The Life of Bilvamangala Thakura
(Lord Krishna visiting Bilvamangala Thakura)

"There is a nice verse of Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura. He lived for seven hundred years in Vṛndāvana, and he was, became a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa. In the beginning he was an impersonalist. His life is very nice. It is better to cite his life. He was a South Indian brāhmaṇa, a very rich man and very much sensuous. He kept one prostitute, prostitute. So he was so much, I mean to say, devoted to the prostitute that he was performing his father's death ceremony and he was asking the priest, 'Please, haste. Please make haste. I have to go. I have to go.' Means prostitute's house. So he was very rich man. Priestly, anyway, he finished that business. Then there was ceremony. He took very nice foodstuff in a bag, and he was going to that prostitute's house. But when he came out of his home, oh, it was raining torrently. You see? So he never cared for that raining. He went to the riverside. Oh, there was no boat, and it was, river was waving. The waves were very furious. And he thought that 'How can I go to the other side?' He was daily going to the other side of the river. Then, anyway, he swimmed over, crossed over by swimming. Then the prostitute thought, 'Oh, it is today raining, and he may not come.' So he (she) blocked the door and went to sleep. And when he came to the house he saw, 'Oh, the door is blocked,' and it was raining still. 'So how can I go?' So he crossed over the wall by catching one snake. Just see how much intensely he was attached. And he went to the prostitute, and she was astonished: 'Well, Bilvamaṅgala'—his name was Bilvamaṅgala—'how do you dare to come here like this?' Oh, he described, 'Yes. I did this, I did this, I did this, I did this.' Oh, the prostitute was astonished. Her name was Cintāmaṇi. So the prostitute said, 'My dear Bilvamaṅgala, if you have got so intense love for me, oh, had it been for God, for Kṛṣṇa, how would have been, your life, sublime.' Oh, that struck him: 'Yes.' He at once left and went away: 'Yes, you are right.'

Then he was (going to) Vṛndāvana. He saw another beautiful woman because he was practiced to that habit. So he was going behind. Although he determined, 'Now I am going to Vṛndāvana,' on the way he was again attracted by another woman. So he followed that woman. That woman belonged to a respectable family. So he came, and the woman said to her husband, 'Oh, this man is following me. Please ask, "What is the idea?" ' So the husband asked, 'My dear sir, you appear to be very nice gentleman, and you belong to very aristocratic family. From your appearances I understand. What do you want? Why you are following my wife?' He said, 'Yes, I am following wife because I want to embrace her.' 'Oh, you want to embrace? Come on. Embrace. Come on. You are welcome. Come on.' So the wife also... She (he) ordered, 'Oh, here is a guest. He wants to embrace you and kiss you. So please decorate yourself nicely so that he may enjoy.' So the wife also followed the instruction of the husband because wife's duty is to follow the instruction. And when Bilvamaṅgala came inside before the woman, he said, 'My dear mother, will you kindly give your hairpins?' 'Yes. Why?' 'I have got some business.' Then he took the hairpin and at once pierced his eyes: 'Oh, this eye is my enemy.' And he became blind. He became blind. Then all of them... 'That's all right. Now no more I shall be disturbed.'

So in that blindness he was penancing, austerity in Vṛndāvana. So by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa came like a boy. 'Oh, my dear sir, why you are starving? Why don't you take some milk?' 'Oh, who are You, my dear boy?' 'Oh, I am a boy of this village. I am a cowherd boy. If you like, I can give you daily some milk.' 'All right.' So Kṛṣṇa supplied him milk. So there was friendship. And he has written that bhakti is such a thing that muktiḥ mukulitāñjali sevate asmān: 'Mukti, mukti is nothing for me.' So this is his verse, muktiḥ mukulitāñjali sevate asmān: 'So we have no desire for mukti. When Kṛṣṇa comes to supply milk, oh, then what is the use of my mukti?' You see? That's a great soul, Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura. It is worth to remember his name. For seven hundred hears he lived in Vṛndāvana, and he has written a nice book which is Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta. That is a very authoritative book, Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta. Lord Caitanya picked up this book, and He recommended all His devotees to read that Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta book."

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, November 30, 1966)

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