Seeing The Supreme Lord
Once, Sri Madhavendra Puri traveled to Vrndavana, the holy place where Lord Krishna spent His childhood. There he came upon the hill known as Govardhana. This hill was very important to Krishna and the cowherd boys because it provided such nice grass for their cows.
When Madhavendra Puri saw Govardhana hill it reminded him of Krishna and His pastimes and he became almost mad in his ecstasy of love of Godhead, and he did not know whether it was day or night. Sometimes he stood up, and sometimes he fell on the ground. He could not discriminate whether he was in a proper place or not.
After walking around the hill, Madhavendra Puri went to Govinda-kunda and took his bath. He then sat beneath a tree to take his evening rest. While he was sitting beneath the tree an unknown cowherd boy came with a pot of milk. He placed it before Madhavendra Puri and smilingly addressed him as follows: “Please drink the milk I have brought. Why don’t you beg some food to eat? What kind of meditation are you undergoing?” When he saw the beauty of that boy Madhavendra Puri became very satisfied. Hearing His sweet words, he forgot all hunger and thirst. Madhavendra Puri said: “Who are You? Where do You reside? And how did You know that I was fasting?” The boy replied, “Sir, I am a cowherd boy, and I reside in this village. In My village no one fasts. In this village a person can beg food from others and thus eat. Some people drink only milk, but if a person does not ask anyone for food I supply him all his eatables. The women who come here to take water saw you, and they supplied Me with this milk and sent Me to you.” The boy continued: “I must go very soon to milk the cows, but I shall return and take back this milk pot from you.” Saying this the boy left the place. Indeed, He suddenly could be seen no more, and Madhavendra Puri’s heart was filled with wonder.
After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri washed the pot and put it aside. He looked toward the path, but the boy never returned. Madhavendra Puri could not sleep. He sat and chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and at the end of the night he dozed a little, and his external activities stopped. In a dream he saw the very same boy. The boy came before him and, holding his hand, took him to a bush in the jungle. The boy showed Madhavendra Puri the bush and said: “I reside in this bush, and because of this I suffer very much from severe cold, rain showers, winds and scorching heat. Please bring the people of the village and get them to take me out of this bush. Then have them situate me nicely on the top of the hill. Please construct a temple on the top of the hill,” the boy continued, “and install Me in that temple. After this wash Me with large quantities of cold water so that My body may be cleansed.
For many days I have been observing you, and I have been wondering, ‘When will Madhavendra Puri come here to serve Me?’ I have accepted your service due to your ecstatic love for Me. Thus I shall appear, and by My audience all fallen souls will be delivered. My name is Gopala. I am the lifter of Govardhana Hill. I was installed by Vajra and here I am the authority. When the Mohammedans attacked, the priest who was serving Me hid Me in this bush in the jungle. Then he ran away out of fear of the attack. Since the priest went away I have been staying in this bush. It is very good that you have come here. Now just remove Me with care.” After saying this the boy disappeared. Then Madhavendra Puri woke up and began to consider his dream. He began to lament: “I saw Lord Krishna directly but I could not recognise Him!” Thus he fell down on the ground in ecstatic love. Madhavendra Puri cried for some time but then he fixed his mind on executing the order of Gopala thus he became tranquil.
After taking his morning bath Madhavendra Puri entered the village and assembled all the people. Then he said: “The proprietor of this village, Govardhana-dhari, is lying in the bushes. Let us go there and rescue Him from that place. The bushes are very dense and we will not be able to enter the jungle. Therefore take choppers and spades to clear the way.
After hearing this all the people accompanied Madhavendra Puri with great pleasure. According to his directions they cut down bushes, cleared a path and entered the jungle. When they saw the Deity covered with dirt and grass they were all struck with wonder and pleasure. After they cleansed the body of the Deity some of them said: “The Deity is very heavy. No one person can move Him.” Therefore some of the stronger men assembled there to carry Him to the top of the hill.
A big stone was made into a throne and the Deity was installed upon it. Another big stone was placed behind the Deity for support. All the brahmana priests of the village gathered together with nine waterpots and water from Govinda-kunda lake was brought there and filtered. When the Deity was being installed nine hundred pots of water were brought from Govinda-kunda. There were musical sounds of bugles and drums and the singing of women.
During the festival at the installation ceremony some people sang and some danced. All the milk, yogurt and clarified butter in the village was brought to the festival. Various foods and sweets as well as other kinds of presentations were brought there. I am unable to describe all these. The villagers brought a large quantity of tulasi leaves, flowers and various kinds of garments. Then Sri Madhavendra Puri personally began the abihiseka [bathing ceremony]. After all inauspicious things were driven away by the chanting of the mantra the Deity’s bathing ceremony started. First the Deity was massaged with a large quantity of oil so that His body became very glossy. After the body of the Deity was cleansed He was dressed very nicely with new garments. Then sandalwood pulp, tulasi garlands and other fragrant flower garlands were placed upon the body of the Deity. After the bathing ceremony was finished incense and lamps were burned and all kinds of food offered before the Deity. These foods included yogurt, milk and as many sweets as were received. The Deity was first offered many varieties of food, then scented drinking water in new pots and then water for washing the mouth. Finally pan mixed with a variety of spices was offered. After the last offering boga-aratrika was performed. Finally everyone offered various prayers and then obeisances, falling flat before the Deity in full surrender.
As soon as the people of the village had understood that the Deity was going to be installed they had brought their entire stock of rice, dhal and wheat flower. They brought such large quantities that the entire surface of the top of the hill was filled. The potters of the village brought all kinds of cooking pots and in the morning the cooking began. Ten brahmans cooked the food grains and five brahmans cooked both dry and liquid vegetables. The vegetable preparations were made from various kinds of spinach and roots and fruits collected from the forest. Someone had made bada and badi by mashing dhal. In this way all the brahmanas prepared all kinds of food. Five to seven men prepared a huge quantity of chappatis [flat bread] which were sufficiently covered with ghee [clarified butter], as were all the vegetables, rice and dhal.
All the cooked rice was stacked on palasa leaves which were on new cloths spread over the ground. Around the stack of cooked rice were stacks of chappatis and all the vegetables and liquid vegetable preparations were placed in different pots and put around them. Pots of yogurt, milk, buttermilk and sikharini, sweet rice, cream and solid cream were placed alongside the vegetables. In this way the Annakuta ceremony was performed and Madhavendra Puri Gosvami personally offered everything to Gopala. Many water pots were filled with scented water for drinking and Lord Sri Gopala, who had been hungry for many days, ate everything offered to Him. Although Sri Gopala ate everything offered, still, by the touch of His transcendental hand, everything remained as before. How Gopala ate everything while the food remained the same was transcendentally perceived by Madhavendra Puri Gosvami; nothing remains a secret to the devotees of the Lord.
The wonderful festival and installation of Sri Gopalaji was arranged in one day. Certainly all this was accomplished by the potency of Gopala. No one but a devotee can understand this.
Madhavendra Puri offered water to Gopala for washing His mouth and he gave Him betel nuts to chew. Then, while arati was performed, all the people chanted, “Jaya, jaya!” [All glories to Gopala]. To arrange for the Lord’s rest Sri Madhavendra Puri brought a new cot and over this he spread a new bedspread and thus made the bed ready. A temporary temple was constructed by covering the bed all around with a straw mattress. Thus there was a bed and a straw mattress to cover it. After the Lord was laid down to rest on the bed Madhavendra Puri gathered all the brahmanas who had prepared the prasada and said to them: “Now feed everyone sumptuously from the children up to the old-aged!” All the people gathered there sat down to honour the prasada, and by and by they took food. All the brahmans and their wives were fed first. Not only did the people of Govardhana Village take prasada, but also those who came from other villages. They also saw the Deity of Gopala and were offered prasada to eat.
Seeing the influence of Madhavendra Puri all the people gathered there were struck with wonder. They saw the Annakuta ceremony, which had been performed during the time of Krishna, was now taking place again by the mercy of Sri Madhavendra Puri.
All the brahmanas present on that occasion were initiated by Madhavendra Puri as Vaisnavas and he engaged them in different types of service.
When it was advertised throughout the country that Lord Gopala had appeared atop Govardhana Hill all the people from neighbouring villages came to see the Deity. One village after another was pleased to beg Madhavendra Puri to allot them one day to perform the Annakuta ceremony. Thus day after day the Annakuta ceremony was performed for some time.
The ideal place to execute Krishna consciousness is Vrajabhumi, or Vrndavana, where people are naturally inclined to love Krishna and Krishna is naturally inclined to love them. Throngs of people came from different villages to see the Deity of Gopala and they took maha-prasada sumptuously. When they saw the superexcellent form of Lord Gopala all their lamentation and unhappiness disappeared. All the villagers in the neighbouring Vrajabhumi [Vrndavana] became aware of the appearance of Gopala, and all the people from these villages came to see Him. Day after day they performed the Annakuta ceremony. In this way not only the neighbouring villages but all the other provinces came to know of Gopala’s appearance.
Thus people came from all over bringing a variety of presentations. The people of Mathura, who are very big capitalists, also brought various presentations and offered them before the Deity in devotional service. Thus countless presentations of gold, silver, garments, scented articles and eatables arrived. The store of Gopala increased daily. One very rich ksatriya of the royal order constructed a temple, someone made cooking utensils and someone constructed boundary walls. Each and every family residing in the land of Vrajabhumi contributed one cow. In this way thousands of cows became the property of Gopala. Eventually two brahmanas in the renounced order arrived from Bengal and Madhavendra Puri, who liked them very much, kept them in Vrndavana and gave them all comforts. These two were then initiated by Madhavendra Puri and he entrusted them with the daily service of the Lord. This service was performed continuously and the worship of the Deity became very gorgeous. Thus Madhavendra Puri was very pleased.
This is the way to install the Deity, construct the temple and increase the property of the temple. Everyone should be enthusiastic to contribute to the construction of the temple for the Deity, and everyone should also contribute food for the distribution of prasada. The devotees should preach the gospel of devotional service and thus engage the people in practical service to the Deity. Wealthy people can also be attracted to take part in these activities. In this way everyone will become spiritually inclined, and the entire society will be converted to Krishna consciousness. The desire to satisfy the material senses will automatically diminish and the senses will become so purified that they will be able to engage in bhakti [devotional service to the Lord] Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate. By serving the Lord one’s senses are gradually purified. The engagement of one’s purified senses in the service of Lord Hrsikesa is called bhakti. When the dormant propensity for bhakti is awakened one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead as He is. Bhaktya mam abijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah. (Bg. 18.55) This is the process of giving humanity the chance to awaken Krishna consciousness. Thus people can perfect their lives in all respects.
One who hears this narration with faith and devotion attains the treasure of love of Godhead at the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krishnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.
(from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, Forth Chapter)