Srila Madhavendra Puri  


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


Sri Krishnadas Kaviraja Gosvami has described in Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta that the first sprout of the desire tree of devotion was Sri Madhavendra Puri, and that sprout developed into a sapling in the person of Sri Ishvar Puri. Then, in the person of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Who was also the gardener Himself, that sapling became the trunk of a enormous tree, the desire tree of devotion. Srila Madhavendra Puri is thus in fact, the root of the tree of prema bhakti.

Before the Lord appeared in this world he sent His personal associates beforehand, Sri Madhava Puri was one of them.

Sri Madhavendra Puri lived for many years and taught love and devotion to God throughout the world. He visited many places in India, and the exact number of his disciples is not known. Among his prominent disciples were Sri Advaita Acharya, Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Sri Paramananda Puri, Sri Ranga Puri, Sri Brahmananda Puri, Sri Brahmananda Bharati, Sri Kesava Bharati, Sri Krishnananda Puri, Sri Ramachandra Puri, Sri Nrsimha Tirtha, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Isvara Puri, Sri Raghupati Upadhya and Sri Sukhananda Puri etc.

Srila Madhavendra Puri was such an elevated devotee of Lord Krsna that just by seeing a dark rain cloud he would fall down unconscious overcome by spiritual rapture. Hearing Lord Krishna's name caused him uncontrollable ecstasy, and roaring loudly he would manifest various symptoms of divine love. Sri Advaita could see all these Vaishnava qualities in Srila Madhavendra Puri. He was extremely pleased to meet him and so he wanted to get spiritual instructions from him.

Srila Madhavendra Puri established the worship of the Gopala Deity, who is today worshiped as Srinathaji in Nathdwara, Rajasthan.

Srila Madhavendra Puri, the grand-spiritual master of Sri Chaitanya, took leave of all karma-kandiya obligations with the following words:

sandhya-vandana bhadram astu bhavato bhoh snana tubhyam namo
bho devah pitaras ca tarpana-vidhau naham ksamah ksamyatam
yatra kvapi nisadya yadava-kulottamsasya kamsa-dvisah
smaram smaram agham harami tad alam manye kim anyena me

"O my evening prayer, may all good unto you. O my morning bath, I bid you good-bye. O demigods and forefathers, please excuse me. I am unable to perform any more offerings for your pleasure. Now I have decided to free myself from all reactions to sins simply by remembering anywhere and everywhere the great descendant of Yadu and the great enemy of Kamsa [Lord Krsna]. I think that this is sufficient for me. So what is the use of further endeavours?"

Srila Madhavendra Puri said further:

mugdham mam nigadantu niti-nipuna bhrantam muhur vaidika
mandam bandhava-sancaya jada-dhiyam muktadarah sodarah
unmattam dhanino viveka-caturah kamam maha-dambhikam
moktum na ksamate manag api mano govinda-pada-sprham

"Let the sharp moralist accuse me of being illusioned; I do not care. Experts in Vedic activities may slander me as being misled; friends and relatives may call me frustrated, my brothers may call me a fool, the wealthy mammonites may point me out as mad, and the learned philosophers may assert that I am much too proud; still my mind does not budge an inch from the determination to serve the lotus feet of Govinda, though I be unable to do it."

Meeting Krishna in Vrndavana

Sri Madhavendra Puri travelled to Vrindavana, where he came upon the Govardhana Hill. Madhavendra Puri went almost mad in his ecstasy of love of Godhead, and he did not know whether it was day or night. Sometimes he stood up, and sometimes he fell to the ground. After circumambulating the hill, Madhavendra Puri went to Govinda kunda and took his bath. He then sat beneath a tree to take his evening rest. While he was sitting beneath a tree, a charming young cowherd boy came with a pot of milk, placed it before the sage, and, smiling, addressed Him as follows:

"Please drink the milk I have brought. Why don't you beg some food to eat? What kind of meditation are you undergoing?" When he saw the beauty of that boy Madhavendra Puri became very pleased. Gazing at the boy and hearing His sweet words, he forgot all hunger and thirst. Madhavendra Puri said: "Who are You? Where do you live? And how did you know that I was fasting?"

The boy replied: "Baba, I am a cowherd boy, and I live in this village. In my village, no one goes hungry. In this village a person can beg food from others and get plenty to eat. Some people drink only milk, but if a person does not ask anyone for food, I supply him all eatables. The women who come here to take water saw you, and they gave me this milk and sent me to you. I must go back soon to milk the cows, but I shall return and take back this milk pot from you." Saying this, the boy left the place. In fact, he suddenly could be seen no more, and Madhavendra Puri's heart was filled with wonder.

After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri washed the pot and put it aside. He looked toward the path, but the boy never returned. Madhavendra Puri could not sleep. He sat and chanted the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and at the end of the night he dozed a little. In a dream Madhavendra Puri saw the very same boy. The boy appeared before him and, holding his hand, led him to a bush in the jungle. Point to the bush the boy said:

"I live in this bush, and because of this I suffer greatly from severe cold, rain, winds and scorching heat. Please bring the people of the village and get them to take Me out of this bush. Then have them place me nicely on top of the hill. Please construct a temple on the hill and install Me in that temple. After this, bathe Me with lots of cool water so that My body may be cleansed. For many days I have been observing you, and I have been wondering, `When will Madhavendra Puri come here to serve Me?' I have accepted your service due to your ecstatic love for Me. Thus I shall appear, and by My darshan all fallen souls will be delivered. My name is Gopala. I am the lifter of Govardhana Hill. I was installed by Vajra, and here I am the authority. When the Mohammedans attacked, the priest who was serving Me hid Me in this bush in the jungle. Then he ran away out of fear, Since the priest went away, I have been staying in this bush. I am so glad you have come here. No please remove Me with care.” After saying this, the boy disappeared.

Then Madhavendra Puri woke up and began to think about his dream. He began to lament: "Ah! I saw Sri Krishna directly, but I could not recognize Him!" He fell down on the ground and rolled in ecstatic love and cried. Then after some time, he calmed down and fixed his mind on executing the order of Gopala.

Finding and Installing the Gopal Deity

After taking his morning bath, Madhavendra Puri went to the village and assembled all the people. Folding his hands, he addressed them: "The bushes are very dense, and we will not be able to enter the jungle. Therefore take axes and spades to clear the way."

Hearing this, the people accompanied Madhavendra with great pleasure. According to his directions, they cut down bushes, cleared a path and entered the jungle. When they recovered the Deity covered with dirt and grass, they were all struck with wonder and joy.

They cleansed the body of the Deity and the stronger men assembled to carry Him to the top of the hill where He was installed. All the Brahmin priests of the village gathered together and nine hundred pots of water were brought from Govinda-kunda to bathe the Lord.

Gopala was elaborately bathed, massaged with scented oil and dressed in beautiful garments. After the bathing ceremony was finished, bhoga arati was performed and all kinds of delicious food and sweets were offered to Him. Finally everyone offered prayers and obeisance, falling flat before the Lord in total surrender.

The villagers brought their entire stocks of rice, dal and wheat flour and an enormous feast was prepared. In this way the Annakuta ceremony was performed, and Madhavendra Puri personally offered everything to Gopala. Although Sri Gopala ate everything offered, still, by the touch of His transcendental hand, everything remained as before. This was perceived by Madhavendra Puri.

Madhavendra Puri then brought a new cot and a new bedspread and made a bed and invited the Lord to take rest. After this, Sri Madhavendra Puri ordered everyone to honour the maha prasada.

Seeing the influence of Madhavendra Puri, all the people were struck with wonder. They saw that the Annakuta ceremony, which had been performed during the time of Krishna, was now taking place again by the mercy of the holy saint. Sri Madhavendra Puri did not eat anything throughout the day, but at night, after laying the Deity down to rest, he took a little milk preparation.

The next morning, the rendering of service to the Deity began again, and people from one village arrived with all kinds of food grains. The inhabitants of the village brought for Gopala as much foodgrains, ghee, yogurt and milk as they had in their village.

Again on that day there was another Annakuta ceremony. After this, everyday the same type of ceremony was observed by people of the different nearby villages. The devotees offered ten thousand cows for the service of Gopala. Seeing this service to the Gopala Deity, Srila Puri Maharaj’s mind was filled with joy. Truly the Brajavasis' love for Krishna is the highest - they gave their everything to their beloved Gopala.

Madhavendra Puri initiated two Gaudiya brahmins and engaged them in the service of Lord Gopala. In this way the Deity worship in the temple was very gorgeously performed for two years. Madhavendra Puri stayed near the bottom of Govardhan Hill. The place where he lived came to be known as Yatipura or Jatipura - after Yati or Sanyasi.

Then one day Madhavendra Puri had another dream. In his dream, Gopala said: "I am feeling very hot. Please bring me sandalwood from the Malaya region and smear the pulp over My body to cool Me. Bring sandalwood pulp from Jagannatha Puri. Kindly go quickly. Since no one else can do it, you must."

Bringing Sandalwood for the Deity

Getting this dream instruction, Madhavendra Puri Gosvami was overcome with ecstasy of love of Godhead, and in order to execute the command of the Lord, he started east toward Bengal. When he arrived at the house of Advaita Acharya in Shantipura, the Acharya became very pleased to see the high level of ecstatic love manifest in Madhavendra Puri. Advaita Acarya begged to be initiated by Madhavendra Puri. After initiating Him, Madhavendra Puri spent a few days with Sri Advaita discussing Krishna katha.

One day Sri Jagannatha Misra, Mahaprabhu’s father, invited Madhava Puri to his house. On his arrival Jagannatha washed his feet and fed him sumptuously. Seeing the great devotion of Sachi and Jagannatha, Sri Puri Gosvami blessed them profusely. As a result of his blessings, Sri Mahaprabhu was later born in that family.

After a few days in Navadvipa, Sri Puri started for Orissa. Within a few days he arrived at Remuna where Gopinatha is situated. Seeing the beauty of the Deity, Madhavendra Puri was overwhelmed.

In the corridor of the temple, from which people generally viewed the Deity, Madhavendra Puri chanted and danced. Then he sat down there and asked a brahmana what kinds of foods they offered to the Deity. Madhavendra Puri thought: "I shall inquire from the priest what foods are offered to Gopinatha so that by making arrangements in our kitchen, we can also offer similar foods to Sri Gopala."

When the brahmana priest was questioned in this matter, he explained in detail the types of food that were offered to the Deity of Gopinatha. The brahmana priest said: "In the evening the Deity is offered sweet rice in twelve earthen pots. Because the taste is as good as nectar, it is named amrta keli. This sweet rice is celebrated throughout the world as gopinatha-kheer. It is not offered anywhere else in the world."

While Madhavendra Puri was talking with the brahmana priest, the sweet rice was placed before the Deity as an offering. Seeing this Madhavendra Puri thought "If, without my asking, a little sweet rice is given to me, I could then taste it and make a similar preparation to offer my Lord Gopala." Then immediately Madhavendra Puri realised his mistake in desiring to taste the sweet rice, and he immediately repented, "I have committed an offence. I have desired to taste the preparation before it was offered to the Lord." Thinking in this way Puri Gosvami left and went to a near-by vacant marketplace. Sitting there he began to chant.

In the meantime, the temple priest laid the Deity down to rest, finished his daily duties, and went to take rest. In a dream that night, the priest saw the Gopinatha Deity come to talk to him, and He spoke as follows:

"Please get up and open the door of the temple. I have kept aside one pot of sweet rice for the sanyasi Madhavendra Puri. This pot of sweet rice is just behind My cloth curtain. You did not see it because of I hid it from you. A sanyasi named Madhavendra Puri is sitting in the vacant marketplace. Please take this pot of sweet rice from behind Me and deliver it to him." The priest immediately got up, took his bath and went into the temple where he found the condensed milk concealed behind the curtain.

Immediately he took the pot and went to market and began searching, calling out the name of Madhavendra Puri. Then he saw a sanyasi chanting with his eyes filled with tears. As soon as the priest saw him, he thought this must be Madhavendra Puri. After asking his name, the priest gave him the pot of sweet rice and told him everything about the dream.

Hearing this story Sri Madhavendra Puri was again overwhelmed with ecstatic love. Seeing the satvik bhavas manifest in Madhavendra Puri, the priest was struck with wonder. He could understand why Krishna had taken the trouble to steal one pot of kheer and he felt that Krishna's action was befitting. The priest offered his obeisance and returned to the temple.

Then, in ecstasy, Madhavendra Puri ate the sweet rice offered to him by Krishna. After this, he washed the pot and broke it into pieces. He then bound all the pieces in a piece of cloth and kept them carefully. Each day, Puri Goswami would eat one piece of that earthen pot, and after eating it he would immediately become overwhelmed with ecstasy.

Madhavendra Puri began to think, "The Lord has given me a pot of sweet rice, and when the people hear of this tomorrow morning, there will be great crowds." Thinking this, he offered his obeisance to Gopinatha on the spot and left Remuna before morning. Sri Madhavendra Puri went to Nilacala and saw Lord Jagannatha. At that time again various ecstatic symptoms appeared on his body. When he arrived in Puri people were aware of his transcendental reputation. Therefore crowds of people came and offered him all sorts of respect in devotion.

Even though one may not like it, reputation, as ordained by providence, comes to him. Indeed one's transcendental reputation is known throughout the entire world. Being afraid of prestige (pratishtha), Madhavendra Puri fled from Remuna. But the reputation brought by love of Godhead is so sublime that it goes along with the devotee as if following him.

Sri Madhavendra Puri told all the residents there about the appearance of Sri Gopala in Govardhan. When all the devotees of Jagannatha Puri heard that the Gopala Deity wanted sandalwood, in great pleasure they all endeavored to collect it. Those who were acquainted with government officers met with them and asked for camphor and sandalwood, which they collected. The King of Puri provided a servant to Madhava Puri to carry the sandal and camphor and also gave all the documents and clearance certificates for crossing the boundary of the kingdom.

In this way Madhavendra Puri started for Vrndavana with the sandalwood, and after some days reached the village of Remuna and the Gopinatha temple there. When the priest of Gopinatha saw Madhavendra Puri again, he offered all respects to him and, giving him some kheer prasada again, made him eat.

Madhavendra Puri took rest that night in the temple, but toward the end of the night he had another dream. Gopala appered before him and said: "O Puri Maharaj, I have already received all the sandalwood and camphor. Now just grind all the sandalwood together with the camphor and then smear the pulp on the body of Gopinatha daily until it is finished. There is no difference between My body and Gopinatha's body. We are one and the same. Therefore if you smear the sandalwood pulp on the body of Gopinatha, you will naturally also smear it on My body. Thus the temperature of My body will be reduced. You should not hesitate to act according to My order. Believing in Me, just do what is needed." After giving these instructions Gopala disappeared, and Madhavendra Puri awoke. He immediately called for all the servants of Gopinatha and they came before him.

Madhavendra Puri said, "Smear the body of Gopinatha with this camphor and sandalwood I have brought for Gopala in Vrindavan. Do this regularly every day."
The servants of Gopinatha became very pleased to hear that in the summer all the sandalwood pulp would be used to anoint the body of Gopinatha. In this way Gopinathaji was supplied cooling sandalwood pulp daily. At the end of the summer, Madhavendra Puri returned to Jagannatha Puri.

Madhavendra Puri met with Nityananda Prabhu in Puri. Afterwards, he left for southern India along with some disciples. He returned eventually and spent his final days in Remuna. During his last days, he would constantly utter the following lament while craving for Krishna:

Ayi dinadayadaranatha hey mathuranatha kadavalokyase,
hrdayam tvadlokakataram dayita bhramyati kim karomyayam

Oh Merciful Lord of the Fallen, Hey Lord of Mathura When will I behold You
My heart is rent in your absence and I roam about helpless
Ha! What shall I do now, Where shall I go

Gaudiya acharyas have accepted this stanza as the pure essence of the mood of separation. Lord Caitanya was overwhelmed with joy upon remembering this sloka.

Srila Madhavendra Puri's samadhi lies in a small temple, just behind Khir-chora Gopinath temple in Remuna.



Sri Sri Madhavendra Puri Maharaj ki Jai !!

Jai Jai Sri Radhey !!

Jai Guru !!