Sripad Laxmipati Tirtha.
The following is a story in connection with the disciple of Sripad Vyasa Tirtha who was given the name Laxmipati Tirtha, and who became the next to be recognised as the 'acarya' in the line in which we follow.

Once Lord Balarama (Krsna's elder brother) appeared to Laxmipati Tirtha to break the ground for a change in the regular line of the Madhwa Sampradaya. Big changes were to take place that would eventuate in a revolution in thought and deed. Lord Sri Krsna and His brother Lord Balarama were about to appear in the dress of devotees within the Madhwa 'sampradaya'.

                              brajendra nandana jei-saci-suta hoilo sei
                                      balarama hoilo nitai

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura sings in his "Ista Deve Vijnapti", in simple Bengali language that "Lord Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, the King of Vraja, became the son of Saci (Lord Caitanya) and Balarama became Nitai (Nityananda). We have discussed in brief some of the situations that arose around this time that warranted these changes. We have also introduced some of the Vaisnavas who performed this task for the Lord. The change itself to many meant seeing heart rendering devotion to the Lord, which was in many cases unable to be contained because of its intensity. Some objected to this as being mere sentimentalism, some even suggested that though the external sentiments were seen, other things were in the heart. From here on we deal with some of those feelings and emotions through the acaryas who experienced them. Thereare potential dangers to this, but I am prepared to take the chance that the readers will appreciate and aspire for such deep feelings and not fall subject to imitating them.
 There is sometimes a lot missed by those who try to merely rationalise everything, those who are logicians, or academics. Often showing that the cannot see 'outside of their paradigm, or square'. 'Sravana', study or scrutiny of 'shastra' may be necessary to give one the basis for discrimination between 'Para' and 'Aparatattwas', and reflection helps us to fix our minds on the import at hand. However the persons who we are relating to here are already fixed in their conclusion of 'shastra', the need for logical arguementation, discussion, or rhetorical persuasion may even impare one's vision rather than enhance it.
 We have found this especially to be relevent to those who have come from certain ethnic cultures which are very strong and may we say domanant.
 Often it is easier to accept things as they are if one doesn't know anything in the first place. Sometimes the example of the two youths who comes to the music teacher to learn to play an instrument is cited. The first youth was asked, " you know how to play the piano?" "No," was his reply. "Your fee will be $400." said the teacher. The second student was asked if he knew how to play. "Yes, I taught myself a few pieces!" was the reply. "Oh then your fee will be $800., for first we have to un-train you, before we can train you!"

"Sometimes 'manana' is portrayed as only being the systematic employment of the canons of textual interpretation and logical examination with a view to arriving at a firm conviction that he final interpetation of the 'shastras' thus arrived at is alone the correct and unimpeachable one."(B.N.K. Sharma. 1986. Philosophy of Sri Madhwacarya. page 377.) And this is so true, when dealing with what you know and have. But to understand anything outside of that realm, another's perpective, or devotional vision, open minded reflection, manana which removes doubts ('samshaya'), and former misapprehension ('viparyaya') are prerequisits.

As you will read shortly, these are insights to the personal relationships between the Lord and his pure devotees. "Steadiness of attention and exclusive contemplation of the Supreme can only be achieved through deep rooted love of God."(B.N.K. Sharma. 1986. Philosophy of Sri Madhwacarya. page 377.) This is not a cheap or an ordinary thing, but by these personal and intimate dealings based on love is specifically how the Madhwa 'sampradaya' has come to be known all over the universe, by the desire and preaching of it's members.

One story of this nature, which is quite heart rendering is the following story of Laxmipati Tirtha, the best of the 'sannyasis', who, on one occasion, was sitting in a solitary place performing his 'bhajan' throughout the night singing the glories of Lord Balarama. His unalloyed devotion was so intense he would sometimes cry or call out, "O Baladeva, kindly show me Your favour. I am so fallen and wicked." Tears would come from his eyes and he lost all patience and composure due to his old age and intense desire to see the Lord. He would sometimes collapse on the floor, stunned. This day, due to the devotional traumas he had undergone, he slept.
  It is described that Lord Nityananda, in His usual prankish mood, appeared to Laxmipati in His original form as Lord Balarama, Krsna's brother. How he appeared to Laxmipati was in a dream, telling him that a wandering Brahmin, in the form of an 'avadhuta', madman had arrived in town. "He will come to you. Initiate him into the Vaisnava 'diksa mantras' and accept him as your disciple." Then Lord Balarama spoke the 'mantra' into Laxmipati's right ear and Laxmipati awoke. After a short time Laxmipati saw the 'avadhuta Brahmin' and his mind became full with anxious anticipation. When they met, Laxmipati couldn't take his eyes off the beautiful form of the Lord, His aura and His Moonlike face and unblinking eyes. Hearing the sweet words of Lord Nityananda, Laxmipati's eyes brimmed over with swelling tears. That very day Laxmipati fulfilled the order of Lord Balarama, and Nityananda became the favourite of Laxmipati.

                                                   nityananda prabhu vande
                                                     srimad laxmipati priyam
                                                   sri madhwa-sampradaya
                                                     vardhanam bhakta vatsalam

"Respectful obeisances unto You, Nityananda Prabhu, the dear favourite of Laxmipati Tirtha. He (Nityananda) increases the bliss of the entire Madhwa 'sampradaya' and He has the innermost needs of the devotees foremost at hand."
 Sripad Laxmipati Tirtha couldn't understand his intense attraction for Nityananda or the bliss he felt just being near Him. On Lord Nityananda's absence from his sight for a moment, intense separation came over him. Laxmipati stayed awake that night pondering over things. He had dozed off slightly, when again in a dream the Lord appeared. He was whitish in complexion, dressed in a blue dhoti. It was Nityananda in his dream, but then Nityananda transformed into Lord Balarama. Laxmipati was amazed and he bathed the Lord's feet with ecstatic tears from his eyes. He prayed to the Lord, "Surely You have made a fool of me and put this fallen wretch into much distress. Please show me Your mercy. You are my Lord. I take shelter at Your lotus feet." That same Sri Nityananda Rama (Balarama) fulfilled all of Laxmipati's cherished longings, though He forbade him from telling a soul of His identity, and then disappeared from sight.
 When Laxmipati awoke in lamentation upon the Lord's disappearance, he saw that night had become the morning. Sripad Laxmipati Tirtha had noticably changed from this day on. He didn't speak ever again, as his mind was always absorbed elsewhere. From an external perspective he looked terrible, and his disciples became full of anxiety. Within a short while, without any warning, Sripad Laxmipati left this world. Who can understand properly the character and pastimes of the Lord and His pure devotee Laxmipati Tirtha? Just see the purity of Sripad Laxmipati Tirtha, that the Lord appears directly to play with him.

Usually it is accredited to Sripad Madhavendra Puri Goswami, the disciple of Sripad Laxmipati Tirtha, as being the spiritual master of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, but here it is mentioned otherwise.
 We are not trying to create any controversy so let us substantiate some of this story a little. In the Caitanya Caritamrta Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami writes: "In Khadadaha, sometimes people misunderstood Nityananda Prabhu to belong to the 'shakta-sampradayam' whose philosophy is 'antah saktah bahih saivah sabhayam vaisnavo matah'.  According to the 'shakta sampradaya', a person called 'kaulavadhuta' thinks materially while externally appearing to be a great devotee of Lord Siva. When such a person is in an assembly of Vaisnavas, he appears like a Vaisnava. Nityananda Prabhu did not belong to such a community. Nityananda Prabhu was always a 'brahmacari' of a 'sannyasi' of the 'Vaidika' ('Vedic') order. Actually He was a 'paramahamsa'. Sometimes He is accepted to be a disciple of Laxmipati Tirtha. If He is so accepted, Nityananda Prabhu belonged to the Madhwa-sampradaya. He did not belong to the Tantrika-sampradaya of Bengal."(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya lila 1:3:85. purport.). However in Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya lila (3:8:128) purport, Srila Prabhupada says: "Sri Nityananda Prabhu was initiated by Madhavendra Puri, a 'sannyasi'. According to others, however, He was initiated by Laxmipati Tirtha."

In a conversation I had with the elderly H.H. Bhakti Hridoy Mangal Maharaja, Secretary General of the Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Math, when he visited Australia 1989-90., he mentioned that he remembered hearing personally an instance that was related by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada (sometime in the late 1920's during a class), wherein Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura told how Lord Nityananda walked off with a 'sannyasi' who came to beg alms at His parent's house (as mentioned in Caitanya Bhagavata.) The 'sannyasi' asked Hadai Pandit, the father of Lord Nityananda, as is traditional, for some alms and so Hadai Pandit as a dutiful householder agreed. But when the 'sannyasi' asked him to give him the boy (Nityananda) as alms, Hadai Pandit, nearly died. Considering his life useless without the boy and a bad example to the boy if he didn't fulfill the desires of his saintly guest. So to fulfill 'dharma' he gave the boy to the 'sannyasi' as his assistant - this 'sannyasi' was Sripad Laxmipati Tirtha. It is interesting to note that the boy Nityananda simply walked off with the 'sannyasi' without even so much as looking back, just as Lord Rama left His father, Dasaratha, to go to the forest. Though different circumstances, both Maharaja Dasaratha and Hadai Pandit died within a very short time due to intense separation. Hadai Pandit and his wife's faces turned black, and never ate again.

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