Oh! Supreme Lord Visvambhara, You are the husband of the goddess offortune, and my eternal friend. Only You are capable of distributing thewealth of love of Godhead. You are known as kindhearted to those who depend uponYou, therefore, oh Lord, please shower You kindness upon me.
I worship Sri Lokanatha Prabhu, who is fully surrendered to thelotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Vinode. He is the life of the devotees, and aconfidential associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
I worship Narottama dasa Thakura, who is especially dear to LordGauranga. Like a honey bee anxious for the nectar, he hovers at the lotusfeet of Srila Lokanatha, absorbed in love for Radha Krsna.
I worship the disciples of Srila Narottama Prabhu who are rich ingood qualities and are able to destroy all misfortune and misery.
For the pleasure of the Vaisnavas and to fulfill my own ardentdesires, I am writing this book Narottama Vilasa which briefly describes theglories of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura.
All glories to the son of Saci and Jagannatha Misra, Sri GauraGovinda, the embodiment of divine love. He is the life of Nityananda and Advaita, and the only love of Svarupa, Sanatana, Rupa, and Gopala. Lord Visvambhara,who is expert at pleasing everyone, has bound the hearts of Haridasa, Vakresvara, and Narahari with the ropes of His love, and won the friendship of Gauridasaand Gadadhara.
All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all His associates.
Oh listeners! please be kind upon me. I am an illiterate fool whoknows nothing of right or wrong, yet I have been ordered by saintly persons tonarrate this beautiful book Narottama Vilasa which will certainly be relished bythe readers. I have offered my obeisances to the Lord in the above verses, now listen patiently and attentively as I briefly describe the glories of SriLokanatha Prabhu, a favorite devotee of the Lord and the light of his famousbrahmana family.
He was born to Sita and Padmanabha Cakravarti in the village of Talagari in the district of Jassora. It is difficult to describe the wonderfulattributes of Lokanatha’s father and mother. Padmanabha was a famous Rarhibrahmana Vaisnava and a favorite of Sri Advaita Prabhu. He was constantly absorbed insankirtana, singing madly and crying incessantly. Those who simply observed hiskirtana were also unable to check their tears.
He frequently came to Nadia for darsana of Lord Gauranga. However,after such visits upon returning to his own village he inevitably fell intothe depths of despair due to intense feelings of separation from Gauranga.
He and his wife always sang the glories of Gauracandra. Sita waslike her husband. She was a devoted Vaisnavi and wife. She felt extremelyfortunate to have a wonderful son like Lokanatha and her happiness knew nobounds as she watched his devotion to Gauracandra blossoming day by day. Who candescribe the loving care she showered upon her exalted son?
Lokanatha was always enthusiastically engaged in the Lord’sdevotional service. People were spontaneously drawn by his extraordinary beauty anddeep devotion. He conscientiously served his parents, and was well-versed in allof the scriptures at a very young age.
When his parents died, Lokanatha decided, after discussing with hisfriends, that he would give up the shackles of material existence, go to Nadia and surrender at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The mercy of the Lord was abundantly showered upon Lokanatha duringhis stay in Nadia. However, after sometime Lord Caitanya requested that he goto Vraja. Lokanatha could understand the mind of the Lord, he knew thatMahaprabhu was thinking of taking sannyasa shortly. Thus Lokanatha’s departure wasan indescribably pathetic scene; leaving the Lord’s association wasunbearable for him. Completely despondent, Lokanatha began his journey. Cryingincessantly, the path before him became practically invisible, thus in five dayshe walked a distance which would normally be covered in a single day. Aftertraveling for sometime he received the heart breaking news that Mahaprabhu hadtaken sannyasa and, after consoling his associates, had gone to Nilacala.Lokanatha lamented, knowing the Lord had given up His beautiful curling hair.
Heavy-hearted and forlorn, Lokanatha continued his journey onlybecause it was the order of the Lord. He arrived in Vrndavana practicallylifeless, but the charming atmosphere of Vraja soothed his mind and eased his achingheart. However, after a few days Lokanatha heard that Mahaprabhu had goneto South India, and his mind became disturbed. Eager to see the Lord again,Lokanatha left for the south at once. In anxious anticipation he traveledquickly. However, after traveling a considerable distance he received newsthat the Lord
had already left the South and returned to Nilacala [unclear] Afterwards he heard that the Lord had arrived in Vrndavana. Withgreat anxiety Lokanatha immediately started for Vraja. However, upon reachingVrndavana, he found that Mahaprabhu had departed for Prayaga just a few daysbefore.
The forlorn Lokanatha sank into the depths of despair. The nextmorning he decided to follow Mahaprabhu to Prayaga. He could no longertolerate the intense misery of separation from his beloved Lord. Rolling on theground he cried pitifully until at last he feel asleep. In his dream hefinally received the long awaited darsana of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; His effulgentbody was covered with yellow sandalwood paste, shining with a brillianceunknown to gold. Perfectly arranged hair, decorated with fresh flowers, surrounded His exquisite face, and His forehead was neatly marked with tilak. Whowould not be captivated by His gorgeous lotus eyes, majestic eyebrows, andenticing smile which easily defeated the beauty of the moon? A sacred thread wasdraped across His broad chest and His long arms touched His knees. His dhoti wasfolded in three places and His transcendental body was bedecked with ornaments.
He spoke affectionately to Lokanatha: “I shall always be with you,relishing loving pastimes, here in My eternal abode, Navadvipa. Even great personalities like Lord Brahma are unable to understand this Dhama of Mine.” Sayingthis, He embraced Lokanatha and disappeared.
Lokanatha awoke, the emptiness in the Lord’s absence wasintolerable and he was overwhelmed with despair. However, by Mahaprabhu’s kindness, sleeponce again overtook him and the Lord, dressed in the garb of a sannyasi, onceagain appeared before him. “You are thinking of going to Prayaga,” theLord said sweetly, “But what is the use of going there when you can see mehere in your dream. Oh Lokanatha I also desire to be with all of you inVrndavana. After I sent you to Vraja I took sannyasa from Kesava Bharati. At that timeI was very
eager to see Vrnda Vipina, but My devotees were so broken-heartedand desolate, due to my acceptance of the renounced order, that I was obliged tospend a few days in the house of Advaita Prabhu to console them. Afterwards Iwent to Nilacala, then later to the South. Unfortunately our paths did notcross either in the South or in Vrndavana. I know you are feeling despondentbecause of this and have decided to leave for Prayaga tomorrow morning, but don’tleave Vrndavana, remember that I am always with you. I shall keep youinformed of my whereabouts. From Prayaga I’ll leave for Nilacala, there I willtell my dear devotees Rupa and Sanatana about you and they will meet you inVrndavana soon. In their association you will float on the waves of happinessamidst the ocean of ecstatic love for Krsna.”
“Within a short period of time a prince named Narottama will becomeyour disciple. He will be a gifted devotee, full of love and devotion,and empowered to save the fallen conditioned souls from hellish life. Hisenchanting beautiful kirtana will melt even wood or stone.” Thus speaking He embracedLokanatha, who fell at the Lord’s feet.
Awaking and finding himself alone, Lokanatha cried pitifully,remembering the beautiful Gaurangacandra. Eventually he pacified himself, but tearscontinued to flow like rivers from his eyes. As dawn approached he performedhis daily duties and sat down in a quiet place to chant the holy name of theLord until a local brahmana offered him some fruits to eat. He sat under thetree for a long time until restlessness overtook him and he began wanderingaimlessly throughout Vrndavana. Eventually he happened upon a beautifulsecluded area
where he stayed alone for a long time.
Later he happened to find out that Sri Subuddhi Misra had visited Vrndavana, followed by Sri Rupa Gosvami a bit later, but now they were both onthere way to meet Sri Gaurasundara. Sanatana had also come to Vrndavana buthad recently left for Nilacala. Hearing this Lokanatha could not suppress his disappointment. Sighing heavily and crying pitifully, he lamented, “Oh Rupa,Sanatana, when will I be able to live with you?” Suddenly a voice replied: “We shalldefinitely come to Vrndavana soon.”
Eventually Gopala Bhatta and others did come to Vrndavana. I amlost for words to describe that joyous meeting and the immense pleasure theyderived from each other’s association. Sri Rupa Gosvami greeted Lokanatha with greatwarmth and affection, dissipating the anguish of long separation from the Lordand His devotees.
In Sanatana Gosvami’s Vaisnava Tosani he mentions his attachmentfor Lokanatha: “I worship Srila Kasisvara, Lokanatha, and Sri Krsnadasa who havetaken shelter at the lotus feet of the dear-most Deity in Vrndavana, SrilaGovinda Deva.” Raghunatha Bhatta, Gopala Bhatta, Bhugarbha Gosvami, as well asmany others, dearly loved Lokanatha. Together they spent many wonderful days inSri Vrndavana Dhama relishing the highest pinnacles of devotional happiness.Lokanatha was fully engaged in the service of his worshipful Deities, Sri SriRadha Vinode. How he obtained these deities I have explained in Bhakti-ratnakara(page 23). Once while serving his Deities, Lokanatha suddenly saw the madhuryarupa** of Sri Gaura amalgamated with that of Sri Radha Vinode. Later, in adream, the Lord ** revealed everything regarding His own transcendental nature.Such deep spiritual realizations gave rise to intense emotions, thus wheneverLokanatha tried to describe the divine attributes of the Lord, he would losehis composure and simply roll on the ground, cursing himself for not havingpersonally witnessed the Lord’s pastimes.
Krsnadasa Kaviraja requested Lokanatha’s permission for writing Caitanya Caritamrta, which he received with Lokanatha’s whole heartedenthusiasm, yet both he and Gopala Bhatta, forbade Krsnadasa from mentioning theirnames within the book.
I have heard all of these stories from some aged persons?? Whoeverhears them is extremely fortunate. The merciful Lokanatha Gosvami remained in Vrndavana and later showered his blessings upon his dear disciple, Narottamadasa. By the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Lokanatha obtained the preciousgem of love of Godhead:
“I worship the lotus feet of Lokanatha Prabhu whose is opulent withthe wealth of Sri Krsna Caitanya’s blessings, and whose mind is bedecked withthe ornaments of love.”
“I take shelter at the lotus feet of Lokanatha Prabhu who eternallyresides in Vrndavana. He is always absorbed in loving devotional service,enchanted by the transcendental pastimes of Sri Krsna. ”
“I take refuge at the lotus feet of Lokanatha Prabhu who is completely indifferent to the pains and pleasures of this material world. His mercy was fully realized only by the great scholar Narottama dasa.”