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Disappearance of Sri Shivananda Sena



You must always offer Vaishnavas prasada, and then take his food remnants - ‘bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva’. Three things are very important in our spiritual practice:


bhakta-pada-dhūli āra bhakta-pada-jala

bhakta-bhukta-avaśeṣa, — tina mahā-bala


ei tina-sevā haite kṛṣṇa-premā haya

punaḥ punaḥ sarva-śāstre phukāriyā kaya


tāte bāra bāra kahi, — śuna bhakta-gaṇa

viśvāsa kariyā kara e-tina sevana


Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya-lila 16.60)


[The dust of the feet of a devotee, the water that has washed the feet of a devotee, and the remnants of food left by a devotee are three very powerful substances. By rendering service to these three, one attains the supreme goal of ecstatic love for Krishna. In all the revealed scriptures this is loudly declared again and again. Therefore, my dear devotees, please hear from me, for I insist again and again: please keep faith in these three and render service to them without hesitation. ]


Chaitanya-charitamrita says that if you really want to submerge into the divine love of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, you have to first follow three principles. Then, there is no doubt that prema will manifest in your heart. What are these three principles? Bhakta-pada-dhuli - you have to take a sadhu’s food remnants, bhakta-pada-jala - a sadhu’s footbathing water and bhakta-bhukta-avashesha - the footdust of a sadhu. However, these things have to be taken with firm faith. Then, bhakti will manifest in your heart.


For example, our Puranas explain that there was once a very pious king who served many sadhus, rishis. They would come to his courtyard, and he would feed the sadhus and take their remnants. In this way many years passed, where he served sadhus and took their remnants.


Then in Vaikuntha-dhama, Lakshmi-devi told Lord Narayana, “O my husband, Your best devotee is still in the material world. Why don’t You bring him to Our Vaikuntha-dhama? Since he already took a sadhu’s footbathing water remnants, why not just bring him to Vaikuntha?” Lord Narayana replied, “O Lakshmi, now, he is not yet pakka (mature), he is still a little bit kachcha (immature). When he becomes pakka,” meaning perfect, “I will take him to the spiritual world.”


Surprised, Lakshmi-devi asked, “How is this possible? For many years, this king has been servicing santa-mahatmas, and also taking their footbathing water remnants. Why do You think he is kachcha?” Lord Narayana answered, “Okay, I will check if he is perfect or not.”


Thus, Lord Narayana came to his courtyard one day disguised as a leper sadhu. Have you heard about leprosy? It is a skin infection which causes blood and pus to seep from sores. So, this leper sadhu was sitting in the king's courtyard. As normal, the king cooked himself and distributed the prasada to everyone. The leper sadhu very humbly sat in the back corner.


After the king served maha-prasada to all of the sadhus, he asked them, “Please, give me your remnants,” and he then took all their remnants. However, when the king came in front of the leper sadhu, his mind became a little bit disturbed, “How can I possibly accept the remnants of this leper sadhu?” You see, there were particles of blood, pus and skin in the remnants, and the king was maintaining a material conception— It is not so easy to give up one’s material conception.


In Upadeshamrita, Srila Rupa Gosvami says:


dṛṣṭaiḥ svabhāva-janitair vapuṣaś cha doṣair

na prākṛtatvam iha bhakta-janasya paśyet

gaṅgāmbhasāṁ na khalu budbuda-phena-paṅkair

brahma-dravatvam apagachchhati nīra-dharmaiḥ


Upadeshamrita (6)


[Being situated in his original Krishna conscious position, a pure devotee does not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a materialistic point of view. Indeed, one should overlook a devotee’s having a body born in a low family, a body with a bad complexion, a deformed body, or a diseased or infirm body. According to ordinary vision, such imperfections may seem prominent in the body of a pure devotee, but despite such seeming defects, the body of a pure devotee cannot be polluted. It is exactly like the waters of the Ganges, which sometimes during the rainy season are full of bubbles, foam and mud. The Ganges waters do not become polluted. Those who are advanced in spiritual understanding will bathe in the Ganges without considering the condition of the water.]


But this material conception automatically comes. Still, the king had taken a vow, “If any sadhu will come to my courtyard, I will take his remnants.” So, when he came to that leper sadhu, he said, “Oh, give me your remnants please.” Then, the sadhu gave the king his remnants, and the king looked and saw there was blood in his prasada. Could you take this? No, because you are not pakka. Now, you are a kachcha-sadhu. When you become a pakka-sadhu, you will take.


Now, the king was thinking how he could take this prasada. So he went outside, closed the door behind him аnd threw the remnants into a dustbin. When he threw the prasada into the dustbin, a dog came and started licking the remnants. This was the prasada of Lord Narayana, which is no ordinary thing.


The leper sadhu then cursed the king, “Hey, you pretended! You asked me, ‘Give your remnants,’ but you did not take them, instead you threw the remnants into the dustbin. Look, now this dog has taken my remnants. For this, I will give you this curse: In your next life you will have to become a dog!”


Then the king, while weeping, held the lotus feet of the sadhu and pleaded, “Please forgive me. I have committed an offence. Give me your mercy.” Now the sadhu’s heart automatically melted. He replied, “I have already cursed you. You will become a dog. However I, Narayana, will come as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Kali-yuga and will give you My remnants. When you take My remnants, you will be delivered from the material world and will attain My dhama.”


And, in his next life, who is the dog the cursed king became? In Chaitanya-charitamrita Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami explained the story of a Vaishnava named Shivananda Sena who guided groups of pilgrims from Navadvipa to Jagannatha Puri to meet with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One day, a dog joined the group of pilgrims, and Shivananda Sena became very fond of this dog. But, when the time came to cross the river, the boatman did not want to take the dog onboard. So Shivananda Sena paid a large sum of money in order to get him to take the dog across.


The dog stayed with Shivananda Seva and the other Vaishavas for a few days. Shivananda Seva was very busy maintaining and nourishing the pilgrimage, so he called his servant and asked him to take care of the dog and give it prasada. Except one day, Shivananda Sena’s servant forgot to give the dog any prasada.


At night, when Shivananda Sena returned to his tent, he asked, “Where is my dog?’ The servant said, “Oh, today I forgot to offer any food to the dog.” Now Shivananda Sena’s mind was very disturbed. He began searching for the dog everywhere but could not find him. In this way, a few days passed.


Later, when Shivananda Sena and his associates arrived at Jagannatha Puri, he was surprised as the same dog was now sitting at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu! The dog came before the pilgrims to greet them. At the time, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was eating coconut. He gave His remnants to the dog. The dog was now eating the Lord’s narikela, coconut remnants.


After the dog took the remnants of Mahaprabhu’s food, it disappeared and went to Vaikuntha-dhama.


Bolo Vrindavana Bihari Lala ki jaya!


If you have no faith in taking the remnants of a sadhu, his footbathing water or his footdust, you can never attain the resulting fruit of perfection.


tāte bāra bāra kahi, — śuna bhakta-gaṇa

viśvāsa kariyā kara e-tina sevana


Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya-lila 16.62)


[Therefore, my dear devotees, please hear from me, for I insist again and again: please keep faith in these three and render service to them without hesitation.]


‘Viśvāsa kariyā kara’. In Chaitanya-charitamrita it says, “O my brothers, take these things with firm faith.” Only then will you progress. This is the process.


And why am I saying these things?


dadāti pratigṛhṇāti

guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati

bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva

ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam


Upadeshamrita (4)


[Offering pure devotees items in accordance with their requirements, accepting remnant items given by pure devotees, revealing to pure devotees one’s confidential realisations concerning bhajana, inquiring from them about their confidential realisations, eating with great love the prasada remnants tasted by shuddha-bhaktas and lovingly feeding them prasada – these are the six symptoms of loving association with pure devotees.]


This is called real sadhu-sanga. And this sadhu-sanga means to realise the heart and the mood of the sadhu, and how he performs his sadhana and bhajana. Thus this verse says:


sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’ — sarva-śāstre kaya

lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya


Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 22.54)


[The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.]


All the revealed Vedic scriptures glorify association with sadhus. Lava-mātra is a very tiny portion of time, only 1/11th of a second. And this 1/11th of a second association with a sadhu already gives perfection. You must also associate with a like-minded sadhu. This is very important.


śrīmad-bhāgavatārthānām

āsvādo rasikaiḥ saha

sajātīyāśaye snigdhe

sādhau saṅgaḥ svato vare


Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 22.131)


[One should taste the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of pure devotees, and one should associate with the devotees who are more advanced than oneself and who are endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord.]


Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!




Date: 20 April 2011 Location: Russia


 

Transcriber: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)



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