The Appearance Day of Srimati Visnupriya-devi
Today is also the birthday of Visnu-priya devi – the wife – the power – the energy – of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. She is one of the manifestations of Srimati Radhika, she is especially a manifestation of Satyabhama, and she is the Supreme Lord’s Bhu-sakti.* [See Endnote] She had great love and affection for Sacinandana Gaurahari and was married to Him for many years; but Mahaprabhu was always absorbed in Radha’s mood, calling out, “Alas, Krsna! Alas, Krsna!” and He had no time to talk with her. Though they were in one family, in one house, He was always absorbed in the ecstasies of Srimati Radhika. Thus, He was sometimes falling down and rolling on the earth, sometimes crying, and sometimes singing loudly like a mad person.
“In the stage of love of Godhead, the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.40)]
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was always acting in this way, and continually weeping. If you want to develop love for Krsna, you will have to follow Caitanya Mahaprabhu and always weep for Krsna. We see that He was weeping throughout His life, from the beginning. This increased further when He took sannyasa and left everything to go to Jagannatha Puri, and it increased still further after He met with Raya Ramananda.
Although Visnu-priya devi was married to Mahaprabhu in His family life, He hardly ever spoke with her, especially when He returned from Gaya, where He took harinama and diksa initiation from His Gurudeva, Sri Isvara-puripada. His personality changed at that time. He was no longer known as Nimai Pandita. Now He became known as Bhavuka Nimai, Nimai who is always absorbed in His ecstatic moods of krsna-prema.
At this time, however, some of the inhabitants of Navadvipa, especially the students and His former teachers in the schools, became somewhat unfavorable towards Him and wanted to control Him. Mahaprabhu thought, “I came to give the supreme medicine for everyone’s material disease, but these persons quarrel with Me and insult Me. I should take sannyasa, the renounced order of life, for then they will weep for Me* [See Endnote 2], and thus I will immerse the whole world – including mayavadis like Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Prakasananda Sarasvati – in krsna-prema.” This is one of the reasons Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa.
On the day He decided to take sannyasa, Visnu-priya devi went to bathe in the Ganges. While she was on the way there, she accidentally stubbed her toe on a stone, and it was injured and bled. Then, while she was in the midst of bathing there, the nose-ring she had received on her marriage day and which is very auspicious for a wife, fell in the Ganges. Although she searched for it with great endeavor, She could not find it. She began to weep bitterly, “Why are all these things happening today?” Later, when She returned home, Saci Mata asked her, “Oh my daughter, why you are weeping so?” She replied, “Today I went to bathe in the Ganges. My foot was injured and I lost the nose-ring of my marriage day. I don’t know what is to be my fate.” Her mother tried to console her.
Although Caitanya Mahaprabhu had previously paid practically no attention to her, that night, after taking some prasadam, He decorated her hair and placed betel nuts in her mouth. That morning He had gone to visit and meet with all His associates. He had procured some milk and He had also gotten a loki vegetable from Sridhara, with whom He would always jokingly quarrel. When He returned home in the evening He told Saci Mata, “Mother, please make a lak-laki preparation from these, adding sugar, ghee, camphor and other ingredients, and offer it to Lord Krsna.” He later honored that prasada, after which He entered the room of Visnu-priya devi like a luxurious person, in royal dress, as one would dress for a wedding ceremony. Then, with love and affection He asked her, “O, how are you?” He decorated her, gave her a beautiful garland, placed betel nuts in her mouth, and engaged in loving conversation with her.
Visnu-priya began thinking, “What am I seeing? A hurricane light, which burns with kerosene oil, burns brightly when it is just about to be extinguished. It makes the sounds ‘buk buk’, then ‘tuk’, and then it becomes dark; it’s finished. I see now that my fate may be like this. Considering what happened this morning, and seeing how He is decorating me so lavishly, giving me betel nuts and saying with flattering words, ‘My dear-most beloved’, I wonder what is my fate. Why is He doing this?”
In the meantime, Yogamaya came and entered Visnu-priya’s eyes in the form of sleepiness. She did not want to fall asleep, but by the power of Yogamaya she was forced to do so. Caitanya Mahaprabhu glanced at her once, and then stood up to leave home and take sannyasa.
Without giving up everything in this world, how can one love Lord Krsna totally? If your love and affection is divided between many persons, situations and objects, how you can you love Krsna? We have seen that in India, exalted devotees like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gosvami, and also Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, quickly gave up their positions, wealth, reputation, father, mother, wife and children. Weeping for Krsna, they left their homes and took sannyasa, not remembering their homes or families at all, and always remembering, “Krsna! Krsna! Krsna!”
When Mahaprabhu was coming out of His home, He saw His mother standing like a dried-up statue, with no tears in her eyes. She couldn’t even think of what to do. Air was coming and going from her nostrils, but she had no external consciousness at all – for Mahaprabhu, by His power of Yogamaya, was controlling her. Mahaprabhu did parikrama of His mother three or four times, touched her lotus feet, and told her, “Mother I am going to search for My beloved Krsna.” Then, in the middle of that cold and dark night, He jumped in the Ganges, calling out “Oh Krsna!” He came out on the other side of the river, in Kantaka Nagari, and there He went to see Kesava Bharati to take sannyasa from him.
After accepting the sannyasa order, Mahaprabhu went to Jagannatha Puri, and from Puri He returned to Navadvipa on the way to Vrndavana. While there, all the residents came from here and there by boat and other conveyances to see Sacinandana Gaurahari. Even dogs and blind persons came, and Saci Mata also came.
Everyone was present except Visnu-priya. Why was she not allowed to come? This is the symptom of love and affection for Krsna. If you will give up your dear-most object for Krsna, this is the symptom that you have some love and affection for Him. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught this by His own example, and for this reason Visnu-priya was not there. Everyone else was allowed to come, but she was not.
What was she doing? She was weeping continuously. She was more attached to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu than anyone else was, and she was more detached from worldly things than even Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. She maintained her life by taking some grains of rice, one by one, and using them as counting beads as she continually chanted, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.” Every time she completed the utterance of these sixteen words, she picked up one grain of rice and placed it on a pile. She would wash the rice grains, one by one, with the water of her tears as she chanted until midday, and then she would cook that rice with some vegetables. She would then give the bhoga to Mother Saci, who would offer it to her Deity, Narayana. After that she would eat very little of it, remembering the pastimes of Sacinandana. Her life was totally absorbed in Lord Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and she chanted Hare Krsna day and night. After some time Mahaprabhu somehow gave her a Deity of Himself, made from neem wood, and that Deity is being worshiped in Navadvipa up to the present day. Visnu-priya used to worship that Deity, weeping bitterly and talking with Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and He would also speak to her in the form of that Deity.
Saci Mata also remembered Caitanya Mahaprabhu always. She used to offer Him prasadam, and He used to come to her house and eat it – although she thought His coming was only her imagination or only a vision. He was bound to come – bound by the love and affection of Saci Mata and Visnu-priya devi.
If one wants to serve Mahaprabhu or Radha-Krsna, he must be like Visnu-priya. She was much more renounced than anyone else, including Mahaprabhu. He was renounced, but not like her. Also, He was always surrounded by so many bhaktas who consoled Him, but she had none to console her.
Today is birthday of Visnu-priya, who is the embodiment of prema-bhakti. She is prema-bhakti itself.
Visnu-priya devi ki Jaya![Question:] Gurudeva, you said Visnu-priya devi is Bhu-sakti. So is she like Laxmi? [Srila Gurudeva:] No, she is like Satyabhama. [Question:] But we hear that Navadvipa-dhama is non-different from Vraja. [Srila Gurudeva:] Yes [Question:] How can Satyabhama be in Vraja-lila? [Gurudeva:] Radhika has come as Gadadhara Pandita, and Sri Svarupa Damodara and Sri Raya Ramananda have come as Lalita and Visakha. The associates of Nrsimhadeva, Ramacandra, and all other incarnations have also come to Navadvipa, because Sacinandana Gaurahari includes all incarnations. All incarnations are within Him. So Satyabhama may also come to Navadvipa-lila and have the association of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. [Question:] Is this also true in Svetadvipa (Navadvipa in Goloka Vrndavana?* [See Endnote 3] [Srila Gurudeva:] Yes, they all can be there also. Everything exists in Krsna, as stated in the Vedanta Sutra: Viruddha dharmam tasmin na cittram – all mutually contradictory characteristics exist harmoniously in Lord Krsna’s pastimes, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself. [Question:] So we worship Visnu-priya devi and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the path of arcana – following the principles of sravanam kirtanam, visnu-smaranam, pada sevanam (hearing, chanting, remembering and praying, etc.) in a regulative way, in awe and reverence? [Srila Gurudeva:] Yes, one serves Visnu-priya devi and Mahaprabhu in arcana-marga (the path of regulative worship), and he serves Gaura-Gadadhara in bhava-marga, that is hearing, chanting, etc. in spontaneous love, following in the footsteps of the gopis.
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