Food and Poison Nataraja Dasa

There was a story.

One day one devotee Bhagavān Ācārya invited Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to dine at his home. Thus he was preparing rice and various types of vegetables.
And devotee named Choṭa Haridāsa used to sing for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Bhagavān Ācārya called him too to his home and spoke as follows: – “Please go to the sister of Śikhi Māhiti. In my name, ask her for a māna of white rice and bring it here.”

Śikhi Māhiti’s sister was named Mādhavī-devī. She was an elderly lady who always performed austerities. She was very advanced in devotional service.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted her as having formerly been an associate of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. In the entire world, three and a half people were His intimate devotees – Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, Rāmānanda Rāya and Śikhi Māhiti, and the half a person was Śikhi Māhiti’s sister (1).

After begging the rice from her, Junior Haridāsa brought it to Bhagavān Ācārya, who was very pleased to see its quality. In great affection, Bhagavān Ācārya cooked varieties of vegetables and other preparations dear to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. At noon, when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to eat the offerings of Bhagavān Ācārya, He first appreciated the fine rice and therefore questioned him: – “Where did you get such fine rice?”

Bhagavān Ācārya replied: “I got it by begging from Mādhavī-devī.” When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked who had begged the rice and brought it back, Bhagavān Ācārya mentioned the name of Junior Haridāsa. Praising the quality of the rice, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu partook of the prasādam. Then, after returning to His residence, He gave the following order to Govinda, His personal assistant: – “From this day forward, do not allow Choṭa Haridāsa to come here.”

No one could understand why he had been ordered not to come. Then Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and other confidential devotees approached Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to inquire from Him: – “What great offense has Junior Haridāsa committed? Why has he been forbidden to come to Your door?” The Lord replied: – “I cannot tolerate seeing the face of a person who has accepted the renounced order of life but who still talks intimately with a woman.” (2)

Can you imagine? Highly advanced vaisnava soul – Junior Haridas did service, and for This he approached and talked with elderly, highly advanced Vaishnavī. What to speak about our sannyasis with young secretaries, servantess? About our GBCs and all other leaders, who mix free like equals?
And this was his sin?

Some may say it’s time, place, circumstances – it’s middle age Bengalia!
It’s not for us, for our times.
Not really.

Because If one is not factually detached from material activities but still proclaims himself advanced in devotional service – this is cheating in all times. No one and never will be happy to see such behavior.
That’s one.

Second – One should not even sit closely with one’s mother, sister or daughter – what to speak about “close” physical service with wives of others! For the senses are so strong that they may attract even a person advanced in knowledge. And it is not only Manu Samhitas declaration (2.215). It is also declared in Caitanya Caritamrita (Antya 2.119) and Srimad Bhagavatam (9.19.17).

mātrā svasrā duhitrā vā nā viviktāsano bhavet
balavān indriya-grāmo vidvāṁsam api karṣati

And if one is still not convinced that this is for everyone, then he must read CC Antya 2.120 with whole purport.

“There are many persons with little in their possession who accept the renounced order of life like monkeys. They go here and there engaging in sense gratification and speaking intimately with women.”

Also Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said – “My mind is not under My control. It does not like to see anyone in the renounced order who talks intimately with women.”

And for those who think that this accident has value only in 16th century India, they must read CC Antya 2.143 with whole purport:

“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the ocean of mercy. Who can understand Him? When He chastises His dear devotees, He certainly does so to reestablish the principles of religion or duty.”


“This chastisement was given to Junior Haridāsa as an example to future sahajiyās who might adopt the dress of the renounced order to imitate Rūpa Gosvāmī and other bona fide sannyāsīs but secretly have illicit connections with women. To teach such men, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chastised His dear devotee Haridāsa for a slight deviation from the regulative principles. Śrīmatī Mādhavī-devī was a highly elevated devotee; therefore approaching her to ask for some rice to serve Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was certainly not very offensive. Nevertheless, just to preserve the regulative principles for the future, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu enforced the hard-and-fast rule that no one in the renounced order should intimately mix with women.”


1. For equalists – “Woman is a half of a man” – such proverbs you can meet all over the world in different cultures. But originally it comes from vedas.
2. Whole point is that – “what is a food for one is a poison for other”. Whole idea of ISKCON Vaishnavi Ministry and equality (which is food for independent women) is a deathbed (poison) for chastity and celibacy. You choose.

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