Sri Gopesvara Gosvami Prabhu and Srimati Pisima's Gaura-Nitai
Nectar about Srila Murari Gupta's Gaura Nitai deities
- Part 2
Translated by Mukunda Datta das
Submitted by Krpa Moya Gauranga Das
During Pisima's presence, everyone was afraid of inciting her wrath. Everything had to go according to her desire. If anything at all went against her wishes, she would become enraged, and no shortcoming could withstand the face of her display of anger.
Ten lamps used to be lit above the temple doorway. On the Kojgara-purnima day, Gaura-Nitai used to enjoy Themselves on the veranda. One day it was Kojgara-purnima. After the evening arati, Gopesvara Prabhu had gone out somewhere, extinguishing the ten lamps, since their oil was expensive. That day, Gaura-Nitai were not even taken out onto the veranda. In the temple, only one flame was burning, in a large brass ghee lamp. Pisima was seated on the veranda chanting Hare Krsna. All at once there was a loud sound. The temple was then engulfed in darkness. Gaura had lifted up the lamp and thrown it into a corner of the mandira. It took no time for Pisima to understand the anger of Gaura. Upon Gopesvara's return, she said, "Gopesvara! You didn't take Gaura-Nitai out on the veranda today. You also put out the ten lamps. Just see-for this reason Gaura in His anger threw His lamp and sits in the darkness. Why do you act like this?"
Pisima's order to Gopesvara Gosvami was not to give prasada to anyone before having taken their donation. One day, someone placed two annas before the Deity and requested prasada. Gopesvara Gosvami neglected Pisima's order, or perhaps he didn't notice the donation, but he gave prasada to that person. This time too, Pisima was sitting on the veranda chanting japa. She saw that a candana-grinding stone came barreling out from within the mandira, as if someone had very forcefully thrown it. Dashing and knocking against the sides of the veranda, it went into an adjoining room and struck a large pot filled with grains of rice. The pot was shattered, the rice scattered. Calling Gopesvara prabhu, Pisima said, "See Gaura's two-anna's worth of anger? He broke my big pot and scattered all the rice. Why do you do things that make Him so angry?" After this incident, Gopesvara prabhu began to be more careful in Gaura-Nitai's seva.
Once, after the disappearance of Gosvamini Pisima, Gopesvara Prabhu became dreadfully ill with smallpox and was bedridden for a month. He eventually lost the power to speak, and then even fell into a coma. It seemed as if he would die, but even in that condition he was able to render service to Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, internally. Late one night he saw that a fearsome raksasi was trying to take him away, but just at that time Pisima Gosvamini and Gaura-Nitai came to his bedside and the rakasasi disappeared. The greatly merciful Nitai stroked Gopesvara's limbs with His transcendental hand and said, "Dada, if you remain so listless, who will give us anything to eat? Get up! We're very hungry." Shortly thereafter, Gopesvara Prabhu regained consciousness and coughed up a great deal of phlegm. Sitting up in bed, it then seemed that there was no more disease in his body.
Srila Gopesvara prabhu was a brahmacari from his childhood. He always used to tour holy places before coming to the service of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. It was against his nature to be bound to one place. Therefore, he initially hadn't wanted to accept the service of Gaura-Nitai. But, being helpless, in the face of Pisima's strong insistence, as well as Gaura-Nitai's desire, he had to accept the seva. He would personally do all of the cooking, offer all of the bhogas, all of the aratis, all of the sringaras, sing the kirtanas, even up to scrubbing the Thakuraji's pots, and all the other services as well. Sometimes, becoming fatigued after this work, he would even abusively swear at Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai.
Some time after Pisima's disappearance, one day Gopesvara Prabhu considered, "What is the gain from all of this seva that I have done? So many days I have spent doing puja, but nothing has happened. If I go to do bhajana in seclusion, something would happen." Thinking in this way, he entrusted the seva to another person and went to Kusuma Sarovara with the intent of doing his own bhajana. At midnight on the third day, while doing his bhajana seated beneath a bakula tree on the bank of the sarovara, he saw a transcendental vision-it seemed as if Nitai and Gaura were coming to him. Arriving there, They stood before him and said, "Dada! (Uncle) Today, for three days we haven't had any food or water-chalo!"
Clearly Gopesvara Prabhu's bhajana was finished. So he left. One mahatma at Govardhana saw him on the way, and said, "Are, Gopesvara! Now you've come-last night in a dream Nitai-Gaura said to me that They haven't eaten anything in three days! Listen, bhai, go to Vrndavana-do Their seva and make Them happy." Gopesvara Prabhu thought,"Accha, now these Two are going all over the place slandering me!" His mind filling with indignation, he said to the mahatma, "I will not go to Vrndavana; I'll do bhajana right here!" The mahatma told him to take prasada and get a little rest. A little later, when his anger had subsided, he was contrite and agreed to go to Vrndavana. As he arrived in the village of Datiya, it was dusk, and it began to rain very hard. With the intention of waiting out the evening there, he stayed in the house of a Vrajavasi.
Meanwhile, in Vrndavana, Gaura-Nitai were anxiously awaiting his arrival. Each and every second was a great burden for Them. As soon as it was morning, one tanga-wala, (horse cart man) who had been searching everywhere for Gopesvara Gosvami, arrived at the house of the Vrajavasi. He said, "Where is Gopesvara Gosvami? I'm here to take him to Vrndavana. I was ordered to do so in a dream." Climbing onto the tanga, Gopesvara Prabhu went to Vrndavana. As soon as he arrived in the doorway of the temple, he perceived a terrible odor. He asked the pujari, "What's this smell?" The pujari answered, "I don't know; for three days I haven't even been able to go into the temple on account of the stench." Gopesvara Prabhu went into the temple and, investigating every direction, saw that a rat had died on top of the Deities' mosquito net. He then cleansed the temple and, washing and wiping everything, he started the seva again.
Gopesvara Gosvami was a staunch devotee of Lord Caitanya, but he aspired to worship the Lord in sakhya-rasa. During the time of Pisima Gosvamini, Nitai-Gaura had the forms of children, in accordance with her maternal devotion (vatsalya-rasa). The core of his heart wasn't fully satisfied in the service of Bala-Gaura and Bala-Nitai. As soon as Gopesvara Gosvami Prabhu assumed the seva, an extraordinary thing happened. According to some, Gopesvara Gosvami had incessantly prayed to Nitai-Gaura, and as a result of his supplications, They gradually began to grow, such that within a few years, They assumed Their present form, as full-fledged youths. But others say that when Gopesvara once told Pisima that he wouldn't be able to worship such small Deities with complete love, she then went to the temple with him, and, lifting both brother's chins, raised Them up to Their current dimensions. Whatever happened, those who had seen Them in both conditions attested that the two Deities were previously smaller.