The extraordinary path given by Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Once, a sannyasi from the up-country, Sri Ranga Puri, was graced in the house of Sachi Devi. There, he tasted mocha ghanta, a preparation of banana flower curry. He experienced such an extraordinary taste that he remembered it many years later when he was in Pandarapur in Maharastra. At that time, he met Sriman Mahaprabhu, who was wandering through the southern countries. When Mahaprabhu came to Pandarapur, He met Sri Ranga Puri and at that time was told, “Your elder brother, Sankararanya, breathed his last in this place.” Sri Ranga Puri also told him, “Once, with our Gurudev Madhavendra Puri, we were guests in the house of Jagannath Misra and Sachi Devi. Your mother prepared a curry from banana flowers so nicely that we cannot forget its taste.”
apurva mochara ghanta taha ye khaila
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 9.296)
[“We ate an extraordinary banana flower curry there.”]
In his divine fashion, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur writes:
sachira angane kabhu madhavendra puri prabhu
prasadanna karena bhojana
khaite khaite tara aila prema sudurvara
bale, “suna sannyasira gana
(Sri Gitavali: Prasada-sevaya, 3.1)
Sri Madhavendra Puri and his disciples were graced in the house of Jagannath Misra, and they took prasadam in the compound. When they were taking prasadam, some wonderful flow of divine love awakened in the heart of Madhavendra Puri. He could not check it. As this divine prema rushed into his heart, he addressed his sannyasi disciples:
mocha-ghanta phula-badi dali dalna chachchadi
sachi-mata karila randhana
tara suddha bhakti heri’ bhojana karila hari
sudha-sama e anna-vyanjana
(Sri Gitavali: Prasada-sevaya, 3.2)
“What are you taking here? All of it has been prepared by Mother Sachi Devi, and seeing her heart, Hari has been attracted. He has taken the first taste of all these things. So, I feel that they are more than nectar. I have never experienced such sweetness in my life.”
yoge yogi paya yaha bhoge aja habe taha
hari bali’ khao sabe bhai
(Sri Gitavali: Prasada-sevaya, 3.3)
“By simply enjoying such things with our physical senses, we can easily attain what great yogis attain through great austerity, self-control, and directing the mind towards higher attainment. Yoge yogi na paya yaha: not only this, simply by enjoying the taste of this transcendental prasadam here, we can attain even what yogis do not attain. We shall attain by enjoyment what yogis cannot attain by great austerities. It is such. So, go on chanting the Name of Hari and take prasadam!”
There is another song of Vasudev Ghos:
nachiya gaiya karila sona
“What should we say about the greatness of Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev? He simply asks us to sing and dance with all our heart, and we will be turned from iron into gold. What a new and wonderful method He has introduced here! Simply by rejoicing, we shall reach the goal. No penance, no austerity, nothing. We do not have to undergo any such thing to attain even the greatest goal. Simply by chanting, praying, and dancing, we shall walk to Goloka! What a new and sweet form of sadhana the great Gauranga has introduced in this world! Nachiya gaiya karila sona: by dancing and singing, all the iron will be converted into gold.
krsnera prasada-anna trijagata kare dhanya
tripurari nache yaha pai’
(Sri Gitavali: Prasada-sevaya, 3.3)
“Be fully conscious about Krishna-prasadam. We very rarely find mention of the greatness of Krishna’s prasadam, but it is not only my version, it is broadly accepted. I am only drawing your attention to that. Even Mahadev, Siva himself, once danced on Kailasa when he received a taste of this prasadam. Such a valuable thing we have come across here. So, we must be fully awake to this fact.”
Sri Ranga Puri said to Mahaprabhu: “We can’t forget the taste of the mocha ghanta we tasted there.” So, Nabadwip has got its special charm: through dancing and merrymaking, it can help you to reach the highest goal of your life from the most ordinary plane.
Spoken on 31 August 1981.