88. The Lord will not be Silent when the Bhakta is Insulted

There was a bhakta in Bengal named Madhavadasa, who realised when his wife died that he had lost his 'home', for his grihalakshmî had passed away. So he gave all his riches to the poor, donned a robe and wandered alone as a pilgrim to the Jagganâtha shrine. There he did such deep penance that the concrete image soon became the abstract reality and the abstract reality became a perpetual vision. He lost all sense of time and space, of cit and a-cit. Then the Lord, with Subhadrâ, His sakthi aspect, moved towards him and placed before him the gold plate used by the priests to keep food in front of Jagganâtha in the sanctum sanctorum. When Madhavadasa awoke to his gross surroundings, he saw the gold plate with the pile of delicious food upon it; he ate his fill and returned to his inner paradise which he had left for a while.

Jagganâtha, Subhadrâ, Balarâma
Sing along with:
Jagganâtha Svâmi

Meanwhile, the plate was reported lost, assumed to be stolen, and discovered by the seashore near Madhavadasa, who was promptly arrested and led to the lockup by some very efficient policemen. He was beaten mersilessly but did not seem to mind it a bit. The chief priest that night had a dream in which Jagganâtha asked him not to bring food for the Lord again into the shrine, for "You bring food for Me, and when I eat it, you start beating Me!" Then the priest realised that it was the Lord's lîlâ to demonstrate the devotion of Madhavadasa and teach others the real nature of bhakti.

Some scholars and pundits of Puri did not feel happy at this sudden rise to fame of a stranger from Bengal; so they called Madhavadasa into their midst and challenged him to an intellectual duel. Madhavadasa was not a pundit of that type, he had learnt to S'âstras only as a staff to help him walk, as a guide to action; not a stick to beat others with. So he accepted defeat even before the bout began and signed a statement to that effect, which the leading pundit was only too glad to accept because Madhavadasa had a reputation for scholarship which was really frightening. The pundit hurried to Kas'i with that token of victory; he waved it before a gathering of scholars and demanded that they should all pay him homage as superior even to Madhavadasa.

But the Lord will not allow His Bhakta to be humiliated. When the signed statement was opened and read, they were all amazed to find that it was a statement declaring that it was Madhavadasa who had achieved victory and it was the pundit who had signed underneath acknowledging his own defeat! The Lord will not be silent when the bhakta is insulted or harmed.