Sree Raghunath Das Goswami II

November 1929.

SUCH is the inconceivable power of the mercy of Nityananda that it could bring the Supreme Lord Himself to feast out in the open on the river-bank. Sri Ramdas and others as cowherds were overwhelmed with love and perceived the high bank of the Yamuna on the side of the Ganges.

As the festivity progressed its tidings drew to the spot the vendors of articles of food from the different villages who brought chinra, curds, sweetmeats and plantains for sale. Purchasing all this ware from their vendors at their proper price Raghunath das made the vendors themselves feast on their own sold articles. All the people who chanced to arrive there to witness the festivity were also made to dine on the purchased chinra, curds and plantains.

After taking meal Nityananda performed the achaman (rinsing of mouth with water) and gave the leavings of four of the vessels to Raghunath. The leavings of the other three vessels he distributed to all a mouthful each, by the hand of the Brahman who had served the food. Then the same Brahman fetched the garlands of flowers, placed them on the neck of the Lord and applied the sandal paste to all parts of his body. The Lord continued to chew betels which were offered by the attendants. The remains of garlands, sandal paste and betels the Lord distributed to all with his own beautiful hand.

Raghunath was overjoyed by obtaining the leavings of the Lord’s dishes and ate, sharing the same with all his people.

Thakur Brindabandas has penned the above account of this entertainment of Nityananda which is known to all as the famous “festivity of chinra and curds.”

Then the Lord rested for a while then, when it was evening, the chanting of Kirtan was begun in Raghab’s house.

Lord Nityananda himself danced at the Kirtan and the Supreme Lord came thither to witness his dance which can be compared only with that of Sree Chaitanya Himself in the quality of its supreme mellowness. After the dance was finished the Lord rested and thereafter dined with the Supreme Lord. Raghaba gave the leavings of the meal of the two brothers to Raghunath with the remark that Chaitanya had partaken of that food and by honouring the remains of food tasted by Him Raghunath would be freed from all his fetters.

In the morning as Lord Nityananda after bathing in the Ganges was seated at the foot of the same tree as on the previous day with all his associates, Raghunath came there and greeted his feet. He then laid his case before the Lord by means of Raghab Pandit. It was in effect this, ‘I am the vilest of all creatures, base and sinful. But I wish to obtain the feet of Chaitanya. I, a miserable dwarf, wish to catch at the Moon. I have tried in many ways to obtain my wish but I can never succeed by any such method. As often as I attempt to fly from home both my father and mother keep me firmly tethered. No one can attain to Chaitanya without your mercy. With your mercy even the basest get to Him. I am unworthy and so am afraid to make this request. Lord, have mercy on me and give me Chaitanya. Grant me your favour by placing your feet on my head. Bless me that I may obtain Chaitanya without being obstructed.

On hearing this the Lord with a smile said to all the devotees. The worldly possessions of this person equal the estate of Indra, King of the celestials. By the mercy of Chaitanya those have no place in his heart. Bless him all of you that he may obtain the feet of Chaitanya. One who realises the sweet fragrance of the lotus feet of Krishna never waste a thought on bliss that is found in the most enjoyable realms such as those of Brahma and the Gods. In the words of the Bhagabat, ‘Longing ardently for Him, Who is the object of the best praises he (King Amabarish) discarded even in the flower of youth that which clings tenaciously to the heart and is difficult to part from, such as wife, son, friends, Kingdom, even as one gets rid of filth.’

Then the Lord commanding Raghunath to be brought close to him and placing his feet on his head continued, ‘It is due to you that this festivity of dining out in the open on the river-bank, has been brought about. Out of mercy for you Gaur came here. Out of mercy He ate the chinra and milk, and after witnessing the dance ate the prasad at night Gaur came Himself to deliver you. All your bonds of every kind, such as dangers, obstacles etc., are gone. He will make you over to Swarup and keep you at His feet as His confidential servant. Return home without anxiety. You will obtain the feet of Chaitanya soon and without difficulty.’

The Lord made all the devotees bless him. Raghunath greeted the feet of them all. Having received the commend of the Lord he next obtained the commends of the Vaishnavas. He then took counsel with Raghaba in secret. After consulting him he made over to the store-keeper of the Lord in private a hundred coins and seven tolas of gold. He asked him not to tell the Lord at the time but to place the information before the Lord after his return home. Then Raghaba Pandit led him into his house and after making him see the Deity gave him sandal paste and garlands. He gave him a good deal of prasad sufficient for his journey.

Then Raghunath again said to Raghab Pandit, ‘I wish to worship the feet of all the high servants and dependents that are with the Lord. Be pleased to give twenty, fifty, ten, twelve, fifteen or a couple of coins to each as appears fit after due consideration. He wrote out a list of payments to be made, as dictated by Raghab Pandit, and handed it over to him. He then took a hundred coins and two talas of gold to the pandit in a suppliant spirit. After taking the dust of his feet he returned home. His wishes were fulfilled by obtaining the mercy of Nityananda.

From that time Raghunath did not go into the inner parts of the house. He slept in the outer part in the pavilion of goddess Durga. There he was watched by all his keepers. He resolved in his mind various plans of flight. At this time all the devotees of the country of Goad went to Nilachal to see the Lord. Raghunath could not go with them. Their company was well-known and would be observed by all. He would be detected at once if he joined them.

While engaged in these anxious thoughts one day by chance as he lay in his bed in the pavilion of the Goddess which was in the outer part of the house, when there still remained two or three hours of the night, Yadunandan Acharya entered the house. Yadunandan Acharya was the recipient of the mercy of Vasudeba Datta. He was the ‘guru’ and ‘purohit’ of Raghunath. He was a confidential disciple of Advaita Acharya. By the direction of Advaita Acharya, Yadunandan regarded Chaitanya as the Darling of his life.

As Yadunandan Acharya entered and stood in the court yard Raghunath came there and made prostrated obeisance. In order to persuade Raghunath to use his influence with one of the Acharya’s disciples who had been performing the worship of Yadunandan’s household Deity the Acharya said to Raghunath. ‘You have to make him agree to continue the service, there is no other Brahman available.’ Saying this he led Raghunath out of the house with himself. The gaurds were asleep in the closing part of the night.

The house of Yadunandan Acharyya was to the east of the place. Both of them proceeded along that road in mutual talk. Arrived half-way Raghunath laid his humble request at the guru’s feet. ‘I will send that Brahman to you after persuading him to agree to your wishes. You may go home with an easy mind. I beseech your command to depart.’ He was confirmed in his resolve by asking for the command of the guru under this pretext. Thinking that it was best to fly immediately as there were no servants or guards with him, Raghunath sped eastwards. He looked back and found that there was nobody in sight. Meditating on the feet of Sri Chaitanya and Nityananda Raghunath left the ordinary track and fled along the bye-paths.

(To be continued)