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Sri Madhavendra Puriís Devotional Service

from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 4.52-104


After they had cleansed the body of the Deity, some of them said, "The Deity is very heavy. No single person can move Him." 

Since the Deity was very heavy, some of the stronger men assembled to carry Him to the top of the hill. Madhavendra Puri also went there. 

A big stone was made into a throne, and the Deity was installed upon it. Another big stone was placed behind the Deity for support. 

All the brahmana priests of the village gathered together with nine waterpots, and water from Govinda-kunda lake was brought there and filtered. 

When the Deity was being installed, nine hundred pots of water were brought from Govinda-kunda. There were musical sounds of bugles and drums and the singing of women. 

During the festival at the installation ceremony, some people sang and some danced. All the milk, yogurt and clarified butter in the village was brought to the festival. 

Various foods and sweetmeats, as well as other kinds of presentations, were brought there. I am unable to describe all these. 

The villagers brought a large quantity of tulasi leaves, flowers, and various kinds of garments. Then Sri Madhavendra Puri personally began the abhiseka [bathing ceremony].


In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa (6.30) it is stated that the Deity should be bathed in water mixed with yogurt and milk, accompanied by the sounds of conchshells, bells and other instruments and the chanting of the mantra om bhagavate vasudevaya namah, as well as the chanting of the Brahma-samhita verses beginning cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vrksa-laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam [Bs. 5.29].


After all inauspicious things were driven away by the chanting of the mantra, the Deity's bathing ceremony started. First the Deity was massaged with a large quantity of oil, so that His body became very glossy. 

After the first bathing, further bathings were conducted with panca-gavya and then with pancamrta. Then the maha-snana was performed with ghee and water, which had been brought in one hundred pots.


The ingredients of panca-gavya are milk, yogurt, ghee (clarified butter), cow urine and cow dung. All these items come from the cow; therefore we can just imagine how important the cow is, since its urine and stool are required for bathing the Deity. The pancamrta consists of five kinds of nectar-yogurt, milk, ghee, honey and sugar. The major portion of this preparation also comes from the cow. To make it more palatable, sugar and honey are added. 


After the maha-snana was finished, the Deity was again massaged with scented oil and His body made glossy. Then the last bathing ceremony was performed with scented water kept within a conchshell.


In his commentary on this occasion, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura quotes from the Hari-bhakti-vilasa. Barley powder, wheat powder, vermilion powder, urad dhal powder and another powder preparation called avata (made by mixing banana powder and ground rice) are applied to the Deity's body with a brush made from the hair at the end of a cow's tail. This produces a nice finish. The oil smeared over the body of the Deity should be scented. To perform the maha-snana, at least two and a half manas (about twenty-four gallons) of water are needed to pour over the body of the Deity. 


After the body of the Deity was cleansed, He was dressed very nicely with new garments. Then sandalwood pulp, tulasi garlands and other fragrant flower garlands were placed upon the body of the Deity. 

After the bathing ceremony was finished, incense and lamps were burned and all kinds of food offered before the Deity. These foods included yogurt, milk and as many sweetmeats as were received. 

The Deity was first offered many varieties of food, then scented drinking water in new pots, and then water for washing the mouth. Finally pan mixed with a variety of spices was offered. 

After the last offering of tambula and pan, bhoga-aratrika was performed. Finally everyone offered various prayers and then obeisances, falling flat before the Deity in full surrender. 

As soon as the people of the village had understood that the Deity was going to be installed, they had brought their entire stocks of rice, dhal and wheat flour. They brought such large quantities that the entire surface of the top of the hill was filled.

When the villagers brought their stock of rice, dhal and flour, the potters of the village brought all kinds of cooking pots, and in the morning the cooking began. 

Ten brahmanas cooked the food grains, and five brahmanas cooked both dry and liquid vegetables. 

The vegetable preparations were made from various kinds of spinach, roots and fruits collected from the forest, and someone had made bada and badi by mashing dhal. In this way the brahmanas prepared all kinds of food. 

Five to seven men had prepared a huge quantity of capatis, which were sufficiently covered with ghee [clarified butter], as were all the vegetables, rice and dhal. 

All the cooked rice was stacked on palasa leaves, which were on new cloths spread over the ground. 

Around the stack of cooked rice were stacks of capatis, and all the vegetables and liquid vegetable preparations were placed in different pots and put around them. 

Pots of yogurt, milk, buttermilk and sikharini, sweet rice, cream and solid cream were placed alongside the vegetables.


In this kind of ceremony, which is called Annakuta, cooked rice is stacked like a small mountain for prasadam distribution. 


In this way the Annakuta ceremony was performed, and Madhavendra Puri Gosvami personally offered everything to Gopala. 

Many waterpots were filled with scented water for drinking, and Lord Sri Gopala, who had been hungry for many days, ate everything offered to Him. 

Although Sri Gopala ate everything offered, still, by the touch of His transcendental hand, everything remained as before.


The atheists cannot understand how the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appearing in the form of the Deity, can eat all the food offered by His devotees. In the Bhagavad-gita (9.26) Krsna says:

patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam asnami prayatatmanah

"If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it." The Lord is purna, complete, and therefore He eats everything offered by His devotees. However, by the touch of His transcendental hand, all the food remains exactly as before. It is the quality that is changed. Before the food was offered, it was something else, but after it is offered the food acquires a transcendental quality. Because the Lord is purna, He remains the same even after eating. Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate. The food offered to Krsna is qualitatively as good as Krsna; just as Krsna is avyaya, indestructible, the food eaten by Krsna, being identical with Him, remains as before.

Apart from this, Krsna can eat the food with any one of His transcendental senses. He can eat by seeing the food or by touching it. Nor should one think that it is necessary for Krsna to eat. He does not become hungry like an ordinary human being; nonetheless, He presents Himself as being hungry, and as such, He can eat everything and anything, regardless of quantity. The philosophy underlying Krsna's eating is understandable by our transcendental senses. When our senses are purified by constantly being engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, we can understand Krsna's activities, names, forms, qualities, pastimes and entourage.

atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah

"No one can understand Krsna by the blunt material senses. But He reveals Himself to the devotees, being pleased with them for their transcendental loving service unto Him." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.234) The devotees understand Krsna through revelation. It is not possible for a mundane scholar to understand Krsna and His pastimes through research work on the nondevotional platform. 


How Gopala ate everything while the food remained the same was transcendentally perceived by Madhavendra Puri Gosvami; nothing remains a secret to the devotees of the Lord. 

The wonderful festival and installation of Sri Gopalaji was arranged in one day. Certainly all this was accomplished by the potency of Gopala. No one but a devotee can understand this.


The Krsna consciousness movement has spread all over the world within a very short time (within five years), and mundane people are very much astonished at this. However, by the grace of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we understand that everything is possible by the grace of Krsna. Why does Krsna have to take five years? In five days He can spread His name and fame all over the world like wildfire. Those who have faith in and devotion to Krsna can understand that these things happen so wonderfully by the grace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We are simply the instruments. In the fierce Battle of Kuruksetra, Arjuna was victorious within eighteen days simply because Krsna's grace was on his side.

yatra yogesvarah krsno yatra partho dhanur-dharah
tatra srir vijayo bhutir dhruva nitir matir mama

"Wherever there is Krsna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power and morality. That is my opinion." (Bg. 18.78)

If the preachers in our Krsna consciousness movement are sincere devotees of Krsna, Krsna will always be with them because He is very kind and favorable to all His devotees. Just as Arjuna and Krsna were victorious in the Battle of Kuruksetra, this Krsna consciousness movement will surely emerge victorious if we but remain sincere devotees of the Lord and serve the Lord according to the advice of the predecessors (the six Gosvamis and other devotees of the Lord). As Narottama dasa Thakura has stated: tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa, janame janame haya ei abhilasa. The Krsna consciousness devotees must always desire to remain in the society of devotees. Bhakta-sane vasa: they cannot go outside the Krsna consciousness society or movement. Within the society we must try to serve the predecessors by preaching Caitanya Mahaprabhu's cult and spreading His name and fame all over the world. If we attempt this seriously within the society, it will be successfully done. There is no question of estimating how this will happen in the mundane sense. But without a doubt, it happens by the grace of Krsna. 


Madhavendra Puri offered water to Gopala for washing His mouth, and he gave Him betel nuts to chew. Then, while arati was performed, all the people chanted, "Jaya, Jaya!" ["All glories to Gopala!"]. 

Arranging for the Lord's rest, Sri Madhavendra Puri brought a new cot, and over this he spread a new bedspread and thus made the bed ready. 

A temporary temple was constructed by covering the bed all around with a straw mattress. Thus there was a bed and a straw mattress to cover it. 

After the Lord was laid down to rest on the bed, Madhavendra Puri gathered all the brahmanas who had prepared the prasadam and said to them, "Now feed everyone sumptuously, from the children on up to the aged!" 

All the people gathered there sat down to honor the prasadam, and by and by they took food. All the brahmanas and their wives were fed first.


According to the varnasrama system, the brahmanas are always honored first. Thus at the festival, the brahmanas and their wives were first offered the remnants of food, and then the others (ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras). This has always been the system, and it is still prevalent in India, even though the caste brahmanas are not qualified. The system is still current due to the varnasrama institutional rules and regulations. 


Those who took prasadam included not only the people of Govardhana village but also those who came from other villages. They also saw the Deity of Gopala and were offered prasadam to eat. 

Seeing the influence of Madhavendra Puri, all the people gathered there were struck with wonder. They saw that the Annakuta ceremony, which had been performed before during the time of Krsna, was now taking place again by the mercy of Sri Madhavendra Puri.


Formerly, at the end of Dvapara-yuga, all the cowherd men of Vrndavana had arranged to worship King Indra, but they gave this worship up, following the advice of Krsna. Instead, they performed a ceremony whereby they worshiped the cows, brahmanas and Govardhana Hill. At that time Krsna expanded Himself and declared, "I am Govardhana Hill." In this way He accepted all the paraphernalia and food offered to Govardhana Hill. It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.24.26, 31-33):

pacyantam vividhah pakah supantah payasadayah
samyava-pupa-saskulyah sarva-dohas ca grhyatam

kalatmana bhagavata sakra-darpam jighamsata
proktam nisamya nandadyah sadhv agrhnanta tad-vacah

tatha ca vyadadhuh sarvam yathaha madhusudanah
vacayitva svasty-ayanam tad-dravyena giri-dvijan

upahrtya balin sarvan adrta yavasam gavam
go-dhanani puras-krtya girim cakruh pradaksinam

"`Prepare very nice foods of all descriptions from the grains and ghee collected for the yajna. Prepare rice, dhal, then halavah, pakora, puri and all kinds of milk preparations like sweet rice, sweetballs, sandesa, rasagulla and laddu.'

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, therefore advised the cowherd men to stop the Indra-yajna and begin the Govardhana-puja to chastise Indra, who was very much puffed up at being the supreme controller of the heavenly planets. The honest and simple cowherd men, headed by Nanda Maharaja, accepted Krsna's proposal and executed in detail everything He advised. They performed Govardhana worship and circumambulation of the hill. According to the instruction of Lord Krsna, Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd men called in learned brahmanas and began to worship Govardhana Hill by chanting Vedic hymns and offering prasadam. The inhabitants of Vrndavana assembled together, decorated their cows and gave them grass. Keeping the cows in front, they began to circumambulate Govardhana Hill." 


All the brahmanas present on that occasion were initiated by Madhavendra Puri into the Vaisnava cult, and Madhavendra Puri engaged them in different types of service.


In the scriptures it is stated, sat-karma-nipuno vipro mantra-tantra-visaradah. A qualified brahmana must be expert in the occupational duties of a brahmana. His duties are mentioned as six brahminical engagements. Pathana means that a brahmana must be conversant with the Vedic scriptures. He must also be able to teach others to study the Vedic literatures. This is pathana. He must also be expert in worshiping different deities and in performing the Vedic rituals (yajana). On account of this yajana, the brahmana, being the head of society, performs all the Vedic rituals for ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras. This is called yajana, assisting others in performing ceremonies. The remaining two items are dana and pratigraha. The brahmana accepts all kinds of contributions (pratigraha) from his followers (namely, the ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras). But he does not keep all the money. He keeps only as much as required and gives the balance to others in charity (dana).

In order for such a qualified brahmana to worship the Deity, he must be a Vaisnava. Thus the Vaisnava's position is superior to that of the brahmana. This example given by Madhavendra Puri confirms that even though a brahmana may be very expert, he cannot become a priest or servitor of the visnu-murti unless he is initiated in vaisnava-mantra. After installing the Deity of Gopala, Madhavendra Puri initiated all the brahmanas into Vaisnavism. He then allotted the brahmanas different types of service to the Deity. From four in the morning until ten at night (from mangala-aratrika to sayana-aratrika), there must be at least five or six brahmanas to take care of the Deity. Six aratrikas are performed in the temple, and food is frequently offered to the Deity and the prasadam distributed. This is the method of worshiping the Deity according to the rules and regulations set by the predecessors. Our sampradaya belongs to the disciplic succession of Madhavendra Puri, who belonged to the Madhva-sampradaya. We are in the disciplic succession of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was initiated by Sri Isvara Puri, a disciple of Madhavendra Puri's. Our sampradaya is therefore called the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. As such, we must carefully follow in the footsteps of Sri Madhavendra Puri and observe how he installed the Gopala Deity on top of Govardhana Hill, how he arranged and performed the Annakuta ceremony in only one day, and so forth. Our installation of Deities in America and in the wealthy countries of Europe should be carried out in terms of Sri Madhavendra Puri's activities. All the servitors of the Deity must be strictly qualified as brahmanas and, specifically, must engage in the Vaisnava custom of offering as much prasadam as possible and distributing it to the devotees who visit the temple to see the Lord. 


After taking rest, the Deity must be awakened at the end of the day, and immediately some food and some water must be offered to Him.


This offering is called vaikali-bhoga, food offered at the end of the day. 


When it was advertised throughout the country that Lord Gopala had appeared atop Govardhana Hill, all the people from neighboring villages came to see the Deity. 

One village after another was pleased to beg Madhavendra Puri to allot them one day to perform the Annakuta ceremony. Thus, day after day, the Annakuta ceremony was performed for some time. 

Sri Madhavendra Puri did not eat anything throughout the day, but at night, after laying the Deity down to rest, he took a 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 to the Deity of Gopala as much food grains, ghee, yogurt and milk as they had in their village.


Anna, ghrta, dadhi and dugdha are food grains, ghee, yogurt and milk. Actually these are the basis of all food. Vegetables and fruits are subsidiary. Hundreds and thousands of preparations can be made out of grains, vegetables, ghee, milk and yogurt. The food offered to Gopala in the Annakuta ceremony contained only these five ingredients. Only demoniac people are attracted to other types of food, which we will not even mention in this connection. We should understand that in order to prepare nutritious food, we require only grains, ghee, yogurt and milk. We cannot offer anything else to the Deity. The Vaisnava, the perfect human being, does not accept anything not offered to the Deity. People are often frustrated with national food policies, but from the Vedic scriptures we find that if there are sufficient cows and grains, the entire food problem is solved. The vaisyas (people engaged in agriculture and commerce) are therefore recommended in the Bhagavad-gita to produce grains and give protection to cows. Cows are the most important animal because they produce the miracle food, milk, from which we can prepare ghee and yogurt.

The perfection of human civilization depends on Krsna consciousness, which recommends Deity worship. Preparations made from vegetables, grains, milk, ghee and yogurt are offered to the Deity and then distributed. Here we can see the difference between the East and the West. The people who came to see the Deity of Gopala brought all kinds of food to offer the Deity. They brought all the food they had in stock, and they came before the Deity not only to accept prasadam for themselves but to distribute it to others. The Krsna consciousness movement vigorously approves this practice of preparing food, offering it to the Deity and distributing it to the general population. This activity should be extended universally to stop sinful eating habits as well as other behavior befitting only demons. A demoniac civilization will never bring peace within the world. Since eating is the first necessity in human society, those engaged in solving the problems of preparing and distributing food should take lessons from Madhavendra Puri and execute the Annakuta ceremony. When the people take to eating only prasadam offered to the Deity, all the demons will be turned into Vaisnavas. When the people are Krsna conscious, naturally the government will be so also. A Krsna conscious man is always a very liberal well-wisher of everyone. When such men head the government, the people will certainly be sinless. They will no longer be disturbing demons. It is then and then only that a peaceful condition can prevail in society. 


The next day, almost as before, there was an Annakuta ceremony. All the brahmanas prepared foods and Gopala accepted them.

The ideal place to execute Krsna consciousness is Vrajabhumi, or Vrndavana, where the people are naturally inclined to love Krsna and Krsna is naturally inclined to love them.


In the Bhagavad-gita (4.11) it is said, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham. There is a responsive cooperation between the Supreme Lord Krsna and His devotees. The more a devotee sincerely loves Krsna, the more Krsna reciprocates, so much so that a highly advanced devotee can talk with Krsna face to face. Krsna confirms this in the Bhagavad-gita (10.10):

tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam
dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te

"To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me." The actual mission of human life is to understand Krsna and return home, back to Godhead. Therefore one who is sincerely engaged in the service of the Lord with love and faith can talk with Krsna and receive instructions by which he can speedily return home, back to Godhead. Today many scholars defend the science of religion, and they have some conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but religion without practical experience of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is no religion at all. Srimad-Bhagavatam describes this as a form of cheating. Religion means abiding by the orders of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one is not qualified to talk with Him and take lessons from Him, how can one understand the principles of religion? Thus talks of religion or religious experience without Krsna consciousness are a useless waste of time. 


Throngs of people came from different villages to see the Deity of Gopala, and they took maha-prasadam sumptuously. When they saw the superexcellent form of Lord Gopala, all their lamentation and unhappiness disappeared. 

All the villages in neighboring Vrajabhumi [Vrndavana] became aware of the appearance of Gopala, and all the people from these villages came to see Him. Day after day they all performed the Annakuta ceremony. 

In this way not only the neighboring villages but all the other provinces came to know of Gopala's appearance. Thus people came from all over, bringing a variety of presentations. 

The people of Mathura, who are very big capitalists, also brought various presentations and offered them before the Deity in devotional service. 

Thus countless presentations of gold, silver, garments, scented articles and eatables arrived. The store of Gopala increased daily.

One very rich ksatriya of the royal order constructed a temple, someone made cooking utensils, and someone constructed boundary walls.

Each and every family residing in the land of Vrajabhumi contributed one cow. In this way, thousands of cows became the property of Gopala.


This is the way to install the Deity, construct the temple and increase the property of the temple. Everyone should be enthusiastic to contribute to the construction of the temple for the Deity, and everyone should also contribute food for the distribution of prasadam. The devotees should preach the gospel of devotional service and thus engage people in practical service to the Deity. Wealthy people can also be attracted to take part in these activities. In this way everyone will become spiritually inclined, and the entire society will be converted to Krsna consciousness. The desire to satisfy the material senses will automatically diminish, and the senses will become so purified that they will be able to engage in bhakti (devotional service to the Lord). Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. By serving the Lord, one's senses are gradually purified. The engagement of one's purified senses in the service of Lord Hrsikesa is called bhakti. When the dormant propensity for bhakti is awakened, one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead as He is. Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah. (Bg. 18.55) This is the process of giving humanity the chance to awaken Krsna consciousness. Thus people can perfect their lives in all respects. 


Eventually two brahmanas in the renounced order arrived from Bengal, and Madhavendra Puri, who liked them very much, kept them in Vrndavana and gave them all kinds of comforts. 

These two were then initiated by Madhavendra Puri, and he entrusted them with the daily service of the Lord. This service was performed continuously, and the worship of the Deity became very gorgeous. Thus Madhavendra Puri was very pleased.


The six Gosvamis and their followers started many temples, including the temples of Govinda, Gopinatha, Madana-mohana, Radha-Damodara, Syamasundara, Radha-ramana and Gokulananda. The disciples of the Gosvamis were entrusted with the seva-puja (Deity worship) of these temples. It was not that the disciples were family members of the original Gosvamis. All the Gosvamis were in the renounced order of life, and Jiva Gosvami in particular was a lifelong brahmacari. At present, sevaitas assume the title of gosvami on the basis of their being engaged as sevaitas of the Deity. The sevaitas who have inherited their positions now assume proprietorship of the temples, and some of them are selling the Deities' property as if it were their own. However, the temples did not originally belong to these sevaitas.




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