A Summary Of The Pastimes Of Sri Avadhuta Nityananda by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was enjoying various pastimes in Navadvipa, Nityananda Prabhu lived at the house of Srivasa Thakura. Due to constantly remaining in the mood of a child, Nityananda did not eat with His own hand, and so Srivasa’s wife Malini affectionately fed Him like her own son. In order to test Srivasa, Mahaprabhu one day asked him why he allowed the ultra-unconventional “Avadhūta” Nityananda, whose caste and character were unknown, to live in his house. Mahaprabhu suggested that in order to protect the prestige of his family and caste, he should not allow Nityananda Prabhu to stay in his house. In answer to this, Srivasa informed Mahaprabhu that one who has worshiped Mahaprabhu for even a day is certainly dear to him. Moreover, Nityananda Prabhu is non-different from Mahaprabhu. Even if Nityananda held a pot of wine and associated with prostitutes, or even if He destroyed Srivasa’s caste, life, and wealth, still Srivasa’s faith in Him would not be disturbed for even a moment. On seeing Srivasa’s firm faith in Nityananda, Mahaprabhubecame greatly pleased and gave him the benediction that even if Laksmidevi felt the need to beg at any time, Srivasa would not face any poverty. Mahaprabhu continued His blessings saying that even the cats and dogs in the house of Srivasa would have unflinching devotion in Him..
Thereafter Mahaprabhu entrusted Srivasa with the full responsibility of caring for Nityananda and then returned home. Nityananda Prabhu continued to wander throughout Nadia; sometimes He swam in the waters of the Ganges and sometimes He enjoyed unlimited bliss by simply floating in her currents. Sometimes He would visit the houses of Murari or Gangadasa, and sometimes He would go to the house of Mahaprabhu. Whenever Mother Saci saw Nityananda, she showed Him great affection. Once, when in the mood of a child Nityananda tried to touch the lotus feet of Mother Saci, she immediately ran away.On another day Mother Saci had a wonderful dream. While narrating the subject matter of the dream to Mahaprabhu, she said that both Mahaprabhu and Nityananda entered the temple of Visnu as five-year-old boys. Then Nityananda held Krishna and Mahaprabhu held Balarama, and They began to quarrel with each other.
In anger, Balarama and Krishna asked Gaura and Nityananda to leave the temple room because They were unauthorised. Nityananda replied that in the previous age of Dvāpara-yuga, Krishna and Balarama had full authority to perform all pastimes, but in the present Kali-yuga, They had no right whatsoever. Therefore Gaura and Nitai alone were qualified to accept all the offerings. Both Balarama and Krishna then said that They would bind Gaura and Nitai, confine Them to the temple room, and leave. In this way They went on quarreling and began to eat the foodstuffs that They snatched from each other. When Nityananda Prabhu addressed Sacimata as “mother” and begged her for rice to mitigate His hunger, Mother Saci’s dream came to an end.
After Mahaprabhu heard the description of the dream from Mother Saci, He forbade her to disclose it to anyone. The Lord said that the Deities of her house were directly the Personality of Godhead and They eat half the foods offered to Them. He previously had some doubt whether Laksmipriya was eating that portion of the offering, but now that doubt was removed from His mind. “Therefore”, Mahaprabhu continued, “Nityananda should be invited and fed.”
Thereafter Mahaprabhu went to Nityananda, and whilst inviting Him for lunch, the Lord forbade Him from manifesting any kind of ‘restlessness’. In answer to this, Nityananda said that only a madman plays mischief and Mahaprabhu must think that everyone is like Himself. While speaking in this way, They both arrived at Mahaprabhu’s house and sat down together with Their intimate associates headed by Gadadhara Pandita.
After Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu washed Their feet with the water offered by the elderly man servant Ishana, They both sat down together to eat Their meal. Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu appeared just like Sri Ramacandra and Laksmana. When Mother Saci served Them food on three plates, They began to laugh.
On seeing the characteristics of Krishna and Balarama in the bodies of Gaura and Nitai, Mother Saci fell unconsciousness to the ground, where upon Mahaprabhu helped her regain consciousness. In order to perform various pastimes in Nadia, Mahaprabhu visited the houses of the devotees and manifested His different forms to the different devotees. One day, as a singer played his small drum and sang the glories of Lord Shiva, Mahaprabhu manifested the mood of Lord Shankara and climbed on the singer’s shoulders. Later, after regaining His external consciousness, the Lord got down from his shoulders and gave him ample alms. The singer was very pleased and returned home. Thereafter Mahaprabhu called His associates and expressed His desire to perform harināma saṅkīrtana every night. According to the Lord’s desire, the pastimes of saṅkīrtana began. On hearing that blissfull chanting, the atheists began to criticise and spread various malicious rumors. When Mahaprabhu fell forcefully to the ground during the kīrtana, Mother Saci became worried and prayed to Krishna, “Although Mahaprabhu does not feel any pain while falling forcefully to the ground, an affectionate mother cannot tolerate it. Therefore, may He not feel any pain.” Mahaprabhu realised the internal mood of His mother, so from that time on He caused Mother Saci to remain fully absorbed during the Lord’s saṅkīrtana pastimes so that she would not know anything.
As a tumultuous kīrtana was begun in the courtyard of Srivasa on the Ekadāsī day (Śrī Hari-vāsara), Mahaprabhu began to manifest various transformations of ecstatic love. Since by the order of Mahaprabhu the door of Srivasa’s house was locked from the inside during the performance of saṅkīrtana, the atheists outside were unable to enter the house and began criticizing Mahaprabhu and His associates with various harsh statements. The devotees of Mahaprabhu ignored such statements and remained intoxicated in the pastimes of saṅkīrtana. Just as the long night of the rāsa-līlā pastimes appeared as a fraction of a second to the gopīs, the devotees who were intoxicated by Mahaprabhu’s saṅkīrtana pastimes passed their nights absorbed in the same way.
One day after kīrtana Mahaprabhu took all the śālagrāma-śilās on His lap and sat on the throne of Lord Visnu. He then manifested His glories to the devotees and began to eat the various foodstuffs offered by them. In this way, after the Lord ate sufficient foodstuffs to feed two hundred people, He again demanded more food. The devotees were unable to offer any more foodstuffs, so they simply offered Him some betel nuts. Thereafter Mahaprabhu requested Advaita Prabhu to ask for a benediction. In this way, after some time, the Lord fell to the ground unconscious. Later on He regained external consciousness and began to perform kīrtana. In this way, Mahaprabhu continued His ecstatic
pastimes in Navadvipa.
— Śrī Caitanya Bhagavata of Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura Madhya Khanda, Chapter 8 Chapter Summary of Parivrājakācārya Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja Translated by Bhumipati Dāsa