Bilvamangala Thakura voluntarily made himself blind

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Expressions researched:
"Bilvamangala" |"blind"

Notes from the compiler: Story: Bilvamangala Thakura.


Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

When Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura was in Vṛndāvana he voluntarily plucked out his eyes.

Lecture on SB 3.25.32 -- Bombay, December 2, 1974:

When Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura was in Vṛndāvana he voluntarily plucked out his eyes. Because he was very much fond of seeing beauty of woman, so he thought, "These eyes are my enemies." So he personally plucked out his eyes. When he was going to Vṛndāvana, still he became attracted by a woman, and therefore... That woman, of course, was a very rich merchant's wife. So she told her husband that "This man is coming after me. What to do?" So that merchant received him. "Oh, he's saintly person. All right, you serve him." So Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura came to his senses. He said, "Mother, you give me the pins of your hair. So I am so much after the beauty of woman, so let me pluck out the eyes." So he made voluntarily blind. So he could not see, but still, Kṛṣṇa was coming in Vṛndāvana. Kṛṣṇa is always in Vṛndāvana. So He was supplying milk. So divya-kiśora-mūrtiḥ, he practically realized through bhakti. Therefore he wrote by his personal experience, bhaktis tvayi sthiratarā bhagavan yadi syād daivena naḥ phalati divya-kiśora-mūrtiḥ. And so far dharmārtha-kāma-mokṣa (BG 6.41)(SB 4.8.41), mokṣa, muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjali sevate asmān: "Mukti is not very important thing. She is always standing at my service," mukulitāñjali, "with folded hands, Mukti: 'My dear sir, what can I do for you?' " This is mukti's position.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures

Then Bilvamaṅgala 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."

Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 20.142 -- New York, November 30, 1966:

There is a nice verse of Bilvamangala Thakura. He lived for seven hundred years in Vrndavana, and he was, became a great devotee of Krsna. In the beginning he was an impersonalist. His life is very nice. It is better to cite his life. He was a South Indian brahmana, 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, Bilvamangala" -- his name was Bilvamangala -- "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 Cintamani. 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.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1969 Conversations and Morning Walks

And at night, when he was given place, then he asked that woman, "Mother, will you give me your hair pin?" He took the hair pin and pushed in the eyes: "Oh, these eyes are my enemy." Since then he became blind.

Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg -- May 13, 1969, Columbus, Ohio:

Prabhupāda: Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, a great devotee, he executed devotional service for seven hundred years. He lived for seven hundred years in Vṛndāvana. That picture you have seen, Sūradāsa? Yes.

Allen Ginsberg: Sūradāsa, the poet.

Prabhupāda: Yes. He is known as Sūradāsa.

Allen Ginsberg: Teacher of Tulasī Dāsa, or student of Tulasī Dāsa.

Prabhupāda: He may be different, but Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, he was also blind. He made himself blind. You know the story of Bilvamaṅgala?

Allen Ginsberg: No.

Prabhupāda: Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, in his previous life, he elevated himself to the loving stage of Kṛṣṇa. Not exactly, just previous, bhāva. It is called bhāva, ecstasy. But some way or other, he could not finish, so according to the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā, he was given birth to a nice brāhmaṇa family. (aside:) You can call that Bengali lady. She can hear. So very rich. Śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe (BG 6.41), in that way. Rich family, at the same time, brāhmaṇa family. But richness, generally, sometimes glide down to wine, women, and intoxication. So by bad company he became woman-hunter, prostitute-hunter. So he was too much addicted to one woman, Cintāmaṇi. So his father died, and he was... He did not marry. In your country it is called girlfriend, and in our country it is called prostitute. So he was that about that prostitute, Cintāmaṇi. So he was performing the rituals, but he was thinking of his girlfriend, that Cintāmaṇi, "When I shall go there?" Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura? Yes. So he asked his servants, "Give me some food. I shall go to Cintāmaṇi." So anyway, he performed... Did not perform. His mind was there. He took some nice foodstuff, and when he went, there was a big river, and it was raining heavily, and the river was flooded. So he thought, "How shall I go the other side?" So one dead body was floating. So he thought, "It is a log," and he took the help of the log and went the other side. And it was heavy raining. And then, when he reached that Cintāmaṇi's home, he saw the door is locked already. Blocked. So he jumped over the wall, taking the tail of a serpent, and when he reached inside, he knocked the door, and Cintāmaṇi was astonished. "How did you come? So heavy rain. You had to cross the river." He said everything, that "Oh, I cannot stay without you." So she was much inquisitive: "How did you come? How did you jump over this wall?" And so he showed everything, that there was a big snake, and so he thought it as rope and jumped it. And then, when he went to the riverside, he saw that was a dead body. So at that time Cintāmaṇi thought, "Oh, this man is so much addicted to me." So she told, "Oh, this much attraction if you would have with Kṛṣṇa, oh, how nice your life would have been." So immediately he came to his senses because he was lifted to that position in his previous life. So immediately he left and was going alone to Vṛndāvana. And on the way he saw another beautiful woman. So his business was to be attracted by woman. So he again became attracted. So he was following. So this woman, after entering, she told her husband, "Just see, this man is following from a distant place." So he asked him, "Oh, come on." He saw he is nice gentleman. He was a rich man, brāhmaṇa. "What is this?" He said plainly, "Oh, I have been attracted by your wife, by the beauty of your wife." "All right, come on. What is that?" You enjoy my wife. You are brāhmaṇa. You are..." So he was received well. And at night, when he was given place, then he asked that woman, "Mother, will you give me your hair pin?" He took the hair pin and pushed in the eyes: "Oh, these eyes are my enemy." Since then he became blind. And in that blindness he was worshiping Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa was coming to him. And he would not touch. He'll sing, dance, and He'll supply milk and go away. So this Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura wrote one book, Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta. It is very valuable book. That is very highly estimated, Lord Caitanya.

Compiled byLabangalatika + and MadhuGopaldas +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryJuly 6, 0009 JL +
Date of last entryFebruary 28, 0013 JL +
Total quotes3 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 2 +, Conv: 1 + and Let: 0 +