Bhakta Shri Madhavdas  

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimad Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

From Bhaktamaal


Shri Madhavdasji was a renowned Vaishnav saint. When his wife died he developed complete detachment from material life and left home and went to Jagannatha Puri.

After reaching there, he sat down in a secluded corner of the seashore and started meditating. He was so deeply immersed in meditation that he did not even bother about food and drink. Thus, when many days had passed without any food, the merciful Lord Jagannath ordered Devi Lakshmi to place a golden plate filled with mahaprasad, at Madhavdas’ disposal.  

Devi Lakshmi prepared a large golden plate filled with delicious food and kept it in front of Shri Madhavadasji. When Madhavadas finally opened his eyes, he was moved to tears upon seeing the mercy of the Lord. Happily he partook of the Prasad and setting aside the golden plate again went into meditation.

The next day when the doors of the temple opened, the priests raised a hue and cry upon finding the golden plate missing. A search was conducted in the entire town and in due course the plate was found lying near Madhavadas. 

Without asking him any questions, the pandas gave Madhavdas a sound whipping and left him on the road side. That night, Lord Jagannath appeared in the dream of the head priest and said "I have taken the pain of Madhavdas’ flogging on myself and unless you go and beg for his forgiveness, you will all be destroyed". The terrified pandas went running to Madhavdasji and fell at his feet. Madhavadas immediately forgave them.

By and by the condition of Madhavdasji's ecstatic love became such that whenever he went to the temple for darshan of the Lord, he would stand in one place and become transfixed staring at the deities without blinking. Several times the priests saw Madhavdas become invisible to their eyes. Once Madhavdas was locked inside the temple at night and lay in a corner shivering in the cold. Lord Jagannath Himself wrapped his quilt over his devotee.

Once poor Madhavdas was struck with diarrhea. He went to the sea shore and started staying there. He became so weak that he could not even get up. He drifted in and out of consciousness. In such a state, Lord Jagannath appeared as a young boy and started serving him by washing his soiled clothes and cleaning his body which was smeared with stool. When Madhavadasji regained consciousness, he immediately recognized that his beloved Lord was serving him.

Quickly grasping His feet, Madhavdas said - "Lord! Why did you take so much trouble for a low wretch like me? You are omnipotent. You could have easily healed me if you merely willed it". God said - "Madhav! I cannot bear to see my devotees suffer that's why I served you myself. You know that prarabdha karma (destiny) has to be gone through. That is my rule. How can I break my own rule?  That is why I serve my destitute devotees so they may expiate their karma and show the truth of this to the world". The Lord then disappeared from view.

People were surprised by these miraculous events. Now the glory of Madhavdas started spreading all around. Hordes of people began to gather around Madhavdas and ply him with their prayers. For a sincere devotee there is nothing worse than being dragged into the material world. In order to escape from the crowds, Madhavdas thought that he would act like a mad man. So he started behaving in a crazy manner, tearing his clothes and wandering here and there singing loudly the name of God. 

One day he landed up at a woman's door and begged for alms. He kept shouting for some food. The woman was cooking at the time and in a fit of rage, she threw the kitchen mop cloth at him. Madhavdas was very happy. He took ragged cloth back to his hut and washed and dried it. Then he made wicks out of the cloth and went to the temple and lit many lamps.  The light from those lamps diffused bright golden radiance all around the temple and at the same time caused the woman’s heart to light up as well. She experienced a change of heart and the next day when Madhavdas appeared at her door, she respectfully gave him some alms. In the end the woman became supremely devotional and was immersed in the meditation of God day and night.

Another time, a famous scholar, known for his erudition in logic and debate, came to Jagannathpuri, where he heard about Madhavdas and his knowledge and acumen. Desiring to defeat Madhavdas in debate, the scholar pressed him relentlessly to debate with him. Devotees of the Lord are least interested in argument and debate which is completely meaningless for them. 

Madhavdas humbly refused time and again but the Pundit wouldn’t listen. In the end, Madhavdas signed a letter stating, 'Madhavdas lost and the Pandit won’. Delighted with the easy victory, the Pundit left for Kashi immediately.  Gathering the other scholars there, he started describing his victory and showed everyone the certificate proclaiming his victory. When the Pandits saw it, it was written on it, 'Pandit lost, Madhav won.'  They laughed at him and went away.

Now the Pandit became enraged and went back to Jagannathpuri immediately. There he confronted Madhavadas and abused him and challenged him saying, ‘this time, the loser’s face will be blackened and he will have to go around town on a donkey’ as a sign of his utter humiliation. Finding the opportunity, Lord Jagannath assumed the form of Madhavdas and sat down to debate with the scholar.  After toying with the pundit, the Lord thoroughly defeated him in front of everybody.  

In the end, according to the condition set by the Pundit, they blackened his face and sat him on a donkey and took him around town followed by hundreds of cheering chidren.  

When Madhavadas learnt of the situation, he ran there and got hold of the Lord’s feet and begged Him to forgive the Pundit for his offences. The Lord at once disappeared from vision.  Madhavdas apologized to the Pandit and helped him off the donkey and comforted him. 

Blessed are the meek and humble devotees! There were many such remarkable events in Madhavdas’ life. The Supreme Lord is extremely caring and watchful for his surrendered devotees. The devotee wants to glorify God and God wants to glorify his devotee.  Such is the nature of loving exchange that goes on endless between God and his devotee.


Jai Guru !!

Jai Jai Shri Radhey !!