WHEN LORD CAITANYA would come before Lord Alarnath, He would see Him not as Visnu, or Narayana, but as Krsna, playing a flute. Therefore devotees in the line of Lord Caitanya consider Lord Alarnath to be two-armed Krsna.

Sri Caitanya's ecstasy of seeing Lord Alarnath in this way has its parallel in a pastime of Radha-Krsna. Once, when Lord Krsna was enjoying with Radha and the other gopis (cowherd girls) in Vrndavana, He playfully hid from them. When the gopis,without Radha, found Him, He disguised Himself by displaying His four-armed form. The gopis didn't recognize Him and kept searching. But when Radha found Him, He couldn't hide from Her intense love and resumed His all-attractive two-armed form as flute-playing Krsna, the only object of Radha's pure devotion.

The Lord Eats to Please a Child

ONCE, A BRAHMANA named Sri Ketana, whose service was to offer food to Lord Alarnath, had to go out to beg provisions for the Lord. He gave his young son Madhu. the responsibility for making offerings in his absence, instructing Madhu to place the Lord's meals before Him and pray to the Lord to accept them.

When the time came to make the first offering, Madhu brought the food to the Lord and prayed, "O my dear Lord, please accept this offering. I'm just a boy and don't know how to offer it properly."

The Lord Eats to Please a Child

Madhu then went out to play with his friends. When he returned, he saw that all the food was still on the plate.

"O my Lord," he said, "why haven't you eaten? If my father hears of this, he'll be angry with me. Please eat."

Madhu left, only to return and find the food still on the plate. With tears in his eyes, he again begged the Lord to eat.

When Madhu returned the third time, the Lord's plate was empty.

Madhu happily carried the empty plate to his mother.

"Where is the prasadam?" she asked.

"Lord Alarnath ate everything!" Madhu replied.

For three days Madhu and his family fasted because whenever Madhu offered the Lord His meal, He ate everything.

When Sri Ketana returned and heard of the situation, he scolded his son.

"What have you done with Lord Alarnath's prasadam?"

"He ate it, father. I offered it just like you taught me."

"He can't eat," Sri Ketana replied. "He's just a stone deity."

Sri Ketana decided to see what was going on, so he hid behind a pillar while his son made an offering to the Lord. After Madhu had left, Sri Ketana saw the Lord reach down and pick up a bowl of sweetrice. Sri Ketana jumped from behind the pillar and caught hold of the Lord's arm, spilling hot sweetrice on the Lord's body.

"Stop!" Sri Ketana yelled. "What are You doing? Who ever heard of a deity eating? If You eat everything, how will we live?"

Lord Alarnath replied, "O materialist in the guise of a brahmana, I never accept offerings from a faithless person like you, devoid of devotion. I accepted the offerings of Madhu because he offered them with simplicity and love."

Today, the priests of Lord Alarnath point out several scars on the Lord's body where He was scalded by the sweetrice.

Lord of the Alvars

ACCORDING TO LOCAL tradition, the history of Alarnath goes back millions of years. Here in Satya-yuga, the first of the four great ages, Lord Narayana spoke to Lord Brahma from the sky, describing in detail the form of a deity Brahma should carve and worship.

"Because you have worshiped Me here," Lord Narayana said, "This place will be known as Brahmagiri ['Brahma's Hill']."

Much later, Brahmagiri became known as Alar-nath. The presenta temple was built about eleven hundred years ago, and some brahmanas from South India performed the worship. Because they were in the disciplic line of the great spiritual teachers known as the Alvars, the deity became known as Alvarnatha ("Lord of the Alvars"), which in time became Alarnath. Today, the place is also commonly known as Brahmagiri.