Sree Pundarik Vidyanidhi II


The resolution of the devotees to proceed to Puri to meet Mahaprabhu was first adopted when Kala Krishnadas brought to Navadwip the tidings of the return of Sree Chaitanya from the South. Among the names of the devotees, to whom Kala Krishnadas communicated the glad news, we find that of Acharyyanidhi. Two hundred Gaudiya devotees went to Puri to meet Sree Chaitanya on His return from the South. Sree Gopinathacharyya, Sarbabhauma Bhattacharyya's sister's husband, reached Puri in advance of the devotees on this occasion...

ACHARYYANIDHI or Premanidhi proceeded to Santipur in the company of other devotees in order to meet Sree Chaitanya at the residence of Sree Advaitacharyya, when the Supreme Lord was staying there for ten days after His acceptance of Sannyasa. Sree Chaitanya, on His return from the South took up His residence at Puri. Sree Premanidhi came every year to Puri in the company of the devotees to meet the Supreme Lord. The resolution of the devotees to proceed to Puri to meet Mahaprabhu was first adopted when Kala Krishnadas brought to Navadwip the tidings of the return of Sree Chaitanya from the South. Among the names of the devotees, to whom Kala Krishnadas communicated the glad news, we find that of Acharyyanidhi. Two hundred Gaudiya devotees went to Puri to meet Sree Chaitanya on His return from the South. Sree Gopinathacharyya, Sarbabhauma Bhattacharyya's sister's husband, reached Puri in advance of the devotees on this occasion. Sarbabhauma had accompanied Mahaprabhu to Alalnath and retuned with Him to Puri just at this time, on the expiry of the period of Anabasara. King Prataparudradeva was at this time anxiously waiting at Puri on an assurance of Sarbabhauma Bhattacharyya that he would arrange for the meeting of the king with Mahaprabhu on the day of the approaching Car Festival. Sarbabhauma had given this assurance to the king after Prataparudra had confided to him his resolve to put an end to his own life if Mahaprabhu persisted in His refusal to see the king. On his return from Alalnath Sarbabhauma hastened to the king to communicate the news for allaying his great anxiety. At that very moment Gopinathacharyya also presented himself at the same place. After blessing the King, Sree Gopinathacharyya informed Sarbabhauma that two hundred Vaishnavas, who were devotees of Mahaprabhu, were coming to Puri. All of them were devotees of the highest order. They had actually arrived near the Narendra Tank. It was necessary to make proper arrangements for their residence at Puri. On this King Prataparudra said that he would issue orders to the Padichha (Supervising Officer) to provide all necessary accommodation for them and implored Sarbabhauma to show him in some way one by one all the associates of Mahaprabhu who had come from the Gauda. Sarbabhauma then asked the King to ascend to some convenient position of the Palace from where Gopinath, who knew everyone, would point them out to him. Sarbabhauma added that he also did not know any of them but had a great mind to make their acquaintance and that Gopinathacharyya would introduce also him to them all. Then all three ascended to an advantageous position of the royal Palace and watched the road as the company of the Vaishnavas approached that part of the town. Gopinathacharyya pointed them out one by one. We find the name of Vidyanidhi among the foremost of the company. When, shortly after, Mahaprabhu met the gathering of the devotees at the residence of Kashi Misra, among the devotees who had the privilege of receiving His special praise, as they were held in His embrace, was Vidyanidhi, who is mentioned in that connection with Chandrashekhar Acharyya and Gadadhar as the persons who were co-recipients of such high praise. After the cleansing of the Gundicha, Mahaprabhu, took his seat in the Garden near the temple of Nrisinghadeva in the company of his devotees. Kashi Misra and TulashiPadichha sent thither all different varieties of Mahaprasada for five hundred persons. The devotees were then seated for honouring the Mahaprasada in a graded order in line after line. In the first row Mahaprabhu Himself took His seat with twelve of His associates of whom Acharyyanidhi was one. Sarbabhauma Bhattacharyya afterwards was given a seat there with the permission of Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu used to sport in the water of the Indradyumna tank in the company of His devotees. There was a competition in the pastime of splashing water against each other till one of two combatants took to his heels. Vidyanidhi and Swarup Damodar were the rivals on these occasions. Mahaprabhu subsequently commanded Prabhu Nityananda to manifest the Religion of loving devotion in the Gauda country and forbade him to come to Puri. But afterwards Nityananda, disobeying the command of Mahaprabhu, led a party of devotees from Nabadwip to Puri. Vidyanidhi gladly joined this party. That year after the departure of the other Vaishnavas to Gauda at the end of the rainy season, Vidyanidhi stayed behind at Puri and remained there the whole year. Swarup Damodar was his most beloved friend and the two lived together at the same place for spending the time in mutual discourse about Krishna. Vidyanidhi at this time conferred the mantra on Gadadhar Pandit for the second time. During the festival of Odana-Sashthi Vidyanidhi witnessed the ceremony of the wearing of winter clothing by Sree Jagannathadeva. On this occasion Jagannatha puts on starched clothing. Vidyanidhi felt contempt in his mind for the practice which offered such dirty dress to Godhead. That night Jagannatha and Balarama made Their way to him and the Two Brothers clapped his both cheeks amidst great laughter.

This wonderful event has been described in detail by Srila Thakur Brindabandas exactly as he had heard of it from the holy lips of Sree Gadadhar which deserves to be quoted. "The Lord kept Vidyanidhi near Himself fixing his lodging at Yameswara on the sea beach. Vidyanidhi used to have the sight of Jagannatha in the company of his much-beloved Damodara Swarup, during his stay at Nilachala. Both of them always went together whenever any of them wanted to have the sight of Jagannatha. They were always with one another, indulging in the pastime of talks of Sree Krishna. The Festival that bears the name of Odana-Sashthi appeared with its music. Divine Jagannatha is to put on new clothing. On this day Godhead puts on starched garments. He does as He likes. Sree Gaursundar, taking with Him all His devotees, came to witness the Festival of the wearing of the holy clothing. Mridanga, Muhuri, Conch, Dunduvi, Kahal, Dhak, Dagara, Kada beat a great music. On that day Ananta puts on a variety of clothing. The function continues from Sashthi to Makara Garments continued to be worn throughout the night and day. The brotherhood of the devotees swam in the greatest bliss at the sight. He Himself is Worshipper, Himself is the Worshipped. Who can understand His mind without His Mercy? The selfsame Lord sits on the Divine Throne in the Form of Wood, and Himself in the Form of the Sannyasi practices devotion. He offers excellent cloths of silk and muslin, embroidered with pearl and gold, variegated with white, yellow, blue and all diverse colours. After the cloth has been worn, He offers ornaments of flower--flowery bracelets, beautiful coronets, necklaces of flowers. After worshipping by the sixteen offerings--perfumes, flower, incense, lighted lamp, etc.--the Lord makes the offering of a great variety of food. Then, after having witnessed the Festival in the Company of all His associates, the Lord returns to His place of residence, in the hilarity of the joy of love. Arriving at His lodging, He bids all the Vaishnavas depart and remains in seclusion by Himself in the state of Self-Delightedness. Everyone now retires to his lodging. Vidyanidhi is always with Damodara. Both of them frankly tell each other whatever thought arises in the mind of each.

When they offered starched clothing to Jagannatha a doubt arose in the mind of Vidyanidhi. He asked Damodarswarup why they offered starched clothing to Godhead, observing that he did not understand why the people of the country wore unwashed starched cloths, although they were amply conversant with the Sruti and Smriti literatures. Damodara Swarup replied that Jagannatha is not offended by such offering as it happens to be the custom of the country. He who is acquainted with Sruti and Smriti certainly never indulges in such practice, but in this Festival this has always been to order here. If Godhead had not been really willing in His Heart to accept the offering, how is it that the Rajah does not also forbid it? Vidyanidhi admitted that whatever Godhead does, is excellent. But why did the servant do what was fit only for the Master? Praja, Panda, Shishupal, Padichha, Behera--why did all these people were dirty clothing? Jagannatha is Godhead, everything is of course proper for Him. But must all the people do what he does? If one but touch any starched cloth, one is made clean only by washing his hand. Why did those people, who were possessed of good sense, not do so? The King and his councillors, who did not consider this, were also ignorant. Even the Rajah himself wore starched cloth on his head. Damodara Swarup said that he was sure that on the occasion of Odana Jatra there could be no offence in such conduct. The Supreme Brahman is manifest in the Form of Jagannatha. In this place the injunction or prohibition of the Scriptures need not be considered. Vidyanidhi said that Jagannatha Bigraha is the Supreme Brahman was unquestionable. He is not to blame for ignoring any injunctions and prohibitions. But were those people also become Brahman by their residence at Nilachala? Those people also had given up conduct that is ordinarily considered as proper in this world and all of them had become the Avataras of the Form of the Brahman. Vidyanidhi talked in this manner all the way and as he said so he laughed freely and in fact found it impossible to compose himself. The two friends went on arm in arm, laughing as they blamed the conduct of even the servants of Jagannatha. All persons do not know the power of all the servants of the Lord. Krishna alone knows the degrees of attachment of His servants. Krishna causes the blunders of His Own servants and thereafter dissipates the blunder with a Kind Heart. Krishna Himself caused Vidyanidhi to commit the blunder. The way, in which His Mercy removed his error, is as follows.

The two dear friends proceeded in merry mood to their respective lodgings on the service of Krishna. After accepting the alms of food, both came to the residence of Sree Gauranga. They lay down and slept at the place of the Lord. The Supreme Lord Chaitanya knows anything. The Lord came to Vidyanidhi in his dream in the Form of Jagannatha. Large-hearted Vidyanidhi beheld a great wonder. Jagannatha and Balai made Their Appearance. Vidyanidhi saw the Jagannatha had an appearance of anger. He Himself caught hold of Him and slapped Him on the face. The Two Brothers now combined to slap Him on both cheeks. They slapped so hard that His cheeks became swollen under their fingers. Being pained, Vidyanidhi uttered the Name of Krishna and fell down at the Feet of Jagannatha praying Him to forgive his offence. Vidyanidhi now enquired for what offence of his the Lord was beating him so. The Lord said, "There is no end of your offence. You are living in my place. You know everything. You look down upon Me and My servants as outcasts. Why then do you stay at a place which is destructive of caste? Go away to your own place and save your caste. You imagine the contamination of impure practices even in the festivity that has been ordained by Myself. You call Me Brahman to spite my servants, regarding as offensive the wearing of unwashed starched clothing".

Dreaming thus Vidyanidhi felt a great terror in his mind. He placed his head under the Holy Feet and cried in anguish "I am the worst of sinners. May the Lord forgive all my offences. I confess my fault and make my submission. The face which laughed at Thy servants, O Lord, Thou hast punished mercifully for my benefit. The day has dawned most auspiciously for me today. This is a more fortunate day for me. Thy Divine Hand has dealt my cheeks the rare blessing of blows". Lord said, "In order to do you this Favour I have punished you as you are My servant". Then, bestowing on Vidyanidhi Their Loving Glance in his dream, the Two Brothers Rama and Krishna came away to the Temple.

Having beheld this dream Vidyanidhi woke up and burst into laughter on finding, all over his cheeks, the actual marks of the slapping. His cheeks had become swollen in every part by the force of the slaps administered by the Hand Divine. As he beheld this sight Premanidhi said, "It is very good, indeed. I have received the proper punishment of my offence. The Lord has dealt me rightly. I have escaped with a very light punishment".

Sree Gadadhar now praised the greatness of Vidyanidhi. He said that there could be no greater mercy to a servant than what was shown to Vidyanidhi by the Lord. Pradyumna is the son of Godhead. But the Lord never slapped him in this way to teach him his duty. It is a greater favour than any that falls to the lot of Janaki, Rukmini, Satyabhama and the other Great Royal Consorts f the Supreme Lord. Moreover, offenders are punished openly in the view of all persons. The favour of punishment, inflicted in a dream, is not visible to anybody. One may receive punishment of great wealth in one's dream; but all those are nothing when awakes. If the punishment or favour, which the Lord bestows or any person in dream, be actually perceived by others, then only they are efficacious. No one is so fortunate as such a person. The Lord does not say anything to an atheist even in dream. When Damodara-Swarup saw the swollen cheeks of Vidyanidhi, as he came to meet him the following morning, and was told of the dream, he was transported delight.The two friends laughed in company as they discussed the details of the dream. Damodara Swarup said, "My very dear brother, I have never seen nor heard of such strange punishment. I have never heard that the Lord Himself comes to punish in a dream; but I now actually find it to be so in your case".