Madhavendra Puri


    Before Lord Caitanya appeared He sent His eternal associates like Sri Advaita Acarya, Sri Jagannatha Misra, Saci Mata, Madhavendra Puri, Isvari Puri to earth. Sri Madhavendra Puri took initiation from Sri Laksmipati Tirtha in the Madhvacarya sampradaya. He had many but Sri Advaita Acarya and Sri Isvara Puri were the chief disciples of Madhavendra Puri. In one way or another, all the Vaisnavas in Bengal and Ksetra mandala (Jagan­natha Puri) were connected with Sri Madhavendra Puri. After Lord Caitanya came many of his disciples joined Mahaprabhu's sankirtana movement.

    "Madhavendra Puri's body was completely full of divine love; so were his followers. He displayed uncommon love of God. Seeing a dark blue rain cloud, he would fall down unconscious. Day and night he was intoxicated from drinking the ambrosia of Krishna prema." (Vrndavana Dasa Thakura)

    After making an extensive pilgrimage of Bharata-bhumi (India) he passed his life in Vrndavana and Orissa. He began the restoration work of Vrndavana that Sri Rupa and Sanatana Gos-vamis continued later. Wandering from grove to grove, remembering Radha-Krishna's sweet Vrndavana pastimes, Madhavendra Puri would faint in ecstasy.

    In a dream, Sri Gopala ordered Madhavendra Puri to uncover a buried Gopala Deity and install Him atop Govardhana Hill. Madhavendra Puri celebrated Gopala's installation with an annakuta (grand festival offering a mountain of foodstuffs to Krishna). This Annakuta festival, also called Govardhana Puja, is one of the most important Vaisnava festivals in Vrndavana, in India, and around the world. The original Gopala Deity, known as Sri Nathaji, is now worshiped in Nathadvara, Rajasthan.

    Madhavendra Puri introduced the conception of madhurya bhava (conjugal love) in the Madhvacarya sampradaya. Mad­havendra Puri sowed the seed of prema bhakti. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu became the towering tree dropping honey sweet fruits of prema upon everyone. He also revealed viraha bhava, the mood of love relished in separation from God. His branch of the Madhva sect distinguished itself by this ecstatic love of God. It is known as the Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya.

    In Jagannatha Puri, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed an intense mood of viraha bhava. This increased unlimitedly when the Lord heard verses from Srimad Bhagavatam tenth canto, Krishna Karnamrta, Gita Govinda, Padyavali, and the love poems of Can-didasa and Vidyapati. Mahaprabhu's viraha begins with a single verse spoken by Madhavendra Puri, His param guru (grand preceptor):

ayi dina dayadra natha he

mathura natha kadavalokyase

hrdayam tvad aloka kataram

dayita bhramyati kim karoty aham

    "0 compassionate Lord of the poor and humble! 0 Lord of Mathura! When shall I see You again? Without seeing You, My heart has become very much afflicted. Oh My beloved, I am overwhelmed. What shall I do now?" (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 4.197)

    Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja says that as the diamond kaustubha jewel is the most precious amongst all rare valuable jewels, this sloka is the rasa kavya (the best verse in the entire treasury of rasa poetry). Actually, this verse was spoken by Srimati Radharani Herself. It was Radha's pathetic cry to Syamasundara, who had gone to Mathura leaving Her alone, desperate in Vrndavana. Radharani's mercy brought this same verse from the mouth of Madhavendra Puri.

    Reciting even a few words of this sloka [verse] would tear open the door of Mahaprabhu's ecstatic love, making Him swoon in ecstasy falling unconscious. Feeling intense separation from Krishna, Madhavendra Puri constantly chanted this verse when departing this world.

    Krishna Dasa Kaviraja says that with this verse Madhavendra Puri teaches devotees how to achieve Krishna prema by cultivating intense feelings of separation from Sri Krishna. Gaudiya Vaisnavas accept that this verse expresses the essence of the mood of separation.

    The Gaudiya sampradaya teaches that worship of Radha and Krishna in separation represents the highest level of devotional service. At this stage of realization the devotee feels completely "vacant in the world in the absence of Krishna." A moment without Madhava feels like a millenium. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu always swam in the ocean of divyonmada mahabhava, the maddened ecstatic emotions shown by Sri Radha in Brahmar Gita (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47). In this verse Madhavendra Puri discloses similar emotions. The Gaudiya Vaisnavas conclude that the mon­soon shower of ecstatic love exhibited by Lord Gauranga during His manifest pastimes began with Madhavendra Puri. It then came through Isvara Puri, who played the role of Lord Caitanya's spiritual master.

Madhavendra Puri's samadhi is in Remuna, Orissa just a walk down the road from the temple of Ksira-cora Gopinatha.

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