“Gopal made a plan, because he was yearning to see Lord Chaitanya as Lord Chaitanya was yearning to see Krishna.” – Radhanath Swami
So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would not step on Govardhan. What a dynamic… that was going on at this time. He yearned so much to see Gopal, and now he is so close. He could see the temple right upon the hill, but he wouldn’t go.
He bathed in Manasi Ganga. Then he walked to Govinda Kund, and he bathed in Govinda Kunda. And that’s where the intensity of his desire to see Gopal was so strong, because it is near a place called Annakut Kshetra. The temple of Srinathji is just near there, where five thousand years ago Krishna actually manifested a gigantic form to the Vrajavasis. He said, “I am Govardhan hill.” He manifested the body of Govardhan hill, and it was there that on Krishna’s instructions, Nanda Maharaj inspired all the Vrajavasis to make the annakuta – mountains and mountains and kunds and kunds of bhoga. Krishna, he ate it all. There was nothing there; Govardhan hill ate it all. Then he manifested again his Mahaprasad; everyone really knew that it was Mahaprasad! At Govinda Kunda, Indra along with Surabhi bathed Krishna. Indra with Airavata brought the water from Akasha Ganga, the Ganga of the heavenly worlds, to bathe Krishna. Surabhi bathed Krishna with the milk from her own motherly love.
At that famous place of Govinda Kund, while Lord Chaitanya was bathing there, he felt this very very deep yearning to see Gopal, but still there was no question of stepping on the hill. But Gopal knew his heart… and here is an example of Krishna’s loving reciprocation with his devotee: Gopal made a plan, because he was yearning to see Lord Chaitanya as Lord Chaitanya was yearning to see Krishna. This is the esoteric meaning of ye yatha maam prapdyante. Krishna says, “As you surrender unto me, I reveal myself.”
“Krishna reciprocates according to the nature of our love, the nature of our surrender. And this is on the level of bhava or love, because to the degree we yearn to see Krishna with real bhakti, Krishna yearns to see us. When we yearn to please Krishna, Krishna yearns to please us.” – Radhanath Swami
He is bhakta vatsal. So a wonderful pastime took place right at that moment.
This devotee, a Vrajavasi, he comes to the village of Annakuta Kshetra, and says to the people there, “An army of Turkish soldiers is coming over here. They are going to attack and devastate everything. Every single person along with the deity of Gopal should leave this place immediately. They are coming tomorrow.” So what was the first thing the villagers did? They secretly brought Gopal off the altar and secretly covered him with a cloth. They took him away, and they all evacuated. There wasn’t a single human being in the whole town or village of Annakuta Kshetra. When Lord Chaitanya heard the news that Gopal… He was being hidden in different places… they moved him around: sometimes in bushes and sometimes in forest. At that time he was in a village called Gantuli. It is called Gantuli because one time – Srila Prabhupada says that it is ‘hearsay’ – that is the first place Radha and Krishna met. And while they were hiding here, they tied their clothes together. So it is called Gantuli. So Gopal was in the house of one Vrajavasi, and nobody knew where he was. But Lord Chaitanya found out, and so he went there. Srinathji had the darshan of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had the darshan of Srinathji. Sri Chaitanya mahaprabhu was Krishna in the mood of Sri Radha’s love. He spent three to four days there continuously dancing and singing before Srinathji. And he offered a beautiful prayer.
“Lord Chaitanya in his great ecstasy, when he first saw Srinathji he prayed, ‘May the left hand of Gopal always protect you.’ It was with that left hand that he lifted the entire Govardhan hill to protect his devotees.” – Radhanath Swami
In that spirit he danced and danced and danced. This vipralamba and sambhoga – being so close but not able to see the Lord put him in such a deep and loving separation… and then seeing Gopal is the greatest happiness. About four days later they found out there were never any Turkish soldiers. They weren’t anywhere around. Somebody said it, but they said it with such conviction. So they were carrying Gopal back home on top of Giriraj, and Lord Chaitanya, he was with Srinathji every possible moment he could; his eagerness, his devotion. Bhakti Siddhant Sarswati Thakur says, “Do not try to see Krishna. Try to serve Krishna in such a way that Krishna is pleased to see you.” And that was Lord Chaitanya’s mood. He wasn’t there just to see Gopal, but he was there to serve Gopal. He was going to offer his body, his mind, his words, and his life to Gopal. That is what it really means to have darshan.