Dīkṣā Names and Feelings of the HeartDīkṣā Names and Feelings of the Heart
Hari-kathā in Puruṣottama-kṣetra - Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati ThakuraHari-kathā in Puruṣottama-kṣetra
By Published On: July 1, 2022Tags: 24.3 min read

Continuing with the serialization of Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram by Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī with the Narasiṅgha Sevaka commentary by Bhakti Vijñāna Giri Mahārāja. This week Giri Mahārāja comments on verses 5-8 relating to the childhood pastimes of Śrīman Mahāprabhu.

Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 5-8

Verse 5
dvīpa-navya-gāṅga-baṅga-janma-karma-darśitaṁ
śrīnivāsa-vāsa-dhanya-nāma-rāsa-harṣitam
śrī-hari-priyeśa-pūjyadhī-śacī-purandaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

dvīpa-navya – nine islands (Navadvīpa) gāṅga– the River Gaṅgā; baṅga – bank; janma – birth; karma – activities; darśita – reveal; śrīnivāsa – Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura; vāsa – residence; dhanya – blessed; nāma – the Holy Name; rāsa – mellows; harṣita – joy; śrī – Lakṣmī-priyā Devī; hari-priya – Viṣṇu-priyā Devī; īśa – Lord; pūjyadhi – great respect; śacī – Śacī Devī; Purandara – Jagannātha Miśra; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara

TRANSLATION

I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. He revealed Himself and performed His divine activities on the banks of the Gaṅgā in Navadvīpa. He blessed the house of Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura and gave joy to His associates through the mellows of the Holy Name. He was the Lord of Lakṣmī-priyā and Viṣṇu-priyā, and He showed great respect to His mother, Śacī and His father Miśra Purandara.

Commentary

In the Bhagavad-gītā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa states:

janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar-janma naiti māmeti so’rjuna

(One who understands My divine appearance and activities never takes birth again after giving up this material body. He comes to Me, O Arjuna. – Bhagavad-gītā 4.9)

Although they may appear to be mundane by those who are caught in the clutches of the illusion of māyā, the Lord’s appearance and activities are fully transcendental.

avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto mama bhūta-maheśvaram

(Because they do not know My divine nature as the Supreme Controller of all living beings, those who are ignorant mock Me when I assume a human form. – Bhagavad-gītā 9.11)

In this verse from Gīta, Kṛṣṇa uses the word manuṣīṁ (human-like) because His form and pastimes sometimes seem to be like that of ordinary mortals. He is seen as a youth, a husband, a friend, etc. just like the people of this world. However, all this is known as nara-līlā, or humanlike pastimes, which He Himself relishes. Despite external appearances, the Lord is never in connection with material energy, and unlike the conditioned jīvas of this world, His appearance and activities are not the results of karma.

Śrī Caitanya appeared in Śrī Navadvīpa during the time of a lunar eclipse. The śāstra states that at such a time, one should chant japa or perform saṅkīrtana of kṛṣṇa-nāma in order to ward off the ill-effects of the eclipse. Thus, all the residents of Navadvīpa came to take bath in the waters of the Gaṅgā, while chanting the Names of Kṛṣṇa. In this way, Mahāprabhu’s appearance ushered in the saṅkīrtana movement.

In this śloka, the town of Navadvīpa (dvīpa-navya) is mentioned. The area of Gaura-maṇḍala has a circumference of about 200km with the Gaṅgā running directly through it. Śrī Navadvīpa is at the centre of Gaura-maṇḍala and consists of nine (nava) islands (dvīpa). In the middle of Navadvīpa is Māyāpura, where Śrī Yogapīṭha (the birthplace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu) is situated. Each of the nine islands of Navadvīpa represents one of the nine processes of bhakti.

  1. Antardvīpa (Māyāpura) – ātmā-nivedana (full surrender)
  2. Simantadvīpa – śravaṇa (hearing)
  3. Godrumadvīpa – kīrtana (chanting)
  4. Madhyadvīpa – smaraṇa (remembering)
  5. Koladvīpa – pāda-sevana (serving the Lord’s feet)
  6. Ṛtudvīpa – arcana (worshiping the Deity)
  7. Jahnudvīpa – vandana (praying);
  8. Modrumadvīpa – dāsa (divine servitorship)
  9. Rudradvipa – sakhya (divine friendship)

Prior to His acceptance of sannyāsa, Śrī Caitanyadeva performed pastimes in all of these islands with His associates.

In the second line of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja refers to a specific pastime of Mahāprabhu’s at the house of Śrīvasa Paṇḍīta (sometimes known as Śrīvnivāsa) – namely His performance of nāma-saṅkīrtana there. This is described in detail in Chapter 16 of Caitanya-bhāgavata. Mahāprabhu and His intimate associates would perform nocturnal kīrtanas at the house of Śrīvāsa. This was all done behind closed doors, but on one occasion, the mother-in-law of Śrīvāsa hid herself behind a basket in order to observe Mahāprabhu’s divine dancing. When the Lord informed His associates that He felt no bliss that night, they looked around the house until they finally discovered Śrīvāsa’s mother-in-law, whereupon Śrīvāsa grabbed her by the hair and evicted her from the premises. Without the blessings of Śrī Caitanya, nobody is qualified to see such pastimes. In connection to this pastime, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes:

“Not everyone is fortunate enough to take darśana of Śrī Gaurasundara’s dancing which is filled with ecstasy. Even if less fortunate persons observe such dancing, they are unable to understand its meaning. Even if one is fortunate enough to directly see such bhāva manifest, if one maintains aversion to Him within the heart, one’s mind will wander elsewhere.” (Gauḍīya Bhāṣya Commentary, Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khaṇḍa 16.6)

Thus, by performing His pastimes of relishing nāma-saṅkīrtana (nāma-rāsa-harṣitam) at the house of Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura, Mahāprabhu blessed him and his family (śrīnivāsa-vāsa-dhanya).

In the third line, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes about the two wives of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrī refers to Lakṣmīpriyā and hari-priyā refers to Viṣṇupriyā. Just as Vaikuṇṭha Nārāyaṇa has Śrī Devī and Bhū Devī as His consorts, similarly, Gaura-Nārāyaṇa is flanked by His consorts Lakṣmīpriyā and Viṣṇupriyā. Śrī Devī/Lakṣmīpriyā is the Goddess of Fortune, and Bhū Devī/Viṣṇupriyā is the presiding Goddess of the Earth. The third consort of Vaikuṇṭha Nārāyaṇa is Nīlā Devī, who perpetually serves Gaurasundara in His līlā as the embodiment of the dhāma.

Finally, our attention is drawn to the worshippable parents of Mahāprabhu, Śrīmatī Śacī Mātā and Jagannātha Miśra (pūjyādhi śacī-purandara). Śrīla Kavi Karṇapura states in his Gaura-gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā:

purā yaśodā-vraja-rāja-nandau
vṛndāvane prema-rasākarau yau
śacī-jagannātha-purandarābhidhau
babhūvatus tau na ca saṁśayo’tra

amū āviśatām eva devāvaditi-kaśyapau
śrī-kauśalyā-daśarathau tathā śrī-pṛṣṇi-tat-patī
devakī vasudevau yau pitarau rāma-kṛṣṇayoḥ
tāv apy amū aviśatām iti jalpanti kecana

(Yaśodā and Nanda, the king of Vraja, who were like two oceans of rasa in Vṛndāvana, appeared as Śaci and Jagannātha Purandara. Of this there is no doubt. Some devotees say that the two Devas, Āditi and Kaśyapa, who appeared as Kauśalya and Daśaratha, Pṛṣṇi and his wife, as well as Devakī and Vasudeva, the parents of Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, also entered their bodies. – Gaura-gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā 37-38).

Throughout the Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Caitanya-bhāgavata, we see how Mahāprabhu showed intense devotion to His parents, thus Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja uses the word pūjyādhi (‘extreme veneration’) to describe His filial love and respect.

In many biographies of Mahāprabhu, His father, Jagannātha Miśra, is known as ‘Purandara.’ There are various reasons for this. Firstly, purandara means ‘king’ and due to his śāstrika learning, Jagannātha Miśra was a king amongst the brāhmaṇas of Navadvīpa. Also, he is called purandara because he is Nanda, the king of Vraja in kṛṣna-līlā, and Daśaratha, king of Ayodhyā, in rāma-līlā. Purandara is also an epithet for Indra, the king of the Devas. Indra’s wife is named Śacī, thus because Jagannātha Miśra’s wife is called Śacī, he is sometimes referred to as Purandara.


Verse 6
śrī-śacī-dulāla-bālya-bāla-saṅga-cañcalaṁ
ākumāra-sarva-śāstra-dakṣa-tarka-maṅgalam
chhātra-saṅga-raṅga-dig-jigīṣu-darpa-saṁharaṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

śrī śacī – Śacī Devī; dulāla – son; bālya – childhood; bālasaṅga – in the company of the other boys; cañcala – mischievous; ākumāra – adolescence; sarva – all; śāstra – sacred texts; dakṣa – expert; tarka – logic; maṅgala – joy; chātra – students; saṅga – company; raṅga – famous; digjigīṣu – the scholar who had conquered all directions; darpa – pride; saṁhara – demolish; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva –indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara

TRANSLATION

I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. That child of Śacī Devī performed mischievous pastimes in the company of the other children. During His adolescence, He exhibited His joy by manifesting His expertise in all the śāstra and the science of tarka (logic). In the company of His students, He demolished the pride of the famous dig-vijayī scholar.

Commentary

In the next few ślokas, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes about the bālya-līlā (childhood pastimes) of Nimāi. Just as Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in His childhood līlā, was very mischievous, so also Śrī Gaura was exceptionally naughty. The biographies of Mahāprabhu tell how he would tease the residents of Navadvīpa. Sometimes He would go to the houses of His neighbours and steal milk and rice, and if He found nothing to eat, He would break their pots. When people were bathing at the ghāṭas, He would swap the clothes of the males and females when they were not looking. Brāhmaṇas would step into the waters of the Gaṅgā to chant their gāyatrī, and Nimāi would swim under the water and grab their legs. Such were the childhood antics of young Nimāi.

As Nimāi grew, He became expert in all the śāstra, and in particular tarka, or nyāya. Nyāya is one of the six darśanas (philosophical systems) of Ancient India which deals with logic and its foundational text is the Nyāya-sūtras composed by Akṣapāda Gautama Ṛṣi. In order to come to a conclusion concerning reality, Nyāya recognises sixteen categories – pramāṇa (valid means of knowledge), prameya (objects of valid knowledge), saṁśaya (doubt), prayojana (goal), dṛṣṭānta (example), siddhānta (conclusion), avayava (components of logical argument), tarka (reasoning), nirṇaya (deduction), vāda (thesis), jalpa (dispute), vitaṇḍā (criticism), hetvābhāsa (the fallacy of reason), chala (trivial objection), jāti (logic based upon similarity) and nigrahasthāna (weak points in argument). Those that follow Nyāya accept four evidences – pratyākṣa (direct perception), anumāna (inference), upamāna (logical comparison), and śabda (the Vedas).

At the time of Mahāprabhu, Navadvīpa was famous for the system of Navya Nyāya (‘new nyāya’) which originated in Mithilā with the famous logician Gaṅgeśa Upadhyāya and was continued by his follower, Raghunātha Śiromaṇi of Navadvīpa. Scholars from all over India would come to Navadvīpa to learn this particular form of Nyāya.

Due to its intellectual prestige, Navadvīpa was visited by the famous scholar Keśava Bhaṭṭa of Kaśmīra of the Nimbārka sampradāya. Keśava Bhaṭṭa was a digvijayī-paṇḍita (‘a scholar who conquers all directions’ – in other words, who visits all the places of learning and challenges the academics there to debates), and he had already defeated many scholars in various provinces.

At that time, Nimāi was only sixteen years of age, yet He easily defeated Bhaṭṭa and thoroughly destroyed his pride (dig-jigīṣu-darpa-saṁharaṁ). This pastime will be explained in more detail in Verse 10.

Verse 7
varjya-pātra-sārameya-sarpa-saṅga-khelanaṁ
skandha-vāhi-caura tīrtha-vipra-citra-līlanam
kṛṣṇa-nāma-mātra-bālya-kopa-śānti-saukaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

varjya – discarded; pātra – pots; sārameya – dogs; sarpa – snakes; saṅga – in the company; khelana – playing; skandha – shoulders; vāhi – carried; caura – thieves; tirthavipra – a brāhmaṇa who travels to holy places; citra – various; līlana – pastimes; kṛṣṇanāma – the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa; mātra – only; bālya – childhood; kopa – anger; śānti – calm; saukara – joy; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva –indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara

TRANSLATION

I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. He would play with dirty pots, and in the company of dogs and snakes. He was carried away on the shoulders of thieves, and He performed various pastimes with a tīrtha-vipra. As a baby, when He was in an angry mood, only the Name of Kṛṣṇa would pacify Him and bring joy to Him.

Commentary

In this śloka, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes about six specific pastimes in Mahāprabhu’s childhood.

Firstly, he cites the example of the young Nimāi sitting amongst discarded clay pots. Generally in India, clay pots are used once and then discarded, and the place where they are disposed of is considered to be impure. However, Nimāi sat amongst these contaminated items and played with them. Seeing this Śacī Devī became very upset and chastised Him. Nimāi then explained to Śacī that all the pots had been used in cooking for Viṣṇu, and anything in connection with Viṣṇu could not be contaminated. The Lord took this opportunity to teach His mother about advaya-jñāna (the non-dual knowledge of reality), explaining how ultimately there is no pure and impure. It is stated in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

dvaite bhadrābhadra-jñāna saba manodharma
ei bhāla ei manda ei saba bhrama

(The duality of the conceptions of auspicious and in auspicious is a complete mental concoction. Saying, ‘This is good, this is bad,’ is all a mistake.– Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 4.76)

Similarly, the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam says:

kiṁ bhadraṁ kim abhadraṁ vā dvaitasyāvastunaḥ kiyat
vācoditaṁ tad anṛtaṁ manasā dhyātam eva ca

(That which is expressed in words or conceived by the mind is false. What is good or bad within this insubstantial world of duality? – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.28.4)

Anything which is not connected to the Ultimate Reality, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is actually māyā. Anything generated by the mind and by words that are separate from that Truth cannot be factual. Thus, there is no distinction between what we perceive to be good and what we think to be bad in the material world. This is why in the first verse of the Bhāgavatam Kṛṣna is described as Satyam Param (the Absolute Truth) – He is the Absolute Truth, and all other relative ‘truths’ that do not pertain to Him, are ultimately all illusory.

The next pastime is mentioned in the Ādi-khaṇḍa of Śrī Caitanya-maṅgala of Śrīla Locana Dāsa Ṭhākura. Once when Nimāi was playing with His friends, they came across a litter of puppies. Nimāi took one of the puppies home, much to the annoyance of Śacī Mātā. Putting her hand on her head, she cried, “Why are You playing like this? There are so many other things to play with, and You have to play with a puppy! You are the son of a respected brāhmaṇa. What will people say? How will I defend You when they complain? Fine! Go to Your room, take Your puppy with You and reject Your mother and father!”
Then Śacī’s heart softened and she told Him to go and prepare for lunch by bathing in the Gaṅgā. He could leave the dog at home. While He was gone, Śacī set the puppy free. Upon returning, Nimāi found the puppy missing and rebuked His mother.

Locana Dāsa Ṭhākura goes on to say that, due to his contact with Mahāprabhu, the puppy gave up its canine nature and began to dance, calling out, “Rādhā-Govinda! Rādhā-Govinda!” With its eyes brimming with tears, the dog gave up his body and went to the divine realm of Goloka. The significance of this story is that by contact with aprākṛta-tattva (transcendental reality), that which is asat (mundane) can become purified. The external form it may take is irrelevant. That is why Śrī Caitanyadeva has recommended nāma-saṅkīrtana for this age. Through the process of congregational chanting, everything that comes in contact with the aprākṛta-tattva-nāma of Śrī Kṛṣṇa becomes purified.

Next, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja mentions Nimāi’s sarpa-līlā (snake pastime). This is mentioned in the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa, Chapter 4. It is said that once, a snake entered the house of Jagannātha Miśra and baby Nimāi caught hold of the serpent and played with it. Finally, feeling sleepy, the Lord lay down in its coils. Everyone who saw this became horrified, but Nimāi simply smiled as He rested upon the snake. Hearing the commotion, the snake began to slither away, but Nimāi awoke and tried to grabbed it again. At this point, the ladies who were watching grabbed Nimāi and the snake departed. All those that were present agreed that it was no ordinary snake. Actually, the snake was none other than Ananta Śeṣa who had manifest to serve the Lord. After narrating this līlā, Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura comments that by hearing this pastime with devotion, one will never be bitten by the saṁsāra-bhujaṅga (the snake of material birth and death).

Here, the jīvas are all suffering from the poison of the saṁsāra-bhujaṅga. In this world, the venom of poisonous snakes has been classified by scientists as neurotoxic (affecting the brain and mind), cytotoxic (affecting the bodily tissues) and hemotoxic (affecting the blood). Similarly, when a jīva is afflicted by the poison of the saṁsāra-bhujaṅga, his mind becomes poisoned by thoughts of sense-enjoyment. Then the poison of ahaṁ mameti (‘I’ and ‘mine’) forces him to identify with his physical body and its so-called possessions, and this leads to the poison of identifying himself with his blood-relations, community, nation etc. But one who meditates upon and discusses this pastime of Nimāi and Ananta with sincere devotion cannot be affected by the deadly venom of the saṁsāra-bhujaṅga.

Nimāi’s pastimes of being carried away by two thieves is narrated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā Chapter 14 and Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa Chapter 3. Sometimes Śacī Mātā would dress young Nimāi in gold bangles, necklaces etc, and seeing this, two thieves decided to kidnap Him, take Him into the forest and relieve Him of His ornaments. They told Nimāi they would take Him home, and giving Him a sweet and placing Him on their shoulders, they wandered into the forest. However, due to the influence of the Lord’s māyā-śakti, the thieves became lost and ended up back at the residence of Jagannātha Miśra. By this time, everyone was looking for the Lord and calling out His name. In fear, the thieves dropped Nimāi on the ground and fled.

In describing this pastime, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura states that despite the fact that the thieves’ intention was to rob the Lord, their good fortune of having carried Him (and thus having indirectly engaged in some service to Him) is indescribable. Such service, which is rare even for Devas such as Brahmā, can only be due to the previous pious activities of these two thieves.

The pastime of Nimāi and the tīrtha-vipra (the brāhmaṇa who was travelling to the holy places) is well known. This is elaborately narrated in Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa Chapter 5. The brāhmaṇa came to Navadvīpa and was a guest in the house of Jagannātha Miśra who gave him ingredients to cook for his Deity of Bala Gopāla. After cooking, the brāhmaṇa offered the food to Bala Gopāla, but young Nimāi came before him and began to eat it. Seeing this, the brāhmaṇa became upset, thinking that the offering was ruined. Jagannātha Miśra apologised and requested him to cook again, but again Nimāi appeared and ate the offering. At this point, Jagannātha Miśra locked Nimāi in His room and on the request of Viśvarūpa, Nimāi’s elder brother, the brāhmaṇa cooked for a third time. By the time the brāhmaṇa had finished cooking, it was late and the household was sleeping. However, Nimāi appeared again and started to eat the offering. The brāhmaṇa began to lament but Nimāi simply told him, “You keep calling Me, so why am I at fault?” Since the brāhmaṇa was chanting the six-syllable gopāla-mantra, Nimāi, who is non-different from Gopāla, came accordingly. The Lord then exhibited His eight-armed form to the brāhmaṇa, who fell unconscious with ecstasy. When he regained his composure, the Lord told him that he had been his servant for many lifetimes, and that in a previous life he had seen Him at the house of Nanda Mahārāja in Vraja. He then instructed the brāhmaṇa not to disclose anything he had seen.

This pastimes signifies gaura-kṛṣna-abhedatva (the non-difference between Gaura and Kṛṣṇa). In the age of Kali, one can only become successful in kṛṣṇa-bhajana through gaura-bhajana. Since Mahāprabhu is the yugāvatāra of Kali-yuga, it behooves the jīvas of this age to worship Him by offering themselves into the fire of the saṅkīrtanayajña. Gaura Himself has come to perform His ācārya-līlā in order to instruct us of the correct mood in worshiping Kṛṣṇa. Just as one cannot attain perfection in kṛṣṇa-bhajana without the mercy of Gaurāṅga, similarly, one cannot simply worship Gaura while neglecting Śrī Kṛṣṇa. If one does so, then one perceives a difference between Gaura and Kṛṣṇa. As Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has stated, “Śri-gaura-līlā and śri-kṛṣṇa-līlā are mutually intertwined as the supreme nectar for the jīvas of Kali-yuga.”

Finally, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja reminds us of the pastime from Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa, Chapter 4, when baby Nimāi would constantly cry until the ladies would clap their hands and chant hari-nāma. This is the only thing that would pacify the child. Thus, from sunrise to sunset, the Holy Name was chanted in the residence of Jagannātha Miśra and Śacī Devī. In this way, even as a baby, the Lord induced everyone to engage in hari-nāma saṅkīrtana.


Verse 8

snāna-gāṅga-vāri-bāla-saṅga-raṅga-khelanaṁ
bālikādi-pārihāsya-bhaṅgi-bālya-līlanam
kūṭa-tarka-chātra-śikṣakādi-vāda-tatparaṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

snāna – bathe; gaṅga – the River Gaṅgā; vāri – water; bāla – boys; saṅga – company; raṅga – wonderful; khelana – play; bālikādi – young girls; pārihāsya – joking; bhaṅgi – tease; bālya – childhood; līlana – pastimes; kūṭa – clever; tarka – logical; chātra – students; śikṣaka – teachers; ādi – etc; vāda – theories; tatpara – present; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva –indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara

TRANSLATION

I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. During His wonderful childhood pastimes, He would swim in the waters of the Gaṅgā with the other boys, and He would tease the young girls with playful words. He would also present clever logical arguments and dispute the theories of other teachers and students.

Commentary

Continuing with Mahāprabhu’s childhood pastimes, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja narrates the pastime of how the Lord would tease the young girls who were worshiping Śiva on the banks of the Gaṅgā. It is a common practice in India for young unmarried girls to worship Śiva on Mondays so that he will bless them with a good husband. They worship him because they want their husbands to adore them the same way Śiva adores his consort, Pārvatī. When the young girls of Navadvīpa would perform śiva-pūjā, Nimāī would sit down amongst them and declare, “Worship Me and I will bless you with good husbands! If you don’t, I will curse you to be married to old men who already have children from their previous wives!” The girls would laugh and offer Nimāi all the garlands and sweets they had brought to worship Śiva.

This līlā of Mahāprabhu’s shows that by worshipping the Supreme Lord Himself, all other Devas are automatically satisfied. Therefore Skanda Purāṇa states:

arcite deva-deveśe śaṅkha-cakra-gadā-dhare
arcitāḥ sarva-devāḥ syur yataḥ sarva-gato hariḥ

(By worshipping the God of gods, who holds a conch, cakra and club, all the Devas are automatically worshipped since Hari is the resort of all.)

And Śrīmad Bhāgavatam says:

yathā taror mūla-niṣecanena
tṛpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopaśākhāḥ
prāṇopahārāc ca yathendriyāṇāṁ
tathaiva sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā

(Just as by watering the root of a tree, the trunk, branches and twigs are satisfied, and just as the senses are satisfied by the life-airs, similarly, by worshipping Acyuta all others are worshipped. – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.31.14)

The simple girls of Navadvīpa did not understand this, yet due to the all-attractive beauty and charm of Nimāi, they happily gave Him all the items meant for the worship of His devotee, Śiva without any consideration of offence.

However, sometimes the girls would complain to Śacī Devī that Nimāi would steal their clothes while they bathed in the Gaṅgā, spit water on them, or throw sand in their faces. This is narrated in Caitanya-caritāmrta, Ādi-līlā, Chapter 14 and Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa, Chapter 6. Again, all these pranks of Nimāi are similar to the mischievous pastimes of young Kṛṣṇa in Vraja-bhūmi.

In the second half of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, kūṭa-tarka-chātra-śikṣakādi-vāda-tatparaṁ – Nimāī would also present clever logical arguments and dispute the theories of other teachers and students. Śrīla Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura writes:

āsiyā vaisena gaṅgā-dāsera sabhāya
pakṣa-pratipakṣa prabhu karena sadāya
prabhu-sthāne puṅthi cinte nāhi ye-ye-jana
tāhāre se prabhu kadarthena anukṣaṇa

(The Lord would sit in the class of Gaṅgā Dāsa and constantly engage in arguments and counter-arguments. The Lord would immediately point out the flaws in anyone’s arguments that disagreed with His point of view. – Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa 10. 8-9)

Śrī Gaṅga Dāsa Paṇḍita was the teacher of Mahāprabhu, and according to Gaura-ganoddeśa Dīpikā, he was Vasiṣṭha Muni, the guru of Śrī Rāmācandra in rāma-līlā. Seeing Mahāprabhu’s nature, Gaṅga Dāsa tutored Him as if He was his own son. While teaching Him Sanskrit grammar and nyāya, he noted that Nimāi remembered all the sūtras just by hearing them once. Nimāi would continuously argue philosophy and grammar with other students of all ages. At that time, there were many teachers with thousands of students in Navadvīpa and they would all come to the Gaṅgā to take bath at midday. Here, Nimāi would challenge them and defeat them all. Sometimes the debates became so heated that they would conclude with the students splashing water or throwing mud at each other. As mentioned previously in Verse 6, at the time of Mahāprabhu, Navadvīpa was famous for nyāya, and being sarvajña (all-knowing), Śrī Caitanyadeva naturally excelled in this system of philosophy. This will be further demonstrated in the next verse.

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