Mercy on Prakashanand

The anecdote of Prakashanand Saraswatipada and Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the very inspiration of Srila Gurudeva’s mood. Srila Gurudeva feels that the example that the Kaliyuga Avatar set during the course of this Leela should be the mood of every Acarya in our Parampara. Srila Gurudeva says that unless the Acarya accepts this mood of Sriman Mahaprabhu real kripa cannot reach the hearts of the bound living entities.

mahaprabhu-prakasanandaThe setting for this incident was at Kashi where Sriman Mahaprabhu was the guest of Tapan Mishra who was the biological father of Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami , one of the six Goswamis of Vrindavana. This was the time when Prakashanand Saraswatipada was renowned as the head of the Mayavada sect in Kashi and was hailed as a scholar of the Vedic scriptures. The Saraswatipada was the uncrowned king of Vedic ethos during those days and was considered as Lion in the field Vedic debate. However the Saraswatipada had developed unpleasant views about Sriman Mahaprabhu. There were such opinions about the Lord that He was sentimental and that he did not follow the scriptures properly; that He would burst into Sankirtana even though the Vedic scriptures do not speak about them and so on. Such a mood of the Lord was severely criticized by the Saraswatipada. Hence he did not hold the Lord with respectful consideration. Sriman Mahaprabhu is the in-dwelling Paramatma in every living entity and hence He was perfectly aware of the Saraswatipada’s antagonist views about Him. However it was Tapan Mishra who pleaded with the Lord to deliver Prakashanand Saraswatipada. The Lord wanted to fulfil the earnest desire of His devotee Tapan Mishra.

Every evening the Lord in the company of Tapan Mishra became an audience to the Vedic expositions of the Saraswatipada. However the Lord would place himself every day exactly at the place where the audience members washed their feet before entering the auditorium. The Lord would sit at that place and hear the lectures with rapt attention. In many ways the Saraswatipada would hurl insults at Sriman Mahaprabhu indirectly in the form of philosophy. The Lord would simply continue listening to the lectures sitting every day at the very same foot-wash place. As the days progressed the Saraswatipada felt guilt building up in his heart and would condescendingly invite Sriman Mahaprabhu to take His seat inside the auditorium. However Sriman Mahaprabhu continued to stay at the very place and continued to silently listen to the lectures. Few days passed and on one such day the Saraswatipada personally held Mahaprabhu by the hands prior to the commencement of his lecture and got Him inside requesting him with a little disdain to obey his orders. A few more days passed and Sriman Mahaprabhu now would seat Himself inside the auditorium as was “ordered” to Him by the Saraswatipada. All this happened in the presence of His dear devotee Tapan Mishra. One such day on their return home from the lecture, Tapan Mishra spoke to the Lord with hurt and anguish to the Lord. He said “Oh Lord I am aware that You are the epitome of unlimited patience and resilience and never take offense. Yet I am a mere mortal and your devotee. I am ill-equipped with great qualities. I cannot withstand the insults that the Saraswatipada hurls at you. For the sake of my well-being kindly show mercy on the Saraswatipada; I pray for His redemption from material nature!” So saying Tapan Mishra fell flat at the feet of the Lord. Sriman Mahaprabhu simply smiled and raised Tapan Mishra back to his feet. The next day the same routine followed and it was time for the routine Aarti (Vedic offering) to Lord Visvanath (Lord Shiva). The Lord got up suddenly and started dancing in front of the altar amongst the audience was chanting Vedic mantras. Prakashanand Saraswatipada was watching the Lord. The Lord thumped his foot on the ground as He danced with divine grace and moved His hands with unparalleled finesse that had the audience spell-bound. The Lord was in divine ecstasy as He danced in front of His greatest devotee, Lord Shiva. The thumping of His feet felt like a hammer of boulders on the heart of the Saraswatipada. The Saraswatipada felt a surge of emotions as he watched the Lord with remorse in his heart. After a few minutes the Saraswatipada could not control his emotions ; he suddenly got up to the amazement of the on-lookers and danced with the Lord. He did a thing that he would never imagine in his wildest of dreams. Both the Lord and Saraswatipada held hands and glided in ecstasy as the Aarti of Lord Shiva proceeded.

When the Aarti ended the Saraswatipada fell flat on the ground as he now prostrated the Lord of his heart Sriman Mahaprabhu. The Supreme Lord held the shoulders of Prakashanand by his shoulders and said “Utho Prabodhananda” (Rise oh enlightened one) and embraced him tightly. From that day on Prakashanand was lovingly called Prabodhananda Saraswatipada. Prabodhananda had cast away his image of a Mayavadi and had become a “pure devotee”.

It is this Prabodhananda Saraswatipada who accepted Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the Lord of his heart. While at Vrindavana he composed the greatest literatures of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Some of his immortal works are Chaitanya Chandamrita, Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi and Vrindavana Mahimamrita. All glories to Srila Prabodhananda Saraswatipada.

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