Śrī Advaita Ācārya at Jagannath Puri

I offer my respectful obeisances to Śrī Advaita Ācārya, whose activities are all wonderful. By His mercy, even a foolish person can describe His characteristics.

Śrī Advaita Ācārya is indeed directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. His glories are as fathomless as millions of oceans and seas and beyond the conception of ordinary living beings. Speaking of its measure is a great offense.

Śrī Advaita Ācārya at Jagannath Puri:

All devotees of Lord Caitanya come from Bengal to Jagannath Puri and stay there for four months for the Ratha-yātrā festival.

Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would send Svarūpa Dāmodara and Govinda in advance to receive all devotees. Svarūpa Dāmodara came forward and first garlanded Advaita Ācārya. Govinda offered a second garland and paid his obeisances by falling down flat before Advaita Ācārya.

Then Advaita Ācārya met Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and first offered prayers to His lotus feet.  The Lord immediately embraced Him in ecstatic love. Indeed, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Advaita Ācārya displayed agitation due to ecstatic love. Seeing the time and circumstance, however, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu remained patient.

Thereafter, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu received all the devotees and performed congregational chanting.

Beḍā-kīrtana Pastimes:

After seeing the dhūpa-ārati of Lord Jagannatha, all devotees began congregational chanting. Four parties were then distributed in four directions to perform saṅkīrtana, and in the middle of them Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced, jumping high. In the four groups there were eight mṛdaṅgas and thirty-two cymbals.

While this dancing was going on, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu stood in the middle of the dancers, and all the dancers in all directions perceived that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was looking at them.  In His own pastimes in Vṛndāvana, when Kṛṣṇa used to eat on the bank of the Yamunā and sit in the center of His friends, every one of the cowherd boys would perceive that Kṛṣṇa was looking at him. Similarly, when Caitanya Mahāprabhu observed the dancing, everyone saw that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was facing him.

After dancing for a long time, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became still and ordered four great personalities – Nityānanda Prabhu, Advaita Ācārya, Vakreśvara Paṇḍita and Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura to dance. They wonderfully danced to the satisfaction of the Lord. In this way Śrī Advaita Ācārya greatly enjoyed these transcendental pastimes with the Lord.

Ratha-yātrā Pastimes:

During Ratha-yātrā four parties are formed to perform saṅkīrtana, in front of Lord Jagannātha’s chariot and on either side was another party. Yet another was at the rear. There were altogether seven parties of saṅkīrtana.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered Advaita Ācārya Prabhu to dance in the first group. In each party two men were beating drums. Thus fourteen drums were being played at once. The sound was tumultuous, and all the devotees became mad with ecstasy. When the saṅkīrtana resounded, it filled the three worlds. Indeed, no one could hear any sounds or musical instruments other than the saṅkīrtana.

Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu then exhibited another mystic power by performing pastimes of dancing simultaneously in all seven groups. Lord Jagannātha was very much pleased by the saṅkīrtana, and He brought His chariot to a standstill just to see the performance.

In this way Advaita Ācārya enjoyed the pastimes of saṅkīrtana with Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in Jagannātha Purī.

Janmāṣṭamī festival:

The devotees celebrated the festival of Janmāṣṭamī. At that time Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His devotees dressed themselves as cowherd boys.

At this time Śrīla Advaita Ācārya said, “Please do not be angry. I speak the truth. I shall know that You are a cowherd boy only if You can wheel this rod about.”

Accepting Advaita Ācārya’s challenge, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took a big rod and began to wheel it around and around. Again and again He threw the rod into the sky and caught it when it fell. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wheeled and threw the rod, sometimes over His head, sometimes behind His back, sometimes in front of Him, sometimes to His side and sometimes between His legs. All the people laughed to see this.

When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu whirled the rod in a circle like a firebrand, the heart of everyone who saw it was astonished. Nityānanda Prabhu also played at whirling the rod. No one could understand how They were ecstatically immersed in the deep emotions of the cowherd boys.

In this way Śrīla Advaita Ācārya enjoyed Janmāṣṭamī festival in the association of these transcendental cowherd boys. Finally, at the end of Cāturmāsya, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bid farewell to all the devotees and requested them to return to Jagannātha Purī every year. 

With great respect, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bade farewell to Advaita Ācārya saying, “Give Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotion to Kṛṣṇa, even to the lowest of men [caṇḍālas].”

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