Sri Madhavendra Puri


Very little is known about the early years of Madhavendra Puri, who appeared in the 14th century. During Nityananda Prabhu’s tour of all the holy places of India he happened to meet Madhavendra Puripada somewhere in western India. When Nityananda Prabhu saw Madhavendra Puri Goswami His transcendental body became completely still. Similarly Madhavendra Puri completely forgot himself and fainted. Gradually, Nityananda Prabhu and Madhavendra got back their external consciousness. They put their arms around each other’s necks and cried tears of joy. Nityananda exclaimed, “Today I have received the fruit of all my travels to the holy places. In seeing the feet of Madhavendra Puri, I have received the treasure of love of God, and thus my life has become blessed.”

Ishvara Puri, Brahmananda Puri and the other disciples of Sri Puripada who were present, became completely enamored by Nityananda Prabhu. Madhavendra Puri’s love of God was very uncommon. Simply upon seeing a dark raincloud he would fall down unconscious. Day and night he imbibed the spirituous liquor of Krishna-prema, and thus remained intoxicated, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, and sometimes raising a tumultuous hue and cry.

Madhavendra Puri’s disciples continuously remained engaged in Hari-kirtana. No one knew whether it was day or night. Having become completely absorbed in the mellows of Krishna-prema, the days were passing though it seemed to them that not even a moment had elapsed yet.

Madhavendra Puri told his disciples, “Never before anywhere in all my travels to all the holy places, have I ever seen such love as this. Whenever one gets His association, that place becomes the sum total of all holy places and non-different from Vaikuntha itself. Whoever simply hears about Him will definitely get the association of Sri Krishnachandra.” In this way, day and night, Madhavendra praised the attractive qualities of Nityananda Prabhu.

Lord Nityananda respected Madhavendra Puri as his guru and always behaved with him in that relationship. After travelling together for some days finally Nityananda Prabhu set off in the direction of Setu Bandha while Madhavendra Puri started for Sarayu. Having lost contact with the external world neither of them was aware of his own body. In order to maintain body and soul together, they thus remained in these transcendental states of consciousness. If in external consciousness, they would cease to live.

“Madhavendra Puri’s body is totally imbued with divine love, as are his followers as well. He takes nothing other than the juice of the mellows of love for Krishna as his foodstuffs. Thus his body has become the place of pastimes of Sri Krishna.”

– Chaitanya Bhagavata Adi 9.155

Madhavendra Puri discovers Gopala

Srila Madhavendra Puri once traveled to Vrindavana, where he came upon the Govardhana hill. Almost mad in his ecstasy of love of Godhead, he did not know whether it was day or night. He then sat beneath a tree to take his evening rest. While he was resting an unknown cowherd boy came with a pot of milk, placed it before Madhavendra Puri and smilingly addressed him as follows:

“Please drink the milk I have brought. Why don’t you beg for some food to eat? What kind of meditation are you undergoing?”

Hearing His sweet words, Madhavendra Puri forgot all hunger and thirst. He asked the boy, “Who are You? Where do You reside? And how did You know that I was fasting?”

The boy replied, ‘I am a cowherd boy, and I reside in this village. In My village, no one fasts. In this village a person can beg for food from others and thus eat. Some people drink only milk, but if a person does not ask anyone for food, I supply him all his eatables. The women who come here to take water saw you, and they supplied Me with this milk and sent Me to you. I must go very soon to milk the cows, but I shall return and take back this milk pot from you.”

Madhavendra Puri and Gopala

After drinking the milk, Madhavendra Puri waited for the boy, but he never returned. Madhavendra Puri sat and chanted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. In a dream the boy came before him and holding his hand, took him to a bush in the jungle. The boy showed Madhavendra Puri the bush and said:

“I reside in this bush, and because of this I suffer very much from severe cold, rain, wind and scorching heat. Please construct a temple on the top of that hill, and install Me in that temple. After this, wash Me with large quantities of cold water so that My body may be cleansed. For many days I have been observing you, and I have been wondering. ‘When will Madhavendra Puri come here to serve Me?’ I have accepted your service due to your ecstatic love for Me. Thus I shall appear, and by My audience all fallen souls will be delivered. My name is Gopala. I am the lifter of Govardhana Hill. I was installed by Vajranabha, and here I am the authority. When the Mohammedans attacked, the priest who was serving Me hid Me in this bush in the jungle. Then he ran away out of fear of the attack. Since the priest went away, I have been staying in this bush. It is very good that you have come here. Now just remove Me with care.”

– Excerpt from Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 4.21-43

Madhavendra Puri then went to the place where the boy instructed him to go and find the Gopala Deity. A grand installation was held for Sri Gopala. What is left of the temple that He was worshiped in, can still be seen on the top of Govardhana Hill, not far from Sankarsana Kunda.

His worshipable Deity, Srinathji or Gopalji, is at Nathdwar in Rajasthan, and is worshipped by the followers of Vallabhacharya.

Srila Madhavendra Puri’s samadhi lies in a small temple, just behind Kshir-chora Gopinath temple in Remuna.