Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Khirchora Gopinath

While on his way to the South, Madhavendra stopped at Advaita Acharya’s house                            in Shantipur and initiated him From there he went on until he arrived at Remuna. Seeing the beautiful image of Gopinath in Remuna, Madhavendra was overwhelmed with love and started singing his names and danced for some time in ecstasy. He asked one of Gopinath’s Brahmin servants what foods were offered to the deity. The Brahmin answered: “In the evening we give Gopinath twelve bowls of amrita-keli, a thickened milk preparation that is like the nectar of the gods. It is famous everywhere as Gopinath’s Kshira, and no offering anywhere in the world is its equal.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.4.119)

As the Brahmin spoke, other servants of Gopinath started to make the amrita-keli offering to their deity. Madhavendra thought that if he could just get a taste of this preparation, he would be able to one day make it himself and offer it to his own Gopal. However, this very thought shamed him, as it is improper to desire the food intended for the Lord. After watching the arati ceremony, Madhavendra went outside and sat in the empty market place, chanting the Holy names. Madhavendra followed ayacaka-vrutti, which means he would never ask for food from anyone and only accepting the food that was spontaneously offered him. He was able to do this because he never felt hunger or thirst, as he was constantly engaged in drinking the nectar of prema and that kept him satisfied.

In the meantime, the pujari had finished his duties and was taking rest when he had a vision of the deity in the dream telling him, “Get up! Open the door. I have put a bowl of kshira aside for the sannyasi. It is hidden behind the pleats of my dhoti. You did not see me put it there because of my maya. The sannyasi, whose name is Madhava Puri, is sitting in the market place. Quickly take this kshira to him.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.4.127-129)

The pujari was startled by the dream and immediately got up. He bathed, opened the door to the altar and found a bowl of the kshira behind the deity’s cloth, just as he had been told. He took the bowl and went to find Madhavendra puri. He wandered through the market, shouting, “I have kshira here for Madhava puri. Gopinath has stolen it for you. Take it and eat it with joy, for there is no person as fortunate as you in the three worlds. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.4.133)

When Madhavendra heard the pujari shouting in this way, he approached him and identified himself. The pujari gave him the kshira and then fell at his feet. He recounted the whole story to Madhavendra, sending him into paroxysms of divine love for Krishna. He respectfully ate the Prasad and then, after washing the clay bowl, broke it inot many small pieces and wrapped them up in his outer garment. Each day thereafter, he would eat a piece of the clay bowl and once again feel the same ecstatic love. Knowing that word of this miracle would spread by morning, Madhavendra puri became fearful of the celebrity that would inevitable befall him and the crowds of people that would then surround him. So, he paid his obeisance to Gopinath and left for Puri before dawn.

When Madhavendra arrived in Jagannath puri, he visited Lord Jagannath and became ecstatic with love at seeing him. News of the miracle at Remuna had reached Puri even before he had and countless people came to see him and pay him their respects. “The nature of fame in this world is well known: even if one does not seek it, it comes anyway as a result of one’s destiny. Though Madhavendra puri was afraid of being distracted by celebrity and ran awaya from it, when one has love for God, then celebrity comes flowing to him without being sought.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.4.146)

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