by Krishna-das Kaviraj | 1922 | 90,709 words
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is revered by devotees as an incarnation of Krishna and Radharani as avatars of the Parmatma, or Supreme Godhead. He was born in an Oriya Hindu family. According to beliefs of orthodox followers Caitanya Mahaprabhu united in himself two aspects: ecstatic devotee of Krishna and Krishna himself in inseparable union with Radha....
The Master travelled very extensively in the South, visiting thousands of holy places. At His touch they became the holiest of holy places. Under the pretext of a pilgrimage He delivered the people of that country. I shall only give a list of the places without arranging them in the order in which they were visited.
As before, whoever met Him on the way and all the people of every village that He lodged in, were turned into Vaishnavs and made to chant Hari's name. They in their turn converted other villages. Diverse were the people of the South, some scholars, some ritualists, some extreme sceptics, Lo! the marvellous effect of the sight of the Master! all such men gave up their own creeds and turned Vaishnav. Even among the Vaishnavs [of the South] some were worshippers of Vishnu in the incarnation of Ram, some the followers of Madhwacharya, some of Ramanuj's sect of Shri Vaishnavs. All of them, on meeting with the Master, became worshippers of Vishnu in the incarnation of Krishna, and began to chant Krishna's name.
The Master journeyed on, reciting the verse:
O Ram Raghav! O Ram Raghav! O Ram Raghav!
O Krishna Keshav! Krishna Keshav! Krishna Keshav!
He bathed in the Ganga Gotami (Godavari). At Mallikárjun He visited the shrine of Mahesha, where He made all the people recite Krishna's name. He beheld the Rámdás Mahádev, and also the Man-Lion at Ahobal, bowing to and glorifying the latter. At Siddha-bat is the image of Sita's lord; the Master bowed to the image of Ram and sang hymns to it. There He was invited by a Brahman of the place, who incessantly took Ram's nume and no other. After passing the day in his house as his guest, the Master proceeded on. At Skanda-kshetra He visited Kártik, and at Tri-matha the god Tri-vikrama, whence He returned to that Brahman's house at Siddha-bat, but found him chanting Krishna's name! After dinner the Master asked him, "Why, Brahman! has this change come over you? Formerly you used to cry 'Ram, Ram' and now you chant Krishna's name!" The Brahman replied, "This is the effect of your visit. The sight of you changed my life-long habit. From childhood have I been chanting Ram's name; but when I met you I once tittered the word Krishna, and since then Krishna's name has settled on my tongue. It is Krishna's name that comes out of my mouth, while the name of Ram has disappeared. It had been my practice since my boyhood to collect the texts bearing on the glory of God's names. In the Padma Purán, we read:
'Yogis sport (rama) in the eternal God, whose self is composed of sat, chit, and ananda. Hence the term Ram means the Supreme God.'
"Again, the Mahábharat, Udyog Parba, canto lxxi. 4, says 'the term 'Krishna', meaning the Supreme God, has been derived from the verb krish meaning existence and the inflexion na meaning cessation.'
"So, the two names Ram and Krishna appeared equal, but I next found texts making a discrimination between them. The Padma Purán has this:
'O perfect-featured Darling! my heart's Delight! reciting the word Ram thrice earns as much merit as taking [God's] name a thousand times!'
"The Brahmánda Purán asserts,
'A single utterance of the name of Krishna is as efficacious as reciting God's thousand sacred epithets three times in succession.'
"The last text proves the immeasurable excellence of Krishna's name. And yet I could not repeat it, only because I found delight in the name of Ram, the god of my vows (ishtadev), and took the latter incessantly. When at your visit the word Krishna rose [to my lips], my heart recognized its glory. And I truly inferred that you are Krishna himself." So saying the Brahman fell at the Master's feet, who after bestowing His grace left him the next day.
At Vriddha Kashi the Master visited Shiva, and thence went on to another village, where He lodged with the Brahmans. So great was His power that countless people,—hundreds of thousand, millions even,—came to see [Him]. Beholding the beauty and religious ecstasy of the Master they all chanted Krishna's name, and the whole region was converted to Vaishnavism. He refuted and proved faulty all the doctrines of the logicians, mimánsakas, illusionists, with the followers of Sánkhya, Patanjal, Smriti, Purán, and Veda, though they were strong in defending their tenets. Everywhere the Master established the dogmas of Vaishnavism, which none could refute. His vanquished antagonists accepted His creed, and so He made the South Vaishnav. On hearing of His scholarship the sceptics (páshandi) came to Him, boastfully bringing their pupils with them. A very learned Buddhist professor held forth on the nine doctrines of his church before the Master. Though the Buddhists are unfit to be talked to or even to be looked at, yet the Master argued with him to lower his pride. The very Buddhist philosophy of nine tenets, though rich in logical reasoning, was torn to pieces by the Master's argumentation. The Buddhist professor raised all his nine questions, but only to be refuted by the Master's vigorous logic. The great philosophers were all vanquished; the audience tittered; the Buddhist felt shame and alarm. Knowing that the Master was a Vaishnav, the Buddhists retired and hatched a wicked plan: They placed before the Master a plate of unclean rice, describing it as Vishnu's prasád. But just then a huge bird swooped down and carried off the plate in its beak! The rice falling on the bodies of the Buddhists was [openly] rendered impure; the plate fell down slanting on the Buddhist professor's head, cutting it open, and throwing him down in a fit. His disciples lifted up their voices in lamentation, and sought the Master's feet imploring Him, "Thou art God incarnate! O forgive us! Out of thy grace restore our teacher." The Master replied, "Cry out, all of you, Krishna's name. Pour the word loudly into your teacher's ears, and he will recover." They did it, the professor rose up and began to chant Hari! Hari! He did reverence to the Master saluting Him as Krishna, to the wonder of all. After this playful act the Son of Shachi vanished; none could see Him.
He arrived at Tirupati Tirumal, where He beheld the four-armed idol, and then advanced to Venkátár. At Tirupati He beheld the image of Ram, to which He bowed and sang hymns. The people marvelled at His powers. Then He came to the Man-Lion of Páná, which He saluted and extolled in a transport of love. At Shiva Kánchi he visited Shiva; His power turned the worshippers of Shakti and Shiva into Vaishnavs. At Vishnu Kanchi he beheld Lakshmi and Náráyan, to whom He bowed and prayed long, danced and sang in fervour. His stay of two days bowed the hearts of men to Krishna. Thence by way of Tirunal He went to Tri-kál-hasti, and bowed to the image of Mahadev there. And so on to the Paksha-tirtha, the Shiva, the Vriddhakál-tirtha (the shrine of the White Boar), Pitambar [probably Chidambaram] (the shrine of Shiva), the Shiyáli Bhairabi Devi, the bank of the Kaveri, Gosamáj (Shaiva holy place) and Bedáwan, (where He adored the Amrita-linga Shiva). Everywhere the worshippers at Shiva's shrines were turned into Vaishnavs. Thence He reached Devasthan, a Vaishnav shrine, and there kept constant company with the Shri-Vaishnavs. Proceeding further He visited the lake formed by Kumbhakarna's skull, the Shiva-kshetra, Pápa-náshan (a shrine of Vishnu), and Shri-rangam, where He bathed in the Kaveri and then adored Ranganath, bowing and hymning to the god to His heart's satisfaction, and dancing and singing in rapture, to the marvel of all beholders.
Here a Shri-Vaishnav named Venkata Bhatta invited the Master to his house, reverently washed His feet and with his family drank of the water. After feeding he besought the Master thus: "Master, the four months of asceticism (cháturmásya) are at hand. I pray thee pass them in my house, and of thy grace save me by discoursing on Krishna." At his house the Master stayed for four months, passing the time happily in talking about Krishna with the Bhatta. Daily He bathed in the Kaveri, visited Shri Ranga, and danced in ecstasy. All men flocked to gaze on His beauty and rapture of devotion, and at the sight they forgot sorrow and misery. From all quarters flocked hundreds of thousands, and as they beheld the Master they chanted Krishna's name and no other term. All became worshippers of Krishna, to the marvel of mankind. The Brahmans resident at Shri Ranga invited Him on successive days; but when the four months were over there were some Brahmans left who had had no opportunity to entertain Him.
In that holy place dwelt a Brahman devoted to Vishnu, who recited the Gitá in the temple. In the fervour of delight he read the 18 cantos, making mistakes, at which some scoffed, some laughed, some chid him, but he heeded them not and went on with his readings in a rapt mood. The Master delighted as He beheld the reader's tears of delight, tremour, and perspiration at his task, and asked him, "Hark you, Sir! what [deep] meaning inspires you with such rapture?" The Brahman replied, "I am an ignorant man, not knowing the meanings of words. The Gitá I read at my guru's bidding, correctly or incorrectly as it may be. My heart is rapt when I behold [before my mind's eye] the dark beauty of Krishna as he sits as driver in Arjun's chariot giving moral lessons. I can never bring myself to give up reading the Gitá, because I ever behold HIM so long as I read the book." To him the Master spoke thus, "Thou alone art truly worthy to read the Gitá, as thou knowest the essence of its meaning." So saying He embraced the Brahman, who, however, clasped His feet and prayed, "The sight of you gives me double the joy. Verily I think you are that Krishna." He could recognize the true nature of the Master, as the love of Krishna had purged his mind [of its grossness]. But the Master cautioned him not to tell it to any one else. The Brahman became a devout admirer of the Master and never parted from Him in those four months, which He spent at the Bhatta's house in blissful discourse about Krishna. The Bhatta's household gods were Lakshmi and Náráyan. The Master, pleased with his devotion, ever treated the Bhatta like a friend, constantly joking with him, as is the manner of friendship. One day He asked, "Bhatta! your Lakshmi is the type of devoted and chaste wives. My god is Krishna, a cow-herd. How could such a chaste lady seek this other man's society? Why did she for this object discard pleasure and perform endless austerities? Witness the following verse of the Bhágabat, X. xvi. 32:
"Lord! Out of a longing to be worthy to touch the dust of Thy feet, Lakshmi, though a [weak] woman, abstained from enjoyment and went through long penances, etc."
The Bhatta answered, "Krishna and Náráyan are essentially one; only Krishna showed more of sportiveness and charm. Hence Lakshmi's chastity was not marred when she, for the sake of delight, sought Krishna's company [Quotation from the Bhakti-rasdmrita-sindhu]. Playful Lakshmi desired Krishna for the sake of the greater gain and rása delight afforded by His society. What harm is there in it? Why are you joking?" The Master rejoined, "I know there is nothing to blame in it. The Shastra asserts that Lakshmi never enjoyed the rása dance with Krishna [Vide Bhágabat, X. xlvii. 53]. But the Shrutis attained to Krishna's society by their austerities. [Ibid, X. lxxxvii. 19]. What was the reason of this difference?" "My mind fails to explain the reason, as I am a petty creature with a weak understanding, while God's acts are infinite like the deep ocean. You are Krishna's self and know your own; exploits. Their inner meaning is known only to those on whom you have bestowed such knowledge." The Master said, "Such is the natural characteristic of Krishna that by His sweetness He wins all hearts. The men of Brindában knew Him not as God, because He came to them as one of themselves. One tied Him to the wooden pestle [udukhal], fancying Him to be her son. Some mounted on His back, taking Him to be a play-fellow. The people of Brindában knew Him as the son of Braja's chief, and not as the Godhead. He who adores Krishna in the manner of the people of Brindában, can alone attain to Him there. Vide Bhágabat, X. ix. 16. The Shrutis imitated the milk-maids [Gopis] and by taking the form of the Gopis they obtained the Son of the Queen of Mathura. They were incarnated in the bodies of the Gopis of Braja, and so disported with Krishna in the rása play. Krishna was of the milkman caste; the Gopis were his dear ones; so Krishna refused goddesses and other women. Lakshmi wanted to unite with Krishna in His form of a milkman, and yet she did not seek Him by assuming the shape of a Gopi. But in no other form than that of a Gopi can the rása pleasure be consummated, as Vyas has said in his verses, viz., Bhágabat, X. xlvii. 53."
Before this the Bhatta used to think in his pride, "Náráyan is God Himself, and the worship of Him is the highest stage. And therefore the worship offered by the Shri-Vaishnavs is the highest form of adoration." But the Master, to dash his folly down, opened all this controversy by means of a jest. He addressed him thus, "Bhatta, doubt not, know of a verity that Krishna is God Himself. Náráyan is only the manifestation of the power (vilás) of Krishna, therefore could Krishna steal the hearts of Lakshmi and others. (Vide Bhágabat I. iii 28). Krishna surpassed Náráyan in power. Hence did Lakshmi ever long for Krishna. The verse you have read proves that Krishna is God incarnate. (Vide Bhakti-rasámrita-sindhu, pt. I. ii. 32). Krishna stole the heart of Lakshmi but Náráyan could not (conversely) win the love of the Gopis. What to speak of Náráyan? Even Krishna him self, when He assumed the form of the four-armed Náráyan to amuse the Gopis, failed to win their love in that shape! (Vide Lalita-Madhav, vi. 13)." Thus did the Master humble his pride, but then He gave a new turn to the conclusion to soothe the Bhatta's feelings, saying, "Grieve not, Bhatta, I have only jested. Listen to the teaching of the Shastra in which Vaishnavs believe: Just as Náráyan and Krishna are one essence, so are Lakshmi and the Gopis identical and not diverse. Lakshmi in the garb of the Gopis tasted Krishna's company. In theology it is a sin to recognize a plurality of gods. The devotee meditates on one and the same God [diversely according to his fancy]; he gives different images to the same deity."
The Bhatta spoke, "I am a miserable creature, while thou art that Krishna, the Incarnate God. I know nothing of the unfathomable ways of God, but I hold as truth whatever you tell me. Fully have I been blessed by Lakshmi-Náráyan, as His grace has enabled me to see thy feet. Thou hast graciously spoken to me of the glory of Krishna, whose beauty, qualities and powers are beyond human calculation. Now have I learnt that devotion to Krishna passes all else. You have blest me by unfolding this truth." So saying the Bhatta clasped the Master's feet, who graciously hugged him to His bosom.
The four months came to an end. The Master took leave of the Bhatta and from Shri-rangam set out for the South. The Bhatta wanted to leave his home and follow Him, but with great effort the Master turned him back. When He left, the Bhatta fainted away (in grief). Thus did Shachi's Son disport Himself.
To the Rishava peak He went and there prayed to the deity Náráyan, and visited Paramananda Puri, who was spending his "four months" there. The Master bowed at the feet of the Puri, who embraced Him. For three days they lived together in that Brahman's house, lovingly talking on Krishna's delightful lore. The Puri said, "I am going to Jagannáth, whence I shall proceed to Bengal to bathe in the Ganges." The Master answered, "Go to the Niláchal, where I shall shortly join you on my return from Setubandha. I long to keep company with you. Do kindly visit the Niláchal." So He parted from the Puri and joyfully proceeded further south. The Puri went to the Niláchal, while the Master visited Shri-Shaila, where lived a Brahman named Shiva-Durga. Rejoicing to see the Master, he feasted Him for three days, and the two dis coursed of mysteries in secret. After friendly association with him, the Master left him and went to the city of Kámakoshti, and thence to the Southern Mathura [Madura], where He was invited by a Brahman, noble-minded, detached from the world, and a worshipper of Ram. After bathing in the Kritamala, the Master went to his house; but as the Brahman never cooked, he could place no food before the guest. The Master asked, "Hark you, Sir, it is noon and yet you are not cooking? Why is it?" The Brahman replied, "Master, I live in the forest, where at present nothing can be had for cooking. But Lakshman will bring some wild herbs, fruits, and roots, and then will Sita cook them." The Master was pleased with the Brahman's devotion. The host now hurriedly began cooking and the Master was fed in the third quarter of the day. But the Brahman himself fasted, at which the Master asked, "Why do you fast? What grieves you? Why mourn you?" The Brahman replied, "I have no need to live; I shall destroy myself by jumping into fire or water. The divine Sita, the mother of the world and the emblem of Supreme Goodness, was (rudely) touched by a demon, as I hear. So I ought not to live. This sorrow consumes me, though my spirit does not leave the body." To him the Master thus: "Think not so any longer. You are learned and yet you do not judge the matter in your mind! Sita, the beloved of God, is the embodiment of spirituality and bliss (chit ánanda). Physical senses cannot see her, not to speak of touching her. Ravan abducted only an illusive image of Sita, while the true Sita had disappeared. The Vedas and the Purans constantly teach this truth that the Material cannot take cognisance of what is non-Material. Believe my words, and never harbour such sad thoughts again." Reassured by the Master's words the Brahman dined and took delight in life.
After bathing in the Kritamálá, the Master went to Durbesan, where he saw the image of Raghunath. Thence to Mahendra hill, where He adored Parashu Ram. At Setubandha He bathed in the Dhanu-tirtha (Bow shrine). Visiting Rameshwar, He rested there. An assembly of Brahmans was listening to the reading of the Kurma Puran, in the course of which the episode of chaste women was reached. The narrative declared that Ravan stole only a false phantom of Sita. At the sight of Ravan the true Sita sought refuge with Fire, who lodged her with Parvati, while he deluded Ravan by giving up to him a false image of Sita. After Ram had slain Ravan, and Sita submitted to the ordeal of fire, the false Sita vanished, while the real Sita was delivered to Ram by Fire. The Master was delighted to hear this theory. So He borrowed from the Brahman the leaf (containing the passage), and made a copy for being placed in the book, while He took the old leaf for creating conviction and returned to the Southern Mathura, where He gave the leaf to the Brahman Rámdas.
At this the Brahman was overjoyed and clasped the Master's feet weeping and saying, "Thou art Ram incarnate, visiting me in the disguise of a sannyasi, and raising me from deep sorrow. Do consent to dine at my house to-day, because on that day I was too melancholy to entertain thee worthily. It is my good fortune that thou hast come again!"
So saying the Brahman cooked deliciously and feasted the Master nicely. After passing the night under his roof, the Master went to the Támraparni in the Pandya land, where He bathed in the river and wandered on the bank gazing at the Nine Tirupadis in wonder.
Thence He visited Chiyartálá (the shrine of Ram Lakshman), Til Kánchi (the shrine of Shiva), Gajendra-Mokshan (where there was an image of Vishnu), Páná-garhi (shrine of Ram), Chámtápur (Ram Lakshman), Shri Vaikuntha (Vishnu), the Malay Mountain (Agastya), Kanyá Kumári [Cape Comorin], Amlitalá (Ram), the Mallar land (where the Bhattamáris dwelt), and then after seeing Tamal Kártik, He reached Betápáni (Raghunath's shrine), where He passed the night.
The Master's companion, the Brahman Krishna-das, met a Bhattamari, who tempted the simple Brahman by offering him a woman and money. In the morning Krishna-das went away to the Bhattamari. Soon the Master came in quest of him and addressed the Bhattamari tribe thus, "Why have you detained my Brahman (follower)? I am, as you see, a sannyasi; and so are you too. It is unfair of you to put me in trouble."
At this the Bhattamaris took up arms and flocked round the Master to thrash Him. But the weapons dropped from their hands and struck their own limbs, so that they fled away on all sides. Lamentation rose in their houses. The Master dragged Krishna-das away by the hair, and that day reached the Payaswini river, in which He bathed and visited the temple of Adi Keshav, where He bowed, prayed, danced and sang for a long while in rapture, to the amazement of the beholders. All the people treated Him very respectfully and He joined the assembly of the very devout there. Here He got a manuscript of the book Brahma-samhitádhyáya to His boundless delight, tremour, weeping, thrill, perspiration, stupor, and frenzy (of joy), because the Brahma Samhita is unrivalled among works of exegetics (siddhanta shastra) and it is the chief instrument for teaching the glory of Govinda, as it expresses vast dogmas in a few words. It is the very cream of Vaishnav sacred writings.
Very carefully did He get the book copied. Thence He went to Ananta Padmanáv, where He spent two days, to Shri Janárdan, where also He hymned and danced for some two days, to Payoshni, where Shankar Náráyan is worshipped, to the monastery of Shringeri, the seat of Sankaracharya, to Matsya-tirtha (Fish shrine), to the river Tungabhadrá, and to [Upidi], the seat of Madhwáchárya, the spokesman of spiritual truth. Here He gazed devotedly on the Udupa-Krishna. The image of Krishna in the form of the dancing young cowherd (Gopal) was very charming. Madhwáchárya was moved by a dream to rescue this image from a cargo of consecrated earth [Gopichandan] in a sunken ship, and to install it [at Udipi], where it is worshipped to this day.
The Master was overjoyed to see the image of Krishna, and in fervour of devotion danced and sang (before it) for many a day. The tattwavádis, taking the Master for a máyávadi, at first slighted Him, but afterwards they marvelled at His religious ecstasy, and venerated Him greatly as a (true) Vaishnav. Aware of their pride in Vaishnavism, the Master began a discourse with them. The high priest of the tattwavádis was an expert in all the holy books. The Master, assuming the tone of a humble inquirer, put questions to him: "I do not clearly comprehend sádhya (end) and sádhan (means). Do please enlighten me on the subject." The high priest replied, "To the worshipper of Krishna the highest sádhan is to resign to Krishna the religious system centring round caste and ashram. Translation to Vishnu's heaven, after attaining to the fivefold salvation, is the supreme sádhya. Thus speak the Shastras." The Master objected, "The Shastras assert that the supreme sádhan of the love and service of Krishna is listening to and singing His praise. Vide Bhágabat, VII. v. 18.
"From listening to and singing hymns, one comes to love Krishna. That is the fifth human end, the limit of human attainment. Vide Bhágabat, XI. ii. 38. All kinds of scripture condemn (devotion to) work and teach us to abstain from the fruit of our works. Therefore from work cannot spring love and devotion to Krishna. Vide Bhágabat, XI. xi. 32; also Gitá, xviii. 66; Bhágabat, XI. xx. 9. Truly devoted men renounce the fivefold salvation; in their eyes salvation is worthless, no better than hell! Vide Bhágabat, III. xxix. 11; V. xiv. 43; VI. xvii. 23.
"The devout abjure salvation and work alike. And you establish these two things as the end and means! Ah! you are only befooling me as I am a [mere] sannyasi. You have not told me of the true characteristics of end and means."
At this the high priest of the tattwa School was inly ashamed, while he marvelled at the Vaishnav spirit of the Master. So he replied, "Your exposition is the true one. All Shastras declare this to be the Vaishnav dogma. Yet our order holds the views laid down by Madhwacharya." The Master rejoined, "The votary of work and the votary of knowledge are alike lacking in faith. In your order I see signs of these two. I see only one merit in your order: you have fixed, upon the true God."
After thus humbling the pride of that sect the Master went to the Falgu shrine, then to Tritakup (the shrine of Vishálá), Panchápsára, Gokarna (where Shiva is worshipped), Dwaipáyani, Supárak, Kolhápur (where He beheld Lakshmi and Kshir Bhagavati), Nánga-Ganesh, Chor Párvati, and Pándupur [=Pandharpur]. Here before Vitha's image He sang and danced long.
A Brahman of the place invited and reverently fed the Master. Learning the good news that Shri Ranga Puri, a disciple of Madhav Puri, was residing in another Brahman's house in that village the Master went to see him. As He prostrated Himself before the Puri in devotion, He wept, trembled and was thrilled and covered all over with sweat. Shri Ranga Puri wondered at the sight and cried out, "Rise, blessed one. Surely you are connected with my guru, or you could not have displayed such fervour of devotion". So, he raised and embraced the Master, and the two wept clasping each other's neck. After a spell of rapture, the two came round, and the Master said how He was related to Ishwar Puri. (At this) their love welled out wondrously and each honoured the other. Day and night they held forth on Krishna for a week or so.
The Puri asked about His birth-place. The Master replied Navadwip. Shri Ranga Puri had once visited that town in the train of Madhav Puri. He spoke how he had been feasted in the house of Jagannáth Mishra, how delicious the hash of green banana-flower (mochá) had tasted, what a chaste woman and tender to the world like a mother was Jagannáth's wife, how she was matchless in the universe for her skill in cookery, and how she had feasted the sannyasis as lovingly as if they were her own sons, how one of her sons had turned monk in youth with the title of Shankaráranya and had attained to death in that very place (viz., Pandupur). The Master broke in, "In his earthly life Shankar was my brother. Jagannáth Mishra was my father." So they had a friendly assembly, and then Shri Ranga Puri set out to visit Dwáráka. The Master was detained for some four days by His Brahman host. He bathed in the Bhimarathi and visited the shrine of Vithal. Then He walked by the bank of the Krishna-binna, visiting the temples at the many holy places there. The Brahmans of the country were Vaishnavs and studied the Krishna-karnamrita, of which book the Master joyfully made a copy. The world has nothing like the Karnamrita, which kindles pure devotion to Krishna. He only knows the fulness of the beauty and sweetness of Krishna's exploits, who ceaselessly reads the Karnamrita. He carried with Himself the manuscripts of the Brahma Samhita and the Karnamrita like two precious jewels.
After bathing in the Tápti, He went to the city of Maheshwati, and then visiting many holy places on the way, reached the bank of the Narmadá. After visiting the Shrine of the Bow (Dhanu-tirtha), He bathed in the Nirbindhya, and then passed on to the Rishyamukha mountain and the Dandaka forest, where He beheld a saptatál tree, very old stout and high. As the Master embraced the saptatál, the tree disappeared bodily, at which the people marvelled and cried out, "This sannyasi is an incarnation of Ram, for lo! the tál tree has flown up to Vishnu's heaven. Who but Ram can work such a miracle?"
Then the Master bathed in the lake of Pampá, and rested in the Panchavati wood. From Násik and Trimbak He passed on to Brahma-giri, to Kushávarta (the source of the Godavari), the seven (branches of the) Godavari, and many other shrines, and finally returned to Vidyá-nagar.
On hearing of His arrival, Rámánanda Ráy joyfully hastened to Him and prostrated himself; but the Master raised him and clasped him to His bosom. Both wept in delight and their minds were unstrung by rapture. After recovering composure they talked of many things together. The Master gave a narrative of His pilgrimage, and showed him the Karnamrita and the Brahma Samhita, saying "These two books bear out the theories of devotion (prem) which you had expounded to me." The Ray in delight tasted the books in the Master's company and took copies of them.
The whole village was agitated by the news of the sannyasi's return and all men flocked to see Him. At this Rámánanda went back to his own house. At noon the Master rose for His meal. Rámánanda returned at night and the two kept a vigil discoursing of Krishna. Thus five or six days were spent blissfully, the two holding forth on Krishna day and night. Rámánanda said, "With thy leave, Master, I petitioned my king, and he has permitted me to visit the Nilachal. I have already begun my preparations for departure." The Master replied, "I have come here only to take you to the Niláchal." But the Ray objected, "Master, go you in advance. A noisy throng of elephants, horses and soldiers surrounds me. Let me first dispose of them, and then after ten days I shall follow you." The Master consented and returned to the Niláchal by the route He had previously followed, the people every where chanting Hari's name as they saw Him. He rejoiced at it. From Alalnath he sent Krishna-das in advance to call Nityánanda and others of His own folk. At the news, Nityánanda went to meet the Master, his devotion knowing no bounds. Jagadananda, Damodar, Gopinatli Acharya and Mukunda Pandit went along dancing, unable to contain their delight. They all met the Master on the way, and He lovingly embraced them, all weeping in delight. Sárvabhauma Bhattáchárya joined the Master on the beach of the ocean and fell at His feet; but the Master raised him up and held him to the bosom, Sárvabhauma weeping in rapture. The whole party went to visit Jagannáth's shrine, where the Master had a transport of devotion, trembling, perspiring, weeping in delight, dancing and singing again and again. The servitors of the temple offered Him the dedicated garlands and food of the god, at which the Master regained composure. The attendants of Jagannáth joyfully flocked together. Káshi Mishra (the high priest) fell at His feet, but the Master did him honour and embraced him. The Parichhá of Jagannáth, too, did Him obeisance.
Sárvabhauma took the Master to dinner at his own house, and fed Him and His party at noon on sumptuous dishes from the temple. Thereafter he made the Master lie down and rubbed His feet; but the Master bade him go and dine; and He passed the night also in Sárvabhauma's house to please him, narrating the story of His pilgrimage all night to His followers and host, and saying, "In all the holy places I have visited I did not meet with a single Vaishnav who can equal you. Only Rámánanda Ráy gave me intense delight." The Bhatta replied, "It was just for that reason that I had asked you to see him." [Text, canto 9.]
Footnotes and references:
This is exactly like the version of the legend of the abduction of Helen given by Stesichorus and accepted by Euripides in his Helena.