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Shyamananda’s test of faith (Part 2 of the story of Shyamananda Prabhu)

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Vrindavan, 2017.06.13 (VT): In the previous post, Shyamananda Prabhu received a new tilak and name from Radharani Herself (or, according to the Shyamananda Prakash, from Lalita Sakhi). But Lalita Sakhi warned him not to tell anyone about what had happened. The only person he was allowed to tell was his shiksha guru, Shri Jeev Goswami. But in the absence of any explanation for the new tilak and name, rumors spread that Shyamananda had rejected his diksha guru, Shri Hriday Chaitanya, who lived in Bengal.

When the news reached Shri Hriday Chaitanya, he was extremely upset. He sent a letter to Shri Jeev Goswami, asking him to explain what had happened. Shri Jeev sent the reply: “I have not re-initiated Shyamananda. Shyamananda told me that you yourself have given him the new tilak and name.”

Shri Hriday Chaitanya was extremely confused. “Did I come in Shyamananda’s dream? No, I did not. Perhaps my disciple is lying just to save himself.”

Feeling extremely irritated, Shri Hriday Chaitanya requested all the main Bengali saints of his sampradaya to accompany him to Vrindavan to settle the matter. After a long journey, the saints took rest at Dheer Sameer. Shri Hriday Chaitanya then invited all the mahants of Vrindavan to participate in Shyamananda’s trial.

Shyamananda was brought before the assembly of saints. He bowed down in front of them with great humility.

The saints asked, “Who is your Guru? Who gave you your name and tilak?”

“My guru is Shri Hriday Chaitanya. My name and tilak were given by him.”

“Tell the truth, Krishnadas. If you received this name and tilak in a dream, then say so plainly. Or if you received them from another guru, you should admit that. If you lie and are found guilty, then you will lose the association of devotees, Shri Vrindavan Dham, and everything you hold dear. But if you tell the truth, we all are ready to forgive you.”

Shyamananda said, “Please give me a day to think about my answer.”

Leaving the assembly, Shyamananda sat down and began to meditate on the lotus feet of Shri Radha. In his female gopi form as Kanak Manjari, he entered the lila of Eternal Vrindavan. Kanak Manjari went to Radharani’s house in Barsana. Sitting at her doorstep, she began to cry.

Some sakhis came and asked, “Who are you? Why are you crying?”

“I am Brajwasi named Kanak Manjari. I am Shri Lalitaju’s maidservant. Yesterday I spent all day and night serving my beloved Lalita Sakhi, but when I went home my husband tried to beat me. So I have come here. Please ask Shri Lalita to give me her darshan and save my life!”

The sakhis immediately brought Kanak Manjari (Shyamananda) to Lalita Sakhi, who was at that time feeding paan to Radharani. Shri Roop Manjari was massaging Radharani’s lotus feet as Champaklata sakhi fanned her with a chamar.

Kanak Manjari bowed down at Shri Radha’s lotus feet, and Lalita Sakhi embraced her. She brought Kanak Manjari close to Radharani’s lotus feet, and Radharani placed those beautiful feet upon Kanak Manjari’s head.

Kanak Manjari told Radharani the entire story about her other life as Shyamananda; how she had received the new tilak and name by the grace of Shri Lalita, and how his Gurudev Shri Hriday Chaitanya along with all the saints of Vrindavan and Bengal were upset with him.

Radharani called Subal Sakha (who had incarnated as Shyamananda’s param-gurudev Shri Gauridas Pandit).

Shri Radha said to Subal, “This Kanak Manjari is Shyamananda, the disciple of your disciple. Shyamananda has my full mercy. Please save him from his distress.”

Subal Sakha drew the new tilak on Kanak Manjari (Shyamananda)’s forehead and gave her his blessings.

Meanwhile the saints in Vrindavan found Shyamananda unconscious. It looked as if he was dead. They were very upset, thinking that Shyamananda had died of sorrow. But Shri Jeev Goswami told them to do kirtan. When they sang kirtan, Shyamananda awoke from his trance.

When he came before the assembly of saints, Shri Hriday Chaitanya tried to wash the tilak off with water. But when he did so, Shyamananda meditated on the lotus feet of Shri Subal Sakha and Shri Lalita Sakhi. Instead of washing away, the tilak began to glow with a divine light.

Shyamananda’s Gurudev and all the saints then realized that Shyamananda was the recipient of special grace. His test of faith was over. His Gurudev and all the saints embraced him and gave him their full blessings.

The mahant of the Shri Radha-Shyamsundar temple, Sri Krishnagopalanand Dev Goswami Prabhupad explains that Shyamananda is an eternal associate of the Lord, meaning he was always there with Radha and Krishna in Eternal Vrindavan. He only came to this world to show the common person how to attain Radharani’s grace. If we sweep Vrindavan – if we serve Vrindavan with humility – then one day perhaps we too will find the anklet of Radharani that will lead us to her lotus feet.


Shyamananda Prabhu’s Samadhi Mandir, Vrindavan


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