This is the continuing serialization of 252 Vaishnavan ki varta, the lives of the saints following Vitthalnath, son of Vallabhacharya. It has been translated from the original Braj Bhasha by Krishnaa Kinkari Devi. This is the fifth varta, part 1. See previous.
The story of Narayandas Kayastha, a court minister who lived in Gauda Desh.
Narayandas is a devotee with a ‘rajasi‘ disposition. In the Eternal Lila his name is Premlata, who manifests from Sri Vishakhaji and is thus a form of Sri Vishakhaji’s divine loving mood. Premlata appears as Narayandas and she has a very close sakhi named Gaurangini. Here the latter manifests as Narayandas’ wife, Viram.
Premlata is very attached to the Lord’s childhood pastimes and therefore constantly resides in Nandalay. There she frequently meets with Mandakini and they are close sakhis. They are close assistants to Sri Chandravaliji. Premlata prepares all the offerings to Sri Thakurji on behalf of Sri Chandravaliji and is thus very dear to her. Gaurangini is very skilled in making arrangements for the Pastimes in the private Forest Bowers. She is always serving Sri Chandravaliji in her personal Nikunj. Her form is of a very beautiful fair colour, almost like Sri Swaminiji’s [Radharani’s] fair shade. When Sri Thakurji sees Gaurangini, He remembers Sri Swaminiji and for this reason He likes her.
One day Sri Chandravaliji came to Nandalay to meet Sri Thakurji. There she met Premlata. Sri Chandravaliji addressed her, “O Premlata! Go and see what Sri Yashodaji is doing.” Premlata saw that Yashodaji was making yoghurt. Premlata told this to Sri Chandravaliji who then entered into the courtyard through that door. At this very moment Sri Vishakhaji arrived there. She met Premlata and asked her where she might find Sri Thakurji. Premlata told her that He was behind the courtyard. Sri Vishakhaji went there. From afar she saw Sri Chandravaliji with Sri Thakurji and Sri Thakurji caught sight of her. He felt inhibited. Sri Chandravaliji turned around and saw that Sri Vishakhaji was standing there at a distance. Sri Thakurji then immediately left that place. Sri Chandravaliji addressed Vishakhaji, saying, “What have you done? Sri Vishakhaji began to tremble. She begged for forgiveness and Sri Chandravaliji forgave her. Vishakhaji told Sri Chandravaliji that it had been Premlata who had told her where to find Sri Thakurji and that is why she had come there. Both of them went to see Premlata. Sri Chandravaliji asked Premlata, “Why did you not inform Sri Vishakhaji that I was here?” Premlata just kept quiet. Sri Chandravaliji said to her, “You have caused an interruption in my meeting with Sri Thakurji. Therefore you will also be separated from Him – that is why she had fallen down to this earthly planet.
Premlata was born into a family of writers in the Gauda province. She became Narayandas. Her close sakhi, Gaurangini, was also born into that village, into a family of writers and was known as Viram. When they were both ten years old their parents arranged their marriage. Narayandas’ father was the king’s court minister. The Patshah was very protective of him and in his area of jurisdiction whatever he ruled was instigated. Narayandas’ father kept his son close to him and took him with him whenever he went to the court for work.
In this way, Naryandas becamse very clever when it came to Court affairs. When Narayandas reached the age of twenty-five, his father passed away. The Patshah gave him the job of Court minister. Narayandas worked in such a nice way that the Patshah became very attached to him. Everybody began to praise Narayandas. It was after this that Narayandas met with Muraridas. This has all been told in the previous Tale. It was by meeting Muraridas that Naryandas became Sri Gusainji’s disciple: now here is his story.
Narayandas was very anxious to have the sight of Sri Gusainji. He requested Muraridas to write an invitation and send two men to Adel with it. As a first response, Sri Gusainji’s messenger came to Narayandas and said, “Our master is a hundred and twenty miles away and is coming in a boat. He will reach here by tomorrow evening. Narayandas and Muraridas set off straight away. They took about six men as well as the messenger in a boat and got going to receive him.
This is the way of affection: when the master is coming, those waiting should go to meet him and enthusiastically welcome him and accompany him home.
*Part 1 continued*
The messenger said to Muraridas, “Sri Gusainji told me to be very careful about how Narayandas should sit in the boat. When the people in his boat see us coming, then they will tell him and when he sees our boat coming he will lose body consciousness and will stand up and start to run. He will forget that he is in a boat on the River Ganga. Therefore be vigilant. Until the two boats are bound together, Narayandas should be restrained.”
Why? Sri Gusainji knows everyone’s heart, and knows what comes next in the lila. Therefore he was being careful with foresight.
*Part 1 Continued*
When the boat set off, Narayandas told the boatmen that if they could get him to where he would be able to see Sri Gusainji’s boat by the following afternoon, then he would give them gold necklaces. The boatmen began to row the boat at a fast speed. According to Narayandas’ order it was they who first of all caught sight of Sri Gusainji’s boat. They approached Narayandas respectfully and said, “Sri Gusainji’s boat is now visible.” They pointed it out to him. Full of love, Narayandas immedaitely got up and started to try to move towards it. Muraridas and the others restrained him. Soothing him with stories of Sri Gusainji and other subjects they kept him seated close to them. Narayandas listened to Muraridas’ words but his mind was fixed on Sri Gusainji’s boat. So when the two boats met, the boatmen immediately tied the two boats together tightly. Only then did Muraridas let go of Narayandas who lost consciousness as he fell at Sri Gusainji’s lotus feet. He seemed to have given up his life-breath.
Why? Sri Gusainji let Narayandas have the sight of his spiritual Lila form. Immediately on seeing it, he became absorbed in that form. Others who saw him thought that he had passed out.
*Part 1 Continued*
Apart from Muraridas, the others all began to cry. Sri Gusainji smiled and said to Muraridas, “all of you should leave here now.” They all retreated. Thus concealed from everyone else, Sri Gusainji rubbed his hand over Narayandas’ head. He spoke the mantra, “Sri Krishnah sharanam mama” into Narayandas’ ear. Narayandas regained consciousness and stood up, staring at Sri Gusainji’s lotus face. Sri Gusainji then asked him, “O Narayandas, where were you up till now?” Narayandas replied, “Oh Maharaj! I was lying down underneath your lotus feet. Why did you bring me away from that state?” Sri Gusainji replied, “It is time for you to start to make Seva now.” Narayandas then very lovingly brought Sri Gusainji to his home where he surrendered himself and his home to Sri Gusainji, who then gave to Narayandas his sandals for him to serve. After this, seeing Narayandas’ condition, Sri Gusainji could not bring himself to leave there. Then one day Govinda Bhat said to Naryandas, “It really is time for you to let Sri Gusainji leave now.” Listening to his words, Narayandas kept agreeing with him, saying, “Yes, yes.” However, he still could not bring himself to broach the subject of Sri Gusainji moving on. Many days passed. Then, one day, two Vrajavasis who were in Sri Gusainji’s entourage announced that there was a shortage of good water there. Narayandas became very afraid and so he implored Sri Gusainji. “The water here is now not so good. Therefore, oh Maharaj! It would be better for you to leave.” Narayandas saw Sri Gusainji off. From there he traveled to Sri Jagannath Puri, but on his return journey he again passed a few days in that garden on the request of Narayandas. Thereafter he returned to Adel. For all the time that Sri Gusainji stayed within Narayandas’ hospitality, he always offered him new preparations and garments to wear, comfortable sleeping arrangements and even ever new cloths to rest his feet upon. Narayandas served Sri Gusainji in this very nice way. Every year Sri Gusainji would send Narayandas his Prasadi quilt from Adel. Such was Sri Gusainji’s Grace upon Narayandas.
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