Srila Nityananda Prabhu

Caitanya Bhagavata Adi-lila Chapter Nine

Chapter Summary

This chapter describes the childhood pastimes of Nityananda up to his twelfth year, during which time he re-enacted the divine pastimes of Krsna, Rama, Vamana, and the other avataras of Vishnu. This chapter also describes his tour of different holy places which continued until his twentieth year.

On the order of Gaura Krsna, Ananta Deva had already made his appearance in the village of Ekacakra in Radhadesh. In this way, Nityananda Prabhu appeared like the moon from the sea of the womb of Padmavati, the wife of Hadai Oja. And just like the rising moon, he dispelled all the darkness covering the land of radha by his auspicious appearance. As a child, Nityananda constantly played with his boyhood friends imitating the pastimes of Krsna.

Once, his friends took the role of the assembly of gods, who were desirous of petitioning the Lord to relieve the burden of evil oppressing the Earth. Nityananda Prabhu took with him a child who was dressed as the earth, and together with the children who acted the roles of the different assembled gods, he went to the banks of the river Ganges. There he addressed the Lord who rests in the ocean of milk, Ksirodaksayi Visnu. At that time, one of the children took the part of Lord Visnu, and hiding unseen by the other children spoke in a grave voice that all could hear: "I shall surely be born in Goloka Mathura to lighten the burden of the Earth."

And so Nityananda Prabhu enacted the different pastimes of Krsna that the Lord performed during the Dvapara age. He enacted the pastimes of the marriage of Vasudeva and Devaki, the birth of Sri Krsna in the prison of Kamsa, the journey of Vasudeva to Nandagram and how he carried Krsna over the Yamuna river, as well as his return from Nandagram and how he brought Mahamaya who had just appeared as the daughter of Yasoda with him.

He enacted the slaying of Putana, the breaking of the cart, Krsna's butter stealing pastimes, the slaying of the demons, Dhenuka, Agha, and Baka. He also displayed the pastimes of the pasturing of the cows, the lifting of Govardhan hill, the stealing of the gopis clothes and the Lord's bestowal of mercy upon the wives of the sacrificial brahmanas. He performed the pastimes of sending secret advice to Kamsa in the guise of Narada, the killing of the Kuvalaya elephant and the wrestlers Canura and Mustika, and the killing of Kamsa.

Nityananda Prabhu also enacted the pastime of Vamanadeva's cheating Bali of the three worlds, and took the role of Ramachandra. His friends acting the part of monkey soldiers pretended to build a bridge of floating stones across the ocean, in imitation of the pastimes of Rama. Once, Nityananda took the part of Laksman, and, bow in hand, would storm the palace of Sugriva. Once he took the part of Rama Himself, enacting the pastime of breaking Parasurama's pride. Once, taking the role of Laksman he pretended to kill Indrajit and then swoon, hit by the powerful arrows of Ravana, the demon-king.
He would enact the pastime of having the medicine from Gandamadana Hill brought by Hanuman and would recover from his wounds after receiving the medicine.

Nityananda spent twelve years enacting these kinds of pastimes. At that time, he went to visit the different holy places in order to purify them from the sins left behind by the pilgrims who visit them.

He toured the holy places in both Northern and Southern India, on the pretext of pilgrimage and in this way was occupied until his twentieth year when he arrived in Nabadwipa and met Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In the course of his wandering through the different holy places, Nityananda Prabhu met Madhavendra Puri, Isvara Puri, and Brahmananda Puri. Nityananda passed many days enjoying the ecstasy of krsna-katha in the company of Madhavendra Puri and his disciples. He then visited Setubandha, Danatirtha, Mayapuri, Avanti, Godavari Jiyura Nrismha, Devapari, Trimala, Kurmaksetra and many other holy places.
At last he arrived at Jagannatha Puri, where he took darshan of Jagannatha Deva and was profoundly moved to ecstasy upon seeing the Deity. From Jagannatha Puri, he returned again to Mathura. The chapter closes with an explanation of Lord Nityananda's renunciation.

Lord Nityananda who is identical with the powerful Balarama himself, manifest during this period his pastimes of preaching the holy name in love of God. The chapter concludes with a description of greatness of Nityananda Balarama.

Text of Chapter

All glories to Sri Krsna Caitanya, the ocean of mercy. All glories to Nityananda Prabhu, the friend of the helpless. All glories to the life and soul of Sri Advaita Candra. All glories to He who is the only shelter of Srivasa and Gadadhara. All glories to Visvambhara, the son of Jagannatha Misra and Sacidevi who is always beloved by his devotees and followers.

Before the advent of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Ananta deva himself had appeared on the order of the Lord. He took birth in the Radhadesh to help enact the divine lila of the Lord. His father's name was Hadai Oja and his mother's name was Padmavati.
He appeared in the village of Ekacakra within the land of Gauda. From infancy he was sober, highly intelligent and supremely qualified. The baby boy was millions of times more beautiful than cupid.

From the moment of his birth there appeared within the Radhadesh, all-auspicious symptoms. All varieties of famine, poverty, and unhappiness immediately disappeared. On the day that Sri Gauracandra made his advent in Sridhama Nabadwipa, Nityananda Prabhu shouted with joy. The vast universe was pervaded with the sound of his cries and the whole world became astonished.
Some said, "The thunderbolt has descended to Earth." Many could understand that the mightly disturbance was the result of some divine power. Some said, "We know the cause. The master of Gauda has spoken in a voice of thunder." And in this way, everyone gave their different opinions. But by the power of the illusory energy of Krsna, no one could recognize the transcendental position of Nityananda Prabhu.

In this way, keeping his divine nature unmanifest, the supreme Lord, Nityananda Prabhu delighted in the company of children. In all the games that the Lord played with the children, Krsna was the center. Indeed, their play was nothing but the lila of the Lord. Nityananda Prabhu would hold an assembly of the gods with one of the children acting the part of the Earth presenting the petition of the demigods to the supreme Lord Visnu. All of them would go along with the Earth to the banks of the river where together they would pray to the hidden Lord of the universe, Ksirodaksayi Visnu.
Unseen by all, one of the boys would loudly proclaim from his hiding place, "I will shortly be born in the cowherd village of Mathura."

Another day, Nityananda Prabhu and his childhood friends would gather in the village to celebrate the marriage of Vasudeva and Devaki. Once, having made their playhouse into the prison of Kamsa, he re-enacted the pastime of Krsna's divine appearance in the dead of night. Nityananda Prabhu built a cowherd settlement and took Krsna there, deceiving Kamsa by substituting Yogamaya for Krsna within the prison.

Another time he dressed up one of his childhood friends as Putana, while another boy, climbing his body pretended to such his breast like the baby Krsna. Once, having built a cart made of reeds with the help of the children, Nityananda Prabhu broke it. Nityananda Prabhu would bring his childhood friends to the house of the local milkman and steal milk and yogurt, following in the footsteps of Krsna. His friends never left his company, nor would they return to their homes, but day and night they would play in the company of Nityananda Prabhu.

Nor did their mothers and fathers complain, but all loved Nityananda with their hearts and souls. He would hold his relatives and friends in affectionate embrace. Upon beholding his amazhing childhood pastimes, everyone would say, "We have never seen such wonderful playing. How is it possible that this child has learned all these activities of Krsna."

One day having made serpents out of the leaves of trees, he brought the children to a pond. One of the children would enter the water and float motionless. Nityananda Prabhu would awaken him.
One day he took the children into a grove of palm trees, where they played at killing the demon Dhenuka and tasting the palm fruits known as tal fruits.
He would often go to the pasturing grounds and there play many different games with the children. After constructing toy demons and naming them Baka, Agha, and Vatsa, he would kill them. Nityananda Prabhu would return home with his childhood in the afternoon, all of them blowing on buffalo horns.

One day he would imitate Krsna's pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill. Another day after constructing a replica of Vrindavana, he would play there with his friends. One day he would steal the clothes of the gopis and another day would visit the wives of the brahmanas engaged in sacrifice. One of the children would take the part of Narada Muni and disguising himself with a beard he would give confidential advice to Kamsa. One day one of the boys dressed as Akrura and took Krsna and Balarama away from Vrindavana on the order of Kamsa. Nityananda Prabhu cried in grief, feeling separation from Krsna in the mood of the gopis. Streams of tears would flow from his eyes in the view of all the children.

Influenced by the illusory energy of Visnu, no one could understand the transcendental nature of Nityananda Prabhu's divine lila as all the children played in his company. After building a replica of Mathura, he would roam with the boys. Some of them would take the position of garland-makers and some would wear the garlands. Nityananda Prabhu would dress one of them as Kubja and would become perfumed by her.
One day, upon making a bow, Nityananda Prabhu broke it with a thundering noise. After killing the elephant Kuvalayapida and the wrestlers Canura and Mustika, he would knock to the ground and drag away by the hair one of the boys who had been made to play the role of Kamsa. Having killed Kamsa he would dance merrily with the children.
In this way, Nityananda Prabhu's pastimes as a boy made all the people of Ekacakra laugh with delight.

Nityananda Prabhu imitated in his pastimes the transcendental activities of all the avatars of Godhead. One day Nityananda Prabhu played Vamana and another child played Bali Maharaja. In this way, Nityananda Prabhu would deceive him into giving the three worlds in charity as one of the children, dressed as an old man, played the role of Sukracarya and forbid the gift. Then, Nityananda Prabhu as Vamana, after accepting the alms of Bali, placed his lotus feet upon that boy's head.
One day, Nityananda Prabhu played at constructing a bridge of trees and stones across the ocean as all the children played the role of monkey soldiers. In this way he could chop veranda plants and throw them into the water, pretending they were giant trees as the children would shout "Jaya Rama! Jaya Raghunatha! Victory to Rama! Victory to the Lord of the Raghu dynasty!"

The Lord Himself assumes the role of Laksman, and bow in hand, he made his way to the palace of Sugriva in a fit of anger, saying, "You wretched monkey! My Lord, Rama, is becoming distressed by your actions. My Lord is waiting on Malyavan mountain, burdened with grief. And you, O wicked monkey, are busy making merry with women! If I am to spare your life, then go to Rama as fast as you can, and offer him your help."

Another day, in the mood of Laksman, he would chastise Parasurama in anger, saying, "O brahmana - I can't be held accountable for what happens to you if you do not flee at once."
The children, in their innocence, would take Nityananda Prabhu's absorption in the mood of Laksman to be nothing more than childish play. They did have any knowledge of his position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Some of them would roam about as the five monkeys, and taking the role of Laksman, Nityananda Prabhu would ask, "Who are you monkeys who roam the forests? Tell me! I am the servant of Raghunatha!"
They would tell him, "We wander here in fear of Bali. Lead us to Rama! We accept the dust of your feet upon our heads." Giving them hearty embrace, he would lead them to his master and bow down before the feet of Rama, falling flat like a rod. In the role of Laksman, one day Nityananda Prabhu was beaten by Indrajit. Another day he would play at killing Indrajit. Having made one of the boys take the role of Vibhisana, he would lead Vibhisana in the presence of Rama and then install him as the king of Lanka.
Another child would shout, "Look! Hear I come as Ravana. Beware the shafts from my bow. Let Laksman protect you if he can." With this, the child playing the role of Ravana hurled a lotus flower at Nityananda Prabhu, who dropped to the ground, senseless, in the mood of a defeated Laksman.
Having swooned away, Nityananda Prabhu would not arise. Although the boys tried in many ways to arouse him in many different ways, Nityananda Prabhu showed no sign of life in any part of his body. The children all put their hands to their heads and wept and cried. Hearing their cries Nityananda Prabhu's mother and father hastened to the spot. Finding no life in their child, both of them fell upon the ground senseless.
All the people of the village gathered there and gazed upon the scene in amazement. The children explained everything. Someone from the crowd said, "I understand the reason for all this. A long time ago, an actor who was playing the role of Dasaratha gave up his life upon hearing of the exile of Rama to the forest." Another said, "The boy is only acting his part. As soon as Hanuman brings the medicine and administers it to him, he will recover."
Of course, Nityananda Prabhu had already explained this to the children. He had told them, "As soon as I fall down, all of you make a circle around me and cry. After a short period of time, send away Hanuman. My life will return if the medicine is applied to my nose." But as soon as the Lord, who was perfectly playing his role, became unconscious, the children became very much upset. They completely lost their judgement and no one could remember Nityananda Prabhu's instruction.
They simply cried and cried, and called out, "O brother: get up!" But the bystander's remarks made them remember the Lord's advice. So, one of the children walked off as Hanuman and another child, dressed as a sage stood in his way. Greeting him with an offer of fruits and roots, the sage said, "Please stay with me a while, dear friend, and bless my humble retreat. Only by great good fortune can one attain the company of one like yourself."
Hanuman replied, "My work is urgent. I must make haste. I cannot stop; please excuse me but I must say goodbye. You must have heard of Laksman, the younger brother of Rama. Ravana has struck him unconscious with his sakti arrow. I must hurry to Gandhamadana mountain. His life may be saved only if I bring the proper medicine." The child who played the role of Hanuman spoke all these lines as he was trained by Nityananda Prabhu. Everyone looked on in amazement.
At the request of the sage, Hanuman went to a nearby lake to bathe. Another child caught hold of his feet from under the water. In this way, the child took the part of a crocodile and pulled Hanuman into the water. The child-actor playing Hanuman dragged the crocodile to the bank and then defeats him. Then Hanuman encountered an even more formidable foe.
A child disguised as a Raksasa ran after Hanuman and threatened to eat him, saying, "You have defeated the crocodile, but now you must defeat me. Who will revive Laksman if I swallow you alive?" Hanuman answered, "Your Ravana is a worthless dog. Take to your heels and be gone."
In this way the two children fought with each other until they had each other by the hair. They began beating each other with their fists. After some time, Hanuman defeated the Raksasa.
Finally, the child playing the role of Hanuman made his way to Gandhamadana mountain. There, some boys dressed as Gandharvas fight with him for some time, and, after defeating the Gandharvas, Hanuman brought Gandhamadana mountain away on his head. One of the children, acting as a doctor, remembering Rama, applied the medicine to the nose of Nityananda Prabhu, who was playing the part of Laksman. At last, the great Lord, Nityananda Prabhu regained consciousness and came to his feet.

At this, all the parents and everyone else laughed. Hadai Pandit took the child into his arms and all the boys were delighted. Everyone asked, "My dear child, where did you learn all these things?" And the Lord would laughingly answer, "These are all my divine pastimes."

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