Oh no ! It’s the Crooked One again !!

Sri Nabadweep-Chandra appears

 

Sakhi Kanchanā was mad in Gour-prem. The piteous cry from her crystal clear heart penetrated the tough walls of Neelāchal-Gambheerā   and right into the heart of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahāprabhu.  He was discussing Krishna-kathā with the devotees. Abruptly he stopped the ishta-goshthi and bade farewell to the devotees. Then he entered the silent precincts of Gambheerā. This did not surprise the devotees for they knew it was time for the Lord’s secluded Bhajan.

Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahāprabhu’s swarup-shakti had such immense attraction for him that immediately he appeared there in his original swarup, the gorgeous Gouranga!!! All of a sudden the Mahagambheerā Mandir of Nabadweep was perfumed with Mālati flowers. The Gour-empty Gour-home lit up with wavelets of abundant joy. Leaning on a pillar of the verandah, exactly where Virahini Priyāji was immersed in secluded Bhajan with her two confidantes, stood Sri Sri Gour-Govinda playing on his flute. Bishnupriyā got darshan of Sri Bishnupriyā – Vallabh. 

 

Priyāji saw – he held the flute, with a crown of peacock-feathers on his head, in tribhanga pose – her Prānavallabh threw sidelong glances at her.  She saw herself at his left, and Laxmipriyā at his right, Kanchanā, Amitā and all other Nadiyā -nāgaris surrounding them. They were playing various musical instruments such as mridanga, manjeerā, veenā, cow-horn, damaroo, khol and karatāl. The sakhis were singing joyously in prem-ecstasy. They were in the flower-garden. In the centre of the garden the yogapeeth stood encasing the gem-studded throne. The seat of the throne was wondrously carved and decorated with beautiful jewels. On that altar Sri Sri Gour-Govinda was performing his eternal Mahārās-leelā. The Nadiyā-nāgaris were surrounding Sri Nadiyā-nāgar who was submerged in lusty kirtan, and looked exquisitely enthralling. They were spreading as well as relishing splendid prem-ras with their musical instruments that wove sweet spell-binding music all around. The Rās leelā of Sri Sri Gour-Govinda   playing in the flower garden of Nabadweep Yogapeeth dazzled like a garland of lightning in front of Priyāji and her confidential sakhis Kanchanā and Amitā. It was not a dream, but an actual darshan, yet only for a moment! This marvelous darshan struck Priyāji and her sakhis with wonder. Overwhelmed, they fell on floor unconscious. There was no one else besides they, so who would take care of whom? A few moments passed like this. Three of them were lying in three directions.

Sri Sri Nabadweep-Chandra reappeared in the form of Sri Sri Gour-Govinda and played the flute sweetly and softly near Kanchanā. Immediately all three sakhis regained consciousness, however they could not see him anywhere. However they felt as if the sweet flute was still playing in their ears. Sakhi Kanchanā  took Priyāji’s hands in her own, gazed at her moon like face, and cried out with tears of prem flowing from her eyes –

“Sakhi! eto kobhu gour noy,

uhā r gour rooper mā jhe mā jhe,

kā lo baran jhalak dey.

eto kobhu gour noy.”

 

Meaning – “Sakhi! He can never be “Gour”! Amidst his Gour-complexion, why do I see flashes of darkness? Indeed! He can never be “Gour”!”

So long virahini Priyāji was lost in the realm of prem.  The gorgeous Gour-Govinda form of her Prānavallabh had mesmerized her. Now sakhi Kanchanā’s song put her in the throes of doubt. She did not know what to say. Sakhi Amitā understood her feelings and told Kanchanā – “Dear sakhi Kanchane, How did this bhāv arise in you today? Why, do you not remember how our Nadiyā -nāgar Nabadweep-Chandra would wear a crown of peacock-feathers and perform colorful leelā s in Nadiyā?” Speaking thus she broke into a Mahājan-song –

 

(Gourpada Tarangini)

 

“Mālati garland circles the curls on his head, while peacock-feathers and wigs with flowers and leaves decorated his head still further. His complexion is like molten gold and a bright cloth adorns his waist. With dazzling tilak on the forehead, and the vanamālā reaching his knees, he looks the Paragon of Beauty. Attired as an exquisite dancer, Gourachandra is verily a snare for the fair sex.  His beauty makes poet Bāsudeb Ghosh weep, he can no longer control his heart.”

 

This song seemed to disperse much of the dilemma that had arisen in the minds of Priyāji and Kanchanā.  But, had they not seen the flute in his hands? There was still a niggling doubt. Sakhi Amitā read their faces and hummed another tune followed by a Mahājan-song –

 

“O my dear, who is this with golden complexion, arched eyebrows and sidelong glances? I think I know him, I know him, I know him. Of course! He is the same Nanda-Gopāl, the darling of Mother Jashodā, who has come here after stealing the hearts of the Gopis.  I remember very well that he used to wear a crown of peacock-feathers, yet now he has shaved his head, and donned the saffron.

He used to wield the flute like a magic wand to hypnotize the Gopis, while now he holds the staff of a sanyasi.  How he would stand beneath the Kadamba tree, and practice sādhanā by chanting ‘Radha Radha’! And look at him now – he raises both his arms and dances on the banks of Suradhuni (Gangā) to the tune of sankirtan.

He would don the attire of a youthful lover-boy and perform love-sports in the flower groves with the Gopis, whereas now dressed in rags he goes about with his associates begging for Harinām. Poet Kānu dās says – ‘He is the same one!!’  (Pada-kalpa-taru)

Amitā’s extreme devotion to the Gour-Govinda form of Shachinandan pleased Priyāji immensely.  She gazed lovingly at Amitā and begged her, “Sakhi, please tell me more, you all are my Gurus for learning Gour-prem.  One should always hear the Supreme truth directly from the lips of one’s Guru. So please enlighten me further.” Amita felt embarrassed and sat for some time with a bowed head.  Not a single sound escaped from her lips. Virahini Priyāji then beseeched her once more in a tear-choked voice, “Please sakhi, you are my life and soul! Why do you feel shy? You are my saviors. Please tell Gour-kathā and save my life!”  Amitā could no longer remain silent. She blurted, “Priyā, I am not worthy of being the servant of your servant. Please do not call me your Guru; otherwise I shall not be able to sing Gour-kirtan anymore.” Saying thus, Amita sang a Mahājan song –

 

(Pada-Kalpa-Taru)

” Now Shyām has become Gour-complexioned.  Leaving Gokul he has come to Nadia, and forsaking the flute, he has taken up kirtan. Giving up Kālindi, he is dallying on the banks of the Sura-sarit (Gangā) – just look at him! Instead of peetāmbar[1], he dons the saffron string and koupin[2].  Now the honey-like Rādhe is no more at his left, neither do the Braja-beauties surround him.  Instead you find Gadādhar to his left and the devotees bind him from all sides. Abandoning the spellbinding chudā, he is sporting the shikhā[3], and he is chanting “Rādhā Rādhā”.  Poet Harivallabh says, “His eyes have given up their sidelong crooked glances, and are instead overflowing with tears of prem.” “



[1] Golden yellow cloth worn by Sri Krishna

[2] Loin cloth necessarily worn by renunciates

[3] A tuft of hair kept by the sanyaasis

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