The devotees of the Lord often cover their exalted position and live amongst us without us realising how worshipable they are. One such associate of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who was none other than Sri Vrishabhanu Maharaj in Krishna Lila, was Sri Pundarik Vidyanidhi, who hid his bhakti from the common people. Due to his external behaviour, even Gadadhar Pandit was unable to realise his exalted position until he displayed the symptoms of great devotion upon hearing a small pastime of Sri Krishna, for due to his unfathomable love for Shyamsundar, he could no longer put up a show of being a materialist after hearing the name and qualities of his object of love Sri Nandanandan, and rather his love gushed forth in the form of torrents of tears. The mesmerizing pastime of Sri Pundarik Vidyanidhi and Gadadhar Pandit is as follows.
Growing up in Nawadwip, Gadadhar pandit, always being absorbed in devotion to the lotus feet of Krishna and being very dear to Mukunda datta, would often go with him to hear from any exalted vaishnava who would be visiting Nawadwip. Once the great devotee Pundarik Vidyanidhi came there and both of them went to visit him. When Gadadhar pandit saw Pundarik Vidhyanidhi, his heart filled with doubt about Pundarik Vidyanidhi’s exalted position because of the external appearance that he had of being a person fully engrossed in the senses, as he was seated on a kingly couch chewing pan while being fanned by his servants, not exhibiting any symptoms of an exalted vaishnava. Understanding Gadadhar’s heart, Mukunda datta, with the intention to bring forth the true identity of Pundarik Vidyanidhi, recited a shloka from the Bhagwatam that described Krishna’s causeless mercy that he showed on Putana by giving her the position of a mother even though she had come with the intention to kill him. Despite the fact that she had smeared her breasts with poison, just due to her having performed the service of feeding him her milk, being extremely merciful, Krishna blessed her with the position of a mother. As soon as Pundarik Vidyanidhi heard this sholka, he could no longer act as a materialist and rather immediately lost all composure and wept torrents of tears in love for Krishna, displaying various ecstatic symptoms such as hair standing on ending and rolling on the ground. He called out for Shyamsundar in separation, praised his causless mercy on Putana and bitterly wept, crying torrents of tears in remembrance of Krishna. Seeing this, Gadadhar pandit could understand the true position of Sri Pundarik Vidyanidhi and realizing his mistake in having doubted the excellence of his devotion, Gadadhar pandit felt remorseful and in order to rectify himself, took shelter of the lotus feet of Pundarik Vidyanidhi and accepted him as his spiritual master.
Therefore, one should always be very humble and respect all the vaishnavas, for we never know the true position of a devotee. Not expecting any respect and rather giving all vaishnavas all respect, one should constantly chant the holy names of the Lord and in this way, one will be able to make rapid advancement on the path of bhakti and reach the unltimate goal of life, the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar in Sri Vrindavan dhama.