Part 3 – HG Jagattarini mataji’s class
The series of class on the morning’s of Saturday, Sunday and Monday would begin with a lecture from HG Jagattarini mataji.
She would start with a beautiful kirtan to which the entire room participated very enthusiastically. One of the benefits of meeting many exalted vaishnavas is the opportunity to hear different styles of singing kirtans like, “Jaya Radha Madhava” or the Maha mantra. I noticed that mataji would close her eyes for the entire length of her kirtan. Even when the devotee technician would adjust her microphone, she was completely unaware of what was going on and she would maintain the same sitting posture through out the kirtana and class. Concentration and discipline is such a wonderful thing.
As you can see from above, the room was pretty full. The walls had many pictures of Sri Radha Krishna in many of Their pastimes. There was a picture of young Krishna holding up Goverdhan hill, another of Him applying some colored designs on the foot of Srimati Radharani, another one of Him by Himself looking at us with a flute in His hands.
Mataji decided to educate us on the life of Madhevandra puri for all the 3 days of class. It was enthralling and she depicted 2 of his pastimes through a filmed puppet show as well. Madhevandra puri was the spiritual master of Isvara puri who was the spiritual master of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The pastimes of Madhevandra puri is beautifully covered in Chapter 4, “Sri Madhavendra Puri’s Devotional Service” in the Chaitanya Caritamrta. Srila Prabhupad provides a summary at the very beginning of the chapter as follows:
One night while in Goverdhana, Madhavendra Puri dreamed that the Gopala Deity was within the forest. The next morning he invited his neighbourhood friends to accompany him to excavate the Deity from the jungle. He then established the Deity of of Sri Gopalaji on top of Goverdhan Hill with great pomp. Gopala was worshiped, and the Annakuta festival was observed. The festival was known everywhere, and many people from the neighbouring villages came to join. One night the Gopala Deity again appeared to Madhavendra Puri in a dream and asked him to go to Jagannath Puri to collect some sandalwood pulp and smear it on the body of the Deity. Having received this order, Madhavendra Puri immediately started for Orissa. Traveling through Bengal, he reached Remuna village and there received a pot of condensed milk (ksira) offered to the Deity of Gopinathaji. This pot of condensed milk was stolen by Gopinatha and delivered to Madhavendra Puri. Since then, the Gopinatha Deity has been known as Ksira-cora-gopinatha, the Deity who stole the pot of condensed milk.
Once a devotee mentioned to me that it was better to start reading the Chaitanya Caritamrta once the reading of Srimad Bhagavatam was completed. And so I had stopped reading CC sometime in 2007 and believe it or not I had stopped mid-way through Chapter 4 then !! The very topic that mataji would be covering on these days ! To be exact, I had stopped at text 168 on page 467. The section that I enjoyed reading most about Madhavendra Puri was the process he put in place for the installation and especially the prasadam preparation for the Deity.
After the bathing ceremony was finished, incense and lamps were burned and all kinds of food offered before the Deity. These foods included yogurt, milk and as many sweetmeats as were received.
The Deity was first offered many varieties of food, then scented drinking water in new pots, and then water for washing the mouth. Finally pan mixed with a variety of spices was offered.
Ten brahmanas cooked the food grains, and five brahmanas cooked both dry and liquid vegetables.
The vegetable preparations were made from various kinds of spinach, roots and fruits collected from the forest, and someone made bada and badi by mashing dhal. In this way, the brahmanas prepared all kinds of food.
Five to seven men prepared a huge quantity of chapatis, which were sufficiently covered with ghee, as were all the vegetables, rice and dhal.
Pots of yogurt, milk, buttermilk and sikharini, sweet rice, cream and solid cream were placed alongside the vegetables.
There was an important conclusion to the pastimes of Madhavendra Puri. Srila Prabhupad, in the purport to text 197 writes, “Beginning from Madhvacarya down to the spiritual master of Madhevandra Puri, the acharya named Lakshmipati, there was no realization of devotional service in conjugal love. Sri Madhavendra Puri introduced the conception of conjugal love for the first time in the Madhvacarya-sampradaya, and this conclusion of the Madhvacarya-sampradaya was revealed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu when he toured South India and met the Tattvavadis, who supposedly belonged to the Madhvacarya-sampradaya.”
O My Lord ! O most merciful master ! O master of Mathura ! When shall I see You again? Because of My not seeing You, My agitated heart has become unsteady. O most beloved one, what shall I do now?
Madhevandra Puri recited this verse again and again at the end of his material existence. This uttering this verse, he attained the ultimate goal of life.
Srila Prabhupad says in the purport, “Thus devotional sevice in separation is central to this verse. Worship in separation is considered by the Gaudiya-Madhava-sampradaya to be the topmost level of devotional service. According to this conception, the devotee thinks of himself as very poor and neglected by the Lord. Thus he addresses the Lord as dina-dayardra natha, as did Madhevendra Puri. Such an ecstatic feeling is the highest form of devotional service.
Once the class finished, everyday numerous devotees would have countless questions, braving the inclination to go have prasadam. Here are some of the questions they were asking.
(1) Why did Madhevandra Puri worship Mathuranath instead of Sri Radha Krishna?
(2) Did Lord Chaitanya meet Madhavendra Puri?
(3) Why did Lord Chaitanya choose Madhavendra Puri chain of disciplic succession?
(4) What is the difference of preaching of Sri Ramanuja and that of Madhavendra Puri?
(5) When asked, “who is a neophyte”, what answer did Srila Prabhupada give?
(6) How do I know what is the difference between spiritual greed and impatience?
Do you have the answers?