DISPLAYS OF ECSTASY
FROM THE LIFE OF SRILA GOUR KISHOR DAS BABAJI
One day, a resident of East Bengal who was a very wealthy landlord, scholar, brāhmana, and famous great devotee of the Lord, came along with his friend to see Srila Gour Kishor. The landowner was so deeply absorbed in devotional ecstasies that his friend had to assist him by holding his hand when he walked. His friend would hold the shoulder of the wealthy landowner because his body was trembling so much. When they arrived before Srila Gour Kishor, two other persons present immediately recognized the wealthy land owner and received him as an advanced devotee of the Lord. They very carefully offered their obeisances to him and arranged a sitting place, pray ing to him to please be seated. At that time Srila Gour Kishor, enacting his pastime of a blind per son, said, “Who has come?” The friend of the landowner introduced his companion by glorifying the landowner’s erudition, devotion, and detachment from material sense gratification, although he possessed unlimited wealth. He described how, just one fortnight before, a thief had come and stolen forty-five thousand Rupees from the landowner’s house. Although suffering such a setback, the landowner, knowing devotion to be the main attachment, had come to obtain Srila Gour Kishor’s transcendental darśan. The friend added, “I am his friend. He has left all material sense gratification and keeps only my association. You will be able to realize his greatness by conversing with him. He once asked me a question about a confidential exchange between Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Ramananda Raya from the Caitanya-caritāmrta. I told him that only Gour Kishor Das Babaji could properly answer his question and certainly no one else. We have already been to see many learned persons in this area and still we cannot come to an agreement about the meaning of this conversation. We think that only you are able to explain it properly.”
After the friend of the great devotee completed his introduction, Srila Gour Kishor replied, “I will tell you a process by which you can understand the conclusion of this conversation. But before trying to understand these confidential topics between Lord Chaitanya and Ramananda Raya, you should renounce the association of this rascal impostor and take shelter of a pure devotee of the Lord. You should hear the Caitanya-caritāmrta one hundred times in the association of real devotees of the Lord. In this way, being absorbed in devotional ecstasy, you will be able to realize the purport of these conversations. At the present moment all the devotees here want to perform congregational chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord. We don’t have time to discuss any other topics.” Then Srila Gour Kishor very loudly requested everyone to perform hari-nāma sankīrtana. Everyone then began to congregationally chant the Lord’s holy name. Hearing the words of Srila Gour Kishor, the proud landowner and his friend immediately got up and left that place. Later in the evening, when almost everyone had gone, some persons said to Srila Gour Kishor, “That very learned landowner was absorbed in devotional ecstasy. We could not see any manifestation of material conscious ness in him. He was devoid of any worldly consciousness.” Another person sitting nearby, who had always heard that Srila Gour Kishor was very open with everyone, said, “That person was so immersed in various loving devotional ecstasies that he could not even walk by his own efforts. How is it that you can say he was not on the highest level of bhāva-bhakti?”
Gour Kishor Das Babaji then replied, “After speaking with him for a few moments I could understand that he had no good intentions in his performance of devotional service. One cannot measure the amount of devotion a person possesses by the approval of the general people. If a person is not serious in his devotional practice, then even if he has the symptoms of renunciation, detachment, and many ecstasies, still he should not be considered to have real renunciation or detachment. As soon as a difficult test comes, then that false renunciation will cease. Detachment searches out the shelter of those who are actually fixed in their intentions for devotional service. In our practical devotional service we should never show anyone our devotional ecstasies. One should perform devotional service e in such a way that his deep attachment to the Lord will increase within his heart. Even if one displays hundreds and hundreds of exhibitions of external attachment, the Lord will not bless him if he does not develop internal loving attachment. If there is actually a deep loving attitude then Krishna Himself will approach and overtake the advanced devotee. Krishna is proportionately aloof or available to the degree of one’s surrender. If one is deeply engrossed in devotional attachment to Lord Hari, then even while suffer ing distressing diseases or other material miseries he will still remain absorbed in transcendental loving service to the Lord. When you can fast and chant Hare Krishna both day and night, and when you can always cry out in desire for the service of Vrishabhanu-nandini Radharani without displaying this to others, then Sri Krishna, who is very dear to Srimati Radharani, will call out for you to take His shelter.” Like a Chaste Wife On another occasion Srila Gour Kishor Das Babaji was sitting in his bhajana-kutīr in Sri Nabadwip Dham, chanting Hare Krishna very loudly. Other persons who had assembled there were also chanting. At this time, one person came and began to display different emotional symptoms, such as crying. Some devotees began to think that that person had attained the highest stage of devotional ecstasy. Srila Gour Kishor however immediately re quested him to leave. Some of the persons assembled there became disturbed at seeing this and also left. Srila Gour Kishor then said, “One who has actually attained love of Godhead will never display the symptoms but will always keep them hidden from the general people, just as a chaste wife will become very embarrassed if she has to show any part of her body, and thus she keeps her body very thoroughly covered. In the same way, when one has real devotion unto the Supreme Lord and becomes elevated to love of Godhead, he always feels embarrassed to exhibit the symptoms of ecstasy, and thus keeps such symptoms unmanifest.”·
—From Amara Prabhura-kathā, a collection of articles written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada. Translated by Vyenkata Das Brahmachari.
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