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Epics for children: There is hope for everyone

If long-time sinners like Jagai and Madhai could improve themselves, surely there is hope for everyone.

From the land of Bengal comes the tale of two brothers Jagai and Madhai. It has been immortalised in a painting by renowned painter Nandalal Bose. The brothers were born in a Brahmin family at Nadia in present-day West Bengal. They fell into bad habits. All day, they would eat meat, drink wine, and harass the womenfolk. They were trouble-makers and people used to avoid them deliberately.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is considered an avatar of Vishnu, used to live in that area. He once told his associates Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakur to go to every house and ask the people to chant the name of the Lord. While going around, the two came across Jagai and Madhai. They asked them to chant the name of God. Jagai and Madhai got extremely angry and ran after them to beat them up. Nityananda and Haridasa were not frightened but did not want to fight. They ran and entered the home of an associate to save themselves.

One night, Nityananda was returning in the dark from a kirtan. He came across Jagai and Madhai. They recognised him. Madhai became furious and struck him on the head with a broken earthen pot and he started bleeding. When Jagai saw this, he restrained his brother. Nityananda stood patiently, tolerating his pain, but onlookers ran to inform Chaitanya of this. He decided to punish the two brothers. He summoned his Sudarshan Chakra (divine discus) and went to the spot. On seeing him with the chakra, the brothers got terrified. However, Nityananda intervened on their behalf and begged Chaitanya to spare them. Chaitanya was pacified when Nityananda told him how Jagai had saved him from further harm at Madhai’s hands.

Chaitanya forgave Jagai and blessed him that he should forever have the love of Krishna in his heart. Jagai fell at Chaitanya’s feet and promised to be a good man. Seeing his brother's wonderful transformation, Madhai also felt remorseful and begged forgiveness. However, Chaitanya did not pay attention to his entreaties, since he had committed violence on Nityananda. Only when Madhai fell at Nityananda’s feet and received his forgiveness did Chaitanya bless him.

The brothers were completely transformed souls after this. They would chant the name of the Lord, greet everyone humbly, and repent their past mistakes. Madhai, in particular, felt very remorseful. He approached Chaitanya and asked how he could atone for his past sins. Chaitanya told him that the people coming to the Ganga to bathe faced a lot of problems. Madhai got a bathing ghat constructed. This became known as Madhai-ghat and still exists at Mayapur in West Bengal. If long-time sinners like Jagai and Madhai could improve themselves, surely there is hope for everyone.

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The New Indian Express
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