[Hari-katha inspired by the Guruvarga]

This period, from Parsva Ekadasi to Purnima, is like a special pancakam. These five days, we observe Ekadasi-vrata, the appearance of Vamanadeva, the appearance of Srila Jiva Gosvami, the appearance of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the disappearance of Haridasa Thakura, and Visvarupa Mahotsava.

Mahaprabhu spent Caturmasya with the Gaudiya-bhaktas and Vaisnavas from all the sampradayas in Jagannatha Puri-dhama. Numbering thousands, these devotees followed Caturmasya vrata under Mahaprabhu’s guidance.

Mahaprabhu taught everyone vaisnava-dharma, philosophy, and how to properly observe the Vaisnavas’ appearance and disappearance days. He taught this Himself. Other sastras offer much advice, but Mahaprabhu showed what is proper, practical, necessary, and unnecessary to follow in the observance of these occasions. By His example, He revealed the devotees’ duty on days such as Janmastami, Guru-purnima, Radhastami, Baladeva Purnima, and the Guruvarga’s avirbhava and tirobhava festivals.

Today is the disappearance day of Haridasa Thakura. Try to understand who Haridasa Thakura is. Hear his glories and allow the awakening of even a little respect for him within your heart. This is puja to him. This is sraddha, faith. This is a good chance to be connected to Mahaprabhu’s line. Haridasa Thakura’s glories were sung by Mahaprabhu Himself.

Despite utilizing great amounts of paraphernalia, there is no guarantee that Mahaprabhu will accept your worship. However, simply by hearing Haridasa Thakura’s glories and awakening faith in those glories—a very sweet and nectarful method of making a relationship with Mahaprabhu and His sampradaya is found. A person who accepts these glories will achieve a happiness that will remain his, regardless of any kind of situation he is placed in.

How did Haridasa Thakura appear in this world? How did he help the jivas? How did he tolerate everything? How does the sadhaka cross maya and go to Vrajamandala? Haridasa Thakura, instructed the world on these topics, from the very beginning of his life until his last day. At every moment of his life he was showing us the proper path in spiritual life. If we remember him and his glories then we will no longer be in maya. We will be in Goloka Vrndavana.

In the time of Krsna’s pastimes, Adi-guru Brahma came to Vrajamandala. He had promised that after the appearance of Goloka Vrndavana, he would serve Radha-Krsna, the Vraja-devis, Vrajavasis and everyone. But later, he became bewildered after the pastime of Krsna liberating Aghasura. Krsna and all His sakhas had entered Aghasura’s mouth and gone into his stomach. Why? If Krsna did not touch Aghasura, how could Aghasura have ever tasted vraja rasa?

Aghasura thought, “I will become a pakka Vrajavasi by putting the Vrajavasis in my mouth.”

People think, “I will be a Vrajavasi. Give me laddus and kacoris and I will eat them all.” They think that if you take all the sweets in Vraja, you can become a Vrajavasi. Aghasura’s thoughts were similar to this. “I will eat all the Vrajavasis,” he thought. “By the time I digest them, I will be a pakka Vrajavasis.”

Krsna said, “The Vrajavasis are not so easy to digest. They are not mundane frogs, rasagullas, or laddus that you can simply chew and digest. This is impossible.”

Krsna went inside the demon’s mouth and blocked his throat. Aghasura’s soul left his body and moved in the sky like a small luminary. It then entered the effulgence emanating from Krsna’s toenail.

The demigods were watching from the sky. They showered flowers, played drums and symbols, and danced in ecstasy. When Brahma appeared there and asked what had happened, the demigods replied, “A soul was floating in the sky as a light, and Krsna, the little boy there that wears only a small cloth and turban; with remnants of His lunch still on hands; and being without shoes, umbrella, or opulent cloth, absorbed the light of that soul. The soul entered His toenail.”

Brahma then doubted, “Is this boy God? How can He be God? But if He is not God, then how could the soul have entered Him?” He was perplexed. A desire to test the Lord came to him.

A challenging mood comes with doubt. A person who doubts will think, “I am intelligent. I am great,” and will wish to check the object of his doubt with the strength of his intelligence. But when he goes and tests others what is the result? We see it in this pastime. Krsna’s bahiranga sakti, maya, bewildered the intelligence of Brahma. She loosened the screws in his brain.

Brahma saw Krsna eating yogurt-rice, which He likes so much, and mango and chili pickle. Krsna and His friends eat yogurt-rice in the afternoon when it is hot, because it cools the body. Brahma watched as Krsna ate with His friends. Krsna would have a sakha bite a piece of a pakori and then eat the rest Himself. He would also eat something Himself and then give it to others.

Brahma doubted more. He then stole the calves and sakhas and hid them away. Afterwards he went to Brahmaloka but the inhabitants there tormented him. If someone’s deeds are good his result will be good, but an ill-behaved person will be punished. The gatekeeper of Brahmaloka kicked Brahma out and said, “Go away. My master, Brahmaji, is inside. Imposter! Where have you come from?”

Now, was Brahma the worshiper or the worshipable? Everyone tormented him. He came back down to Earth and saw Krsna and all His sakhas and calves doing pastimes. He was perplexed and then realized, “Oh, I must have done something very wrong.” He looked with two of his heads to the cave where he had put the boys and calves. They were there, still sleeping under his enchantment, and with his other two heads he looked at Krsna. The boys and calves were also with Him. Suddenly, they appeared as Lord Narayana’s four-armed manifestations.

Brahma thought he was worshiping and serving in Vraja bhumi, but he did some wrong and he was punished. No one spoke with Brahma.

When Brahma submitted himself in front of Krsna and begged for forgiveness, the sakhas saw him and asked Krsna, “Where has this peculiar insect of four heads and eight eyes come from? He sits down and stands, and prostrates, and stands—what type of creature is this?” They teased Brahma like this, but they did not speak directly to him.

Brahma prayed to Krsna for forgiveness again and again, but Krsna neglected him. When he finally prayed to Nanda Baba and the Vrajavasis, then Krsna was pleased. Krsna forgave Brahma and told him, “Go back to Brahmaloka.”

From Brahmaloka, Brahma came many times to see Krsna. He has his post as Brahma, therefore, he cannot enter and serve in Krsna’s pastimes so easily. If a person has a very great post, like Brahma, the architect of the Universe, then it is very difficult for him to do bhajana. He was respecting Krsna and the Vrajavasis but did not have a loving relationship at that time. He spoke with the rsis and maharsis in Brahmaloka, and all the heavenly sages. They advised him, “Make a relation with the bhaktas. Make a sweet friendship with the bhaktas. They will help you. Then you can do sadhana bhakti. If you do not do sadhana then prema bhakti will not come to you. Go to Krsna’s lila again and make a relation with the bhaktas. Go with the bhaktas. Don’t go independently, or your mind will be bewildered. If you go to guru, you will not be able to understand him. If you go to the vaisnavas, you will not be able to understand them. You must go to Guru’s nearest and dearest; you must go to the Vaisnavas’ nearest and dearest; and the nearest and dearest of God and make relationship with them. By doing so, you will be able to understand the reality and their mood and tendency to serve will come into your heart. Then you will think, “Who is the great bhakta? Who can I serve?”

Brahma thought like this. He prayed. The sages told him, “You must pray to God and He will arrange what is necessary.”

Vina hari krpa na mila santa—without the mercy of God one cannot find the sadhus. Sadhu-seva, sadhu darsana, and establishing a relationship with sadhus is only possible by the mercy of God. Sadhus will not show that they are sadhus. They will call themselves cheaters. They will say, “I am a bhogi, an enjoyer.” They will not announce, “I am 108 Brahma lina, Sankaracarya lina, Vaisnava lina…” or anything like this. They will not say they are acaryas or gurus. Sadhus are always secretive and hidden.

By speaking to the sages and praying to God, Brahma received inspiration. He thought, “Oh, Prahlada is a great bhakta.”

For sixty thousand years, Prahlada heard harikatha from Narada Rsi and performed nama sankirtana. He was doing nama sankirtana the day he was born.

Brahma now prayed to him, “Please help me. I want to take part in the pastimes of God when he takes birth in Kali yuga. I am requesting you to help me. Please give me your shelter. With your help, I can learn patience. I will be pacified at heart, and I will serve God. Please help me.”

Prahlada Maharaja said, “I also want to go to these pastimes. I have heard that the Prema Avatara, or the Nama Avatara is coming. He is anarpita carim cirat. This creation has not seen the likes of such an Avatara in the past and shall not see Him in the future. He appears after trillions of years and mercifully delivers all souls. He is karunayavatirna kalau. He gives prema and nama. I want to appear in His pastimes also. Let us go together.”

Both Brahma and Prahlada combined in one form. They were now like twins in one form. Brahma and Prahlada became Twins—meaning ‘two-ins’. Twins means ‘two in one.’ They were two souls in one body.

Millions of souls are in our bodies. They are like our past wives, husbands, relatives, friends and enemies. These souls, with whom we have connection in karma, compose our bodies. The body is comprised of many souls. These souls always disturb us. They are not sajatiya. They are vijatiya and want to make us enjoy. They pull us in different directions, saying, “Go to the ocean and swim. Go to the garden and play. Go and eat. Go to the movies.” They have so many desires and these manifest in our mind. But now only Brahma and Prahlada came into one body—only two souls in one. This combined form of Brahma and Prahlada is renowned as Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura.

Previously, Brahma prayed to God, “Prabhu, in my next birth, may I not be born in a rich or royal family. May I take birth in a poor, low-class family. May my color not be fair and may I not be beautiful. Then people will not disturb me and I will not disturb anyone. I will simply do bhajana without attachment to the body. When the body is beautiful and good, so many people become attached to it and want to enjoy it.”

Now the two, Brahma and Prahlada, took birth as Haridasa Thakura. It is said that he was born in a Muslim family in what is presently Bangladesh. He left his family when he was a child and entered the jungle. His practice of harinama and sadhana was like Prahlada’s. Taste in harinama cannot be had without the mercy of Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada is prahlada hlada dayini—he gives the power of hladini sakti. This was given to him by Narada Rsi, his guru, therefore he always chants harinama.

Now Brahma, along with Prahlada, saw that Kali yuga’s degrading influence was stronger than ever on Earth. Haridasa Thakura never disturbed anyone or went anywhere. He lived in the jungle in the area of Beranpol, where he did bhajana in a simple hut. There he was visited by Maya devi herself. She said to him, “O Haridasa Thakura, This whole world is my area of jurisdiction. I have understood your identity. You are Brahma Haridasa. You are Lord Brahma, and you are also Prahlada Maharaja. I offer you my pranama and my assurance that I am with you. You will never be disturbed by my illusory powers. You are free to chant and propagate the holy name in this world. Also, all jivas will help you. Their wicked natures, acquired by Kali Maharaja’s influence, will change by your mercy and the mercy of the Supreme Lord.”

Haridasa Thakura later left Beranpol and came to Phulia, a place near Santipura and he stayed on the bank of the Ganga. From there, he would regularly go to see Advaita Acarya. He knew that bhakta sanga is necessary.

Our acaryas sing:

ekaki amara nahi paya bala
harinama-sankirtane
tumi krpa kori sraddha bindu diya
deho krsna nama dhane

‘O Vaisnava Thakura, alone, I have no strength for performing harinama sankirtana. May you kindly give me a drop of sraddha, for the greatest treasure, krsna nama.’

krsna se tomara krsna dite paro
tomara sakati ache
ami to kangala krsna krsna bole
dhai tava pache pache

‘Krsna is yours, thus you can give Krsna! I am but a wretched beggar that runs behind you, calling,“Krsna! Krsna!’

We should not be alone. The bhaktas have love for Krsna and if we want that love also, we need their association.

Haridasa Thakura thought, “The Nama Avatara is coming. This must mean that His associates are starting to appear. Mahavisnu, Siva, and everyone must be coming.”

Haridasa Thakura did dhyana and saw that Visnu and Sadasiva, like Brahma and Prahlada, had also become one in the form of Advaita Acarya. “Just as we are twins, they are also,” he thought. He was very happy. “Before, we were two, Brahma and Prahlada. Now Visnu and Sadasiva are also one.”

Haridasa Thakura saw that Advaita Acarya was giving classes on the Bhagavatam and the Gita, as well as other sastras. He began to visit Advaita Acarya daily. Advaita Acarya would give him some madhukari mahaprasada every day. Haridasa Thakura and Advaita Acarya had a very sweet relationship. The bhaktas can see who the bhaktas are. Bhaktas like bhakta sanga. Bhakti increases by staying in the association of bhaktas. But where there is asat sanga, everything is lost.

Many brahmanas would also come daily to the home of Advaita Acarya and offer their respect. They would learn sastra from him. When Advaita Acarya’s father passed away, he performed a sraddha ceremony. He invited everyone. The brahmanas were invited, but Advaita Acarya gave the first plate, the symbol of respect to the most qualified guest, was given to Haridasa Thakura, as well as the highest seat. The brahmanas became angry. “You are feeding this Muslim first and then giving us, the brahmanas, his remnants? You are disrespecting us. We will not eat here.” They all stood up and left.

Only a few minutes later, they returned, saying, “We will not go anywhere until you have responded to our queries.”

Advaita Acarya said, “I know he is Brahma Haridasa. He has relationship with Parabrahma, or God. He is the greatest brahmana. Do you have a relationship with Parabrahma? You call yourself brahmanas but you are only so-called brahmanas. You are not really brahmanas.”

They asked, “How can we be convinced that he is a real brahmana and we are not? We are brahmanas by caste. We wear brahmana threads, study the Vedas, and have so much knowledge, but this person only chants harinama, and was born in a Muslim family.”

“We will make a test,” Advaita Acarya said. “Let there be a fire sacrifice in which Yajnesvara Hari will come and give witness to the fact that Haridasa Thakura is truly worthy of being the guest of honor in the my father’s sraddha ceremony.”

Wood, ghee, and other paraphernalia were arranged for the yajna, but how was the fire to be started? A real yajna is started by a qualified brahmana calling Agni Devata, the god of fire, to manifest there. “If the fire can be manifest by your power,” Advaita Acarya told the brahmanas, “and Hari Himself comes, then I will understand that this is a real yajna.”

The brahmanas chanted mantras, but the fire did not start. They said, “Agni is inside matches or flint. We will start the fire with one of these instruments.”

“No,” Advaita Acarya said, “you should call Agni Devata with your mantra sakti. If you are really brahmanas you should be able to do this.’

The brahmanas asked, “Can Haridasa do it?”

“Yes,” Advaita Acarya said, and he called Haridasa Thakura forth. Haridasa Thakura offered pranama to the place of yajna, circumambulated it four times, chanted harinama, and offered respect to Agni Devata. Suddenly, the wood that was placed in the yajna-kunda ignited and the sacrifice began. Sraddha was offered to the fathers and forefathers. Ghee, grains, and other oblations were offered and Yajnesvara Hari gave darsana and blessings, and left.

After this, many of the brahmanas became jealous. They went to Ramacandra Khan, the administrator of that area, and said, “How can you be called a leader? No one respects you. Haridasa is a Muslim, but still, everyone washes his feet and takes his caranamrta. Even Advaita Acarya worships Haridasa.

Burning in jealousy, Ramacandra Khan said, “Yes. Now I will arrange a good program.” He then called all the prostitutes of the area which he governed, and selected the most qualified among them. That prostitutes name was Laksa-hira. She was very beautiful. Her face was sweet, her skin was fair, and her hair was dark and long. It was as if prakrti herself had made the perfect form of beauty.

Ramacandra Khan said, “I desire something. Can you help me?”

“Yes sir,” Laksa-hira said, “I am yours.”

“I want you to go to Haridasa, who resides in Phulia. Go there and win his heart. Enjoy with him. I will send soldiers to arrest him once you have succeeded and proven to the world that he is an imposter in the guise of a saint. I will give you half of my estate if you do this.”

“Keep both halves of your estate,” the prostitute said. “I have seen Haridasa. He is very young and beautiful. This task would be the fulfillment of my cherished desire. I have become attracted to him and am greedy to have him. With my tantra and mantra I will acquire his heart. I will swim with him in the river and enjoy with him. Just watch. I shall take him through the streets and he will follow me like a dog for the rest of his life.”

“Yes,” Ramacandra Khan said. “Let it be so. I will give you anything you desire. Just do this task for me.”

Laksa-hira went to Phulia on the full moon night. She wore thin silken cloth and had decorated herself with many ornaments and fragrances. She went before Haridasa Thakura and offered pranama. She had brought many sweets, fruits, milk, flower garlands, incense, cloth, and fragrant oils. She presented these things and many more gifts to him, knowing what things were pleasing to sadhus. She put everything in front of Haridasa Thakura and watched his expression. Haridasa Thakura was chanting. For eighteen hours continuously he sat without moving only chanting harinama.

Haridasa Thakura chanted three lakhs of harinama daily. He had the power of Prahlada, who is a bona fide acarya of harinama. He never forgets harinama. Narada Rsi always chants harinama—24 hours a day, so why would his disciple do any less?

If a guru does not chant harinama, then the state of his disciples is predictable. Narada Rsi is the financial guru. He has finance for harinama. He is the guru that gives harinama to the disciple who in turn chants that harinama. If the gurus do not chant harinama then the disciples will not also. If the guru watches cricket and other sports, then his disciples will do the same. They will also watch movies. If guru gives diksa then guru sakti come to his disciple. The nature of the guru will enter the disciple. But Haridasa Thakura was Prahlada and Brahma, and they chanted together for eighteen hours a day.

The prostitute sat before Haridasa Thakura. After sitting a while, she said, “I like you. Please accept me.”

Haridasa Thakura said, “Yes, yes. I will accept you. But please wait a little, while I finish my regulated amount of rounds.”

Happy, the prostitute waited, knowing that sadhus never lie. She waited throughout the evening and into the next day, but Haridasa Thakura’s harinama was not complete. Finally she said, “What can I do?” He was chanting and chanting and she heard that holy name. She felt happy hearing the sound of his harinama. She was sitting in front of him. Sometimes she lay down or danced or moved around, trying to make her movements attractive to Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa Thakura was nirvikara, free from any transformation within the body or mind. He chanted throughout the night. In the morning, the prostitute said, “I will return in the evening.”

“Yes,” Haridasa Thakura said. “Do come. I cannot meet with you until my nama sankhya is complete.”

She came the next day. Our acaryas have said that she came with great amounts of jewels and ornaments decorating her body. She came before Haridasa Thakura and said, “I am yours, and everything I have is yours.”

Ramacandra Khan had opened his treasury and supplied the prostitute with these riches. “Decorate yourself as you like. Use the most expensive jewelry.”

Today, seeing the beauty of the prostitute Laksa-hira going to the place of Haridasa, the brahmanas clapped their hands and danced. They said, “Today Haridasa will surely be enamored. He will become the food of Kali. Haridasa will become Kalidasa. We will defeat him today and celebrate our victory.”

But what happened next? Similar to her previous visit, the prostitute waited for Haridasa Thakura to complete his rounds the complete night. She moved about and offered herself in many ways. Haridasa Thakura remained motionless and never stopped chanting. His chanting did not cease. She heard that chanting of Haridasa Thakura all night. She removed the jewels that decorated her and offered them to Haridasa Thakura. The area became effulgent with the great shine of the jewelry. Haridasa Thakura noticed nothing. He chanted without disturbance. When morning came, the prostitute said, “I will go again and be back this evening. All these presentations are yours.”

“Yes. Please come again.”

When she returned that evening and said, “Please accept me,” Haridasa Thakura said, “Yes, I will accept you as soon as I finish my harinama.” When the following morning came, the night passing as the previous two had, with Laksa-hira hearing the Thakura’s continuous chanting, her heart had changed. Nama brahma aksara brahma had affected her heart. The first night, all her sins, offenses, sukrti, and duskrti—everything was washed away.

Then, on the second night, all the papa-bija, avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, and abhinivesa that remained within her was washed away. Nothing was left. On the third night, Nama Prabhu Himself, Nama Brahma, appeared and gave her His full grace. She became maddened in prema. She accepted the holy name and chanted heartily. By the third morning she was completely humbled.

She said, “I have been sent to seduce you by Ramacandra Khan. My name is Laksa-hira. Please don’t forgive me; just don’t reject me. Please accept me. Please give me spiritual instruction.”

“There is a condition,” Haridasa Thakura said. “All this wealth and everything else you possess—give it all in charity. Distribute it all. Through your body you have accumulated so much money. You must give it all in charity. Then you will be completely pure.”

Laksa-hira did as advised. She distributed all her wealth and possessions. She also shaved her head and wore Tulasi neck beads and simple dress. Haridasa Thakura then instructed her, “Now I give you this asrama. This tulasi plant is yours. Sit here and chant harinama. Do not leave this place. Do not worry for you maintenance. People will come and give you many presentations, but you must take only what you need. Distribute the rest. Never take more than you need.

prasiddha vaisnavi haila parama-mahanti
bada bada vaisnava tanra darsanete yanti
— Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 3.142

She became a great liberated soul, and many Vaisnavas came to have her darsana. They offered her respects and glorified her, saying, ‘Brahma Haridasa changed her. She is now a great Vaisnavi.’

After this incident, Haridasa Thakura left that place. As for the brahmanas—they did not change. In Kali yuga those demonic persons who are disguised as sadhus and bhaktas cannot tolerate to see others glorified. Ordinary people do not fight as much as the kali yuga sadhus. The brahmanas were still jealous of Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa Thakura was Brahma himself. Because he was also Prahlada, he was very patient and tolerant. He never became aggravated when criticized or attacked. He went to Advaita Bhavana.

One day, Haridasa Thakura was walking in the street, when he passed a snake charmer that was singing and playing the flute, causing a cobra to dance in front of him. This was his way of making a living. His song was about Kaliya lila. Hearing the singing of Krsna’s pastimes, Haridasa Thakura suddenly fell senseless and experienced asta-sattvika-vikara. The cobra put his head on Haridasa Thakura’s feet. The snake was followed by his charmer. All the passersby also honored the foot dust of Haridasa Thakura as he lay senseless, their hearts attracted by seeing his spiritual ecstasy.

When Haridasa Thakura woke, he immediately left that place, feeling embarrassed. The snake charmer went back to his singing and playing of the flute and the snake danced once more. A so-called brahmana had observed what had happened to Haridasa Thakura and now thought, “Haridasa Thakura is a Muslim, but everyone is taking the dust of his feet. I am a brahmana. People should be worshiping me not him.” He walked up to the snake and charmer and began to make a show of ecstasy. He shook and fell on the ground. Immediately, the snake charmer took up a stick and beat the imposter. The brahmana fled. People around asked the snake charmer, “Why did you worship Haridasa Thakura but not this brahmana?”

The snake charmer replied, “Even this snake respected the foot dust of the great soul Haridasa Thakura because he is a genuine saint. This brahmana however is deceitful. Therefore I beat him. He has no love for God. When I witnessed the ecstasy of Haridasa Thakura and touched his feet, my heart felt cool and well, but when this cheater fell on the ground in a seemingly similar fashion to the Thakura’s, my heart burned with anger.”

People naturally offer their respect to the genuine Vaisnava.

Now the so-called brahmana’s mischief was not finished. He started going spreading the word, “Haridasa Thakura beat me in public and thus insulted me.” He spread this conspiracy among the already jealous brahmanas. They said, “We should go to the Kazi, the Muslim ruler, and complain about Haridasa. This Muslim is chanting Krsna’s names and spreading the Hindu Dharma. Unless he stops, the Muslims will attack him, and disturb all Hindus.”

Just see the nature of these brahmanas. They told their tale to the Muslim rulers. The Kazi and other Muslim officials were enraged by the news. They went to the Badsha, the King, and complained, “Haridasa is born in a Mulsim family but he has left Muslim Dharma. The Muslims are the greatest and Hindus are untouchables. Just saying the name of a Hindu is sinful. We should punish this Haridasa. We should kill him, or at least beat him.”

The Badsha called Haridasa Thakura and had him placed in jail. Within the jail Haridasa Thakura began to speak harikatha to the prisoners. All the prisoners became very happy in his association. Haridasa Thakura was chanting and dancing and they all followed. They joyfully heard his harikatha and begged him to never leave their company. A huge sankirtana erupted in the prison. Hindus and Muslims chanted harinama together and everyone was happy.

The Badsha called Haridasa Thakura to his assembly hall and said, “You were born in a high-class Muslim family. You should not leave your religion. Why don’t you chant, ‘Allahu akhbara?’ Why are you chanting the names the Hindus chant?”

“Hindus and Muslims are the same,” Haridasa Thakura said. “Their bodies may be different but their souls are all the servants of the one same God. Allah, Rama, Hari, Krsna, Vismila—they are all one God. Chanting the name of Allah with respect is good. Chanting the name of Rama is also good. A distinction should not be made. You have made many Hindus into Muslims and many Muslims also chant harinama. What is the harm in this? What is the problem?”

“I understand this,” the Badsha said, “still—”

“If you don’t punish him, your majesty,” the Kazi interjected, “everyone will follow his bad example.”

Then Brahmaji and Prahlada Maharaja, residing in the body of Haridasa Thakura, had a meeting. Brahma said, “I created this world. But these jivas are so strange. They want to punish me. They want to test me, the creator. This is the result of Kali’s influence.”

Gurudeva used to say that a guru and his disciples can be compared to a family. Guru takes care of his disciples and the disciples are all related to him in a way much like a family. After some time, the father, or the guru, who is quite rich and possessed of followers, leaves his body, although his children or his disciples are not yet qualified or fully matured. Next, they are kicked out. “Get out!” they are told. “Don’t stay here anymore. All the property is ours!” Politics and fighting for position breaks out among greedy persons and the children of the father, or the Guru, become orphans.

After acquiring everything, the usurpers announce to the people. “We are the selected successors. We will be the kings; the emperors. We have duly kicked the children out onto the streets. They are unqualified and foolish. They have run away. They have rejected their father. They have forsaken the family. We are the real family members.”

Brahma and Prahlada had a meeting in the head of Haridasa Thakura. Brahma said, “I created the jivas’ bodies, and the world in which they live, but now they want to torment me and tell me to change my dharma? They want me to be a Muslim? This is an outrage. This is Kali-yuga! These jivas are rascals. They think, ‘Whatever I think and whatever I do is proper. Everyone else is bogus.’”

Prahlada Maharaja said, “Oh creator of this world; please be patient. Have some tolerance. Don’t say anything. Let us see what God wishes for us. I lived among demons. At that time, even my Guru, Narada Rsi, went to my father and said, ‘O Hiranyakasipu, this son of yours is dangerous. You should punish him.’ You must tolerate this situation as I tolerated that one. Just chant.”

We know what happened next. The Kazi had Haridasa Thakura beaten in 22 market places, in front of the Hindus. “Beat him till he dies and then throw him in the Ganga,” said the Kazi. “If he is thrown in the Ganga, and not given a burial befitting a respectable Muslim, he will not get salvation. May he suffer eternally.”

But how could the Muslims touch Haridasa Thakura? How could they touch Brahma and Prahlada? Their vision was limited to the physical body. They saw a structure and beat it. But their hands soon lost their power, just as Duhsasana lost his strength when he was trying to disrobe Draupadi publically. The Muslims beat Haridasa Thakura in 22 market places. Nothing happened to Haridasa Thakura, but they lost all their strength. Externally, his flesh was torn and bleeding, but he was unharmed within. He smiled, danced, and chanted harinama. He was beaten to the bone. Practically all the flesh from his body had come off, but he still did not stop chanting harinama.

“Won’t you die?” the beaters asked.

“No. How can I die?”

“If you don’t die the Kazi will kill us and our families.”

“Very well. For your happiness, I will die.”

Then he sat down in samadhi and stopped breathing. The men threw him in the Ganga and reported that he was dead.

The atrocities inflicted on Haridasa Thakura by the Muslims illustrate the policy of Kali-yuga, where actions are governed by hate, jealousy, and evil.

Haridasa Thakura is Brahma, and Brahma is our Adi-guru, original guru. He came to this world and saw the nature of the kali yuga jivas.

A little later Haridasa Thakura immerged from the Ganga, his body well and effulgent, and the same people that had beaten him fell at his feet and said, “You are jinda pida (a great realized soul).” Now no one disturbed him. This is the double-tongued nature of the Kali-yuga jivas.

Brahma is the creator of this world, but these jivas, made foolish by the influence of kali yuga, wanted Brahma to follow them, and said, “If you don’t follow us we will kill you.” But who can kill Brahma? You cannot kill a soul. God is the protector of everyone. If God is protecting someone, how can anyone disturb him? If Sri Guru is protecting someone, then how can they be disturbed?

These rascals tried to kill Haridasa Thakura, but it was impossible. Haridasa Thakura came to help the jivas. He came to meet with the Nama Avatara. Before Mahaprabhu, the Nama Avatara or the Prema Avatara came, Haridasa Thakura thought, “I will help the jivas and bring them to Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.” But just see the nature of the kali yuga jivas.

Advaita Acarya and Haridasa Thakura both came to Navadvipa dhama. Mahaprabhu had not yet appeared, but He later met with these two personalities, and changed the wicked nature of the jivas. He instructed:

suno suno nityananda suno haridasa
sarvatra amar ajna koroha prakas

prati ghare ghare giya koro ei bhiksa
bolo krsna bhaja krsna koro krsna siksa

iha bai ar na boliba bolaiba
dina avasane asi’ amare kohiba
— Caitanya-bhagavata Madhya-lila 13.8-10

‘Listen Nityananda! Listen Haridasa! Go house to house; door to door. Preach. Tell everyone to chant harinama.’

Haridasa Thakura said, “I have tried this, but no one listened to me. Not only that, they tried to kill me. They told me that I should chant ‘allahu akhbara’ not ‘Rama’ or ‘Krsna’ or ‘Hare.’”

“That was before,” Mahaprabhu said, “when you tried to do this. Now I am ordering you to do this. How will your desire be complete without my permission? Now I have given permission.”

Haridasa Thakura set out with Nityananda Prabhu to fulfill Mahaprabhu’s desire, but it was not long until they met some trouble with the two drunk murderous brahmanas named Jagadananda and Madhavananda. It seems that in Kali yuga the brahmanas are foremost among those who fight against dharma. In other casts and faiths, there is less fighting, but the brahmanas of Kali yuga have great strength given to them by Kali Maharaja. Haridasa Thakura and Nityananda Prabhu barely escaped the chase put up by Jagadananda and Madhavananda.

When Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, Haridasa Thakura was with Him. He later stayed with Mahaprabhu in Jagannatha Puri. Mahaprabhu stayed in the Gambhira, and gave Haridasa Thakura a place at Siddha Bakula. At first, there was no bakula tree there. It was only a garden area. Mahaprabhu visited Haridasa Thakura daily. One day, Mahaprabhu brought the twig of a bakula tree that was offered to Lord Jagannatha for cleaning His teeth. He planted the twig outside the residence of Haridasa Thakura and the Siddha Bakula tree manifested. The tree is a manifestation of Jagannatha’s form.

Haridasa

Siddha bakula

Mahaprabhu would sit and discuss topics of sastra with Haridasa Thakura. Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, and the other Vaisnavas would also meet with Mahaprabhu and Haridasa Thakura at Siddha Bakula. Sometimes, Mahaprabhu and Haridasa Thakura went from Siddha Bakula to Tota Gopinatha to hear the Srimad Bhagavatam from Gadadhara Pandita.
Haridasa Thakura would offer pranama to the Cakra on the top of the Jagannatha Temple from a distance. He only saw Jagannatha at the time of Rathayatra. He never tried to enter the Temple. He was very humble.

Mahaprabhu divided His prasada into four parts. One part was for Haridasa Thakura; one part was for Govinda Prabhu; one part was for Raghunatha dasa Gosvami; and one part was for Himself. The Lord would eat only a fourth of His meal and send the rest to these three persons.

Years passed. One day, today, on Ananta Caturdasa, Haridasa Thakura refused to take the prasadam delivered, as usual, by Govinda Prabhu.

“At least take some Tulasi,” Govinda Prabhu insisted.

“No. I cannot. My harinama is incomplete. Unless I finish my rounds, I do not eat or drink anything.”

“Very well.” Govinda Prabhu left and told Mahaprabhu what Haridasa Thakura had said.

Mahaprabhu came to see Haridasa Thakura personally and told him, “Oh Haridasa, now your body is old. You cannot chant three lakhs of harinama before eating. Just chant one lakh.”

“No. I shall chant three. I will not eat if I cannot finish my harinama.” Haridasa Thakura knew Mahaprabhu was soon going to end His manifest pastimes, and he was deeply saddened.

He said, “Prabhu, I have been with You in many of Your pastimes. Many times You left before me, and I suffered greatly along with Your other devotees. I do not want to stay a moment in this world without You. I have seen the nature of this world and how cruel the living entities are. In asat sanga I will lose everything. Oh Lord, I want to leave this world gazing at Your beautiful face. I have received nama-prema from You. I remember when I longed for this. Now I am with You and have received it. You have given me a place here. I do not want to be here without You for a moment. Prabhu, please hear me. Please let me leave now as I behold Your golden face.”

Mahaprabhu said, “If you leave now, everything will stop. I will be alone. O Haridasa, please don’t leave.”

“Lord, please don’t cheat me. If a single fig drops from a fig tree that holds thousands of figs, what is the harm? You have millions of bhaktas, what is the harm if I go?” Haridasa Thakura repeated his desire to give up his body in Mahaprabhu’s presence.

Mahaprabhu and the bhaktas began to chant the holy name. Tumultuous sankirtana commenced there. They did parikrama of Haridasa Thakura. Then Mahaprabhu placed Haridasa Thakura’s head in His lap. While gazing at Mahaprabhu and chanting harinama, Haridasa Thakura left this world.

Haridasa

Mahaprabhu lifted Haridasa Thakura’s transcendental body in His arms and began to dance like a madman, while chanting and roaring harinama. Somehow, the bhaktas pacified the Lord. They made a chariot and took Haridasa Thakura to Svargadvara, still doing nama sankirtana. Mahaprabhu began to dig on the bank of the ocean and brought prasadi malas and cloth from the Jagannatha Temple. He adorned Haridasa Thakura with these articles, along with candana, Tulasi, fresh cloth, and tilaka. The bhaktas respectfully offered arati and puspanjali and then Mahaprabhu placed Haridasa Thakura into samadhi with his own hands.

Next, Mahaprabhu and His bhaktas personally begged prasada in Ananda Baazar for the feast in honor of Haridasa Thakura’s disappearance. That day Mahaprabhu distributed prasada Himself. All the bhaktas partook in that feast. Thousands and thousands of Gaudiya and Oriya bhaktas received prasada from Mahaprabhu’s hands on this most auspicious occasion.

Mahaprabhu said, “If anyone, while engaged in sankirtana, comes here to the samadhi of Haridasa Thakura and remembers him, he will definitely achieve vraja-prema.”

Haridasa

samadhi of Srila Haridasa Thakura

Do not take these words of Mahaprabhu to be exaggeration. Haridasa Thakura is known as Namacarya Brahma Haridasa and Bhakta Haridasa. He is also Prahlada Maharaja. He appeared only to accept nama prema, which was only brought by Mahaprabhu in Kali-yuga. Haridasa Thakura understood this. He understood the position of the jivas and their nature.

The minions of Kali Maharaja will not be against you as long as you do not practice bhakti. As soon as you start to do guru-seva and bhajana, they will try to disturb you. If you are a rascal then they will be your friends. How can you cross maya? Chant harinama at every moment. Do not pass one day, one hour, one minute, or one moment without harinama. The one second where you stop chanting is enough for maya to catch you. Haridasa Thakura showed us this and instructed us to never stop chanting harinama.

Srila Gurudeva wrote about Haridasa Thakura’s life history in his books. By reading those books, you will be able to understand Haridasa Thakura’s glories. Srila Gurudeva, in his time in Puri, would remember Haridasa Thakura and glorify him. Srila Gurudeva also disappeared here in Puri.

Today is a good day. We are fortunate to be here in Jagannatha Puri. Everyone should go to Haridasa Thakura’s samadhi, offer respects, and collect his blessings. Then we will gain great faith in nama. We will become strong and able to receive nama-prema. Then following the path of bhakti will be very easy.

Gaura-Premanandi hari haribol! Namacarya Haridas Thakura ki jaya!

 

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