This is the continuing serialization of 252 Vaishnavan ki varta, the lives of the saints following Vitthalnath, son of Vallabhacharya. It has been translated from the original Braj Bhasha by Krishnaa Kinkari Devi. This is the entire sixth varta. See previous.
The story of Vitthaldas Kayastha, who lived in a village on the other side of Delhi at a distance of four miles.
Vitthaldas is a devotee with a “tamasi” disposition. His name in the Eternal Lila is Vallavi. Vallavi [a gopi] manifests from Sri Vishakha and is thus a form of her divine loving sentiment. Vallavi is expert in secret and intimate Love. She often meets with Sri Thakurji in Nanda’s palace but they meet in private and their encounters are concealed from others.
Once Premlata was playing with Sri Thakurji in Nandalay. Vallavi played a trick and took Sri Thakurji to sit in her lap. Then she took Him off to a secret bower and implored Him, “O, my Lord! Please grace me and fulfill my hearts desire!” Sri Thakurji smilingly replied, “If Premlata were to find out, she will tell Mother Yashoda who will forbid you from coming to Nandalay. Then what will you do? You should therefore take Me to Nandalay straight away.” Vallavi pleaded again, “This in not the time for You to refuse me. Bless me now!” Seeing her intense longing Sri Thakurji fulfilled her desires. One Sakhi came to know of this and went and told Premlata who then angrily addressed Vallavi,” Hey, did you deceive me?” Premlata was very upset. For this offense Vallavi had to manifest on the earthly plane.
Four miles outside Delhi, there is a village, and she was born there as a son to a family of the writer caste. The head of the family was an employee at the government Court and was very wealthy, so he had Vitthaldas well educated. He taught him all about governmental matters.
Vitthaldas was twenty-five when his father died. He decided to go on a pilgrimage. He came to Mathura, bathed at Vishram Ghat, fed some Brahmins and gave them some donations. Then he traveled on to Gokul.
At that time Sri Gusainji had come to Thakurani Ghat to perform his evening prayers. Vitthaldas saw him there and became immediately attracted to Sri Gusainji and approached him with the request to regard him as his own and to accept him into his shelter.
Knowing Vitthaldas to be a Divine Soul, Sri Gusainji told him to bathe in Sri Yamunaji and come to the temple in a state of purity. “There I will initiate you as a disciple.” Having said that, Sri Gusainji went into the temple, accepted back the lunchtime offerings as Prasad and performed the Rajbhog Arati to Sri Navanitpriyaji. By then, Vitthaldas came there in a pure state after bathing. Sri Gusainji gave him the Holy Name initiation and then the second, Brahma Sambandha initiation.
Having put Sri Navanitpriyaji to rest, Sri Gusainji came into his baituk. Vitthaldas came there and sat down. He asked “O, Maharaj! What are your instructions for me?” Sri Gusainji told him that he would be incapable of doing anything other than constantly contemplating on Sri Acharyaji’s treatise ‘Wisdom, Perserverance and Refuge’ [Vivekdhairyashraya]. He said, “By doing this you will gain a perfect understanding of the righteous path of Devotion.”
Vitthaldas asked him to explain the treatise to him in full. Sri Gusainji instructed him in every aspect of that treatise in great detail. Vitthaldas stored all of it carefully in his heart. He remained constantly immersed in its inner most purport. Vitthaldas stayed there for some days before taking permission to return home. When he reached home he changed all his pots, plates and pans, and began to live according to Vaishnava ways.
Vitthaldas used to come every year to have the sight of Sri Gusainji in Gokul. He would always bring something of the very best quality as an offering. Sri Gusainji was very pleased with him. After some time, Vitthaldas’ wealth dwindled away. He needed to get a job and so, after some thought, came to Gauda Desh.
Vitthaldas became a servant of Narayandas’ Patshah. He did not reveal to Narayandas that he was a Vaishnava, but simply served at the Court. If anyone were to ask what lineage he belonged to, he would say that he was a Vaishnava, but Narayandas did not know this.
Some days later Narayandas, after discussing with the Patshah, sent Vitthaldas to a sub-division of the kingdom. When he had completed his collections there, he returned to Narayandas and showed him all the accounts from that place.
There was some money still owing from Vitthaldas’ side. Narayandas told him, “You still owe the government some money here: You should pay that now.
Vitthaldas said, “Well, I have no more money left. If you send me to another area I shall make it up from there.
Narayandas put Vitthaldas into prison.
On the third day Narayandas pulled him out of the cell and had him whipped. As he suffered the whip’s lashes, Vitthaldas’ body became infected but he still did not tell Narayandas that he was a Vaishnava disciple of Sri Gusainji.
Why? It is not appropriate to use ones status as a Vaishnava to fulfill ones own purpose, otherwise one can fall from the Path. Therefore he did not reveal that he was a Vaishnava.
When Vitthaldas’ condition was very deteriorated, Narayandas let him go. His body healed and Narayandas did not beat him any more, but he still kept him in prison.
One day, Sri Gusainji set off for a pilgrimage to Sri Jagannath Puri. One of his men came to Narayandas and told him that Sri Gusainji was nearby. Narayandas, very happy to hear this, got ready to go to see Sri Gusainji.
Vitthaldas told him, “You are going for the sight of Sri Gusainji. Please, will you let me accompany you?
Narayandas exclaimed, “O, What a great shame! Why did you not tell me you are a disciple of Sri Gusainji?”
Vitthaldas simply stated, “O, Narayandas! I came here to work for you; I did not come to sell you my Vaishnava Path.”
Narayandas released Vitthaldas who, wearing a long shirt, then accompanied Narayandas to go before Sri Gusainji. They reached there, and Vitthaldas bowed before Sri Gusainji.
Sri Gusainji smiled when he saw him and asked him how long he had been there.
Vitthaldas replied that he had been living there for a short time near Narayandas. Sri Gusainji again addressed him, “Oh Vitthaldas! It has been a long time since I heard your news.” After this, both Narayandas and Vitthaldas sat down in Sri Gusainji’s presence.
Narayandas’ face began to shrivel.
Sri Gusanji had cooked and made the offerings to the Lord. He asked Vitthaldas, “You used to be quite healthy, but now you seem to have become weak. Why is this?”
Vitthaldas replied, “O Maharaj! I have been here working for the Patshah. He put me in prison. That is why I am weak.”
Sri Gusainji asked him why he had not told Narayandas about this. Vitthaldas replied that he had come there to work and not to sell his beliefs. “My body deserved punishment and so it was necessary for me to suffer that. Why would it be necessary to reveal my beliefs to anyone?”
Hearing the strength of his devotion, Sri Gusainji praised him profusely. Narayandas’ face turned white.
Sri Gusainji went to accept the offerings back as prasad. On returning, he invited Vitthaldas to have prasad there itself.
Vitthaldas said, “Oh Maharaj! I am not very well, and I have not bathed.”
Sri Gusainji instructed him to bathe there. He told his personal servant to help him to bathe. In order to fulfill his instructions Vitthaldas removed his long shirt.
Narayandas began to tremble. That personal servant of Sri Gusainji bathed Vitthaldas.
As Vitthaldas was sitting down to bathe, Sri Gusainji came there to wash the Lord’s pots and pans. He trembled when he saw Vitthaldas’ body and asked him what on earth had happened to him.
Vitthaldas was on the verge of tears when he said, “I was whipped.” Then Sri Gusainji asked who had whipped him. He looked over at Narayandas.
Sri Gusainji asked Narayandas, “Why did you whip such a Vaishnava in this way?” Narayandas supplicated, “I did not know he was a Vaishnava.”
Sri Gusainji again addressed him, “You did not know he was a Vaishnava, but you did know that he was a human being. A Vaishnava should never be so cruel. Vaishnavas should be compassionate to all living beings.”
Narayandas said, “Oh Maharaj, I have committed a terrible offense.”
Narayandas urged Vitthaldas to stay with him but he refused. When Sri Gusainji left Narayandas’ area, Vitthaldas also left there along with him.
He left because Narayandas now knew that he was a Vaishnava.
Thus concludes Varta 6, the story of Vitthaldas, who was the recipient of Sri Gusainji’s great grace and an accomplished Vaishnava. His story truly has no end.
THUS CONCLUDES VARTA 6, THE STORY OF VITTHALDAS WHO WAS THE RECIPIENT OF SRI GUSAINJIS GREAT GRACE AND AN ACCOMPLISHED VAISHNAVA. HIS STORY TRULY HAS NO END.