Please listen to this wonderful pastime where the son of Jagannatha Misra, bestowed His causeless mercy upon a pious brahmin pilgrim. The brahmin was a devout worshiper of Gopala and used to chant the sixteen syllable Gopala Mantra. The brahmin did not eat anything other than the remnants of the food offered to his beloved Gopala. Salagram sila and Lord Gopala decorated his beautiful neck. He was covered with an aura of great spiritual effulgence. With his eyes half-closed the brahmin continuously relished the mellows of Lord Govinda’s transcendental pastimes. Wandering from one place to the other, the brahmin finally reached the residence of Lord Chaitanya. Seeing the exalted personality, Jagannatha Misra stood up and offered his respects. Washing his feet and offering him a seat, Jagannatha Misra enquired where the brahmin had hailed from.
Vipra bale – ‘ami udashina deshantari
Chittera bikhepe matra paryatana kari’
Pranati kariya Misra bolena vacana
‘Jagatera bhagye se tomara paryatana’
The brahmin replied, ‘I am not attached to material life and hence I travel from one place to the other. It is only due to my restless mind that I roam about here and there’. Jagannatha Misra respectfully said, ’It is the good fortune of the world that you travel everywhere’.
Jagannatha Misra exclaimed that he was greatly fortunate to have received the association of such an exalted brahmin pilgrim. He requested the brahmin’s permission to cook for him. The brahmana happily agreed. Jagannatha Misra had his kitchen cleaned thoroughly and arranged for all the cooking ingredients. The brahmin cooked the food himself and subsequently sat down to offer it unto his beloved Gopala.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu steals the offerings
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the Supersoul dwelling in everyone’s heart, wished to reveal Himself to the pious brahmana. Approaching the brahmana, little Nimai, who was entirely covered with dust, stood naked and smiling. His eyes were as beautiful as the sun. His hands and feet were equally charming. Wasting no time, Nimai picked up a handful from the brahmin’s offering and ate it while the brahmin watched on. The brahmin cried out in shock –
Haya haya! Kari bhagyabanta vipra dake
Anna churi karileka chanchala balake
Asiya dekhen Jagannatha Misravara
Bhat khaya hashe prabhu Sri Gauranga Sundara
Alas! Alas! Cried out the fortunate brahmin. ‘The restless boy has stolen the offering’, he sighed. Jagannatha Misra came and found his son (Gaurangasundara) smiling and happily eating rice.
Driven by anger, Jagannatha Misra chased Nimai intending to beat Him. However, the brahmin seized his hand and stopped him. The brahmin explained that the little boy was too small to differentiate right from wrong. Hence chastising Him would not accomplish anything.
Observing Jagannatha Misra greatly sad and depressed, the brahmin reassured him asserting that everything was the will of the Supreme Lord. He asked him to bring whatever fruits or vegetables he had in the house so that he could eat them instead. Jagannatha Misra then urged the brahmana to cook one more time. His friends and relatives also begged the same. Finally, the brahmana agreed. All the necessary cooking arrangements were made.
Nimai steals food for the Second time:
Fearing that Nimai shall repeat His mischief, mother Saci carried Nimai to a neighbor’s house. The ladies teased Nimai saying, ’Is this the way You should behave? Why did You steal the brahmin’s food?’ Nimai, acting innocent and donning a smile on his moon-like face, replied, ‘I do not have any fault in this. The brahmin had called Me’. The ladies taunted Him further saying –
Sobai bolen – ‘aye Nimai dhangati
Ki kariba ebe ja tomara gelo yati
Kothakara brahmana kon kula keba chine?
Tara bhat khai yati rakhibo kemone?
Oh, Nimai! Enough of Your pretensions. What further mischief will You do, now that You have lost Your caste? Who knows about this brahmin, where he hails from, or about his family? How can You keep Your caste after having eaten food cooked by him?
To this Lord Gaurahari replied –
Hasiya kahena prabhu – ‘ami ye goala
Brahmanera anna ami khai sarvakala
Brahmanera anne ki goalaera yati yai?
Eto bali hasiya sabare prabhu chay
Smiling the Lord replied,’ I belong to the caste of cowherds and I have always partaken the food cooked by brahmanas. How can a cowherd lose his caste by eating a brahmana’s food?’ Saying thus, the Lord smilingly gazed at everyone.
In this way, the Lord revealed His identity (as Lord Krishna) to everyone. However, no one could decipher the essence of His mysterious words. Whoever took the Lord in his/her lap, became engulfed in an ocean of bliss. Meanwhile, the brahmin cooked again and sat down to offer the food unto his beloved Gopala. Knowing this, Lord Gaurachandra, who is none other than the all-cognizant Supersoul residing in everyone’s heart, escaped everyone’s notice, diverting their attention elsewhere. He again came smiling to where the brahmana was seated, and stealthily put a handful of rice in His mouth, before sprinting off. The brahmana watched on in utter disbelief. Finally, he cried out, ‘Alas Alas!’.
Jagannatha Misra grabbed a stick furiously and chased after little Nimai. Lord Gaurahari fled in fear and hid in a second room, but His father came after him, roaring in rage. Jagannatha Misra threatened, ‘You shall see today! Although I am well educated and informed, you think I am a great fool. In whose house can one find a big thief like this boy?’
Jagannath Misra chased after Nimai and meant to beat Him. But the others restrained him and tried to pacify his rage. They argued that beating Nimai would not serve any purpose as He was merely a little boy with no sense of right and wrong. A child by nature is always restless. And beating a child does not ensure that he learns the lesson. They also added that Jagannatha Misra was very compassionate and beating a child was not a suitable display of his generous nature. The brahmin pilgrim also pacified Jagannatha Misra stating that the course of actions is already predestined and hence the little child was not at fault. ‘Lord Krishna has not ordained any rice for me today’, the brahmana continued. This is the essence and the cause of all that has happened today’, he exclaimed.
At that moment, Viswarupa, the elder brother of Nimai, arrived at that place. His form was brilliantly effulgent and the limbs of His beautiful body exhibited sublime sweetness. No adjectives of these fourteen worlds could adequately portray His majestic beauty.
Skandhe yajna-sutra, brahma-teja murtimanta
Murti-bhede janmila apani Nityananda
Sarva-shastrera artha sada sphuroy jihavaya
Krishna-bhakti byakha matra karoye sadaya
A Brahmanical thread dangled from his shoulders and His form was the personification of spiritual effulgence. He was none other than Lord Nityananda in a different body. The essence and the conclusions of all the different scriptures lived in His tongue. He was always engaged in enunciating the science of devotional service unto Lord Krishna.
When the brahmin pilgrim learned that Viswarupa was the son of Jagannatha Misra and Saci devi, he praised them highly. ‘Fortunate are those parents who possess a son like this’, he added. Viswarupa offered His respects and glorified the Brahmin pilgrim. He requested the brahmin to cook once more for the satisfaction of all.
To this, the Brahmin replied that he was not used to having rice every day as he roamed about in the forests. He requested Jagannatha Misra and family not to feel aggrieved and insisted that he be provided fruits and vegetables instead. When Viswarupa requested again, the brahmin expressed that he had already cooked twice but could not eat it as Lord Krishna desired otherwise. ‘One may strive endlessly to accomplish something but he would only fail if Krishna did not approve of it’, he expressed. The brahmana added that it was already very late and it would not be suitable to start cooking for the third time. Viswarupa however kept insisting, holding onto the brahmana’s feet. Finally, the brahmana relented and agreed to cook once more.
Lord Chaitanya steals for the Third time
This time, the child was kept at a secure distance while Jagannatha Misra himself guarded the doorway of Nimai’s room. Even the doors of this room were locked from outside. The ladies assured from inside the room that Nimai had dozed off to sleep and there was nothing to worry about. Meanwhile, the brahmin began to cook.
After the food was cooked, the brahmin brought it before the deity and was about to offer it. At this moment, by the divine will of Lord Gaurahari, everyone in the house fell asleep. Nimai then approached the room where the brahmin was seated. Seeing Nimai, the brahmin was left shell-shocked. Alarmed, he cried out ‘Alas! Alas!’ However, no one could hear his cries as they all slept peacefully.
Lord Chaitanya reveals His identity to the brahmin
Lord Gaurahari said, ‘O brahmana! You are known to be magnanimous. What is My fault in this? You have called upon Me by invoking My mantras. You meditate upon Me incessantly. Therefore I couldn’t stay away and decided to reveal Myself before you’. At that moment the brahmana saw a wonderful sight.
Sankha chakra gada padma astabhuja rupa
Ekhaste nabanita, ara haste khaya
Ara dui haste prabhu murali bajaya
Nimai revealed His eight-handed form with His four hands holding conch, sudarshana disc, club and lotus. With two other hands He held butter and ate it and with the remaining two hands He played upon His flute.
The brahmana saw a grand form of the Lord studded with valuable gems and beautiful ornaments. His breast was marked with the signs of Srivatsa. The Kaustubha jewel was seen hanging from His neck. His head was decorated with fresh forest flowers that encircled His peacock feather. His face resembling a moon shone effulgently like the rising sun. The Lord smiled and moved over His eyes restlessly. His knee-length Vaijayanti flower garland and His beautiful shark-shaped earrings swung delicately. His feet were decorated with gem-studded ankle-bells. The luster emanating from His delicate pearl-like nails dispelled the darkness. The place was immediately transformed into Vrindavana. The wonderful kadamba trees became clamorous with the chirping of birds. Cowherd boys, girls, and calves roamed about in all directions. It was exactly as the brahmin had observed in his meditation. Beholding this wonderful sight, the pious brahmana, became engulfed in an ocean of ecstasy. He immediately lost his senses and fell unconscious.
The fortune of the Brahmin pilgrim
Sri Gaurangasundara, who is an ocean of mercy placed His transcendental hands upon the brahmana’s body. The brahmana regained his senses, but being overcome with ecstasy, could not utter anything. Again and again, he fell senseless. Ecstatic symptoms of shivering, perspiration, and trembling appeared on his body. Tears flowed down his eyes like mother Ganges. Holding onto the feet of Lord Gauranga, the brahmana burst into tears. The Lord then smilingly spoke as follows –
Prabhu bole – ‘shuno shuno vipra-vara
Anek janmera tumi amara kinkara
Niravadi bhaba tumi dekhite amare
Ataeba ami dekha dilang tomare
Ara-janme eirupa Nanda-grihe ami
Dekha dilun tomare, na smara taha tumi
Yabe ami avatirna hailang Gokule
Sei janme tumi tirtha kara kautuhale
Daibe tumi atithi haila Nanda-ghore
Eimata tumi anna nibeda amare
Tahateo eimata kariya kautuka
Khai tor anna dekhailun eirupa
Eteka amara tumi janme janme das
Das binu anya mor na dekhe prakash
Kahilang tomare e saba gopya katha
Karo sthane iha nahi kahiba sarvatha
Yaboth thakoye mor ei avatara
Taboth kahile kare korimu samhara
Sankirtana arambhe amara avatara
Karaimu sarva-deshe kirtana prachara
Brahmadi ye premabhakti-yog vancha kare
Taha bilaimu sarva prati ghore ghore
The Lord said – ‘Listen to Me O brahmana, You have been My servitor since many of your past lifetimes. You constantly meditate upon Me and desire to see My form. Therefore I have now revealed Myself to you. In My previous incarnation, I appeared to you in the house of Maharaja Nanda in this self-same form, but you do not remember that pastime. When I had appeared (as Krishna) in Gokula, even then you were a traveling pilgrim. By divine will, you came as a guest to Nanda Maharaja’s residence and offered Me your foodstuff. Even in that encounter, we exchanged similar affections as we are doing now and I ate your offering just as I did tonight. You have been my servant birth after birth. No one other than My servant can behold My eternal form. Do not reveal the confidential truths that I have spoken to you. If you reveal My divine identity while I still manifest My present incarnation on this earth, then I shall destroy you.
I have descended to inaugurate the sankirtana Yajna (congregational chanting of Lord Krishna’s holy names) and I shall be instrumental in broadcasting this congregational chanting to all countries of this world. The ecstatic love of God which is so rare and even desirable by the likes of Brahma and other demigods shall be freely distributed by Me in every home’.
Little Nimai left the room after showering His blessings upon the brahmana. The pious brahmin was filled with great bliss after witnessing the amazing pastimes of the Lord. He smeared the transcendental rice all over his body and then ate it while incessantly crying in joyous rapture. His loud chants of ‘Jaya Bal-Gopala’ (all glories to little Gopala) awoke the residents of the house, who were sleeping peacefully till then. Seeing the brahmana honoring Prasada, all the residents became very pleased. The brahmana wanted to reveal everything about how little Nimai was none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, under whose directions even the likes of Brahma and Shiva administered their actions. However, he refrained from doing so remembering the instructions of the Lord. The brahmana stayed back at Navadvipa and lived by begging. Every day he would come by and catch darsana of his beloved Lord Gaurahari.