Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

The Chariot Festival is performed every year in Jagannatha Puri, a very beautiful place near the shore of the Indian Ocean. I have explained that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself made the Gundica Temple neat and clean on the previous day, using His own garments, and after that Jagannatha went there. I have also related two histories explaining how Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Baladeva Prabhu manifested their forms.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought new meaning and light to the Ratha-yatra Festival, but only a very few, rare souls will understand these topics, even if they are explained completely. Yet, one day you will have to understand the truths within these topics.

You can all come with me to the shore of the ocean at Nilacala, to the Bay of Bengal at Puri, where more than four million devo¬tees have assembled. These devotees are pulling the chariots and shouting, "Jagannatha-deva ki jaya, Baladeva Prabhu ki jaya, Sri Subhadra-devi ki jaya, Sacinandana Gaurahari ki jaya," and Caitanya Mahaprabhu is dancing here and there.

Sometimes the chariot does not reach the Gundica Temple even after an entire day; it may take two or three days. Sometimes it will not even move an inch, although crowds of devotees try to pull it. The devotees want to pull it, but it cannot move unless Jagannatha desires. When He wants it to move, it does so very quickly and easily.

Mahaprabhu refuses the King

At the time of Mahaprabhu, Prataparudra Maharaja was the King of Orissa. Although he was the supreme ruler of that king¬dom and a very powerful emperor, he served Jagannatha by sweeping. He used an ordinary broom made from the sticks of a coconut tree, with a golden handle, and he himself swept during the procession. Mahaprabhu became very happy to see him working and serving like an ordinary sweeper, and He wanted to meet him. There was a wall between Mahaprabhu and King Prataparudra, however, and that wall was the word "king." This is a very dangerous word, because "king" generally refers to one who has great opulence and wealth, and who is full of material desires.

Mahaprabhu wanted to be merciful to King Prataparudra, but that wall was there, and it could only be dissolved by love and affection. There would be no other process. Although the King was a very high-class devotee, he was still a king. He had a king¬dom, a very beautiful wife and children, and he possessed great wealth and power. A very dangerous, poisonous snake is still a snake, even if its poison has somehow been taken out and its fangs removed; if anyone comes close to it, it will hiss and attack. It was for this reason that, prior to the festival, Caitanya Mahaprabhu had refused to meet King Prataparudra, although he was an advanced devotee.

At that time, when the King heard that Mahaprabhu had refused to meet him, he said, "Caitanya Mahaprabhu has prom¬ised to liberate the entire world and give everyone krsna-prema. I am the only exception. If He is determined not to see me, then I am determined to give up my life. If I do not see Him, if He does not give me His mercy, I will give up my kingdom, my wife, chil¬dren, and everything else. I do not need my wealth, reputation, or position anymore. I will give them all up."

Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya pacified the King by saying, "Don't do anything in a hurry – wait. The right time will come and you will be able to serve Him. There is one means by which you can see Him directly. On the day of the Chariot Festival, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will dance before the deity in great ecstatic love. After dancing before Jagannatha, He will enter the Gundica garden, absorbed in a deep mood. At that time you can go there alone, without your royal dress, and you can approach Him as a mendicant – a street beggar. You can recite Gopi-gita and the other chapters of Srimad-Bhagavatam concerning Lord Krsna's dancing with the gopis, and in this way you will be able to catch hold of the Lord's lotus feet."

Mahaprabhu's dancing

Jagannatha-deva, Baladeva Prabhu, and Subhadra were riding on very large, newly built chariots. Baladeva's chariot was in front, followed by Subhadra's chariot, and Krsna's chariot came last. As the chariot stood still, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gathered all His devotees, and with His own hand decorated them with flower garlands and tilaka made with sandalwood pulp. He then divided all His close associates into four kirtana parties. Each party had eight chanters, and He gave two mrdangas to each party and ordered them to begin kirtana. Sri Nityananda Prabhu danced in one party, Advaita Acarya danced in the second, Haridasa Thakura in the third, and Vakresvara Pandita danced beautifully in the fourth. All of them were very good dancers, and they could all dance throughout the entire day and night. Svarupa Damodara, Srivasa Pandita, Mukunda, and Govinda Ghosa were the main singers in each of the four respective groups.

Mahaprabhu then created three more parties. One was made up of Bengali householder devotees from the village of Kulina¬grama, the second party came from Santipura, and the third party was from Srikhanda. Thus, four parties chanted and danced in front of Jagannatha-deva, one more party on each side of Him, and another party behind Him. In this way there were seven par¬ties, and each party was followed by thousands and thousands of devotees.

After dividing the devotees into kirtana parties, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to dance, sometimes in all the parties at the same time. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is one, but He manifested seven forms, and He thus began to dance and sing in each kirtana party at the same time. Tears shot from His eyes as if from a syringe, and He danced very quickly, as Krsna had danced in His lila. At that time King Prataparudra saw Him in the form of Krsna and thought, "Oh, He is Krsna Himself!"

Although Mahaprabhu was in seven groups at one and the same time, the devotees in each group were thinking, "Mahaprabhu is only with us," and they sang and danced very happily. This incident was like the pastime that took place when Krsna was taking His meal with His sakhas at Bhandiravata, when there were many thousands of circles of sakhas. Some of the cowherd boys were behind Krsna, some were by His side, and some were very far away; yet all of them thought, "I'm in front of Krsna. I'm taking prasada with Him, I'm putting my prasada in His mouth and He is putting His in mine." All of them – whether they were behind Krsna, in front of Him, beside Him, or anywhere here and there – were thinking that Krsna was always with them. Similarly, at the time of rasa-lila, Krsna appeared to be thousands and thousands of Krsnas, as many Krsnas as there were gopis, and there was one Krsna with each gopi. There was one Krsna in between each pair of gopis, and one gopi in between each pair of Krsnas. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu now performed the same miracle.

Except for three people – Prataparudra Maharaja, Kasi Misra, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya – everyone saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu only in their own group. By Mahaprabhu's mercy, the King saw that He was dancing in the seven kirtana parties at the same time. His tears were falling in showers, and sometimes He fell down and rolled on the earth and the devotees lifted Him up. The King asked the others, "What am I seeing? Am I wrong? No, I see Him. He is here, and He is there at the same time. He is dancing in all seven parties." Kasi Misra and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya replied, "You are very fortunate. You have received Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy. Only a select few people are seeing this scene as you are."

Just to prevent the crowds from coming too near the Lord, the devotees formed three circles, keeping Mahaprabhu in the middle. Nityananda Prabhu led the first circle; devotees headed by Kasisvara and Govinda linked hands and formed a second circle; and a third circle was formed around the two inner circles by King Prataparudra and his personal assistants, as well as by his police and soldiers. Prataparudra's general, Haricandana, was with the King, wearing many medals and guarding him very care¬fully as hundreds of thousands of people watched Mahaprabhu dance. So he could see Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu dancing, King Prataparudra lifted himself by putting his hands on Haricandana's shoulders, and he felt great ecstasy.

Srivasa Pandita, who is Narada Rsi in krsna-lila, also wanted to watch Mahaprabhu's beautiful dance. The King was standing behind Srivasa Thakura, and he wanted to see Mahaprabhu with¬out interference; but as Srivasa Pandita was absorbed in watch¬ing Mahaprabhu, he was moving from side to side in such a way that the King could not see properly. The King's general warned Srivasa Thakura, "Don't do that. The King wants to see. Stay here on one side." Srivasa Pandita was so absorbed that he did not take any notice of the warning at first; but after Haricandana had told him twice, Srivasa Pandita became angry and slapped him.

The commander-in-chief was very tall, strong, and stout, and he wanted to retaliate by arresting Srivasa Pandita. All the guards also became angry and they wanted to arrest him as well, but King Prataparudra immediately told Haricandana, "Don't do anything. These are Caitanya Mahaprabhu's associates, and Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself. You are so fortunate to be slapped by this very elevated devotee. You are very fortunate, so be silent." And the general did as he was told.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu was reciting a sloka while He danced, but no one could understand or explain its meaning – no one, that is, except a boy named Rupa. Mahaprabhu's mood entered Sri Rupa Gosvami's heart, and he thus wrote a similar sloka, which Mahaprabhu later took from the roof of Haridasa Thakura's bhajana-kutira, where Rupa Gosvami was also residing. "How did you know My mood?" Mahaprabhu asked Rupa Gosvami. Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, and all of Mahaprabhu's other associates then glorified Rupa Gosvami, and they told Mahaprabhu, "You have inspired him. How could he have known without Your inspiration? No one can know this without Your mercy." Only someone on the level of Svarupa Damodara could know; no one else.

Mahaprabhu meets the King

King Prataparudra was an exalted devotee, and he wanted to take darsana of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's lotus feet; but Mahaprabhu told His associates, "I cannot give him darsana. He is a king, so he is like a black serpent."

Mahaprabhu has also said that a wooden statue of a lady can attract even a muni: daravi prakrti hareta muner api mana. Munis such as Visvamitra and Narada are renounced and real-ized, but just to set an example for us and to teach us how care¬ful we must be, they both performed pastimes in which they appeared to be under the spell of illusion. We should be very cautious in the association of the opposite sex because men and women are like Kamadeva (Cupid) for one another; they cannot control their senses or hearts when they are together. I therefore request my disciples and friends to be very careful. You are inde¬pendent, but you should always remember these principles.

Mahaprabhu was very strict, so He did not give the King His association, even though the King was a very advanced devotee. Moreover, when Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Raya Ramananda, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya requested Mahaprabhu to see the King, He told them, "I will leave Puri and go to Alalanatha or somewhere else. I will not remain here; you can stay here with him."

Since Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would not agree to see the King, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Raya Ramananda, and other associates told the King, "When your beautiful son went to Mahaprabhu, the Lord embraced him and said, 'Come and meet with Me daily.' In this way, somehow or other you have 'half' taken His darsana, and He has shown His compassion to you. Mahaprabhu is very satisfied and pleased with you, and He has given you so much mercy, especially because you are a very simple person and have engaged in the service of the Lord as a sweeper. So now, if you want to have His darsana directly, dress very simply and go secretly to meet Him when He becomes tired from dancing in seven parties. He will be lamenting continually in Srimati Radhika's mood, and at that time you can approach Him and sing the sweet Gopi-gita."

jayati te 'dhikam janmana vrajah srayata indira sasvad atra hi dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas tvayi dhrtasavas tvam vicinvate

[The gopis said:] O beloved, Your birth in the land of Vraja has made it exceedingly glorious, and thus Indira, the goddess of for¬tune, always resides here. We cannot live without You, and only maintain our lives for Your sake. We have been searching every¬where for You, so please show Yourself to us.

tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham sravana-mangalam srimad atatam bhuvi grnanti te bhuri-da janah

The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those who are suffering in this material world. When these narrations are transmitted by learned sages, they eradicate one's sinful reactions and bestow good fortune upon whoever hears them. They are broadcast all over the world, and they are filled with spiritual power. Certainly those who spread the message of Godhead are most munificent.
Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.31.1, 9)

These verses are some of the most valuable diamonds in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. First comes purva-raga in Venu-gita, then this Gopi-gita, and then Yugala-gita, Bhramara-gita, and Pranaya-gita. These most precious jewels are called panca¬prana-vayu, the five life airs, and our main objective is to enter the deep truths of these gitas. Your life will be successful if you can realize these topics, especially with the commentaries by Sri Sanatana Gosvami and Sri Jiva Gosvami, and above all with that of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, who has explained these slokas in an especially marvelous way. There are more than one thousand commentaries on Srimad-Bhagavatam, but it is the commentaries of our Gosvamis that express the moods of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

As mentioned, Caitanya Mahaprabhu had become pleased and satisfied to see the King sweeping the road. Consequently, by the influence of His yogamaya-sakti, the King was able to see His miracle of dancing in seven groups at the same time. "What am I seeing?" the King had said to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. "This is very wonderful. There is one Caitanya Mahaprabhu dancing in each party." Sarvabhauma replied, "This is His mercy. You swept the road like a street beggar, and now He is pleased with you. Not everyone sees as you do. Others think, 'He is only in our party.' You have already received His mercy, so what else remains? Just dress as a very simple devotee and wait until He takes rest in the garden."

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will also sprinkle His mercy upon you if you give up all your opulence and the conception that you are intelligent and qualified. This will happen if you become like King Prataparudra, whose heart was as hollow as a flute for Caitanya Mahaprabhu to play on, and if you serve your gurudeva and Radha-Krsna in this way. By Mahaprabhu's mercy you can know His opulence, and everything about His love and affection as well.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Ratha-yatra chariot stopped midway between the Jagannatha Temple and Gundica. There were hundreds of thousands of devotees there, offering many coconuts from wherever they stood, and He accepted the essence of their offerings with His eyes. They also offered many sweet and tasty preparations, including jackfruits, mangoes, and other fruits, some from as much as a mile or two away, and He ate those by His glance as well.

jagannathera chota-bada yata bhakta-gana nija nija uttama-bhoga kare samarpana
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.197)

All kinds of devotees of Lord Jagannatha – from neophytes to the most advanced – offered their best cooked food to the Lord.

age pache, dui parsve puspodyana-vane yei yaha paya, lagaya – nahika niyame

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.200)

The devotees offered their food everywhere – in front of the car and behind it, on both sides and within the flower garden. They made their offering to the Lord wherever possible, for there were no hard and fast rules.

bhogera samaya lokera maha bhida haila nrtya chadi' mahaprabhu upavane gela
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.201)

A large crowd of people gathered while the food was being offered, and at that time Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stopped His dancing and went to a nearby garden.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu had been dancing for some time, and now He became somewhat tired.

yata bhakta kirtaniya asiya arame prati-vrksa-tale sabe karena visrame
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.204)

All the devotees who had been performing sankirtana came there and took rest under each and every tree.

Mahaprabhu was thinking, "I am Radhika. Krsna has left Me and gone to Mathura." His eyes were full of tears and He wept, not knowing where He was, or what He was doing. He did not know anything – only, "Krsna, Krsna!" He wanted to take some rest along with Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Svarupa Damodara, Vakresvara Pandita, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Paramananda Puri, and other exalted associates. Accordingly, He went into the Jagannatha-vallabha Garden at Aitota in a mood of great separation, with

His heart melting and tears flowing from His eyes. He laid His head on the root of a tree and cried, "Where is My prananatha? Where is My Krsna?"

The King had been trying to meet Mahaprabhu for many years, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu had given the instruction, "I don't want to meet with a king; he should not come to Me." King Prataparudra had invited Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his palace, but He had refused to come. He never met a king or any other royal person, or anyone who was very wealthy. Beside that, He never touched any woman, even if she was a young girl.

Now Caitanya Mahaprabhu was lying down and weeping, lamenting as Srimati Radhika had done in separation from Krsna.

The King approached Raya Ramananda, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Advaita Acarya, and Nityananda Prabhu. He offered pranama to them all and said, "I am going to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Please bless me." He then took off his royal dress and ornaments, and put on very simple clothes. Wearing only a dhoti and looking like an ordinary person, he approached Mahaprabhu, took His lotus feet in his hands, and began to mas¬sage them very gently and expertly. As he did so, he sang:

jayati te 'dhikam janmana vrajah
srayata indira sasvad atra hi
dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas
tvayi dhrtasavas tvam vicinvate
Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.31.1)

He sang slokas like this in a melody so full of feeling that Caitanya Mahaprabhu wept more and more, and His heart melted still further. He had been unconscious, but now He sat up and cried, "Who is pouring such sweet nectar in My ears? Go on, go on. Keep on giving Me this nectar."

The King continued:

tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham
sravana-mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grnanti te bhuri-da janah
Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.31.9)

Mahaprabhu could not control Himself. He embraced the King and asked, "Who are you? Who are you?" King Prataparudra told Him, "I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Your servant." Mahaprabhu was satisfied and said, "I am a street beggar, a niskiïcana-sannyasi. I have no pockets at all, so I have nothing to give you. I shall therefore give you My embrace, which is My only wealth." Mahaprabhu then embraced the King heart to heart. Both their hearts mixed, and Mahaprabhu trans¬ferred some of His moods to the King's heart, empowering and satisfying him.

All the verses of Gopi-gita have beautiful and esoteric mean¬ings. They are all connected with each other, and a rasika devo¬tee can explain the meaning of each sloka for a month or more. These verses reveal a very pathetic scene. All the gopis are feel¬ing separation and begging, "O Krsna, come and meet with us; otherwise we will die." Janmana vrajah means, "You took birth in Gokula-Vrndavana, in Vraja, and that is why Maha-Laksmi sweeps and serves here, making Vrndavana beautiful. It is the best place for Your sweet pastimes."

There are many hundreds of meanings for the verse beginning with the words tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam, but I will tell you two meanings in brief. The first is general, and the second is somewhat deeper. The gopis tell Krsna: "tava kathamrtam – Your sweet pastimes are the life and soul of those who face great difficulties, sorrows, and sufferings in the endless chain of birth and death in this world. Your pastimes are like nectar for them, and if they hear those pastimes, You Yourself enter their hearts in the form of hari-katha."

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17)

Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses the desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.

Krsna Himself enters the ears and hearts of those who hear these pastimes very carefully. He comes as a dear and intimate friend, and clears away their lust, anger, worldly desires, and problems. He quickly sweeps all these impediments from their hearts, and when He has made those hearts clear, He comes to live there. One who is always unhappy due to being tossed on the ocean of problems will become happy upon hearing hari¬katha.

Pariksit Maharaja was due to die after seven days from the bite of a poisonous snake, and no one in this world was competent to save him. He therefore gave up eating, drinking, and sleeping altogether, and remained on the bank of the Ganga for those seven days, hearing from Sukadeva Gosvami.

nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanad bhavausadhac chrotra-mano-'bhiramat ka uttamasloka-gunanuvadat puman virajyeta vina pasu-ghnat
Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.1.4)

Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple in the parampara system. Such glorification is relished by those who are no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul who is undergoing repeated birth and death. Who, therefore, will refrain from hearing such glorification of the Lord, except for a butcher, or one who is killing his own self?

Sukadeva Gosvami had no worldly desires at all. The hari¬katha spoken by a rasika-tattvajna devotee like him is the greatest medicine for you, for it will cure you of all diseases and problems. Snakebites and other calamities will disappear very quickly, along with lust, anger, and all worldly desires. Do not have any doubt about this.

Tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam. The hari-katha of a self-realized devotee who explains the sweet pastimes of Krsna will pacify you; you will become calm and quiet, and you will have a new life. Tapta-jivanam. When those who are suffering hear these glories, they will become happy forever – in this life, and in all their lives to come. After liberation they will go to Vrndavana, and they will be happy forever. Nityananda Prabhu assures us, "I guarantee this. If you are not happy, then chant and remember Krsna. If you do not feel happy as a result of this, it will be my responsibility."

Kavibhir iditam. Kavis (poets and writers) such as Brahma, Sukadeva Gosvami, Valmiki, and Krsna-dvaipayana Vyasadeva, who is the highest type of kavi, have all said kalmasa-apaham: all kinds of sins and past fruitive karmas will disappear very soon. Sravana-mangalam: all kinds of auspiciousness will come to you if you do nothing but hear hari-katha. Srimad atatam: this will cause the glories of your Sri – your opulence, wealth, beauty, and fortune – to spread all over the world.

One who gives hari-katha purely will be famous throughout the world. For example, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja was not a very popular speaker before he took sannyasa and came to the West. He was very learned, but not many people came to hear him, and his wife and children rejected him. However, a miracle occurred after he took the renounced order and reached America. Within a very short time he established many centers all over the world, and he made hundreds of thousands of devotees. So many people became his servants and disciples that we cannot count them; this was a miracle. And I am also now experiencing something similar to this, although I am like a dry piece of straw.

The greatest donors in this world are those who explain sweet hari-katha under the guidance of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, my gurudeva, and Srila Swami Maharaja. Bhuvi grnanti te bhuri-da janah – they glorify Krsna and thereby benefit the whole world. There are so many benefactors who can donate thousands and thousands of dollars or pounds. A king may give his entire kingdom and a wealthy man may give the opulence and wealth of even the entire world, but still they would not be bhuri-dah. The greatest benefactors are those who describe Krsna's sweet pastimes to others.

This is a general understanding of the tava kathamrtam verse, which clearly glorifies Krsna. Perhaps this is Candravali's mood when she is speaking and praying. Srimati Radhika, on the contrary, is in an angry mood, and She says: "tava kathamrtam – Your katha is not amrtam (nectar); it is poison. What type of poison? Deadly (mrtam) poison. One should certainly avoid drinking this poison; in fact, one should keep very far away from it. If a person merely smells it he will die, and no one will be able to save him. Those who hear Your pastimes must die like flapping fish. First they will flap, and then they will die."

Tapta-jivanam. Gopis like Radhika say, "We are the proof of this. We were perfectly happy in our family life, but then Krsna came and created so many problems, and now we are helpless.

He made us street beggars; we have no place to stay and now we are on the verge of death. Anyone who wants to be happy with his family should never hear Krsna's pastimes.
"Kavibhir iditam. Poets will glorify even a paper horse. They will say, 'It is very strong, and it runs faster than the wind and the mind,' but there is no substance in their words. Similarly, such kavis have said, 'Hearing hari-katha will make you very happy,' but this idea is not true; it is bogus. Krsna cheated us and His hari-katha also cheated us. But now we are intelligent; we don't believe in hearing these pastimes anymore, and we warn every¬one else to never hear them. If a lady hears these pastimes, she will forget her husband and children. She will become like a bird without a nest, and she will weep all the time.

"Those who want to be happy with their families, wives, chil¬dren, and husbands should not hear the glories of that black Krsna. If anyone hears them, he will cut off the relationship with his family. Fathers and sons, and husbands and wives will be separated from each other. Everyone who hears this hari-katha will forget their husbands, wives, children, and everyone else. They will become mad, always calling, 'Krsna! Krsna! Krsna!' We also became mad, and now we roam here and there, always weeping and weeping. So Krsna's glories are like poison.

"Anyone who doesn't want to be like this must not hear Krsna's pastimes, especially from the mouths of cheaters. They will come with a book under their arms and say, 'Come here! Come here! I will relate Krsna's sweet and beautiful pastimes to you, and I won't charge you anything at all. Don't worry about giving a donation. There is no cost. Simply hear.' Such kavis will sing with a beautiful tune like a suka, male parrot. They will charm a person, and then kill him at once with a very sharp knife. They are bhuri-da janah, greatly cutting: they will take away all one's worldly happiness, create trouble for him, and make him like a beggar. So no one should hear from them.

"Those who give hari-katha are very cruel, even if they do it as charity, giving classes on Bhagavatam without taking any money in return. Instead of listening to them, he should simply give them a donation and say, 'Go away from here. We don't want to hear from you, because we will forget our wives, our husbands, and all our relatives. We will lose our wealth and everything else. We will become beggars and weep forever.' Nowadays we are very care¬ful to avoid hearing the glories of Krsna.

"But what can we do?" Radhika and Her associates continue, "We cannot give up chanting about Krsna and remembering Him, and we cannot give up hearing His glories. So what can we do? Those who distribute these glories are like hunters."

There are two ways of saying something: a negative way and a positive way. The negative way has the same meaning as the positive; it only appears to be negative. For example, the gopis once complained to Krsna, "We cannot maintain our lives without You." Krsna replied, "Then why are you still alive? I am separated from you, but I see that you have not died yet." The gopis replied, "Do You know why we are still alive? You and Your friend Brahma, the Creator, are very cruel. You both want to give suffering to others; you become very happy when you see others suffering. How will You be able to make others suffer if we die? Because of You, we are the best candidates for suffering, and You will never find anyone like us. We tolerate so much. To whom will You give this much suffering if we die? How will You be happy? Your cruel creator-friend is also like You, and he also wants to see us suffer. That is why he put our lives in You, and that is why we don't die. Our souls are not here within us. They are in You, and it was Brahma who created us like this. If our souls were with us, we would already have died long ago.

mrgayur iva kapindram vivyadhe lubdha-dharma striyam akrta-virupam s
tri-jitah kama-yanam balim api balim attvavestayad
dhvanksa-vad yas tad alam asita-sakhyair dustyajas tat-katharthah
Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.17)

[The gopis said:] Like a hunter, He cruelly shot the king of the mon¬keys with arrows. He was conquered by a woman, so He disfig¬ured another woman who came to Him with lusty desires. And even after consuming the gifts of Bali Maharaja, He bound him up with ropes as if he were a crow. So let us give up all friendship with this dark-complexioned boy, even if we can't give up talking about Him.

The gopis lament and weep, "Why do we remember You, hear so much about You, and chant Your name? We don't want to have any love and affection for You, but what can we do about it? We cannot do anything. We want to forget You, but Your pas¬times always come into our memory."

The gopis are anupama, incomparable; no one in this world can compare with them. If you hear their pastimes and try to remember them, they will give you so much energy and strength that all your unwanted bad habits (anarthas) will disappear very soon. It is better to forget your jobs and everything else. There will be no harm in that, and Yogamaya will arrange everything for your maintenance. Krsna has given an order to Yogamaya, and I myself will also manage everything for you. Don't worry that you will have to go to work and perform many other duties. I have no job, so who is managing all my affairs? I have thou¬sands and thousands of servants who always help me. They worry about me and think, "I should give something to Maharaja." Who is behind this? It is Krsna Himself. Have strong faith in Krsna. Do not worry about your maintenance. Chant and remember Krsna more and more.

Don't worry and wonder, "Who will look after me? What will become of me after Maharaja leaves this world? This is a very big problem." Actually there is no problem at all. Chant and remem¬ber Krsna. By Krsna's order, Yogamaya will always help you, and Krsna's cakra will always save you from danger; do not be wor¬ried. Keep this valuable jewel – the message of the Festival of the Chariots – in your hearts.

These are not my teachings; they are the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and all the other acaryas. I have brought their message to you as a postman. Take it and be happy. Try to help each other and thus be happy.

At the commencement of the Chariot Festival, Prataparudra Maharaja, the Emperor of Orissa, began sweeping the road. Although he was the King, he wore the dress of a devotee and looked very simple, like a beggar. He swept using a broom with a golden handle and, so that the dust on the road would not rise up, with his own hands he watered the ground with fragrant sub¬stances like rose water. This was the job of a sweeper.

The tradition of the King of Orissa sweeping the road at the beginning of the Ratha-yatra Festival is an old one. Many years before, the previous King, Maharaja Purusottama Jana, had also swept the road every year for Jagannatha-deva. Purusottama Jana was very influential and powerful, but he would take a golden broom in his hand and sweep in front of Jagannatha's chariot, sprinkling the ground with rose water and other aromatic sub¬stances. Like Maharaja Prataparudra, he also dressed himself like a common person, without shoes and without royal dress.

When Purusottama Jana (also known as Purusottama-deva) was about 24 years old, he was very beautiful and strong, and he had an agreement with the King of Vidyanagara in South India that he would marry the King's daughter. He had been commu¬nicating with the King of Vidyanagara through messengers and the King informed him that he would come to meet him in person, but he did not specify when. Later, the King went unan¬nounced to see with his own eyes how beautiful, wealthy, and qualified Purusottama Jana actually was. He went along with his whole family, to see if they would agree with the marriage proposal.

At that time, fortunately or unfortunately, it was the first day of the Chariot Festival, and King Purusottama Jana was dressed as a sweeper, sweeping the road before Jagannatha-deva. Seeing this, the King of Vidyanagara became quite upset and felt some dis¬gust toward him. He appreciated that Purusottama Jana was very youthful and beautiful, but he considered him to be a mere sweeper. He thought, "He is supposed to be so wealthy and qual¬ified, but he is sweeping? I wanted to give my daughter to him, but now I see that he is not qualified. He is sweeping like a street-cleaner. I cannot give my daughter to this sweeper." Thinking like this, he returned home and canceled the marriage.

A few days after the festival was over, Purusottama Jana remembered the agreement and wondered what had happened. He asked his counselors, "That king wanted to give his daughter to me in marriage, but there has been no recent indication at all. Why not?" The counselors informed him, "He saw you sweeping on the day of the Ratha-yatra Festival and thought you were a mere sweeper. He doesn't want to give his daughter to a common sweeper." When Purusottama Jana heard this, he became angry and said, "I must invade his kingdom!" In his mind, he told that king, "You don't know the glory of my Jagannatha-deva!" He collected all his soldiers and generals, declared war on that king, and a ferocious battle took place in the state of that other king.

The King of Vidyanagara worshiped the demigod Ganesa, who was therefore somewhat favorable towards him. Ganesa fought against Purusottama Jana's party and defeated them. Thus, extremely disturbed, they returned to Puri empty-handed. Weeping, Purusottama Jana went to the temple and told Lord Jagannatha, "O Lord, I am your servant. That very mighty King told me, 'You are only a sweeper of Jagannatha,' and he refused to give me his daughter in marriage. Please help me. I was sweeping for You. I thought You would help me at all times, but he defeated me. I'm serving You, and yet You didn't help me. I was defeated because Ganesa helped him. I remembered You, but You did not help me. Now everyone in the world will think, 'Jagannatha has no power, and that is why His devotee has no power. Jagannatha is very weak and insignificant.' This is so shameful; I will die here. I will not eat or drink anything, and I will die here in front of You, in Your temple."

Later that night, King Purusottama Jana had a dream in which Jagannatha-deva told him, "Try again. Last time you went straight to war without calling Me and therefore I did not help you. But now I will help you. March again with all your soldiers and gen¬erals. Don't be afraid, and don't worry. Go and invade that king's territory again. Baladeva and I will go there personally, and somehow you will be aware of this. You will defeat that king, along with Ganesa, and everyone else on his side." Purusottama Jana became very happy and made arrangements to again invade the kingdom. The next day he called for more soldiers and gen-erals, and they started on their way and marched quickly towards Vidyanagara.

Meanwhile, Jagannatha and Baladeva got up on very strong and beautiful horses. Baladeva's horse was white, and Krsna Himself rode a red one. They were both sixteen years of age, one blackish and the other white, and both were very powerful, strong, and beautiful. They wanted Purusottma Jana to have faith that they were going to fight for him, so they went some miles ahead of him. Many miles from Puri, they reached a village near Chilka, Alalanatha, near a very large and beautiful lake. There, Krsna and Baladeva came upon an old village gvalini (milk-lady) carrying a large pot of buttermilk on her head. It was a hot summer day, and Jagannatha and Baladeva said to her, "Mother, can you give us some buttermilk? We are very thirsty."

"Can you pay me?" the gvalini asked them. "I will give you some buttermilk if you pay me." Krsna and Baladeva replied, "We cannot pay you. We are soldiers of the King, and we are on the way to battle. Our King is coming and he will pay you when he reaches here. You can tell him, 'Your two soldiers were going this way. One was blackish and the other white. They were riding on their horses with their swords and other weapons.'" She asked, "How will he be able to recognize that you are his soldiers? How will he know that it is his own soldiers who have taken this buttermilk?" They replied, "We will give you some proof to show the King, and then he will pay you."

The village lady gave them her whole pot of buttermilk, and they drank it all and felt satisfied. Then they gave her their very beautiful rings and told her, "Give these rings to the King and tell him, 'The owners of these rings have gone before you, and they said that you will pay for their buttermilk.'" The boys then went happily onwards.

The milk seller waited and waited, and finally the King arrived there with his entire army of hundreds of thousands of soldiers. When the army arrived, the old lady began to search for him, asking, "Where is the King? Where is the King?" The soldiers told her, "The King is there," and she walked up to him and said, "Your two soldiers have gone ahead. They were both young, beautiful, and very energetic, and they were riding on horses. They drank my entire pot of buttermilk, and they told me, 'Our King will pay.' So you should pay for my buttermilk."

The King told the old lady, "None of my soldiers have gone before us." She replied, "Yes, they have. I've seen them and I've given them my buttermilk." The King told her, "How can I believe they are my soldiers? All my soldiers are with me. No one has gone ahead. We are the first to come." Then he asked her, "Do you have any proof?" "Yes," she said, "I have proof."

The milk-lady showed the two rings to the King, and on the rings he saw the names Jagannatha Simha and Baladeva Simha (Simha means "lion"). He became happy and inspired, and he thought, "These are the two rings I had made by the goldsmith. They are the same rings that I presented to Jagannatha and Baladeva! Jagannatha and Baladeva have done this for me so that I would know they are with me. This time I will surely conquer that King." He then donated some of his kingdom to that old village woman. He offered her a large estate, telling her, "Take this land and nourish many generations of your family with it." That lady's family is living on the same estate to this very day.

Purusottama Jana then invaded his enemy's kingdom and defeated his entire army. He forcibly took away the King's daughter and imprisoned her, and all the King's counselors as well. He also took the King's golden throne, and the deity of Bhanda (cheater) Ganesa. Bhanda Ganesa had been fighting on the side of the King of Vidyanagara, so Krsna and Baladeva captured him and bound him up, saying, "He is Bhanda Ganesa." Ganesa knows well that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the all-in-all, yet he took the wrong side. That is why Krsna and Balarama called him "Cheater Ganesa." Purusottama Jana arrested the King, and then mercifully released him, saying, "I shall not kill you." Then, having conquered Vidyanagara, he took permission of the deity Saksi-gopala, the witness of the young brahmana, and brought that deity to Kataka. He also took the very large and beautiful deities of Radha-kanta, who are still in the Sri Radha-kanta Matha in Jagannatha Puri, where Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to live in the Gambhira. He also took Bhanda Ganesa, bringing all these deities to Puri.

In this regard, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 5.120–4) states:

utkalera raja purusottama-deva nama sei desa jini' nila kariya sangrama

Later there was a fight, and this country was conquered by King Purusottama-deva of Orissa.

sei raja jini' nila tanra simhasana 'manikya-simhasana' nama aneka ratana

That King was victorious over the King of Vidyanagara, and he took possession of his throne, the Manikya simhasana, which was bedecked with many jewels.

purusottama-deva sei bada bhakta arya gopala-carane mage, cala mora rajya'

King Purusottama-deva was a great devotee and was advanced in the civilization of the Aryans. He begged at the lotus feet of Gopala, "Please come to my kingdom."
tanra bhakti-vase gopala tanre ajïa dila gopala la-iya sei katake aila

When the King begged Him to come to his kingdom, Gopala, who was already obliged for his devotional service, accepted his prayer. Thus the King took the Gopala deity and went back to Kataka.

jagannathe ani' dila manikya-simhasana katake gopala-seva karila sthapana

After winning the Manikya throne, King Purusottama-deva took it to Jagannatha Puri and presented it to Lord Jagannatha. In the meantime, he also established regular worship of the Gopala deity at Kataka.

Purusottama Jana also brought the King's daughter to Puri, but he decided, "I will not marry her; I will give her to my sweeper." Later, when he was ready to give her away, all of his ministers, who were very kind, saw her crying and lamenting, "He will give me to a sweeper." They pacified her and also told the King, "Don't worry. At the right time, during the next Chariot Festival, you can give this girl to your sweeper." The next year, when the Chariot Festival took place again, Maharaja Purusottama Jana again swept the road. At that time all his ministers inspired the beautiful princess to go to him and say, "I will marry this very sweeper, not any other." She boldly told him, "You are the sweeper of Jagannatha-deva. I only want to marry His sweeper; I cannot marry any other sweeper." The King's advisers then approached him and said, "Yes, yes, this is very good. We agree with this proposal. You are a sweeper, and this girl will be the wife of a sweeper. Why don't you accept her? You must accept her." The girl began to weep, and the King was bound to accept her as his wife. Purusottama Jana's son became a very beautiful prince, and that prince later became King Prataparudra, the asso¬ciate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

The most merciful Jagannatha is surely patita-pavana, the savior of the fallen, and He is also bhakta-vatsala – He always wants to please His devotees.