour and reverence. The servitors of Gopinath gave him much ksir prasadam and other kinds of prasadam.
That night, again a dream came to him, in which Gopal told him, «Myself and Gopinath are nondifferent; it’s not necessary for you to bring this sandlewood all the way to Vrndavan. Offer it to Gopinath and give full worship and regard to Him with this sandlewood, and I shall receive it in that way.»
Madhavendra Puri was astonished, thinking, «How merciful Gopal is to me! He has again instructed me.» Then he engaged two more men to grind the sandlewood, and it was offered all over Gopinath’s whole body for the entire summer season.
Every day, Madhavendra Puri joined the arati of Gopinath, and by the Lord’s will, thousands of people visited, and grand festivals were conducted by the grace of Srila Madhavendra Puri. Gopal was happy with his service. Gopal had told him, «It’s not necessary for you to return to Vrndavan, but you will see Me here in Remuna and thus attain everything.»
Madhavendra Puri stayed there, and after that he departed the world at that very place of Remuna. We have seen there the Samadhi Temple of Srila Madhavendra Puri, a very small and charming Temple.
Thus, Mahaprabhu tasted the ecstasy of the story of Madhava Puri. Madhavendra Puri, before he disappeared, was very much intoxicated by Krishna-prema, divine love, and he felt separation of Krishna severely. He was always crying in that separation.
Isvar Puri served Madhavendra Puri for that last period of his Pastimes in this world. Isvar Puri rendered his personal service to the last detail, for which Madhavendra Puri praised him so much. In his deep mood of separation, at that time Madhavendra Puri sang a particular sloka. Mahaprabhu heard that sloka from Isvar Puri, and Mahaprabhu tasted that sloka with His devotees in Remuna Dham.
ayi dina-dayardra natha he
dayita bhramyati kim karomy aham
Again and again, chanting this sloka, Mahaprabhu was overwhelmed in His ecstasy. Mahaprabhu said that this sloka was the direct words of Radharani, revealed in the heart of Madhavendra Puri. Krishnadas Kaviraj has given this very beautiful explanation:
ei sloka kahiyachhena radha-thakurani
tara krpaya sphuriyachhe madhavendra-vani
kiba gaurachandra iha kare asvadana
iha asvadite ara nahi chautha-jana
Radharani was very much intoxicated with the mood of separation from Krishna, and She cried for Krishna with this sloka. And that kind of pain in the separation of Krishna appeared in the heart of Madhavendra Puri. Mahaprabhu said that no one in this world can fully understand the substance of this sloka. It was chanted by Radharani, and revealed in the heart of Madhavendra Puri, and he tasted that separation; and now, Gaura Mahaprabhu, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He is tasting that sloka. There is no fourth person who can taste it properly.
When I heard this sloka from Srila Guru Maharaj, the question immediately arose in my mind, «Present there is Nityananda Prabhu, who is the disciple of Madhavendra Puri, and many other greatly qualified personalities were present there. But Kaviraj Goswami said, ‘Iha asvadite ara nahi chautha-jana: no fourth person can taste it — that type of wealth is in this sloka.’»
If we try to understand the internal wealth of this sloka, we must fail. Only by the mercy of Radharani can it be tasted. When will that day come? Maybe it will never come, no doubt, but by the grace of Radharani, in Her nondifferent form of Gurudev, that mood of separation may be revealed in our hearts.
We have heard various explanations of this sloka from Guru Maharaj. And when he was tasting this sloka, I was amazed to see his face. By his extraordinary expression, we could get a glimpse of the great depth of his divine feelings for this highest of the high and finest quality of divine essence.
Everything that Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev gave to the world is within this sloka, as the very gist of Krishna-prema. Many varieties of moods of devotion are present within this sloka, and that was explained by Srila Guru Maharaj. How much have we got that? We hesitate even to think about it. And Kaviraj Goswami cautioned us to be conscious of our own position:
ei sloka kahiyachhena radha-thakurani
tara krpaya sphuriyachhe madhavendra-vani
If Radharani had not been merciful to Madhavendra Puri, it was impossible for this to have been revealed in his heart, and he would never have chanted it. And Krishna Himself tasted it in the form of Gauranga Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna with the heart and halo of Radharani. Therefore, Krishnadas Kaviraj says that really there is no fourth person who can taste it.
Still, by the grace of Madhavendra Puri, that mood may be revealed within our hearts. But we cannot expect it. We are living in this mundane world, full of illusion. And when the illusion leaves our vision, and the transcendental world will reveal itself in our hearts and before us, that day we may understand something of it by the grace of Radharani in Her nondifferent form of Gurudev. You know, in the Brahma-samhita (5.56), the famous sloka:
sriyah kantah kantah parama-purusah kalpa-taravo
druma bhumis chintamani-gana-mayi toyam amrtam
katha ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi-priya-sakhi
chid-anandam jyotih param api tad asvadyam api cha
sa yatra ksirabdhih sravati surabhibhyas cha sumahan
nimesardhakhyo va vrajati na hi yatrapi samayah
bhaje svetadvipam tam aham iha golokam iti yam
vidantas te santah ksiti-virala-charah katipaye
With the proper vision, we can know this comment of Brahma-samhita, and the comment of Kaviraj Goswami, and the comment of Bhakti Vinod Thakur, to be one and the same. Bhakti Vinod Thakur also commented, «If you think you know everything about Krishna, you are living in a fool’s paradise.»
We have seen many that think they are enlightened by Krishna consciousness, they have much knowledge about Krishna consciousness, but they are living in a fool’s paradise. Here it is indicated in this sloka of Brahma-samhita, «Vidantas te santah ksiti-virala-charah katipaye: there are very, very few saints of that calibre, almost none, who can understand this. Amongst many saints, sadhus, devotees, scarcely one can understand this.»
This is the real line of the teachings of Srila Rupa Goswami. He has given the perfect knowledge, but it will not be revealed to anyone without surrender to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. No doubt, in one respect this comment of Kaviraj Goswami makes us feel very hopeless, but on the other hand, we do have the possibility to gain entrance to that abode which is full of Krishna-prema.
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
How sweet is this expression! Mahaprabhu Himself brought this to the world. From here we cannot conceive of the divine love of all the entities in that transcendental abode of Krishna. But one day, by the grace of Gurudev, it may be possible for it to be revealed in our hearts. Still, we are always hopeful, and we will not be satisfied with anything else.
These are the teachings of Sri Gurudev. Srila Rupa Goswami said,
virachaya mayi dandam dina-bandho dayam va
gatir iha na bhavattah kachid anya mamasti
nipatatu sata-kotir nirbharam va navambhas
tad api kila payodah stuyate chatakena
The chatak bird will not be satisfied with water found anywhere on this earth. But only a few drops of water from the blue cloud in the sky will satisfy him. There is so much water in the pond, the river, the ocean, but he won’t take one drop of it. That is the nature of the chatak.
The blue cloud may punish him with a thunderbolt, but he never stops singing the glories of the cloud. This is chastity, this is surrender. This sloka shows us this in full. «I do not want anything else from anywhere; I want nothing but Your mercy. Please give it to me.»
Das Goswami also expressed the same. Sri Rupa–Sanatan, Sri Jiva Goswami, Sri Raghunath Das Goswami — they are all in that mood, and that group is our heart, our life.
asa-bharair amrta-sindhuh mayaih kathanchit
kalo mayati-gamitah kila sampratam hi
tvan chet krpam mayi vidhasyasi naiva kim me
pranair vrajena cha varoru bakarinapi
«O Radharani, it is my only hope that You will bestow Your mercy on my head, and to this day I have sustained that hope for my whole life.» At that time, Raghunath Das was perhaps eighty or eighty-two years old, when he composed this.
«This is my only hope: You will bestow Your mercy upon me. This is all I want. Without Your mercy I do not want even Krishna. What shall I do without Your mercy? I do not want Krishna’s mercy either. If Krishna will come to me, I must say to Him, ‘Please wait here; only if Radharani gives Her permission can I talk to You.’ And I am praying my whole lifetime, O Radharani, for Your mercy. Your mercy is my only objective. I am living in Vraja Dham for that purpose alone. Otherwise, if You do not bestow Your mercy, I have no interest even in a relationship with Krishna.» This is the most special kind of devotion.
We are always loudly declaring everywhere: «Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.» But here we find that Krishna has no position for the Rupanuga Vaisnava.
isvarah paramah krsnah sach-chid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam
«Krishna, Govinda, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His divine form is all eternity, consciousness, and bliss, and He is the cause of all causes.»
Such is Krishna’s supreme position. But what value is His supremacy to the Rupanuga Vaisnavas? They are very intimate to the Asraya-vigraha, Srimati Radharani, and they are always under Her control. Radharani is serving Krishna with full energy, and they are supplying the devotional ingredients.
Guru Maharaj told me not to make too many maths, otherwise I may find myself in trouble. Then I said, «Maharaj, now our family has grown so much. The devotees are visiting Puri Dham, and Vrndavan, and they have no shelter to stay at those places; unhappily they have to use a hotel or some other outside place. You please give me permission, and I shall try to make something in Puri Dham and Vrndavan Dham.» Guru Maharaj agreed to make something simple in Vrndavan, Puri, and Nabadwip. I also told him that Kolkata was a transit station for the devotees, and a place for them to stop over was also necessary. Guru Maharaj also gave that permission.
So, it was then that Guru Maharaj said, «If you make something in the Vrndavan locality, make it in Govardhan. We will stay near to Radha Kunda, but we will not stay in the Radha Kunda area itself. There, Radha-Govinda are enjoying Their Pastimes, and They will stay at Radha Kunda. My Guru Maharaj, Prabhupad Srila Saraswati Thakur, said, ‘We shall go from Govardhan, very early in the morning, and on the order of Radharani, we shall collect flowers at Kusum Sarovar and collect milk from all around; then we shall go to Radha-Kunda for service, and after Radha-Govinda go to sleep, we shall return to our shelter at the lotus feet of Govardhan.’ So, if you want to arrange a place there, make it in Govardhan.»
That was the desire of Srila Saraswati Thakur and Srila Guru Maharaj. Anyhow, by the grace of Srila Guru Maharaj, we have made a place for the shelter of the devotees — Sri Dayita Das Seva Kunja has manifested there. We have named the ashram Srila Sridhar Swami Seva Ashram.
So, the exclusive devotional line of Srila Rupa Goswami is very rarely achieved in this world. If anyone wants to get it easily, they will be cheated, and they will fall into the black hole of prakrta-sahajiyaism, and they won’t be able to come back out of it again. One should not try to get it easily, but it will be easy — by the grace of Guru, by the grace of Radharani.
Before that, we must wait, and Raghunath Das Goswami showed us how much it was necessary to wait. He waited his whole life; and who is he? He is the associate of Radharani. But he showed his Pastimes in Gaura-lila in the deepest mood of separation from Radha-Govinda.
The goswamis are associates of Radha-Govinda, and they have other forms in Krishna-lila. They are always serving Radha-Govinda, but in the mahabhaumya-lila they showed that they passed their lives in the mood of union in separation.
All this was manifest from that original sprout of Krishna-prema, Madhavendra Puripad. Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur took the name of Madhavendra Puri in this way:
madhavendra puri-vara sisya-vara sri-isvara
nityananda, sri-advaita vibhu
isvara-purike dhanya karilena sri-chaitanya
jagad-guru gaura mahaprabhu
There is a Bengali proverb, «Know a disciple by his Guru». Madhavendra Puri is great, and his great disciple is Isvar Puri; and not only Isvar Puri, but also Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu. All were shown in this world to be his disciples. Their other forms in Krishna-lila are so exalted, and in this world they showed themselves to be great devotees of Madhavendra Puri.
Very carefully, Srila Prabhupad also expressed that Gaura Mahaprabhu bestowed His mercy upon Isvar Puri by taking mantra from him as his disciple. Today is that Madhavendra Puri’s disappearance day. We may consider it is the best day for our spiritual life, giving us the chance to discuss Madhavendra Puri’s divine Pastimes and remember His Divine Grace.
The sun rises and sets. It does not take birth or die. So, the appearance and disappearance of the pure Vaisnava is like the sunrise and sunset. Both are good for the conditioned souls of this world. When they depart, they cast their merciful glance everywhere, and whoever remembers them will get that mercy.
Actually, we have seen that Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur, Srila Guru Maharaj, and other disciples of Saraswati Thakur sometimes chant the Guru-parampara from the beginning, and sometimes from the middle. From the middle, means we chant from Mahaprabhu Sri-Chaitanya Radha-Krishna nahe anya. Further to that, when necessary for the formal prestige of the sampradaya, we chant the Guru-parampara from Krsna haite Chatur-mukha hana Krsna-sevonmukha. Still, in the absolute sense, our sampradaya manifests from Srila Madhavendra Puripad.