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By Published On: October 14, 2022Tags: 28.8 min read

In verses 25 to 28 of Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram, Swami B.V. Giri continues to elucidate on Mahāprabhu's talks on the five primary rasas with Rāmānanda Rāya, and how the Lord revealed His yugala-rūpa (original form of Rādhā-Govinda) to Rāmānanda. Mahāprābhu's travels to Kūrma-kṣetra and Śrīraṅgam are also discussed.

Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 25-28

by
His Divine Grace
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja

with the
Narasiṅgha Sevaka Vivṛtti
by Tridaṇḍi Swami Bhakti Vijñāna Giri


Verse 25
śānta-mukta-bhṛtya-tṛpta-mitra-matta-darśitaṁ

snigdha-mugdha-śiṣṭa-miṣṭa-suṣṭha-kuṇṭha-harṣitam
tantra-mukta-vāmya-rāga-sarva-sevanottaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

śānta – neutrality; mukta – liberation; bhṛtya – servitorship; tṛpta – contentment; mitra – friendship; matta joy; darśita – seeing; snigdha – affection; mugdha – young; śiṣṭa – disciplines; miṣṭa – conjugal-rasa; suṣṭha – properly; kuṇṭha – restrained; harṣita – pleasure; tantra – the śāstra; mukta – free; vāmya – left-wing; rāga – spontaneous divine love; sarva – all; sevana – service; uttara – highest; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. Those who are in śānta-rasa derive pleasure from liberation. Those in dāsya-rasa find contentment in service. Those in sakhya-rasa attain happiness simply by seeing Kṛṣṇa. Those in vātsalya-rasa acquire joy from their affectionate relationship with Kṛṣna. Those in svakīya mādhurya-rasa also find pleasure, but it is constricted by formal behaviour. The highest service of all are the spontaneous feelings of divine love felt by left-wing gopīs, which are free from the restrictions of the śāstra.

Commentary

In this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī briefly describes the symptoms of those in the five mukhya-rasas. In the neutrality of śāntarasa, one finds pleasure in mukti, or liberation (śānta-mukta). This primarily refers to the four types of vaikuṇṭha-mukti, namely sāyujya, sārūpya, sāmīpya, sālokya and sārṣṭi. Although these are not antagonistic towards bhakti, they are not the ultimate aim of one who desires to serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the charming land of Vraja, since these four types of mukti promote a mood of formality, rather than sweetness.

Next, the pleasure of those in dāsya-rasa is described. Servitorship stimulates a feeling of contentment in rendering service to the Lord (bhṛtya-tṛpta). When a servant sees that his master is pleased with the service he has rendered, a feeling of fulfilment arises within his heart.

The devotees in sakhya-rasa derive their happiness simply by seeing Kṛṣna and associating with Him in a fraternal mood (mitra-matta-darśita). Thus it is said:

mādhuri hāsya-sudhā variṣaṇa
nayana-cātaka-rūpe siñcita sakhā-gaṇa
tāhāte śrīdāma haye ānanda antara
pulake pūrita aṅga romañca kalevara

(“Kṛṣṇa’s sweet form and nectarean smile, rains down upon the eyes of the cowherd boys which are like thirsty cātaka birds. Upon seeing Him, Śrīdāmā becomes internally blissful and this is externally displayed as goosebumps and horripulation all over his body.” – Preyo Bhakti Rasārnava)

Those devotees in vātsalya-rasa feel bliss from their affectionate dealings with Kṛṣṇa. In sakhyarasa, there is a feeling of equality with Kṛṣṇa, but in vātsalyabhāva, the feeling is that Kṛṣṇa is a minor who is in need of protection. This is explained in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.5.33):

guravo ye harer asya te pūjyā iti viśrutāḥ
anugraha-mayī teṣāṁ ratir vātsalyam ucyate
idaṁ lālana-bhavyāśīś cibuka-sparśanādi-kṛt

(“Those that identify themselves as Hari’s superiors are known as respected elders. Their affection, which is displayed by their showing mercy to Him, is known as vātsalya. Thus, they protect Him, bless Him, kiss Him, touch Him etc.”)

Śrīla Śridhara Mahārāja then explains svakīya-mādhurya-rasa (śiṣṭa-miṣṭa-suṣṭha-kuṇṭha-harṣita) where the devotee finds pleasure in a conjugal relationship with Kṛṣna, but it is confined by śiṣṭācāra, the moral rules and regulations of society, and in particular within marriage. An example of this is Kṛṣna’s relationship with Rukmiṇī, Satyabhāmā and the other queens of Dvārakā.

Finally, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja describes the greatest of all Kṛṣna’s servants (sarva-sevanottara), the vāmya-bhāva gopīs. The word vāmya means ’left-wing’ or ’contrary’ as opposed to dakṣiṇā, meaning ’right-wing’ or ’compliant’. The characteristics of the vāmya-bhāva gopīs is that they are not very submissive to Kṛṣṇa. They pout and exhibit anger when Kṛṣṇa misbehaves and they like to argue with Him. They consider Kṛṣṇa to belong to them. The dakṣiṇā-bhāva gopīs are submissive to Him and never show any anger. They consider themselves the property of Kṛṣṇa. The characteristics of both categories are described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:

māna-grahe sadodyuktā tac-chaithilye ca kopanā
abhedyā nāyake prāyaḥ krūrā vāmeti kīrtyate

(“One who maintains her pride, who becomes angry when she is neglected, who cannot be controlled by the hero and who acts harshly towards him – she is known as vāma.” – Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi 8.37)

asahā māna-nirbandhe nāyake yukta-vādinī
sāmabhis tena bhedyā ca dakṣiṇā parikīrtitā

(“One who is intolerant of another woman’s anger, who is expert in speaking properly to the hero, and who is appeased by His words – she is called dakṣiṇā.”- Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi 8.38)

Assisted by Lalitā Devī, Śrī Rādhā heads the vāmya-bhava gopīs. Amongst all the gopīs, they are considered to be the highest and most surrendered to the desires of Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja hints at the reason for this in the verse by using the phrase tantra-mukta (liberated from the confines of śāstra). This is also confirmed in the Bhāgavatam:

āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ
vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ sva-janam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā
bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām

(“The gopīs have abandoned the association of their family, which is very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of Vedic society and the śāstra in order to take shelter of the feet of Mukunda, that even the Vedas are searching for. O, let me be fortunate enough to be a bushe, creeper or shrub in Vṛndāvana, because the gopīs may bless them with the dust of their feet.” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.47.61)

Those gopīs following vāmya-bhāva have entered the plane of self-forgetfulness, where the only consideration is wholesale service to Kṛṣṇa – all else is negligible. These gopīs are willing to forgo their own families, societal reputations, and the injunctions of the śāstra in order to please Him. Thus, their dedication is considered to be the highest. And amongst them, the topmost servitor in this regard is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.


Verse 26

ātma-navya-tattva-divya-rāya-bhāgya-darśitaṁ
śyāma-gopa-rādhikāpta-kokta-gupta-ceṣṭitam
murcchitāṅghri-rāma-rāya-bodhitātma-kiṅkaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

ātma – His own; navya – new; tattva – reality; divya – divine; rāya – Rāmānanda Rāya; bhāgya – fortunate; darśita – see; śyāma – dark complexion; gopa – cowherd boy; rādhikā – Śrī Rādhā; apta – taken; ka lustre; ukta – express; gupta – hidden; ceṣṭita – pursuit; murcchita – fainted; aṅghri – feet; rāma-rāya – Rāmānanda Rāya; bodhita – consciousness; ātma – His own; kiṅkara – servant; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. The Lord revealed to the most fortunate Rāya Rāmānanda His divine, unprecedented Reality as Śyāma, the dark cowherd boy, who has taken the lustre of Śrī Rādhikā and expressed His hidden motivations. Observing this, Rāma Rāya fainted at the Lord’s feet, and the Lord then restored the consciousness of His own servant.

Commentary

The conversation between Rāmānanda and Śrī Caitanyadeva culminated in Mahāprabhu revealing His combined form as Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. This had never been seen before, thus Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja uses the phrase navya-tattva (‘an unprecedented reality’). Therefore, we find in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam

(“He has mercifully appeared in the Age of Kali to bestow that which was never offered before – the wealth of His own devotional conjugal rasa.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādī-līlā 1.4)

Prior to the descent of Śrī Caitanyadeva this unnatojjvala-rasa was described in a general sense in the Bhāgavatam and Purāṇas, and devotional writers such as Jayadeva Gosvāmī, Cāṇḍī Dāsa and Vidyāpati had hinted at it. However, until the appearance of Mahāprabhu, the descriptions concerning Kṛṣṇa’s mādhuryarasa were considered to be nothing more than poetic narrations. The sādhana of how to achieve the rare treasure of premarasa, which had never been given before, was only revealed by the causeless mercy of Śrī Caitanya and His associates. In particular, the concept of mañjarī-sevā (serving under the shelter of the gopīs as a mañjarī) had not been disclosed. In order to distribute such wealth, it was necessary for the Lord to appear as rādhā-kṛṣna milita tanu, the combined form of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, accompanied by His dearmost associates of Vraja.

According to Śrīla Dhyānācandra Gosvāmī’s Gaura-Govinda Arcana Smaraṇa Paddhati, Rāmānanda Rāya is considered to be the gopī Viśākhā Devī, who is the intimate friend of Śrī Rādhā. Due to his having direct experience of mādhurya-rasa as Viśākhā, Rāmānanda was able to speak definitively on this subject with Mahāprabhu. Rāmānanda is also considered to be Kṛṣṇa’s friend and cousin, Arjuna. Considering this, it may be understood that the Rāmānanda-saṁvāda is a continuation of their discussion found in the Bhagavad-gītā – the difference being that in that in gauralīlā, it is Arjuna-Rāmānanda who is speaking at the behest and inspiration of Kṛṣṇa-Gaurāṅga. The Gītā describes duty according to the principles of varṇāśrama-dharma and culminates in surrender to Kṛṣna (sarvadharmān parityajya). However, the Gītā is silent on the details of surrender according to the five principle rasas, and Gaura-Kṛṣna extracts this from Rāmānanda-Arjuna in Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

In the third line of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja describes how, upon seeing Mahāprabhu’s dual form of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, Rāmānanda fainted in ecstasy at the feet of the Lord. The Lord then brought him back to consciousness. This is described in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

dekhi rāmānanda hailā ānande mūrcchite
dharite nā pāre deha paḍilā bhūmite

prabhu tāṅre hasta sparśi’ karāilā cetana
sannyāsīra veṣa dekhi’ vismita haila mana

āliṅgana kari’ prabhu kaila āśvāsana
tomā vinā ei-rūpa nā dekhe anya-jana

mora tattva-līlā-rasa tomāra gocare
ataeva ei-rūpa dekhāiluṅ tomāre

(“Seeing this, Rāmānanda felt great bliss, and fainting, he was not able to stand and fell to the ground. The Lord then touched his hand and he became conscious again. Seeing the Lord dressed as a sannyāsī, his mind became bewildered. Embracing him, the Lord calmed him down and said, ‘Apart from you, no one else has ever seen this form. You are fully aware of the reality of My līlā and rasa, therefore I have revealed this form to you.’” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.283-286)

In Bhagavad-gītā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifested the awe-inspiring virāṭ-rūpa to Pāṇḍava Arjuna to reveal to the world the infinite majesty and power of the Supreme Lord. Similarly, Śrī Caitanya revealed His sweet form of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda to Rāmānanda Rāya to unveil the unlimited sweetness and beauty of His vraja-līlā. At the end of the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa Himself indicates this when he says, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (‘solely surrender unto me’). This is explained by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja:

“Here, the glory of the hidden purpose in the Bhagavad-gītā is sung (gītā-guḍārtha-gauravam): ‘Give up all engagements and come to Me. You won’t have to repent, Arjuna, because I am everything to you, and You are everything to Me. This is the most hidden of all hidden truth. What more can I say? And you will find this in Vraja (Vṛndāvana).’ In Sanskrit rhetoric (alaṅkāra) the ornamental suggestion by which the sound of a word echoes its sense, is known as dhvani. Here, such a hint is given. Mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁvraja‘ – ‘You may go to Vraja, and there you will find the most hidden of all hidden truths (sarva-guhyatamam). The deepest secret of the inner loving heart has been fully revealed there. I am beyond all conceptions of religion, society, friends everything. My position is above everything, and in the heart of the heart of everything. In the eternal land of Vraja, you will experience the whole conception of beauty. Dismiss all other engagements and prospects, and come to Me alone. Your inner hankering will be fulfilled beyond your expectations. You will find such dignity in Me, that you will be beyond reaction and repentance. This is the deepest meaning of the highest glory.” (Bhagavad-gītā: The Hidden Treasure of the Sweet Absolute, 18;66)

Thus, the divine dialogue between Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāya Rāmānanda begins where the conversation between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna ends.


Verse 27

naṣṭa-kuṣṭha-kūrma-vipra-rūpa-bhakti-toṣaṇaṁ
rāma-dāsa-vipra-moha-mukta-bhakta-poṣaṇam
kāla-kṛṣṇa-dāsa-mukta-bhaṭṭathāri-piñjaraṁ
prema-dhāma devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

naṣṭa – remove; kuṣṭha – leprosy; kūrma – Kūrma; viprabrāhmaṇa; rūpa – form; bhaktibhakti; toṣaṇa – bliss; rāma-dāsaRāma Dāsa; viprabrāhmaṇa; moha – bewilderment; mukta – remove; bhakta – devotee; poṣaṇam – nourish; kāla-kṛṣṇa-dāsa – Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa; mukta – saved; bhaṭṭathāri – the Bhaṭṭahāris; piñjara – clutches; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. At Kūrma-kṣetra the Lord cured a brāhmaṇa of leprosy and he attained a beautiful form and the bliss of bhakti. He removed the confusion of the brāhmaṇa Rāma Dāsa and gave devotional nourishment to that devotee. He also saved Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa from the clutches of the Bhaṭṭahāris.

Commentary

This verse describes three different pastimes of the Lord as He travelled through South India. Firstly, there is the līlā at Kūrma-kṣetra in Andhra Pradesh where Mahāprabhu met the brāhmaṇa Vāsudeva and cured him of leprosy. The first line of this verse is similar to the invocation of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, Chapter 7 where Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes:

dhanyaṁ taṁ naumi caitanyaṁ
vāsudevaḥ dayārdra-dhī
naṣṭa-kuṣṭhaṁ rūpa-puṣṭaṁ
bhakti-tuṣṭaṁ cakāra yaḥ

(“I offer my obeisance unto the blessed Śrī Caitanya, who was most compassionate unto Vāsudeva. He removed his leprosy, and gave him a beautiful form as well as the bliss of bhakti.”)

Vāsudeva, a learned brāhmaṇa who was suffering from leprosy, came to see the Lord when he arrived in Kūrma-kṣetra. When he arrived at the place where the Lord had resided, he was told that He had already left. Vāsudeva was so heartbroken that he fainted on the spot. As he lamented his misfortune, suddenly Mahāprabhu returned and seeing Vāsudeva, He embraced him. Simply by coming in contact with the Lord’s divine form, Vāsudeva’s leprosy was cured and his body became handsome and effulgent. Being humble by nature, Vāsudeva became worried that having been cured by the Lord, he would become proud. Then Mahāprabhu instructed him:

prabhu kahe kabhu tomāra nā habe abhimāna
nirantara kaha tumi kṛṣna kṛṣṇa nāma

kṛṣṇa upadeśi kara jīvera nistāra
acirāte kṛṣṇa tomā karibena aṅgīkāra

(“The Lord said, ‘If you constantly chant the Names, ‘Kṛṣna! Kṛṣna!’ you will never become proud. Preach about Kṛṣṇa and deliver the jīvas. In this way, Kṛṣṇa will soon accept you.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.148-149)

Like the brāhmaṇa Vasudeva, all jīvas are suffering from a disease. This disease is called bhava-roga, the disease of material life. The symptoms of this malady are janma, mṛtyu, jarā and vyādhi (birth, death, old age and disease). The one attribute that these four symptoms share is that they all involve pain and suffering. Here in His instructions to the brāhmaṇa, the all-merciful Śrī Caitanyadeva has given the only remedy for bhava-roga. Firstly, one must cultivate humility, and secondly, one must constantly chant kṛṣna-nāma. Both these instructions are found in the third verse of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s Śikṣāṣtakam:

tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

(“Considering oneself as lowly as a blade of grass and being as tolerant as a tree, without any personal pride and giving respect unto others, one can chant hari-nāma constantly.”)

Actually, without humility one can never truly chant the Holy Name. Humility is the crest-jewel of a Vaiṣṇava and one who observes such natural humility in a Vaiṣṇava is automatically attracted to such a person. One cannot temporarily display humility and think that they will achieve a taste for hari-nāma. For example, when we are praised by the Vaiṣṇavas for our service, we may make a show of being humble, but when those same Vaiṣṇavas correct us, our ‘humility’ is nowhere to be seen! In this regard, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura writes:

“We are unfortunate that we no longer see such humility in the modern Vaiṣṇava society. Everyone is busy trying to display and glorify his own qualities: “I chant one lākha of names! Oh, my conduct is very pure! I am a great devotee.” Such egoistic statements have become the sole testimony of Vaiṣṇavism in present times. Nowadays, people no longer offer daṇḍavat naturally and with a simple heart. When two persons meet, they generally spend the whole time meant for offering daṇḍavat in thinking, ‘Should I first offer him daṇḍavat?’ And eventually one greets the other simply by saying, ‘Daṇḍavats.’ Seeing all these inauspicious signs, it is feared that in the near future the influence of Kali will also enter into Vaiṣṇava society.” (‘Dainya’ – Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol.10, Issue 8)

When one’s humility is genuine and constant, one will certainly be able to chant śuddha-nāma and attain the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu also instructed the brāhmaṇa to propagate kṛṣṇaupadeśa, the instructions of Kṛṣṇa. Primarily this means the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā. There are many books about bhakti-tattva and some of these works discuss higher topics concerning vraja-rasa. These books will not help the general public who are devoid of any understanding of ātmā and Paramātmā and are struggling with the urges of the mind and senses. Factually, to present such high books to the ignorant masses is an offence to the Holy Name and the previous ācāryas. Such works as Gīta Govinda, Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi, Govinda Līlāmṛta, Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta etc. were not written by the ācāryas for mass distribution to the public, nor for so-called intellectuals to critique, nor for those kaniṣṭha Vaiṣṇavas who are still under in the clutches of the modes of material nature. These rare literary gems were meant for a few rasika Vaiṣṇavas to relish. Thus, when Mahāprabhu says kṛṣṇaupadeśa, He is essentially referring to sambandha-jñāna, knowledge of our constitutional position and our relationship with īśvara (the Supreme), kāla (the principle of time), karma (action and reaction), prākṛti (material nature) and the other jīvas. These subjects are all dealt with in the Bhagavad-gītā.

Next, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja mentions the brāhmaṇa named Rāma Dāsa who was a devotee of Śrī Rāmacandra. Mahāprabhu stayed at his residence in Kāmakoṣṭhī, but noticed that Rāma Dāsa was fasting. When asked by the Lord why he was forgoing any food, Rāma Dāsa replied that he was too miserable to eat because Sītā, the consort of Śrī Rāmacandra, had been kidnapped by Rāvaṇa and he could not tolerate that she had been touched by a demon. Śrī Caitanyadeva replied that because Sītā’s form is cid-ānanda (completely comprised of supreme transcendental knowledge and bliss), it is not possible for a materialist to even see her, what to say of touch her. Thus, Rāvaṇa actually kidnapped a māyā Sītā, an illusory form of Sītā Devī. In this way, Mahāprabhu convinced the brāhmaṇa. Later, when the Lord was in Rameśvara, He heard the brāhmaṇas there reciting a section from the Kūrma Purāṇa which mentions how Rāvaṇa stole a māyā Sītā, and taking that manuscript, He returned to Kāmakoṣṭhī and showed Rāma Dāsa the section from the Kūrma Purāṇa. Rāma Dāsa fell and wept at His feet, and thanked the Lord profusely.

From this particular pastime we can understand how spiritual substance cannot be perceived by a materialist. The mundane mind can only accept what the senses perceive, thus the atheist never accepts the existence of a Supreme Being, nor the reality of ātmā-tattva. Since Kṛṣna and His energies are aprākṛta, or beyond the purview of matter, they cannot be understood by those who are slaves to their material sensory faculties. The Kaṭha Upaniṣad states:

na sandṛṣe tiṣṭhati rūpamasya
na cakṣuṣā paśyati kaścanainam
hṛdā manīṣā manasābhiklṛpto
ya etad vidur amṛtāste bhavanti

(“His form cannot be seen by all. He cannot be seen with the physical eye. He can only be perceived by that mind which is immersed in devotional wisdom. Those that know this attain immortality.” – Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.3.9)

Finally, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja describes the deliverance of Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa from the hands of the Bhaṭṭahāris. When Mahāprabhu was preparing to leave Purī for His travels to the South, the devotees requested Him to take one brāhmaṇa named Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa to assist Him. Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa served the Lord in various ways, but when they came to Mallāra-deśa (the Malabar district of Kerala), Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa became bewildered by the Bhaṭṭahāris. The Bhaṭṭahāris seem to have been some nomadic tribe whose men dress as sannyāsīs, and whose women have loose morals. Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa was a simple and gentle brāhmaṇa, yet his intelligence became polluted due to the corrupt association of the Bhaṭṭahāri women. When Mahāprabhu came to retrive His servant, the Bhaṭṭahāris attacked Him with weapons, but their own weapons turned against them and cut them to pieces. It is interesting to note that this is the only instance in gaura-līlā where Mahāprabhu actually used serious physical violence. When Mahāprabhu returned to Purī, he told the devotees what had happened to Kāla Kṛṣna Dāsa and in order to maintain the proper standards of sannyāsa, Mahāprabhu said that He did not want to associate with him anymore. Thus, he returned to Bengal under the shelter of Nityānanda Prabhu, Jagadānanda Paṇḍita, Mukunda Datta, and Dāmodara Paṇḍita.

In his article, The Fall of Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa, Śrīla Bhakti Gaurava Narasiṅgha Mahārāja explains that there are three lessons we may derive from this pastime – firstly, that as long as one is in this world we should never deviate from the strict principles of pure bhakti. Secondly, we understand how the Lord always protects His devotees in all circumstances, even when they fall from the path of pure devotion. Thirdly, we learn that the devotees are more merciful than the Lord Himself, and in particular Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu.

In the Bhagavad-gītā, Śrī Kṛṣna has stated, na me bhakta praṇāśyati (“My devotee never perishes”). Because Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa was simple-hearted by nature and had rendered sincere service to the Lord during His travels in South India, Mahāprabhu placed him under the shelter of Śrī Nityānanda, who is the deliverer of the fallen. In this way, he continued rendering service to the Vaiṣṇavas and, as Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja reminds us:

“…the narrations about the Lords tour of South India were available for recording in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Even the narration of how the Lord delivered Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa from the gypsies. Those narrations continue to enliven the devotees even up to the present day. Thus the service of Kāla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa continues.”


Verse 28

raṅganātha-bhaṭṭa-bhakti-tuṣṭa-bhaṅgi-bhāṣaṇaṁ
lakṣmya-gamya-kṛṣṇa-rāsa-gopikaika-poṣaṇam
lakṣmyabhīṣṭa-kṛṣṇa-śīrṣa-sādhya-sādhanākaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

raṅganātha – at the place of Raṅganātha; bhaṭṭa – Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa; bhakti – devotion; tuṣṭa – satisfied; bhaṅgi – cleverly; bhāṣaṇa – discussion; lakṣmya – Lakṣmī; gamya – approach; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣna; rāsa – mellows; gopika – the gopīs; eka – exclusively; poṣaṇa – nurture; lakṣmya – Lakṣmī; abhīṣṭa – desire; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣna; śīrṣa – topmost; sādhya – object; sādhana – practice; ākara – best; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. In the abode of Raṅganātha, the Lord was satisfied with the devotion of Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa and cleverly began a discussion with him. The Lord told him that even Lakṣmī is attracted to that rasa of Kṛṣṇa which is exclusively nurtured by the gopīs. Thus, Lakṣmī desires Kṛṣna, who is the supreme goal attained through the best of spiritual practices.

Commentary

During the four months of the caturmāsa period, Śrī Caitanyadeva stayed at the home of Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa in Śrīraṅgam. Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa, who belonged to the Śrī sampradāya of Rāmānujācārya, was the head priest of the ancient Raṅganātha temple. Members of the Śrī sampradāya are primarily dedicated to worshiping Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, and they consider Kṛṣṇa to be an avatāra of Nārāyaṇa. Two sects of Śrī Vaiṣṇavism appeared after the time of Rāmānuja – the Teṇekaḷai (southern school) and the Vaḍakaḷai (northern school) and there are eighteen prominent philosophical differences between them. The Teṇkaḷai Vaiṣnavas consider Mahā-Lakṣmī to be the mediator between Nārāyaṇa and the jīvas, so she plays an important role in their philosophical system. Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa was a Tenkaḷai Śrī Vaiṣnava.

While staying at the house of Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa, Mahāprabhu and His host happily discussed philosophy and the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu saw how Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa worshipped the Deities of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa and was very happy with his devotional mood. Because Śrīman Mahāprabhu and Bhaṭṭa developed a friendly relationship, they would often joke together. One day, Mahāprabhu asked him:

prabhu kahe bhaṭṭa tomāra lakṣmī-ṭhākurāṇī
kānta-vakṣaḥ-sthitā, pativratā-śiromaṇi

āmāra ṭhākura kṛṣṇa gopa go-cāraka
sādhvī hañā kene cāhe tāṅhāra saṅgama

ei lāgi sukha-bhoga chāḍi cira-kāla
vrata-niyama kari tapa karila apāra

(“The Lord said, ‘Bhaṭṭa! Lakṣmī Ṭhākurāṇi is situated on the chest of her Husband and is considered the crest-jewel of chaste wives. My Lord Kṛṣna is a gopa, who tends the cows. If she is so chaste, why does she desire to associate with Him? For this reason, she abandons all enjoyment and for a long time engages in unlimited vows and austerities.’”)

Mahāprabhu then quoted a verse from the Bhāgavata, spoken by the wives of Kāliya:

kasyānubhāvo ’sya na deva vidmahe
tavāṅghri-reṇu-sparaśādhikāraḥ
yad-vāñchayā śrīr lalanācarat tapo
vihāya kāmān su-ciraṁ dhṛta-vratā

(“O Lord, we do not know how he [Kāliya] attained the qualification to be touched by the dust of Your feet. It is for this that Śrī [Lakṣmī] performed austerities for a long time. She gave up all desires and engahed in austere vows.” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.16.36)

Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa argued that essentially, there is no difference between Kṛṣna and Nārāyaṇa from the point of view of tattva (transcendental reality). Thus, Lakṣmī was not breaking her chastity since she understood Kṛṣna to be her husband, Nārāyaṇa. Veṇkaṭa Bhaṭṭa conceded that mādhuryarasa was most relishable due to its playful nature. However, he was somewhat irritated and asked Mahāprabhu where was the fault if Lakṣmī wanted to participate in the rāsa-dance with Kṛṣna? The Lord replied that this was true, but śāstra states that she could not enter the rasa dance, and to prove this, He quoted another verse from the Bhāgavatam:

nāyaṁ śriyo ’ṅga u nitānta-rateḥ prasādaḥ
svar-yoṣitāṁ nalina-gandha-rucāṁ kuto ’nyāḥ
rāsotsave ’sya bhuja-daṇḍa-gṛhīta-kaṇṭha-
labdhāśiṣāṁ ya udagād vraja-sundarīṇām

(“When Kṛṣṇa was dancing in the rāsa-festival, the beautiful women of Vraja attained His blessing by having His arms embrace their necks. Alas, such mercy was never bestowed upon Goddess Śrī, who is so close to the Lord and resides upon His chest, nor the women of the celestial realms whose bodily fragrance resembles a lotus flower, what to say of others?” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.47.60)

Mahāprabhu then explained to Bhaṭṭa why Lakṣmī was unable to participate in the rāsa-līlā. He told him that Kṛṣna’s natural characteristic is that He is capable of attracting everyone with His mādhurya-rasa. This is only attained in Goloka Vṛndāvana, and not in Vaikuṇṭha, because the residents of Vraja do not see Kṛṣna as the Supreme – rather, they perceive Him as their friend, son, lover etc. To enter the rāsalīlā one must accept a gopīsvarūpa, the form of a cowherd damsel. Being Vaikuṇṭheśvari, the sovereign queen of Vaikuṇṭha, Lakṣmī wanted to enter the rāsalīlā as herself, and thus she was unable to participate due to maintaining her abhimāna (prideful identity) as the Queen of Vaikuṇṭha-loka. This explanation is alluded to by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja in this verse where he says, lakṣmya-gamya-kṛṣṇa-rāsa-gopikaika-poṣaṇa (“even Lakṣmī is attracted to that rasa of Kṛṣṇa which is exclusively nurtured by the gopīs.”).

Mahāprabhu continued to give various quotes from the śāstra describing how Kṛṣna is superior to Nārāyaṇa in terms of rasatattva, and how even when Kṛṣṇa appeared before the gopīs in the form of Nārāyaṇa, they were not attracted. Seeing how Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa was disturbed, Mahāprabhu pacified him:

kṛṣṇa-nārāyaṇa, yaiche eka-i svarūpa
gopī-lakṣmī-bheda nāhi haya eka-rūpa

gopī-dvāre lakṣmī kare kṛṣṇa-saṅgāsvāda
īśvaratve bheda mānile haya aparādha

eka īśvara bhaktera dhyāna-anurūpa
eka-i vigrahe kare nānākāra rūpa

(“Kṛṣna and Nārāyaṇa are one and the same. There is no difference between the gopīs and Lakṣmī. They are of the same form. Lakṣmī associates with Kṛṣna through the gopīs. If one thinks that there is a substantial difference amongst the forms of the Lord, that is an offence. There is only one Supreme who manifests various forms according to the meditation of the devotee.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 153-155)

Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa was satisfied with Mahāprabhu’s explanation and considered that it was only due to the mercy of his worshippable Deities, Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa that he was able to attain Mahāprabhu’s association. This pastime is narrated in the 9th Chapter of the Madhya-līlā of Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī’s Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

In this regard, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda has written Śrī Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛta, in which the first four chapters discuss Kṛṣna in relation to His avatāras. Quoting various śāstra, Śrī Rūpa establishes the verdict of the Bhāgavatam that Kṛṣna is Svayaṁ Bhagavān, the original form of Godhead, and the avatārī (the source of all avatāras).

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About the Author: Swami B.V. Giri

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In this section of verses from Prema-dhāma Deva Stotram, Swami B.V. Giri elucidates upon Mahāprabhu’s discovery of the Brahma-saṁhitā and Kṛṣṇa Karṇāmṛta, His ecstatic dancing at Rātha-Yātrā, Pratāparudra’s devotion to the Lord and Mahāprabhu’s leaving Puri to return to Bengal.

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In honour of the upcoming disappearance day of Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī, we present a transcript of a talk, 'Śrī Jagannātha Deva Shook the Heaven and the Earth' by Śrīla B.G. Narasiṅgha Mahārāja given at the virāha-mahotsava of Śrīla Purī Mahārāja at Śrīdhāma Māyāpura on 24th November 1999.

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Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram with the Narasiṅgha Sevaka Commentary – Verses 33-36

By |November 25, 2022|Tags: |

In verses 33 to 36 of Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Swami B.V. Giri expounds upon Mahāprabhu's return to Bengal and the effect it had on His mother, Śacī Devī and the residents of Gauḍa-deśa. The Lord's meeting with Rūpa-Sanātana and His travels through the forest of Jhāḍakhaṇḍa are also explained.

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Bhakti Siddhānta (Devotional Conclusions)

By |November 18, 2022|Tags: |

In this article 'Bhakti Siddhānta (Devotional Conclusions)' Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura delineates the foundational elements of bhakti (sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana) drawn from the vedic conclusions and establishes the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as the ripened fruit of these literatures. This article was originally published in Bengali in Vol. 21, Issue 10 of Śrī Sajjana Toṣaṇī, January 1919 and translated by Sanātana Dāsa.

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By |November 11, 2022|Tags: |

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By |November 4, 2022|Tags: |

In honour of the upcoming disappearance day of Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī, we present a transcript of a talk, 'Śrī Jagannātha Deva Shook the Heaven and the Earth' by Śrīla B.G. Narasiṅgha Mahārāja given at the virāha-mahotsava of Śrīla Purī Mahārāja at Śrīdhāma Māyāpura on 24th November 1999.