Śrī Murāri Gupta
[October 28, 2023 is the disappearance day of Śrī Murāri Gupta in Vṛndāvana, India. In honour of his tithi, we are posting an excerpt from a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on October 17, 2016. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]
Yesterday was Śrī Murāri Gupta's tirobhāva tithi however, I did not get the opportunity to speak about him.
INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ŚRĪ CAITANYA-DEVA
[Śrī Murāri Gupta took birth in a family of Ayurvedic physicians in the district of Sylhet. When his family moved from Sylhet to take up residence in Navadvīpa, they lived in the same neighborhood as Śrī Caitanya-deva.]
Śrī Murāri Gupta was Śrī Caitanya-deva's childhood companion and Śrī Caitanya-deva would love to play pranks on him. Śrī Caitanya-deva would tease him saying, “You are a vaidya [an Ayurvedic physician], you only make packets of medicine powders, therefore, studying will not be possible for you.” In response to this, Śrī Murāri Gupta would ask, “You speak like this, yet which of Your questions have I not responded to?” Although Śrī Murāri Gupta was studying in a higher grade than Śrī Caitanya-deva [at the ṭol (school) of Śrī Gaṅgādāsa Paṇḍita], Sri Caitanya-deva would continue to tease him anyway.
Although, the residence of Śrī Murāri Gupta was directly across from and in close proximity to Śrī Caitanya-deva’s residence, whenever he noticed Śrī Caitanya-deva at a distance [approaching in his direction], Śrī Murāri Gupta would promptly change his route taking a different path to reach home. Observing this, Śrī Caitanya-deva would ask those accompanying Him, “What made Śrī Murāri Gupta change his route?” Generally His company would respond, “Maybe he had some other work to attend to.” But Caitanya-deva would affirm, “No! This boy avoids interaction with Me because he is a Vaiṣṇava and I am not. I simply make futile inquiries, and for this reason he runs away from Me.”
A TEST OF FIRM FAITH
Later, when Śrī Caitanya-deva returned from Gayā, He left His teaching job. He tied up His books and announced, “From this day forward I will not teach.” His students became disappointed and morose.
One day Śrī Caitanya-deva instructed Śrī Murāri Gupta to perform worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
[sei kṛṣṇa bhaja tumi, hao kṛṣṇāśraya
kṛṣṇa vinā anya-upāsanā mane nāhi laya
‘Worship Kṛṣṇa and take shelter of Him. But for His service, nothing appeals to the mind.’ Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 15.142]
However, Śrī Murāri Gupta felt fearful and reluctant within his mind, thinking ‘How can I give up the lotus feet of my worshipable Raghunātha and perform worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa? At the same time, how can I not follow the order of Śrī Caitanya-deva to worship Śrī Kṛṣṇa?’
So, Śrī Murāri Gupta prepared a weapon called a 'kāṭi' [a kind of knife.] Seeing no other option, Śrī Murāri Gupta, feeling utterly helpless being unable to follow the order of his beloved Śrī Caitanya-deva to abandon the worship of Śrī Rāmacandra’s lotus feet planned to kill himself with this kāṭi. However, Śrī Caitanya-deva being all-knowing went to the residence of Śrī Murāri Gupta early that morning and demanded, “Gupta, hand over to Me the thing you have prepared. I know what you have made and for what purpose you have made it, I know everything, so give it to Me.”
GLORIFYING ŚRĪ MURĀRI GUPTA’S EXCLUSIVE DEVOTION TO ŚRĪ RĀMACANDRA
Why did Śrī Caitanya-deva instruct him to worship Śrī Kṛṣṇa instead of Śrī Rāmacandra? Śrī Caitanya-deva enacted this pastime only to demonstrate to the entire world the glorious exclusive devotional attitude of Śrī Murāri Gupta to Śrī Rāmacandra, his ‘Prabhu niṣṭhā'. From the consideration of tattva-vicāra [philosophical truth], Śrī Caitanya-deva and Śrī Rāmacandra are non-different [they are Viṣṇu-tattva], but not from the point of view of rasa-vicāra [the extent and completeness of loving relationships and pastimes]. At that time, Śrī Caitanya-deva gave Śrī Murāri Gupta a vision of Himself as Śrī Rāmacandra.
Those who participated in the Navadvīpa parikramā and visited the Śrīpāṭa of Śrī Murāri know that he is the incarnation of Hanumān. [Endnote 1]
Such was the exclusive devotion of Śrī Murāri Gupta unto the lotus feet of his worshipable deity Śrī Rāmacandra!
murāri-gupto hanumān aṅgadaḥ śrī-purandaraḥ yaḥ śrī-sugrīva-nāmāsīd govindānanda eva saḥ
Śrī Murāri Gupta was Hanumān in Rāmacandra’s līlā; Purandara was Aṅgada and Govindānanda Sugrīva.