Published On: Fri, Sep 9th, 2022

The Glories of Srīla Haridasa Thakura

Haridasa ThakuraŚrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta – Antya-līlā – Chapter 3

99: After leaving his home, Haridāsa Ṭhākura stayed for some time in the forest of Benāpola.

100: Haridāsa Ṭhākura constructed a cottage in a solitary forest. There he planted a tulasī plant, and in front of the tulasī he would chant the holy name of the Lord 300,000 times daily. He chanted throughout the entire day and night.

101: For his bodily maintenance he would go to a brāhmaṇa’s house and beg some food. He was spiritually so influential that all the neighboring people worshiped him.

102: A landholder named Rāmacandra Khān was the zamindar of that district. He was envious of Vaiṣṇavas and was therefore a great atheist.

103: Unable to tolerate that such respect was being offered to Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Rāmacandra Khān planned in various ways to dishonor him.

104: By no means could he find any fault in the character of Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Therefore he called for local prostitutes and began a plan to discredit His Holiness.

105: Rāmacandra Khān said to the prostitutes, “There is a mendicant named Haridāsa Ṭhākura. All of you devise a way to deviate him from his vows of austerity.”

106: Among the prostitutes, one attractive young girl was selected. “I shall attract the mind of Haridāsa Ṭhākura,” she promised, “within three days.”

107: Rāmacandra Khān said to the prostitute, “My constable will go with you so that as soon as he sees you with Haridāsa Ṭhākura, immediately he will arrest him and bring both of you to me.”

108: The prostitute replied, “First let me have union with him once; then the second time I shall take your constable with me to arrest him.”

109: At night the prostitute, after dressing herself most attractively, went to the cottage of Haridāsa Ṭhākura with great jubilation.

110: After offering obeisances to the tulasī plant, she went to the door of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, offered him obeisances and stood there.

111: Exposing part of her body to his view, she sat down on the threshold of the door and spoke to him in very sweet words.

112: “My dear Ṭhākura, O great preacher, great devotee, you are so beautifully built, and your youth is just beginning. Who is the woman who could control her mind after seeing you?

113: “I am eager to be united with you. My mind is greedy for this. If I don’t obtain you, I shall not be able to keep my body and soul together.”

114-115: Haridāsa Ṭhākura replied, “I shall accept you without fail, but you will have to wait until I have finished chanting my regular rounds on my beads. Until that time, please sit and listen to the chanting of the holy name. As soon as I am finished, I shall fulfill your desire.”

116: Hearing this, the prostitute remained sitting there while Haridāsa Ṭhākura chanted on his beads until the light of morning appeared.

117: When she saw that it was morning, the prostitute stood up and left. Coming before Rāmacandra Khān, she informed him of all the news.

118: “Today Haridāsa Ṭhākura has promised to enjoy with me. Tomorrow certainly I shall have union with him.”

119: The next night, when the prostitute came again, Haridāsa Ṭhākura gave her many assurances.

120: “Last night you were disappointed. Please excuse my offense. I shall certainly accept you.

121: “Please sit down and hear the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra until my regular chanting is finished. Then your desire will surely be fulfilled.”

122: After offering her obeisances to the tulasī plant and Haridāsa Ṭhākura, she sat down at the door. Hearing Haridāsa Ṭhākura chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, she also chanted, “O my Lord Hari, O my Lord Hari.”

123: When the night came to an end, the prostitute was restless. Seeing this, Haridāsa Ṭhākura spoke to her as follows.

124: “I have vowed to chant ten million names in a month. I have taken this vow, but now it is nearing its end.

125: “I thought that today I would be able to finish my performance of yajña, my chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. I tried my best to chant the holy name all night, but I still did not finish.

126: “Tomorrow I will surely finish, and my vow will be fulfilled. Then it will be possible for me to enjoy with you in full freedom.”

127: The prostitute returned to Rāmacandra Khān and informed him of what had happened. The next day she came earlier, at the beginning of the evening, and stayed with Haridāsa Ṭhākura.

128: After offering obeisances to the tulasī plant and Haridāsa Ṭhākura, she sat down on the threshold of the room. Thus she began to hear Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s chanting, and she also personally chanted “Hari, Hari,” the holy name of the Lord.

129: “Today it will be possible for me to finish my chanting,” Haridāsa Ṭhākura informed her. “Then I shall satisfy all your desires.”

130: The night ended while Haridāsa Ṭhākura was chanting, but by his association the mind of the prostitute had changed.

131: The prostitute, now purified, fell at the lotus feet of Haridāsa Ṭhākura and confessed that Rāmacandra Khān had appointed her to pollute him.

132: “Because I have taken the profession of a prostitute,” she said, “I have performed unlimited sinful acts. My lord, be merciful to me. Deliver my fallen soul.”

133: Haridāsa Ṭhākura replied, “I know everything about the conspiracy of Rāmacandra Khān. He is nothing but an ignorant fool. Therefore his activities do not make me feel unhappy.

134: “On the very day Rāmacandra Khān was planning his intrigue against me, I would have left this place immediately, but because you came to me I stayed here for three days to deliver you.”

135: The prostitute said, “Kindly act as my spiritual master. Instruct me in my duty, by which I can get relief from material existence.”

136: Haridāsa Ṭhākura replied, “Immediately go home and distribute to the brāhmaṇas whatever property you have. Then come back to this room and stay here forever in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

137: “Chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra continuously and render service to the tulasī plant by watering her and offering prayers to her. In this way you will very soon get the opportunity to be sheltered at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.”

138: After thus instructing the prostitute about the process of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, Haridāsa Ṭhākura stood up and left, continuously chanting “Hari, Hari.”

139: Thereafter, the prostitute distributed to the brāhmaṇas whatever household possessions she had, following the order of her spiritual master.

140: The prostitute shaved her head clean in accordance with Vaiṣṇava principles and stayed in that room wearing only one cloth. Following in the footsteps of her spiritual master, she began chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa 300,000 times a day. She chanted throughout the entire day and night.

141: She worshiped the tulasī plant, following in the footsteps of her spiritual master. Instead of eating regularly, she chewed whatever food she received as alms, and if nothing was supplied she would fast. Thus by eating frugally and fasting she conquered her senses, and as soon as her senses were controlled, symptoms of love of Godhead appeared in her person.

142: Thus the prostitute became a celebrated devotee. She became very advanced in spiritual life, and many stalwart Vaiṣṇavas would come to see her.

143: Seeing the sublime character of the prostitute, everyone was astonished. Everyone glorified the influence of Haridāsa Ṭhākura and offered him obeisances.

144: By inducing a prostitute to disturb Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Rāmacandra Khān caused a seed of offense at his lotus feet to germinate. This seed later became a tree, and when it fructified, Rāmacandra Khān ate its fruits.