Nityananda – The Jewel of all Good Qualities

Lochan Dasa Thakura, a great Vaishnava poet describes the merciful qualities of Lord Nityananda. He says: My Lord Nityänanda, the jewel of all good qualities, has brought the flood of ecstatic love of God that drowned the entire world.Bringing this overwhelming deluge of prema when He returned to Bengal from Jagannätha Puré on Lord Chaitanya’s order, Lord Nityänanda has inundated the assembly of devotees. The fallen non-devotees did not drown, however, but remained floating on that ecstatic ocean.Lord Nityänanda freely offered this exalted prema, which is difficult for Lord Brahmä to attain, even to the fallen and wretched souls who were not desirous of receiving it.The ocean of mercy had formerly been sealed tightly, but Lord Nityänanda cut a channel in its boundary to allow the great flooding waves of nectarean prema to splash from house to house.Whoever has not worshipped Lord Nityänanda or taken advantage of this excellent opportunity offered by Him, knowingly commits suicide.

One day, Lord Chaitanya called Nityänanda and Haridäsa Öhäkura and told them, “Go to every house and beg everyone of this: Chant Kåñëa’s name, worship Him and cultivate the science of Kåñëa consciousness. At the end of the day, come and give Me your report.”Nityänanda and Haridäsa Öhäkura visited every house, going all over Nadia and requested all, “Chant the Holy Names of Kåñëa and worship Him, He is everyone’s shelter, friend and most treasured wealth.”

One day, they came across two thoroughl––y intoxicated drunkards who were surrounded by a crowd. Seeing them from a distance, Nityänanda turned to one of the crowd in the street and asked, “Who are these two men, why do they act like this?”He replied, “They are brähmaëas by name Jagai and Madhai. They are sons of noble parents from a very aristocratic family. In spite of this, they engage in all sorts of sinful activities.Their family and society have ostracized them. They live independently as outcasts in the company of other drunkards. They terrorize all the residents of Navadvépa.”

When Nityänanda heard these facts about the two scoundrels, His heart melted. He immediately felt great compassion for them and began to consider how He could save them. He thought, “If My Lord Chaitanya is merciful to these two and saves them then the entire world will acknowledge His Supreme potency.”Nityänanda spoke softly to Haridäsa, “Let us repeat to these drunks the Lord’s message for which purpose we are roaming the streets.”

Having thus decided, they walked together towards the two drunks. The pious and saintly persons nearby tried to dissuade them. But Nityananda and Haridasa were undeterred.They continued walking towards the sinners chanting Kåñëa’s name. When they were close enough for them to hear Çré Caitanya’s message, they called out, “Chant Kåñëa’s name, worship Him, for the Lord is as dear to you as a mother and father. Give up all your sinful activities and surrender to such a merciful Lord!”

Hearing voices, the two drunks lifted their heads, their eyes bloodshot with rage. Understanding that the voices belonged to the sannyäsés, they cried out in anger, “Catch them! Catch them!” and prepared to grab them. Haridäsa and Nityänanda hastily retreated upon being chased by the two yelling drunks. Running in the direction of Çréväsa Paëòita’s house, Nityananda and Haridasa escaped the two rogues who were left behind to run around in circles confused by intoxication.

Nityänanda and Haridäsa narrated their days experience to Lord Chaitanya, “A strange incident occurred today. We came across two drunks totally intoxicated. We were told they were from brähmaëa families. We thought of doing them a good turn and requested them to chant Kåñëa’s Holy Name, but they reacted violently and chased us. We could barely escape with our lives.”

Çré Caitanya said, “What persons are these, what are their names? Being brähmaëas, why do they act in such a bad manner?”They informed Him, “These two persons are Jagäi and Mädhäi. Their father is a pious brähmaëa, but bad company has spoiled these two. Now they know only intoxication. Their names instil fear in the hearts of the people and they live by stealing, looting and violence.”

Çré Caitanya said, “I will punish these two rogues, if they come in front of Me.”Sweetly, Nityänanda said, “Why are You getting so angry with them? Allow Me to first make them chant Çré Kåñëa’s name. If You deliver them and bring them into devotional service, then Your fame as ‘patita-pävana’ (deliverer of the fallen) will remain intact.” Laughing, Çré Caitanya said, “As soon as those two rogues saw you they were delivered.”

On another day, Nityänanda was returning to Çré Caitanya’s house in the evening when the two rogues intercepted and halted Him. Jagäi and Mädhäi shouted out, “What and who is this?” Nityänanda replied, “I am going to Nimäi Paëòita’s house.” In a drunken state, they demanded, “What is Your name?” Nityänanda replied, “My name is Avadhüta.”

Lord Nityänanda had already made up His mind to deliver them. He had purposely chosen to come this way. When Mädhäi heard the name ‘Avadhüta’ he picked up a piece of broken earthen wine pot and threw it at Nityänanda. The broken piece struck Nityänanda on the forehead, which started bleeding. Nityänanda quietly meditated on Kåñëa.Jagäi was deeply shocked to see the blood dripping from Nityänanda’s forehead and when Mädhäi once again raised his arms to strike Nityänanda, Jagäi caught his hands. He said, “Why did you do such a heartless brutish thing?What can you gain by striking him? This Avadhüta is innocent! Do not hit Him again!”

People went running to Çré Caitanya and informed Him of the incident. The Lord immediately collected a large army of His disciples and arrived at the spot. Nityänanda was still amidst the two, blood dripping all over His body, but He was smiling.When Çré Caitanya saw blood on His beloved Nityänanda, He went into a fit of wrath and cried out, “Chakra! Chakra!” calling for the Sudarçana chakra. The chakra immediately appeared, looming ominously before the very eyes of Jagäi and Mädhäi.

The devotees became very fearful and Nityänanda quickly went to Çré Caitanya begging Him, “When Mädhäi was about to hit Me, Jagäi tried to check him, but accidentally I was hit and although You see blood on Me, I do not feel any pain. Please be calm My Lord. I have no pain. I beg of You to spare them.”When the words about Jagäi checking Mädhäi entered Çré Caitanya’s hearing, He became very pleased and He went up to Jagäi and embraced him. He said to Jagäi, “May Çré Kåñëa bless you. You have won Me over by protecting my Nityänanda. You can ask for anything you desire. I shall grant you the boon. From today you will be firmly situated in pure devotional service.”

The Vaiñëavas became joyous, appreciating Çré Caitanya’s blessings on Jagäi with loud cries. When Jagäi heard Caitanya’s blessing him with kåñëa-prema, he fell unconscious with ecstasy.While Jagäi was praying to Çré Caitanya, Mädhäi was already being transformed within. Overlooking the presence of Nityänanda, Mädhäi quickly got up and threw himself like a stick before Lord Caitanya. Catching hold of His lotus feet, he prayed, “Both of us were sinners, sinning together, in the same place at the same time. Why has Your mercy been shown to one and not the other, My Lord? Be merciful to me, I shall chant Your Holy Name, for there is no one else who can deliver a wretch like me.”

Çré Caitanya replied, “I cannot deliver you, for you were responsible for hurting Nityänanda.” Mädhäi replied, “You cannot say this My Lord. How can You act against Your own religion? In Your previous incarnation, did You not give liberation to those demons who were piercing Your body with arrows?”The Lord replied, “Your offence is far greater than that of those demons, because you have hurt My most beloved associate, Nityänanda. I reveal to you this truth: Nityänanda’s body is dearer to Me than My very own.”

Mädhäi said, “You are the Supreme healer of all diseases. I can be healed of my disease only by Your treatment.”Lord Chaitanya said, “You have committed a grievous offence. Go and fall at Nityänanda’s feet.” Mädhäi threw himself at Nityänanda’s feet following Çré Caitanya’s instructions.Lord Chaitanya said, “Listen dear Nityänanda, he is at Your feet. Only You can forgive him.”

Nityänanda said, “What can I say or do My lord? Everything is a transformation of Your mercy. If I have acquired any piety due to devotional service to You, then let all My pious results be given to Mädhäi. Unconditionally shower Your mercy on him.”Lord Chaitanya said, “Now that You have forgiven everything, why not also give Mädhäi Your transcendental embrace.” Receiving Chaitanya’s order, Nityänanda firmly embraced Mädhäi. Both Jagäi and Mädhäi were now completely purified of all sins and they began to glorify both Lord Chaitaya and Lord Nityananda.