One time Nagaji was traveling from Godhra towards Arail in order to have the holy sight of Sri Gusainji. He arrived in Srijidwar (i.e., Jatipura).
There he went to have the Holy Sight of the Lord. He greeted Ramdas and the other temple servants with the Lord’s Name. Ramdasji told him that most of the temple servants had come down with a fever and that very few of them able to serve. He asked Nagaji to serve Sri Govardhananathaji for some days. Nagaji bathed and went into the Seva. He stayed in service there for some days. Then he wrote a letter of supplication to Sri Gusainji which contained this verse:
sarasi kuśeśayam apy āsvāditum āgaccho’lino mārge |
yadi kanaka-kamala-pāne nāsīt toṣaḥ kim anyena||
Bhavaprakasha: The meaning of this is:
“Having assumed the form of a bee I was coming to taste the nectar of the lotus growing in water. On the way I met a lotus made of gold and I am now ensnared within it. However the taste of the water-lotus is not here. ”
Here Nagaji has referred to Sri Gusainji as a lotus growing in water, because, in the same way that a water lotus is full of fragrance, Sri Gusainji is replete with the fragrant nectar of all the Lord’s pastimes. Sri Gusainji blesses Nagaji to witness these. For Nagaji Sri Gusainji is the lotus growing in water and Sri Nathaji is the golden lotus. He may be full of the nectar of all divine pastimes but without Sri Gusainji’s grace Nagaji would not be able to experience them. So, for Nagaji, Sri Nathaji was the golden lotus.
This verse he wrote in his letter. When it arrived Sri Gusainji read it. He then wrote a reply and sent it to Nagaji. Sri Gusainji wrote two slokas :
nātra kuśeśaya-mānasam arthayase yati-prayo madhupaḥ |
tasmiṁs tuṣṭe toṣa-dusthe dausthyaṁ hi nirupama-snehāt ||1||
yady alir api nirupadhi-bhāvaḥ svabhāvataḥ samāgaccheta |
niravadhi-toṣo’syātrāpi bhaved eveti kiṁ vācyaṁ ||2||
Bhavaprakasha: The meaning of these slokas is that the golden lotus is the foundation of everything, but can only be tasted by those who are fully connected in love to Sri Nathaji. Therefore, connect in full loving mood with Sri Nathaji and serve him, then you will gain the experience of that taste. This is one interpretation. The second is, “O, dear bee! You are ensnared in the golden lotus, but excessive loving nectar will come to you from proximity to the water-lotus. ”
These are the two verses that Sri Gusaiji sent to Nagaji in Sri Nathdwar. The postal officer delivered it to Nagaji. When Nagaji read it he became impatient for the sight of Sri Gusainji. At that very time two or three temple servants recovered from their fever and were able to bathe and re-enter the Seva. Nagaji then told Ramdas that he was now leaving to go to Sri Gusainji’s side, because it had been such a long time since he had seen him.
Ramdasji said, “As you wish. If you stay here you can serve Sri Govardhananathji. If you go there you will be able to serve Sri Gusainji. You may gain equal joy from either place. ”Hearing these words Nagaji took his leave from Sri Govardhananathaji, Ramdas and all the other temple workers and left for Arail. There he saw Sri Gusainji. Sri Gusainji was very happy to see Nagaji. In this way Nagaji was the recipient of great grace from Sri Gusainji.
Nagaji once wrote a request to Sri Gusaiji in a letter: “O, Maharaj! Sri Acharyaji has written many books like the `Sri Subodhiniji~ and `The Nibandha~ and you have also written many esoteric treatises like your `Tippani~, etc. However I am of little intelligence. Please therefore please write a few lines to explain the essence of the Path. This would be a great grace on your part. ”
The letter reached Sri Gusainji in Gokul. He read it and replied to it in two verses which fully contained the explanation of Sri Acharyaji’s Path of Grace as well as the rewards and inner meaning of the path.
śrī-vallabhācārya-mate phalaṁ tat-prākaṭyam atrāvyabhicāri-hetuḥ |
tatropayuktā navadhokta-bhaktis tatropayogo’khila-sādhanānām||1||
yaḥ kuryāt sundarākṣīṇāṁ bhavane lāsya-nartane|
tāsāṁ bhāvanayā nityaṁ sa hi sarva-phalānubhāk. ||2||”
These are the two slokas explaining the essence and the reward of the Path of Grace that Sri Gusainji wrote for Nagaji.
The meaning of them is this: “On the Path of Grace of Sri Vallabhacharyaji, the full reward is the manifestation of the Lord. This is earned by chaste and fathful devotion. Those who cherish total loyalty have attained the nine stages of devotion. In the original format of this ninefold devotion the nine types have been demonstrated by nine souls in nine stages. The scriptures have described this. But the speciality of Sri Acharyaji’s Path is that he revealed and taught that there is one further stage called ‘Prema-lakshana Bhakti’ [devotion where only love is the presiding quality]. Sri Gusainji is explaining this aspect here. The ninefold path of devotion can still be interrupted by the Lord’s deluding potency but only love pervades every aspect of this ten-stage way and therefore it is superior. Herein, then, Sri Gusainji sent Nagaji the inner meaning of Loving Devotion.
He wrote, “In the homes of those Vraja ladies with beautiful eyes the Lord enjoys dance and other loving exchanges with them. Devotees should always keep the emulation of their loving sentiments in their heart. From this alone comes the experience of the true reward of the Path.” When Nagaji read this he was overjoyed.
Bhavaprakasha : Sri Acharyaji had explained such deeply esoteric matters to Damodardas Harshani. Here it was to Nagaji Bhat that Sri Gusainji explained such secret subjects. Through this letter the essence and the reward of the Path became clear to Nagaji. These two slokas are replete with very deep teachings. Therefore they were not made public.
Once Sri Gusainji went to Dwaraka. Nagaji loaded a camel with mangoes and went to Dwaraka to be with him. When he saw the mangoes Sri Gusainj said to Nagaji, “O, Nagaji, I cannot accept these mangoes. Hearing these words Nagaji left the mangoes there and straight away went to Godhra. There he loaded two camels with mangoes and arrived at Sri Nathdwar [Jatipura] in seven days. He gave the mangoes from one camel to Ramdasji the head priest and got a receipt for them. Then he took the other camel to Gokul and gave the mangoes to Sri Giridharaji. He prostrated to him, took a receipt and left immediately. He returned to Godhra, loaded up another camel with mangoes and left for Dwaraka.
Sri Gusainji was returning to Gokul from Dwaraka at that time. They met on the way. Nagaji bowed low to Sri Gusainji and placed the mangoes before him, and presented the two receipts to him. When he saw these Sri Gusainji was very pleased. When Sri Gusainji was preparing the offerings he also offered these mangoes. When his Lord accepted the mangoes Sri Gusainji was very content and began to praise them. Nagaji was also very happy. In this way Nagaji was always attached to his loving service to Sri Gusainji’s lotus feet.
From the very day that Sri Gusainji gave Nagaji the Name initiation, by Sri Gusainji’s Grace Nagaji’s mind never wavered. During this period Sri Gusainji traveled six times to Dwaraka and each time he stayed with Nagaji in his home.
Bhavaprakasha: Sri Gusainji has a Baithak [‘Sitting Place’] in Godhra and it is in Nagaji’s house. Once, Sri Gokulnathji traveled to Dwaraka. On the way he passed through Godhra village. Arriving there Sri Gokulnathaji asked the village people to show him the way to Nagaji’s house. No one from Nagaji’s descendant family was in the village, and Nagaji’s house was in a state of disrepair, but the villagers showed Sri Gokulnathaji where it was. He went there and cleaned up the place. After putting up a partition, he cooked and made offerings there.
After this when Sri Ghanashyamji traveled to Dwaraka he also came to Nagaji’s house, cleaned up his father’s sitting place and made offerings there.
Nagaji Bhat was thus an accomplished Vaishnava and the recipient of Sri Gusainji’s Grace.
Thus concludes Varta 1, the story of Nagaji Bhat, although there is no end to his tale.
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