JOYOUS DAY IN SILIGURI
Deities' Pastimes (5):
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
And there is also one more story of Saksi Gopal, the story how for His devotee the Lord gives witness. If you read Chaitanya-charitamrita, you will get everything there—what I have told you today is all there in Chaitanya-charitamrita.
There was once a brahman who became a vanaprastha, and, leaving his family, children, etc., went on a pilgrimage to all holy places. One day, he came to Vrindavan and met another, small brahman (chota-vipra). There are different brahmans—there are kulin (high caste) brahmans, and there are lower caste brahmans. The older brahman was a kulin brahman. The younger brahman said to him, "I can help you. How will you carry all your things around the holy places? Let me help you." The brahman agreed, and they visited all holy places together.
The older brahman became pleased with the young brahman and said to him, "My house is near your village. I have only one small daughter—when you go home, you can marry her. I am giving my only daughter to you."
"No, no. How can this be?" said the young brahman. "You are a high caste brahman, and I am of a lower caste. Will your wife and sons not get angry?"
"You do not need to worry about it."
"But I did not help you around the holy places to get a wife... I helped you for my spiritual benefit (punya)."
"She is my daughter, so I decide it. I am giving her to you. Moreover, I am promising you this in front of Gopal. He is the witness." Then he said to Gopal (a Deity in one of the temples of Vrindavan), "Gopal, I am giving my daughter to him—if anyone objects, You give witness."
Then, the older brahman returned home, and everybody came to see him ("Oh, father has returned from pilgrimage!"). Then, he told everybody, "When I was on the pilgrimage, I met a brahman who helped me a lot. I promised my daughter to him." When they heard who the boy was, the wife of the brahman said, "I will leave you!" the son said, "I will leave the house!" somebody else said, "How could you, a kulin brahman, give your daughter to a fool who does not know how to write or read?!" Everybody objected...
Two months passed after this, and the young brahman came to the older brahman saying, "You have promised me in front of Gopal, why are you keeping quiet now? Which girl did you want to give me?" Hearing some talk about his sister, the son of the brahman came out with a stick, "You, a small brahman, a dwarf, came here to catch the moon in the sky! You want to get all the wealth and riches of my father!" The brahman ran away from there and went to the elders of the village.
"What happened?" they asked him.
"This brahman gave me his word at a holy place, Gopal is the witness. I did not go on pilgrimage with him for the sake of his daughter, but he has promised her to me, and if he does not keep his word, it will be a sin for him. That is why I have come to him."
"All right," said the elders. "Then let Gopal give witness, then it will all right." The son of the brahman also agreed, "Yes, if Gopal gives witness, then it is all right." But the brahman got angry with his son, he thought, "O Gopal! Please help me keep my word!"
So, the young brahman went to Vrindavan. He came to Gopal and said, "Gopal! Let's go! You must give witness!"
"How am I to go? I am a Deity, I do not go anywhere."
"Why can You not? How are You speaking to me then? If You can speak, surely You can walk."
"OK, OK, I will go... But you must cook one kilo of rice for Me every day—I will walk so much and get hungry, so I must eat a lot. And I will walk behind you—you must not look behind. If you look behind at Me somewhere, I will stay at that place."
"OK, but how will I know that You are walking behind me?"
"You will hear the sound of ankle bells."
Then, the small brahman and Gopal started walking. They reached Vidyanagar in Tamil Nadu and, when they had almost reached the village, the brahman suddenly got a very strong desire to look behind and see if Gopal was coming. He looked behind saw Gopal standing there with a smiling face. Gopal said, "Bring your people here now. I will give witness to them." The boy went to the village and called everybody, "Gopal has come from Vrindavan to give witness!"
In the end, they built a big royal-style temple in that place, the brahman got married, and everything was all right.
When an Oriya king went to conquer Tamil Nadu, he won the war and came to Gopal. He said, "O Gopal, whatever wealth I have got is all Yours!" and called Gopal to his kingdom. Gopal answered, "First built a temple for Me, then I will come." So, the king built a temple and brought Gopal to Odisha.
In Bengal, when a woman wears conch bangles, everybody understands that she is married, and in Odisha if a girl is wearing a nose ring, she is married, and if she is not wearing a nose ring, she is not married. So, when the king made a big temple and a great festival, the queen said, "If the Lord had a hole in His nose, I could give Him my nose ring—He is my husband..." Then night came, and Gopal came to the queen in a dream. He said, "O queen! I have a hole in My nose, My mother pierced it when I was little, but the nose ring has fallen out. The hole in My nose is very big, you have never seen such a big hole, please make a nose ring for it." The queen made a big one-kilo nose ring for Gopal, and there was another festival.
The Lord accept everything from His devotees. "Bhaktera adhin Bhagavan": He is controlled by His devotees, He does what His devotees wish.
ভক্তের হৃদয়ে সদা গোবিন্দ-বিশ্রাম ।
bhaktera hrdaye sada govinda-visrama
Govinda always resides in the hearts of His devotees. Govinda says, "Vaishnavs are My life and soul."
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