Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 2-4
His Divine Grace
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Narasiṅgha Sevaka Vivṛtti
by Tridaṇḍi Swami Bhakti Vijñāna Giri
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
svarṇa – golden; koṭi – millions; darpaṇa – mirrors; ābha – like; deha – form; varṇa – colour; gaurava – magnitude; padma – lotus; pārijāta – pārijāṭa flowers; gandha – scent; vandita – prayers; aṅga – body; saurabha – fragrance; koṭi – millions; kāma – gods of love; mūrcchita – swoon; aṅghri – feet; rūpa – form; rāsa – transcendental mellows; raṅgara – moving waves; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaura–sundara – Gaurasundara
I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. The lustre of His form is more effulgent than millions of golden mirrors, and the scent of the lotus and pārijāta flowers offer their prayers unto the sweet fragrance of His body. Millions of Kāmadevas faint at His feet, seeing the constant waves of rasa flowing from His beautiful form.
After describing the supreme ontological position of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as well as His function as the yugāvatāra of Kali-yuga, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja goes on to describe His incomparable beauty. One of the Names of Śrī Caitanya is Gaurāṅga, due to His effulgent golden form (gaura+aṅga – ‘golden limbs’). However, in the first line of this śloka, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja states that even a million golden mirrors would pale in comparison to the bodily radiance of Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu. He then goes on to describe the divine scent of Mahāprabhu’s body, which is so alluring that even the most fragrant flowers such as the lotus and the pārijāta offer their prayers unto Him.
Some of the attributes of this śloka resemble a Bengali song of Śrīla Narahari Dāsa Ṭhākura wherein he describes the form of Śrī Caitanya during the ādhivāsa ceremony at the house of Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita:
gaurava samaya rasika-śekhara
sarasa āsane vilase rucira
kara kanaka darapaṇa darapa bhara hara
madala tanu manamatha jayī
(At the proper time, that crest-jewel of rasikas sits upon the throne. He shines with great splendour. His effulgence defeats the pride of golden mirrors. His graceful form defeats Kāmadeva.)
Kāmadeva, the demigod who presides over lust, is armed with five ‘flower-arrows’ that are known by their effects – sammohana (which causes bewilderment), unmādana (which creates intoxication), śoṣaṇa (which drys up one’s intelligence), tāpana (which makes one burn with desire), and stambhana (which causes paralysis). With these arrows he is able to bewilder all conditioned jīvas. However, even Kāmadeva becomes bewildered by the beauty of Śrī Kṛṣṇa – thus one of Kṛṣṇa’s Names is Madana-mohana, the enchanter of Madana (Kāmadeva). The beauty of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī however, is superior and is able to enchant even Kṛṣna – thus She is known as Madana-mohana-mohinī (‘She who attracts the enchanter of Madana’). Since Śrī Caitanyadeva is rādhā-kṛṣṇa-milita-tanu, Kṛṣna combined with the bhāva (emotions) and kānti (effulgence) of Śrī Rādhikā, we cannot fully conceive of His beauty. Thus, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes that even if there were a million Kāmadevas, they would all swoon upon seeing the divine form of Mahāprabhu emanating waves of rasa (rasa-raṅgara).
The word raṅgara suggests that these waves are in constant flux, moving in and out like waves in the ocean. Similarly, we see that in Mahāprabhu’s līlā, His moods of devotional love were constantly changing. In Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata, Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura relates that sometimes Mahāprabhu would exhibit His īśvara–bhāva (His mood as the Supreme Lord) and place His feet upon the heads of the devotees. Suddenly, He would manifest bhakta–bhāva (His mood as a Vaiṣṇava), and taking a straw between His teeth, He would touch the feet of the devotees. Sometimes He would laugh uncontrollably and other times, in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, He would cry piteously, feeling intense separation from Kṛṣṇa. In this way, Śrī Caitanya would exhibit various ecstatic symptoms. Such symptoms of divine love are described thus:
prema vṛddhi-krame nāma sneha, māna, praṇaya
rāga, anurāga, bhāva, mahābhāva haya
(Prema gradually increases and becomes known as sneha [affection], mana [anger in love], praṇaya [longing], rāga [attachment], anurāga [strong attachment], bhāva [ecstasy] and mahābhāva [supreme ecstasy]). – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 19.178)
The state of mahābhāva is personified as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and this stage is only experienced by Her. However, this expression of mahābhāva is also manifest within the person of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
prema – love for Kṛṣṇa; nāma – the Holy Name; dāna – distribute; janya – for; pañca–tattva – The Pañca Tattva; ātmaka – Himself: saṅga – accompanied with; divya – divine; pārṣada – associates; āstra – weapons; vaibhāva – opulence; avatāraka – descended; śyāma – Śyāmasundara; gaura – Gaurāṅga; nāma – the Holy Name; gāna – sing; nṛtya – dance; matta – intoxicated; nāgara – town; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaura–sundara – Gaurasundara
I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. He has expanded Himself as the Pañca Tattva in order to distribute the Holy Name which grants one prema. He has descended upon the earth in all His opulence along with His divine associates and weapons. Śyāmasundara, who has now appeared as Gaura, sings the Holy Names and dances in the streets as if intoxicated.
In the eternal līlā of Mahāprabhu, the advaya-jñāna-tattva (non-dual Absolute Truth) appears in five features known as the Pañca Tattva. Although they are one and the same, nonetheless they exhibit fivefold differences according to their variegated pastimes and their relishing and distribution of the various devotional rasas. Thus, the five features of the Pañca Tattva manifest as the bhakta-rūpa (Śrī Caitanya), bhakta-svarūpa (Śrī Nityānanda), bhaktāvatāra (Śrī Advaita), bhakta-śakti (Gadādhara Paṇḍita) and śuddha-bhakta (Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura). Amongst the Pañca Tattva, the bhakta-rūpa, bhakti-svarūpa and bhaktāvātara are the svayam, prakāśa and aṁśa forms of viṣṇu-tattva. Mahāprabhu is svayam (the original Godhead), Nityānanda is prakāśa (the first expansion of the original Absolute) and Advaita is aṁśa (a partial avatāra of the Absolute). This is confirmed by Kavirāja Gosvāmī:
advaita ācārya prabhu aṁśa avatāra
tāṅra pada-padme koṭi praṇati āmāra
(Advaita Ācārya is the Lord’s aṁśa-avātara. I offer millions of obeisances at His lotus feet. – Caitanya-caritāmṛṭa, Ādi-līlā 1.39)
nityānanda-rāya prabhura svarūpa-prakāśa
tāṅra pāda-padma vando yāṅra muñi dāsa
(Nityānanda Rāya is the Lord’s svarūpa-prakāśa. I am His servant and I offer my obeisance at His lotus feet. – Caitanya-caritāmṛṭa, Ādi-līlā 1.40)
śrī kṛṣṇa caitanya prabhu svayaṁ bhagavān
tāṅhāra padāravinde ananta praṇāma
(Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya is svayam-bhagavān. I offer unlimited obeisances unto His lotus feet. – Caitanya-caritāmṛṭa, Ādi-līlā 1.42)
Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa, as the bhakti-śakti and śuddha-bhakta, take shelter of viṣṇu-tattva and are in the category of potencies, or śakti-tattva.
gadādhara-paṇḍitādi prabhura nija-śakti
tāṅ’ sabāra caraṇe mora sahasra praṇati
(Gadādhara Paṇḍita and others are the Lord’s internal potency. I offer all of them thousands of obesiances at their feet. – Caitanya-caritāmṛṭa, Ādi-līlā 1.41)
All five features of the Pañca Tattva can be divided into two divisions – ārādhaka (worshippers) and ārādhya (worshipped). Mahāprabhu is the sarva-śreṣṭha-parā-tattva (the topmost Absolute Truth), whereas Nityānanda and Advaita are in the category of īśvara-tattva. All three personalities are worshipable by all other tattvas and are counted as ārādhya. Gadādhara, representing the antarāṅga-bhakta (intimate devotee) and Śrīvāsa, representing the śuddha-bhakta (general pure devotee) are in the category of ārādhaka. However, Nityānanda and Advaita are the submissive facets of īśvara, whereas Mahāprabhu accepts the predominant aspect of Parameśvara. Thus, we find that the two ārādhya-tattvas and the two ārādhaka-tattvas offer service to Mahāprabhu.
bhakta-avatāra tāṅra ācārya-gosāñi
ei tina tattva sabe prabhu kari gāi
(Advaita Ācārya Gosāi is bhakta-avatāra. Thus we sing about these three tattvas [Śrī Caitanya, Nityānanda and Advaita] who are all our Masters. – Caitanya-caritāmṛṭa, Ādi-līlā 7.13)
eka mahāprabhu āra prabhu dui jana
dui prabhu seve mahāprabhura caraṇa
(One of Them is the mahā-prabhu [the Great Lord] and the other two are prabhus. The two prabhus serve the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu. – Caitanya-caritāmṛṭa, Ādi-līlā 7.14)
ei tina tattva sarvārādhya kari māni
caturtha ye bhakta-tattva ārādhaka jāni
(These three tattvas are worshipable by all. The fourth principle of bhakta–tattva [namely Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa] should be understood to be in the position of worshipers. – Caitanya-caritāmṛṭa, Ādi-līlā 7.15)
Amongst the five features of the Pañca Tattva, we find three aspects that are potent (śaktimān) and two that are potencies (śakti).
Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura represents the general devotee section from the marginal potency – those pure devotees that are śaraṇāgata-bhaktas (fully surrendered), who are anyābhilāṣa-śūnya (without material desires) and have no care for karma, jñāna, yoga etc. Kavi Karṇapūra’s Gaura-ganoddeśa Dīpikā describes Śrīvāsa as the avatāra of Nārada. In connection to Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī says:
prabhura upāṅga śrīvāsādi bhakta-gaṇa
(The devotees, headed by Śrīvāsa are considered to be non-different from the Lord’s hands, face, eyes and weapons. – Caitanya-caritāmṛṭa, Ādi-līlā 6.38)
Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita is the subordinate potency of Mahāprabhu, and indisputably His most intimate servitor. Just as Mahāprabhu is the predominating half of the Transcendental Entity, Gadādhara Paṇḍita is the predominated half. In gaura-līlā, Gadādhara engages in the service of Kṛṣṇa under the shelter of madhura-rati, and those devotees who are attracted to Rādhā-Govinda’s mādhurya-rasa-līlā take shelter of Gadādhara and simultaneously become intimate associates of Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu. It has been explained by Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī that Gadādhara represents Rādhārāṇī in the mood of magnanimity (audārya). However, ontologically he is Her bhāva-mūrti (the form of Rādhārāṇī’s mood). After Mahāprabhu has ‘plundered’ the rebellious spirit of Rādhārāṇī, whatever remains is Gadādhara who maintains a passive and submissive mood, comparable to that of Rukmiṇī.
Advaita Ācārya is non-different from Sadā-Śiva and Mahā-Viṣṇu and has been described as the jagat-kartā (universal creator) by Kavirāja Gosvāmī. As Mahā-Viṣṇu (Kāraṇābdhiśāyī), He is the foundation of the created cosmos (mukhya-kāraṇa). He further expands into Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and maintains every universe. Advaita exhibits dāsya-rasa and sakhya-rasa amongst the transcendental mellows.
Nityānanda Prabhu, who is non-different from Baladeva in kṛṣṇa-līlā, represents the general principle of the akhaṇḍa–guru-tattva in the four primary rasas (i.e. śānta, dāsya, sakhya and vātsalya). He is the first expansion (svayam-prakāśa) of Godhead. Just as Balarāma shows fraternal love towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Nityānanda exhibits the same type of affection towards Gaurāṅga. Caitanya-caritāmṛta considers Nityanānda-Baladeva to be the efficient cause of the universe (nimitta-kāraṇa).
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Svayam-Bhagavān and the combined form of Rādhā-Govinda (rādhā-bhāva dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam). In the form of Mahaprabhu, Kṛṣṇa becomes ornamented with the bhāva (mood) and kānti (complexion) of Rādhārāṇī. In the words of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura:
“Śrīmatī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī is Kṛṣṇa’s counter-whole, not His counter-part. Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s external bodily effulgence has completely surrounded the beauty of Śyāma; it has also covered His mind. Such is the intensity of Their embrace. They Both become inseparable. Śrī Gaurasundara is not simply Rādhikā, nor is He simply Kṛṣṇa – He is the intense embrace of Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”
In Śrī Caitanya we find two specific characteristics of two different līlās combined – the mādhurya of kṛṣṇa-līlā and the audārya of gaura-līlā. Both Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu are avatārī, the source of all other avatāras, two phases of the highest ontological aspect of the Absolute Truth. In gaura-līlā, the highest rasa that the Predominating Moiety Śrī Kṛṣṇa relishes with the predominated Moiety Śrī Rādhā, is being widely distributed by Śrī Caitanya and the other members of the Pañca Tattva.
In the second line of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja explains how Mahāprabhu descends with all His opulence (vaibhava), as well as His divine associates (divya–pārṣada) and weapons (astra). We find a similar verse within the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam wherein Karabhājana Muni predicts the advent of Śrī Caitanya:
kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
(The Supreme will appear with a non-blackish colour, singing the Names of Kṛṣṇa, and accompanied by His saṅga [associates], upāṅga [servants], astra [weapons], and pārṣada [intimate companions]. Those persons who are most intelligent will worship Him through the sacrifice of saṅkīrtana. – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.5.32)
In his Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta commentary, Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa explains that aṅga refers to Nityānanda and Advaita, upāṅga refers to Śrīvāsa etc. Astra refers to the weapon of the Holy Name which destroys the enemy of ignorance, and pārṣada denotes Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Govinda Dāsa and other intimate companions.
Finally, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja describes how Śyāmasundara Śrī Kṛṣna, now in the form and mood of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, goes through the streets of Nadīyā, singing and dancing, as if intoxicated. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is known as naṭa-vara (the Best of dancers) and Śrī Caitanyadeva is known as naṭarāja (the King of dancers). However, when Śrī Kṛṣna dances, He dances as the Supreme Enjoyer. When Śrī Caitanya dances, it is in the mood of the Supreme Enjoyed (Śrī Rādhā). When Mahāprabhu experiences and relishes His own ecstasy, this is exhibited externally in the form of dancing. In regards to Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s dancing, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja has said:
“Mahāprabhu’s dancing indicates that He has got the acme of rasa by feeling, and His kīrtana means that He is eager to distribute that to others. So, scientifically if we come to search who is Mahāprabhu we cannot but find that He is the ultimate reality. He is mad in feeling His own internal nectar, dancing is the outcome of that, and He is chanting, that is, He is distributing that to others. That should be the real character of the absolute rasa: progressive, giving, dynamic rasa, not static rasa. He must try to extend Himself outside. Rasa Himself is almost mad in drinking His own inner nectar. Saukhya (happiness), matta (madness), nṛtyā (dancing), and kīrtana (singing). If we follow quite closely and surely the character of Mahāprabhu, if we approach Him following this thread, then we cannot but think that He is the absolute representation.”
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
śāntipura – Śāntipura; adīśa – Lord; kali – Kali-yuga; adharma – wickedness; duḥkha – pain; duḥsaha – intolerable; jīva – the living beings; duḥkha – miseries; hāna – destroy; bhakta – devotees; saukhya – joy; dāna – give; vigraha – form; kali – Kali-yuga; aghaugha – pollution; nāśa – destroy; kṛṣṇa – Kṛṣṇa; nāma – the Holy Name; sīdhu – nectar; sañcara – deliver; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaura–sundara – Gaurasundara
I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. He could not tolerate the pain that the Lord of Śāntipura (Śrī Advaita Ācārya) felt due to the wickedness of Kali-yuga. He therefore appeared in this form in order to remove the miseries of the jīvas and bring joy to His devotees. In order to destroy the pollution of Kali, He delivered the nectar of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa.
The catalyst for the Lord’s descent was the request of Śrī Advaita Ācārya, the Lord of Śāntipura (śānti-puryādhīśa). Before Mahāprabhu’s advent, Śrī Advaita Prabhu saw how the people of Kali-yuga were so degraded and felt great pain and compassion for them. In order to draw the Lord down from the spiritual world, Advaita Ācārya pondered the following śloka from the Gautamīya Tantra:
tulasī-dala-mātreṇa jalasya culukena vā
vikrīḍīte svam ātmānaṁ bhaktebhyo bhakta-vatsalaḥ
(The Lord is most affectionate towards His devotees, and gives Himself to one who simply offers Him a tulasī leaf and a palmful of water.)
Considering the meaning of the śloka, Advaita understood that when someone offers water and tulasī to the Lord with devotion, He cannot find any way to repay that person. Thus, Advaita offered tulasī leaves and Gaṅgā water to the Supreme Lord with the hope of propitiating Him.
dhūpa-dīpa-kasturī ca candanādi lepanaṁ
gaṅgāvāri manohārī tulasyādi sañcarī
kṛṣṇa-jñāna sadā-dhyāna prema-vāri jharjharī
kṛpābdhi karuṇā-nātha bhaviṣyati prāthanaṁ
(With his divine roars, both day and night, He prays,“O Kṛṣṇa! O Lord of Rādhikā!” and offers the Lord sandalwood paste, musk, incense and a lamp. I meditate upon the lotus feet of Śrī Advaita Ācārya, the Lord of Sītā. As he worships the Lord with water from the Gaṅgā mixed with tulasī, tears of prema flow incessantly as he constantly meditates upon knowledge of Kṛṣṇa. He prays to the Supreme Lord, who is an ocean of mercy, the Lord of compassion. I meditate upon the lotus feet of Śrī Advaita Ācārya, the Lord of Sītā. – Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācāṛya’s Śrī Advaitāṣṭakam 1-2)
In Caitanya–bhāgavata, Śrī Caitanya Himself confirms that it was only due to Advaita’s cries, that He descended to this world.
śutiyā āchiluṅ kṣīra-sāgarera mājhe
āre nāḍā nidrā-bhaṅga mora tora kāje
(I was resting in the ocean of milk when You, Nāḍā [Advaita], broke My sleep in order to fulfill Your work. – Caitanya–bhāgavata, Madhya-khaṇḍa 19.140)
This statement of Mahāprabhu’s is important since it specifically refers to His aspect in Vaikuṇṭha as Gaura-Nārāyaṇa, the propagator of the yuga-dharma. In distributing the Holy Name to the jīvas, Śri Caitanya Mahāprabhu was fulfilling His secondary function, in His capacity as the yugāvatāra. The primary cause for Kṛṣṇa’s descent as Mahāprabhu however, was threefold. Firstly, Kṛṣṇa wished to know, “What is the nature of Rādhārāṇī’s love for Me (śrī rādhāyaḥ praṇaya-mahimā kīdṛśo vānayaivā)?” Next, He desired to know, “What is My rūpa-mādhurī (sweet form), that Rādhārāṇī relishes, and how can I relish it (svādyo yenādbhuta-madhurimā kīdṛśo vā madīyaḥ)?” And the third desire was, “What type of pleasure or happiness does Rādhārāṇī derive by relishing My beauty and how can I relish it (saukhyaṁ cāsya mad-anubhavataḥ kīdṛśaṁ veti lobhāt)?”
Although Gaura-Nārāyaṇa appears in every Kali-yuga to propagate hari-nāma and liberate the fallen jīvas from saṁsāra, He only descends once in a day of Brahmā as rādhā-kṛṣṇa-milita-tanu, the combined form of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, in order to relish the mood of Śrī Rādhā. In this combined form of Rādhā-Govinda, He not only distributes the Holy Name, but also gives that kṛṣṇa-prema which is only found in the hearts of the eternal residents of Vraja. This is the categorical difference between Gaura-Nārāyaṇa and Gaura-Kṛṣṇa.