Laksmipriya

 

    A brahmana pandit of the name Sri Vallabha Acarya used to live in Navadwip. He had a very well behaved and beautiful daughter who was just like Laksmidevi and whose name was Laksmipriya. Thinking that the time for her marriage had arrived
he called the match maker, Vanamali Acarya.

    Vanamali Acarya considered Nimai Pandit [Sri Caitanya] to be the most suitable match for Vallabha Acarya's daughter and so he came to see Saci Mata. He spoke to her thusly: "The time for your son's marriage has come but why is it that you haven't thought to arrange a nice bride for Him? There is a brahmana by the name Sri Vallabha Acarya, who is from a very good family and who is very well behaved. There is no taint whatsoever on his name. He has a daughter who is just like the goddess of fortune in beauty and good qualities. Why don't you accept this proposal if you have a mind to." [C. B. Adi 10.54]

    Sri Saci devi replied, "My son has no father. Let Him get a little older first. Now he is absorbed in studies." Vanamali was not very engladdened by Saci Mata's reply and so, in a melancholy mood he went away. However, just by chance, he happened to meet Nimai Pandit on the way. Nimai inquired, "Acarya Mahasaya, where had you gone?" Vanamali replied, "I have just been to your house, to see your mother. You see, Vallabha Acarya has a very nice daughter and he considered You to be a quite suitable bridegroom in this respect. However I didn't notice any enthusiasm in your mother's part regarding this matter. Therefore I am going home now." Hearing this, Nimai Pandit smiled. After bidding farewell to the brahmana He Himself returned home but kept completely silent.

    His mother accosted Him, "Nimai why are you so grave today. You are not speaking?"

    Nimai replied, "Why couldn't you speak nicely with Vanamali Pandita?" By this Saci Mata could understand that Nimai had a desire to marry that girl. Therefore she sent someone to call the match maker again. This time she addressed him, "Vipra! That which you spoke to me about yesterday - please complete the arrangements quickly. I am in full agreement with your proposal." [C. B. Adi 10.45].

    Hearing this latest development, Vanamali went to Vallabha Acarya's house. Seeing the cheerful face of Vanamali, Vallabha Acarya, could guess that his work had turned out successfully, and so his own mind became filled with joy. Receiving him with all due respects he seated him and inquired about the good news. Vanamali replied, "Very auspicious news: you can now begin the arrangements for your daughter's marriage to Nimai Pandit. To get a boy like this as a son-in-law is a matter of great fortune."

    Having heard this happy news the household members of Vallabha Acarya felt unlimited joy. Sri Ballabha told Vanamali, "If Krsna is pleased with me and if Laxmi devi and Gauri devi are satisfied with my daughter, then such a son-in-law as this might be obtainable. Please arrange everything as soon as possible."

    "But the only thing is that I am not able to give a proper dowry. I am just a poor brahmana. I'll only be able to give 5 haritaki (dried fruits) as a dowry along with my daughter. You will have to plead this on my behalf."

    So Vanamali came to Saci mata and spoke to her on this point. Sacimata replied, "Since she is a nice girl, we won't demand any dowry. Whatever he gives, we will be satisfied with that." Vanamali returned to Vallabha Acarya and informed him that again he had arranged everything satisfactorily.

    Hearing those glad tidings the members of Vallabha Acarya's house were completely delighted. Meanwhile Sacidevi informed Srivas Pandit, Advaita Acarya and the other well wishers of her son about Nimai's impending marriage. Everyone was very happy to receive this news and requested her to complete everything as soon as possible.

    Saci Mata then called the astrologers (Bhattacharya) and requested them to ascertain when the next favorable conjunction of the constellations would take place. Vallabha Acarya had also done likewise so the two families discussed it together and then set a date for the wedding.

    With the wedding date finalized, Saci Mata in joyful anticipation of the event, now sent out people to personally invite the family's friends and relatives to the preliminary ceremony, which would be held at her house before the wedding. Having received the news of Nimai Pandit's marriage, everyone was very happy and began to look forward to the event.

    On the morning of the Adhivas ceremony, the professional dancers and musicians arrived and by their music and dancing created a festive atmosphere. Meanwhile the ceremonial pavilion was very nicely and charmingly constructed, with banana trees, mango leaves, decorative designs painted on the ground with rice flour, and flower garlands. The brahmanas known as Bhattacarya recited various hymns from the Vedas, such as "Nandi Mukh" sraddha, as the preliminary rites. Then the invocation ceremony began as Sri Vallabha Acarya arrived with many auspicious articles to present to the bridegroom. These articles are waved before the bridegroom as in an aroti ceremony, in order to convey the blessings of the father upon his future son-in-law. As the rituals were performed the musicians filled the air with the vibrations of their instruments while Sacimata was very busy in receiving the many guests with sweets and plates of pan leaves and betel. In this way the invocation ceremony was completed.

    Early the next morning preparations for the wedding ceremony began as the friends and relatives of Jagannath Misra began to arrive. Sacimata received the ladies by annointing their heads with oil and arranging their bath. After arranging their hair she placed the vermilion dot between the eyebrows. Then by presenting them new cloths and offerings of puffed rice, bananas and sweets, etc., she satisfied everyone to the fullest extent. They all felt as though they were floating in an ocean of happiness having been welcomed so nicely by Sri Sacimata.

    On the morning of the wedding, Sri Gaurasundara, after taking bath in the Ganges, first performed the daily worship of Lord Visnu and then worshipped his forefathers. In all directions the sweet sound of the musicians playing on their instruments could be heard as the singers and dancers began their activities. Demigods and demigoddess from the heavenly planets, having
disguised themselves as ordinary human beings, arrived in anticipation of seeing the Lord's marriage ceremony.

    Meanwhile, Sri Vallabhacarya had also completed his duties on the evening of the preceeding day by conducting the invocation ceremony and worshipping his forefathers. At his house, also the air was filled with the sound of singing and dancing, playing on instruments and chanting auspicious hymns. During the go-dhuli lagna (time period of day) Sri Gaurasundara set out from his house with a huge crowd of friends, relatives, students and musicians, after first offering His salutations at the feet of His mother and the other elders present. To the accompaniment of the musicians, music, singers and dancers the party proceeded towards the Ganga. There Sri Gaurasundara got down from His palanquin and offered His obeisances to Mother Ganges. Then they proceeded along the banks of the Ganges, finally approaching the house of Sri Vallabha Misra. Vallabhacaryaji, seeing that the bridegroom's party had arrived was completely in ecstasy and came out to greet them. He very respectfully led his future son-in-law in the the courtyard and seated Him within the wedding pavilion. Then he brought his daughter, who had been decorated very beautifully with ornaments and tilok markings on her face, and seated her next to Sri Gaurasundara.

    The ladies all began to yodel while the musicians made the heavens resound with the sound of their instruments. After Laksmipriya was seated on a wooden seat, she was picked up along with the seat and caused to circumambulate Sri Gaurasundara seven times. Finally Laksmidevi, after having offered water at the lotus feet of her husband offered her obeisances to Him. She placed a garland of flowers around the neck of her Prabhu, Who in placing His garland on her neck, duly accepted her as His wife. In this way Sri Sri Laksmi-Narayana were united with auspicious shouts of joy.

    Sri Gaurasundara now seated Laksmipriya on His left side, after performing the Mukhcandrika ritual. Prabhu, still in the bloom of youth, was defeating the beauty of Cupid himself, with Laksmidevi seated on His left side, their radiant beauty increased manifold, and the waves of ecstatic bliss which were felt at that moment in Sri Vallabh Misra's house are beyond description. [C. B. Adi 10.102]

    It was late into the night when the ladies completed their various family customs and social rites and rituals. Finally the Supreme Lord along with His eternal consort Laksmidevi lay down on a bed of flowers and slept.

    In the early morning they rose and completed their morning duties. After spending the day at Vallabha Misra's house, Sri Gaurasundara set out for His own house during the go-dhuli lagna. At the time of bidding farewell to his daughter and son-in-law, Sri Vallabha Acarya along with his family members became completely overwhelmed. The divine couple having been decorated with sandalwood paste, flower garlands, ornaments, crowns and eye shadow looked radiant as they were seated in the palanquin.

    The people along the path were very pleased to see the newly wedded couple and exclaimed, "This young girl must have worshiped Hara-Gauri for a long time in order to have obtained such a handsome husband." Amidst the music of the musicians and the joyous shouts of those accompanying him, Sri Gaurasundara entered the courtyard of His own house. Saci Mata along with many other brahmana ladies received the couple by offering aroti and many auspicious articles. The house of Sacimata became inundated with an ocean of happiness as the musicians' music filled the sky.

    In this way the marriage of Sri Gaurasundara was performed very auspiciously and thus the whole world became filled with joy. All of the guests, brahmanas, dancers, musicians and various performers received presents of money, cloth and foodstuffs from the Lord as tokens of appreciation and as a means of bidding them farewell.

    All of the desires of Sacimata were thus fulfilled and she began to float in an ocean of happiness. Her house was as though filled with a divine aura and the scent of lotus flowers emanating from the body of Laksmipriya. From this Sacima could understand that the goddess of fortune, Laksmidevi, was personally present in the body of Laksmipriya. Sacima treated her with great affection, as though Laksmipriya was dearer to her than her own life. Laksmipriya was extremely well-behaved and could understand by simple gestures what activities were to be accomplished by her. Sometimes Sri Gaurasundara would come and sit next to Laksmipriya when she was in the company of Sacimata, simply to increase the happiness of His mother.

    In the mornings, Laksmi would clean the Deity room, make rice paintings on the floor, pick flowers and Tulasi leaves, and then begin to cook. Every day Mahaprabhu would invite some guests and serve them in his house. Mahaprabhu, as the instructor of religion to the householders, taught that their main duty is to receive guests in their house. Those who do not serve guests are inferior to birds and beasts. If due to one's previous bad activities, he has nothing to offer, then he can at least offer a grass mat on the ground as a sitting place and some water. [C. B. Adi 14.21]

    The Lord descends to this world to disseminate the principles of religion. He is very affectionate to His devotees and thus enacts many pastimes for their pleasures. Laksmidevi, as His eternal consort, would act in such a way as to enhance these pastimes. "She was always engaged in the service of Tulasi and above and beyond that, her primary attention was the service of Sacimata. Hearing of the activities of his wife, Sri Gaurasundara remained externally silent but was very pleased within." [C.B. Adi 14.43]

    After entering the grhastha ashram, and accepting the responsibility of maintaining others, Sri Gaurasundara decided to go to East Bengal as a teacher, for the purpose of earning some wealth. After submitting this proposal to His mother He instructed His new bride, "During this time you should give your full attention to serving My mother."

    Thereafter, on an auspicious day for beginning a journey, He set out for Bangladesh, with a small number of students. Gradually they reached the Padma River, as the news of Nimai Pandit's arrival spread far and wide. Being invited to stay in the houses of various greatly fortunate householders, he would hold classes which were attended by thousands of students. By obtaining the sight of His divine personage, the residents of that land became blessed.

    "Even to this day the virtuous gentlemen and ladies of this land are so fortunate that they still sing the glories of the Lord (Hari-nam-sankirtan). This is due to the fact that the Lord came here and cast His merciful glance on this land." [Caitanya Bhagavat]

    In this way the Lord of Vaikuntha engaged in His pastimes of scholarship while in the land of Bangladesh. Meanwhile, in Navadwip, Laksmipriya had given up eating and sleeping due to intense feelings of separation from Mahaprabhu. All
the family members tried to console her but to no avail. In name only she would place a few morsals of food in her mouth and her nights were spent simply crying. Unable to bear separation from the Lord of Vaikuntha the Goddess of fortune relinquished her mortal frame and went to join her eternal consort. As she is the Supreme Goddess of Fortune and endowed with unlimited opulences, she is capable of accomplishing anything. Giving up her reflected form of this world, she went to join her Lord in her original form. Her disappearance from this world was not like that of an ordinary human being, however. For her, separation from the Lord was like a dose of strong poison, thus having taken this form, she was bit by the snake of separation and being unable to bear the pain of that poison she gave up her existence in this world. [C. B. Adi 14.104]

    Seeing that Laksmidevi had left this world all of the family and friends were plunged into grief. Sacimata became completely immersed in sorrow. The all omniscient Lord became aware of everything and thus returned home in the company of many students and with many possessions earned through His teaching profession. Arriving home he came to know of Laksmipriya's deparure and in imitation of ordinary mortals he displayed some sorrow. Then He consoled His mother and imparted many transcendental instructions to her.

    Saci Mata somehow tried to restrain her grief while Sri Gaurasundara again engaged in His pastimes of scholarship.

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