Lord Nityananda’s Pastimes
Caitanya Bhagavata Adi-lila Chapter Nine
This chapter describes the childhood pastimes of Nityananda up to his twelfth year, during which time he re-enacted the divine pastimes of Krishna, Rama, Vamana, and the other avataras of Vishnu. This chapter also describes his tour of different holy places which continued until his twentieth year.
On the order of Gaura Krishna, Ananta Deva had already made his appearance in the village of Ekachakra in Radhadesh. In this way, Nityananda Prabhu appeared like the moon from the sea of the womb of Padmavati, the wife of Hadai Oja. And just like the rising moon, he dispelled all the darkness covering the land of radha by his auspicious appearance. As a child, Nityananda constantly played with his boyhood friends imitating the pastimes of Krishna.
Once, his friends took the role of the assembly of gods, who were desirous of petitioning the Lord to relieve the burden of evil oppressing the Earth. Nityananda Prabhu took with him a child who was dressed as the earth, and together with the children who acted the roles of the different assembled gods, he went to the banks of the river Ganges. There he addressed the Lord who rests in the ocean of milk, Ksirodaksayi Vishnu. At that time, one of the children took the part of Lord Vishnu, and hiding unseen by the other children spoke in a grave voice that all could hear: “I shall surely be born in Goloka Mathura to lighten the burden of the Earth.”
And so Nityananda Prabhu enacted the different pastimes of Krishna that the Lord performed during the Dvapara age. He enacted the pastimes of the marriage of Vasudeva and Devaki, the birth of Sri Krishna in the prison of Kamsa, the journey of Vasudeva to Nandagram and how he carried Krishna over the Yamuna river, as well as his return from Nandagram and how he brought Mahamaya who had just appeared as the daughter of Yasoda with him.
He enacted the slaying of Putana, the breaking of the cart, Krishna’s butter stealing pastimes, the slaying of the demons, Dhenuka, Agha, and Baka. He also displayed the pastimes of the pasturing of the cows, the lifting of Govardhan hill, the stealing of the gopis clothes and the Lord’s bestowal of mercy upon the wives of the sacrificial brahmanas. He performed the pastimes of sending secret advice to Kamsa in the guise of Narada, the killing of the Kuvalaya elephant and the wrestlers Canura and Mustika, and the killing of Kamsa.
Nityananda Prabhu also enacted the pastime of Vamanadeva’s cheating Bali of the three worlds, and took the role of Ramachandra. His friends acting the part of monkey soldiers pretended to build a bridge of floating stones across the ocean, in imitation of the pastimes of Rama. Once, Nityananda took the part of Laksman, and, bow in hand, would storm the palace of Sugriva. Once he took the part of Rama Himself, enacting the pastime of breaking Parasurama’s pride. Once, taking the role of Laksman he pretended to kill Indrajit and then swoon, hit by the powerful arrows of Ravana, the demon-king. He would enact the pastime of having the medicine from Gandamadana Hill brought by Hanuman and would recover from his wounds after receiving the medicine.
Nityananda spent twelve years enacting these kinds of pastimes. At that time, he went to visit the different holy places in order to purify them from the sins left behind by the pilgrims who visit them.
He toured the holy places in both Northern and Southern India, on the pretext of pilgrimage and in this way was occupied until his twentieth year when he arrived in Nabadwipa and met Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In the course of his wandering through the different holy places, Nityananda Prabhu met Madhavendra Puri, Isvara Puri, and Brahmananda Puri. Nityananda passed many days enjoying the ecstasy of Krishna-katha in the company of Madhavendra Puri and his disciples. He then visited Setubandha, Danatirtha, Mayapuri, Avanti, Godavari Jiyura Nrismha, Devapari, Trimala, Kurmaksetra and many other holy places. At last he arrived at Jagannatha Puri, where he took darshan of Jagannatha Deva and was profoundly moved to ecstasy upon seeing the Deity. From Jagannatha Puri, he returned again to Mathura. The chapter closes with an explanation of Lord Nityananda’s renunciation.
Lord Nityananda who is identical with the powerful Balarama himself, manifest during this period his pastimes of preaching the holy name in love of God. The chapter concludes with a description of greatness of Nityananda Balarama.
Text of Chapter
All glories to Sri Krishna Caitanya, the ocean of mercy. All glories to Nityananda Prabhu, the friend of the helpless. All glories to the life and soul of Sri Advaita Chandra. All glories to He who is the only shelter of Srivasa and Gadadhara. All glories to Visvambhara, the son of Jagannatha Mishra and Sacidevi who is always beloved by his devotees and followers.
Before the advent of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Ananta deva himself had appeared on the order of the Lord. He took birth in the Radhadesh to help enact the divine lila of the Lord. His father’s name was Hadai Oja and his mother’s name was Padmavati. He appeared in the village of Ekachakra within the land of Gauda. From infancy he was sober, highly intelligent and supremely qualified. The baby boy was millions of times more beautiful than cupid.
From the moment of his birth there appeared within the Radhadesh, all-auspicious symptoms. All varieties of famine, poverty, and unhappiness immediately disappeared. On the day that Sri GauraChandra made his advent in Sridhama Nabadwipa, Nityananda Prabhu shouted with joy. The vast universe was pervaded with the sound of his cries and the whole world became astonished. Some said, “The thunderbolt has descended to Earth.” Many could understand that the mightly disturbance was the result of some divine power. Some said, “We know the cause. The master of Gauda has spoken in a voice of thunder.” And in this way, everyone gave their different opinions. But by the power of the illusory energy of Krishna, no one could recognize the transcendental position of Nityananda Prabhu.
In this way, keeping his divine nature unmanifest, the supreme Lord, Nityananda Prabhu delighted in the
company of children. In all the games that the Lord played with the children, Krishna was the center. Indeed, their play was nothing but the lila of the Lord. Nityananda Prabhu would hold an assembly of the gods with one of the children acting the part of the Earth presenting the petition of the demigods to the supreme Lord Vishnu. All of them would go along with the Earth to the banks of the river where together they would pray to the hidden Lord of the universe, Ksirodaksayi Vishnu. Unseen by all, one of the boys would loudly proclaim from his hiding place, “I will shortly be born in the cowherd village of Mathura.”
Another day, Nityananda Prabhu and his childhood friends would gather in the village to celebrate the marriage of Vasudeva and Devaki. Once, having made their playhouse into the prison of Kamsa, he re-enacted the pastime of Krishna’s divine appearance in the dead of night. Nityananda Prabhu built a cowherd settlement and took Krishna there, deceiving Kamsa by substituting Yogamaya for Krishna within the prison.
Another time he dressed up one of his childhood friends as Putana, while another boy, climbing his body pretended to such his breast like the baby Krishna. Once, having built a cart made of reeds with the help of the children, Nityananda Prabhu broke it. Nityananda Prabhu would bring his childhood friends to the house of the local milkman and steal milk and yogurt, following in the footsteps of Krishna. His friends never left his company, nor would they return to their homes, but day and night they would play in the company of Nityananda Prabhu.
Nor did their mothers and fathers complain, but all loved Nityananda with their hearts and souls. He would hold his relatives and friends in affectionate embrace. Upon beholding his amazing childhood pastimes, everyone would say, “We have never seen such wonderful playing. How is it possible that this child has learned all these activities of Krishna.”
One day having made serpents out of the leaves of trees, he brought the children to a pond. One of the children would enter the water and float motionless. Nityananda Prabhu would awaken him.
One day he took the children into a grove of palm trees, where they played at killing the demon Dhenuka and tasting the palm fruits known as tal fruits. He would often go to the pasturing grounds and there play many different games with the children. After constructing toy demons and naming them Baka, Agha, and Vatsa, he would kill them. Nityananda Prabhu would return home with his childhood in the afternoon, all of them blowing on buffalo horns.
One day he would imitate Krishna’s pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill. Another day after constructing a replica of Vrindavana, he would play there with his friends. One day he would steal the clothes of the gopis and another day would visit the wives of the brahmanas engaged in sacrifice. One of the children would take the part of Narada Muni and disguising himself with a beard he would give confidential advice to Kamsa. One day one of the boys dressed as Akrura and took Krishna and Balarama away from Vrindavana on the order of Kamsa. Nityananda Prabhu cried in grief, feeling separation from Krishna in the mood of the gopis. Streams of tears would flow from his eyes in the view of all the children.
Influenced by the illusory energy of Vishnu, no one could understand the transcendental nature of Nityananda Prabhu’s divine lila as all the children played in his company. After building a replica of Mathura, he would roam with the boys. Some of them would take the position of garland-makers and some would wear the garlands. Nityananda Prabhu would dress one of them as Kubja and would become perfumed by her. One day, upon making a bow, Nityananda Prabhu broke it with a thundering noise. After killing the elephant Kuvalayapida and the wrestlers Canura and Mustika, he would knock to the ground and drag away by the hair one of the boys who had been made to play the role of Kamsa. Having killed Kamsa he would dance merrily with the children.
In this way, Nityananda Prabhu’s pastimes as a boy made all the people of Ekachakra laugh with delight. Nityananda Prabhu imitated in his pastimes the transcendental activities of all the avatars of Godhead. One day Nityananda Prabhu played Vamana and another child played Bali Maharaja. In this way, Nityananda Prabhu would deceive him into giving the three worlds in charity as one of the children, dressed as an old man, played the role of SukrAcharya and forbid the gift. Then, Nityananda Prabhu as Vamana, after accepting the alms of Bali, placed his lotus feet upon that boy’s head. One day, Nityananda Prabhu played at constructing a bridge of trees and stones across the ocean as all the children played the role of monkey soldiers. In this way he could chop veranda plants and throw them into the water, pretending they were giant trees as the children would shout “Jaya Rama! Jaya Raghunatha! Victory to Rama! Victory to the Lord of the Raghu dynasty!”
The Lord Himself assumes the role of Laksman, and bow in hand, he made his way to the palace of Sugriva in a fit of anger, saying, “You wretched monkey! My Lord, Rama, is becoming distressed by your actions. My Lord is waiting on Malyavan mountain, burdened with grief. And you, O wicked monkey, are busy making merry with women! If I am to spare your life, then go to Rama as fast as you can, and offer him your help.”
Another day, in the mood of Laksman, he would chastise Parasurama in anger, saying, “O brahmana – I can’t be held accountable for what happens to you if you do not flee at once.” The children, in their innocence, would take Nityananda Prabhu’s absorption in the mood of Laksman to be nothing more than childish play. They did have any knowledge of his position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Some of them would roam about as the five monkeys, and taking the role of Laksman, Nityananda Prabhu would ask, “Who are you monkeys who roam the forests? Tell me! I am the servant of Raghunatha!”
They would tell him, “We wander here in fear of Bali. Lead us to Rama! We accept the dust of your feet upon our heads.” Giving them hearty embrace, he would lead them to his master and bow down before the feet of Rama, falling flat like a rod. In the role of Laksman, one day Nityananda Prabhu was beaten by Indrajit. Another day he would play at killing Indrajit. Having made one of the boys take the role of Vibhisana, he would lead Vibhisana in the presence of Rama and then install him as the king of Lanka. Another child would shout, “Look! Hear I come as Ravana. Beware the shafts from my bow. Let Laksman protect you if he can.” With this, the child playing the role of Ravana hurled a lotus flower at Nityananda Prabhu, who dropped to the ground, senseless, in the mood of a defeated Laksman. Having swooned away, Nityananda Prabhu would not arise. Although the boys tried in many ways to arouse him in many different ways, Nityananda Prabhu showed no sign of life in any part of his body. The children all put their hands to their heads and wept and cried. Hearing their cries Nityananda Prabhu’s mother and father hastened to the spot. Finding no life in their child, both of them fell upon the ground senseless.
All the people of the village gathered there and gazed upon the scene in amazement. The children explained everything. Someone from the crowd said, “I understand the reason for all this. A long time ago, an actor who was playing the role of Dasaratha gave up his life upon hearing of the exile of Rama to the forest.” Another said, “The boy is only acting his part. As soon as Hanuman brings the medicine and administers it to him, he will recover.”
Of course, Nityananda Prabhu had already explained this to the children. He had told them, “As soon as I fall down, all of you make a circle around me and cry. After a short period of time, send away Hanuman. My life will return if the medicine is applied to my nose.” But as soon as the Lord, who was perfectly playing his role, became unconscious, the children became very much upset. They completely lost their judgement and no one could remember Nityananda Prabhu’s instruction. They simply cried and cried, and called out, “O brother: get up!” But the bystander’s remarks made them remember the Lord’s advice. So, one of the children walked off as Hanuman and another child, dressed as a sage stood in his way. Greeting him with an offer of fruits and roots, the sage said, “Please stay with me a while, dear friend, and bless my humble retreat. Only by great good fortune can one attain the company of one like yourself.” Hanuman replied, “My work is urgent. I must make haste. I cannot stop; please excuse me but I must say goodbye. You must have heard of Laksman, the younger brother of Rama. Ravana has struck him unconscious with his sakti arrow. I must hurry to Gandhamadana mountain. His life may be saved only if I bring the proper medicine.” The child who played the role of Hanuman spoke all these lines as he was trained by Nityananda Prabhu. Everyone looked on in amazement. At the request of the sage, Hanuman went to a nearby lake to bathe. Another child caught hold of his feet from under the water. In this way, the child took the part of a crocodile and pulled Hanuman into the water. The child-actor playing Hanuman dragged the crocodile to the bank and then defeats him. Then Hanuman encountered an even more formidable foe. A child disguised as a Raksasa ran after Hanuman and threatened to eat him, saying, “You have defeated the crocodile, but now you must defeat me. Who will revive Laksman if I swallow you alive?” Hanuman answered, “Your Ravana is a worthless dog. Take to your heels and be gone.” In this way the two children fought with each other until they had each other by the hair. They began beating each other with their fists. After some time, Hanuman defeated the Raksasa. Finally, the child playing the role of Hanuman made his way to Gandhamadana mountain. There, some boys dressed as Gandharvas fight with him for some time, and, after defeating the Gandharvas, Hanuman brought Gandhamadana mountain away on his head. One of the children, acting as a doctor, remembering Rama, applied the medicine to the nose of Nityananda Prabhu, who was playing the part of Laksman. At last, the great Lord, Nityananda Prabhu regained consciousness and came to his feet.
At this, all the parents and everyone else laughed. Hadai Pandit took the child into his arms and all the boys were delighted. Everyone asked, “My dear child, where did you learn all these things?” And the Lord would laughingly answer, “These are all my divine pastimes.”
In his early childhood, the Lord’s body was delicately fair. No one wanted to give up embracing him. Everyone loved him more than they loved their own sons. By the illusory potency of the Lord, no one could recognize him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this way, from his early childhood, Nityananda Prabhu enjoyed nothing better than rehearsing the pastimes of Krishna.
All the children, giving up their parents and their homes, would constantly play in the company of Nityananda Prabhu. I offer my humble obeisances hundreds of times unto the lotus feet of all those boys who thus played with the Supreme Lord Nityananda Prabhu. In this way, Nityananda Prabhu performed his pastimes, and from infancy, nothing pleased him except the lila of Sri Krishna.
Who has the power to describe the transcendental pastimes of Ananta? They are only revealed through his mercy, of his own accord. And so, Nityananda Prabhu stayed at home for the first twelve years of his life. At that time he went on pilgrimage, visiting the different holy places of India. He wandered as a pilgrim until his twentieth year and at that time he appeared before Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Listen to the account given in this Adi-lila of Caitanya-Bhagavata of the pilgrimage of Nityananda Prabhu the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is blasphemed only by wicked and sinful atheists.
Nityananda Prabhu delivered the whole world. He is an unparalleled ocean of mercy. Only by his mercy do I understand the truth about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Only by his means has the greatness of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu been proclaimed. Listen to how Nityananda Prabhu, the best beloved of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, traveled to all the holy tirthas in India.
The Lord first visited the holy place known as Vakreswara. From there he traveled all alone to the grove of Vaidyanatha. After visiting Gaya, he went to Kasi, the seat of Lord Siva, where the current of the Ganges begins to flow northwards. Nityananda Prabhu became filled with joy at the sight of the Ganges.
At Kasi he bathed in the Ganges, and with an unsatiated thirst drank its sweet waters. He performed his morning bath at Prayaga in the month of Magha and from there went to the place of his previous birth in Mathura. Having sported in the waters of the Yamuna at Visrama-ghata, the Lord wandered about Govardhana Hill in great ecstasy and in this way he walked through all twelve forests of Vrindavana. He visited the house of Nanda Maharaja at Gokula, and sitting down at that holy place, he wept out of emotion. Offering his obeisances to Madana Gopala the Lord journeyed to Hastinapura, the home of the pandavas and beholding the place of those great devotees, the Lord shed tears. All those who loved there, being nondevotees, could not understand. He bowed down, beholding the glories of Balarama in the city of Hastinapura and in his ecstasy, shouted, “May Balarama, the holder of the plow, deliver us all.”
Then, Nityananda Prabhu went to Dvaraka where he bathed in the sea in great joy. He went to Siddhapura, the seat of Kapila, and at the holy place known as the tirtha of the fish, Matsya-tirtha, distributed large quantities of cooked rice at a great festival. Nityananda Prabhu visited Siva-Kanchi and Vishnu-Kanchi and laughed upon seeing the bitter schism between the followers of Vishnu and the followers of Siva.
He went to Kuruksetra, Priti-daksa, Bindhu-sarovara, Prabasa, and Sudarsana tirtha, and after paying a visit to the holy tirtha of Trita-kupa, he went to Nisala and from there to Brahma-tirtha and then to Cakra-tirtha. The Lord visited Pratisrota which is near the Saraswati of the West. And from there, that great magnanimous personality, Nityananda Prabhu, travelled to Naimisaranya.
At that time, Nityananda Prabhu went on to the city of Ayodhya and wept much upon beholding the holy birthplace of Sri Rama. Then he went to the kingdom of Guhaka, the candala, where Nityananda Prabhu fell unconscious out of ecstasy. Remembering the devotion of Guhaka-candala, Nityananda Prabhu was unconscious for three days. In all those forests, where the Supreme Lord Rama had stopped to spend a few days, Nityananda Prabhu rolled on the ground in the agony of separation.
He went to the banks of the Sarayu river and bathed in her waters and from there went to Kausaki and from there to the sacred retreat of Paulastya the sage. After bathing in all the holy tirthas of the Gomati, Gandhaki and Soma rivers, he climbed to the summit of Mount Mahendra, and having paid his obeisances there to Parasurama, he proceeded to Hardwara, where the flow of the Ganges originates on this Earth. He then visited Pampa, Bhima-rati and Sapta-Godavari, after bathing in the Tirthas of Benva and Bhipasa.
The great Nityananda Prabhu then had a view of Karttika and went to the mountain of Sri, where Siva and Parvati dwell. In the forms of a brahmana and his wife, Siva and Parvati resided on the top of the mountain known as Sri. Both of them recognized their own cherished Deity, Nityananda Prabhu, who had thus journeyed to the holy places disguised as an avadhuta. Both of them rejoiced upon beholding their guest, and the goddess Parvati herself, with her own hands, joyfully cooked prasadam for Nityananda Prabhu. As Siva and Parvati made offerings of food to Nityananda Prabhu with great regard, he smiled and offered his obeisances to both of them.
The confidential talks which they held between one another can be understood only by Krishna Himself. Taking his leave, Nityananda Prabhu went to Dravida. After visiting Vyenkattanatha, Kamakosti-puri, and Kanch, he arrived at the famed stream of the Kaveri and from there went to the holy place of Sri Rangam, where he stayed for some time. From there he went to Hari-ksetra, and then visited Mount Rsabha. Then he travelled to South Matura, Krtamala, Tamraparni, and then journeyed northward to the Yamuna, where he visited the home of Augustya on Malaya mountain.
The people there were filled with great joy on beholding the magnanimous Nityananda Prabhu who accepted their hospitality, and from there with great pleasure, he travelled to Badarikasrama. Nityananda Prabhu stayed for some time at the abode of Naranarayana Rshik and passed his time in complete seclusion. From there he journeyed to the residence of Vyasa, who recognized Nityananda Prabhu as the mighty Balaram Himself.
Making himself visible, Vyasa welcomed his guest and the Lord offered his obeisances before Srila Vyasadeva. At that time, Nityananda Prabhu travelled to the seat of the Buddhists, where the Lord found them sitting together with one another. He questioned them, but no one replied in answer. Being angered by the Buddhists, the Lord kicked them on the head. Laughing, the Buddhists fled and Nityananda Prabhu continued on his pilgrimage undismayed.
At that time, the Lord arrived at the town of Kanyaka, and after visiting Durga-devi, travelled to the South Indian sea. Thereafter Nityananda Prabhu went to the town of Sri Ananta and from there to the pond of the five dancing apsaras or celestial nymphs. The Lord then visited the temple of Siva called Gokarna. He travelled from door to door over Kerala and Trigartha and after beholding the honored wife of Dvaipayana, Nityananda Prabhu travelled to Nirbindhya, Payosni, and tapti, in the course of his divine activities.
He visited Reva, the town of Mahismati and Malatirtha and then the Lord turned westwards, journeying by way of Suparakha. Nityananda Prabhu was devoid of all fear. He was never afraid of anyone, throughout the whole of his travels. His body appeared weak, by reason of constant absorption in Krishna consciousness. Nityananda Prabhu laughed and cried at intervals. Who could understand his transcendental moods? Such were the travels of Lord Nityananda Prabhu as he wandered from one place to the next, visiting the holy tirthas.
At that time, quite by accident, he met Madhavendra Puri. The body of Madhavendra Puri was surcharged with divine love for Sri Krishna. Madhavendra Puri was accompanied by all his disciples, who were filled with Krishna prema. Madhavendra Puri tasted no other food besides the mellow qualities of Krishna. The mellows of Krishna consciousness were his only sustenance. His holy body was the place of Krishna’s pastimes. There can be no greater praise of his love for Krishna than to say that the great Advaita Acharya Prabhu was the disciple of Madhavendra Puri.
As soon as Nityananda Prabhu beheld Madhavendra Puri he lost external consciousness, and lay motionless, being overpowered with divine love. As soon as Madhavendra Puri saw Nityananda Prabhu he also lost external consciousness and became oblivious of the world around him.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu himself declared again and again that Madhavendra Puri is the original teacher of pure devotion. As Nityananda Prabhu and Madhavendra Puri fainted upon seeing one another, Isvara Puri and all the other disciples of Madhavendra Puri wept.
After regaining external consciousness, both of them began to embrace one another, crying tears of ecstasy. The two great teachers rolled on the ground in the ecstasy of divine love, and, transformed by their jubilation, shouted words of joy with voices of thunder. Tears of love flowed like rivers from the eyes of those two great masters. And wet with their tears, the Earth felt blessed. There was no end to the display of transcendental ecstasy shown by those two great souls whose bodies shivered as tears flowed from their eyes and their hair stood on end, for Caitanya Mahaprabhu himself danced within their hearts.
Nityananda Prabhu said, “Today I have obtained the complete fulfillment of all the pilgrimages that I have ever performed, for today, my eyes have beheld the holy feet of Madhavendra Puri. My life is glorified by witnessing such divine love as his.” Holding Nityananda Prabhu in a close embrace, Madhavendra Puri, choked with divine love, could utter no words of reply. And in his joy, Madhavendra Puri had no wish to release Nityananda Prabhu from his embrace.
Isvara Puri, Brahmananda Puri, and all the other disciples of Madhavendra Puri, felt irresitably attracted to Nityananda Prabhu. Although they had met so many renounced saints, they could detect no trace of love for Krishna in any of them. And by meeting those unfortunate and wicked souls, they gaines nothing but grief. And being aggrieved, they sought refuge in the forests. But now they were relieved of all their sorrows upon beholding in one another the manifestation of love for Krishna.
For days, Nityananda Prabhu travelled in the company of Madhavendra Puri, delighting in discussing the pastimes of Krishna. Madhavendra Puri’s devotional service is wonderful to speak of. He would faint upon seeing a blackish cloud. Day and night, intoxicated by love for Krishna, he laughed and cried, ranted and raved, and shouted in grief just like a drunkard.
And Nityananda Prabhu, intoxicated with the nectar of Govinda’s sweetness, would stagger and stumble. Falling on the ground, he would laugh heartily. On beholding the wonderful mood of Madhavendra Puri and Nityananda Prabhu, the brotherhood of disciples constantly chanted the name of Hari. Intoxicated by the sweet taste of divine love, no one knew when it was day or night, and time lost all meaning. Who can understand the talks that Nityananda Prabhu had with Madhavendra Puri? Only Krishna knows their meaning. Madhavendra Puri could not bear to part company with Nityananda Prabhu, but took delight in
his constant association. He said, “Although I have traveled to many holy tirthas, I could find no divine love of Godhead such as yours anywhere. Having obtained the company of such a friend as Nityananda Prabhu, I have realized the mercy of Krishna. Krishna is so kind! Wherever one can get the association of Nityananda Prabhu, that place is more than Vaikuntha and all the holy tirthas combined. If one only hears of the devotion of such a devotee as Nityananda Prabhu, he is sure to attain Sri Krishna Chandra. And whoever has the least bit of aversion to Nityananda Prabhu, can never be loved by Krishna even if he is a devotee of Krishna.”
In this way, Madhavendra Puri glorified Nityananda Prabhu day and night and served him with love and attention. Nityananda Prabhu himself thought of Madhavendra Puri as his guru and thus engaged, those two great souls were so absorbed in love of Krishna that they could not tell whether it was day or night.
In this way, after passing some time in the company of Madhavendra Puri, Nityananda Prabhu set out on his journey to the bridge of Rama known as Setubandha, at the southernmost tip of India.
Madhavendra Puri went off to visit the Sarayu river. Being completely absorbed in Krishna, neither of them could remember anything of their own physical bodies. Completely forgetful of their own selves, they passed their days in the agony of separation from each other and so their life was preserved. For if any external consciousness had remained, it would have been impossible for them to survive the agony of separation. Whoever hears this account of Nityananda Prabhu and Madhavendra Puri with faith and devotion, obtains the treasure of love for Krishna.
In this way, Nityananda Prabhu wandered about in the ecstasy of divine love and after some time arrived at Setubandha, the bridge of Rama. After bathing in the ghat at Dana-tirtha, he went to Ramesvara, and from there, arrived in Vijayanagar. Having visited Mayapuri, Avanti, and Godavari, the Lord arrived at the seat of Jiyur-Nrismhadeva. He visited Trimala, and the sacred shrine of Kurmanatha. At last he set out to behold Sri Jagannatha-deva, the moon of Nilacala.
As soon as he entered the city of Lord Jagannatha, the blissful master of Nilacala, he fainted away upon beholding the sight of the Lord’s cakra. He took darsan of Jagannatha, seeing his fourfold form as the Caturvyuha fully manifest in all his joyousness with the whole body of his servitors. Nityananda Prabhu lost his consciousness in the ecstasy of that vision, and once recovering, lost it again. This went on again and again. Nityananda Prabhu experienced shivering, perspiration, tears of joy falling on the ground, shouting words of ecstasy in a thunderous voice.
Who can describe the ecstasy of Nityananda Prabhu? After spending some time in this way in Jagannatha Puri, Nityananda Prabhu resumed his journey and with great enthusiasm, visited the place where the Ganges meets the ocean. Who can fully describe all his travels to the different holy places? I have only recorded a fraction of them, by his mercy. After visiting the holy tirthas in this way, Nityananda Prabhu returned to Mathura. He took up residence in Vrindavana and stayed there day and night absorbed in thoughts of Krishna.
He ate nothing, and only now and then would drink some milk if someone gave it to him without his asking for it. Nityananda Prabhu thought to himself, “Sri GauraChandra is staying in Nabadwipa, but his divine glory is remaining concealed. As soon as the Lord chooses to manifest his divinity, I shall immediately go to Nabadwipa and fulfill my role in his service.”
In this way, having made up his mind, Nityananda Prabhu neither went to Nabadwipa, nor left Mathura, but sported constantly in the waters of the Yamuna and played in the dust of Vrindavana with the children.
And although Nityananda Prabhu possesses complete potency in all respects, he abstained from bestowing devotion for Vishnu upon anyone. Thinking for himself that when Lord GauraChandra would manifest himself, then the time would come for performing the pastime of distributing divine love on the order of the Lord. By thinking that nothing should be done except by the command of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the greatness of the lord’s service is not reduced, and so Nityananda Prabhu awaited the command of the Lord.
Nothing moves without the order of the Supreme Lord, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And no one can do anything without his sanction, even if he is Ananta, Brahma, Siva, or any of the gods. The destroyers, rulers, and maintainers of the universe do their duty only upon the order of Sri Caitanya. Those sinners who are aggrieved in their minds by this, are completely unfit to be seen by a Vaishnava. The three worlds are witness to the fact that everyone obtained the treausre of love of god by the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu. He is the first of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotees. His tongue treasures the glorious praise of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Nityananda Prabhu discourses on Caitanya night and day; by serving him, devotion to Sri Caitanya is obtained. All glories to Nityananda Prabhu the primeval Lord, by whose mercy we can understand the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Attachment to Nityananda Prabhu is the gift of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy. For one who knows Nityananda Prabhu there is no danger anywhere. If someone wishes to cross beyond this world of darkness and dive into the ocean of devotion, let him serve the moonlike Nityananda. Some say that Nityananda Prabhu is Balarama Himself. Others say that he is the abode of divine love for Sri Caitanya; let them say whatever they like. Whether Nityananda Prabhu is an ascetic, a devotee, or a sage; whatever he may be in relationship to Sri Caitanya, may his lotus feet be implanted firmly within the hearts of everyone. If after hearing all the good qualities of Nityananda Prabhu, there is still a sinful soul left who doesn’t appreciate him or who wants to slander him or blaspheme him in any way, then I kick on his face with my left foot.
Certain followers of Sri Caitanya speak of Nityananda Prabhu in such a way that although they appear to speak ill of him, they are really praising him. Such exalted Vaishnavas (like Advaita Acharya) are always pure in heart and transcendentally honest. Their seeming disagreement and quarrel is simply lila or sport. If one looks at their disagreement externally and takes the side of one, slandering the other, he will be finished. By following only those who deprecate all slander of Nityananda, Sri Caitanya is attained. When will that day be mine when I shall obtain the divine vision of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, surrounded by the assembly of devotees? May Nityananda Prabhu be my eternal master in every way. Remaining loyal to Nityananda Prabhu, may I serve the holy feet of Sri GauraChandra. May I read the holy Bhagavata at the feet of Nityananda Prabhu birth after birth.
This is my aspiration. All glories to the Supreme Lord, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You gave us Nityananda Prabhu and you took him away from us. And yet, O Mahaprabhu, grant me this one favor – that my mind may remain always attached to you and to Nityananda Prabhu. He is your greatest devotee; without your consent, no one can attain his lotus feet. Nityananda Prabhu roamed throughout Vrindavana and different holy places until Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu manifest his divinity. Whoever listens to this account of the pilgrimages of Nityananda Prabhu attains the treasure of divine love.
Sri Krishna Caitanya is the life and soul of Nityananda Prabhu. Vrindavana Dasa, praying at their lotus feet sings Sri Caitanya Bhagavata.