by Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Once there was a barber who was going here and there giving out invitations. In previous times barbers performed this task for families. If there was to be a marriage or a festival, he would go and distribute the invitations to everyone, and for doing this he would earn a little extra money. But he would not go anywhere without his instruments such as a razor, scissors and a comb.
Starting on his way, this barber entered a jungle where he saw a lion resting on the path. The lion did not attack him, but instead was merely lifting up its paw and licking it. At first the barber was frightened, but then he thought, “It seems that there is something stuck in his foot, and that is why he is not attacking.” So the barber went a little nearer and saw that a very large thorn was stuck in very deeply, and due to this the lion was suffering greatly.
Therefore, with the help of his instruments, the barber manipulated the thorn a little and carefully removed it. Some blood had been coming from the wound, so he also applied some antiseptic, wrapped the lion’s paw in some medicinal leaves, and then left.
Three or four years went by. Then one day that same barber was mistakenly arrested for some very serious crime such as murder. His case was brought before the king, who said, “Several days ago in the jungle we captured a lion. Throw the criminal into the lion’s compartment. The lion will eat him – finished. For him there can be no other punishment. Throw him in!”
The barber was thrown into the lion’s cage, and at once the lion got up, roaring. But as he came near the barber, he began to purr and sat down. This was the same lion from which the barber had removed the thorn, and after so many years the lion recognised the barber and therefore did not attack him. The king said, “This fierce animal is not attacking him? What is this? “ Then he thought, “Now I understand . Because I have made a mistake in arresting this man, the lion is not killing him. If the lion is not carrying out this punishment, then I also should not punish him.” The king released the barber, showed him respect and asked for forgiveness.
Even in an animal there is so much gratitude, and Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami says that Nityananda Prabhu’s gratitude is just like this. For one minute that barber removed a thorn from the lion, and for so many years the lion remained grateful. That animal, which is so fierce that it kills innumerable other animals and people also, remained grateful for its entire life, and we see the same quality of gratitude in the life of Nityananda Prabhu.
In Sri Caitanya – caritamrta, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami gives an example of how Nityananda Prabhu, being Bhagavan Himself, is merciful to someone. He says that on one occasion there was to be a festival with kirtana going on continuously all day and night. Vaisnavas who lived both nearby and far away were invited, and they all came. Among them was an eternal associate of Nityananda Prabhu named Minaketana Ramadasa. His nature was such that his mercy could not be easily recognised, but those who understood him could see it.
Generally, if some dear person comes, one offers pranama. But instead he would hit someone with the flute which he always kept in his hand, and that person would understand it to be great mercy. When he would place his foot on the head of someone, they would consider that there would be good fortune in their lives from that day on. Sometimes he would slap someone and say, “Where have you been all these days?” But those who understood knew that, “Whoever he has struck today will receive the direct mercy of Nityananda Prabhu.
“ So the kirtana was going on, and when Minaketana Ramadasa came, everyone stood up, offered pranama to him, and welcomed him. He climbed on the shoulders of one person, hit another with his flute, and slapped another on the back. Tears were always flowing from his eyes, and he was always roaring out, “Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!”
The pujari there was somewhat educated, and when Minaketana Ramadasa entered, while everyone else had stood and offered pranama, this pujari didn’t stand, and he also wouldn’t speak to him. So, laughing, Minaketana Ramadasa said, “Here we find the second Romaharsana!”, and then he became absorbed in singing the glories of Nityananda Prabhu. Everyone performed very loud kirtana, and when it was finished, Kaviraja Gosvami’s brother said, “You are always singing about the glories of Nityananda Prabhu, but why don’t you sing the glories of Caitanya Mahaprabhu instead?” Hearing this, Minaketana Ramadasa became somewhat unhappy.
That man considered that there was some difference between Nityananda Prabhu and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But there are so many stories and glories of Nityananda Prabhu, and they are all related to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If someone is singing the glories of Srimati Radhika, Then are they not also singing the glories of Krsna? Radhika is the dearmost of all to Krsna, and Her service is best of all. In singing the glories of Radhika, one must necessarily be glorifying Krsna. And similarly, if someone is describing the glories of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in doing so they cannot but be glorifying Sri Radha and Krsna.
Kaviraja Gosvami’s brother continued, “Such a person you are: all the time chanting “Nityananda, Nityananda, Nityananda and not glorifying Mahaprabhu. Always “Nityananda, Nityananda,” but he married, whereas Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, leaving His home and family.”
Hearing this, Minaketana Ramadasa broke his flute and left that place. He was so unhappy that he broke his dear – most possession and left. At this time Kaviraja Gosvami thought to himself, “Now something inauspicious will certainly happen to my brother. How can there be any auspiciousness in his life after this?
Gradually everthing was destroyed for his brother. What do we mean by “destroyed”? His bhakti disappeared. By the mercy of saints one obtains bhakti, but if those saints are displeased, will our interest in bhakti remain? No. Everything was destroyed for him and he became an atheist, so Kaviraja Gosvami thought, “I will not keep company with such an atheist. I no longer consider him my brother. If one is not favourable towards krsna-bhakti, then a friend is not a friend, a mother is not a mother, a father is not a father, and a relative is not a relative. I will not have any contact with him at all. “Later that very night, at about three or four o’clock, he made the decision to leave, and very unhappily he went away from there.
Arriving at Jhamatpur village, Kaviraja Gosvami sat down to rest and began thinking, “I cannot stay here. Where will I go?” While thinking over his situation, he dozed off. Then Niyananda Prabhu appeared to him in a dream. In his hand was a golden stick. His form was very large and had a glossy, dark lustre. He had an earring in one ear, and his beauty was marvellous, just like Baladeva’s in krsna – lila.
He said, “Why are you crying? Why are you upset? Get Up, Get up! Go to Vrndavana! And there place the feet of Rupa and Sanatana on your head. Go! You left your brother for me? I am very pleased with you. A real brother is one who can give bhakti, a father is one who can give instructions regarding bhakti, and a mother is one who can inspire krsna-bhakti.
Your dear brother insulted me a little, and for that you left him forever? I am very pleased. Go to Vrndavana. There you will receive darsana of Govinda, Madana-Mohana and Gopinatha. You will receive the mercy of Rupa and Sanatana, and also the mercy of Vrndavana-dhama itself. Go!”
So Kaviraja Gosvami has written, “All I did was leave my brother, and for that Nityananda Prabhu gave me such mercy! By that mercy, I have obtained darsana of Vrndavana-dhama.”