of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada
Nandarani Devi Dasi
Bhaktivedanta Swami International Gurukula
INTRODUCTION TO THE GURUKULA READERS
The Gurukula Readers have been designed as a structured reading series for children from the approximate ages of 7 to 12 (grades 3 through 7 by the American standard). Their specific purpose is to bridge the gap between a phonetic series (Let's Read) and Srila Prabhupada's Krishna Books. They achieve this by:
teaching the vocabulary which is a prerequisite to understanding Krishna Book, and
teaching the sentence structure which will allow the children to understand the complex writing of the Krishna Book.
By using a number of writing formulas we were able to determine that the story sections of the Krishna Book are approximately on the 7th grade level. The philosophy sections are closer to 12th grade and up. In order to introduce sufficient vocabulary on the appropriate grade levels in the Gurukula Readers, and also to make the readers attractive on each grade level, we employed the following structure:
From the Krishna Book we took 2500 words which we felt would aid the children in understanding both the stories and philosophy of Krishna Book. We assigned each word to an appropriate grade level and then used it in one of the stories on that grade level.
We analysed the Srimad Bhagavatam, Chaitanya Charitamrita and Prabhupada Lilamrita and assigned each story to an appropriate grade level (Some stories appeal to older children while others appeal to younger).
In each story we used 5 or 6 words from the Krishna Book word list and 5 or 6 other words from the story itself. Each story introduces 10 to 12 new words.
The Gurukula Readers will be complete in 20 books. Each book contains 20 stories. There are four books on each grade level. This means that a school which runs on a 10 month school year will be able to use 80 stories per year, or approximately 2 stories per week. Each book has a name, e.g. 'Nimai'. Each book also has a number, e.g. '1'; and each story has a number, e.g. '7'. A code at the top of each page in the book keeps the order. 'Nimai 1:7' means Book number 1 (named Nimai) and story number 7.
Each story in the Gurukula Readers builds on the stories before it both in story content as well as vocabulary. This is valuable for repetition of new words but sometimes causes trouble for new students entering mid-term, especially those from non-devotee backgrounds. They may not understand the story line. We have made every attempt to structure the stories formally so that Krishna or Chaitanya or Prabhupada is introduced and then re-introduced several times throughout the book. This should help with the problem somewhat.
HOW TO USE THE READERS
If the readers are used at a pace of 2 stories per week, up to 25 new words per week must be learned. For some classes this may be too much; they will have to progress at a slower pace. But for average or above average classes it should pose no problem.
Commonly the teacher introduces the vocabulary in a group lesson using definitions from the dictionary which corresponds to the way the word is used in the story. For example, take the sentence "Krishna foiled all the evil plans of Kamsa." Foil is used as a verb. The teacher should introduce the gerund form "to foil", not the noun form meaning silver wrap.
After the introduction of vocabulary the story can be read orally in a round-robin session with each child taking a paragraph. Alternately it can read silently first by all the students. Then the teacher can ask questions about the story and get responses from the students to determine their silent reading comprehension. Both silent and oral reading should be allowed for each story.
To reinforce the learning of vocabulary and spelling, the simplest method is to have each child write 5 sentences of his own using each new word (i.e. 5 sentences for each word). That means a child must think of 5 different ways to use "to foil" in an original sentence. This method insures that the word has become a part of the child's reading and writing vocabulary.
An alternate method is to ask each child to write an original composition in which he uses the new words. A less satisfactory method is to have him write the same story he read using the same words in the same way. This accomplishes almost nothing.
Some dramas have been included in each book. They may be read in class after assigning parts or they can be acted out in class.
It appears that these books may be somewhat on the difficult side for the average student. Certainly, the vocabulary that is introduced in the first year of the series is not the same vocabulary a 7 year old would get in public school. However, our goal to read Krishna Book by the 7th grade is not going to be accomplished without a lot of vocabulary work from the 3rd grade on. In addition our ISKCON child has a different spoken vocabulary than a non-devotee child. It seems he can understand philosophical terms and concepts at an earlier age because of his home environment. Considering these factors, we have attempted to make the Gurukula Readers as simple and interesting as possible.
ADVAITA' S PLEA
Navadvipa is a green, fertile land near the Ganges River in West Bengal, India. Its fields are dotted with coconut trees, date palms and mango orchards. Vegetables and grains grow in plenty. The people live simple lives.
Five hundred years ago, the Moslems and Hindus lived together in the villages of Navadvipa. They farmed their land and raised their families. But because of this age of Kali, the people in general were becoming forgetful of God
One wealthy brahmin named Advaita Acarya lived in Navadvipa with his wife Sitarani and six sons. They were devotees of Lord Krishna. Daily Advaita Acarya would meet the other devotees from Navadvipa in his own home. Together they would read from the Bh.agavad Gita or Srimad Bhagvatam.
"I am very unhappy, about the way people are living," Advaita would say. "They are all looking for sense pleasure. They have all forgotten that Lord Krishna is the giver of pleasure. By serving Him, any man can become peaceful and happy."
At last, Advaita thought that if Krishna Himself would come to teach about devotional service, then all people would listen and learn. Advaita went to the rank of the river and sat down to worship his deity of Lord Krishna. He offered the Lord tulasi leaves and water from the Ganges. He prayed to Krishna, "My dear Lord, my plea is that you appear in this world. Please teach all forgetful people about devotional service. There is nothing we need more than service to you." Again and again Advaita asked the Lord to come. Again and again he offered tulasi and Ganges water.
It isn't easy to understand how the Lord and His devotees work. Common men would think Advaita Acarya was only a Hindu man praying to his God. But actually, Advaita was working for the welfare of all men in the world. Because Lord Krishna, knew Advaita's selfless desire, He decided to appear as a devotee of Krishna. He would teach people how to chant the maha-mantra HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RADA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.
NEW WORDS: fertile orchard wealthy pleasure
selfless actually plea appear
Nimai 1: 2
THE LORD APPEARS
Near the city of Navadvipa there was a small village known as Mayapur. Here the brahmin Jagannatha Misra and his wife, Sacimata, lived a peaceful life. They were friends of Advaita Acarya and they were faithful devotees of Lord Krishna.
Unfortunately, Sacimata had eight daughters who all died. Over the years Jagannatha Misra had become very unhappy because he had no children. He decided to ask Lord Krishna to help him get a son.
The next year Jagannatha Misra's first son was born. His name was Visvarupa. He was a very bright, intelligent boy who brought his parents great joy. Jagannatha Misra knew the Lord had given them Visvarupa. With thanks he worshiped the Lord very nicely.
When Advaita Acarya asked Lord Krishna to come to earth and teach love of God, Krishna chose the home of Jagannatha. Misra and Sacimata as His own. He entered the body of Sacimata and stayed there for thirteen months. During this time many wonderful things happened in Jagannatha Misra's s house.
One day Jagannatha Misra said to his wife, "Your body is glowing like the Goddess of Fortune." And Sacimata replied, "Wherever I go people offer me respect along with riches, food and nice clothes. In the sky I see denizens of heaven bowing before me. "What does this mean?" Although they did not know that the Lord Himself had come to be their child, Jagannatha and Saci happily served Lord Krishna in their home.
In the month of Phalguna (March-April) of the year 1407 there was a lunar eclipse on the full moon night. All the residents of Navadvipa and Mayapur had gone to the river Ganges. There they would take bath and chant the names of Krishna throughout the eclipse. Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! The name rose in the sky from the voices of the Hindus and Moslems alike,
When all men and women were joyfully chanting the Lord's names, He was born from the womb of Sacimata as a beautiful, golden child named Nimai. Advaita Acarya and the other devotees joined in chanting, dancing and giving out gifts to the brahmins Then gathering up gifts for the child, they all went to the house of Jagannatha Misra.
The brahmins chanted prayers for the protection of Nimai. The ladies offered gifts of gold, silver, silk, clothing, tiger nails and jewels. Whatever Jagannatha. Misra. received as gifts he gave away to his guests. Both he and Sacimata became very joyful because of Nimai, who was actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
NEW WORDS: unfortunately intelligent denizen
lunar eclipse residents
protection whatever respect
One day in the house of Jagannatha Misra there was a strange sight. Small footprints in the dust on the floor showed unusual signs.
"Look here," said Sacimata. "This footprint shows the sign of a fish and a conchshell."
"And this footprint has a disc, a thunderbolt and a flag," said Jagannatha Misra. "These are the signs that are found on the feet of Lord Krishna, Perhaps our household deity has come down from the altar and played on the floor," he guessed.
Just then Nimai woke up and began to cry. Mother Saci put him on her lap and gave him milk. It was then that she noticed the same marks on Nimai 's feet that she had seen on the floor, She slowed Jagannatha Misra the child's feet. , He called. for Nilambara Chakravarti, Sacimata's father who was also an astrologer,
"I already knew about the nature of your son, Nimai, "said Nilambara smiling, "By astrology I .found that Nimai has all the signs of the Supreme Personality of. Godhead. He also has all the thirty-two marks of a great person on his body,"
"What are those marks?" asked Sacimata. "Five parts of his body are large," said Nilambara, "His nose, arms, chin, eyes and knees. Five parts are fine: his skin, fingertips, teeth, body hair and head hairs Seven parts of his body are reddish: his eyes, soles, palms, palate, nails and upper and lower lips. Six parts of his body are raised: his chest, shoulders, nails, nose, waist and mouth. Three small parts on his body are his neck, his thighs and his organs. His three broad parts are his waist, forehead and chest. And his three grave parts are his navel, his voice and his life. These same thirty-two marks are found on the body of Lord Krishna. Therefore, we know that your son Nimai has come to save the world. "
Sacimata's father told Jagannatha Misra to hold a ceremony and call for the brahmins and their wives. "You should name the child Visvambhara. He has the power to protect and maintain the entire world by teaching love of God."
EATING THE BRAHMI N'S FEAST
Once upon a time a travelling pilgrim came to Mayapur and stayed in the house of Jagannatha Misra. He was an old man with a pure heart and simple needs. Jagannatha Misra gave him some vegetables, grails and other cooking supplies. The brahmin could make a nice offering for Lorca Krishna.
When the food was ready, the brahmin sat down before the household deity to offer it. By chanting prayers he asked Lord Krishna to come and eat the prasadam. In the middle of the offering, Little Nimai came forward and began to taste each dish.
The brahmin grew angry and began to complain. "I have made this food. for Lord Krishna, but before I could offer it, this child has eaten some. Now it is all impure. I can neither offer it nor eat it myself."
"Please don't be angry," said Jagannatha Misra. "He is only a child. Take some more vegetables and prepare a new offering."
The brahmin cooked again. When it was all ready, he sat down to pray and offer the fine food to Lord Krishna. But again Nimai appeared and began to eat the food meant for Lord Krishna.
The old man cried out again to Jagannatha. Misra who came running. This time Jagannatha Misra put Nimai in his room and locked the door. Then he begged the brahmin to cook again.
He promised that Nimai would not disturb him. Because it was late at night, the whole family went to sleep. The old brahmin tried once more to cook an offering for Lord Krishna.
When the food was ready he sat down to offer it. From nowhere Nimai appeared. The brahmin cried in distress, "What have I done? What have I done? Lord Krishna will not accept my offerings. By the touch of this child the food becomes impure. Neither the Lord nor I can eat it."
Seeing the old brahmin so disturbed, Nimai smiled and told him, "In another life I was the son of Nanda Maharaja. You came to my father's house and made an offering for Lord Vishnu. Three times you cooked and three times I ate your offering. I am that same Vishnu and I am very pleased with your service. That is why I eat whatever you cook."
The brahmin had gotten the favor of the Lord. He was overcome with happiness and thanked the Lord again and again. Nimai asked the pilgrim not to tell anyone what had happened. Then he returned to his room and the brahmin travelled on.
NEW WORDS: supplies prepare disturb distress
favor promise complain pilgrim
FOOLING THE THIEVES
Sacimata liked to dress her son Nimai with golden ornaments. He wore ankle bells that tinkled on his feet. He wore bangles, a chain of bells around his waist and necklaces. Wherever he went, Nimai sparkled like the sun.
One day two thieves saw the beautiful child playing alone outside his house. "Let's take this child away while no one is looking," said one thief to the other. "We'll take him to a secluded place and steal his ornaments." The thieves grabbed Nimai and ran quickly to the forest. They moved quickly between the trees and looked for a place where no one would see their evil work.
Back at the house of. Jagannatha, Misr. a there was panic. "Where is Nimai? Where is Nimai?" cried Sacimata as she ran hither and thither. Other ladies were looking on all sides of the house while Jagannatha Misra and the men looked toward the forest. "Has someone stolen our child or has he become lost?" cried Sacimata in distress.
Nimai was enjoying his fast ride through the forest on the
shoulders of the thieves. But seeing their evil desire, He decided to play a trick on the two men with His divine power. Round and round they went through the forest looking for a secluded place, "Let's go through those trees," called one of the thieves, "That looks like a good place."
They burst through the trees and bushes. To their surprise they were right in front of Jagannatha. Misra's house. All the men and women were there. The thieves knew that their plan had been spoiled. Nimai looked like an ordinary child but He had fooled the thieves into carrying Him home. They dropped Nimai in front of His mother and ran away to save their lives.
NEW WORDS: wherever evil divine panic
ornament residence secluded
hither and thither ordinary
As Nimai grew up He had many village friends who liked to play with him. Sometimes they played ordinary games like chase or hide and seek. But Nimai was a naughty boy. He liked to fight with the other children. He would steal whatever eatables their mothers had given them. He would even enter their houses to steal their food and treat them roughly when they tried to protest.
Nimai liked to go to the bank of the Ganges and harass the brahmins who were worshiping there. When He found men praying to demigods He would splash them with water and disturb their offerings. "Worship me for your good fortune," He would order.
At last the neighbors had had enough. They went to Sacimata and Jagannatha Misra to lodge complaints about Nimai. "He steals our food and makes our babies cry," said one woman. "Yes, and he spoils our offerings and disturbs our homes," said another.
Sacimata decided she would have to chastise Nimai. "Why do you steal from others?" she asked sternly. "Why do you beat the other children? This must stop." But Nimai was not ready to stop. He angrily ran into the house and broke all of Sacimata's clay cooking pots.
Sacimata felt very sorry for Nimai. She took him on her lap and tried to quieten him down, "I am sorry, Mother," said Nimai when he was very calm, "I promise I will not be so naughty anymore."
NEW WORDS: fortune neighbors sternly angrily
harass lodge eatables protest
Jagannatha Misra and Sacimata were good parents. Their sons Visvarupa and Nimai both grew up to be bright-faced, intelligent youths. Their school work was excellent and their activities were pleasing to everyone.
Seeing that Visvarupa had reached a good age, Jagannatha Misra decided to look for a wife for him. He would arrange his son's wedding ceremony. While he discussed the plans with Sacimata, Visvarupa listened quietly outside the door. The next morning Visvarupa was nowhere to be found. He had gone to take sannyasa and spend his life on pilgrimage from one holy place to another.
One day Nimai ate some betel nuts which had been offered to the household deity. He became very dizzy and fell down on the ground in a deep sleep. He dreamed that Visvarupa came and took him on a long trip. "Please take sannyasa with me and we will travel together everywhere." Visvarupa said.
But Nimai protested, "I have my helpless father and mother, and I am only a child. How can I take sannyasa? I would rather marry and serve my .family. That will please Lord Krishna," answered Nimai. Visvarupa then returned Nimai to Jagannatha Misra's house. He told him, "Please offer thousands and thousands of obeisances to my mother Sacimata." Then he disappeared.
Jagannatha Misra found Nimai lying asleep on the ground. "Sacimata" he called. "Bring some water. Try to wake Nimai." They sprinkled water on Nimai's face and the child sat up.
"Mother, I have just seen Visvarupa., " said Nimai, "He sends you his obeisances. I promised him I would remain here and take care of both of you while he was on pilgrimage." Nimai's mother and father were surprised but pleased at their young son's story. With great love and faith they worshiped their household deity in Nimai's presence.
NEW WORDS: excellent presence obeisances
family activities pilgrimage
disappear remain return
THE MANGO TREE
As a youth Nimai was called Chaitanya. Giving up His naughty childhood ways, Chaitanya spent His time in study or debate. He liked to argue with people who thought that God did not exist or that He had no form. After defeating such people with His clever arguments, He would tell them to chant the Maha-mantra HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE. In this way they could learn to love Krishna.
Every day Chaitanya would meet at the house of one friend or another and hold kirtan. One or two men would play mrdunga while others played kartals and gongs. The sound of their voices would fill the sky, and Lord Chaitanya would dance throughout the day and night.
One day the devotees chanted for a very long time. They danced with Lord Chaitanya until they were too tired to go on.
Then they sat down on the ground. Lord Chaitanya sowed a mango seed in the yard where they were resting and at once the seed sprouted. The tree began to grow right before their very eyes and soon had branches, limbs, twigs and leaves. Within a moment the tree was covered with fully ripened mangos. Lord Chaitanya collected about 200 fruits and washed them. Then He offered them to Krishna and passed them out to each member of His kirtan party.
"These are not ordinary mangos," said one of the kirtan singers. They have no seeds and no skin. Even one fruit makes you feel full and happy."
Every day for twelve months the Lord's special mango tree produced hundreds of sweet ripe fruits. Chaitanya would hold kirtan throughout the day and when everyone was very tired, there would be a mango-eating festival in the yard.
NEW WORDS: debate ripened member collect
produce exist argue arguments
JACANNATHA PURI KIRTANS
Jagannatha Puri is a holy city on the eastern coast of Orissa in India. Puri is famous because of one ancient temple there. It is the home of Lord Krishna in his form as Jagannatha Swami. Along with Jagannatha live His brother Baladeva and His sister Subhadra. The three deities have been worshiped for thousands of years by faithful pilgrims and devotees.
Every year in Jagannatha Puri there is a special event. Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra come out of Their temple and ride through the streets on huge colorful carts pulled by Their devotees. They visit the Gundica Temple for eight days and enjoy the chanting, dancing and offerings made for Them there. Then They return to their own temple. This festival is called Rathyatra and it has been held in Puri for countless years.
After Lord Chaitanya finished His studies He went to live in Jagannatha Puri. Every day he bathed in the Bay of Bengal and visited Lord Jagannatha in His temple. By this time Lord Chaitanya had many followers. They loved to hear Him speak the truth about Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Some people, like Advaita Acarya, knew that Lord Chaitanya was actually Krishna Himself. Others thought He was a saintly teacher or a powerful yogi.
Daily without fail Lord Chaitanya would meet His devotees and hold kirtan. Throughout the day or night they would chant the glories of Lord Krishna. The singers would make a large circle while playing their different instruments. The Lord and other devotees would dance and jump and whirl in the midst of the kirtan.
One day Advaita Acarya and Lord Chaitanya were both dancing with the kirtan party. Advaita's young son Gopal decided to join them. In great happiness he jumped and twirled to the beat of the drum and kartals. Then suddenly he fainted on the ground as if dead.
Advaita picked the boy up and put him on His lap. He began to sing prayers to Lord Nrsimhadev, Krishna in His half-man half-lion form. Then He chanted other mantras for the boy's protection, but nothing helped. All the devotees thought that Gopal had died.
Lord Chaitanya came and put His hand on the heart of Gopal. "My dear Gopal," commanded the Lord,"Get up and chant the names of Krishna!" Feeling the Lord's tough, Gopal got up and began to chant. "Hare Krishna! Hari Bol! " shouted all the devotees, and the kirtan began again.
NEW WORDS: famous ancient countless instruments
command event saintly
CLEANING GUNDICA TEMPLE
The annual Rathyatra festival in Jagannatha Puri was an exciting event for everyone. Thousands of pilgrims came from all over India. They loved to pull Lord Jagannatha through the streets to the Gundica Temple two miles away. Every year Lord Chaitanya invited His friends from Navadvipa. They made the long journey on foot and stayed several months with Chaitanya.
One week before the great festival, Lord Chaitanya called for some of His friends and also the head of the Gundica Temple. "Tomorrow we will all clean the Gundica Mandir," He told them. "Please supply brooms and. waterpots for a hundred men."
Excitement broke out amongst the devotees as they gathered at the temple the next day. Each took a broom and began to clean; the Lord Himself set the example. Collecting the straw, dust and sand in His cloth, Lord Chaitanya made a pile outside the temple. The devotees made a separate pile, but the Lord's pile of dirt was always larger.
"Krishna! Krishna! " chanted all the devotees as they swept the walls, the floors, the entrance, the sitting places and everything within the temple. "Krishna! Krishnal!" they chanted as they cleaned side by side with the Lord.
When the sweeping was finished a hundred men stood ready with filled waterpots. "Throw the water!" ordered Lord Chaitanya. "Wash the ceilings, walls and floors." Lord Chaitanya carried water to the throne of Lord Jagannatha and began to wash it with His own hands. He threw water on the ceilings and let it wash down the walls in Lord Jagannatha's sitting room.
Some men ran back and forth from the lake filling more waterpots. Scurrying here and there, the men collided, smashing the pots to pieces. New pots arrived and again the devotees filled them and washed the temple, all the while chanting "Krishna! Krishna!"
When the inside was clean, Lord Chaitanya's devotees washed the outside of the temple, the yard, the kitchen, the walkways and any other room they could find. "Now we will each make a new pile of dirt collected while cleaning," said the Lord. "Whoever has the smallest pile must pay a fine of sweets and sweetrice." Laughing and chanting, the devotees worked throughout the day to please the Supreme Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
At last the work was done and the Lord and His friends sat downs to rest. Svarupa Damodar began to sing the Hare Krishna mantra in a loud and sweet voice and the devotees got back their energy. Dancing and chanting, they circled the Lord who was leaping and dancing in their midst. When the kirtan was finished, the Lord and all His devotees took their baths in the lake and laid down in a nearby garden to rest.
NEW WORDS: exciting invited excitement separate
collided scurrying entrance annual
On the day of Rathyatra Jagannatha Puri was filled with
excitement. Before the sun rose, Lord Chaitanya and His devotees had taken their baths and assembled at the front of Lord Jagannatha's temple. Three huge carts stood waiting for the deities. Each one was decorated with gold, silk, jewels, bright mirrors and hundreds of wisks made from yak tails. Strong men called dayitas also waited there. They would carry the Lord from His temple to his cart. The king of Orissa, whose name was Prataparudra, also came there. He swept the road and washed it with sandalwood-scented water. He knew that all people - both rich and poor - are actually the servants of Lord Krishna.
At last the time had come. Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladeva came out of the temple on the shoulders of the dayitas. One by one They mounted their beautiful carts. They saw how the streets had been cleaned and decorated for Them. They saw the attractive gardens that had been built alongside the road for Their pleasure.
Lord Chaitanya Himself organized the kirtan parties for the two mile ride from Lord Jagannatha's temple to the Gundica Temple. He made seven parties of chanters. Each party had one lead singer and one lead dancer. Five other singers in each party would respond to the lead singer. Each group had two men who could play mrdunga well. When the parties joined together, the voices, the kartals and the drums filled the air. Happiness filled the hearts of the devotees.
Then Lord Chaitanya divided the seven parties and sent four of them to the front of Jagannatha's cart. One group went to the back of the cart and two parties took the sides. As the cart rolled through the streets of Puri, the sound of Krishna's holy name could be heard in all directions.
Lord Chaitanya began to dance in the first kirtan party and then the second and the third. But by His divine energy, the devotees in each party saw that the Lord was staying just with them. He expanded Himself seven times so He could dance in each party. Only a few special devotees could see this. His pastime was not visible to everyone.
NEW WORDS: assembled whisks decorated organized
divide expand attractive visible
Nimai 1: 12
Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladeva - each on His own beautiful cart - rolled through the streets of Puri amidst an ocean of people. On the day of Rathyatra everyone gets to see and serve Lord Jagannatha. But this year people got the special treat of seeing Lord Chaitanya. dance.
In front of the cart of Lord Jagannatha, Chaitanya called all seven of His kirtan parties together. With Svarupa Damodara singing and hundreds of men responding, the Lord danced and danced. Sometimes He jumped and sometimes He rolled on the ground. Sometimes He laughed, cried or called out the name of Krishna. As the kirtan grew louder, the Lord amazed everyone by leaping and twirling while singing "Krishna.! Krishna! "
The crowd of people on the street pushed closer and closer to see the Lord's dancing. "Join hands and make a circle," called Nityananda, one of the Lord's close friends, "Don't let the crowd hinder His dancing." After the first circle was made other devotees formed a second circle around them. Then King Pratiparudra and his men formed a third circle around the entire party so that the kirtan could continue.
Chaitanya had great affection for Lord Jagannatha. As the parade rolled on, Chaitanya asked Svarupa Damodara to sing different songs in praise of the Lord. In return, Lord Jagannatha admired the dancing of Chaitanya.
At last they reached a place called Balagandi. and Lord Jagannatha stopped His cart. On the left He saw the simple, pure homes of the brahmins. They were built in a grove of coconut trees. On the right He saw nice flower gardens which reminded Him of Vrindavana. During His rest in Balagandi, Jagannatha accepted food offerings from all the people of Jagannatha Puri. Each man, whether rich or poor, pure or impure, got to offer the Lord a nice dish, and Jagannatha tasted each and every one.
Lord Chaitanya and his devotees went to a nearby garden to rest. After dancing for so many hours, Lord Chaitanya enjoyed the sweet breeze in the garden and the fragrant flowers. Lie fell down flat on a raised platform in the garden. The others all rested in the soft grass beneath the trees.
NEW WORDS continue parade surround remind
fragrant hinder amazed admired
PUSHING THE CART
Balagandi is the resting place between Lord Jagannatha's temple in Puri and the Gundica temple. Here Jagannatha, Subhadra and Baladev rested during the parade. Here they ate the offerings of the devotees and pilgrims who had come to celebrate Rathyatra. Tired from dancing and chanting, Lord Chaitanya and His devotees also rested in the beautiful gardens of Balagandi.
While Chaitanya rested, King Prataparudra entered the garden dressed not as a king but as a humble Vaishnava. He massaged the Lord's legs and described the glory of Krishna. Lord Chaitanya was pleased by the king's service and embraced Him again and again. Then the devotees brought in prasadam sent by the king himself.
The feast included milk, curd, coconuts, bananas, palm dates and mangos. Sweets were made from lotus flowers, nuts, fruits or rice. Sugar cane was carved in the shape of oranges, mangos and lemons with fruits flowers and leaves. The entire garden was filled with different kinds of foods which had first been offered to Lord Jagannatha.
Lord Chaitanya knew that His kirtan men were hungry so He wanted to feed them well. "Give each man ten leaf plates," He ordered. Then He filled each plate with a mountain of prasada. The devotees ate until they were stuffed to their necks. And the Lord ate with them. So much prasada remained, that thousands more could eat. "Feed this prasada to anyone who is poor and unhappy." ordered Lord Chaitanya. When he saw the beggars all eating He called, "Hari Bol! Hari Bol! " The beggars also responded, "Hari Bol! Hari Bol!"
Time had come for the Rathyatra to move on. King Prataparudra - once again in his royal dress - called all the strong men to pull the cart ropes. But pulling with all - their strength, they could not move the cart. The king called forward some big wrestlers to pull; he even tried to pull the cart himself. But it would not budge.In great anxiety Prataparudra brought elephants and lashed them to the cart. The elephant masters beat them with goads until they cried. Pulling with all their might, the elephants could not move the cart one inch.
Lord Chaitanya and His devotees watched for some time from the garden. At last the Lord ordered as follows, "Go untie the elephants and take the ropes in your own hands." Then the Lord went to the back of the cart and pushed it with His head. At that moment the cart began to roll. Indeed, it rolled by its own power. The devotees simply carried the ropes in their hands but did not need to pull.
"Jai Sri Krishna Chaitanya!" called out the crowd. "Wonderful! Wonderful! All glories to Lord Jagannatha. All glories to Lord Chaitanya."
NEW WORDS: massage humble describe glory
embrace anxiety mountain
LORD CHAITANYA THE COWHERD BOY
Vrindavana is the beautiful village where Krishna lived as a young boy. The gardens around the Gundica Temple are just like the gardens of Vrindavana. Jagganatha Swami was going to stay in the Gundica Temple for eight days. So Lord Caitanya and His friends decided to also stay in the Gundica gardens for one week. The gardens reminded them of Lord Krishna's land. In the Gundica gardens they all acted just like cowherd boys of Vrindavana.
In a clear lake near the temple Lord Chaitanya played in the water, splashing the other devotees. They in turn circled Him and splashed from all sides. Croaking like frogs, they jumped in and out of the water, sometimes singing and sometimes fighting in pairs.
Advaita Acarya was an old and sober gentlemen. Nityananda was a brilliant young sannyasi. They entered the water like cowherd boys and began a water fight. Other men who were also sober joined the fight and played like children. “ I think you had better stop your childish play” chided Lord Caitanya.” “Who will expect to see such great and grave people sport like cowherd boys?”
In the morning, noon and night Chaitanya would wonder with His kirtana party from the yard of the temple. He would dance and chant beneath every tree in the garden.
One night Lord Caitanya began to dance and He forgot about everyone else. The mrdanga players grew tired after several hours. The kartala players lost their beat. But Lord Caitanya went on dancing. No one could stop Him.
At last Svarupa Damodara called, "My Lord, My Lord., the glory of your dancing can not be described. But please see the faces of your kirtana men." The kirtana then stopped and Lord Chaitanya took his friends to rest in the garden.
NEW WORDS: sober gentleman brilliant
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Lived in Jagannatha Puri for 18 Years. Every Year Many of His Friends from HIs Home in Navadvipa Came to Puri to See Him. But His father Jagannatha. Misra had died and His mother Sacimata lived alone. She was very lonely and every day she thought of her son Nimai.
One day mother Saci cooked rice, dahl, many vegetables, soups, fried bread and sweets for her household deity. After offering the food she began to cry, " O Nimai, all these foods are dear to You. Why have You gone so far away? Now I can not feed You." As she cried she buried her face in her hands.
Lord Chaitanya was posing as a great devotee of Lord Krishna. Actually He was Krishna Himself. When He heard Mother Saci crying He went there by His mystic power and ate all the food she had offered. Seeing the plate empty, Saci jumped in surprise. "Has the deity of Gopal eaten the offering?" she wondered. "Perhaps some animal devoured it while I was crying. Or maybe I forgot to put the food on the plate in the first place." Sacimata was confused so she carried the plate back into the kitchen. The pots were still full of food so she washed the plate and made another offering.
Now whenever Sacimata desires to feed her son Nimai, she prepares fine foods and offers them to Gopal. Then she cries in great anxiety for her son. Lord Chaitanya never fails to go and eat her offerings.
NEW WORDS: perhaps confused devour posing mystic whenever desires
THE DANCING ANIMALS
Once upon a time, Lord Chaitanya wanted to leave Jagannatha Puri and visit Vrindavana, the land of Krishna. "I want to go alone," He told His friends in Puri. "No, no," they argued. "You will have to travel through the dense forest of Jharikhanda. Please take one servant with you to cook, carry your cloth and protect you. "Early the next morning the Lord called his servant Balabhadra. They left Puri and headed north.
Lord Chaitanya wanted to avoid crowds of people so they went off the public roads and started through the dark Jharikhanda forest. In the solitary jungle Balabhadra saw lions, elephants, tigers, reptiles, wild boars and rhinoceros. His heart was full of fear but Lord Chaitanya went on as though nothing were unusual.
Finally they could go no further. A large tiger was lying across the path. "Chant the holy name of Krishna!" Lord Chaitanya ordered the tiger. Then He touched the beast with His foot. To Balabhadra's great shock the tiger stood up and began to dance back and forth. "Krishna! Krishna!" said the tiger as Mahaprabhu walked past.
When they reached the river Lord Chaitanya took His bath. Standing waist-deep in the water He was chanting His mantras. A heard of angry, thirsty elephants came to the river and stood before the Lord. "Chant Hare Krishna." said Chaitanya. Then He splashed water in their faces. Balabhadra was shocked. The elephants rolled on the ground chanting Krishna Krishna.
From the river the Lord went on through the forest. This time Van sang loudly with His sweet voice. All the does came near to listen and the Lord patted them. Following the deer came other tigers. When Lord Chaitanya saw the assembly He asked them all to chant and dance together. The does and tigers began to dance, sometimes embracing each other and sometimes kissing with their mouths. Peacocks, monkeys, rabbits, birds and other forest animals joined together in a great kirtan of Krishna Krishna. Seeing the fun, Lord Chaitanya smiled and continued on His trip.
NEW WORDS solitary rhinoceros does reptile
assembly protect public avoid
THE COCONUT OFFERING
Once upon a time there was a devotee of Lord Krishna named Raghava Pandit. He loved to serve his deity. He also loved the kirtans of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was a wealthy man with lots of land, fruit trees, vegetables and grains.
In the hot season Raghava offered coconuts to Lord Krishna. He carefully picked and cut the coconuts and cooled them in water. Then he cut holes in the top so Krishna could sip the juice out. Sometimes Krishna would drink all the juice from the coconut. Then Raghava would break it open, take out the pulp and put it on another plate to be offered again. Sometimes Krishna would eat all the pulp, or sometimes He would fill the original coconut with more juice than Raghava had offered.
One day a servant brought coconuts from a very distant place. It was time for the deity's offering. The servant washed them quickly and cut holes in the top. He rushed to the door of the deity's room holding the large container of coconuts. When he paused at the front of the deity's room, he to, touched his hand on the ceiling above the door. Then with the same hand he gave the coconuts to Raghava Pandit for the offering.
"O such a blunder!" cried Raghava Pandit. "People are always coming and going through that door. The dust from their feet blows up and touches the ceiling. You have touched the ceiling and then touched the Lord's coconuts. I certainly can not offer them now. They are impure."
Raghava Pandit knew that Krishna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He would never permit any offering which was not perfect. Raghava Pandit struggled hard to make everything nice for Krishna. So Krishna always ate his offerings and gave Raghava Pandit His mercy.
NEW WORDS: original distant pause certainly
permit blunder container
THE DOG THAT WENT BACK TO GODHEAD
One year, all the devotees from Navadvipa were going to visit Lord Chaitanya in Jagannatha Puri. They all wanted to see the holy Rathyatra parade. Headed by Sivananda Sena, dozens of devotees prepared for the long trip.
Sivananda Sena liked to maintain all the devotees when they went on pilgrimage. He arranged for food and lodging while they travelled. He also took care of any problems that came up. This year he even included a dog in the party of pilgrims. He provided its food as they travelled. One day they all had to cross a river but the boatman would not let the dog get in the boat. Sivananda Sena paid the boatman a high price in conchshells so that the dog could cross.
Another day Sivananda Sena was stopped at the tollman. The others - including the dog - went past and set up their camp. It was late at night when Sivananda Sena finally finished his work. He came from the toll office and joined the devotees.
"Has the dog taken his cooked rice?" Sivananda Sena asked his servant. "No, sir, I forgot to feed him," answered the servant.
Sivananda was unhappy that the dog had been neglected. He sent ten men out to search for the dog in every direction. When they returned without success at finding him, Sivananda fasted for the whole night. Again they looked for the dog in the morning, but finally they gave up. They walked on to Puri to meet the Lord.
When the devotees reached Lord Chaitanya's place they were surprised to see that same dog sitting near the Lord. Chaitanya was throwing the dog pieces of green mango pulp and ordering him to delete the chant the names of God. The dog was eating the pulp and chanting Krishna Krishna! Sivananda Sena bowed down and offered his respects to the dog.
After that day no one ever saw the dog to again. He got a spiritual body and went back to home, back to Godhead.
NEW WORDS: tollman finally including attend
neglect direction success respect
THE BRAHMANA'S FEAST
CAST: an old brahmana
SCENE: Jagannatha Misra's house in Mayapur. Saci Mata is cooking; Jagannatha Misra is playing a with little Nimai. An old brahmana, bent over with a cane and an old white dhoti, comes walking down the road to Jagannatha Misra's house.
JAGANNATHA MISRA: (In a warm, friendly voice) Welcome, welcome, sir. Please come and sit with us. Why have you come to our house in Mayapur?
BRAHMANA: Thank you; you are very kind. My home is very far away from here. Now that I am so old, I want to spend my last days visiting all of the holy places, where Lord Vishnu is worshiped. If I may stay with you for one night, then tomorrow I will continue on my pilgrimage.
JAGANNATHA MISRA: Of course you may stay. Here is a cot on which you may sleep. My wife Saci will prepare some prasadam for you.
BRAHMANA: Please do not bother. Each day I collect one or two vegetables and a little rice. I prepare a simple offering for Lord Krishna. This is my service to Him.
SACI MATA: In my kitchen you will find vegetables, fruits, grains and ghee. Please take whatever you like and prepare a meal. You may offer it to our deity of Lord Vishnu.
SCENE: The brahmana goes to the kitchen and squats down by a small coal stove. He cuts vegetables and rolls chapattis. At last he puts all the preparations on a plate. Meanwhile, Saci and Jagannatha Misra are
busy with other household work. Nimai is playing, nearby with his toys. The brahmana takes his offering to the deity.
BRAHMANA: While bowing down and ringing the bell)
" My dear Lord Vishnu, you are the Lord of my life. I am your eternal servant. Please accept this offering that I have made for you."
SCENE: While the brahmana is praying, Little Nimai crawls over to the altar and begins to eat the offering.
BRAHMANA: (jumping up, startled)
Stop! Stop! You naughty child!
(Jagannatha Misra and Saci Mata come running)
JAGANNATHA MISRA: What's wrong? What happened?
BRAHMANA: I made this offering for the Lord but before I could finish the prayers your child came to eat it. Now the food has been touched by an unclean child and it is impure. I can not offer it; and I can not eat anything. Oh, what shall I do?
JAGANNATHA MISRA: Please, sir. Do not be distressed. There is no shortage of food in our kitchen. Please prepare another offering.
SACI MATA: Yes, we shall watch the child carefully. He will not disturb you again.
SCENE: Nimai is mildly scolded and taken away. The brahmana returns to the kitchen to cook again. He prepares a plate and takes it to the altar.
BRAHMANA: (While bowing down and saying the prayers three times)
"My dear Lord Vishnu, you are the Lord of my life. I am your eternal servant. Please accept this offering that I have made for you."
SCENE: Nimai comes out by surprise from a hidden place and begins to eat the food.
BRAHMANA: (Jumping up) Oh no! Not again! What have I done that the Lord can not eat my offerings?
(Jagannatha Misra and Saci Mata come running. Saci grabs Nimai away and holds Him)
JAGANNATHA MISRA: Oh respected brahmana, please do not lament. We are very sorry that our naughty son has disturbed you. We don't know how He snuck away so quickly while you were offering your meal.
BRAHMANA: I am just a tired old man. I just wanted to offer a simple meal, eat it and take rest. Now what shall I do? I cannot eat impure, unoffered food.
SACI MATA: Now it is very late. We shall put Nimai in His room to sleep. We will lock the door so He cannot disturb you again.
SCENE: Nimai is put to bed and the door is locked. The brahmana returns to the kitchen to cook. At last he makes a plate and takes it to the altar.
BRAHMANA: (While bowing down he says the prayers three times)
"My dear Lord Vishnu, you are the Lord of my life. I am your eternal servant. Please accept this offering that I have made for you."
SCENE: Nimai appears out of nowhere and begins to eat the brahmana's offering. The brahmana cries in distress.
BRAHMANA: (Holding his head and lamenting)
Oh No! Again this naughty child has spoiled my offering.
NIMAI : My dear devotee, Please do not lament. In another life I was the son of Nanda Maharaja in Vrindavana. In that life you were also a brahmana. You came to my father's house and made an offering to Lord Vishnu. Three times you cooked and three times I ate your offering because I am that same Lord Vishnu. I am pleased with your service. That is why I always come to eat your offerings.
BRAHMANA: O my dear Lord, I am the most fortunate. You come to this world simply to please your devotees . I offer you my humble obeisances.
NIMAI: Please continue your nice service and do not tell anyone what has happened here tonight.
SCENE: The brahmana bows down to the Lord and then sits down to eat prasadam. Nimai returns to His room.
CLEANING GUNDICA TEMPLE
CAST: Lord Chaitanya
Mary other devotees
SCENE: Lord Chaitanya sitting with Svarupa Damodara
LORD CHAITANYA: Svarupa Damodara, please send for Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and the other men. Also bring the head of the Gundica temple. Tomorrow we will prepare for Lord Jagannatha.
(Four or five men enter Lord Chaitanya's room)
LORD CHAITANYA: Tomorrow we shall all clean the Gundica Temple. Lord Jagannatha will come thereby cart so the Temple must be ready. Please bring brooms and waterpots for one hundred men.
ASSEMBLED MEN: (Talking altogether)
Jaya! Jaya Gaurasundara! All glories to Lord Jagannatha! Hari Bol! etc.
(The men leave the room, excited.)
SCENE: Many devotees assembled at Gundica Temple.
Brooms and waterpots are around.
LORD CHAITANYA: Now we will see who can clean the most.
I shall put my pile of dust and straw here. You can all make a pile there. Whoever has the smaller pile will have to pay a fine in sweetrice.
ALL DEVOTEES: Hari Bol! Krishna! Krishna!
DEVOTEE #1: I'll clean the entrance.
DEVOTEE #2: And I'll clean the sitting places.
DEVOTEE #3: (to the devotees) You clean the walkways, and you clean walls. I'm going to sweep the ceilings.
(All devotees including Lord Chaitanya begin to clean putting the dust in a pile.)
ALL DEVOTEES: Krishna! Krishna! Krishna! etc. (continuously)
DEVOTEE #1: I think the Lord pile is going to be bigger.
DEVOTEE #2: How is that possible? He is only one and we are many.
DEVOTEE #1: Anything is possible for Lord Chaitanya