Lord Caitanya exhibited the most amazing and wonderful pastimes of His, during the daily sankirtana at Srivasa pandita’s house.None in the world could dance as beautifully and as gracefully as Sri Gauranga. As soon as the Kirtana began, the Lord became absorbed in trance ,and would sometimes fall down upon the ground with such force, that the earth would seem to shake.Sometimes He would become so heavy that no one could restrain Him, while at other times, he would become as light as a cotton.Sometimes He would weep for hours altogether, trembling and rolling on the floor, while the devotees would secretly take the dust from His lotus feet. The soul stirring kirtana of the devotees,mixed with the melodious voices of Kartala,mridanga and conch shells, coupled with the Lord’s ecstatic dancing created a musical uproar that cannot be compared to anything of this material world. The Lord would display ecstatic symptoms which are not revealed in the scriptures – Sometimes His body became stiff like a statue, while at other times it became as soft as cream,Sometime His body became elongated to such an extent that He appeared twice His normal size, while at other times, He looked thinner and smaller than usual. Being completely devoid of external consciousness, the Lord would sometimes call out the previous names of His associates, thus revealing their identities in Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes, thereby enchanting one and all.Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura explains in Sri Caitanya Bhagavata ,that the ecstatic dancing pastimes of the Lord Caitanya at Srivasa Angan were just like Krishna’s Rasa lila. He explains that actually millenniums passed by during these pastimes, while it appeared to be just a few hours to the mere human eye. To read more about Mahaprabhu’s wonderful pastimes at Srivasa angan, please refer to The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’s article entitled – ‘Srivasa Angan ,Mayapur ,Navadvipa – Part 1: where Lord Gaurahari eternally performs His ecstatic pastimes’
Srivasa’s Mother-In-law hides in his house during Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana :
These sankirtana pastimes of the Lord were exceedingly private ,which only His most intimate associates had the permission to witness. The envious people of Navadvipa, however, gathered outside the gates and spent their time criticizing the activities of the devotees inside.None of the people from outside were allowed into Srivasa Pandita’s house though, as all the blissful transcendental pastimes at Srivasa Angan, occurred behind the locked doors.
One evening, Srivasa’s mother-in-law hid herself in a corner of the courtyard from where she hoped to be able to see Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan pastimes. Being the indweller of all beings, Lord Gauranga was aware of her presence and kept repeating to his companions that on that day he felt no joy in performing the Harinama sankirtana. This was very disquieting to the devotees who began to suspect that some outsider might be hiding within Srivasa Angan and they made an extensive search. When Srivasa discovered his mother-in-law hiding, he was mortified.Taking her by the hair, he led her out of the courtyard. Only those who have received the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu have the right to witness his pastimes, he said.
In India, elders are considered to be the most respectful. One’s mother in law is treated as one’s own mother if not more. So when Lord Caitanya came to know about this, He was taken aback and enquired as to why Srivasa treated her the way he did. Srivasa pandita replied that he was ready to go to hell or face any consequences for his actions. But he could not tolerate any inconvenience of his beloved Lord. Though he respected his mother-in-law a lot, yet his primary consideration was to ensure that Lord Caitanya remained satisfied and could perform His pastimes ecstatically. This wonderful pastime teaches us how dearly Srivasa pandita loved Lord Gauranga and how far he could go in order to satisfy his worshipable master.
Srivasa pandita’s son passes away during sankirtana:
There was another pastime that occurred during one of these days, which showcased the elevated mood and devotion that Srivasa Pandita possessed towards Sri Gaurahari. One evening, the Lord along with His associates engaged in an ecstatic dancing sankirtana at Srivasa Angan. While everyone was busy in sankirtana, the pandita’s young son, who had been ill for a few days, passed away. The ladies within the house began to wail in lamentation at the boy’s untimely death. Srivasa pandita could sense that some calamity had befallen his house. He quickly entered the inner chambers and found out what had happened.Being well versed in the scriptures, he could control his own grief and tried his best to console the women of the house.He explained to them that all living beings are actually spiritual entities who transmigrate from one body to the other. Hence death is inevitable for a living entity. However, as this boy had passed away hearing the Lord’s holy names, he must have achieved the supreme benediction of going back to the spiritual world. Hence none should be crying keeping in mind the good fortune of his now-expired son, he tried to explain. Srivasa Pandita further reminded them that the Supreme Lord, who is the very object of worship of all the demigods, including demigods like Lord Brahma and Shiva, was personally dancing in their courtyard and he hence requested all the ladies to control their cries until the Lord had finished His sankirtana. Srivasa didn’t want to disturb the lord and dampen His ecstatic mood.Srivasa Pandita warned the ladies that if the dancing of the Lord was disturbed due to their hue and cries, then he would commit suicide by jumping into the Ganges.After instructing thus, Srivasa pandita returned and joined Mahaprabhu in His ecstatic sankirtana.
Mahaprabhu continued His kirtana till the middle of the night. But of course the omniscient Lord knew everything of what had happened, and prolonged His kirtana only to further glorify Srivasa, His dear devotee.Lord Gauranga then expressed that He didn’t find the usual bliss in the kirtana that day and suspected that some calamity had befallen Srivasa Pandita’s family. When Sri Caitanya came to know of the untimely death of Srivasa’s son, He became greatly shocked and was surprised why nobody had informed Him about the incident till then. Noting Srivasa Pandita’s pure devotion and his selfless love,the lord began to cry and embraced him dearly. He repeatedly uttered to Himself as to how He could ever possibly abandon the company of such selfless pure associates. The surrounding devotees however became concerned hearing the lord speak of abandoning them. The devotees would later come to realize that the Lord by then had already made up His mind to accept sannyasa (renounced order of life).
Thereafter Mahaprabhu came over to where the dead body of the child was lying.As soon as He touched the body, the child regained his consciousness and began to speak as follows – After offering obeisances unto Sri Gaurahari, the child explained that the ordain of the Supreme lord is absolute, and no one can change that. He continued that he had taken birth several times before and had also undergone the process of death on all these previous occasions. However, on this particular occasion, he had the supreme fortune of beholding the lotus face of Gaurasundara , while passing away and thus he had left his body very happily. Speaking thus, the child fell silent once more. Hearing these words from the mouth of a dead child, all the devotees present at srivasa Angana , became struck with wonder and fell upon the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya. Mahaprabhu then revealed that He and Nityananda Prabhu were like the two sons of Srivasa pandita and hence He advised the devotees not be too aggrieved at their recent loss.
The Lord enacted this pastime at Srivasa Angan only to teach us, how selfless and surrendered a perfect devotee should be.No matter what the personal loss, an ideal devotee is never too morose or baffled ,as pleasing Lord Gauranga, the Supreme Lord ,always remains his prime focus and ultimate objective.He is completely dependent upon the mercy of the Supreme, and hence relates anything good or bad that happens with him, as the will of the Supreme Lord, who is his ever well-wisher. Sri Srivasa Pandita is an example of such an ideal and exalted pure devotee of the Lord.
Dependence on lord Gauranga :
After Lord Caitanya had accepted His sannyasa initiation and moved over to reside at Jagannatha Puri, Srivasa Pandita along with his entire family, being unable to bear the separation of the Lord, shifted to Kumarhatta (Present day – Halisahar). When the Lord came to Bengal to visit Saci mata, He stopped over for a few days at Srivasa pandita’s house at Kumarhatta. Mahaprabhu was then amazed to notice that Srivasa Pandita did not go out to earn but instead just sat and chanted in his house for the whole day.When Mahaprabhu asked Srivasa pandita as to how he maintained his family, Srivasa replied that by Mahaprabhu’s mercy he and his family members never suffer from any shortage. Srivasa pandita added that if ever in future the situation arose that there was no food in the house, then he would wait for three days.If even after three days the situation did not improve then he would commit suicide by jumping into the Ganges.Lord Caitanya then reassured Srivasa pandita that such a day would never arrive.He reminded Srivasa of the boon that he and his family members would never ever suffer from poverty. The Lord then assured that for His devotees, He Himself bore all responsibility of their maintenance.The Lord also quoted a verse from Bhagavad Gita to support His statement, wherein He had stated that for His dear devotees, He personally preserved what they have and carry what they lack (ananyas chintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate, tesam nityabhiyuktanaam yoga ksemam vahamy aham).
Let us beg for Srivasa Pandita’s causeless mercy and pray to him so that he blesses us with atleast a tiny portion of his highly exalted mood and devotional qualities.‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has been striving to seek shelter of such great personalities throughout its spiritual journey. It is only with this objective of receiving their mercy and sharing it with others, that we have set out from our homes, trying to reveal to the world the mood and esoteric pastimes of these great men.The life and teachings, of these stalwarts inspire us to imbibe the same values and principles in our own lives and we pray that they mercifully bless us, so that we may forever contemplate upon their blissful pastimes.