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THE DEITIES OF GAURIDAS PANDIT FROM THE CAITANYA-BHAGAVAT

CAST: Narrator, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Gauridas Pandit, Hridaya Chaitanya, 4
devotees.

Narrator: Our story today was adapted from the Caitanya Bhagavat, written by Vrndavana das
Thakur. It is about Gauridas Pandit, who lived near Navadvipa in W. Bengal in India. He was a
great devotee of Lord Caitanya and had a disciple by the name of Hridayananda. One time, after
visiting Gauridas, Lord Caitanya was very merciful to him by personally being present while Deities
were being made for Gauridas to worship. These Deities were very unusual and had many unique
pastimes.

Caitanya: Gauridas, it’s time for Us to leave. We’ve been here much too long.

Nityananda: I’m sorry, but We have to leave now.

Gauridas: No, you can't leave! Who will I talk to? Who will be my friend? If You leave, then how will I
be able to live? You have to stay here with me!

Caitanya: How can I stay? I have so many other devotees that I have to see. We can't stay here all the
time.

Gauridas: Well, then, if You can't stay here, then I will have Deities made of You and Nityananda for me to
worship while You are gone. That will give me some happiness while You are away.

Caitanya: I can't have Deities made in My presence! This is not My pastime.

Gauridas: I don't care. Either You give me a set of Deities of You and Nitai, or both of You have to stay
here with me. I won't let You go. So You decide.

Caitanya: All right. How can I say "no" to My devotee?

Gauridas: I’ll find someone to carve the Deities. (all exit)

Narrator: So, Gauridas searched for the most expert craftsmen to carve the Deities while Lord
Caitanya and Nityananda were there. Gauridas wanted to make sure the Deities resembled his Lords
as closely as possible. When the craftsmen were finished, Gauridas brought Lord Caitanya and Lord
Nityananda to the altar to see the Deities.

Gauridas: (as they enter) I finally found someone who was competent to do the carving and I want to show
You the beauty of his work. (opens curtains to reveal actors for the Deities)

Caitanya: All right, Gauridas, now that the Deities are ready, We shall prepare to leave.

Gauridas: No, You can’t go; I've changed my mind.

Caitanya: (surprised) What? What do you mean you've changed your mind?
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Gauridas: I've changed my mind. You must stay! You say that the Deities are non-different from You, so
let the Deities go while You and Nityananda Prabhu stay here with me. (Caitanya Mahaprabhu and
Nityananda Prabhu look at each other and smile.)

Caitanya & Nityananda: All right. (Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu hold up their hands like
the Deities and the Deities on the altar put Their hands down and start walking away.)

Gauridas: No! No! Wait! You're tricking me! Stop! Come back!

Deities: Ok, We'll stay. (The Deities put up Their arms and Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu
put down Their arms and walk away.)

Gauridas: No, no-it's You two I want! I'm sure of it now!

Caitanya and Nityananda: All right. We'll stay. (They hold up Their hands and the Deities start walking
off.)

Gauridas: (running after the new Gaura and Nitai) No! Wait! You must stay here! You're tricking me!
Don't leave me!!! No! Let Them go! (pointing to the Deities) You stay here with me.

Caitanya & Nityananda: All right.

Gauridas: No, no, come back. You go and You go! You stay and You stay!

Narrator: (act out silently while the Deities and LC and LN keep switching places) This happened so
many times that after a while, Gauridas could no longer tell who was originally Caitanya
Mahaprabhu and nItyananda Prabhu and which ones were the Deities. The Vedic scriptures explain
that there is no differentce between the lord and His Deity form; both are equally worshipable.
Finally, in frustration, Gauridas agreed to let two leave. (sits down and silently chants) For many
years, Gauridas Pandit very faithfully and devotedly worships his Gaura-Nitai Deities. One year,
around the time of Gaura Purnima, he had to go away.

Gauridas: (offers prostrated obeisances at the altar, as he gets up he thinks, then speaks) Hridayananda, can
you come here, please? I want you to do something. (His disciple, Hridayananda, comes in and offers
obeisances) Hridayananda, I must go away for a few days so I want you to take care of my Gaura-Nitai
Deities while I am gone.

Hridayananda: This is such an honor! Thank you so much! I will be very careful with Their worship.

Gauridas: I know I can trust you because you are a pure devotee of Their Lordships. (leaves)

Hridayananda: I must be very careful in worshipping my spiritual master's Deities. (goes to prepare
something for Them) Now, Lord Caitanya's appearance day is very soon so we should hold a huge festival
for the pleasure of the Deities. (thinks for a minute) First of all, we will need to cook a lot of sumptuous
prasadam for distribution. Then we need to invite all the devotees of Lord Caitanya from the neighboring
villages. Hmm, I better make a list of what we’ll need. (He walks off stage.)
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Narrator: (need festive background music) Because it was near Gaura Purnima, the appearance day of
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Hridayananda began to organize a huge festival. He was very devoted to
serving Their Lordships and he wanted to offer a very opulent feast. He therefore ordered all kinds
of fresh vegetables and fruits as well as grains, milk, yogurt, and ghee to be used in cooking the many
different preparations. He invited the devotees from neighboring villages and made sure there were
first-class arrangements for all of them. Gradually, bullock carts filled with the villagers began to
arrive. Everyone brought gifts for Gaura-Nitai; all were absorbed in the festive mood. (Hridayananda
is organizing the festival, people are walking back and forth with bags of grain, baskets of vegetables, and
jugs of milk. Hridayananda is directing things as people ask him questions. Gauridas enters on the side and
watches for a minute, unseen by Hridayananda. In an angry mood he walks over to Hridayananda.)

Gauridas: What is going on here? Hridayananda, what is all this?

Hridayananda: (offers obeisances to his guru) We’re getting ready for the Gaura Purnima festival!

Gauridas: You are having a festival and you didn't ask me? Without the permission of your spiritual
master, you just go ahead and have a festival? This is not right. You can't have this festival.

Hridayananda: (very humbly) Yes, Gurudeva. I am sorry.

Gauridas: Forget about this festival! Go and chant your japa by the Ganges!

Hridayananda: Yes, Gurudeva. (He offers obeisances and while walking off stage, chants Hare Krsna. 3
people with produce enter and go over to Gauridas Pandit.)

Devotee 1: Where do these vegetables and grains go?

Gauridas: (surprised) What vegetables and grains? I guess you can put them over there. (points to the
area)

Devotee 2: Where does this milk go?

Gauridas: Milk? I didn’t ask for any milk. I don't know. Put it over there. (points to where the last devotee
put the produce)

Devotee 3: (comes in with a big burlap sack) Where should I put this rice? I have six more men who will be
here soon with more rice.

Gauridas: So much rice! I guess you can put that over there, too.

Devotee 4: (comes on now) There are 50 devotees from the next village to the north, 75 devotees from the
village to the south, and 150 devotees from the village across the Ganges that want to know where they will
be staying during the festival.

Gauridas: Guests, too? Hridayananda, what in the world is going on here? You better come back here right
now! Hridayananda! (Hridayananda runs to his guru and offers obeisances.)
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Gauridas: All right, all right, have your festival. Just look at everything that was brought – there is so much
produce - we have to use it up! And hundreds of devotees from all over the country are coming; we can’t
disappoint them!

Hridayananda: Jai! Haribol! (Hridayananda starts directing everyone.) Ok, prabhus, let’s put this all in the
kitchen. Please get a group together to roll puris and let’s make sure that the offering is on time.
(Hridayananda goes with them.)

Narrator: (Gauridas sits and quietly chants japa.) So, everyone brought their produce to the temple
kitchen and began to cook wonderful preparations for Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda. The
temple was cleansed and decorated with flowers and leaves and everyone began to gather for the
auspicious event.

Devotee 1: The offering is ready for the Deities now.

Hridayananda: (Hridayananda goes over to Gauridas with the plate.) The offering is ready for Gaura-Nitai
now.

Gauridas: Good, bring it over while I get ready and then go start the kirtan.

(Hridayananda brings the plate to Gauridas, who puts the offering plate on a table. He turns so his back is
towards the curtain, performs acamana and gets things ready. Hridayananda has gone to the other side of
the stage to start the kirtan. Caitanya and Nityananda peek through the curtains, look at each other
mischievously and Lord Caitanya motions to Lord Nityananda that They leave the altar to join the kirtan.
They stand in the back of the kirtan so no one notices Them. Gauridas then begins to open the altar curtain
to put the plate there and sees that the Deities are gone.)

Gauridas: Aaaaaa!!! Where are Nitai-Gaura?! Where are Nitai-Gaura?! They were just here! The Deities
are gone! (He runs to center stage.) Where are Nitai-Gaura? NO! NO! NO! They are cheating me again!
They've run off! (He runs around looking for Them and finally he sees Them dancing with the devotees in
the kirtan.)

Gauridas: There They are – They’re in the kirtan! They’re trying to cheat me again! (The kirtan party
turns around and sees LC and LN, the kirtan escalates. Gauridas picks up a stick and starts to chase Them
around the stage, the kirtan party follows Them towards the altar with Hridayananda at the end. Nitai-Gaura
run onto the altar and out the other side and disappear around the corner.)

Gauridas: (running towards the altar) Get back in the temple right now! Nitai-Gaura, don't You cheat me,
You get back in this temple right now! Don't You run off like this!!! (By the time they reach the altar,
Hridayananda is surrounded by the kirtan party (still chanting) so the audience cannot see him. He turns
around, bends down and puts a large red heart with a picture of Gaura Nitai around his neck so it hangs over
his heart and turns back to the kirtan party.)

Gauridas: There They are! (kirtan stops) They’re hiding in your heart, Hridayananda!

Hridayananda: (turns around, surprised) In my heart?! (He looks at his chest, so does everyone else)
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Gauridas: Nitai-Gaura are hiding in your heart! (He walks over to Hridayananda, shaking his stick and
addresses the picture.) Get out of his heart immediately! Get back in the temple where You are supposed to
be! (Nityananda Prabhu and Caitanya Mahaprabhu return to the altar and Hridayananda turns around and
puts the picture back.)

Gauridas: Don't You ever do that again! (a bit softer) If You leave, then I'll be friendless! I'll have no one
to talk to, no one to make offerings to! You just can't go and run away like that! It is very disturbing!
(Gauridas puts the offering in front of Them.)

Gauridas: Now please accept this offering - it's getting cold. (He closes the curtains.) Hridayananda, come
here. (Hridayananda comes over, the other devotees follow) From now on your name will be Hridaya-
caitanya because Lord Caitanya hid in your heart.

Devotees: Jai! Haribol!

Gauridas: And don't ever leave the Deities' curtain open longer than a minute or two! I don't want Nitai-
Gaura getting attached to any other devotees and running off! Now, start the kirtan again! (kirtan)