Biographies of various saints.
Sri Raghunatha Das Gosvami - The Three Gosvamis
Madhava - Thu, 17 Oct 2002 17:07:53 +0530
TIN GOSVAMI -- THE THREE GOSVAMIS
Sri Raghunatha Das Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami and Sri Krishna Das Kaviraja Gosvami all disappeared from this world on the Sukla Dvadasi day of the month of Damodara during different years.
Fearful that the Moslem invaders would desecrate the sacred bodies of these saints, instead of being placed in a samadhi in the regular way, their bodies were cremated on the banks of Sri Radha Kund. Some of the ashes were left at this samadhi mandir which came to be known as Tin Gosvami Samadhi, the samadhi of the three Gosvamis. The rest of Sri Raghunatha Bhatta's ashes were buried in a samadhi at the Causathi Mahanta samadhi yard in Vrindavan, Sri Das Gosvami's ashes were buried in his samadhi mandir in the Gopinatha Mandir of Radha Kund, and Krishna Das Kaviraja's ashes were buried on the yard of the Radha Damodar Mandir.
During the three days to come before Purnima, we will be commemorating their disappearance days. I will be posting biographical accounts of them, starting with Sri Das Gosvami later on today. I apologize for not currently having the time to present them all today.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 18:11:06 +0530
SRI RAGHUNATHA DASA GOSVAMI
(From O.B.L. Capoor's "The Gosvamis of Vrindavana")
We know that the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati met at Prayaga and the confluence of the three rivers was called Triveni. The river Sarasvati branched off a short way down and, flowing in a semi-circular course, met the Ganga again at Alipur. A new Triveni was thus formed in Bengal. It is near this Triveni that in Puranic times the seven sons of Raja Priyavrata practised sadhana after accepting sannyasa. Since then the place has been called Saptagrama. During the days of the Mohammedan rulers Sap-tagrama was a very flourishing town. It was the resi-dence of a large number of Europeans, whose ships lay anchored on the river Sarasvati, laden with merchandise.
It was the most important port for the sea-going vessels in Bengal. The Emperor of Gauda had leased the town and its adjoining villages to two influential Kayastha Chiefs - Hiranya and Govardhana. “The condition was that they should pay a revenue of 12 lakhs of rupees a year and the Emperor would not interfere with the internal administration of the district. Under this new arrangement the annual income from the land alone rose to 20 lakhs, besides which the taxes on the exports, and imports, were a source of consid-erable additional income to the brothers.” Both the brothers were reputed not only for their wealth and valour, but also for their scholarship, god-fearing nature and charity. Many Brahmins of the district of Nadiya depended on them for their livelihood. Their court was a favourite resort of distinguished scholars.
Hiranya had no issue. Raghunatha Dasa was the only child of Govardhana. He was the only solace of the family, the only one on whom they had pinned the hope that he would maintain the wealth, the reputation and the royal tradition of the family. He was sent for his education to the house of Balarama Acarya, their devout and scholarly family priest, who lived in a nearby village, named Candapura. He began to study Sanskrita and the sastras under him. Raghunatha was at that time about 8 or 10 years old. It was evident even at that time that he was made differently from his father and uncle and that he would pursue a line different from the one they had chalked out for him. He was calm and quiet, seclusive and indifferent to dress, eating and drinking and everything else that attracted a boy of his age. Balarama Acarya was a saintly person and his house was a regular meeting place for saints. Once the Mohammedan saint Thakura Haridasa came from Benapole to Candapura. Balarama Acarya received him cordially. He made a thatched cottage for him in a lonely place in Candapura, in which he began to live and do japa and nama-kirtana. He came to Balarama’s house everyday for bhiksa. Raghunatha respectfully made obeisance to him and received his blessings. He often went to his place, and circumambulated his kuti listening to his ecstatic kirtana and himself went into ecstasy.
It was the company of Thakura Haridasa and his blessings that ultimately fructified in the shape of his meeting with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his mercy on him, as Krishnadasa Kaviraja has said in Caitanya Caritamrta.
The boy Raghunatha used to hear from his servants, maid-servants, relations and the distinguished persons who visited the court of his father, about the supernatural personality and bhava of Sri Caitanya. His picture was, therefore, already firmly printed on his mind. But the picture became alive, when, on account of the company and blessing of Haridasa, a new current of bhava-bhakti began to flow in his heart. He became restless for his darsana. One day the news came from Navadvipa that Nimai Pandita (Sri Caitanya) had taken sannyasa from Kesava Bharati at Katava and gone no one knows where. Like a sudden stroke of lightning the news benumbed the whole of Saptagrama. Raghunatha thought that perhaps it would never be possible for him to have His darsana and he fell senseless on the ground.
After three days the news came that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had gone to the house of Advaitacarya in Santipura and was staying there. Crowds of people from Navadvipa were going to Santipura for his darsana. Parties of people from Saptagrama also began to leave for Santipura. A silver lining was visible in the clouds of despair and despondency hovering over the mind of Raghunatha. He became extremely restless to go to Santipura for the darsana of Mahaprabhu. Hiranya and Govardhana thought it would be imprudent to prevent him from going. They arranged to send him under the escort of some Brahmins, friends and a number of pike-men. On reaching Santipura Raghunatha saw that huge crowds of people were rushing towards the house of Advaitacarya, singing aloud the name of the Lord. Raghunatha also joined them. On reaching Advaita-carya’s house he fell at the feet of Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu affectionately placed his foot upon his head and then lifted and embraced him. Both embraced and bathed each other in the tears of love that flowed from their eyes.
Everyone knew Raghunatha as the heir apparent of the ruler of Saptagrama. Hiranya and Govardhana were intimate with Advaitacarya. Therefore Advaitacarya made proper arrangements for Raghunatha’s stay in his own house. Raghunatha lived there happily for about a week and enjoyed the darsana and company of Maha-prabhu. By the grace of Advaitacarya everyday he got the mahaprasada of Mahaprabhu to eat.
During this period Mahaprabhu won the heart and soul of Raghunatha by giving him His company, His love and His mahaprasada and then bade him go. Raghunatha could not bear His separation. He went back sobbing and weeping. Tears that now started flowing never stopped all his life.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 18:19:32 +0530
Raghunatha Mad in love for Mahaprabhu
Raghunatha returned from Santipura, but his heart and soul remained tied to the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu with the bond of love. He could not forget even for a moment His exquisitely beautiful face, His love trances, such as he had never seen or heard and His repeatedly looking at him with eyes brimming with love. He always felt like flying to Him at Nilacala.
He said to his parents and uncle with a heart full of distress, “You are my guardians, my well-wishers. If you want my happiness, kindly permit me to go to Nilacala and surrender at the feet of Mahaprabhu, otherwise my soul will fly to Nilacala, leaving only the body here.”
Raghunatha’s words struck them like a thunder bolt. They said in one voice with a start, “What do you say? What madness! Never say like that again.”
Raghunatha was really mad. Though he was always obedient to his parents, it was impossible for him to obey them and stay at home. He tried several times to flee, but he was caught on the way and brought back. There was no end to the anxiety of Raghunatha’s mother. She lost her hunger and sleep. Hiranya and Govardhana were also always worried. They apprehended that Raghunatha might some day, somehow sneak out. They appointed several guards to keep a watch on him and gave them strict warning that he must in no circumstance be allowed to go out of Saptagrama. The strongest chain with which a man can be tied to the world is woman. Raghunatha was now seventeen years old. His guardians thought that if he was married, his mind would change. So they married him to a very beautiful and accomplished girl. But the bond of marriage also proved futile.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 18:39:26 +0530
Second Meeting with Mahaprabhu
After some time the news came to Saptagrama that Mahaprabhu was going to Vrindavana. On His way He met Rupa and Sanatana at Ramakeli. At the advice of Sanatana He postponed His visit to Vrindavana. On His way back to Nilacala He would now stay for a week with Advaitacarya at Santipura. Already people had start ed gathering at Santipura and the place had put on a festive look with dance and kirtana going on everywhere.
Raghunatha also became restless for the darsana of Mahaprabhu. If a man, who has been thirsty for long, suddenly finds that the sea of nectar has come flowing near him, how can he remain without drinking and quenching his thirst? Raghunatha also could not remain without quenching his thirst for the darsana of Mahaprabhu. He frankly and unhesitatingly told his father and uncle that, he could not remain without seeing Mahaprabhu. There was again a problem for them. They could neither prevent Raghunatha from going, nor send him without fear of losing him. They sent him with a number of bodyguards, servants and Brahmins. They also sent along with him a variety of things as offerings for the service of Mahaprabhu.
Raghunatha had been weeping in separation from Mahaprabhu now for four or five years. His love for Mahaprabhu had become much more intense. He saw that crowds of people were rushing towards Santipura dancing and singing in praise of Mahaprabhu. He also joined the crowd and dancing and singing with them reached Santipura. This time as soon as he saw Mahaprabhu, he fell at His feet and burst into tears. He tried to stop weeping but could not. Within his own mind he began to say to Mahaprabhu prayerfully, “Prabhu! somehow release me from the hands of the bodyguards and the watchmen and take me along with you to Nilacala. It is now impossible for me to live in separation from You. I have drunk too much of the poison of worldly enjoyments. How much more would You make me drink? You have incarnated for the deliverance of the fallen souls. How long would You remain indifferent to a fallen soul like me?”
Mahaprabhu could peep into his heart. He heard his prayer, but did not say anything at the moment. Advaitacarya had made such arrangement for Raghunatha’s stay that he could enjoy Mahaprabhu’s company all the time. He also gave him the mahaprasada of Mahaprabhu every day. Mahaprabhu knew that Raghunatha was his eternal associate and he had to come out of the world to assist Him in His lila. But for some reason, best known to Him, He wanted him to stay in the world for some time more. One day He said, “Raghunatha! Do not be crazy. Be calm and go home. You cannot cross the ocean of the world by a leap. One has to swim across it slowly. You should go back and perform all your worldly duties without attachment to the world and always keeping Krishna in mind. Krishna will soon be merciful to you.” Then Mahaprabhu took him aside and quietly whispered into his ear - “Raghunatha! You need not worry. Soon I will go to Vrindavana. When I return from there you come to Nilacala by some ruse. What ruse or trick you will use, Krishna will Himself inspire into your heart. Who can hold a person, who has the mercy of Krishna?”
Raghunatha took Mahaprabhu’s advice to heart. He felt greatly relieved by His kind assurance. When he returned home his parents were surprised to see that he was a changed Raghunatha. He joyfully participated in the affairs of the family; talked smilingly with his parents and the servants and even tried to humour his wife by mirthful conversation. There was no end to the happiness of the parents to notice this change in him.
Hiranya and Govardhana thought that he must now be kept fully engaged in the worldly affairs so that he did not have the time to think of anything else. They entrusted to him the responsibility of the administration of the estate, collection of revenue and depositing the Sultana’s share into his treasury. Raghunatha began to run the affairs of the estate with great interest and skill.
The judicious Hiranya and Govardhana did one more good thing. They got Raghunatha initiated by their family guru Yadunandana Acarya, so that he might, according to his natural inclination, also perform puja to keep his inner self satisfied. Yadunandana Acarya was a disciple of Advaitacarya. Initiation from him was regarded by Raghunatha as the first step of Krishna’s mercy on him, of which Mahaprabhu had already given a hint.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 18:50:45 +0530
In the year 1516 a calamity befell upon the family. The ex-governor of Saptagrama had been a Muslim Amira. He could not collect revenue from the people of Saptagrama, because his behaviour towards them was unduly harsh. Whatever revenue he could collect, he usurped and gave only a small fraction to the Sultana, under the plea that the people had revolted and were not paying taxes.
Hiranya and Govardhana had assured Sultana Husain Shah that if the governorship was entrusted to them, they would deposit 12 lakhs annually into the royal treasury, irrespective of the amount collected by them. Husain Shah knew that they were rich and noble-minded and were highly respected by the people of Saptagrama. They would have no difficulty in collecting revenue. So he made them the governors. The two brothers, on account of their gentle behaviour towards the people of Saptagrama, had little difficulty in collecting taxes. They collected 20 lakhs, out of which they paid 12 lakhs to the Sultana and saved 8 lakhs for themselves. Besides they supplemented their income by several lakhs from other sources. The Amira, who naturally bore a grudge against them, poisoned the ears of Husain Shah against them. He said that they earned a lot more than 12 lakhs, which they deposited in the treasury. Besides they had grown very powerful and might prove dangerous to the state.
Husain Shah sent his army chief with a body of soldiers to arrest them. Hiranya and Govardhana had their men in the capital, who kept them informed of all the developments there. This news also reached them before the arrival of the army. They fled and hid them-selves elsewhere. The chieftain arrested Raghunatha and kept him in prison by the order of Husain Shah.
Raghunatha was made to appear before Husain Shah in his court several times. Everytime he asked him to disclose the whereabouts of his father and uncle and threatened to beat him, if he did not. But he could not beat him. Every time he tried to do so, he saw something in the face of Raghunatha which turned his mind.
One day Raghunatha gathered courage. With folded hands he said to the Sultana, “You have been treating my father and uncle as your brothers. The brothers often fall out and make up again. I am your child just as I am the child of my father and my uncle. You are my guardian, I am your ward. It does not befit the guardian to scold and terrorize his ward for no fault of his. I need hardly say anything more, because you are yourself well-versed in the sastras and are regarded as a pira (a holy man).”
The words of Raghunatha melted the heart of the Sultana. Tears coursed down his eyes and his long beard. He said to him, “Dear child! From today you are my god-son. You are released. But you go home and tell your uncle that it is not fair to usurp all the 8 lakhs, he saves. He should give me something out of it. I leave everything to you. You settle the matter as’ you like.”
Raghunatha went home. He told everything to his uncle and father, took them along with him to the Sultana and the matter was settled for all times on their agreeing to pay some more revenue.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 19:21:48 +0530
Meeting Nityananda Prabhu
After some time Raghunatha got the happy news that Nityananda Prabhu, the closest associate of Mahaprabhu, Who was regarded as virtually non-different from Him, had come to Panihati, a part of Saptagrama itself. With Him had come His associates Ramadasa, Gadadhara Dasa, Purandara and others. Mahaprabhu had enjoined Him to go from door to door and bestow Krishna prema to the fallen souls of Kaliyuga.
So He was going about distributing Krishna prema. This was effortless and natural for Him. For His eyes poured prema-bhakti spontaneously just as the clouds pour rain. He had only to look in a particular direction to make the current of prema-bhakti flow in it. The person, upon whom He looked but once, was charged with a strong current of bhakti and began to shed tears of love. Trembling, sweating, horripilation and the other satvika bhavas appeared on his body. He was filled with such spiritual power that even if he was a child, he could uproot big trees. He was so maddened by Krishna prema that he ran wild here and there and it was not possible even for hundreds of persons to hold him. His cries of “Jai Sri Krishna Caitanya! Jai Nityananda!” rent the sky.
Avadhuta Nityananda’s face was radiant with such supernatural bhava, His words were so sweet and kirtana so intoxicating that wherever He went, people were automatically drawn to Him. They were so entranced that they forgot themselves, their family and every-thing and began to dance and do kirtana with Him. The mridangas and karatalas (cymbals) sounded high to an-nounce His victory over the hearts of people.
Raghunatha was overwhelmed with joy to hear this. He thought that the time had come for the fulfilment of the blessings of Mahaprabhu. Nityananda had come to his own territory to deliver him from the bondage of Maya. He decided to go at once and surrender himself at His feet.
This time he did not have any difficulty in obtaining the permission of his parents, because they no more had any apprehensions about him. He reached Panihati. Nityananda Prabhu was at that time sitting on a platform under a banian tree on the bank of Ganges. On the ground were sitting numerous devotees, whose eyes were fixed on Him. His body radiated lustre like the rising sun. His eyes scintillated with bliss.
Raghunatha lay prostrate before Him at some distance. The people recognized him and said to Nityananda, “The heir apparent of Saptagrama has come.”
Nityananda had heard about him from Mahaprabhu. He was overjoyed to see him. He went near him, touched his head with His lotus feet to bless him and then said, holding him affectionately close to His heart, “Thief! You always keep away from Me. Today you are caught. You shall be punished.”
What Nityananda meant was that Mahaprabhu belonged to Him and a person, who tried to attain Him independently, without His permission was a thief. Raghunatha had tried twice to obtain the mercy of Mahaprabhu, but had failed, because he had not approached Him through Nityananda. According to Gaudiya Vaisnavism Nityananda is the Guru-tattva (Guru-principle) and Mahaprabhu’s mercy can be obtained only through Him.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 19:37:18 +0530
(Festivity of Punishment)
Raghunatha was not only ready but eager to receive punishment, because he knew that Nityananda was mercy personified and His punishment could not be anything except His mercy. He bowed down before Him and said happily, “Prabhu, punish me as You please. I am ready to receive the punishment.”
Nityananda said, “You must organize a grand feast and feed all the devotees with dahi-cida (curd and cida) Raghunatha was only too happy to hear about the punishment. He had dearth neither of money nor of men. Quickly he arranged for cida, curd, milk, mollases and bananas in huge quantity. Cida was divided into two parts. One was mixed with condensed milk, the other with curd. In each bananas and mollases were added in adequate proportion. The mixture was kept in thousands of earthen pots.
The news regarding the festival had already spread all round. Thousands of people of all castes, ranging from Brahmins to the lowest candalas, assembled at the spot. They sat round Nityananda and His associates. Many could not find a place to sit. They climbed the banian tree or stood in knee-deep water in the Ganges. Each was served with two pots, one containing curd and cida and the other containing milk and cida. All kept the pots before them or held them in their hands and began to wait till Nityananda gave them the signal to start eating.
On the platform below the banian tree two asanas were kept, one for Nityananda and the other for Mahaprabhu. Nityananda closed his eyes and invoked Mahaprabhu to grace the occasion by His presence. Mahaprabhu could not but accept the invitation of Nityananda. He came. As soon as He came Nityananda stood up. He took Him round the devotees. As they went round Nityananda took a particle from the pot of each devotee and put it into the mouth of Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu also took a particle from the pot of each devotee and smilingly put it in the mouth of Nityananda. The associates of Nityananda and all those, who had the spiritual eyes to see, enjoyed the scene. But for those, who were not so fortunate, the behaviour of Nityananda remained a mystery.
At the end Nityananda Prabhu went and sat down with Mahaprabhu on the platform. He looked round smilingly and asked everyone to commence eating. Everyone shouted, “Jai Nitai-Gaura!” and started eating. Nityananda gave His own and Mahaprabhu’s mahaprasada to Raghunatha. The Danda-mahotsava was over, but it left its sweet memory for ever.
At night the same day Nityananda was invited for prasada at the house of Raghava Pandita. There also Mahaprabhu appeared in body and took prasada with Nityananda. Afterwards, Raghava Pandita gave the maha-prasada of both Mahaprabhu and Nityananda to Raghunatha and said, “Take this mahaprasada and be blest. The mahaprasada will soon deliver you from bondage.”
Next morning, when, after taking His bath in the Ganges, Nityananda Prabhu was sitting on the same platform, surrounded by devotees, Raghunatha made obeisance to Him and said with throat choked with emotion and tears streaming down the eyes, “Prabhu! I am a fallen creature, the lowliest of the lowly, yet I long for the mercy of Mahaprabhu, like a dwarf, who aspires to catch the moon. But I know that even though I am the most undeserving person on earth, I can get the mercy of Mahaprabhu, if You be kind to me. Kindly place Your foot on my head and bless so that I may attain the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu.”
As he said this, he fell down at the feet of Nityananda and began to weep. Nityananda was moved. He said affectionately, “Raghunatha! I bless you with My heart. You will soon find shelter under the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu.”
Nityananda’s blessings dispelled the clouds of despair and despondency from the heart of Raghunatha. He was filled with new courage and new hope and started for home, this time with determination to fight to the finish the forces of Maya.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 19:42:27 +0530
You can read the entire narration of Danda Mahotsava here.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 20:16:25 +0530
On returning home Raghunatha did not go inside. He began to live in a temple outside the house. He had nothing to do with the affairs of the family and the estate. All the time he wept and shouted “Ha Gaura! Ha Nitai!” There was no end to the anxiety of his father and uncle to see this sudden resurgence of divine madness in him with redoubled vehemence. Their advice, cajoling and threatening were of no use. His mother said to his father, “Raghunatha has gone mad. He may run away. His running away will mean my death. So keep him bound by rope or chains.”
The father replied, “What rope or chain can bind a person, who could not be bound by power and pelf similar to that of Indra and a wife beautiful like a nymph? Is his madness ordinary so that he may be bound? Nityananda has made him drink the wine of Gaura-prema, which is a thousand times stronger than any other wine. It is not possible for him now to stay at home. We shall have to reconcile ourselves with the thought that it is not given to us by destiny that we should have a son.
Even then the number of guards keeping a watch over Raghunatha was increased and a closer watch was kept. Wherever he went a number of watchmen in disguise followed him. It was impossible for him to break their ring and escape. He was somehow biding his time in the hope that Mahdprabhu’s blessing will fructify and Krishna will show him the way.
One day he passed the whole night weeping and crying “Ha Gaura! Ha Gaura!”. The watchmen themselves wept to see his condition and tried to console him. About an hour before dawn Yadunandana Acarya, the family guru, came to him and said, “Raghunatha! I am in great distress.”
“What is the matter Gurudeva?” said Raghunatha. “Let me know. I shall do all I can to help you.”
“The pujari (priest) who used to serve the Sri Vigraha at my house, has run away. I am too old to serve the deity. If you ask him to return and resume duty, he will have to obey. Let us go together to his house just now.”
Raghunatha started going with him. The watchmen did not prevent, because they thought he was going with Gurudeva for some urgent work of his. On reaching the house of Yadunandana Acarya, which was on the way, he said to him, “Gurudeva, you need not take the trouble of going with me. You go and rest at home. I shall presently bring the pujari to you.”
Acarya returned home. Raghunatha felt happy like a bird out of cage. After sending the pujari to Yadunandana Acarya, he set out for Nilacala. He did not go by the regular path, because he was afraid that his father’s horsemen would pursue and catch him. He went through the forests, caring little for the wild beasts, snakes and scorpions, bushes and thorns and the dacoits. No risk could deter him, no fear could slacken his pace, because he had drunk deep of the wine of Gaura prema and the intoxication had made him forget everything, except the lotus feet of the Lord. He covered the distance in 12 days, though the pilgrims normally took 18 days. During these 12 days he took food only on three days. On the other days he fasted. He fasted as well as feasted, fasted in body, feasted in spirit on the joy, occasioned by the thought that he was at last going to attain the feet of the Lord.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 20:24:30 +0530
Surrender at the Feet of Mahaprabhu
Fatigued and famished Raghunatha reached Mahaprabhu and fell prostrate before Him. Mahaprabhu was sitting in a state of trance surrounded by the devotees. His associate Mukunda Dutta saw Raghunatha, reduced to a skeleton, lying before Mahaprabhu. He shouted in astonishment, “What?! Raghunatha, the son of the governor of Saptagrama!” and drew the attention of Mahaprabhu towards him.
On seeing Raghunatha Mahaprabhu’s face radiated with joy. He lifted him up and hugged him close to His heart. Both bathed each other with tears of joy. On seeing the meeting between the bhakta and Bhagavan all those present also began to shed tears.
One might ask why was Mahaprabhu so overwhelmed to see Raghunatha surrendering himself at His feet. Mahaprabhu is Mahaprabhu, the Lord of Lords, the Supreme Lord. Could there be any imperfection or want in Him on the fulfilment of which He felt so satisfied? The answer is that Mahaprabhu is perfect, yet He has a feeling of imperfection, because He is the combined incarnation of Krishna and Radha. Radha is prema personified. Prema is never satisfied with itself. It is eternally imperfect. It grows ever and ever more. The more it grows, the greater the imperfection it feels. The more it grows, the more it wants to multiply itself in diverse shapes and forms by embracing the fallen souls of the universe within its fold, by loving and being loved by each of them. It is therefore that Mahaprabhu goes from door to door distributing love and feels overwhelmingly satisfied each time a soul surrenders itself to Him in love. Each surrendering soul is dear to Him, because it quenches, in its own measure, His evergrowing thirst for love.
After a short while Mahaprabhu said, caressing Raghunatha lovingly, “Raghunatha, see how merciful is Krishna. At last He has brought about your release.”
Raghunatha replied with eyes swimming in tears and voice choked with emotion, “Prabhu! I do not know about the mercy of Krishna. I have directly felt Your mercy in my heart. It is Your mercy that has brought about my deliverance.”
Then Mahaprabhu called Svarupa Damodara and, offering Raghunatha to him by hand, said “Svarupa, I entrust Raghunatha to you. Treat him as your son.”
Svarupa Damodara was Mahaprabhu’s most inti-mate associate and one who had the deepest knowledge and experience of rasa. Because Raghunatha was a devotee of very high capability, He felt satisfied after ent-rusting him to his care. Raghunatha started rendering pri-vate service to Mahaprabhu as the assistant of Svarupa.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 20:39:07 +0530
Mahaprabhu asked Govinda, His attendant, to take care of Raghunatha and feed him well, because he had become too weak on account of the strain of the long journey and fasting for a number of days. Raghunatha took his food from Govinda for five days. After that he started going to Sinhadvara, where he stood for some time for bhiksa like a beggar. He did not beg for anything from anyone, but accepted whatever people gave him to eat of their own. If on any day no one gave him anything he fasted.
One day Mahaprabhu asked Govinda: “Doesn’t Raghunatha take his prasada here these days?”
Govinda replied: “No, he goes to Simhadvara and accepts whatever people give him without asking for anything.”
“He does well”, said Mahaprabhu. “For a vairagi, who depends on any particular person or wants to eat good things out of greed, does not attain Krishna.”
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 20:58:38 +0530
Precepts of Mahaprabhu
One day Raghunatha said to Svarupa Damodara, “I have been here for so many days, but Mahaprabhu has not yet told me anything about sadhana. Kindly request Him on my behalf to tell me how I should proceed in sadhana.”
When Svarupa Damodara said this to Mahaprabhu in Raghunatha’s presence, He laughed and said, “Svarupa will tell you everything about sadhya and sadhana, because he knows more than Me. But if you want to listen from Me, I shall tell you everything in substance.”
Then He said as follows:
“Do not listen or talk about worldly affairs. Do not eat or dress well. Do not seek honour. Always chant the name of the Lord. In smarana (contemplation) always serve Radha-Krishna in Vraja!
Thus Mahaprabhu instructed Raghunatha in both, the external and internal aspects of raganuga-sadhana - externally chanting the name, internally serving Radha-Krishna in contemplation. He asked Svarupa to explain to him everything in detail.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 21:03:20 +0530
Gloom in Saptagrama
After Raghunatha’s renunciation clouds of gloom and distress gathered over the palace of Hiranya and Govardhana. Nothing could be heard there except the wail and cry of Raghunatha’s young wife and his mother. Hiranya and Govardhana knew that Raghunatha had gone to Nilacala and surrendered himself completely at the feet of Sri Caitanya, after which there was no chance of his returning home. Sivananda Sena, who was a close associate of Mahaprabhu and used to carry every year the devotees of Bengal to Nilacala for the darsana of Mahaprabhu at his own expense, had just returned from Nilacala. They sent a man to him to enquire about Raghunatha.
He said, “Raghunatha lives with Mahaprabhu and serves Him day and night under the guidance of Svarupa Damodara. Who does not know Raghunatha? He is the life and soul of all the devotees of Mahaprabhu. He chants the name of the Lord all the time, caring little for food or clothing or anything else. At about 10 o’clock at night he goes and stands at the main gate of Jagannatha’s temple. He lives on the scraps pilgrims dole out to him at that time. If no one gives anything he fasts. His vairagya (asceticism) is intense. No one can help weeping to see his vairagya.”
The messenger went back and reported everything to Hiranya and Govardhana. Their hearts broke. Raghu-natha, who was brought-up like a prince was living like a recluse. No, he cannot bear this. He must be persuaded to give up the ascetiscism, they thought. Next time when Sivananda Sena went to Nilacala he sent with him a Brahmin cook and servant with four hundred rupees for Raghunatha so that he might live comfortably.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 21:07:54 +0530
Raghunatha invites Mahaprabhu at his kuti
Raghunatha did not accept anything. But he started inviting Mahaprabhu for prasada twice a month. He took only as much from the servants, who remained in Nila-cala with the money, as was necessary for entertaining Mahaprabhu.
This continued for two years, after which he suddenly stopped inviting Mahaprabhu. After some time Mahaprabhu said to Svarupa, “Svarupa, Raghunatha is not inviting Me now. Why?”
Svarupa knew Raghunatha’s mind. He said, “Prabhu, Raghunatha has begun to think that inviting You with Your devotees every month gives him a place of honour amongst the devotees, which strengthens his egotism. Besides he knows that You do not like to eat the food prepared with provisions purchased out of the money of a worldly person, but You accept his invitation out of courtesy.”
Mahaprabhu laughed and said, “Eating the food of a worldly minded man makes the mind impure. With impure mind Krishna bhajana is not possible. I could not decline Raghunatha’s invitation out of courtesy. I am glad that he has discontinued it on his own.
Malatilata - Fri, 18 Oct 2002 21:37:08 +0530
Further Intensification in Vairagya
Raghunatha used to serve Mahaprabhu and Svarupa Damodara throughout the day. At night he went and stood at Simhadvara for bhiksa. His bhajana was becoming more and more intense and so was his vairagya. After some time he developed aversion to ayacakavritti. (Depending on bhiksa, without asking anything from anyone)He said to himself, “is it proper to remain standing at Simhadvara in the expectation of bhiksa? Mahaprabhu says that the sadhaka should not depend on anyone. But there is complete dependance in this kind of bhiksa. Even though I do not ask for anything from anyone, in my mind I think: `This man is coming. He gave me bhiksa yesterday, he may give again today. That other man who is coming, never gave me anything, he may give today. Yet another man is coming, he may give something. He gave, but hardly enough to satiate my hunger. I shall have to remain standing here for some time more.’
Thus I continue to think about the passers-bye. Sometimes I get bhiksa early, sometimes after a long time. During this period my mind remains occupied with the thought of bhiksa and bhajana is not possible. What is the use of this kind of ayacakavritti? Is it not better to go and beg for food from a ksetra, where food is distributed to beggars at a particular time?”
Accordingly he gave up the practice of going to Simhadvara for bhiksa. He started begging from a ksetra. One day Mahaprabhu, who remained generally absorbed in mahabhava, asked his devotees, “How is Raghunatha? Is he still on ayacaka-vritti?”
Someone said, “He has stopped going to Simha-dvara. He sits by the side of beggars in a ksetra and eats.”
Mahaprabhu said, “He has done well. It is better to go and beg for food in a ksetra than to go to Simhadvara and remain standing there for long in the expectation that the passers-by will see and give bhiksa. This is vesyavritti (the mental attitude of a prostitute)
The sight of the heir-apparent of Saptagrama eating at the ksetra with beggars sent a shiver down the spine of the people of Puri. But this was not the end of Raghunatha’s vairagya. After sometime he began to think that the food distributed at the ksetra was also contaminated, because it was financed by a worldly person. Besides here also he had to depend on the ksetra and Mahaprabhu had said that dependance was an obstacle in Krishna bhajana. He discovered a new way of satisfying his hunger, which was free from these defects.
The mahaprasada of Jagannatha was sold by shopkeepers near the temple of Jagannatha. The mahaprasada, which could not be sold and became rotten was thrown by them before the cows near they temple. Some of it was eaten by them, some left, because of its bad smell. Raghunatha picked the mahaprasada left by the cows. He washed it several times to remove the rotten external part and ate the inner portion by mixing some salt in it.
Svarupa kept a close watch over the activities of Raghunatha. When he came to know about this stage of his vairagya, he felt happy and proud of him. One night he reached his kuti, when he had washed the mahaprasada. He said, “Raghunatha! You eat this ambrosial food every day and never give it to me.” As he said this he extended his hand, took a handful from the prasada and put it in his mouth. Could there be a better way of appreciating the vairagya of his god-son?
Omniscient Mahaprabhu knew everything. But in order to glorify his devotee he asked Svarupa one day, “Svarupa! How is your Raghu doing?”
With a throat choked with emotion Svarupa narrated the story of Raghu’s vairagya. Mahaprabhu was pleased beyond measure to hear that. Tears of love and joy began to flow from his eyes. Immediately he went to the kuti of Raghunatha with Svarupa. Raghunatha had just washed the mahaprasada, mixed salt in it and kept it on a banana leaf for eating. Mahaprabhu saw the mahaprasada and said delightfully to Raghunatha, “Raghunatha! How selfish you are! You eat such heavenly food every day and never offer it to Me.” So saying He took a morsel of the prasada and put it into His mouth. He was quickly going to snacth another morsel, when Svarupa held His hand and said, “Prabhu! This is not fit for You.”
Mahaprabhu said, “No, No. Svarupa, I take different kinds of prasada every day, but never find such taste.”
Raghunatha’s vairagya was not sulka (dry) vairagya or vairagya for its own sake, which Mahaprabhu always condemned. It was not strained, but the natural outcome of his Krishna prema. Therefore Maha-prabhu was very happy with him and loved him with all his heart. He wanted to present something to him as a token of His love for Him. He wondered what He could present to please him. There was nothing in the three worlds that could please him. He had, however, two small but valuable things. He thought, they would certainly make him feel happy and blest. They were a Govardhana-sila and Gunja-mala, which a devotee named Sankarananda Sarasvati had brought from Vrndavana and given to Him. For three years He had served the Govardhana-sila as Krishna. At the time of smarana (meditation on Krishna) He wore the Gunja-mala round His neck and the sila He placed over His head, over His eyes or close to His heart. Both of them He bathed with the tears of His eyes. He presented them to Raghunatha and said, “You serve this si1a daily with water and Tulasi-manjari. The sila will bestow Krishna-prema upon you.
There was no end to Raghunatha’s happiness on receiving these two things, which Mahaprabhu had bathed with His tears of love for three years. He thought that by giving Govardhana-sila Mahaprabhu had given him Krishna and by giving the Gunja-mala He had given him the lotus-feet of Radha.
Raghunatha began to serve the sila lovingly by offering water and tulasi as Mahaprabhu had instructed. Mahaprabhu had asked Raghunatha to serve the sila by offering only water and Tulasi-manjari. Though it is true that the Govardhana-sila is fully satisfied by this kind of service, Svarupa asked Raghunatha to add to the offering some khaja, which he asked Govinda to supply every day. Raghunatha thus served the sila lovingly. It is said that at the time of service the sila appeared to him as Krishna.
Malatilata - Sat, 19 Oct 2002 00:18:34 +0530
Sixteen Years in Nilacala
Raghunatha pursued an incredibly hard line in sadhana. Caitanya-Caritamrita says that out of the twenty-four hours he spent twenty-two and a half in kirtana and smarana and only an hour and a half in sleeping and eating. The rules and regulations he had laid down for his sadhana were inviolable. They were like a line deeply engraved on stone which could not be wiped off by any means.
Raghunatha lived in Nilacala for sixteen years. During this period he saw the lila of Mahaprabhu with his own eyes or heard about it from Svarupa Damodara. During the day he remained with Mahaprabhu and saw everything himself. What happened at night he came to know from Svarupa Damodara, who was Mahaprabhu’s closest associate and remained with Him at night as long as He was awake. Later he passed on the treasure of the lila he concealed in his heart to his disciple Krishnadasa Kaviraja, who in his turn bestowed that valuable gift to the society in the form of Caitanya-Caritamrita.
After sixteen years Mahaprabhu suddenly disappeared from the world. Svarupa could not bear the separation. He also left his body and disappeared. How could Raghunatha live in the absence of both. He decided that he would go to Vrindavana, have the darsana of Rupa-Sanatana and then commit suicide by jumping from the top of the Govardhana hill. He took with him the Govardhana-sila and Gunja-mala and started for Vrndavana.
Malatilata - Sat, 19 Oct 2002 00:25:29 +0530
On reaching Vrindavana he met Rupa, Sanatana and the other Gosvamins. When they came to know about his determination to commit suicide they said to him, “Raghunatha! your decision to commit suicide is against the wishes of Mahaprabhu. He has indicated by giving you the Govardhana-sila and Gunja-mala that you should live in Vrindavana and practise Vraja-rasa-sadhana. Besides you are the only direct observer and custodian of the lila of Mahaprabhu in the state of mahabhava during his last days. We long to hear about that lila from you. If you commit suicide, we shall be deprived of that pleasure.” Raghunatha Dasa had to give up his resolve to commit suicide. He remained in Vrindavana for some time to enjoy the company of Rupa and Sanatana.
Many people used to come to the kuti of Raghunatha Dasa in Vrindavana to hear from him about the Nilacala-lila of Mahaprabhu. On account of his being the special favourite of Mahaprabhu and the sole observer of His lila during His last days and also on account of his exemplary vairagya and passionate devotion he began to be called a Gosvami and regarded as one of the six Gosvamins of Vrindavana. Among the people, who used to come to Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami was Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja.
Krishnadasa started living with him practically all the time and served him whenever he got the opportunity to serve. Some people think that he took initiation from him. There is however no doubt that Raghunatha Dasa was his siksa-guru. He has himself said in Caitanya Caritamrita that he was one of his six siksa-gurus.
In Vrindavana Raghunatha Dasa was more intimate with Sri Rupa than with anyone else. In his life Rupa had taken the place of Svarupa Damodara. He used to hear from him the esoteric madhura lila of Radha-Krishna, just as he used to hear it from Svarupa Damodara.
Malatilata - Sat, 19 Oct 2002 00:32:34 +0530
After sometime Raghunatha Dasa requested Rupa Gosvami to permit him to go to Radhakunda and pass the rest of his life in deep contemplation of the madhura-lila of Radha-Krishna. Rupa permitted but said, “You must take Krishnadasa Kaviraja with you, because you will always be absorbed in the lila and will have no outward consciousness. There must be some one to take care of you.”
Raghunatha Dasa went to Radhakunda with Krishnadasa Kaviraja. There is at the foot of Govardhana a place called Upavesana-ghata, where Mahaprabhu sat and spoke of the glory of Radhakunda and Syamakunda. Raghunatha took shelter under a tree by the side of Upavesana-ghata.
Sanatana Gosvami at that time lived in Govardhana in a village called Baithana, near Cakresvara Mahadeva. He went to see Raghunatha. He saw that Raghunatha was sitting under that tree in a state of deep meditation and a tiger was drinking water from the kunda. Sri Krishna was standing behind him with bow and arrow in His hand to protect him from the tiger. When he regained outward consciousness he saw Sanatana Gosvami and fell prostrate before him in obeisance
Sanatana said, “Raghunatha! you will have to do one thing. Your life is precious, because you are one of the most beloved ones of Mahaprabhu and from your mouth flows the stream of the lila-rasa of Mahaprabhu, which is going to pave the path of deliverance from Maya of countless jivas. It is our duty to protect your life. I will not let you live under the tree. You know that this place is infested by wild animals. Since you live under the tree Krishna has to protect you from the animals. Is it proper that you should give Him this trouble? I am going to arrange for a thatched cottage for you. You must live in that.”
Raghunatha had to obey. Sanatana got a kuti made for him and he began to live in it.’
Malatilata - Sat, 19 Oct 2002 00:44:27 +0530
Renovation of Syamakunda and Radhakunda
The place where Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami’s kuti was built is called Arista-grama. It is so called, because the demon Arista, who once came to Vraja in the guise of a bull and started harassing the people of Vraja, was killed by Krishna at this place. The story of the appearence of Radhakunda and Syamakunda is connected with this episode.
After Krishna had killed the bull, Radha said to Him jestingly, “Now You must keep away from us, because You have committed the sin of killing a bull. You cannot touch us until You have purified Yourself by bathing in the water of all the tirthas (holy places).” Omnipotent Krishna also said frolicsomely, “Why should I go to the tirthas. They will themselves come to Me.” He hit the ground with His foot and created a kunda, (pond) and enjoined all the holy tirthas to come and fill the kunda with their water. The tirthas came. They glorified Krishna and filled the kunda with their water. The kunda was called Syamakunda.
Krishna bathed in the kunda and stood proudly before the gopis. Radha said to the gopis, “Krishna is so proud of His kunda. Come, let us make a kunda even more beautiful than His.” The gopis then started digging the earth with their bangles and within a short time a beautiful kunda, called Radhakunda was built by the side of Syamakunda.
The gopis were going to fill the kunda with the water of Manasi Ganga, when the tirthas, on the beckoning of Krishna, glorified Radha and requested Her to be allowed to fill Her kunda with their water. On being permitted by Her they broke the wall of Syamakunda facing Radhdkunda, so that the water of Syamakunda might flow into Radhakunda.
In course of time the two kundas got slowly filled up and converted into shallow ground on which rice was grown. Sri Caitanya Mahdprabhu, in course of His Vraja parikrama, rediscovered them. Raghunatha Dasa prayed to the trees nearby to tell him about the exact location of the kundas. In a dream the trees told him about the exact location. Then he desired to dig and renovate the kundas. This was not an easy task. It entailed huge expenditure. Where was the money to come from? This anxiety continued to worry him and caused obstacle in his bhajana. With great difficulty he extricated himself from it and gave up the desire for the construction of the kundas.
But when a certain desire arises in the mind of a devotee even for a second, Krishna cannot remain without fulfilling it. One day Raghunatha Dasa was sitting on the Upavesana-ghata after circumambulating Govard-hana, when a wealthy person came and said, “Are you Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami?”
“Yes, I am Raghunatha, the dasa (servant) of the Gosvamis.”
“I have come to you by the order of Lord Badri Narayana.”
“Yes, Badri Narayana. I had promised to serve Badri Narayana well on the fulfilment of a certain desire. When the desire was fulfilled I went to Him with a huge sum of money to serve Him as He desired. But He asked me to spend only a small amount in His seva puja and said, ‘You go to Arista-grdma in Vraja, where My devotee Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami lives and spend the rest of the money in constructing Radhakunda and Syamakunda as per his advice. So I have come to you directly from Badrinatha and am ready to do as you advise.”
The eyes of Raghunatha Dasa began to swim in tears to realize how merciful the Lord was. Both the kundas were dug and beautifully built. Even today the devotees bathe in these kundas and earn the punya (religious merit of bathing) in all the tirthas. Not only this, the kundas are regarded as identical with Radha-Krishna Themselves and bathing in Them is regarded as a religious act, which brings Their mercy.
The kuti of Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami was very near Radhakunda. Some other mahatmas built their kutis near it so that they might live in his close proximity and be blessed by his company. In due course some temples were also built and the place developed into a town, called Radhakunda.
Malatilata - Sat, 19 Oct 2002 01:02:52 +0530
(Service in meditation)
The sadhana of Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami was already incredibly austere. It became even more austere on his arrival in Vraja. Krishnaddsa Kaviraja thus gives a description of his daily routine in Caitanya Caritamrta.
“He did one lakh japa and one thousand dandavats to the Lord every day. He spent one prahara (about three hours) in narrating the divine lila of the Lord to the devotees. He bathed thrice in Radhakunda. Besides this he was engaged day and night in smarana (contemplation of the lila of Radha-Krishna). Thus he spent seven and a half praharas in sadhana and slept only for four dandas. Some times he did not sleep at all. He did not take any food or water. He took only two or three palas whey.
Raghunatha Dasa used to do manasi-seva with his antascintita-manjari-deha (spiritual manjari form as conceived by him). He was siddha (accomplished) in this kind of sadhana. This is clear from a particular episode. Once he developed indigestion. Sri Vitthala Natha, the son of Sripada Vallabhacarya had great regard for him. When he learnt about his indisposition, he came with two Ayurvedic doctors. The doctors felt his pulse and said, “The indigestion is due to rice mixed with milk, which he must have taken.”
“Impossible”, said Vitthala Natha, “He does not take anything except whey.”
Raghunatha Dasa looked at Vitthala Natha smilingly and said, “No, the doctors are correct.”
Vitthala Natha understood that there was some mystery involved in it. When the doctors had gone, he enquired about the mystery. Raghunatha Dasa replied, “in manasi-seva I had offered milk and rice to Radha-Krishna and taken their prasada.”
Raghunatha Dasa had the conceit of a manjari-sakhi, devoted exclusively to Radha. The intensity of his manjari-bhava is indicated by another episode. A Vrajavasi named Dasa used to supply whey to him every day. As a rule he used to take as much whey as could be contained in a dona. The Vrajavasi thought that the quantity of whey he took was insufficient for his sustenance. He began to look for a tree whose leaves were much bigger, so that he could give him some more whey in a bigger dona. He found one such tree in Sakhisthali, the village where lived Candravali, the leader of a group of gopis, opposed to that of Radha in Krishna-lila. He presented whey to Raghunatha Dasa in a dona made from the leaf of that tree. As soon as Raghunatha Dasa saw the dona he asked, “Where did you get this new leaf?”
“I had gone to Sakhisthali for pasturing cows and I brought it from there.” replied the Vrajavasi. Raghunatha Dasa was enraged. He threw away the dona and the whey. After some time he collected himself and said to the Vrajavasi, “Look, Sakhisthali is the village of Candravali.”
How could Raghunatha Dasa, who was exclusively devoted to Radharani and served Her all the time as a manjari, accept anything from the village of Her opponent? When the sadhaka reaches a high stage of prema-sadhana, he lives in a bhava jagat (the world of bhava) of his own. It is difficult to understand his behaviour. Sometimes even an insignificant thing causes such a wild reaction in him that one is simply mystified.
Once Rupa Gosvami gave Raghunatha Gosvami his drama Lalita Madhava to read. The description of Radha’s viraha (feeling in separation) in the drama made him so full of grief that it became difficult for him to survive. Then Rupa Gosvami wrote Danakeli-kaumudi, a drama full of humour. He gave it to him to read and took back Lalita-madhava. The drama worked like an antidote by infusing in his mind a different rasa and he returned to normalcy. Rupa Gosvami has indicated this both in the beginning and the end of the drama.
Malatilata - Sat, 19 Oct 2002 01:16:49 +0530
The last Days
Raghunatha Dasa had lived in Radhakunda practising rigourous sadhana outwardly, but swimming in the ocean of the blissful lila of Radha-Krishna internally, when one day he got the heart-breaking news that Sanatana Gosvami had passed away. Only after about a month he heard that Rupa Gosvami also passed away. With the passing away of the two great divines, whom Raghunatha Dasa respected as his gurus, his condition, which was already like that of a broken reed after the disappearance of Mahaprabhu and Svarupa Damodara, became much worse. A description of his condition at this time, which is given by Narahari Cakravarti in Bhaktiratnakara, is as follows:
“Weeping and wailing he would cry, “Oh! Where have they gone - Svarupa, Sanatana and Rupa?” and crying rolled on the ground with tears incessantly flowing from his eyes. He would not take for days together even the meagre food he was used to. His frail body became so frail that it could be easily blown off by the wind. Yet he would not give up the routine of his sadhana - his japa, dandavat and pranama.”
Even in this condition the Lord kept Raghunatha Dasa alive for many more years to serve as an ideal for the sadhakas. It is difficult to determine the exact date, when he left the body. But it can be safely assumed that he did so about 1595, on the ground that the writing of Caitanya Caritamrta is supposed to have been started about 1592 and it was written in his presence on the basis of the material provided by him.
It appears that he became blind in his old age and his Danakelicintamani was written when he had become blind.
Malatilata - Sat, 19 Oct 2002 01:27:46 +0530
Apart from Raghunatha Gosvami’s vairagya, which was proverbial, the most important trait of his personality was his humility. His humility is apparent from the way in which he piteously described his ineligibility for the mercy of Mahaprabhu to Ma Jahnava, the wife of Nityananda Prabhu, when she came to Vrinadvana. He said, “Ma! I am the most fallen creature on Earth. I was born in the house of worldly-minded people, always engaged in worldly pursuits. Though I had the opportunity of living in the proximity of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I did not serve Him at all. Still I yearn for His mercy. What quality have I on the basis of which I may consider myself eligible for His mercy? I bow down my head with shame, when I think of this and I fear that He may not accept me. I passed all my life without bhajana. What bhajana can I do now? I only pray that I remember Him always and do not forget His lotus feet even for a moment.”
Humility is natural to bhakti. It is the ornament of bhakti and a true sign of the attainment of the mercy of the Lord. The more a devotee is advanced in prema bhakti, the more he feels the lack of it and the more humble he is. His humility wipes off his egoism to such an extent that even after doing everything possible for the attainment of the mercy of the Lord, he feels that he has done nothing; even though he fully deserves His mercy he feels that he has nothing in him to make him eligible for it.