All glories to Syamananda, the abode of mercy, the life of the poor and of the world.

Each year as Rasika organized the famous rasa festival a Gopivallabhapura its grandeur increased ten times. It is not easy to describe the festival. First, there was the graceful arrival of Sri Govinda at the rasa mandala accompanied by sweet Sankirtana that touched both the sky and the assembly of sadhus who had gathered from near and far. There was also the constant flow of vendors with their various goods. Rasika made profuse arrangements for offering food to Sri Govinda and systematic distribution of prasada to the Vaisnavas. The rasa-mandala was surrounded by beautiful kadamba trees and decorated with hundreds and thousands of oil lamps. The dense forest and the banks of the Suvarnarekha River all added to the beauty of the place. The village known as Gupta Vrndavana was the place for the wonderful pastimes of Sri Rasika.

While the son of Acyuta was absorbed in the divine joy of the festival, the waters of Suvarnarekha shrank a great distance from the bank. Seeing this, Rasika became angry and told her, “if you are a true devotee of Sri Caitanya you must come closer to your bank. Your present condition is causing hardship to the devotees due to the scarcity of water. You must come nearer.” That night a great flood suddenly brought the water closer to the bank. Everyone became surprised and delighted to see this. Since that time all the festivals have been held there.

Listen to another evidence of the glories of Rasika. One day when the Vaișnavas and saints were seated in rows ready to honor prasada, the sky suddenly became covered with black clouds. There were thunder and lightning along with tremendous gusts f wind. Seeing the change in the weather, Rasika said, “When all the devotees are ready to honor prasāda there should not be a Gopivallabhapura. If you are Prahlada or Indra, then do storm in not cause rain to fall on the Vaisnavas.”

After hearing this, Indra desisted from showering rain on the place. At the boundary of the village, there were tremendous rains, but the whole village of Gopivallabhapura remained dry. Therefore the Vaisnavas were able to peacefully honor prasada. The people were surprised to see that even the gods of heaven could not neglect the order of Rasika.

One day the elephant Gopala Dasa suddenly appeared at the festival. On seeing him, all the people scattered in fear. This created a disturbance that brought Rasika to investigate. When Rasika came out, Gopala Dasa immediately offered prostrated obeisance to him. Placing his hand on Gopala’s head, Rasika said, “People are afraid of you. You can come back in the evening to listen to the kirtana. Every day you should come here and take prasada.” Hearing this, Gopala Dasa offered obeisance and departed, returning every evening to see Rasika. Everyone, even the animals, abided by the order of Rasika.

Meanwhile, at Jagannatha Puri, Lord Jagannatha appeared before the head priest in a dream one night and said, “Rasika is My favorite devotee. I want to see him. Go and tell the king to send a messenger to bring him to Me. I am sending him My own cloth so that he will come to see Me during every Ratha-yatra festival.”

When the king received the priest’s message, he was most happy because that night he had received the same order. He then joyfully sent two brahmanas with the Lord’s cloth to Rasika.

Meanwhile, Rasika has seated some distance away in a lonely place. Suddenly he heard a voice say, “Come and see me soon.” Although he looked everywhere he could not find anyone. He could not avoid hearing, however, the soft but firm order. He told his companions, “I have received an order from Lord Jagannatha to observe the Ratha-yatra festival. The chariot is famous for its beauty.

Just then the two brahmanas arrived there and told him, “O Rasika. how can we describe your glories? Lord Jagannātha has given His own cloth to you. He (Jagannatha) held the hand of the priest and told him that you are His favorite devotee and that He wishes to see you. He also told the king that you should come at the time of Ratha-yatra. This is Lord Jagannatha’s cloth and here is the king’s humble letter requesting you to come and see Jagat-bandhu (Jagannatha) at the time of Ratha-yätra.”

Hearing all this, Rasika floated in the ocean of love of God. He received the two brahmanas with due respect and tied the Lord’s cloth around his head. Now I shall describe the pastimes of Nilacala.

Making the lotus feet of Syamananda my ornament, this son or Rasamaya happily narrates Rasika-mangala.

(Source: Book-The Story of Rasika, Chapter-Calling Suvarnarekhā Nearer)

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