By: Mahanidhi Swami
Before we describe the most wonderful departure of the Namacharaya, let’s all bow down our heads and hearts to Srila Haridasa Thakura while chanting the following pranama mantra:
namami haridasaa tam, caitanyam tam ca tat prabhum
samsthitam api yan-murtim, svanke krtva nanarta yah
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Haridasa Thakura and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who danced with the body of Haridasa Thakura on His lap.” (Cc. 3.11.1)
One day in Jagannatha Puri, Govinda came to see Haridasa. He was surprised to see that HaridasaThakura was lying on his back and chanting his rounds very slowly. “Please rise and take your maha-prasadam,” Govinda said.
Haridasa Thakura replied, “Today I shall observe fasting, because I have not finished my fixed number of rounds. But when maha-prasadam is offered, it should never be neglected.” Haridasa offered prayers to the maha-prasadam and respectfully honored a morsel. The next day, Mahaprabhu visited Haridasa Thakura and inquired about his health and asked if he had any disease. After offering obeisances to Mahaprabhu, Haridasa replied, “My body is fine, but my mind and intelligence are not well. My disease is that I cannot complete my rounds.”
Mahaprabhu said, “Now you have become old, you may reduce the number of rounds you chant daily. Besides you are already in your siddha-deha, so what need do you have for sadhana? (Cc. 3.11.24) You have delivered the people of the world by preaching the glories of Harinama, namera mahima prachara. Now please just chant a little nama-sankirtana.”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “O my Lord, please hear my submission. I was born in an inferior family, and my body is most abominable. I am the lowest, most condemned of men, yet You have accepted me as Your servant, delivered me from hell and elevated me to Vaikuntha. By Your mercy so many amazing things happened to me. For example, Advaita Acharya offered me the first plate of festival prasada (sraddha-patra) from the Sraddha ceremony of his father, which should have been offered to first-class brahmins. Mahaprabhu, I feel that soon You will conclude Your lila here and I cannot bear to see that. Therefore, O most merciful Lord, please kindly let me leave my body in Your presence while gazing upon Your moonlike face and chanting Your Holy Name. This is my last desire.”
Gauranga Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Haridasa, Krishna is so merciful that He must do whatever you want. But I experience so much happiness in your association. So it is not fitting for you to go away and leave Me behind.”
The next day Mahaprabhu and all His associates like Raya Ramananda, Svarupa Damodara Goswami and Vakreshvara Pandita came to visit Haridasa Thakura. They performed Harinama Sankirtana, and afterwards Mahaprabhu glorified Haridasa Thakura so profusely that it seemed Gauranga was speaking with five mouths. The more Gaurahari glorified Haridasa Thakura, the more ecstasy He felt.
About to leave his body, Haridasa Thakura asked Mahaprabhu to sit beside him. Then Haridasa Thakura fixed the bumblebees of his eyes on the sweet lotus face of Gaurachanda. He tightly clasped the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu to his heart, and adorned his head with the foot dust of all the devotees, sarva-bhakta pada-renu. While drinking the nectar of Mahaprabhu’s sweet face (prabhu-mukha-madhuri) Haridasa Thakura repeatedly said, “Sri Krishna Chaitanya! Sri Krishna Chaitanya! Sri Krishna Chaitanya!” as tears constantly glided down from his eyes. In this most fortunate and blessed way, the great Namacharya Haridasa Thakura left his mortal coil.
All the devotees loudly chanted with their full hearts, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna!” and Mahaprabhu became overwhelmed with ecstatic love, prema-ananda. Thus bhakta-vatsala Gauranga, the most affectionate Golden Lord of Love, fulfilled His devotee’s desire by appearing at the final moment. In this regard, Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja says, “Anyone who hears the victorious passing away of Haridasa Thakura (haridasa vijaya) will attain determination in bhakti.” (Cc. 3.11.101)
Haridasa Thakura Tirobhava lila ki jai!
Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai!
Nitai Gaura Premanande ki jai!