Murari Gupta – Biography
When the supreme Lord descends, all His associates and paraphernalia also descend to support His transcendental leela.
One such eternal associate was Shri Murari Gupta, a disciple of Shri Chandrashekhara Acharya. Murari Gupta was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s senior at Ganga Das Pandit’s school in Navadwip.
Shrivas Pandit, Chandrashekhara Acharya and Shri Murari Gupta Thakur were all from Shrihatta. Murari Gupta came from there to live in Navadwip, near the home of Jagannath Mishra.
Murari Gupta, was an expansion of Hanuman, and his Ishhta Devata was Shri Sita Ram.
He had an intimate lifelong relationship with Mahaprabhu. At the nightly kirtans in Shrivasa Angan, Murari Gupta served Lord Gaurahari with melodious chanting of the Bhagavata. He would also sing and dance expertly. Murari Gupta served Shri Chaitanya in all His Nadia lilas.
During Mahaprabhu's 21 hours of 'Great Revelation' or the Mahaprakash when Mahaprabhu disclosed His transcendental identity as the Supreme Personality of Godhead to his closest associates, He called on His various Devotees and bestowed blessings to them.
He addressed Murari: "Murari! For so many days couldn't you recognize who I really am? Just see My divine form." Then Murari saw Mahaprabhu as his adored Lord, Shri Raghunatha, sitting in the virasana, his legs folded beneath His body, and holding a great bow in His hand, with Lakshman and Janaki seated on either side of Him.
Then when he saw himself amongst those monkeys in his original form and he fainted. Mahaprabhu called him: "Murari! Get up! Just see My divine form. Have you forgotten who set Ravana's Lanka on fire? It was you, Hanuman! Get up and gaze on the form of Lakshmana, who is the very embodiment of your life. Offer your obeisances to that one for whose sadness you cried so much (Sita Devi)."
Mahaprabhu once tested Murari Gupta's attachment to his worshipful Lord Shri Ramachandra. Shri Gaurasundara preached to Murari about the supreme sweetness and position of Vrajendra-nandana (Krishna): "Murari, worship Krishna and take shelter of Him. Nothing but His service can satisfy the mind and the heart."
Although Murari Gupta became somewhat inclined toward Shri Krishna, the thought of giving up Lord Ramachandra's bhakti devastated him. That night he prayed to Lord Rama to take his life. He asked for this because he couldn't stop serving Rama, nor could he defy Shri Chaitanya's request.
After crying all night Murari approached Lord Chaitanya and said: "What should I do? I've sold my heart to the lotus feet of Lord Ramachandra. But if I disobey Your order to worship Lord Shri Krishna, then also I am in offence. What can I do?"
Smiling, Shri Gaura Raya replied, "All glories to you, Murari! You're so fixed in your worship that even My request couldn't change your mind. This is exactly the type of single-minded love and devotion the bhakta must have for the lotus feet of their chosen Ishta. Even if the Lord wants separation, a Devotee cannot abandon the shelter of His lotus feet. Just to test your firm faith in your Lord I repeatedly asked you to change your worship from Lord Rama to Lord Krishna."
Showering His mercy on Murari Gupta, the Lord continued, "You are the incarnation of Hanuman, the eternal servant of Lord Rama. Therefore, you cannot give up your worship of Lord Rama."
In Katwa, when Lord Chaitanya took sannyasa Murari stood by weeping like a child. And when Shriman Mahaprabhu moved to Jagannatha Puri, Murari and his wife would visit Him every year to relish the Lord's company, taking with them many of the favourite eatables of Mahaprabhu.
Since he was born in a dynasty of ayurvedic physicians, Murari Gupta practiced medicine. But his practice was unique in that he cured his patient's physical ailments and also freed them from the disease of material existence. He wrote the first biography of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, an important Sanskrit work entitled Shri Chaitanya Charita Mahakavya.
An amusing story is told of how Lord Gauranga gave his mercy to Shri Murari Gupta in His childhood itself by playing a transcendental prank on him. One morning Shri Sachinandan Vishwambhar was playing in the street with the other children. He was covered with dust from the head to toe—e dhuli dhusar, hemgiri kolebar, anugata bayasya sohite—and the only way He could be recognised was by His golden complexion.
The children were having a fight and enjoying themselves immensely. They did not care for their clothes which had fallen off long ago. Bathed with perspiration and dirt, they were totally engrossed in their boyish play.
Just at that time Murari Gupta, the scholarly boy of Navadwip passed by. He was a very serious student and was surrounded by his admiring friends and class-mates who were in awe of him as he was such a bright student. They looked up to him in all respects and today Murari was engrossed in enlightening his companions on the merits of Jnana yoga.
In an animated way, shaking his head and gesticulating with his hands, he was explaining the philosophy of Knowledge to them. When little Nimai saw this, He quietly followed Murari. Murari saw Nimai from the corner of his eyes but he ignored Him.
Murari knew this was the best way to treat the precocious son of Jagannath Mishra who was notorious all over Navadwip. He calmly continued his elucidation on the finer points of Jnana yoga.
Seeing this, Vishwambhar told his friends with a snicker, “There goes the great future doctor of Nadia. Come on, let’s have some fun.” He started mimicking Murari Gupta.
Whenever Murari waved his arm to stress a point, Nimai would do the same. He tossed His head in exactly the same manner Murari did. Nimai’s friends were as naughty as He was; they held their sides as they laughed. Not only Nimai’s friends, but even Murari Gupta’s followers had a hard time suppressing their laughter.
Lochan das Thakur described what happened next:
dekhi baidya Murari katâksha tileko heri
puno kore joger bâkhân,
sei moto bishwambhare jogger bakhan kore
teno nâre hât teno mukho khan.
Murari could not ignore Nimai any more. Although he was generally of a peaceful temperament, the son of his Aunt Sachi had crossed all the limits of decency. Murari lost his temper and blurted out:
echchâre ke bole bhâlo dekhiyâ to châowâl
mishra Purandar suta ei,
sarbatra shuniye kathâ ihâr sei guna-gâthâ
bhâle nâm ihâr Nimai.
“This son of Purandar Mishra is a trouble to everyone! Who has ever spoken nicely about Him? Wherever you go, you hear His ‘glory’ (sic). Moreover, what a name they have kept for Him! Nimai! Bah!”
Gaursundara became angry when He heard Murari speak in this way. Of course, whenever the Supreme Lord becomes angry with His Devotee, it is part of His lila and He is in fact showering His mercy.
Nimai scowled at Murari, knitted His eyebrows and said, “I will show you for all of your so-called oratory skills! Just you wait until lunchtime Murari. I will teach you such a lesson, you won’t forget!”
Murari felt uneasy in mind. Jagannatha Mishra’s son was well known all over Navadwip for His mischievous and naughty pranks. God alone knows what He would get up to now! However, Murari soon forgot about this incident once he reached home and became busy with his afternoon duties.
Meanwhile, Vishwambhar, who was none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, dressed Himself up very nicely and arrived at Murari Gupta’s house. He had a beautiful belt around His waist, He wore two strings of pearls round His neck and His hair was tied in a high chudâ (topknot) on His head. His large and beautiful eyes were lined with kohl and golden ornaments shone on His body. He wore stylish sandals on His rosy feet and held laddoos of condensed milk in His hands.
Murari was eating his lunch in the inner rooms of his house when he suddenly heard someone calling out his name with a voice as deep as rumbling clouds. “MURARI! MURARI!” Murari Gupta sat upright as if a thunderbolt had struck him. He immediately remembered what had happened in the morning. Had Nimai really come to teach him a lesson? Had he been serious when he made that threat?
Murari could not believe it. Gaurchandra was at Murari’s doorstep; His beautiful golden form shone as He stood in the threshold. He said with a smile:
tobe se gourhari ki koro ki koro boli
seikhâne hoilo uponito
torosto nâhoio tumi eikhâne âchhi âmi
bhojan koroho b&ˆni boilo
“Murari, what are doing? It’s all right, don’t worry. I am standing here. You eat peacefully.” Murari heaved a sigh of relief and continued to eat quietly.
Then, can you imagine Nimai did? Calmly He walked right up to Murari Gupta and ………….
thâl bhoriye moot mutilo
…………………..urinated all over his plate!
Murari Gupta was totally dumbfounded. He immediately stood up—ki ki boli chhee chhee kori, uthilâ se Murari—“What is this?” and he cried in disbelief, “Chhee! Chhhee!”
Nimai, however, clapped His hands in glee—kara tâli diyâ bole gorâ. He said to Murari:
bhakti path chhadia koru shirr nadiâ
jog bolo lei abhipârâ
jnana karma upekhiyâ krishna-bhajo mon diyâ
rasik bidagdha chidânanda
“You dare to discard the path of bhakti and propound the glories of Jnana Yoga? And look at you, how you move your head and hands—as if you are a great pandit when actually you are the biggest fool!”
The Lord then commanded Murari, “Abandon all the paths of Jnana and Karma Yoga and simply immerse yourself in Shri Krishna-Bhajan. Krishna is the supreme connoisseur of ras. He is expert in all the arts, the fountainhead of all charm and eternally blissful.”
Nimai then calmly left and returned home after revealing this essence of prem-bhakti to His eternal associate. Murari Gupta's hair stood on end. He was astounded. He thought, “Who is this boy who speaks with such commanding authority? Is Sachi Mata’s son none other than Lord Krishna Himself? Otherwise, how could He speak such profound philosophy at such a young age?”
Murari rushed to Nimai’s house filled with ecstasy. There he was further amazed to see Sachi Mata and Jagannatha Mishra having a tug-of-war over who would have Nimai on their lap. They were both tugging at Nimai and kissing His cheeks.
Murari then ran to Advaita Prabhu and narrated everything to him. Lord Advaita was ecstatic &‐ihâ shuni dwijamoni, huhunkâra kore dhwani, puloke purilo sob anga—His eyes brimmed with tears and he roared in joy. He called out, “Has the Supreme Being finally answer my fervent prayers? Has the day of deliverance arrived?” He held Murari in a tight embrace.