Saksi Gopala Temple in Orrisa


By editor - 24.10 2015


The Deity Who Was Called as a Witness

Their Lordship Sri Saksi Gopala at Saksi Gopala Temple

Saksi Gopala Temple is a very important temple located almost midway between Jagannatha Puri Dhama and Bhubaneswar, in a town called Saksi-gopala, about 20 km west of Jagannatha Puri Dhama. The Saksi-gopala Deity here, being 5000 years old, is an exceptionally special one. It is said that Vajranabha, Lord Sri Krishna’s great-grandson, installed two Gopala Deities in Vraja Mandala namelySaksi-gopala and Madana Gopala (Madana Mohana). The Saksi-gopala Deity is the life-size Gopala Deity who walked from Vrindavana to Vidyanagara, a town located 20 to 25 miles from Rajahmundry on the banks of Godavari River in South India. A great fair is annually held here on the Anla Nabami day in the month of Kartika. Saksi-gopala temple is easily reachable by taxi, bus or Puri-Bhubaneswar train.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives the following summary of the fifth chapter in hisAmrta-pravaha-bhasya. After passing through Yajapura, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu reached the town of Kataka (Cuttack) and there went to see the temple of Saksi-gopala. While there, He heard the story of Saksi-gopala from the mouth of SriNityananda Prabhu.

Once there were two brahmanas, one elderly and the other young, who were inhabitants of a place known as Vidyanagara in South India. After touring many places of pilgrimage, the two brahmanas finally reached Vrindavana. The elderlybrahmana was very satisfied with the service of the young brahmana, and he wanted to offer him his youngest daughter in marriage. The young brahmanareceived the promise of his elder before the Gopala Deity of Vrindavana. Thus the Gopala Deity acted as a witness. When the two brahmanas returned toVidyanagara, the younger brahmana raised the question of this marriage, but the elderly brahmana, due to obligations to his friends and wife, answered that he could not remember his promise. Because of this, the younger brahmana returned to Vrindavana and narrated the whole story to Gopalaji. Thus Gopalaji, being obliged by the young man’s devotional service, accompanied him to southern India.Gopalaji followed the younger brahmana, who could hear the tinkling sound ofGopalaji’s ankle bells. When all the respectable gentlemen of Vidyanagara were assembled, Gopalaji testified to the promise of the elderly brahmana. Thus the marriage was performed. Later, the king of that country constructed a fine temple for Gopala.

Afterwards, King Purusottama-deva of Orissa was insulted by the King of Vidyanagara, who refused to give him his daughter in marriage and called him a sweeper of Lord Jagannatha. With the help of Lord Jagannatha, King Purusottama-deva fought the King of Vidyanagara and defeated him. Thus he took charge of both the King’s daughter and his kingdom as well. At that time, Gopalaji, being very much obligated by the devotional service of King Purusottama-deva, was brought to the town of Kataka.

After hearing this narration, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited the temple of Gopala in great ecstasy of love of God. From Kataka He went to Bhuvanesvara and saw the temple of Lord Siva. In this way, He gradually arrived at Kamalapura, and on the banks of the Bhargi River He came to the temple of Lord Siva, where He entrusted His sannyasa staff to Nityananda Prabhu. However, Nityananda Prabhu broke the staff into three pieces and threw it into the Bhargi River at a place known asAtharanala. Being angry at not getting His staff back, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left the company of Nityananda Prabhu and went alone to see the Jagannatha temple.

The Activities of Saksi Gopala

[Reference: Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya lila Chapter 5, translation and purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)]

I [Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami] offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of God [brahmanya-deva], who appeared as Saksi-gopala to benefit abrahmana. For one hundred days He traveled through the country, walking on His own legs. Thus His activities are wonderful. All glories to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Lord Nityananda Prabhu! All glories to Sri Advaita Prabhu! And all glories to all the devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!

Transcendental Journey

Walking and walking, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His party finally arrived atYajapura, on the river Vaitarani. There He saw the temple of Varahadeva and offered His obeisances unto Him. In the temple of Varahadeva, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu engaged in chanting and dancing and offered prayers. He passed that night in the temple.

Afterwards, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the town of Kataka to see the temple of the witness Gopala. When He saw the Deity of Gopala, He was very much pleased by His beauty. While there, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu engaged in chanting and dancing for some time, and being overwhelmed, He offered many prayers to Gopala. That night Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stayed in the temple of Gopala, and along with all the devotees, He heard the narration of the witness Gopala with great pleasure.

Previously, when Nityananda Prabhu had toured all over India to see different places of pilgrimage, He also had come to see Saksi-gopala at Kataka. At that time, Nityananda Prabhu had heard the story of Saksi-gopala from the townspeople. He now recited this again, and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard the narration with great pleasure.

Purport: The Saksi-gopala temple is situated between the Khurda Road railway station and the Jagannatha Puri station. The Deity is not presently situated in Kataka, but when Nityananda Prabhu traveled there, the Deity was present. Kataka is a town in Orissa situated on the Mahanadi River. When Saksi-gopala was brought from Vidyanagara in southern India, He stayed for some time at Kataka. Thereafter, He was situated for some time in theJagannatha temple. It seems that in the temple of Jagannatha there was some disagreement between Jagannatha and Saksi-gopala, a disagreement called prema-kalaha, a quarrel of love. In order to settle this love quarrel, the King of Orissa constructed a village about eleven miles from Jagannatha Puri. The village was called Satyavadi, and Gopala was stationed there. Thereafter, a new temple was constructed. Now there is a Saksi-gopala station, and people go to Satyavadi to see the witness Gopala.

Formerly at Vidyanagara in South India there were two brahmanas who made a long tour to see different places of pilgrimage. First of all they visited Gaya, then Kasi, then Prayaga. Finally, with great pleasure, they came to Mathura. After reaching Mathura, they started visiting the different forests of Vrindavana and came to Govardhana Hill. They visited all twelve forests [vanas] and at last came to the town of Vrindavana.

Purport: The five forests situated on the eastern side of the river Yamuna areBhadra, Bilva, Loha, Bhandira and Mahavana. The seven forests situated on the western side of the Yamuna are Madhu, Tala, Kumuda, Bahula, Kamya,Khadira and Vrindavana. After visiting all these forests, these pilgrims went to a place known as Pancakrosi Vrindavana. Out of the twelve forests, the Vrindavana forest extends from the town of Vrindavana up to Nanda-grama and Varsana, a distance of thirty-two miles, within which the PancakrosiVrindavana town is situated.

In the village of Pancakrosi Vrindavana, at the site where the Govinda temple is now situated, there was a great temple where gorgeous worship of Gopala was performed. After taking baths at different bathing places along the river Yamuna, such as Kesi-ghata and Kaliya-ghata, the pilgrims visited the temple of Gopala. Afterwards, they took rest in that temple.

The beauty of the Gopala Deity stole away their minds, and feeling great happiness, they remained there for two or four days. One of the two brahmanas was an old man, and the other was young. The young man was assisting the old one. Indeed, the young brahmana always rendered service to the older one, and the old man, being very satisfied with his service, was pleased with him.

Grateful Acknowledgment

The older man told the younger, “You have rendered various types of service to me. You have assisted me in traveling to all these places of pilgrimage. Even my own son does not render such service. By your mercy, I did not become fatigued while on this tour. If I did not show you any respect, I would be ungrateful. Therefore, I promise to give you my daughter in charity.”

The younger brahmana replied, “My dear sir, please hear me. You are saying something very unusual. Such a thing never happens. You are a most aristocratic family man, well-educated and very rich. I am not at all aristocratic, and I am without a decent education and have no wealth.

Purport: Due to pious activities, one can be enriched by four opulences: one may obtain birth in an aristocratic family, become highly educated, become very beautiful or get a sufficient quantity of riches. These are symptoms of pious activities performed in one’s past life. In India it is still current for an aristocratic family never to consider a marriage with a common family. Though the caste may be the same, to maintain the aristocracy such marriages are rejected. No poor man will dare marry the daughter of a rich man. Because of this, when the elderly brahmana offered the youngbrahmana his daughter, the young brahmana did not believe that it would be possible to marry her. Therefore he asked the elderly brahmana why he was proposing something unprecedented (asambhava). It was unheard of for an aristocratic person to offer his daughter to a person who was both uneducated and poor.

Sir, I am not a suitable bridegroom for your daughter. I render service to you only for the satisfaction of Krishna.

Purport: Both brahmanas were pure Vaisnavas. The younger man took special care of the older one simply to please Krishna. In Srimad-Bhagavatam(11.19.21) Krishna says, mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika: “It is better to render service to My devotee.” Thus, according to the Gaudiya-Vaisnava philosophy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, it is better to be a servant of the servant of God. One should not try to serve Krishna directly. A pure Vaisnava serves a servant of Krishna and identifies himself as a servant of a servant of Krishna. This is pleasing to Lord Krishna. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura confirms this philosophy: chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara peyeche keba. Unless one serves a liberated Vaisnava, he cannot attain liberation by directly serving Krishna. He must serve the servant of Krishna.

Lord Krishna is very much pleased by service rendered to brahmanas, and when the Lord is pleased, the opulence of one’s devotional service increases.”

Purport: In this regard, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that the younger brahmana rendered service to the older one with the purpose of pleasing Krishna. It was not a matter of ordinary worldly dealings. Krishna is pleased when a Vaisnava is rendered service. Because the youngerbrahmana served the older one, Lord Gopala agreed to become a witness of the marriage negotiation in order to maintain the prestige of both devotees.Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would certainly not have liked to hear about marital dealings unless such dealings were exchanged between two Vaisnavas. Marriage arrangements and ceremonies belong to ordinary material karma-kanda sections of the scriptures. The Vaisnavas, however, are not interested in any kind of karma-kanda dealings. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says: karma-kanda jnana-kanda kevala visera bhanda. For a Vaishnava, the karma-kanda and jnana-kanda sections of the Vedas are unnecessary. Indeed, a realVaisnava takes these sections as a poison pot (visera bhanda). Sometimes we take part in a marriage ceremony for our disciples, but this does not mean that we are interested in karma-kanda activities. Sometimes, not knowing theVaisnava philosophy, an outsider criticizes such activity, maintaining that asannyasi should not take part in a marriage ceremony between a young boy and a young girl. However, this is not a karma-kanda activity, because our purpose is to spread the Krishna consciousness movement. We are giving all facility to the general populace to take to Krishna consciousness, and in order to fix the devotees in concentration on the service of the Lord, marriage is sometimes allowed. We have experienced that such married couples actually render very important service to the mission. Therefore, one should not misunderstand when a sannyasi takes part in a marriage ceremony. SriCaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu took great pleasure in hearing about the marriage ceremony between the young brahmana and the daughter of the elderly brahmana.

Solemn Vow

The older brahmana replied, “My dear boy, do not doubt me. I will give you my daughter in charity. I have already decided this.”

The young brahmana said, “You have a wife and sons, and you have a large circle of relatives and friends. Without the consent of all your friends and relatives, it is not possible to give me your daughter in charity. Just consider the story of QueenRukmini and her father, Bhismaka. King Bhismaka wanted to give his daughter,Rukmini, in charity to Krishna, but Rukmi, his eldest son, objected. Therefore he could not carry out his decision.”

Purport: As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 10 chapter 52 verse 25:

bandhunam icchatam datum krsnaya bhaginim nrpa
tato nivarya krsna-dvid rukmi caidyam amanyata

King Bhismaka of Vidarbha wanted to offer Krishna his daughter, Rukmini, butRukmi, the eldest of his five sons, objected. Therefore Bhismaka withdrew his decision and decided to offer Rukmini to the King of Cedi, Sisupala, who was a cousin of Krishna’s. However, Rukmini conceived of a trick: she sent a letter to Krishna asking Him to kidnap her. Thus in order to please Rukmini, who was His great devotee, Krishna kidnapped her. There ensued a great fight between Krishna and the opposing party, headed by Rukmini’s brother Rukmi.Rukmi was defeated and, because of his harsh words against Krishna, was about to be killed, but he was saved at the request of Rukmini. However, Krishna shaved off all of Rukmi’s hair with His sword. Sri Balarama did not like this, and so to please Rukmini, Balarama rebuked Krishna.

The elderly brahmana said, “My daughter is my own property. If I choose to give my property to someone, who has the power to stop me? My dear boy, I will give my daughter to you in charity, and I will neglect the position of all others. Don’t doubt me in this regard; just accept my proposal.”

The younger brahmana replied, “If you have decided to give your young daughter to me, then say so before the Gopala Deity.”

Coming before Gopala, the elderly brahmana said, “My dear Lord, please witness that I have given my daughter to this boy.”

Purport: In India it is still the custom for a daughter to be offered to someone simply by word. This is called vag-datta. This means that the father, brother or guardian of a girl has given his word that she will be married to a certain man. Consequently, that daughter cannot be married to anyone else. She is reserved by virtue of the honest words of the father or guardian. There are many instances in which the parents of a female child have given someone a verbal promise that their daughter will be married to his son. Both parties agree to wait until the boy and girl are grown up, and then the marriage takes place. Following this custom, which is very old in India, the elderly brahmanapromised to give his daughter to the younger brahmana in charity, and he promised this before the Gopala Deity. In India the custom is to honor any promise made before the Deity. Such a promise cannot be canceled. In Indian villages, whenever there is a quarrel between two parties, they go to a temple to settle the quarrel. Whatever is spoken in front of the Deity is taken to be true, for no one would dare lie before the Deity. This same principle was followed in the Battle of Kuruksetra. Therefore in the very beginning of the Bhagavad-Gita it is stated: dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre.

By not becoming God conscious, human society is deteriorating to the lowest standard of animal life. This Krishna consciousness movement is very essential to reviving God consciousness among the general populace. If people actually become God conscious, all quarrels can be settled outside of court, as happened in the case of the two brahmanas whose disagreement was settled by the witness Gopala.

Then the younger brahmana addressed the Deity, saying, “My dear Lord, You are my witness. I shall call for You to testify if it is necessary later on.”

After these talks, the two brahmanas started for home. As usual, the youngbrahmana accompanied the elderly brahmana as if the older brahmana were a guru [spiritual master] and rendered him service in various ways. After returning toVidyanagara, each brahmana went to his respective home. After some time, the elderly brahmana became very anxious. He began to think, “I have given my word to a brahmana in a holy place, and what I promised will certainly come to pass. I must now disclose this to my wife, sons, other relatives and friends.”

Ominous Threat

Thus one day the elderly brahmana called for a meeting of all his relatives and friends, and before them all he narrated what had taken place in front of Gopala. When those who belonged to the family circle heard the narration of the oldbrahmana, they made exclamations showing their disappointment. They all requested that he not make such a proposal again. They unanimously agreed, “If you offer your daughter to a degraded family, your aristocracy will be lost. When people hear of this, they will make jokes and laugh at you.”

The elderly brahmana said, “How can I undo the promise I made in a holy place while on pilgrimage? Whatever may happen, I must give him my daughter in charity.” The relatives unanimously said, “If you give your daughter to that boy, we shall give up all connection with you.” Indeed, his wife and sons declared, “If such a thing happens, we shall take poison and die.”

The elderly brahmana said, “If I do not give my daughter to the young brahmana, he will call Sri Gopalaji as a witness. Thus he will take my daughter by force, and in that case my religious principles will become meaningless.”

His son replied, “The Deity may be a witness, but He is in a distant country. How can He come to bear witness against you? Why are you so anxious over this? You do not have to flatly deny that you spoke such a thing. There is no need to make a false statement. Simply say that you do not remember what you said. If you simply say, ‘I do not remember,’ I shall take care of the rest. By argument, I shall defeat the young brahmana.”

Purport: The son of the elderly brahmana was an atheist and a follower of the Raghunatha-smrti. He was very expert in dealing with pounds-shillings-pence, but he was fool number one. Consequently, he did not believe in the spiritual position of the Deity, nor did he have any faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, as a typical idol worshiper, he considered the form of the Lord to be made of stone or wood. Thus he assured his father that the witness was only a stone Deity and was not capable of speaking. Besides that, he assured his father that the Deity was situated far away and consequently could not come to bear witness. In essence, he was saying, “Have no anxiety. You do not have to lie directly, but you should speak like a diplomat, like King Yudhisthira when he spoke to Dronacarya - asvatthama hata iti gajah. Following this principle, simply say that you do not remember anything and are completely unaware of the statements given by the young brahmana. If you make the background like that, I shall know how to fill in the argument and defeat him by word jugglery. Thus I shall save you from having to give your daughter to him. In this way, our aristocracy will be saved. You have nothing to worry about.”

Hopeful Plea

When the elderly brahmana heard this, his mind became very much agitated. Feeling helpless, he simply turned his attention to the lotus feet of Gopala.

The elderly brahmana prayed, “My dear Lord Gopala, I have taken shelter of Yourlotus feet, and therefore I request You to please protect my religious principles from disturbance and at the same time save my kinsmen from dying.”

The next day, the elderly brahmana was thinking deeply about this matter when the young brahmana came to his house. The young brahmana came to him and offered respectful obeisances. Then, very humbly folding his hands, he spoke as follows.

“You have promised to give your daughter in charity to me. Now you do not say anything. What is your conclusion?”

After the young brahmana submitted this statement, the elderly brahmanaremained silent. Taking this opportunity, his son immediately came out with a stick to strike the younger man. The son said, “Oh, you are most degraded! You want to marry my sister, just like a dwarf who wants to catch the moon!”

Seeing a stick in the hand of the son, the younger brahmana fled.

Sensitive Inquiry

The next day, however, he gathered together all the people of the village. All the people of the village then called for the elderly brahmana and brought him to their meeting place. The young brahmana then began to speak before them as follows.

“This gentleman has promised to hand over his daughter to me, yet now he does not follow his promise. Please ask him about his behavior.” All the people gathered there asked the elderly brahmana, “If you have already promised to give him your daughter in charity, why are you not fulfilling your promise? You have given your word of honor.”

The elderly brahmana said, “My dear friends, please hear what I have to submit. I do not exactly remember making a promise like that.”

When the elderly brahmana’s son heard this, he took the opportunity to juggle some words. Becoming very impudent, he stood before the assembly and spoke as follows. “While touring various holy places of pilgrimage, my father carried much money. Seeing the money, this rogue decided to take it away. There was no one besides this man with my father. Giving him an intoxicant known as dhutura to eat, this rogue made my father mad. Having taken all my father’s money, this rogue claimed that it was taken by some thief. Now he is claiming that my father has promised to give him his daughter in charity. All of you assembled here are gentlemen. Please judge whether it is befitting to offer this poor brahmana my father’s daughter.”

Hearing all these statements, all the people gathered there became a little doubtful. They thought it quite possible that because of attraction for riches one might give up his religious principles.

Absolute Arrangement

At that time the young brahmana said, “My dear gentlemen, please hear. Just to gain victory in an argument, this man is lying. Being very satisfied with my service, this brahmana said to me of his own accord, ‘I promise to hand over my daughter to you.’ At that time I forbade him to do this, telling him, ‘O best of the brahmanas, I am not a fit husband for your daughter. Whereas you are a learned scholar, a rich man belonging to an aristocratic family, I am a poor man, uneducated and with no claim to aristocracy.’ Still this brahmana insisted. Again and again he asked me to accept his proposal, saying, ‘I have given you my daughter. Please accept her.’ I then said, ‘Please hear. You are a learned brahmana. Your wife, friends and relatives will never agree to this proposal. My dear sir, you will not be able to fulfill your promise. Your promise will be broken.’ Yet, again and again the brahmanaemphasized his promise. ‘I have offered you my daughter. Do not hesitate. She is my daughter, and I shall give her to you. Who can forbid me?’ At that time I concentrated my mind and requested the brahmana to make the promise before the Gopala Deity. Then this gentleman said in front of the Gopala Deity, ‘My dear Lord, please bear witness. I have offered my daughter to this brahmana in charity.’ Accepting the Gopala Deity as my witness, I then submitted the following at His lotus feet. ‘If this brahmana later hesitates to give me his daughter, my dear Lord, I shall call on You as a witness. Please note this with care and attention.’ Thus I have called upon a great personality in this transaction. I have asked the Supreme Godhead to be my witness. The entire world accepts the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

Purport: Although the young brahmana described himself as having no claims to aristocracy and being an uneducated common man, still he had one good qualification: he believed that the Supreme Personality of Godhead was the topmost authority, he accepted the words of Lord Krishna without hesitation, and he had firm faith in the Lord’s consistency. According to Prahlada Maharaja, another authority on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such a staunch and faithful devotee of the Lord must be understood to be a most learned scholar: tan manye ’dhitam uttamam (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.24). A pure devotee who has firm faith in the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is to be considered a most learned scholar, the topmost aristocrat and the richest man in the whole world. All godly qualities automatically exist in such a devotee. In the preaching work of the Krishna consciousness movement, we, as the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, fully believe in the words of Krishna and His servants, the disciplic succession. In this way we are presenting the words of Krishna throughout the world. Even though we are neither a rich man nor a very learned scholar, and even though we do not belong to any aristocracy, this movement is still being welcomed and is very easily spreading all over the world. Although we are very poor and have no professional source of income, Krishna supplies money whenever we need it. Whenever we need some men, Krishna supplies them. Thus it is stated in the Bhagavad-Gita 6.22: yamlabdhva caparam labham manyate nadhikam tatah. Actually, if we can attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, we do not need anything else. We certainly do not need those things which a mundane person considers to be material assets.

Taking this opportunity, the elderly brahmana immediately confirmed that this was really true. He said, “If Gopala personally comes here to serve as a witness, I shall surely give my daughter to the young brahmana.”

Purport: The elderly brahmana’s son immediately confirmed this, saying, “Yes, this is a very nice settlement.”

As the Supersoul within the heart of all living entities, Krishna knows everyone’s desire, everyone’s request and everyone’s prayer. Although all these may be contradictory, the Lord has to create a situation in which everyone will be pleased. This is an instance of a marriage negotiation between an elderly brahmana and a youthful one. The elderly brahmana was certainly willing to give his daughter in charity to the young brahmana, but his son and relatives became impediments to this transaction. The elderlybrahmana considered how to get out of this situation and still offer his daughter to the young brahmana. His son, an atheist and a very cunning fellow, was thinking of how to stop the marriage. The father and son were thinking in a contradictory way, yet Krishna created a situation wherein they agreed. They both agreed that if the Gopala Deity would come and serve as a witness, the daughter would be given to the young brahmana.

The elderly brahmana thought, “Since Lord Krishna is very merciful, He will certainly come to prove my statement.”

The atheistic son thought, “It is not possible for Gopala to come and bear witness.” Thinking thus, the father and son agreed.

The young brahmana took this opportunity to speak: “Please write this down on paper in black and white so that you may not again change your word of honor.” All the assembled people got this statement down in black and white and, taking the signatures of agreement from both of them, served as the mediators.

The young brahmana then said, “Will all you gentlemen present please hear me? This elderly brahmana is certainly truthful and is following religious principles. He had no desire to break his promise, but fearing that his kinsmen would commit suicide, he deviated from the truth. By the piety of the elderly brahmana, I shall call the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a witness. Thus I shall keep his truthful promise intact.”

Hearing the emphatic statement of the younger brahmana, some atheists in the meeting began to cut jokes. However, someone else said, “After all, the Lord is merciful, and if He likes, He can come.”

After the meeting, the young brahmana started for Vrindavana. Upon arriving there, he first offered his respectful obeisances to the Deity and then narrated everything in full detail.

Selfless Request

He said, “My Lord, You are the protector of brahminical culture, and You are also very merciful. Therefore, kindly show Your great mercy by protecting the religious principles of us two brahmanas. My dear Lord, I am not thinking to become happy by getting the daughter as a bride. I am simply thinking that the brahmana has broken his promise, and that is giving me great pain.”

Purport: It was not at all the intention of the young brahmana to get the daughter of the elderly brahmana in marriage and thus enjoy material happiness and sense gratification. It was not for that reason that the youngbrahmana went to Vrindavana to ask the Supreme Personality of Godhead to act as a witness. His only concern was that the elderly brahmana had promised something, and if Gopala did not bear witness to that transaction, then the older brahmana would incur a spiritual blemish. Therefore, the youngbrahmana wanted protection and help from the Deity. The young brahmanawas thus a pure Vaisnava, and he had no desire for sense gratification. He wanted only to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the olderbrahmana, who was also a Vaisnava and very much devoted to the Lord.

The young brahmana continued, “My dear Sir, You are very merciful and You know everything. Therefore, kindly be a witness in this case. A person who knows things as they are and still does not bear witness becomes involved in sinful activities.”

Purport: The dealings between a devotee and the Lord are very simple. The young brahmana said to the Lord, “You know everything, but if You do not bear witness, You will be involved in sinful activities.” There is no possibility, however, of the Lord’s being involved in sinful activities. A pure devotee, even though he knows everything of the Supreme Lord, can speak with the Lord exactly as if He were a common man. Although the dealings between the Lord and His devotee are always very simple and open, there is formality. All these things happen because of the connection between the Lord and the devotee.

Lord Krishna replied, “My dear brahmana, go back to your home and call a meeting of all the men. In that meeting, just try to remember Me. I shall certainly appear there, and at that time I shall protect the honor of both you brahmanas by bearing witness to the promise.”

The young brahmana replied, “My dear sir, even if You appear there as a four-handed Visnu Deity, still, none of those people will believe in Your words. Only ifYou go there in this form of Gopala and speak the words from Your beautiful face will Your testimony be heard by all the people.”

Lord Krishna said, “I’ve never heard of a Deity’s walking from one place to another.”
The brahmana replied, “That is true, but how is it that You are speaking to me, although You are a Deity? My dear Lord, You are not a statue; You are directly the son of Maharaja Nanda. Now, for the sake of the old brahmana, You can do something You have never done before.”

Gracious Consent

Sri Gopalaji then smiled and said, “My dear brahmana, just listen to Me. I shall walk behind you, and in this way I shall go with you.”

Purport: The conversation between Lord Sri Krishna and the brahmana is proof that the Lord in His arca-murti, or form made of material elements, is not material, for those elements, although separated from the Lord, are also a part of the Lord’s energy, as stated in the Bhagavad-Gita. Because the elements are the Lord’s own energy and because there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, the Lord can appear through any element. Just as the sun can act through the sunshine and thus distribute its heat and light, so Krishna, by His inconceivable power, can appear in His original spiritual form in any material element, including stone, wood, paint, gold, silver and jewels, because the material elements are all His energy. Thesastras warn, arcye visnau sila-dhih . . . naraki sah: one should never think of the arca-murti, the Deity within the temple, as stone, wood or any other material element. Because of his advanced devotional position, the youngerbrahmana knew that although the Deity of Gopala appeared to be stone, He was not stone. He was the son of Nanda Maharaja, Vrajendra-nandanaHimself. As such, the Deity could act exactly as the Lord does in His original form as Krishna.

Lord Krishna was talking to the young brahmana just to test his knowledge about the arca-vigraha. In other words, those who have understood the science of Krishna - Krishna’s name, form, qualities and so forth - can also talk with the Deity. To an ordinary person, however, the Deity will appear to be made of stone, wood or some other material. In the higher sense, since all material elements ultimately emanate from the supreme spiritual entity, nothing is really material. Being omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, Krishna can deal with His devotee in any form without difficulty. By the mercy of the Lord, the devotee knows perfectly well about the Lord’s dealings. Indeed, he can talk face to face with the Lord.

The Lord continued, “Do not try to see Me by turning around. As soon as you see Me, I shall remain stationary in that very place. You will know that I am walking behind you by the sound of My ankle bells. Cook one kilo of rice daily and offer it. I shall eat that rice and follow behind you.”

Lord’s journey from Vrindavana to Vidyanagara in South India

The next day, the brahmana begged permission from Gopala and started for his country. Gopala followed him, step by step. While Gopala followed the youngbrahmana, the tinkling sound of His ankle bells could be heard. The brahmanabecame very pleased, and he cooked first-class rice for Gopala to eat.

The young brahmana walked and walked in this way until he eventually arrived in his own country. When he neared his own village, he began to think as follows. “I have now come to my village, and I shall go to my home and tell all the people that the witness has arrived.”

Lord’s Arrival at Vidyanagara to Give His Witness for His Pure Devotees

The brahmana then began to think that if the people didn’t directly see the Gopala Deity, they would not believe that He had arrived. “But even if Gopala stays here,” he thought, “there is still nothing to fear.”

Thinking this, the brahmana turned to look back, and He saw that Gopala, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was standing there smiling.

The Lord told the brahmana, “Now you can go home. I shall stay here and shall not leave.”

The young brahmana then went to the town and informed all the people aboutGopala’s arrival. Hearing this, the people were struck with wonder. All the townspeople went to see the witness Gopala, and when they saw the Lord actually standing there, they all offered their respectful obeisances.

When the people arrived, they were very pleased to see the beauty of Gopala, and when they heard that He had actually walked there, they were all surprised.

Then the elderly brahmana, being very pleased, came forward and immediately fell like a stick in front of Gopala. Thus in the presence of all the townspeople, Lord Gopala bore witness that the elderly brahmana had offered his daughter in charity to the young brahmana.

After the marriage ceremony was performed, the Lord informed both brahmanas, “You two brahmanas are My eternal servants, birth after birth.”

Purport: Like these two brahmanas of Vidyanagara, there are many devotees who are eternal servants of the Lord. They are specifically known as nitya-siddha, eternally perfect. Although the nitya-siddhas appear in the material world and seem to be common members of the world, they never forget the Supreme Personality of Godhead in any condition. This is the symptom of anitya-siddha.

There are two kinds of living entities - nitya-siddha and nitya-baddha. Thenitya-siddha never forgets his relationship with the Supreme Personality, whereas the nitya-baddha is always conditioned, even before the creation. He always forgets his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Here the Lord informs the two brahmanas that they are His servants birth after birth. The phrase birth after birth refers to the material world because in the spiritual world there is no birth, death, old age or disease. By the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the nitya-siddha remains within this material world like an ordinary man, but the only business of the nitya-siddhais to broadcast the glories of the Lord. This incident appears to be an ordinary story about a marriage transaction involving two ordinary people. However, Krishna accepted the two brahmanas as His eternal servants. Both brahmanastook much trouble in these negotiations, just like mundane people, yet they were acting as eternal servants of the Lord. All nitya-siddhas within this material world may appear to toil like ordinary men, but they never forget their position as servants of the Lord.

Another point: The elderly brahmana belonged to an aristocratic family and was learned and wealthy. The young brahmana belonged to an ordinary family and was uneducated. But these mundane qualifications do not concern a nitya-siddha engaged in the service of the Lord. We have to accept the fact that the nitya-siddhas are completely distinct from the nitya-baddhas, who are ordinary human beings. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura confirms this statement:

gaurangera sangi-gane, nitya-siddha kari’ mane,
se yaya vrajendra-suta pasa
sri-gauda-mandala-bhumi, yeba jane cintamani
tara haya vraja-bhume vasa

One who accepts the associates of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as nitya-siddhas is certain to be elevated to the spiritual kingdom to become an associate of the Supreme Lord. One should also know that Gauda-mandala-bhumi - those places in Bengal where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stayed - areequal to Vrajabhumi, or Vrindavana. There is no difference between the inhabitants of Vrindavana and those of Gauda-mandala-bhumi, or SridhamMayapur.

The Lord continued, “I have become very much pleased by the truthfulness of you both. Now you can ask for a benediction.” Thus with great pleasure the twobrahmanas begged for a benediction.

The brahmanas said, “Please remain here so that people all over the world will know how merciful You are to Your servants.”

Lord Gopala stayed, and the two brahmanas engaged in His service. After hearing of the incident, many people from different countries began to come to see Gopala. Eventually the King of that country heard this wonderful story, and he also came to see Gopala and thus became very satisfied. The King constructed a nice temple, and regular service was executed. Gopala became very famous under the name of Saksi-gopala [the witness Gopala]. Thus Saksi-gopala stayed in Vidyanagara and accepted service for a very long time.

Purport: This city of Vidyanagara is situated in Trailanga-desa, South India, on the bank of the river Godavari. The place where the Godavari flows into the Bay of Bengal is called Kotadesa. The Orissa kingdom was very powerful, andKotadesa was the capital of Orissa. It was then known as Vidyanagara. Formerly this city was situated on the southern side of the river Godavari. At that time King Purusottama-deva managed to control Orissa and appoint a government. The present city of Vidyanagara is on the southeast side of the river, only twenty to twenty-five miles from Rajahmundry. During the time of Maharaja Prataparudra, Sri Ramananda Raya was the governor there. Vijaya-nagara is not identical with Vidyanagara.

King Purusottama-deva of Orissa

Later there was a fight, and this country was conquered by King Purusottama-devaof Orissa. That King was victorious over the King of Vidyanagara, and he took possession of his throne, the Manikya-simhasana, which was bedecked with many jewels.

King Purusottama-deva was a great devotee and was advanced in the civilization of the Aryans. He begged at the lotus feet of Gopala, “Please come to my kingdom.”

When the King begged Him to come to his kingdom, Gopala, who was already obliged for his devotional service, accepted his prayer. Thus the King took the Gopala Deity and went back to Kataka. After winning the Manikya throne, King Purusottama-deva took it to Jagannatha Puri and presented it to Lord Jagannatha. In the meantime, he also established regular worship of the Gopala Deity at Kataka.

A Wish Come True

When the Gopala Deity was installed at Kataka, the Queen of Purusottama-devawent to see Him and, with great devotion, presented various kinds of ornaments. The Queen had a very valuable pearl, which she wore on her nose, and she wished to give it to Gopala. She then began to think as follows. “If there were a hole in the Deity’s nose, I could transfer the pearl to Him.”

Considering this, the Queen offered her obeisances to Gopala and returned to her palace. That night she dreamed that Gopala appeared and began to speak to her as follows.

“During My childhood My mother made a hole in My nose and with great endeavor set a pearl there. That very hole is still there, and you can use it to set the pearl you desired to give Me.”

After dreaming this, the Queen explained it to her husband, the King. Both the King and the Queen then went to the temple with the pearl. Seeing the hole in the nose of the Deity, they set the pearl there and, being very pleased, held a great festival. Since then, Gopala has been situated in the city of Kataka [Cuttack], and He has been known ever since as Saksi-gopala.

Thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard the narration of Gopala’s activities. Both He and His personal devotees became very pleased. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting before the Gopala Deity, all the devotees saw Him and the Deity as being of the same form. They were of the same complexion, and both had gigantic bodies. Both wore saffron cloth, and both were very grave. The devotees saw that both Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Gopala were brilliantly effulgent and had eyes like lotuses. They were both absorbed in ecstasy, and both Their faces resembled full moons.

When Nityananda saw the Gopala Deity and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in that way, He began to exchange remarks with the devotees, all of whom were smiling. Thus with great pleasure Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu passed that night in the temple. After seeing the mangala-arati ceremony in the morning, He started on His journey.

[In his book Caitanya-bhagavata] Srila Vrindavana dasa Thakura has very vividly described the places visited by the Lord on the way to Bhuvanesvara.

Purport: In his book Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-khanda, Srila Vrndavanadasa Thakura has very nicely described the Lord’s journey en route to Kataka(Cuttack). On that journey, the Lord visited a place known as Balihasta, orBalakaticati. He then visited the city of Bhuvanesvara, where Lord Siva’s temple is located. The temple of Bhuvanesvara is situated about five to six miles from Balakaticati. The temple of Lord Siva is mentioned in the SkandaPurana, in the narration about the Lord’s garden and the one mango tree. A king named Kasiraja wanted to fight with Lord Krishna, and consequently he took shelter of Lord Siva to acquire the power to fight the Lord. Being pleased with his worship, Lord Siva helped him fight Krishna. Lord Siva’s name isAsutosa, which indicates that he is very easily satisfied when one worships him, regardless of the purpose, and he gives his devotee whatever benediction the devotee wants. Therefore, people are generally very fond of worshiping Lord Siva. Thus Kasiraja was helped by Lord Siva, but in the fight with Lord Krishna he was not only defeated but killed. In this way the weapon known as Pasupata-astra was baffled, and Krishna set fire to the city of Kasi. Later Lord Siva became conscious of his mistake in helping Kasiraja, and he begged Lord Krishna’s forgiveness. As a benediction from Lord Krishna, he received a place known as Ekamra-kanana. Later, the kings of the Kesaridynasty established their capital there, and for many hundreds of years they reigned over the state of Orissa.

The Breaking of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s sannyasa Staff into Three Pieces by Lord Nityananda

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at Kamalapura, He took His bath in the Bharginadi River and left His sannyasa staff in the hands of Lord Nityananda.

Purport: In the Caitanya-bhagavata (Antya-khanda, chapter two) it is said that when Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at Sri Bhuvanesvara, He visited the temple of Lord Siva known as Gupta-kasi (the concealed Varanasi). Lord Siva established this as a place of pilgrimage by bringing water from all holy places and creating the lake known as Bindu-sarovara. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took His bath in this lake, feeling a great regard for Lord Siva. From the spiritual point of view, people still go to take a bath in this lake. Actually, by taking a bath there, one becomes very healthy even from the material viewpoint. Taking a bath and drinking the water of this lake can cure any disease of the stomach. Regular bathing certainly cures indigestion. The river Bhargi, or Bharginadi, came to be known as the Danda-bhanga-nadiafter Lord Caitanya bathed in its waters. It is situated six miles north of Jagannatha Puri. The reason for the change in names is given as follows.

When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the temple of Lord Siva known asKapotesvara, Nityananda Prabhu, who was keeping His sannyasa staff in custody, broke the staff in three parts and threw it into the river Bharginadi. Later this river became known as Danda-bhanga-nadi.

Purport: The mystery of the sannyasa-danda (staff) of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has been explained by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the order of sannyasa from a Mayavadisannyasi. The Mayavadi sannyasis generally carry one staff, or danda. Taking advantage of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s absence, Srila Nityananda Prabhu broke the staff into three parts and threw it into the river later known as theDanda-bhanga-nadi. In the sannyasa order there are four divisions —kuticaka, bahudaka, hamsa and paramahamsa. Only when the sannyasiremains on the kuticaka and bahudaka platforms can he carry a staff. However, when one is elevated to the status of hamsa or paramahamsa, after touring and preaching the bhakti cult, he must give up the sannyasa staff.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.It is therefore said, sri-krsna-caitanya, radha-krsna nahe anya: “Two personalities - Srimati Radharani and Sri Krishna - are combined in the incarnation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” Therefore, considering Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be an extraordinary person, Lord Nityananda Prabhu did not wait for the paramahamsa stage. He reasoned that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is automatically on the paramahamsa stage; therefore He does not need to carry the sannyasa-danda. This is the reason Sri Nityananda Prabhu broke the staff into three pieces and threw it into the water.

After seeing the temple of Jagannatha from a distant place, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately became ecstatic. After offering obeisances to the temple, He began to dance in the ecstasy of love of God.

Purport: The word deula refers to the temple where the Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated. The present temple of Jagannatha Puri was constructed by King Ananga-bhima. Historians say this temple must have been constructed at least two thousand years ago. During the time of SriCaitanya Mahaprabhu, the small buildings surrounding the original temple had not been constructed. Nor was the high platform in front of the temple present during the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

All the devotees became ecstatic in the association of Lord Caitanya, and thus absorbed in love of God, they were dancing and singing while going along the main road. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu laughed, cried, danced and made many ecstatic vibrations and sounds. Although the temple was only six miles away, to Him the distance seemed thousands of miles.

Purport: When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in ecstasy, He considered one moment to last as long as twelve years. After seeing the Jagannatha temple from a distant place, the Lord became so ecstatic that He considered the six-mile path many thousands of miles long.

Thus walking and walking, the Lord eventually arrived at the place known asAtharanala. Arriving there, He expressed His external consciousness, speaking to SriNityananda Prabhu.

Purport: At the entrance to Jagannatha Puri is a bridge with eighteen arches called Atharanala. (Athara means eighteen.)

When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu had thus regained external consciousness, He asked Lord Nityananda Prabhu, “Please return My staff.”

Purport: Nityananda Prabhu then replied, “It has been broken into three parts.”

Nityananda Prabhu said, “When You fell down in ecstasy, I caught You, but both of Us together fell upon the staff. Thus the staff broke under Our weight. Where the pieces have gone, I cannot say. It is certainly because of My offense that Your staff was broken. Now You can punish Me on this account as You think proper.”

After hearing the story about how His staff had been broken, the Lord expressed a little sadness and, displaying a bit of anger, began to speak as follows.

Purport: Sri Nityananda Prabhu considered Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’sacceptance of sannyasa to be useless. He therefore relieved the Lord of the trouble of carrying the staff. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu expressed anger because He wanted to teach all other sannyasis that they should not give up the staff before attaining the platform of paramahamsa. Seeing that the regulative principles could be slackened by such action, Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to carry the staff personally. However, Nityananda broke it. For this reason Caitanya Mahaprabhu displayed a little anger. It is said in the Bhagavad-Gita 3.21, yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah: Whatever great people do, others follow. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to follow the Vedic principles strictly in order to save inexperienced neophytes who try to imitate paramahamsas.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Arrival at Sri Jagannatha Puri Dhama

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You have all benefited Me by bringing Me toNilacala. However, My only possession was that one staff, and you have not kept it. So all of you should go before or behind Me to see Lord Jagannatha. I shall not go with you.”

Mukunda Datta told Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “My Lord, You should go ahead and allow all the others to follow. We shall not go with You.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then began to walk very swiftly before all the other devotees. No one could understand the real purpose of the two Lords, Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu. The devotees could not understand why Nityananda Prabhu broke the staff, why Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu permitted Him to do so, or why, after permitting Him, Caitanya Mahaprabhu became angry. The pastime of the breaking of the staff is very deep. Only one whose devotion is fixed upon the lotus feet of the two Lords can understand it.

Purport: One who understands Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu in reality can understand Their identity as well as the breaking of the staff. All the previous acaryas, being induced to engage themselves fully in the service of the Lord, gave up attachment for material life and thus accepted the staff, which signifies full engagement of the mind, speech and body in the service of the Lord. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the regulative principles of the renounced order of life. That is completely clear. However, in the paramahamsa stage there is no need to accept a danda(staff), and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was certainly in the paramahamsastage. Nonetheless, to indicate that everyone should take sannyasa at the end of life in order to engage fully in the service of the Lord, even paramahamsaslike Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His confidential devotees follow the regulative principles unfailingly. Indeed, that was His purpose. Nityananda Prabhu, who was His eternal servitor, believed that there was no need for SriCaitanya Mahaprabhu to carry the staff, and to declare to the world that SriCaitanya Mahaprabhu was above all regulations, He broke it into three pieces. The pastime known as danda-bhanga-lila is thus explained by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

The glories of Lord Gopala, who is merciful to brahmanas, are very great. The narration of Saksi-gopala was spoken by Nityananda Prabhu and heard by SriCaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Purport: There are four points of instruction one should consider in the story of Saksi-gopala.

First, the Deity (arca-vigraha) of Sri Gopala is eternally sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, the transcendental form of the Lord.
Second, the Deity surpasses material regulative principles and extends the reality of transcendental principles.
Third, one can be situated in a transcendental position after becoming abrahmana, but as a brahmana, one has to follow the regulative principles very strictly.
Lastly, brahmanya-deva indicates Lord Sri Krishna Himself, who is worshiped thus: namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca/ jagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah. This indicates that a devotee who is under the protection of Krishna is automatically situated as a brahmana, and such a brahmana is not illusioned. This is factual.

One who hears this narration of Lord Gopala with faith and love very soon attains the lotus feet of Lord Gopala.

Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, fifth chapter, describing the activities of Saksi-gopala.

A great fair is annually held here on the Anla Nabami day in the month ofKartika. Behind the temple there is a nice forested land that belongs to the temple. Many medicinal and rare plants are found there. Bakula Bana ofPanchasakha otherwise known as Banavidyalaya is also situated here.

Directions to reach Saksi Gopala

Saksi Gopala Temple is located almost midway between Jagannatha Puri Dhama and Bhubaneswar, in a town called Saksi-gopala, about 20 km west of Jagannatha Puri Dhama. The temple is easily reachable by taxi, bus or Puri-Bhubaneswar train. A new railway station called Saksi-gopala is there where people get off to visit the temple.

 One can also visit Saksi-gopala temple by attending annual Sri Ksetra Jagannatha Puri Dhama Parikrama organized by ISKCON Mayapur about a week after theKartika masa (month) during the month of November/December.