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The Ecstacy of Madhavendra Puri

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How Krsna Became “The Milk Thief”
For The Sake Of His Beloved Devotee

by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

A young cowherd boy appeared before Madhavendra Puri and offered him a pot of milk.

A young cowherd boy appeared before Madhavendra Puri and offered him a pot of milk.

(Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, increasingly celebrated throughout the world as an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared 500 years ago in India to teach the best means for God-realization in the present age-the chanting of the names of God: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Although Caitanya is the Supreme Lord Krsna Himself, He appeared in form of a devotee of Krsna.

Lord Caitanya’s followers disciplic succession have presented many authorized books discussing His philosophy and pastimes. The incident of Lord Krsna’s appearing before the devotee Madhavendra Puri in the form of a most worshipable stone Deity (arca-murti) was first told to Lord Caitanya by His spiritual master, and as described here Lord Caitanya later related it to His followers The practice of worshiping the Supreme deity form made of stone, wood or metal strictly follows the Vedic Scriptural injunctions; one should not, therefore, consider this to be idol worship. Since we cannot see Krsna in the material world in His original form, by His mercy He becomes visible to us in the form of a Deity, such as the Deities Gopala, Gopinathaji and Jagannatha. One should not think Krsna to be stone or wood; Krsna is always Krsna, the eternal form of bliss and knowledge, but He appears as stone or metal because we cannot see His original spiritual form. By serving the Deity, one associates with Krsna personally. A devotee should not think “Here is stone Krsna,” for although because Krsna is everthing He is also stone, Krsna in the Deity form is not the kind of stone that cannot act; rather He can act as the Supreme Lord, even in His stone form. In the temples of the Krsna consciousness movement, under the directuin of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the worship of the Deities by dressing, feeding and caring for Them is an important part of devotional service. Our spiritual master has said in this regard, “As you give more service to Krsna, He will even speak to you.” This actually happened to Madhavendra Puri, as described in the following narration. The story begins in the house of Lord Caitanya’s close associate Advaita Acarya, where Lord Caitanya briefly stopped on His journey to Puri, the holy city of Lord Jagannatha. This is an excerpt from an unpublished book by His Divine Grace entitled Lord Caitanya—His Sannyasa and Sankirtan Movement.)

As long as Lord Caitanya lived in the house of Srila Advaita Prabhu, the duty of cooking was entrusted to Sacimata, Lord Caitanya’s mother, for at this last opportunity she herself wanted to feed Lord Caitanya and His devotees to her heart’s content. Every day the Lord wanted to take leave of His friends and start out for Puri, but every day the devotees requested Him to remain for two or three days more, and the kind Lord could not refuse the request. Thus the functions of honoring mahaprasada, holding discourses on spiritual subjects and performing congregational chanting of the holy name Hari, accompanied by music and dance, smoothly continued at Advaita’s home. Lord Caitanya pleased His mother by accepting, with His numerous devotees, the foodstuffs that she cooked.

One day the Lord requested all His devotees who had assembled there to disperse to their respective homes. He advised them to continue the performance of sankirtana in each and every house. They would again see the Lord in time when they visited Niladri (Puri). Sometimes the Lord might also return to Navadvipa to bathe in the Ganges. Advaitacarya, however, requested the Lord to take with Him four of His associates, namely, Nityananda Gosvami, Pandita Jagadananda, Damodara Pandita and Mukundadatta. The Lord then took leave of His mother by touching her feet and circumambulating her holy person.

The Lord started for Puri, and cries of lamentation were heard from the house of Advaita Prabhu. Crying at separation from Him, the Acarya began to follow the Lord, but the Lord requested him to go back and console His mother and the other devotees. Saying this, the Lord embraced him and went on calmly.

Accompanied by His four abovementioned associates, the Lord proceeded towards Puri via Chatrabhoja. This route stretches from Santipura along the bank of the Ganges to Atisan, Panhatie (Sodepura-agarpara) and Barahanagar (a suburb of Calcutta). In those days the waters of the Ganges flowed by the town of Kali-ghata. The Ganges now flowing by Bhuwanipore and Kali-ghat is therefore known as Adiganga (the original Ganges). This course of the Ganges flowed down via Diamond Harbor by the police station known as Mathurapura. Passing via this Chatrabhoja, the Lord gradually reached the border of Orissa through Briddha-mantreswar.

On His onward march toward Puri through the villages of Bengal and Orissa, the Lord Himself sometimes used to beg alms from the villagers. Customs officers on His way did not disturb Him, and thus He at last reached Remuna, a village about eight miles west of Balasore. Here the temple and Deity of Ksiracora Gopinatha are situated. The Deity Gopinatha is notorious as a thief because He once stole condensed milk for the sake of His beloved devotee. In the transcendental relationship between the Absolute Godhead and His devotees, both the devotees and God Himself take the risk of serving each other at all costs. In transcendence, therefore, notoriousness has the same absolute connotation as eminence.

The story behind Gopinatha’s being notorious as Ksiracora (“the milk thief”) was long before narrated to Lord Caitanya by His spiritual master, Isvara Puri, and the Lord wanted to repeat the story to His followers.

Although Lord Caitanya was the Supreme Godhead, He accepted Isvara Puri as His spiritual master, and by this act He taught us to accept a guru, or spiritual master, in the line of spiritual disciplic succession. Lord Caitanya introduced Himself as belonging to the Brahma-Madhva-sampradaya, or the chain of disciplic succession that descends from Sri Krsna in the following manner. Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, transmitted transcendental knowledge to Brahma, from Brahma it came down to Narada, and from Narada to Vyasadeva, who is said to have initiated Madhvacarya. From Madhvacarya the disciplic succession descended as follows: (1) Nrhari, (2) Madhava, (3) Aksobhya, (4) Jayatirtha, (5) Jnanasindhu, (6) Dayanidhi, (7) Vidyanidhi, (8) Rajendra, (9) Jayadharma, (10) Purusottama, (11) Brahmanyatirtha, (12) Vyasatirtha, (13) Laksmipati, (14) Madhavendra Puri, (15) Isvara Puri and (16) Lord Caitanya.

Introducing the story of Gopinatha’s stealing some condensed milk for Madhavendra Puri, Lord Caitanya related that Madhavendra Puri always remained in trance and chose to wander alone, unaccompanied by his disciples. When Madhavendra Puri was in Vrndavana, he was once sitting under a tree near Govardhana Hill. He did not have any food, but a young cowherd boy appeared before him with a pot of milk and offered it to him. The cowherd boy inquired why he did not ask for alms, and he also asked what he did in his meditation.

The svami, Madhavendra Puri, was very pleased to see the beauty of the cowherd boy, and he forgot all about his hunger and thirst. He asked the boy where he lived and how he knew that he was hungry. The boy replied that he was a resident of Govardhana Hill and that no one in his jurisdiction remained hungry. Some of the village women had seen the svami sitting underneath a tree without food and had conveyed the news to him. Saying this, the boy left without further delay on the plea that he had to milk his cows.

Puri Svami drank the milk left by the cowherd boy and waited in vain for him to return to take back his pot. He sat down under the same tree the whole night, chanting the holy name of Hari (Krsna), and at the end of the night, when he lightly slept, he dreamt that the same boy had come again and taken him by his hand to a place congested with creepers and plants.

The boy explained that he had lived in that hedge for a very long time and was suffering through the winter, summer and rainy seasons without an adequate shelter. He was just waiting for Madhavendra Puri’s arrival, for he intended to expose himself to the eyes of people in general by accepting his loving service.

The arca form of the Absolute Personality of Godhead is identical with Him. The Absolute Godhead is not different from His name, fame, form, pastimes, qualities and entourage. He descends to favor His bona fide devotees and appreciate their transcendental loving service. The name, form, and so on, of the Absolute Godhead, being absolute themselves, cannot be experienced by the material instruments of sense perception, but by the unbounded mercy of the Absolute the transcendental loving service of His devotees makes it possible for one to see Him as He is.

The transcendental cowherd boy agreed to come within the view of the general public in His arca-murti because He was pleased with the loving devotion of Madhavendra Puri. The arca-murti of Godhead is not, therefore, an idol fashioned by an iconographer. The arca-murti is potent and has all the transcendental qualities of the Absolute Godhead, but one can perceive them only through loving service. A material example may help one understand this. The post office authorities establish a mailbox near one’s home, and all letters posted in it reach their respective destinations without difficulty. An imitation mailbox designed to compete with the genuine one will not serve the same purpose; the letters posted in the imitation box will never reach their destinations. The difference between the two boxes is that one is authorized whereas the other is a mere facsimile.

Just as a genuine mailbox is different from an imitation one, so the arca-murti revealed to the general public by a devotee of the caliber of Madhavendra Puri is different from the idols of iconographers. The icons of the idolators are like the statues installed in parks and Squares for the appreciation of the public. These statues serve no other purpose than to provide sitting places for crows; they cannot do anything, no matter how extensive one’s prayers or admiration.

Therefore, the arca-murti of Gopala who out of His own mercy directed Madhavendra Puri to bring Him out into the open must not be mistaken to be an idol, but He must be accepted as the Absolute Godhead Himself.

The next morning, therefore, Puri Svami approached the villagers of Govardhana and asked them to help him extricate the arca-murti of Gopala who was in the dense forest. The villagers gladly followed him and cleared the way for him to enter the place he pointed out. When the tangle of plants and creepers was removed, the weighty figure of Godhead was found. Some of the strongest among the men put their shoulders together and carried the Deity to the top of the hill of Govardhana, where the Deity was set on a big throne of stone and supported by another big stone from behind.

All the villagers were somehow informed of the Deity’s presence, and they came there in large numbers, the brahmanas bringing with them new earthen pots full of strained water from Govinda-kunda (a sacred pond). The water pots were one hundred in number. A festival then ensued, as bands performed and the village women sang songs. Some of the village folk began dancing, and the villagers duly brought forward milk, curd and clarified butter that they had collected for the Deity. Sweetmeats and other foodstuffs of various descriptions, along with numerous presents such as flowers, tulasi plants, new clothing and so on, came in abundance.

Madhavendra Puri personally performed the preliminary function of abhi-seka (a ceremony to sanctify the Deity) by washing His entire body with the water brought in the earthen pots and smearing His body with fragrant oil. After the ablution of the Deity, he properly dressed the Lord’s body and decorated Him with flowers mixed with the paste of sandalwood. Aratrika was then offered to the Deity to welcome and worship Him, and all the foodstuffs brought by the villagers, as well as more food especially prepared for Him, were presented before Gopala.

Ten brahmana cooks were engaged to cook rice and dahl, five brahmanas to prepare vegetables and five to seven brahmanas to bake bread. All the cooked foods were finished by the addition of abundant clarified butter. Then the rice was stacked on the floor upon a new cloth spread out for this purpose, and the bread was exhibited before the Deity in the manner of small hills. The vegetable curries, cakes and other preparations were all brought forward in suitable pots, and fragrant, cold drinking water was also offered in many new earthen pots. In this way the Annakuta ceremony* was again revived by Puri Maharaja, and Gopala, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, who had been hungry for a long time before Madhavendra Puri’s arrival, ate all these transcendental cooked foodstuffs to His heart’s content. Although Gopala ate all the food, leaving not a bit of it, He again restored it all by a transcendental touch of His hand. Only Puri Maharaja perceived this spiritual process, for Gopala was unable to conceal His inconceivable acts from an associate like Madhavendra Puri.

We have already discussed some logical conclusions about the arca-murti at some length, and now we may also discuss to some extent the offering of foodstuffs to the Deity. The arca-murti accepts only foodstuffs offered by bona fide devotees. The Absolute Godhead is always perfectly full in all respects, but He condescends to accept an offering of flowers, leaves, fruit or water if it is offered in transcendental loving service. If one is not hungry he is reluctant to accept even the most delicious and palatable dishes because in the absence of hunger nothing is pleasing to the taste. But if one is actually hungry he may accept food which is not even palatable. God, however, being full in Himself, is both hungry and satisfied simultaneously. Although He is always satisfied, He becomes hungry when one offers food to Him with a fully devotional attitude of transcendental loving service. He then accepts the food for the sake of His servitor and again replaces it with His transcendental potency to influence the revival of the spiritual senses of everyone who partakes of the remnants of such prasada (spiritualized food). Therefore, there is a gulf of difference between distribution of ordinary foodstuffs and distribution of spiritualized prasada. By accepting and distributing the former, both the giver and the taker become subject to the laws of karma, whereas by accepting and distributing the latter, both the giver and taker transcend the laws of karma. To offer cooked or uncooked foodstuffs to the Deity is to perform yajna (sacrifice) as ordained in the sastras (scriptures), but to cook or collect foodstuffs for one’s own self is to put oneself under the severe laws of nature. By performing yajnas we can have foodstuffs in abundance from the storehouse of nature, but campaigns encouraging farmers to grow more food for our own use simply enrage nature, who then restricts the supply. Such campaigns for self-satisfaction are sure to aggravate scarcity in the world, in spite of all scientific assurances to the contrary. Since the leaders of materialistic nations do not know this secret law of nature, when their materialistic endeavors are baffled at the cost of the lives of many innocent followers, these leaders, not knowing the defects in their foolish acts, escape by saying that nature is unkind.

Led by Madhavendra Puri, the villager welcomed and worshiped the Deity. Pleased by devotion, the transcendental cowherd boy agreed to become visible to the public.

Led by Madhavendra Puri, the villager welcomed and worshiped the Deity. Pleased by devotion, the transcendental cowherd boy agreed to become visible to the public.

Following the Vedic process, therefore, the foodstuffs were all offered to the Deity, and by the order of Puri Maharaja the prasada was lavishly distributed to all the villagers, including old men, women and children. First it was offered to the brahmanas and their wives, and then to all others, one after another. The men who came from other villages to see the function were also sumptuously fed, and everyone was astonished to see the influence of Puri Gosvami. Puri Maharaja then turned all the brahmanas into Vaisnavas (devotees) and entrusted them with various duties in the service of the Lord, for it is the function of a bona fide spiritual master not only to engage himself in the Lord’s service but also to engage all others who accept him as their spiritual master.

The entire country was informed of the appearance of Gopala, and thus men from all the neighboring villages came to visit Him. All the different groups of villagers asked to perform the Annakuta ceremony in turn, and thus day after day the villagers brought rice, dahl, wheat products, vegetables, clarified butter, milk, sweetmeats, flowers and various other offerings for the Deity. The brahmanas again and again cooked and offered foodstuffs to Gopala and distributed prasada to all.

Gopala Himself, being the Personality of Godhead, is the natural center of gravity for all people—namely, brahmanas (intellectuals), ksatriyas (administrators), vaisyas (agriculturalists) and sudras (laborers). According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, the brahmanas constitute the face of the Deity, the ksatriyas His arms, the vaisyas His thighs and the sudras His legs. None is less dignified in terms of the transcendental service he offers as a limb of the transcendental body of Gopala. When, however, the brahmanas, ksatriyas and other occupational communities forget their relationship with the loving service of Gopala, they become degraded. By forgetting the service of Gopala one forgets his constitutional position and is thus deluded by maya (the illusory energy). Covered by such maya, one tries to enjoy material nature on one’s own account, which one cannot do, instead of serving Gopala by the grace of spiritual nature. This causes a struggle for false supremacy among the various classes or castes, bringing about the destruction of everything that they try to enjoy.

The true realization of a peaceful society is possible through cooperation of all classes or castes, centered around the transcendental service of Gopala. The villagers of Govardhana and other neighboring towns, acting under the guidance of Madhavendra Puri with Gopala as the Lord of all, offer an ideal example of how to live in a spiritual society that can bring about real peace and prosperity. In such a society there is direct communion with God, for its members realize that everything is for God and that God is for everyone, irrespective of caste, creed or color. In such a perfect society, Gopala is the center of all.

The holy place of Gopala thus became well known to everyone, and whoever came there offered as much as he could afford. Rich men offered costly clothing and many valuable gold and silver ornaments, and one rich ksatriya who came there built a big temple for Gopala. Some of the villagers constructed boundary walls, and others erected a cooking house. Each one of the inhabitants of Vraja gave one cow to Gopala, and in that way about 10,000 cows were collected for His service. The four occupational orders of society thus contributed their skills for the service of Gopala. Two renounced brahmanas who came from Bengal were carefully provided for at the temple. These two brahmanas, who became disciples of Madhavendra Puri, were entrusted with the daily worship of the Deity.

Two years passed peacefully in this way, but one night Puri Maharaja again dreamed that Gopala was speaking to him. Gopala said to Madhavendra Puri that His body was suffering from heat that would not subside. He could be relieved only if the paste of sandalwood grown in Malaya could be applied all over His body. Gopala thus ordered Puri Maharaja to go to Nilacala (Puri), where Malayan sandalwood was available. He ordered Purr Maharaja to take responsibility for this personally, since it was not possible for others to execute the task. Madhavendra Puri was greatly pleased to receive this order from Gopala, and thus he arranged to start for the East. He thereafter left for Bengal, where he met Advaitacarya at Santipura and there initiated him.

On his way to Puri he came to Remuna, where he worshiped the Deity Gopinathaji. He asked the attendant brahmana priests what foodstuffs were offered to the Deity, and he was greatly pleased to see the opulent arrangements there. He asked about the foodstuffs because he thought that he might make the same offering to his Gopala at Govardhana, and the brahmanas informed him of a kind of condensed milk named amrtakeli that was daily offered to the Deity in the evening. The milk was offered in twelve earthen pots, and its taste was unknown in the world.

Puri Gosvami desired to have a taste of that condensed milk so that he could prepare a similar offering for his Gopala. But he at once became ashamed, remembering Visnu, for he thought it an offense to desire to taste food that was yet to be offered to the Deity. Thus after attending the aratrika of the Deity, he left the temple without anyone’s knowledge.

Puri Maharaja never asked anyone for food, and if no one offered him any, he always fasted. This was his vow. Yet he never felt hungry or exhausted, for he always fully tasted nectar by remembering his Lord. Coming out of the temple, he sat down underneath a tree in the village marketplace, and in the meantime the Deity at the temple was duly put to bed.

After finishing their respective duties, the servitor priests also went to bed, but in a dream one of them saw Gopinatha come before him and ask him to wake up. The Deity ordered the priest to open the door of the temple and search for a pot of condensed milk that He had hidden under His clothing. Gopinathaji asked the priest to find this pot of condensed milk, for He had kept it aside for Madhavendra Puri, who was sitting in the marketplace underneath a tree.

The priest at once woke up, arose from his bed and, thinking of his dream, bathed, opened the temple door and entered the temple. He then saw the pot of condensed milk exactly in the place pointed out by Gopinathaji in his dream. He therefore took it and went to the marketplace, where he then called out, “Madhavendra Puri! Madhavendra Puri! You are the most fortunate. Gopinathaji has stolen this pot of condensed milk for you! Please come and take it.”

At this, Puri Maharaja came before the priest and introduced himself. The priest then gave him the pot, after telling the circumstances under which Gopinathaji had stolen it and kept it for him. Puri Maharaja at once fell into a trance, and the priest, observing his transcendental condition, was struck with wonder, for he was convinced that Godhead was elated with Madhavendra Puri.

After this incident, Puri Maharaja at once decided to leave Remuna, thinking of how people would crowd around him when they came to know of the story in the morning, for he was very much reluctant to be flattered by others for his reputation as a perfect devotee. We know that all conditioned souls are envious of one another. Anyone who becomes famous for an act of goodness is sure to be envied by his fellow men. Indeed, a really reputable man is more likely to be mistreated than praised, although our envious human society sometimes justly approves of one who out of sheer humility does not desire to be recognized. Devotees or Vaisnavas like Srila Madhavendra Puri are never anxious for direct recognition by people in general nor even for such indirect recognition. They are not even anxious to be recognized by God Himself. Puri Maharaja therefore tried to escape from such recognition, although in fact he was actually credited with the highest recognition because he justly deserved it. Others should not, however, falsely imitate his humble behavior to try to get indirect recognition from others.

The Deity had kept the milk for Madhavendra Puri.

The Deity had kept the milk for Madhavendra Puri.

Before departing Remuna, Madhavendra Puri made his respectful obeisances to Gopinathaji. Then he left for Puri and in course of time arrived there by foot. He saw the Deity of Jagannathaji, and in his ecstasy he danced, laughed and sang, and he actually fell down in transcendental happiness at seeing Jagannathaji. People all over Puri came to know about the arrival of Srila Madhavendra Puri, and they came to see him with all veneration. The nature of fame is such that it cannot be checked from its natural diffusion; it overcomes even one who does not want it. Srila Madhavendra Puri wanted to escape fame at Remuna, but as soon as he reached Puri it caught him Fame for devotion to God cannot, therefore, be restrained; it goes its own way unhindered and without extraneous endeavor. Although Madhavendra Puri did not like this atmosphere of fame, he was nevertheless obliged to remain in Puri because he was duty-bound to collect sandalwood for Sri Gopala. He therefore expressed his mission and disclosed the story of Gopala at Govardhana.

The servitor priests of Jagannathaji were all very glad to learn this news of Gopala’s wanting the sandalwood, and they tried their best to collect it for Him. Those among them who were in touch with the authorities of the city influenced the king’s officers to help in this matter, and thus the required sandalwood, with an equal quantity of camphor, was collected for Gopala. They arranged for a brahmana manservant to accompany Madhavendra Puri to carry this sandalwood and camphor, and they also secured the necessary permits from the king’s court to free him from delays by customs officials and similar impediments.

Madhavendra Puri then started for Govardhana, and on his way he once again reached Remuna, the town of Gopinathaji, who had stolen the condensed milk for him. He offered his respectful obeisances at the feet of Gopinathaji and danced before the Deity in his characteristic trancelike state.

The priests of Gopinathaji were very glad to see Madhavendra Puri among them, and they gave him more prasada of condensed milk. He slept there that night, and while he was dreaming, Gopala informed him that He had already accepted the sandalwood and camphor collected for Him. Madhavendra Puri should therefore rub the sandalwood and camphor into a paste and smear it on the body of Gopinathaji, who was nondifferent from Him (Gopala). When this was done, His (Gopala’s) fever would automatically go away. Gopala assured Puri Maharaja that he need not hesitate; he could perform this act with firm faith.

When Madhavendra Puri woke up, he informed the priests of his dream, and they were all very glad that the cooling paste of sandalwood that Puri Maharaja had brought would be smeared on the body of Gopinathaji in that hot summer season. Puri Maharaja engaged the men who had come with him from Puri, along with two other local assistants, to grind the sandalwood into a paste, which was smeared daily on the body of Gopinathaji. Madhavendra Puri remained at Remuna until the sandalwood was all used.

Lord Caitanya narrated this lengthy story of Madhavendra Puri before His companions in order to teach us that factual service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the mode of transcendental separation. He gave the example of the transcendental activities of Srila Madhavendra Puri because he is the original authority in the line of spiritual preceptorial succession. Those who devote themselves to the transcendental loving service of Godhead must learn from the activities of Srila Madhavendra Puri. He renounced the world so completely that he would not even accept a companion lest he be engaged in worldly topics, and yet he traveled thousands of miles from Govardhana to collect sandalwood to carry out the order of Gopala.

Sri Madhavendra Puri set this example to establish the truth that taking leave of worldly activities is the negative side of sannyasa (renunciation), but the positive side is engaging oneself fully in the service of the Absolute Whole. Srila Madhavendra took a vow not to ask for even a morsel of food for his own self, but nevertheless he accepted the responsibility for carrying sandalwood of a considerable weight from a far distant place in the days when such transportation was nearly impossible. He had not even a penny, and yet he was enthusiastic to take on this hard task only for the sake of Gopala. This is an example of real sannyasa. A sannyasi should not do anything or eat anything for his own sense gratification, but he must do everything for the satisfaction of the senses of Godhead and eat everything necessary to serve Him. Mayavadis try to deprive the Absolute Truth of personal senses, and they identify themselves with the impersonal Absolute. The Absolute therefore remains a dumb void for them, for He has no desire to accept service from such Mayavadis. Actually the Mayavadis gratify their own senses by maneuvering in worldly activities in the name of a senseless God, and thus they perpetually remain within the orbit of the material world, for they are entrapped by the last snare of maya, which is known as liberation. A Vaisnava sannyasi, however, is actually liberated from the very beginning of his loving transcendental service to the Absolute because he always carries out the orders of the sentient Absolute. Although such activities appear to be ordinary worldly functions, they are in fact beyond the bondage of maya because they are directed by Godhead Himself. A Vaisnava sannyasi is not ostentatious, and therefore he does not need to change his garments simply to show that he is in the renounced order of life, but he remains a factual sannyasi because he strictly follows the principles of Vedanta. A Vaisnava sannyasi is not concerned with any amount of worldly recognition, but, like Srila Madhavendra, he can risk everything for the service of Godhead.

Lord Caitanya then repeated a verse spoken by Madhavendra Puri at the time of his departure from this world: “O my Lord, my heart is mortified for want of Your presence. Tell me, my Lord, how I can see You? Be kind upon me, considering me the poorest of all Your devotees.”

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Repeating this verse, Lord Caitanya became unconscious, and He fell to the floor in a trance. Lord Nityananda picked Him up and placed Him on His lap. The Lord then woke up, crying in separation from His beloved Sri Krsna, and He began to chant repeatedly, “O my Lord, O my Lord!” Thus the door of Lord Caitanya’s love of Krsna was opened, and all the priests of Gopinathaji were fortunate enough to view this transcendental ecstasy of Lord Caitanya. Many people then assembled there, and in order to avoid a commotion in their midst, the Lord restrained Himself. Just at that moment the aratrika of Gopinathaji ensued, and when the Deity was put to bed, the prasada of condensed milk was offered to Lord Caitanya. The Lord was pleased at the sight of the pots of condensed milk, but He accepted only five of them, enough for His devotees. The remaining seven pots were returned to the priests. Thus the Lord spent that night at the temple of Gopinathaji, and early in the next morning He started again for Puri.

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