Gopala Bhatta and Nadia Nagara

When Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was on His South India travel as parivrajakacarya He stayed at Sri Venkata Bhatta’s house for chaturmasya (holy 4 months of the Vaishnavas). Venkata Bhatta and his brother Trimalla Bhatta were the head-priests of the temple at Srirangam. It is during this time that Gopala Bhatta (Gopala Bhatta Goswami of Vrindavana), the ten year old son of Venkata Bhatta met Sriman Mahaprabhu.

Everyday Sriman Mahaprabhu would bathe in Cauvery and dance in front of the Sri Vigraha at Srirangam temple. He would perform unabated Kirtanam and display the highest ecstatic moods as He served Himself in the form of Lord Ranganatha. During that period Gopala remained with the Lord and served Him with utmost dedication and surrender. Gopala would also spend time with the personal assistant of Sriman Mahaprabhu, Krishnadasa. Krishnadasa would recount Sriman Mahaprabhu’s pranks of His boyhood days to Gopala. Gopala would stay riveted to his seat and as he heard with undulating attention Hari Katha in the form of the Sriman Mahaprabhu’s boyhood pastimes. The Nadia-Leela of the Lord represented the Lord’s mood of Nadia Nagara, the Lord of the women folk of Nadia when the women folk would do anything to get a glimpse of the Lord of Nadia, the Nadia Nagara, Lord Gauranga. This Leela is the same Krishna Pauganda Leela that was demonstrated by the Lord at Vraja five thousand years ago with the Braja Gopis.

Gopala remonstrated the Creator Lord Brahma after hearing the Leela. He would say “Oh Brahma how unfortunate I am that I am deprived of that vision of Nadia Nagara. You did not give me an opportunity to see the Nadia-Nagar vesa,naraharigaurgadadhar1_450x572 the form of Lord Gauranga with long, curly, flowing hair beautifully bedecked with forest flowers. Why have you injured me with a spear thus, with this vesa of my Lord divested of those hairs? Oh Brahma why have you presented me with the vision of Lord Vrajendra nandana, the life and soul of Srimati Radhika in the garb of a renunciant; a sanyasi?” Thus retiring to a dark corner of a room Gopala would sob uncontrollably for hours, tears incessantly flowing and wetting the ground.

The Omniscient Lord knew the heart of His dearest devotee Gopala Bhatta. As Gopala fell asleep, sobbing, he witnessed a dream. In that dream he saw the Nadia-Leela and Nadia Nagara, Lord Gauranga jesting with His associates. As soon as his sleep broke, he rushed to see Mahaprabhu, seated chanting in the veranda. Gopala Bhatta’s serendipity knew no bounds when he saw the Lord in the form of the Cowherd Krishna. As he rubbed his eyes, he saw the Lord transforming from Vrajendra nandana to the Golden Gauranga. The lustrous eyes of Gauranga crushed the pride of millions of moons. Gopala Bhatta fell prostrated at the feet of the Lord crying uncontrollably. Sriman Mahaprabhu consoled little Gopala saying “You should not lose heart. You are my eternal associate. You will be freed from worldly bondage soon. Serve your parents with dedication. After them, you should retire to Vrindavana where you shall meet Rupa and Sanatana. You shall make a lot of disciples and they will preach my doctrine of love to the entire world.” So saying the all-benevolent Lord took Gopala Bhatta into His tight embrace.

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