Pastimes of Mahaprabhu with Sree Sridhar Pandita

One of the twelve Gopals in Krishna Lila was named Kusumasava. He appeared in Gaura lila as Sridhara Pandit, who was given the nickname khola-becha, “bark-seller”.

The Supreme Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showed the charming pastime of hungrily taking Sridhar’s foodstuffs without being invited to do so. While the Lord was still a student, Sridhar used to make his living by selling banana flowers (mocha) and the core of banana plant (thora). He would then spend half of whatever little money he made in this way on worshiping the Ganges, the other half on his own necessities. Like Yudhisthira, he was a great devotee of the truth and would always tell the real price of the items sold. Everyone in Nabadvipa knew this and so would not haggle with him. But Mahaprabhu would come to Sridhar and give him only half the amount he was asking for his bananas, banana flower or thora and then walk off with them. Every day, the two of them would pull back and forth on a bunch of bananas or something else, arguing for an hour or more over the price that was to be paid.

Every day they would argue for an hour and a half; then finally Mahaprabhu would walk away with the goods, leaving only half the asked price. Sridhar would always tell the truth and give the real price of each item, but the Lord would still only give him half the amount he asked for and then take it. Sridhar would jump up and grab the item, trying to take it back, even pushing and shoving the Lord.

Even though the Lord argued with Sridhar, He only took his ware when He saw that Sridhar was not angry. From a superficial point of view, it appears that Mahaprabhu was mistreating Sridhar by stealing from him, but the fact of the matter is that Sridhar allowed Him to get away with it. Upon seeing the Lord’s beauty, he would become completely enchanted and immersed in an ocean of joy, so how could he get angry with Him? While arguing with Sridhar, Mahaprabhu would delight in calling him names and insulting him, and sometimes even hinted at His own divine identity:

“Every day you buy things to offer to the Ganges. Why don’t you just give something to Me without charging anything? Don’t you know that I am the father of the Ganges you worship? I assure you that this is the absolute truth!”

They finally came to a settlement and Sridhar agreed to daily give Mahaprabhu some bananas or other items from the banana tree for free. From then on, the Lord daily ate with great satisfaction from the little bowls made of banana bark given him by Sridhar.

The Lord said, “Very well. There is no reason for you to give me something else.” And from that day on, He ate with great contentment on the banana leaves Sridhar had given Him. The Lord thus eats anything that the devotee offers Him, but rejects even luxurious items given Him by a non-devotee. On 30/06/07.