Maharaja Indradyumna came to this world to help Brahmā maintain the creation and all people. He became emperor of Earth. Brahmā gave him dominion over the Earth. Indradyumna saw in this world that from morning to evening, sunrise to sunset, and through the night, everything is passing away and nothing remained with him. At sunrise, everyone began to run, run, run. But for what? Nothing is present. Everything is future or past, past or future; nothing is present. That which has not been done, that is the future, and as soon as something is done, it is in the past.
“Why isn’t anything present?” Indradyumna Mahārāja thought. “Why can nothing remain with me?”
He prayed to Brahmā for understanding of this condition. He asked Brahmā, “Why is everyone busy from morning to evening in activities that yield no permanent result? The sun rises and sets and decreases the lifespan of everyone.”
āyur harati vai puṁsām
udyann astaṁ ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.3.17
Our lifespan is stolen by the rising and setting of the sun and moon. We are born very small, then we become bigger, bigger, bigger, and then smaller, and then we die.
Brahmā replied to Indradyumna Mahārāja, “Now you have desire to know about the Absolute Truth. That Truth is eternally present—nitya-vartamān, sadā, sanātana. The Absolute Truth is the Supreme Person, Puruṣottama.”
“Where is He present? How can I meet with Him? He is present and I am present and all souls are present. But in this world, the tradition is running, running, running, on and on, never stopping, and all for what? Nothing. How can I see Puruṣottama? Where does He reside?”
“His holy abode is eternally present,” Brahmā said, “and His followers are eternally present as well. He is always with us as well, but because we have no time for Him, we neglect and avoid Him. The sun rises, but has no time for God. The sun is always busy fulfilling its duties, and the moon is likewise always busy. No one has time for God.”
“Yes, this is true. I will make time for Him. I will meet Him and serve Him. Please describe His nature to me.”
“He is Puruṣottama,” Brahmā said. “He is above everything and is the original cause of all causes. Māyā cannot touch Him. He has no relation with anything of this world. But also, without Him, nothing in this world could have any existence. Everything rests upon Him, as pearls strung upon a thread. Yet still, He is aloof and separate from everything. God is not inside this world, but without God, nothing has any position and cannot be maintained. Puruṣottama is transcendentally situated in His own spiritual realm, beyond this material existence. In this world, we can make some place for God, and if that is pure, and we are pure of heart, then God can descend there out of His infinite mercy and bless us with His presence. The constitutional nature of the individual soul is to be a servant of Puruṣottama, but to awaken that nature, one must become purified and engage in spiritual practice.”
Indradyumna Mahārāja considered, “How can I make a place for God? How can I awaken faith in the hearts of jīvas? How can they serve Puruṣottama?”
Indradyumna Mahārāja discussed with his ministers and with the ṛṣis and mahārṣis how to arrange a place for God and how to supplicate Him to appear in their kingdom. They then together prayed to Brahmā for guidance.
Brahmā said, “No mundane property or object is useful for the service of God. Everything in this world is transitory. If you offer a flower, it soon wilts and dries and loses its fragrance. If you cook something and offer it to God, a few hours later it rots. What will you offer? You must offer your love and heart, and then anything offered with a pure mood of love will be accepted by God and will be spiritualized.”
“How can we please God?” Indradyumna Mahārāja asked Brahmā.
“You must follow the nine-fold limbs of bhakti. This is the method to satisfy God. Bhakti-devī will teach and make anyone who follows the limbs of devotion qualified to serve God and make relation with God. Puruṣottama gave me advice, called Catuḥ-ślokī-bhāgavatam. He appeared before me after I had meditated for a long time, while chanting oṁ. This is the bīja-mantra. God appeared and then gave me the Bhāgavatam.
You should read, study, remember, and pray with this Catuḥ-ślokī-Bhāgavatam; the meanings will then be revealed to you. Wherever this instruction given by God Himself is present then God will be happy with that place and will be present there. The followers of God follow the advice of God. I would also like to discuss this Catuḥ-ślokī-Bhāgavatam with you all.
Let us pray, with oṁkāra, the bīja-mantra. By chanting oṁkāra, the five life-airs are controlled. Then, one can understand the Bhāgavatam.”
Indradyumna Mahārāja and his ministers, and the ṛṣis and mahārṣis, then chanted oṁ and afterwards, the Catuḥ-ślokī-bhāgavatam, under the guidance of Brahmā. They prayed to the Lord and meditated on Him. Without chanting oṁ and performing prāṇāyāma to control the life-airs, being uncontrolled of senses, and not having crossed the mundane world, and becoming situated above māyā, one cannot realize God.
Indradyumna Mahārāja, along with his ministers and the ṛṣis and mahārṣis then performed sādhana under guidance of Brahmā. They did sādhana and endeavored to follow the instructions given by Puruṣottama in the Bhāgavatam.
How can these ślokas be realized? Śrī Guru gives mantras, Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave the mahā-mantra; how can these be realized? Sādhana is essential. Being always present in the mundane world, we cannot realize the transcendental reality. You must become situated in the holy dhāma and present under guidance of a liberated divine master, then you can realize something in your life. To follow the masters, their path and instructions, that is sādhana. To follow māyā and the followers of māyā is not our sādhana. Everywhere in this world, māyā is easily available. But to forget and renounce and give up everything and to only follow the limbs of bhakti, under guidance of one’s eternal divine master, this is our sādhana. How long will I be present there?
With Brahmā, Indradyumna Mahārāja did sādhana for a long time. They chanted oṁkāra. At first, they would chant oṁ for a few seconds at a time, and then gradually increased their chanting of the divine syllables for a minute, in one breath, and then a few minutes. They chanted like this for hours at a time. Then one is present with God, not lost in the past or future. By doing spiritual practice like this chanting of the bīja-mantra oṁ, one becomes present with Truth. One transcends this world and becomes situated in spirit. One can then meditate on the lotus feet of God. Gradually, after some time, God will appear in one’s heart.
Brahmā instructed Indradyumna Mahārāja how to follow the limbs of bhakti and made him strong and able to do so. From brāhma-muhūrta, after maṅgala-āratī, the sādhakas are instructed to pray to Śrī Guru, the guru-paramparā, the Vaiṣṇavas, Mahāprabhu, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, harināma, the Vrajavāsīs, and so forth. But while praying with kīrtanas, we should also engage our mind in deep prayer, and not repeat like parrots or tape-recorders. While doing sādhana, you must also do sādhana. Meaning, while engaged in activities like kīrtana, you must engage your mind and not only your senses. Pray from your heart to Gurudeva and the Vaiṣṇavas while chanting guru-vandanā and vaiṣṇava-vandanā. Remember them and be nearby them internally. This is then real sādhana. Only singing, speaking, and playing on the guitar, mṛdaṅga, or karatālas, while doing kīrtana, is not complete kīrtana. We are not near guru, Vaiṣṇavas, Mahāprabhu, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, without engaging our minds and hearts while doing kīrtana and other limbs of bhakti.
Brahmā told Indradyumna Mahārāja, “I chanted the oṁkāra for millions of years and when I had complete control over body, mind, and senses, then the Lord appeared in my heart and then before me directly and He gave me advice. By following God’s advice, I became a follower of God. But if someone follows the advice of others, of the mind and senses and worldly people, then he becomes their followers and remains trapped in material existence. If we please God by following His will, then we will be with God. You should continue maintaining your kingdom and subjects, but also spend time worshiping and serving God and arrange a place for Him.”
Indradyumna Mahārāja was very pleased with this advice of Lord Brahmā, and from that time onward, every morning, before sunrise, he would sit in a clean and fresh place, in front of Tulasī, who is bhagavata-prīya, very dear to the Lord, and there he did sādhana. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was in the Gambhīrā, He would chant in front of Tulasī. Our Guru-varga also engage in sādhana like this and teach us by their examples. It is also helpful to chant and do sādhana with Tulasī by holy rivers, like the Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Kaveri, Godāvarī, Tapti, Sindhu, and so forth.
Mahārāja Indradyumna performed his sādhana before Tulasī, nearby the shore of the ocean. When the sun rose, it gave him brahma-śakti, and he offered all of this to God. After his sādhana, by the inspiration of God and the order of Brahmā and his guru, the ṛṣis and mahārṣis, the Vaiṣṇavas and sādhus, he performed his duties as emperor. But everything he did, was only for the pleasure of God. This is the result of strong sādhana.
Then, even when engaged in activities not directly one’s spiritual practices, one will remain connected to God, and will perform all his duties for God’s pleasure and guru’s pleasure. Every day, by the power of his sādhana and absorption in the Lord, more and more realization dawned on the king. He continued to pray earnestly, “When will the Lord appear to me?”
If you do sādhana throughout the day, from before sunrise to after sunset, then while sleeping at night, the Lord will be present in your thoughts and dreams. When the Sun rises, the Sun-god gives the energy of God, brahma-śakti, to all beings. Without the help of the Sun, all beings would be lost in unconsciousness. But when the Sun rises in the morning, brahma-śakti enlivens the living beings and enables them to perform action. However, the majority of living beings in material existence waste the energy they are provided with, and thus have no strength by nightfall and again fall into sleep or a dream state. They waste their energy trying to make friends with other conditioned souls and doing so many useless deeds in this world, and thus, by evening, they are strengthless, devoid of any balance of brahma-śakti. One who has power needs to sleep very little. And even during sleep, he will be present with the Lord, Parabrahma. During the day, if you perform sādhana properly, then you can control and make a balance of the brahma-śakti provided by the Sun, through different means, such as the elements in this world, and then at night, you will not lose your śakti. Puruṣottama will come in your heart.
One night, while Indradyumna Mahārāja was sleeping, the Lord appeared in his mind and heart.
Indradyumna Mahārāja saw the beautiful form of the Lord in his dream: Śrī Puruṣottama, the Supreme Person, was in the midst of an enchanting forest. He was playing a flute and in a dancing pose and was surrounded by many young boys who were playing on buffalo-horns and other instruments; many calves and cows and other animals, like deer and peacocks were also present.
Indradyumna Mahārāja was mesmerized by the beautiful scene and thought, “The advice of my Gurudeva was very good. The Bhāgavatam truly is the svarūpa of the Lord.” The Bhāgavatam is the svarūpa of the Lord and describes His beautiful form:
tam ādi-devaṁ karuṇā-nidhānaṁ tamāla-varṇaṁ su-hitāvatāram
apāra-saṁsāra samudra-setuṁ bhajāmahe bhāgavata-svarūpam
Kṛṣṇa is the original Lord, līlā-puruṣottama. He has a darkish complexion, like a Tamāla tree or raincloud. But He cannot be fully defined by any words of this world and has no equal. Su-hitāvatāram—He appeared for the welfare of all beings. He also appeared with all His associates. Alone, He is Brahma, only spirit, but He is Puruṣottama, the Supreme Person, engaged in loving pastimes, when with His associates. He is with all His sakhās, sakhīs, and many cows, deer, parrots, cuckoos, peacocks, and in the beautiful forest of Vṛndāvana. And He is very merciful— karuṇā-nidhānaṁ. When anyone looks at Him they smile and no longer feel any tension. They become very happy.
Puruṣottama appeared the heart of Indradyumna Mahārāja at night time. The king then understood that the moon is more helpful than the sun. He felt very lucky. The sun gives śakti, power, but the moon cools, saves, protects, and helps one receive darśana of the Lord, for those who are very fortunate.
“Prabhu,” the king said, “You have appeared at night and brought light to the darkness.”?
From that time, Mahārāja Indradyumna was a follower of the moon and the moon calendar. Puruṣottama is Kṛṣṇacandra. Today, while he was sleeping, Indradyumna Mahārāja saw the Lord.
“O Lord, why don’t You appear before me directly.
Where are You?”
“I am not within kāla, material time,” the Lord said. “I am above and beyond time. But I am present with whoever has love for Me.”
“Prabhu, how, where, and when can I meet with You?”
Bhagavān did not respond; however, He disappeared. Then the king was very sad. His mind became separated from saṁsāra and he was constantly thinking of the Lord. He revealed his dream to his ministers and priests, but most of them had a mundane idea of his revelation. Ordinary people see guru and Vaiṣṇavas and think that they are like themselves. “He also eats and sleeps and talks and does ordinary activities, like me.”
In a similar way, the ministers and priests of the king could not understand his revelation of the Lord and did not have faith it. Only one person in his assembly had enough sukṛti to understand: Vidyāpati. He said, “Mahārāja, you are so fortunate to have seen the Supreme Person, Puruṣottama. Please tell me how you have become so fortunate?”
“I followed the instruction of Adi-guru Brahmā and chanted the mantra he gave me: oṁ. I chanted oṁ and by doing so, Lord Śrī Hari appeared in my vision. Brahmā also disclosed the advice he heard from the Lord when he had done a similar sādhana, that is the Catuḥ-ślokī-Bhāgavatam, and the Bhāgavatam reveals the form of the Lord.”
Vidyāpati followed Indradyumna Mahārāja and also began to chant oṁkāra and the Catuḥ-ślokī-bhāgavatam. But most of the others in the royal court did not have complete faith in Mahārāja Indradyumna. Śrīla Gurudeva describes that many people come to guru and Vaiṣṇavas, but most of them do not have complete faith in them. They follow their own desires and do not come to please Hari, guru, and Vaiṣṇavas.
Indradyumna Mahārāja requested brāhmaṇas and priests to search out the Lord. The king had told many people of his dream. Many people wanted to please the king for their own benefit, so they flattered him. But Vidyāpati was not selfish. He did not approach the king with any selfish motive. He thought, “By helping the king search for the Lord I will have a chance to have darśana of Puruṣottama. And I will be able to cross beyond māyā and serve Him.”
Vidyāpati performed tapa and mantra-japa while going on parikramā of the world in search of Puruṣottama. This is sādhana. Mahāprabhu Himself searched for Kṛṣṇa in this manner, traveling all over India by foot while praying:
kāhā jao kāhā pao vrajendra-nandana
vrajendra-nandana vina phāṭe mora mana
kāhāre kahiba, kebā jāne mora duḥkha
vrajendra-nandana vinu phāṭe mora buka
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 2.16
“Where can I go to find Vrajendra-nandana? I cannot live without Him. Who can I speak to of My sorrows? Who can understand the pain in My heart?”
Vidyāpati went on parikramā everywhere while praying for the Lord’s merciful darśana. Finally, after a long time, he came to a remote Indian village in the midst of a lush forest. Coming to that place, Vidyāpati felt a great happiness and satisfaction arise in his mind. He saw many auspicious omens. The villagers lived in small huts. They lived very simply. Flowers, fruit trees, and birds of many varieties abounded in that village. The villagers were humble, quiet, and sweet-natured.
Vidyāpati thought, “I feel very good today. I think my Lord must reside somewhere nearby and that He has brought me here by His causeless mercy. My līlā-puruṣottama must be here, because where the Lord is present, the people will be satisfied and happy.”
The heart of Śrī Guru is the residence place of God, therefore he has attraction power, saṅkarṣaṇa-śakti, and people from all over the world therefore come to him. And when people come to guru, then he purifies them. This is the nature of sādhus.
How can we understand who a Vaiṣṇava is? When you come to a sādhu, if your fire increases, like giving wood and oil on a fire, then how is he a sādhu? When we come near someone who has so much anger-fire, and our fire mixes with that person, then the fire will increase and spread.
And if we come to the Himālayas, we will be automatically cooled and made healthy by the atmosphere. Similarly, when we really come in sādhu-saṅga, our fires will be cooled and our nature will be transformed. The place of Bhagavān, and the residence of sādhus, is very auspicious. Ākarṣaṇa-śakti is there. This is the law of attraction.
Vidyāpati entered this place and was surprised. All his exhaustion from traveling left him and he began to dance and experienced ecstatic symptoms. When you are with bhaktas, you will become inspired to dance and sing and will not be tired. When you follow the activities of bhakti, you will become happy. Vidyāpati felt his life to be successful. He thought, “The Lord is very merciful. Today He brought me here. I want to always stay here.”
As he walked step by step further into the village, his joy and sense of well-being increased. When you enter the āśrama of sādhus, like the āśrama of Agastya Ṛṣi, or Bharadvāja, Vālmīki, or other ṛṣis, then you will experience tranquility and happiness. When Lord Rāmacandra came with Lakṣmaṇa and Sīta-devī to the āśrama of Agastya Ṛṣi, Rāma asked them, “How do you feel here?”
Lakṣmaṇa replied, “Prabhu, I am naturally joyful here. Many animals are here, including lions, tigers, deer, rabbits, and so forth, and they are sleeping side by side. I see that violent animals have given up their cruelty and are licking the small innocent creatures, who have given up their fear.”
“sādhus have this power,” Rāma said, “because they are nearby God. Then any souls that come to them, in any external form, forget their outward material nature and become established in their internal spiritual nature of being a loving servant of God. This is not the center of māyā therefore you feel like this.” Similarly, Vidyāpati felt that he had come to a place beyond the influence of māyā and he thought, “My līlā-puruṣottama, Śrī Hari, must reside nearby. This place must be His center in this world.”
Where does God reside in this world? Wherever His devotees are present, there resides the Lord. That is the reserved center for God. Where there are no bhaktas, no followers and family of God, that place is like a cremation grounds, where fire is always burning. Those people who are not devotees are burning in so many fires, and with this fire, they also burn whoever they come in contact with. This village was within the place that became known as Puruṣottama-kṣetra. There are 84 kośas in this area. So he felt very good when coming to this place.
Vidyāpati arrived in the village at the start of evening. He saw in the village one Devī, a beautiful kiśorī girl, outside of a simple residence, and he was inspired to ask her, “Please, I have come from far away and now it is evening. Do you know anywhere I can spend the night? Please, tell me your good name.”
“My name is Lalitā.”
Hearing her speak this name, he felt a powerful śakti enter him. Why? When anyone chants, hears, or remembers the names of the Vraja-devīs, they become happy. Those names have śakti.
Lalitā said, “My father is not here right now. He will return soon. My house has no mother. We have two straw huts. You can stay in one hut now, while waiting for my father to return. If you like, you can cook something. I will give you fruits and roots.”
In the jungle, many roots grow automatically and the villagers collect these, dry them, powder and use them to cook different preparations.
“Would you like to cook,” Lalitā asked, “or if you like, I can prepare something.”
“I am a brāhmaṇa,” Vidyāpati said. He still had pride of cast. “I only eat the cooking of a brāhmaṇa. So please give some fruits and I will take them.”
She gave him many sweet and juicy fruits and taking them, he felt very well. At nine p.m. Lalitā’s father arrived at his house. His name was Viśvāvasu. In this world, on one side there are people who are the followers of Māyā-devī, and on the other, there are the followers of God. The followers of God are very rare compared to ordinary people. Fortunate and sincere seekers meet with the devotees of God.
Vidyāpati noticed that a wonderful fragrance came from the body of Viśvāvasu. He wore clean cloth that held the aroma of candana, kastūrī, kuṁkum, and other fragrances. Viśvāvasu was tall and had other signs of being a great personality.
Vidyāpati watched Viśvāvasu approach his house as he walked through the village, surrounded by many other villagers and also by many animals. Every evening when he returned home, Viśvāvasu distributed prasādam, and everyone flocked to him to receive some of the mercy. This is the nature of sādhus. Sādhus are family members of God and they have love for everyone. Don’t think that sādhus think, “You are mine, you are mine, you are not mine. You are my follower, you are not. I will help you, I won’t help you.” This is not the nature of a genuine sādhu. The family members of God are the well-wishers, friends, and benefactors of all living beings.
Viśvāvasu gave everyone prasādi-candana and flowers. Every day he offered many things to his beloved Lord and he would bring the prasādi remnants to distribute for the benefit of the people and animals. He then gave caraṇāmṛta, water that had bathed the Lord. Drinking this water, people forgot all their troubles. Vidyāpati approached Viśvāvasu and humbly requested for caraṇāmṛta.
“Where have you come from?” Viśvāvasu asked. “No outsiders ever come to this village. How did you come? It must be by God’s desire.
Where is the rest of the world, and where is this Cakra-tīrtha, this eternal center of Śrīla Gurudeva’s? How have you all come here? Why aren’t other people here? It is not possible for everyone. Those who have received special mercy from Gurudeva and God can be present here. Viśvāvasu had this faith in the Lord and His plan. He gave caraṇāmṛta, candana, and prasādi-flowers to Vidyāpati; he then gave prasādam to Vidyāpati and the villagers. Everyday Viśvāvasu milked cows and made preparations like ksira-sagara, amrta-keli, ksiri, and many other delicious dishes. He offered these to the Lord, and in the evening, when He returned to the village he distributed this to everyone. The villagers would wait eagerly to receive a spoonful of prasāda.
Viśvāvasu did not think of collecting anything from the villagers. He had no business mentality. Nowadays, almost everyone in the world thinks about business and moneymaking, even supposed sādhus. They sell the temple prasāda in stalls and are concerned solely with money. However, great Vaiṣṇavas, and the Guru-varga do not do such business. They believe that God is the maintainer and will arrange everything. He has given us the fortune of receiving His prasādam, but if we do business with that, we will be deprived of His mercy.
We are so fortunate that here, one Jagannātha cook daily brings prasāda for the devotees and he will take nothing in return. What can you give him? He has everything, being the direct servant of the Lord of the Universe, Jagannātha. Westerners aren’t even allowed in the temple, but Jagannātha is so merciful that He Himself has arranged to send His prasāda here for us, without taking any remuneration.
Honoring the prasāda given by Viśvāvasu, Vidyāpati considered his life a success. Viśvāvasu kindly gave Vidyāpati a place to sleep in his home. That night, however, Vidyāpati could not sleep. When one is tired, he can sleep. But if he is filled with love for God, how will sleep come to him? Mahāprabhu with His devotees danced and sang in saṅkīrtana-rasa throughout the night. The gopīs danced with Kṛṣṇa throughout a night lasting a day of Brahmā. Vidyāpati, during the night, chanted oṁkāra and the Bhāgavatam ślokas. These mantras continually ran over his tongue, and he felt an unparalleled joy he had never experienced before; he did not even notice how the night passed and morning came.
The next day, he did not want to leave. He considered what to do, and asked permission from Viśvāvasu to stay on for a few days. Viśvāvasu said, “I will pray to Lord Śrī Hari and will let you know soon.” Viśvāvasu prayed and then agreed; he understood that Vidyāpati had come by the will of the Lord. Over the following days, Vidyāpati’s respect for Viśvāvasu and Lalitā increased, and he began to develop an affectionate relation with them. He never wanted to leave.
After some time, he asked Viśvāvasu for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Marriage is not everything. If you have no love, then marriage is nothing. Vidyāpati already had another wife. But he had deep respect for Lalitā and thus wanted to establish a relation with her. Viśvāvasu agreed and the marriage ceremony was performed.
Puruṣottama-deva desired to appear in this world before the general populace. Therefore, Śrī Hari arranged for Vidyāpati to come to know of His presence. One day, Vidyāpati asked Lalitā, “Please ask your father where he goes during the day? When he returns in the evening, he has such a fragrance pervading him, and he brings such wonderful prasāda. Where does he collect this all from?”
Service is the way to form a relation with the Lord. The nature of sādhus and gurus is that they are always engaged in service—morning to evening. So Viśvāvasu was daily cooking so much kṣīra, and sweets, and collecting fruits and flowers and making garlands; pasting candana, and serving Ṭhākurajī throughout the day. The Lord thought, “How long will he serve me alone? I wish that this service runs on continuously; then I can make relation with the jīvas.”
“Vidyāpati has come, sent by Indradyumna Mahārāja,” the Lord thought, “I wish for him to come to see Me.”
Lalitā asked her father to show Vidyāpati, her husband, where he went for his service, but he did not at first agree. He thought, “If I show him, I may lose my service to my beloved Śrī Hari.”
Viśvāvasu did not want to share his service. Where he went, none of the villagers knew. He went in the early morning and made sure he was not followed, and returned late in the evening—daily. And no one had ever accompanied him. Now, Vidyāpati was asking directly. But Viśvāvasu was reluctant to allow him, even though he was now his son-in-law.
“Lalitā,” Vidyāpati told his wife in private, “if you want me to remain alive, please again supplicate your father to allow me darśana of his Ṭhākurajī. If he does not permit me, I will give up my life. I feel my existence is useless without being able to serve Puruṣottama. I have no relation with Him and can only become related through service.”
“Father,” Lalitā later said, “my husband will give up his life unless he is allowed to serve Ṭhākurajī along with you, and if he passes away, I will give up my life as well.”
“I will ponder this,” Viśvāvasu said.
Viśvāvasu prayed to Lord Śrī Hari, who replied, “I desire that you bring him here and teach him how to serve Me.”
“Alright,” Viśvāvasu said to Lalitā, “agreed. But I will take him by the bullock-cart blindfolded. I will not let him see the way.”
Vidyāpati thus sat on the bullock-cart, blindfolded, and Viśvāvasu drove the cart into the forest and over hills, until, after ascending a hill and reaching a plateau, Viśvāvasu removed the blindfold from Vidyāpati’s eyes and he received a view of the divine abode which resembled Goloka-Vṛndavana. Cows and deer grazed on lush grass, flowers abounded on all sides, a lake and waterfall was there with crystal-clear water. Vidyāpati was mesmerized by the beauty of the scenery.
While looking towards the lake, he saw a crow fall from the branches of an overhanging tree into the water, and immediately afterwards, a four-armed being, appearing like Viṣṇu, emerged from the water, and was carried into the sky by Garuḍa.
“I will also jump in the water from that tree and go to Vaikuṇṭha.” Thus thinking, Vidyāpati climbed the tree on the lake’s shore and prepared to jump. Viśvāvasu looked for his son-in-law and seeing him, called out, “What are you doing? Get down!”
An aerial voice said, “Do not jump. It is not your time yet. You have many duties and services to perform.”
Vidyāpati came down and returned to his father-in-law, who led him to the entrance of a temple, which was surrounded by gardens and dense forest. Viśvāvasu opened the temple and brought Vidyāpati before the doors of the inner sanctum. Once his prayers and mantra were completed for waking the Lord, Viśvāvasu opened the altar. Seeing the dazzling dark beauty of Puruṣottama-deva, who stood in an enchanting three-fold bending form, holding a flute to His lips, Vidyāpati fell on the ground in prostrations and wept in ecstasy.
Viśvāvasu bathed the Lord with water, milk, yogurt, honey, ghee, and fragrances. After drying Him, Viśvāvasu smeared sandal paste, musk, and aguru on the Lord’s divine form, and dressed Him in silken raiment. Vidyāpati asked for some service to perform, and Viśvāvasu took him with him to milk the cows. They cooked many varieties of sweets with the milk and then made an elaborate offering with these, along with fruits, and dry dishes made of roots and natural ingredients collected in the forest. The offering completed, Viśvāvasu performed the Lord’s ārati with incense, ghee-lamp, conch, cloth, flowers, whisk, and peacock fan, and then together they sang bhajans. Once the sun set and the evening worship was complete, Viśvāvasu again blindfolded Vidyāpati and drove him back home on the bullock-cart.
“Please give me continued sevā,” Vidyāpati begged Viśvāvasu, as they traveled.
“If you have love for God, and He accepts your service, then nothing or no one can stop you. And if you have no love for God, what is the question of His service? The decision is not mine; the Lord has accepted you already.”
Viśvāvasu was anxious that he would gradually lose his share of service to brāhmaṇa priests. He prayed to the Lord for His mercy and the Lord decreed that His service would be divided into two parts, one for Viśvāvasu and one for Vidyāpati. And in the future, the Lord said, the descendants of Vidyāpati and Lalitā would continue the service of the Lord on one side, and the descendants of Vidyāpati and his brāhmaṇa wife would continue His service on the other side. Thus came about the distinction in the service of the brāhmaṇa pandas of Lord Jagannātha, descendants of Vidyāpati and his brāhmaṇa wife, and the dayita-pati and supakara residents of the jungle and forest, born of Lalitā. The brāhmaṇa pandas dress the Lord, do His ārati, and other services, and the dayita-patis and supakaras cook for the Lord, and serve Him alone during the month of Snāna-yātrā and Ratha-yātrā.
Before they had left that morning, Lalitā had cleverly kept a sack of mustard seeds hidden in the cart, with a hole on the bottom, so that the seeds fell slowly out along the way. Vidyāpati had entreated her to devise a method for him to be able to find the temple again, and she had thus improvised. During the rainy season, the mustard seeds sprouted, grew, and showed the pathway from the village to the hidden temple by their yellow blossoms
After serving Śrī Puruṣottama daily with Viśvavasu for some time, the Lord inspired Vidyāpati to return to Mahārāja Indradyumna with news of His whereabouts. Vidyāpati begged for time to return to his king and with permission of Lalitā and his father-in-law, Vidyāpati then traveled back to the capital of Indradyumna Mahārāja. The king was overjoyed with the news and decided to follow Vidyāpati back to the village with his whole royal family, all his ministers, and those subjects desirous of going. However, upon arriving with everyone, the village had mysteriously vanished. Indradyumna Mahārāja was distraught with grief and he began fasting and meditating in deep prayer. He was determined to give up his life unless the Lord appeared to him. After some days, the Lord mercifully appeared again in the vision of Indradyumna Mahārāja. Then, by the king’s continued prayers, the Lord appeared in the form of Jagannātha, who is Puruṣottama, the Supreme Person, during the month of Puruṣottama.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from a Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from firstname.lastname@example.org )