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    Shrila Murari Gupta

    Shrila Murari GuptaShrila Murari Gupta, a disciple of Shri Candrasekhara Acarya, possessed extraordinary humility. He had an intimate lifelong relationship with Lord Caitanya. Although senior in class, Murari would always lose in debates with Shri Nimai Pandit. During one heated argument they began pushing each other. The scuffle con­tinued into the Ganges. They stirred up so much mud that ladies couldn't fill their pots and brahmanas couldn't bathe properly.

    At the nightly kirtans in Srivasa Angam Murari Gupta pleased Gaurahari with melodious chanting of the Bhagavata. He would also sing and dance expertly. Murari Gupta served Shri Caitanya in all His Nadia lilas.

    Lord Caitanya once tested Murari Gupta's attachment to his worshipable Lord Ramacandra. Lord Gaurasundara preached to Murari about the supreme sweetness and position of Vrajendra-kumara (Krishna): "Murari, just worship Krishna and take shelter of Him. Nothing but His service can satisfy the mind." Although Murari Gupta became somewhat inclined toward Shri Krishna, the thought of losing Lord Ramacandra's association devastated him. That night he prayed to Lord Rama to take his life. He asked for this because he couldn't stop serving Rama, nor could he defy Shri Caitanya's request.

    After crying all night Murari approached Lord Caitanya and said: "What should I do? I've sold my head to the lotus feet of Lord Ramacandra. But if I break Your order to worship Lord Shri Krishna, then what can I do?"

    Smiling, Shri Gaura Raya replied, "All glories to Murari Gupta! You're so fixed in your worship that even My request couldn't turn your mind. This is exactly the type of love and affection the servitor must have for the lotus feet of the Lord. Even if the Lord wants separation, a devotee cannot abandon the shelter of His lotus feet. Just to test your firm faith in your Lord I repeatedly asked you to change your worship from Lord Rama to Lord Krishna."

    Congratulating Murari Gupta, the Lord continued, "You are the incarnation of Hanuman, the eternal servant of Lord Rama. Therefore, why should you give up your worship of Lord Rama?"

    At another time, Lord Caitanya showed His form as Lord Ramacandra with Janaki, Laksmana, and a host of monkeys recit­ing hymns and prayers. Seeing himself amongst those monkeys in his original form as Hanuman, Murari Gupta fainted. In Katva, when Lord Caitanya took sannyasa Murari stood by weeping like a child. And when Sriman Mahaprabhu moved to Jagannatha Puri, Murari and his wife would come every year to relish the Lord's company.

    Since he was born in a dynasty of AyurVedic doctors Murari Gupta practiced medicine. But his practice was unique in that he cured his patient's physical ailments and also freed them from the disease of material existence. He wrote the first biography of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, an important Sanskrit work entitled Shri Caitanya Carita Mahakavya.

    "An expert physician by the name Murari Gupta could cure people of their disease of material existence. Along with so many other Vaisnavas, Advaita Acarya, Sen Sivananda, Jagannath Misra, Nilambar Cakravarti, he also appeared in Sylhet. [C. B. Adi 2.35]

    Srivas Pandit, Candrasekhara Acarya and Shri Murari Gupta Thakur were all from Srihatta. Murari Gupta came from there to live in Navadwip, near the home of Jagannath Misra. He was a few years older than Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Murari Gupta, Kamalakanta, Shri Krsnananda, etc. all used to study together with Nimai Pandit. Nimai used to like a debate in disputations on logical fallacy but none could defeat him; rather he could defeat all of them put together. Finally being exasperated by his uncanny sharpness of intelligence, Murari Gupta would resort to slinging mood, until finally they were all pushing one another back and forth as they came to the Ganges to take their bath.

    There arose such a hue and cry at the ghat that the ladies couldn't fill their water pots, the water having become so muddy. Neither the brahmanas could properly take their bath. In this way Shri Gaurasundara would play with His friends on the banks of the Ganges. [C. B. Adi 8]

    When they entered the school of Ganga Das Pandit, Nimai immediately became first in the class, having attained the highest marks. Then all of the other students were forced to accept defeat. Murari Gupta however would neither accept defeat, nor would he engage in local debate. Therefore Nimai became angry and told him; "You are a doctor; what is the use of you studying these subjects? Your business is to collect leaves & creepers to heal the sick. Grammatical science is very abstruse, you won't find anything in it to help you in dealing with mucus, bila and dyspepsia."

    Hearing this challenge, Murari was pricked, and became angry within, but he didn't exhibit his anger. He simply gazed peacefully at Nimai. Nimai's divine form was so enchanting and the touch of his lotus soft hands so pacifying that no one became agitated by his dealings. At that time, Nimai had just began his studies in grammar. Therefore Murari began to discuss rhetoric with Him, but he still could not defeat him. Completely astonished, he thought to himself, "Is it possible that such scholarship is found in ordinary mortals? He must be some kind of divine personage. Not one student in Navadwip has been able to defeat him in argument." In this way they used to sometimes argue together but they would go together in a friendly mood to take bath in mother Ganges.

    When Mahaprabhu returned from Gaya and began to manifest symptoms of ecstatic love, Murari Gupta became intensely devoted to Him. When he saw Mahaprabhu crying in ecstatic love at the house of Suklambar Pandit he became struck with
    wonder.

    Shri Murari Gupta used to worship Shri Shri Sita Ram. One day, Mahaprabhu suddenly arrived in Murari Gupta's house. Roaring in the mood of Varahadeva he picked up a water pot in His teeth, while Murari Gupta fell down on the floor to offer his dandavats, being dumbstruck with wonder at having seen this divine form. Then Mahaprabhu said; "Murari! Just sing some hymns in my praise." Then Murari recited some slokas at which Mahaprabhu became very happy and thus addressed him, "Murari! I am just speaking this truth to you. I am the essence of all scriptures. I have come to engage in Harinam sankirtan Myself, as well as to induce others also to chant My Holy Names. I cannot tolerate malice towards my devotee. If someone tries to harm my devotee, even if he is my son I will tear off his head. The proof of this is Narakasur." After telling Murari so many secret things about Himself, Mahaprabhu returned home.

    During the time when Mahaprabhu exhibited for 21 hours His transcendental existence as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He was calling His various devotees and bestowing various blessings to them. He next called Murari: "Murari! For so many days you couldn't recognize who I am? Just see My divine form." Then Murari saw Mahaprabhu as His most worshipable Deity, Lord Raghunatha, His body the colour of green grass. Sitting in the virasana, his legs folded beneath His body, and holding a great bow in His hand, Lakshman and Janaki were seated on each side of Him. In all directions the chiefs of the monkeys were reciting prayers and hymns. Then when he saw himself amongst those monkeys in his original form, he fainted straight away. Mahaprabhu called him: "Murari! Get up! Just see My divine form. Have you forgotten who set Ravana's
    Lanka on fire? It was you, Hanuman! Get up and gaze on the form of Laksmana, who is the very embodiment of your life. Offer your obeisances to that one for whose sadness you cried so much (Sita devi)."

    Hearing Mahaprabhu's voice Murari regained his consciousness and seeing that form again he offered his dandavats again while crying in ecstatic love. Seeing this divine display of the Lord's infinite mercy towards Murari, the devotees filled the sky with the sounds of "Hari! Hari!"

    One evening, Mahaprabhu & Nityananda Prabhu were sitting in the courtyard of Srivas Pandit when Murari Gupta arrived there. First he offered his obeisances to Mahaprabhu and then to Nityananda Prabhu.

    Mahaprabhu told him: "Murari! You have made a mistake. You offered your obeisances in the opposite order."

    Murari: "Prabhu! As you have inspired me, so I have done."

    Mahaprabhu: "All right. Go home now and later you will be able to understand everything."

    Murari Gupta went to his house and after having his meal, lay down to take rest. That night he saw a dream. In his dream he saw the chief of the Mahabhagavat; Lord Nityananda, his cloth tied up behind in the fashion of a wrestler, proceeding in front. Above his head was a great, many-headed serpent. In his hands were a plow and club. Nityananda Prabhu appeared just as Balaram. Following behind, with a peacock feather on his head, was Shri Visvambhar. [C. B. Mad. 20.14]

    Lord Nityananda is none other than Haladhar, the manifestation of Anantadeva, and the greatest devotee. Now Murari could understand who is greater.

    Mahaprabhu, smiling sweetly called him, "Murari! Now have you understood? If you breach proper conduct then how will it look?" Murari Gupta, in the depth of his dream began to call out "Nityananda! Nityananda!" with tears in his eyes. His wife then called out "Krsna! Krsna!" and woke him up. Murari Gupta could understand the greatness of Nityananda Prabhu's position now. It is he who reveals Lord Gauranga. Without his mercy one cannot get the mercy of Lord Caitanya.

    On another day, Murari Gupta came to Srivas's courtyard and saw Mahaprabhu seated very regally on a decorated sitting place, being served by his various devotees. Gadadhar was offering pan and betel nuts which Mahaprabhu was chewing very happily, while Narahari was fanning Him with a camara. Murari Gupta offered his obeisances and Prabhu offered him some of the remnants of the chewed betel. Murari placed the betel in his mouth and then wiped his hand on his head. Mahaprabhu told him: "Murari! My offal has touched your body!" Murari replied, "Today my entire body has become purified." The prasadam of the Lord is completely nonmaterial. His self, His name, His prasadam, all are not different. If anyone thinks that His prasadam has become offal, by being in contact with His mouth then this is a great aparadh. The mouths of ordinary human beings are considered unclean but this doesn't apply to the supremely pure Personality of Godhead.

    Having received the tambula (pan and betel) prasadam of Mahaprabhu, Murari became intoxicated with love of Godhead and arrived at his house in this condition. His devoted wife, seeing that her husband had returned home, spread an asana and having seated him, she brought a plate of prasadam and placed it before him. Murari, who was still in an ecstatic mood, was forming the rice in his hand into balls and saying "Eat! Eat!" He was then placing it on the ground. His wife could understand what was going on and thus she requested her husband, "Swamin! That is enough, don't give (Him) anymore, now you eat something."

    Thereafter Murari, still under the influence of ecstatic love, ate a little and then lay down to take rest. In the morning Mahaprabhu came to Murari's house and began to call him. Murari called out, "Krsna! Krsna!" and quickly got up from bed. Coming to the door he saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu and thus offered his obeisances and inquired what had brought the Lord to his house so early in the morning. Mahaprabhu replied; "Murari! You forgot already? Last night, all the while saying "Eat! Eat!" you fed Me so much rice with ghee. If you offer me, then how can I refuse? But eating rice with so much ghee I have gotten
    indigestion. Now give me some medicine." Hearing this, Murari felt very sorry, but Mahaprabhu immediately told him, "Murari! By eating your nice rice I got indigestion, the medicine for that is your water." [C. B. Mad. 20.69]

    Then seeing a lota of water which was sitting there, Mahaprabhu began to drink it up. Seeing this Murari exclaimed, "Prabhu! I am a fallen, low class person. The water in my house is not fit for You." (Generally at that time brahmanas would not accept water or foodstuffs from the houses of non-brahmanas).

    The Lord is known as bhakta-vatsala, who is very affectionate to His devotees. He accepts foodstuffs in the house of His devotee, and submissive to their love for Him, He is happy to remain in whatever condition they keep Him. Whatever they feed Him, He accepts very happily. Whatever they like, He likes. In this way the Lord enacted so many pastimes with His dear devotee, Hanuman (or Garuda, according to others' opinion).

    One day Murari Gupta began to reflect, "If I can leave my body in the Lord's presence then that will be very good." For this purpose he fashioned a large dagger and hid it in his house. But the supreme Lord Shri Caitanya, who is totally omniscient immediately came to his house and called, "Murari!, I have so many pastimes to complete in your company. If you go away then how will I go on? I know everything."

    Murari caught hold of the Lord's feet and began to cry. Thereafter Mahaprabhu consoled him and after explaining to him many things He returned to His own house. Murari Gupta was present with the Lord during all of his pastimes in Nadiya Nagar.

    Every year when the devotees would go to Puri, Murari Gupta would go along with his wife and they would take many preparations of foodstuffs to offer to the Lord.

    "This was brought by Vasudeva Datta and this by Murari Gupta! This was brought by Buddhimanta Khan. Just see all these various preparations!" [C. C. Antya-lila].

    There has been a temple constructed by Gaudiya Math, in memory of Murari Gupta Thakur, near Ballal dighi in Sridham Mayapur.

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