Prema Pradīpa – First Ray

The meeting of Premadāsa Bābājī with Haridāsa Bābājī

As the sun set one spring day, Haridāsa Bābājī, the crest jewel of the devotees, finished his evening prayers, came out of his kuñja, and went out on the forest path along the Yamunā. It is difficult to describe the various feelings of love which manifest in him as he went along in great ecstasy. On the way, Bābājī had a vision reminding him of the Lord’s pastimes, and he began rolling on the ground exclaiming, “O Vrajendra-nandana! O Gopī-jana-vallabha!” Incessant tears of ecstasy washed away the Lord’s names that were written on his cheeks. The Bābājī’s limbs, resembling the kadamba flower, were beautified by hairs standing on end. His hands became numb, and he was unable to hold his japa-mālā. He gradually lost external consciousness and began dancing like a madman. All the ecstatic symptoms like trembling, perspiring, faltering of the voice, and fading of the body color arose, as the Bābājī fully entered into the transcendental realm, beyond material nature. The Bābājī deeply sighed, “O Kṛṣṇa! O Prāṇanātha!” and he began crying. As Haridāsa Bābājī enjoyed the bliss of Vaikuṇṭha, the famous Premadāsa Bābājī passed Keśī-ghāṭa and arrived there. As the two Vaiṣṇavas met, ecstatic feelings of friendship suddenly awoke in them. And as they looked at each other’s beautiful face, they began dancing. Before verbally greeting each other, they embraced out of natural affection and bathed each other in their tears. After some time they greeted each other with loving words.

Conversation between Haridāsa Bābājī and Premadāsa Bābājī

Premadāsa Bābājī said, “Bābājī! My heart was broken because of not seeing you for some days. Therefore, to purify myself, I was coming to your kuñja to see you. For the last few days I was visiting places like Yāvat and Nanda-grāma.”

Haridāsa Bābājī replied, “Bābājī, is it possible for a less fortunate person to get your darśana? For the last five days I was staying near Govardhana to see Śrī Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī. I came here this morning. By seeing your lotus feet I’ve obtained the results of a pilgrimage.”

Just by hearing Śrī Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s name, Premadāsa Bābājī’s face, which was decorated with tilaka, became inundated with love. When Premadāsa Bābājī took the renounced order, he had read Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi before Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī.

Remembering that, his unprecedented ecstasy gave an indication of his unalloyed devotion for Śrī Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī. Remaining silent for a moment, Premadāsa Bābājī said, “Bābājī, what is being discussed these days in Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s enlightened assembly of devotees? My cherished desire is to attend his assembly with you.”

Topics regarding Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī and discussions on karma, jñāna, and hari-kathā

On hearing this, Haridāsa Bābājī lovingly embraced Premadāsa Bābājī and said, “Bābājī, all of Paṇḍita Bābājī’s activities are transcendental. I went to see him for one day, but I was unable to leave his association for seven. Nowadays many saintly persons are present in his sacred cave. I think they will stay there until the next Kumbha-mela. Everyday there are discussions on new subjects. There are questions and answers on various topics regarding jñāna, karma, and pure devotional service.”

Hearing this, Premadāsa Bābājī suddenly said, “Bābājī, we’ve heard that mahā-bhāgavatas remain intoxicated relishing the sweet topics of Lord Hari. They don’t engage in discussions on karma or jñāna. Why then does our most worshipable Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī spend his time on such topics?”

Haridāsa Bābājī said, “Bābājī, such a doubt also arose in my atheistic mind. But when I heard those discussions in Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s holy association, I came to know that all the devotees’ discussions on karma and jñāna are nothing but hari-kathā. Such discussions are nothing like the topics discussed by the materialists which simply agitate the mind. Rather, by hearing such discussions in the association of devotees, the living entity is freed from the bondage of karma and jñāna.”

On hearing this, Premadāsa Bābājī wept and said, “Bābājī Mahāśaya, your conclusive statement is like nectar. And why not? You are famous in the three maṇḍalas (Vraja, Gauḍa, and Kṣetra) as the dear disciple of Siddha Govardhana dāsa Bābājī of Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma. If you are merciful, who can remain doubtful? By the mercy of your lotus feet, Bhaṭṭācārya Mahāśaya, who is famous by the name Professor Lokanātha Nyāyabhūṣaṇa, was delivered from the dark well of logic, accepted the name Śrī Govinda dāsa Kṣetravāsī, and took shelter of Vaiṣṇavism, which destroys all kinds of distress. Then what is impossible in your ability to remove doubts? Now let us chant the glories of Lord Hari and go this very day to the valley of Giri-govardhana.”

Haridāsa and Premadāsa have kīrtana on their way to Govardhana

As they finishing speaking, they immediately began chanting the glories of Lord Hari and dancing in ecstasy on their way to Govardhana.

The two Bābājīs sang as they proceeded, and the beauty of the surrounding area appeared as if Prakṛti-devī was joyfully smiling from hearing their songs. It was the end of spring and a vernal south breeze was softly blowing. The sun—king of the twice-born and lord of the lotus—appeared to shine brightly on the two Vaiṣṇavas, but was actually showering them with nectar. Yamunā-devī, the daughter of the sun, being enamored by hearing the glorification of Hari, kept time by producing sweet sounds. The leaves of the tall deodar trees were beautifully rustling in the wind, flapping like flags in Lord Hari’s saṅkīrtana party. The two Bābājīs jumped high as they danced on the way. They were so absorbed in kīrtana that they didn’t notice how the sweet night turned into morning. When they stopped their chanting and dancing, they saw the sun glorifying the east as it rose to the side of Govardhana.

Completing their morning duties a short distance from Govardhana, they entered Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s cave before midday.