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The Passing of Haridāsa Ṭhākura

The summary of this chapter is given by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya as follows. In this chapter it is described how Brahmā Haridāsa Ṭhākura gave up his body with the consent of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and how the Lord Himself personally performed the funeral ceremony and carried the body to the sea. He personally entombed the body, covered it with sand and erected a platform on the site. After taking a bath in the sea, He personally begged prasādam of Jagannātha from shopkeepers and distributed prasādam to the assembled devotees.

Text 1: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Haridāsa Ṭhākura and his master, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who danced with the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura on His lap.

Text 2: All glories to Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is very merciful and who is very dear to Advaita Ācārya and Lord Nityānanda!

Text 3: All glories to the master of Śrīnivāsa Ṭhākura! All glories to the master of Haridāsa Ṭhākura! All glories to the dear master of Gadādhara Paṇḍita! All glories to the master of the life of Svarūpa Dāmodara!

Text 4: All glories to Lord Śrī Caitanya, who is very dear to Kāśī Miśra! He is the Lord of the life of Jagadānanda and the Lord of Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.

Text 5: All glories to the transcendental form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead! My dear Lord, kindly give me shelter at Your lotus feet by Your causeless mercy.

Text 6: All glories to Lord Nityānanda, who is the life and soul of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu! My dear Lord, kindly give me engagement in devotional service at Your lotus feet.

Text 7: All glories to Advaita Ācārya, who is treated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as superior due to His age and respectability! Please give me engagement in devotional service at Your lotus feet.

Text 8: All glories to all the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for the Lord is their life and soul! All of you, kindly bestow devotional service upon me.

Text 9: All glories to Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī and Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana! They are all my masters.

Text 10: I am writing this narration of the pastimes and attributes of the Lord by the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates. I do not know how to write properly, but I am purifying myself by writing this description.

Text 11: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu thus resided at Jagannātha Purī with His personal devotees and enjoyed the congregational chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.

Text 12: In the daytime Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu engaged in dancing and chanting and in seeing the temple of Lord Jagannātha. At night, in the company of His most confidential devotees, such as Rāmānanda Rāya and Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, He tasted the nectar of the transcendental mellows of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.

Text 13: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very happily passed His days in this way at Nīlācala, Jagannātha Purī. Feeling separation from Kṛṣṇa, He exhibited many transcendental symptoms all over His body.

Text 14: Day after day the symptoms increased, and at night they increased even more. All these symptoms, such as transcendental anxiety, agitation and talking like a madman, were present, just as they are described in the śāstras.

Text 15: Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and Rāmānanda Rāya, the chief assistants in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pastimes, remained with Him both day and night.

Text 16: One day Govinda, the personal servant of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, went in great jubilation to deliver the remnants of Lord Jagannātha’s food to Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

Text 17: When Govinda came to Haridāsa, he saw that Haridāsa Ṭhākura was lying on his back and chanting his rounds very slowly.

Text 18: “Please rise and take your mahā-prasādam,” Govinda said.

Text 19: “I have not finished chanting my regular number of rounds. How, then, can I eat? But you have brought mahā-prasādam, and how can I neglect it?”

Text 20: Saying this, he offered prayers to the mahā-prasādam, took a little portion, and ate it.

Text 21: The next day, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Haridāsa’s place and inquired from him, “Haridāsa, are you well?”

Text 22: Haridāsa offered his obeisances to the Lord and replied, “My body is all right, but my mind and intelligence are not well.”

Text 23: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu further inquired from Haridāsa, “Can you ascertain what your disease is?”

Text 24: “Now that you have become old,” the Lord said, “you may reduce the number of rounds you chant daily. You are already liberated, and therefore you need not follow the regulative principles very strictly.

Text 25: “Your role in this incarnation is to deliver the people in general. You have sufficiently preached the glories of the holy name in this world.”

Text 26: The Lord concluded, “Now, therefore, please reduce the fixed number of times you chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.”

Text 27: “I was born in an inferior family, and my body is most abominable. I always engage in low work. Therefore, I am the lowest, most condemned of men.

Text 28: “I am unseeable and untouchable, but You have accepted me as Your servant. This means that You have delivered me from a hellish condition and raised me to the Vaikuṇṭha platform.

Text 29: “My dear Lord, You are the fully independent Personality of Godhead. You act by Your own free will. You cause the whole world to dance and act as You like.

Text 30: “My dear Lord, by Your mercy You have made me dance in many ways. For example, I was offered the śrāddha-pātra, which should have been offered to first-class brāhmaṇas. I ate from it even though I was born in a family of meat-eaters.

Text 31: “I have had one desire for a very long time. I think that quite soon, my Lord, You will bring to a close Your pastimes within this material world.

Text 32: “I wish that You not show me this closing chapter of Your pastimes. Before that time comes, kindly let my body fall down in Your presence.

Text 33: “I wish to catch Your lotuslike feet upon my heart and see Your moonlike face.

Text 34: “With my tongue I shall chant Your holy name, ‘Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya!’ That is my desire. Kindly let me give up my body in this way.

Text 35: “O most merciful Lord, if by Your mercy it is possible, kindly grant my desire.

Text 36: “Let this lowborn body fall down before You. You can make possible this perfection of all my desires.”

Text 37: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “My dear Haridāsa, Kṛṣṇa is so merciful that He must execute whatever you want.

Text 38: “But whatever happiness is Mine is all due to your association. It is not fitting for you to go away and leave Me behind.”

Text 39: Catching the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Haridāsa Ṭhākura said, “My Lord, do not create an illusion! Although I am so fallen, You must certainly show me this mercy!

Text 40: “My Lord, there are many respectable personalities, millions of devotees, who are fit to sit on my head. They are all helpful in Your pastimes.

Text 41: “My Lord, if an insignificant insect like me dies, what is the loss? If an ant dies, where is the loss to the material world?

Text 42: “My Lord, You are always affectionate to Your devotees. I am just an imitation devotee, but nevertheless I wish that You fulfill my desire. That is my expectation.”

Text 43: Because He had to perform His noon duties, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu got up to leave, but it was settled that the following day, after He saw Lord Jagannātha, He would return to visit Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

Text 44: After embracing him, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu left to perform His noon duties and went to the sea to take His bath.

Text 45: The next morning, after visiting the Jagannātha temple, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, accompanied by all His devotees, went hastily to see Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

Text 46: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the devotees came before Haridāsa Ṭhākura, who offered his respects to the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all the Vaiṣṇavas.

Text 47: Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu inquired, “My dear Haridāsa, what is the news?”

Text 48: Upon hearing this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately began great congregational chanting in the courtyard. Vakreśvara Paṇḍita was the chief dancer.

Text 49: Headed by Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, all the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu surrounded Haridāsa Ṭhākura and began congregational chanting.

Text 50: In front of all the great devotees like Rāmānanda Rāya and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu began to describe the holy attributes of Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

Text 51: As He described the transcendental attributes of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu seemed to possess five mouths. The more He described, the more His great happiness increased.

Text 52: After hearing of the transcendental qualities of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, all the devotees present were struck with wonder. They all offered their respectful obeisances to the lotus feet of Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

Text 53: Haridāsa Ṭhākura made Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sit down in front of him, and then he fixed his eyes, like two bumblebees, on the lotus face of the Lord.

Text 54: He held the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu on his heart and then took the dust of the feet of all the devotees present and put it on his head.

Text 55: He began to chant the holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya again and again. As he drank the sweetness of the face of the Lord, tears constantly glided down from his eyes.

Text 56: While chanting the holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, he gave up his air of life and left his body.

Text 57: Seeing the wonderful death of Haridāsa Ṭhākura by his own will, which was just like a great mystic yogī’s, everyone remembered the passing away of Bhīṣma.

Text 58: There was a tumultuous noise as they all chanted the holy names “Hari” and “Kṛṣṇa.” Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became overwhelmed with ecstatic love.

Text 59: The Lord raised the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura and placed it on His lap. Then He began to dance in the courtyard in great ecstatic love.

Text 60: Because of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s ecstatic love, all the devotees were helpless, and in ecstatic love they also began to dance and chant congregationally.

Text 61: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced for some time, and then Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī informed Him of other rituals for the body of Ṭhākura Haridāsa.

Text 62: The body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura was then raised onto a carrier that resembled an airship and taken to the sea, accompanied by congregational chanting.

Text 63: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced in front of the procession, and Vakreśvara Paṇḍita, along with the other devotees, chanted and danced behind Him.

Text 64: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bathed the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura in the sea and then declared, “From this day on, this sea has become a great pilgrimage site.”

Text 65: Everyone drank the water that had touched the lotus feet of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, and then they smeared remnants of Lord Jagannātha’s sandalwood pulp over Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s body.

Text 66: After a hole was dug in the sand, the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura was placed into it. Remnants from Lord Jagannātha, such as His silken ropes, sandalwood pulp, food and cloth, were placed on the body.

Text 67: All around the body, the devotees performed congregational chanting, and Vakreśvara Paṇḍita danced in jubilation.

Text 68: With His transcendental hands, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally covered the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura with sand, chanting “Haribol! Haribol!”

Text 69: The devotees covered the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura with sand and then constructed a platform upon the site. The platform was protected all around by fencing.

Text 70: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced and chanted all around the platform, and as the holy name of Hari roared tumultuously, the whole universe became filled with the vibration.

Text 71: After saṅkīrtana, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bathed in the sea with His devotees, swimming and playing in the water in great jubilation.

Text 72: After circumambulating the tomb of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to the Siṁha-dvāra gate of the Jagannātha temple. The whole city chanted in congregation, and the tumultuous sound vibrated all over the city.

Text 73: Approaching the Siṁha-dvāra gate, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu spread His cloth and began to beg prasādam from all the shopkeepers there.

Text 74: “I am begging prasādam for a festival honoring the passing away of Haridāsa Ṭhākura,” the Lord said. “Please give Me alms.”

Text 75: Hearing this, all the shopkeepers immediately came forward with big baskets of prasādam, which they jubilantly delivered to Lord Caitanya.

Text 76: However, Svarūpa Dāmodara stopped them, and the shopkeepers returned to their shops and sat down with their baskets.

Text 77: Svarūpa Dāmodara sent Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu back to His residence and kept with him four Vaiṣṇavas and four servant carriers.

Text 78: Svarūpa Dāmodara said to all the shopkeepers, “Deliver to me four palmfuls of prasādam from each and every item.”

Text 79: In this way varieties of prasādam were collected, then packed up in different loads and carried on the heads of the four servants.

Text 80: Not only did Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī bring prasādam, but Vāṇīnātha Paṭṭanāyaka and Kāśī Miśra also sent large quantities.

Text 81: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu made all the devotees sit in rows and personally began to distribute the prasādam, assisted by four other men.

Text 82: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not accustomed to taking prasādam in small quantities. He therefore put on each plate what at least five men could eat.

Text 83: Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī requested Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, “Please sit down and watch. With these men to help me, I shall distribute the prasādam.”

Text 84: The four men — Svarūpa Dāmodara, Jagadānanda, Kāśīśvara and Śaṅkara — distributed the prasādam continuously.

Text 85: All the devotees who sat down would not eat the prasādam as long as the Lord had not eaten. On that day, however, Kāśī Miśra had extended an invitation to the Lord.

Text 86: Therefore Kāśī Miśra personally went there and delivered prasādam to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu with great attention and made Him eat.

Text 87: With Paramānanda Purī and Brahmānanda Bhāratī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sat down and accepted the prasādam. When He began to eat, so did all the Vaiṣṇavas.

Text 88: Everyone was filled up to the neck because Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu kept telling the distributors, “Give them more! Give them more!”

Text 89: After all the devotees finished accepting prasādam and had washed their hands and mouths, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu decorated each of them with a flower garland and sandalwood pulp.

Text 90: Overwhelmed with ecstatic love, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu offered a benediction to all the devotees, which all the devotees heard with great satisfaction.

Texts 91-93: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave this benediction: “Anyone who has seen the festival of Śrī Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s passing away, anyone who has chanted and danced here, anyone who has offered sand on the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, and anyone who has joined this festival to partake of the prasādam will achieve the favor of Kṛṣṇa very soon. There is such wonderful power in seeing Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

Text 94: “Being merciful upon Me, Kṛṣṇa gave Me the association of Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Being independent in His desires, He has now broken that association.

Text 95: “When Haridāsa Ṭhākura wanted to leave this material world, it was not within My power to detain him.

Text 96: “Simply by his will, Haridāsa Ṭhākura could give up his life and go away, exactly like Bhīṣma, who previously died simply by his own desire, as we have heard from śāstra.

Text 97: “Haridāsa Ṭhākura was the crown jewel on the head of this world; without him, this world is now bereft of its valuable jewel.”

Text 98: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then told everyone, “Say ‘All glories to Haridāsa Ṭhākura!’ and chant the holy name of Hari.” Saying this, He personally began to dance.

Text 99: Everyone began to chant, “All glories to Haridāsa Ṭhākura, who revealed the importance of chanting the holy name of the Lord!”

Text 100: Thereafter, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu bade farewell to all the devotees, and He Himself, with mixed feelings of happiness and distress, took rest.

Text 101: Thus I have spoken about the victorious passing away of Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Anyone who hears this narration will certainly fix his mind firmly in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa.

Text 102: From the incident of Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s passing away and the great care Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took in commemorating it, one can understand just how affectionate He is toward His devotees. Although He is the topmost of all sannyāsīs, He fully satisfied the desire of Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

Text 103: When Haridāsa Ṭhākura was at the last stage of his life, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave him His company and allowed him to touch Him. Thereafter, He took the body of Ṭhākura Haridāsa on His lap and personally danced with it.

Text 104: Out of His causeless mercy the Lord personally covered the body of Haridāsa Ṭhākura with sand and personally begged alms from the shopkeepers. Then He conducted a great festival to celebrate the passing away of Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

Text 105: Haridāsa Ṭhākura was not only the topmost devotee of the Lord but also a great and learned scholar. It was his great fortune that he passed away before Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 106: The life and characteristics of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are exactly like an ocean of nectar, one drop of which can please the mind and ear.

Text 107: Anyone who desires to cross over the ocean of nescience, please hear with great faith the life and characteristics of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 108: Praying at the lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Raghunātha, always desiring their mercy, I, Kṛṣṇadāsa, narrate Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, following in their footsteps.

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