Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 29-32
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
brahma-saṁhitā – the Brahma Saṁhitā; akhya – known as; kṛṣṇa-bhakti-śāstra – the śāstra delineating kṛṣṇa-bhakti; dāyaka – bestow; kṛṣṇa-karṇa-sīdhu – the Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta; nāma – named; kṛṣṇa – Kṛṣna; kāvya – poetry; gāyaka – sang; śrī-pratāparudra – Pratāparudra; rāja – king; śīrṣa – head; sevya – He who is served; mandira – temple; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaura–sundara – Gaurasundara.
I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. The Lord gave the śāstra which thoroughly explains kṛṣṇa–bhakti known as Brahma–saṁhitā, and He sang the poem named Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta which describes Kṛṣna. The king, Mahārāja Pratāparudra placed his head at the feet of the Supreme Lord.
While traversing South India, Mahāprabhu came to the Ādi Keśava temple in Thiruvattar, Kerala. Here, He discovered the fifth chapter of the Brahma-saṁhitā, a work which explains various aspects of Vaiṣṇava siddhānta. The contents of the Brahma-saṁhitā include an explanation of the eighteen-syllable Gopāla Mantra, the Kāma Gāyatrī and the kāma–bīja, Brahmā’s initiation, the position of Mahā-Viṣṇu, a detailed description of Vaikuṇṭha and Goloka, the ontological status of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva, Durgā, Gaṇeśa and Sūrya, impersonal Brahman, the universal form, the jīva, the various avatāras, aṣṭāṅga–yoga, the worship of Govinda as the original Supreme Lord, and the mood of the residents of Vraja-dhāma.
In fact, the Brahma-saṁhitā encapsulates Mahāprabhu’s philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva so perfectly, that some scholars opine that the Brahma-saṁhitā must have been composed by Mahāprabhu Himself. To this allegation, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura writes:
“If that is accepted, then could anything else give us more happiness? That is because if one discovered a book on siddhānta written by Śrī Mahāprabhu, there could never be any doubt within the Vaiṣṇava world. Whichever way it is considered, this book, Brahma-saṁhitā. is completely worshippable to the devotees.” (Introduction to Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā)
The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas however do not give credence to mundane academic opinions, and they accept that Mahāprabhu indeed discovered the Brahma-saṁhitā in His travels to the South.
Another work that Mahāprabhu found during His travels was the Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta by Līlāsuka Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura. The word karṇāmṛta means nectar (amṛta) for the ears (karna), thus, Kṛṣṇa- karṇāmṛta translates as ‘Nectar for the ears concerning Kṛṣna.’ In this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja refers to Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta as kṛṣṇa-karṇa-sīdhu, which means the same thing. Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta is a rasa-śāstra, which deals exclusively with mādhurya-rasa.
When Mahāprabhu came to the banks of the Kṛṣṇa Veṇvā River, he came across some brāhmaṇas who were reciting the Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta. Feeling great happiness to hear this, Mahāprabhu had the text copied and He took it with Him back to Purī. This became one of Mahāprabhu’s favourite books, and His associates would sometimes recite it to Him. In regards to the Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta, Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes:
karṇāmṛta-sama vastu nāhi tri-bhuvane
yāhā haite haya kṛṣṇe śuddha-prema-jñāne
sei jāne ye karṇāmṛta paḍe niravadhi
(“There is nothing like the Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta in all the three worlds. From this book one finds knowledge about pure prema for Kṛṣṇa. One who continuously reads the Karṇāmṛta can understand the beauty and sweetness of kṛṣṇa-līlā.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 9.30-308)
In his introduction to Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has explained:
“The teachings of Śrī Mahāprabhu are clearly explained in two texts. Teachings on philosophy are found in Śrī Brahma-Saṁhitā, and teachings on bhajana are found in Śrī Kṛṣna Karnāmṛta.”
Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura wrote commentaries to the Brahma–saṁhitā, and Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāja and Caitanya Dāsa (the son of Śivānanda Sena) wrote commentaries to the Kṛṣna-karṇāmṛta.
At the end of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes śrī-pratāparudra-rāja-śīrṣa-sevya-mandira (‘The king, Mahārāja Pratāparudra placed his head at the feet of the Supreme Lord’). This stanza prepares us for the next two verses concerning the Lord’s pastimes at the Ratha Yātrā in Purī and His mercy to Pratāparudra, the monarch of Orissa. Mahārāja Pratāparudra considered himself to be the humble servant of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, thus Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja uses the phrase, śīrṣa-sevya-mandira. The word śīrṣa means head and sevya refers to ‘one who is worthy of service’, in this case, Mahāprabhu. The word mandira generally means temple or dwelling place, so this may indicate that Pratāparudra considered the Lord’s feet to be the dwelling place for his head. Mandira is derived from the words manas and dhīraya – mana means the mind, or consciousness, and dhīraya, means comfort or encouragement. Thus mandira means a place where one’s mind becomes peaceful, or where one’s consciousness is motivated. Thus, Mahārāja Pratāparudra found devotional stimulation and tranquility at the feet of Śrī Caitanyadeva.
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
śrī-ratha – the ratha; āgra – in front; bhakta – devotees; gīta – singing; divya – divine; narttana – dancing; adbhuta – amazing; yātri – pilgrims; pātra – ministers; mitra – friends; rudra-rāja – Mahārāja Pratāparudra; hṛt – hearts; camatkṛta – wonder; guṇḍicā – the Guṇḍicā temple; agama – arriving; ādi – etc. tattva – philosophical explanation; rūpa – Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī; kāvya – poetry; sañcara – reveal; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaura–sundara – Gaurasundara.
I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. As the devotees sang in front of the ratha, the Lord’s divine and wonderful dancing struck the hearts of the pilgrims and Pratāparudra’s ministers and friends with wonder. Later, the explanation of Jagannātha’s arrival at the Guṇḍicā temple was revealed through the poetry of Śrī Rūpa.
The Lord’s pastimes during the Ratha Yātrā of Jagannāthadeva are narrated in Chapter 13 in the Madhya-līlā of Caitanya–caritāmṛta. The annual Ratha Yātrā in Purī is held in the month of Āṣāḍha (June/July) and is arguably the world’s oldest continuous religious festival. The Deities of Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā are taken from the main temple in huge chariots (rathas) to the Guṇḍicā temple amidst loud kīrtana and dancing by thousands of devotees. The origin of this festival is found in kṛṣṇa-līlā where Kṛṣna, Balarāma and Subhadrā came from Dvārakā to Kurukṣetra on the occasion of the solar eclipse. There they met all the residents of Vṛndāvana who were feeling intense separation from Kṛṣṇa since He had left them all to go to reside in Dvārakā. Due to this feeling of separation, the vraja-vāsīs took the reigns of the chariots and began pulling them towards Vṛndāvāna-dhāma. Thus, in the enactment of the Ratha Yātrā, the temple of Jagannātha represents the opulence of Dvārakā, and the Guṇḍica temple represents Vṛndāvana.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura also gives another explanation of the Ratha Yātrā ceremony. At one point in ancient history, Purī was under the control of the Buddhists who worshipped Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā as representations of the tri-ratna, or the three jewels of Buddhism, namely Buddha, the saṅga and dharma. Mahārāja Pāṇḍu, a king of the Pāṇḍya Dynasty, along with his guru, Deveśvara, came to Purī and wrestled the Deities from the clutches of the Buddhists and transported them on chariots 3 kilometres away to Sundaracala – this is why Ratha Yātrā is also called Pāṇḍu Vijaya (‘the victory of Pāṇḍu’) and the temple priests are known as paṇḍas.
In the mood of the residents of Vraja, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced ecstatically in front of the rathas. In the opening verse of the Chapter 13 of the Madhya–līlā, Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī Prabhu writes:
sa jīyāt kṛṣṇa-caitanyaḥ śrī-rathāgre nanarta yaḥ
yenāsīj jagatāṁ citraṁ jagannātho ’pi vismitaḥ
(“May Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, who danced in front of the rathas, be forever victorious. Not only was the world astonished by His dancing, but even Jagannātha Himself was struck with wonder.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 13.1)
Those who are confounded by the influence of māyā cannot fully comprehend the dancing of Śrī Caitanyadeva and will compare it to the dancing of this world. Although we may see so many expert dancers, nothing compares to the dancing of the Lord at the Ratha Yātrā. Thus, Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī affixes the word divya (transcendental) to describe His dance, in order to distinguish it from any type of dance of this mortal world. Thus, Mahāprabhu’s dancing cannot be compared to anything we have experienced. Generally, people dance due to feelings of mundane happiness, or out of lust to attract the opposite sex. Mahāprabhu’s dancing was not staged, nor was it produced by any mundane sentiments – it was a dance that came from the innermost heart of the Lord. Being fully absorbed in premāveśa (ecstatic divine love), Mahāprabhu’s dancing came automatically. Kavirāja Gosvāmī describes the Lord’s dancing thus:
uddaṇḍa nṛtya prabhu kariyā huṅkāra
cakra-bhrami bhrame yaiche alāta-ākāra
nṛtye prabhura yāhāṅ yāṅhā paḍe pada-tala
sa-sāgara-śaila mahī kare ṭalamala
stambha sveda pulaka aśru kampa vaivarṇya
nānā-bhāve vivaśatā garva harṣa dainya
(“Jumping high as He danced, the Lord would roar, and He moved as if He were a circle of fire. Wherever the Lord placed His feet as He danced, it seemed as though the entire earth, with all its mountains and oceans, was tilting. He would experience various types of bhāvā such as being stunned, perspiring, horripulation, weeping, shivering, changes in His bodily complexion, helplessness, pride, delight and humility.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 13.82-84)
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes how all the pilgrims, as well as Mahārāja Pratāparudra and his royal entourage, were amazed to see such dancing (yātri-pātra-mitra-rudra-rāja-hṛc-camatkṛta). This is confirmed by Kṛṣna Dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī:
prabhura nṛtya prema dekhi haya camatkāra
kṛṣṇa-prema uchalila hṛdaye sabāra
(“Observing the dancing and prema of the Lord, everyone became awestruck and kṛṣṇa-prema arose within their hearts.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 13.176)
pratāparudrera haila parama vismaya
dekhite vivaśa rājā haila premamaya
(“Pratāparudra was extremely astounded to see this, and the king became stunned with prema.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 13.56)
The fortunate souls who witnessed such a display by Śrī Caitanyadeva naturally felt prema within their hearts. That is the inconceivable potency of the Lord who can attract anyone and everyone and extract from their hearts their dormant love for Kṛṣna. At the end of this chapter, Kavirāja Gosvāmī gives the following aśirvāda-śloka (verse of blessing) to his readers:
ihā yei śune sei śrī-caitanya pāya
sudṛḍha viśvāsa-saha prema-bhakti haya
(“Whosoever hears this narration will attain Śrī Caitanya. They will achieve firm faith and prema-bhakti.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 13.208)
Even though we may not witness the ecstatic dancing of Mahāprabhu, Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī is so merciful that he has narrated this līlā in such a wonderful way that he blesses those that even hear about it that they will attain Mahāprabhu’s lotus feet and achieve śraddhā and prema. However, we are such unfortunate creatures that even after hearing this nectarean pastime many times, our stone-like hearts are not moved and we feel no attraction whatsoever. May the most compassionate Śrī Śacinandana remove our apathy.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja alludes to an extremely important pastime in this verse where he writes, guṇḍicāgamādi-tattva-rūpa-kāvya-sañcara (‘the explanation of Jagannātha’s arrival at the Guṇḍicā temple was revealed through the poetry of Śrī Rūpa’).
During the Ratha Yātrā, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabu suddenly raised His arms and sang a verse from Śrī Mammaṭa’s Kavya-prakāśa (a treatise on Sanskrit poetry):
yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ sa eva hi varas tā eva caitra-kṣapās
te conmīlita-mālatī-surabhayaḥ prauḍhāḥ kadambānilāḥ
sā caivāsmi tathāpi tatra surata-vyāpāra-līlā-vidhau
revā-rodhasi vetasī-taru-tale cetaḥ samutkaṇṭhate
(“He who stole my heart during my youth is verily he who is here today as my lover. And these are the same nights in the month of Caitra, when the fragrant breezes from the kadamba grove are heavy with the scent of newly blossoming jasmine. And I too am the same person – yet still my heart yearns for the dalliances of love that we enjoyed amidst the vetasī trees on the banks of the river Revā.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 13.121)
Externally, this verse was understood by most to simply be a mundane verse spoken by one lover to another. Apart for Svarūpa Dāmodara, nobody else could fathom why the Lord was reciting this. However, some time later, it was revealed that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī also understood Mahāprabhu’s intention. To explain the Lord’s purpose, Śrī Rūpa composed the following śloka:
priyaḥ so’yaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sahacari kurukṣetra-militas
tathāhaḥ sā rādhā tad idam ubhayoḥ saṅgama-sukham
mano me kālindī-pulina-vipināya spṛhayati
(“My dear friend, this is the same beloved Kṛṣṇa meeting Me here at Kurukṣetra. I am also that same Rādhā, and we Both feel the same joy of union. And yet My mind yearns for the forest on the bank of the Kālindī where the fifth note of His flute sweetly plays within My heart.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 1.79)
This śloka gave the inner meaning of why Mahāprabhu recited the verse from Kavya-prakāśa – Mahāprabhu was in the mood of Śrī Rādhikā at Kurukṣetra when She was asking Her Beloved to return to Vṛndāvana. Śrī Rūpa wrote this śloka on a palm leaf and placed it in the rafters of his kūṭīra. While he went to bathe in the ocean, Mahāprabhu came and found the hidden palm leaf. When Rūpa Gosvāmī returned, Mahāprabhu gave him a gentle slap and said:
mora ślokera abhiprāya nā jāne kona jane
mora manera kathā tumi jānile kemane
(“Nobody understood the meaning of My śloka. How did you understand those words that were in My mind?” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 1.69)
Later, Mahāprabhu asked Svarūpa Dāmodara how Śrī Rūpa was able to ascertain His heart. Svarūpa Dāmodara replied:
svarūpa kahe yāte jānila tomāra mana
tāte jāni haya tomāra kṛpāra bhājana
(“Svarūpa said, ‘Since he understood Your mind, from this I can understand that he must be the recipient of Your mercy.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 1.72)
Due to Śrī Rūpa understanding the mano’bhiṣta (heart desire) of Śrī Caitanyadeva, he was made the head of the sampradāya. Thus, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas are known as rūpānugas, or the followers of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī.
The fact that only Svarūpa Dāmodara and Śrī Rūpa understood Mahāprabhu’s inner feelings is also very significant. In kṛṣṇa-līlā, Svarūpa Dāmodara is Lalitā Sakhī, the closest confidante of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and Rūpa Gosvāmī is Rūpa Mañjarī, the head of the mañjarī section under Lalitā. Due to their close connection, it is appropriate that these two personalities were able to fully perceive the inner mood of Śrī Caitanya as He displayed the intense mood of separation felt by Śrī Rādhikā.
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
prema– prema; mugdha – absorbed; rudra-rāja – Mahārāja Pratāparudra; śaurya – heroic; vīrya – strength; vikrama – power; prārthita – desiring; aṅghri – the Lord’s feet; varjitānya – abandon; sarva – all; dharma – dharma; saṅgama – association; luṇṭhita – stole; pratāpa – Pratāparudra; śīrṣa – head; pāda – feet; dhūli-dhūsara – dust; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaura–sundara – Gaurasundara.
I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. Seeing the Lord overwhelmed and fainting with prema, Mahārāja Pratāparudra, who was heroic, strong and powerful, desired to attain the Lord’s feet and rejected all other forms of dharma. Thus, he stole the dust from the Lord’s feet and placed it on his head.
Mahārāja Pratāparudra Deva was the ruler of Orissa during the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was the last great king of the Gajapati Sūryavaṁśa Dynasty and an ardent devotee of Śrī Jagannātha. At its height, his empire stretched from the Gaṅgā near the Hoogly in Kolkata to the Kāverī in Karnataka. For most of his reign he was heavily occupied with military threats from Nawab Hussein Shah of Bengal, Mahārāja Kṛṣṇadevarāya of Vijayanagara and Quli Qutb Shah of Golconda. Not only that, Pratāparudra also had to contend with the internal treachery of one of his generals, Govinda Vidyadhara. In fact, after the passing of Pratāparudra, Vidyadhara murdered all the sons of Pratāparudra and usurped the throne of Orissa. Thus, during the time when Mahāprabhu resided in Purī, the kingdom of Orissa was in a state of political turmoil. In fact, while Mahāprabhu was on His tour of South India, Orissa was invaded by Nawab Hussein Shah. At that time, the Deities of Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā were temporarily moved and hidden on an island in the middle of the Chilka Lake until Pratāparudra drove back the forces of Hussein Shah.
Despite such disturbances, scholarship and devotional literature flourished during Mahārāja Pratāparudra’s reign. His entourage included great scholars such as Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Kāśī Miśra, Rāya Rāmānanda, Kavi Karṇapura, Lolla Lakṣmīdhara Paṇḍita, Rāmakṛṣṇa Bhaṭṭa, Jīvadeva Ācārya etc. Pratāparudra was a staunch Vaiṣṇava who was well-versed in śāstra, and in particular the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.
When Mahāprabhu first arrived in Purī, Pratāparudra was organising a defensive deployment in the South. When he returned to his capital in Kutaka, he heard the glories of Mahāprabhu and immediately travelled to Purī in order to see the Lord. Although Pratāparudra had a strong desire to meet Mahāprabhu, in order to establish the proper conduct for a sannyāsī, the Lord rejected any requests to meet the king. Mahāprabhu stated that it was improper for a renunciant to meet with a materialistic king. However, internally, Mahāprabhu was very satisfied with Pratāparudra’s devotional mood.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja begins this verse with the words, prema-mugdha indicating how the Lord was absorbed in prema. Sometimes, when Śrī Caitanya was immersed in an ecstatic mood, he would exhibit symptoms of bhāva such as dancing, rolling on the ground, singing, crying out aloud, stretching His limbs, roaring, yawning, sighing, drooling, laughing, and hiccuping.
One day, the king heard that Mahāprabhu was dancing and he went to that place to watch from afar. As the Lord danced, He displayed these various bodily transformations. Mahārāja Pratāparudra could not fully understand what he was observing and some doubt arose in his mind. That night as he slept, the king had a dream of Jagannātha whose body was covered in dust. Tears streamed from His eyes, and saliva fell from His lotus mouth. When Pratāparudra tried to touch the Lord’s feet, Jagannātha replied:
jagannātha bale rājā, e ta’nā yuyāya
karpūra kasturī gandha candana kuṅkume
lepita tomāra aṅga sakala uttame
āmāra śarīra dekha dhūlā-lālā-maya
āmā paraśite ki tomāra yogya haya
āmi ye nācite āji tumi giyāchi
lāghṛṇā kaile mora aṅge dekhi dhūlā-lālā
sei dhūlā-lālā dekha sarvāṅge āmāra
tumi mahārājā mahārājāra kumāra
āmāre sparśite ki tomāra yogya haya
eta bali’ bhṛtye cāhi’ hāse dayā-maya
sei-kṣaṇe dekhe rājā sei siṁhāsane
caitanya-gosāñi vasi’ āchena āpane
sei mata sakala śrī-aṅga dhūlā-maya
rājāre balena hāsi e ta yogya naya
tumi ye āmāre ghṛṇā kari gelā mane
tabe tumi āmāre sparśibe ki kāraṇe
(“Jagannātha said, “O King, this is improper. Your entire body is so nicely smeared with camphor, musk, sandalwood and kuṁkuma. Just see My body! It is covered with dust and saliva. So is it right for you to touch Me? When you went to see Me dance today, you felt disgust upon seeing My body covered with dust and saliva. Now look! My entire body is covered with that dust and saliva. You being a great king and the son of a great king – am I really worthy to be touched by you?’ Saying this, the merciful Lord smiled at His servant. Suddenly, the King saw Caitanya Gosāi seated upon that throne. His divine body was completely covered with dust. He smiled at the King and said, ‘This is not right. Previously you were disgusted by Me and returned home – so why do you want to touch Me now?’” – Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya-khaṇḍa 5.172-179)
When Pratāparudra awoke, he realised his offence and understood how Jagannātha and Mahāprabhu were non-different. From that time on, the king gave up all other types of religious activities and concentrated solely upon service to the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanyadeva. This is explained by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja with the words, prārthitāṅghri-varjitānya-sarva-dharma-saṅgama (‘he desired to attain the Lord’s feet and rejected all other forms of dharma’). Thus, Pratāparudra’s intensity to meet the Lord grew, but still nobody could convince Mahāprabhu to grant darśana to the king.
Now Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja explains how Pratāparudra achieved his goal – luṇṭhita-pratāpa-śīrṣa-pāda-dhūli-dhūsara (‘he stole the dust from the Lord’s feet and placed it on his head’). The world luṇṭhita means to steal, or to trick. The Caitanya-caritāmṛta states that Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya devised a plan in order that Pratāparudra could meet the Lord. After dancing at the Ratha Yātrā, Mahāprabhu generally took rest in a particular flower garden. Sārvabhauma’s suggestion was that the king, dressed as a commoner, should approach Him and recite ślokas from the rāsa-līlā section of the Bhāgavatam. Pratāparudra did so and hearing his recitation, Mahāprabhu became overjoyed. The king took the opportunity to massage the Lord’s lotus feet and the Lord embraced Pratāparudra, bestowing His mercy upon him.
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
dākṣinātya – in South India; su-prasiddha – very famous; paṇḍita – scholars; augha – multitude; pūjita – honoured; śreṣṭha – great; rāja – kings; rāja-pātra – royal ministers; śīrṣa – head; bhakti – devotion; bhūṣita – decoration; deśa – place; mātṛ – mother; śeṣa – final; darśana – see; arthi – in order to; gauḍa – the land of Gauḍa; gocara – abode; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaura–sundara – Gaurasundara.
I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. He who was honoured by multitudes of renowned scholars in South India, and whom great kings and royal ministers considered to be the crown-jewel of bhakti, returned to the land of Gauḍa to see His mother for the last time.
South India is renowned for its Vedic scholars. In fact, all the founders of the various sampradāyas such as Rāmānuja, Madhva, Śaṅkara, Viṣṇusvāmī and Vallabha all appeared in the southern states. During His sojourn in South India, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was praised by many eminent scholars from these different sects. Kings and ministers such as Mahārāja Pratāparudra and Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya also showed Him great honour.
Chapter 16 of the Madhya-līlā of Caitanya-caritāmṛta narrates how Mahāprabhu made plans to go to Vṛndāvana and visit Bengal on the way. The devotees in Purī felt very much aggrieved that they would lose the association of Śrī Caitanya, thus on the request of Mahārāja Pratāparudra, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and Rāmānanda Rāya made various diversions in order to delay the Lord’s departure. Firstly, they requested Him to stay for the Ratha Yātrā and go in the month of Kārttika, then when Kārttika arrived they told Him that it was to cold to travel and that late February or early March would be better. This continued for two years. Of course, Śrī Caitanyadeva is supremely independent, yet He would not leave without the permission of the Vaiṣṇavas. Finally, Mahāprabhu humbly requested Sārvabhauma and Rāmānanda to grant Him permission to go to Vraja-dhāma, and feeling extremely guilty that they had made so many schemes to stop the Lord from leaving, they agreed to His proposal. This is an example of the loving exchanges between Mahāprabhu and His devotees. Therefore, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu has written in his Upadeśāmṛta:
dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam
(“Offering gifts and accepting gifts, revealing one’s mind in confidence and inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda – these are the six symptoms of love shared by devotees.”)
Such loving exchanges (prīti-lakṣaṇa) are natural amongst Vaiṣṇavas. They understand that our only true friends are the compassionate devotees of the Lord who are always concerned for the welfare of all jīvas. All material relationships in this world are based upon mutual exploitation and inevitably culminate in the pain of losing one’s loved ones to the hands of death. All such relationships are temporary and it is rare for two jīvātmās to meet again in their next live. As Śrīla Prabhupāda writes:
“As water passes down a river, many straws and grasses are carried from the shore. These straws and grasses come together in the river’s current, but when the waves toss this way and that, they are separated and carried somewhere else. Similarly, the innumerable living entities within this material world are being carried by the waves of material nature. Sometimes the waves bring them together, and they form friendships and relate to one another on a bodily basis of family, community or nationality. Eventually they are thrown out of association by the waves of material nature.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.28.60, purport)
However, devotional relationships amongst the Vaiṣṇavas are different. They do not revolve around the material body, but are focussed upon Kṛṣna and based upon eternal service to Him, therefore such relationships are not temporary. Vaiṣṇavas know that just as they serve Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇava together in this world, they will eventually all serve the Divine Couple in the spiritual realm of Goloka.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu told Sārvabhauma and Rāmānanda that, on the way to Vṛndāvana, He desired to see His two mothers – Śacī Devī and Gaṅgā Devī. Thus Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, deśa-mātṛ-śeṣa-darśanārthi-gauḍa-gocara (‘He returned to the land of Gauḍa to see His mother for the last time’).
The next three verses describe Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s return to Bengal.