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The Sweetness of Prasadam

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj describes the beauty of Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām.

Once, a sannyāsī from the up-country, Śrī Raṅga Purī, was graced in the house of Śachī Devī. There, he tasted mochā ghaṇṭa, a preparation of banana flower curry. He experienced such an extraordinary taste that he remembered it many years later when he was in Pāṇḍarapur in Mahārāṣṭra. At that time, he met Śrīman Mahāprabhu, who was wandering through the southern countries. When Mahāprabhu came to Pāṇḍarapur, He met Śrī Raṅga Purī and at that time was told, “Your elder brother, Śaṅkarāraṇya, breathed his last in this place.” Śrī Raṅga Purī also told him,  “Once, with our Gurudev Mādhavendra Purī, we were guests in the house of Jagannāth Miśra and Śachī Devī. Your mother prepared a curry from banana flowers so nicely that we cannot forget its taste.”

aprva mochra ghaṇṭa thā̐ ye khila
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 9.296)

[“We ate an extraordinary banana flower curry there.”]

In his divine fashion, Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur writes:

śachīra aṅgane kabhu        mādhavendra purī prabhu
prasādānna karena bhojana
khāite khāite tā̐ra      āila prema sudurvāra
bale, “śuna sannyāsīra gaṇa
(Śrī Gītāvalī: Prasāda-sevāya, 3.1)

Śrī Mādhavendra Purī and his disciples were graced in the house of Jagannāth Miśra, and they took prasādam in the compound. When they were taking prasādam, some wonderful flow of divine love awakened in the heart of Mādhavendra Purī. He could not check it. As this divine prema rushed into his heart, he addressed his sannyāsī disciples:

mochā-ghaṇṭa phula-baḍi        ḍāli ḍālnā chachchaḍi
śachī-mātā karila randhana
tāra śuddhā bhakti heri’          bhojana karila hari
sudhā-sama e anna-vyañjana
(Śrī Gītāvalī: Prasāda-sevāya, 3.2)

“What are you taking here? All of it has been prepared by Mother Śachī Devī, and seeing her heart, Hari has been attracted. He has taken the first taste of all these things. So, I feel that they are more than nectar. I have never experienced such sweetness in my life.”

yoge yogī pāya yāhā      bhoge āja habe tāhā
hari bali’ khāo sabe bhāi
(Śrī Gītāvalī: Prasāda-sevāya, 3.3)

“By simply enjoying such things with our physical senses, we can easily attain what great yogīs attain through great austerity, self-control, and directing the mind towards higher attainment. Yoge yogī nā pāya yāhā: not only this, simply by enjoying the taste of this transcendental prasādam here, we can attain even what yogīs do not attain. We shall attain by enjoyment what yogīs cannot attain by great austerities. It is such. So, go on chanting the Name of Hari and take prasādam!”

There is another song of Vāsudev Ghoṣ:

nāchiyā gāiyā karila soṇā

“What should we say about the greatness of Mahāprabhu Śrī Chaitanyadev? He simply asks us to sing and dance with all our heart, and we will be turned from iron into gold. What a new and wonderful method He has introduced here! Simply by rejoicing, we shall reach the goal. No penance, no austerity, nothing. We do not have to undergo any such thing to attain even the greatest goal. Simply by chanting, praying, and dancing, we shall walk to Goloka! What a new and sweet form of sādhana the great Gaurāṅga has introduced in this world! Nāchiyā gāiyā karila soṇā: by dancing and singing, all the iron will be converted into gold.

kṛṣṇera prasāda-anna          trijagata kare dhanya
tripurāri nāche yāhā pāi’
(Śrī Gītāvalī: Prasāda-sevāya, 3.3)

“Be fully conscious about Kṛṣṇa-prasādam. We very rarely find mention of the greatness of Kṛṣṇa’s prasādam, but it is not only my version, it is broadly accepted. I am only drawing your attention to that. Even Mahādev, Śiva himself, once danced on Kalilās when he received a taste of this prasādam. Such a valuable thing we have come across here. So, we must be fully awake to this fact.”

Śrī Raṅga Purī said to Mahāprabhu: “We can’t forget the taste of the mochā ghaṇṭa we tasted there.” So, Nabadwīp has got its special charm: through dancing and merrymaking, it can help you to reach the highest goal of your life from the most ordinary plane.

Reference

Spoken on 31 August 1981.

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