Madhavendra Puri appeared almost mad in his love of God. He loudly chanted and sang the names and glories of the Lord without thinking of the time or place. Sometimes in his ecstasy he didn’t know whether it was day or night. Sometimes he laughed and sometimes he wept. Sometimes he danced wildly and sometimes he fell to the ground unconscious. He took absolutely no interest in anything not connected with Krishna, and for fear of talking about anything other than the Lord, he always lived without a companion. He would eat only if someone offered him food—otherwise he would simply fast.
In many remarkable ways Krishna returned Madhavendra Puri’s intense love. Once Madhavendra was fasting and meditating beneath a tree in the forest of Vrindavana, where thousands of years before Krishna had played as a child. Suddenly a beautiful cowherd boy (gopala) came with a pot of milk and placed it before Madhavendra. “Please drink the milk I have brought you,” the boy said. Seeing the beauty of the boy, Madhavendra Puri became satisfied in his mind, and hearing these sweet words, he forgot all hunger and thirst. Then within an instant, the boy left the place and did not return. Madhavendra Puri’s heart was filled with wonder. Later, he realized who the boy actually was and cried out in; great ecstatic love: “I saw Lord Krishna directly—but I could not recognize I Him!”
Western religion usually teaches us that God is someone to fear and revere. In India, though, great spiritual masters have long taught that we can go beyond this limited conception and worship God as our master, friend, or child. And about five hundred years ago Madhavendra Puri taught that we can even worship God as our dear beloved.