Madhya 5: The Activities of Sākṣi-gopāla
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura gives the following summary of the fifth chapter in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. After passing through Yājapura, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu reached the town of Kaṭaka (Cuttack) and there went to see the temple of Sākṣi-gopāla. While there, He heard the story of Sākṣi-gopāla from the mouth of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu.
Once there were two brāhmaṇas, one elderly and the other young, who were inhabitants of a place known as Vidyānagara. After touring many places of pilgrimage, the two brāhmaṇas finally reached Vṛndāvana. The elderly brāhmaṇa was very satisfied with the service of the young brāhmaṇa, and he wanted to offer him his youngest daughter in marriage. The young brāhmaṇa received the promise of his elder before the Gopāla Deity of Vṛndāvana. Thus the Gopāla Deity acted as a witness. When the two brāhmaṇas returned to Vidyānagara, the younger brāhmaṇa raised the question of this marriage, but the elderly brāhmaṇa, due to obligations to his friends and wife, answered that he could not remember his promise. Because of this, the younger brāhmaṇa returned to Vṛndāvana and narrated the whole story to Gopālajī. Thus Gopālajī, being obliged by the young man’s devotional service, accompanied him to southern India. Gopālajī followed the younger brāhmaṇa, who could hear the tinkling sound of Gopālajī’s ankle bells. When all the respectable gentlemen of Vidyānagara were assembled, Gopālajī testified to the promise of the elderly brāhmaṇa. Thus the marriage was performed. Later, the king of that country constructed a fine temple for Gopāla.
Afterwards, King Puruṣottama-deva of Orissa was insulted by the King of Vidyānagara, who refused to give him his daughter in marriage and called him a sweeper of Lord Jagannātha. With the help of Lord Jagannātha, King Puruṣottama-deva fought the King of Vidyānagara and defeated him. Thus he took charge of both the King’s daughter and his kingdom as well. At that time, Gopālajī, being very much obligated by the devotional service of King Puruṣottama-deva, was brought to the town of Kaṭaka.
After hearing this narration, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the temple of Gopāla in great ecstasy of love of God. From Kaṭaka He went to Bhuvaneśvara and saw the temple of Lord Śiva. In this way, He gradually arrived at Kamalapura, and on the banks of the Bhārgī River He came to the temple of Lord Śiva, where He entrusted His sannyāsa staff to Nityānanda Prabhu. However, Nityānanda Prabhu broke the staff into three pieces and threw it into the Bhārgī River at a place known as Āṭhāranālā. Being angry at not getting His staff back, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu left the company of Nityānanda Prabhu and went alone to see the Jagannātha temple.
The brāhmaṇa replied, “That is true, but how is it that You are speaking to me, although You are a Deity?