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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Madana Gopal

In a kutir cottage made from leaves, Sanatana Gosvami lived for some time at Mahabon, the birth place of Sri Krsna. One day, he was walking along the banks of the Yamuna, going to beg some foodstuffs in a nearby village. Madana Gopaladeva was playing with some cowherd boys there, and when he saw Sanatana Gosvami he came running towards him, "Baba! Baba!". Catching hold of Sanatana's hand he told him, "I want to go with you!"

"Lala!" replied Sanatana, "Why do you want to go with me?"

"I want to stay where you live."

"If you stay with me, what will you eat?"

"Baba! Whatever you eat."

"But I only eat some dry capatis and chick peas."

"Then that is what I will eat."

"No that won't be enough for you. You should stay with your mother and father."

"Na. baba. na. I want to stay with you."

Sanatan Goswami patiently explained that the boy might feel difficulty if he stayed with him, and sent him home. Then he went to beg some capatis in the village.

That night, in a dream, he saw that boy again come to him. Smiling very sweetly, he caught hold of Sanatana's hand and said, "Baba! I am coming tomorrow to stay with you. My name is Madana Gopal". His dream ended and he woke up. Losing himself in great ecstasy, he said to himself, "What did I see? Such a beautiful boy!" Thinking of Lord Krsna he opened the door to his hut and saw standing outside a beautiful Deity of Gopal. His effulgence shone in all directions. For a few seconds Sanatana was completely stunned as he gazed upon Gopal's radiant smile. He expected that the Deity might say something or come towards him. Finally, tears of love gliding down his cheeks, Sanatana fell to the ground, offering his dandavats.

Gradually, he performed Gopala's abhiseka (bathed the Deity) and offered worship to Him. Sanatana's brother Rupa came there and, seeing the Deity, was deeply moved in ecstatic love. Sanatana kept the Deity with him in his leaf hut and began to worship Him in great happiness. Srila Rupa Gosvami immediately sent word of this auspicious event to Mahaprabhu, at Puri.

According to the different perspectives of vision of various devotees, Krsna's pastimes might sometimes be described in different ways, putting more or less emphasis on the external events that surround the internal moods and sentiments felt by Krsna and His devotees. In light of this, it has been described in the Prema-vilas that the Madana Mohana Deity resided at the home of one Mathura brahmana, Damodar Caube by name. Subsequent to the period of time during which He was worshipped by Sri Advaita Acarya Damodar Caube, his wife Ballabha and their son, Madan Mohan, used to worship the Deity in the mood of parental affection and friendship. Damodar Caube's son used to play together with Lord Madana Gopala. Sometimes, like naughty brothers, they would slight one another and then complain to the parents. Their parents would feed them together at the same time and lay them down to rest together.

Sanatana Gosvami used to sometimes beg chapatis from Caube's house. When he saw how the Deity was being worshipped he would instruct Damodara's wife Ballabhadevi in the rules and regulations of proper Deity worship. However, she found all of these rules very difficult to follow. One day when Sanatana saw the Deity Madana Gopala and the boy Madan Mohan eating their lunch together, he became moved by the transcendental mood there and the symptoms of ecstatic love appeared in his body. Then he told Ballabhadevi that she should worship Madana Gopala according to the dictates of her heart.

One night Sanatana Gosvami and Damodar Caube's wife both had a dream simultaneously in which Madana Gopala requested to be able to come and live with Sanatana Gosvami. In great happiness Sanatana received Madana Gopala from the family and Him to a small hillock near Surja ghat, where he constructed a small hut made of branches and leaves. Then he began to serve Madana Gopala, preparing offerings for Him from whatever he obtained by begging.

One day Madana Gopala refused to eat, complaining that there wasn't even any salt in the chapatis. Sanatana replied, "Today it's salt and tomorrow it will be ghee. But I am sorry. I don't have the time or the inclination to chase around after rich men requesting special items from them". Having silently listened to this reply Madana Mohana didn't say anything further, but rather arranged that Krsna dasa Kapoor would come that way, as will subsequently be described.

Sanatana Gosvami would beg some flour from the village and then with that prepare capatis for Madana Gopala. Sometimes he would collect some forest vegetables, roots or spinach and also prepare some vegetables. If sometimes there was no ghee or oil, or salt, then he would just cook dry capatis. But he felt very bad about this. On the other hand, he could not see an alternative. Mahaprabhu had ordered him to compile Bhakti-shastras (devotional scriptures) and the major portion of his time was devoted to that. Sometimes it simply wasn't possible to find time to beg some money with which to purchase salt and oil.

"Madana Mohana is the son of a Maharaj. Seeing that He is simply eating dry capatis Sanatana felt very sad; Madana Mohana, who is within the heart of everyone could understand, 'Sanatana wants to render greater service to Me.' Then Madana Mohana Himself desired that His service might be increased."

Within a few days a wealthy Kshatriya named named Sri Krsna dasa Kapoor came to Mathura to engage in trade and business. By chance, however, his boat became stuck on a sand bar in the Yamuna and by no means could he manage to free it. By the by, he came to learn that a sadhu by the name of Sri Sanatan Gosvami was living nearby. In order to seek the blessings of the sadhu, Krsna dasa Kapoor came to his hermitage and found Sanatana Gosvami engaged in writing.

Sanatana Gosvami's body was very lean and thin from the practice of great austerities and he was wearing only a kaupin. Krsna das offered his dandavats and Sanatana Gosvami in turn offered him a grass mat to sit on. Krsna dasa touched the mat with his hand and sat on the ground. He appealed to the Gosvami, "Baba! Please bestow your mercy on me."

Sanatana replied, "I am a beggar. What mercy can I bestow upon you?"

"I simply want your blessings. My boat is stuck on a sand bar in the Yamuna, and we can't free it by any means."

"I am completely ignorant about all these matters You can speak to Madana Gopala about it."

Krsna das offered his dandavats to Madana Mohanji and spoke to Him, "O Madana Gopala Deva! If, by Your mercy my boat is freed, then whatever profit is realized from the sale of its cargo, I will give to this Gosvami to be engaged in Your service."

Praying this way, Kapoor Seth took leave from Sanatan Gosvami. That afternoon there was such a downpour of rain that the boat very easily floated off the sand bar and on to Mathura. Krsna dasa could understand that this was the mercy of Lord Madana Gopala Deva. His goods were sold at a very handsome profit and with this money he constructed a temple and kitchen and made all the necessary arrangements for the royal execution of Sri Madana Gopala's worship. Seeing this arrangement, Sanatana Gosvami was very happy and after some period initiated Krsna dasa Kapoor as his disciple.

Sri Madana Mohana Deva is presently worshiped at Karauli, Rajasthan. When the daugher of the king of Jaipur was offered in marriage to the king of Karauli, she very insistently requested that her father send Lord Madana Mohana with her as a dowry, as she was very attached to Him. Her father was very reluctant and agreed only after stipulating one condition: "Madana Mohana would be placed in a room with many other Deities. Whoever she chose while blindfolded could go with her to Karauli."

Madana Mohana reassured her by telling her that she would be able to recognize Him by the soft touch of His arm. By this stratagem, she easily recognized Madana Mohana who still resides in Kaurali till this day. There is a direct bus to Karauli from Jaipur. Otherwise, one can go by train from Mathura to Hindaun and then from there to Karauli by bus.

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