Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 37-40
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
gāṅga – the Gaṅgā; yāmunā – the Yamunā; adi – starting with; bindu-mādhava – Bindu Mādhava; adi – etc; mānana – respect; māthurā – Mathurā; ārta – distress; citta – mind; yāmunā – the Yamunā; agra – along; bhāga – bank; dhāvana – ran; smārita – remembrance; vraja – the land of Vraja; ati – very; tīvra – intense; vipralambha – separation; kātara – aggrieved; 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. Starting at those places where the Gaṅgā and Yamunā flowed, the Lord offered His respects to Bindu Mādhava etc. With His mind agitated with thoughts of Mathurā, He ran along the bank of the Yamunā, and remembering the land of Vraja, He felt intense separation.
After passing through the jungles of Jhāḍakhaṇḍa, Mahāprabhu visited Kāśī (Vārāṇasī) and Prayāga. Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja implies this with the words, gāṅga–yāmunādi (‘starting at the places where the Gaṅgā and Yamunā were’). The Gaṅgā flows through Kāśī, and both the Gaṅgā and Yamunā converge in Prayāga. Both Kāśī and Prayāga are very important holy places mentioned in many Purāṇas, the Mahābhārata and other śāstra.
The verse then states, bindu-mādhavādi-mānana. While in Kāśī, the Lord offered His respects (mānana) to the Deity of Bindu Mādhava. This is the oldest Viṣṇu Deity in Kāśī-dhāma and His temple is situated at Pañcagaṅgā Ghāṭa. The original temple was very grand, but was destroyed by the Mogul tyrant Aurangzeb in 1669. The Deity of Bindu Mādhava however, was hidden in the waters of the Gaṅga for three years until it was safe to reinstall Him again. There is also a Deity called Bindu Mādhava in Prayāga which Mahāprabhu also visited. Both Deities of Bindu Mādhava in Kāśī and Prayāga are sometimes referred to as Veṇī Mādhava. By the suffix adi in the phrase bindu-mādhavādi we understand that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also offered respects at other temples in Kāśī and Prayāga. This is also confirmed by Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī and Śrīla Murāri Gupta:
prabhu lañā gelā viśveśvara-daraśane
tabe āsi dekhe bindu-mādhava-caraṇe
(Tapana Miśra took the Lord to take darśana of Viśveśvara. After that, they went to see the feet of Bindu Mādhava. – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 17.86)
eva krameṇa bhagavān kāśīm upajagāma ha
(Eventually the Lord approached Kāśī, and having darśana of the great liṅga of Viśveśvara, He became blissful. – Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Carita Mahā-kāvya 4.4.14)
The temple of Viśveśvara Śiva (or Viśvanātha) is the most famous temple in Kāśī. The śiva-liṅgam there is very ancient and has been glorified in the Śīva and Skanda Purāṇas as one of the twelve jyotir-liṅgams (self-manifested liṅgams). This temple was also desecrated on many occasions by Muslim invaders – first by Aibak in 1194 CE, then by Sikandar Lodhi in the 15th Century, and again by Aurangzeb in 1669 who then built a mosque on the site of the temple.
Kavirāja Gosvāmī relates how, on the way to Mathurā, whenever the Lord saw the Yamunā, He would immediately become ecstatic and jump in. Thus, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, māthurārta-citta-yāmunāgra-bhāga-dhāvana (‘With His mind agitated with thoughts of Mathurā, He ran along the bank of the Yamunā’). Why did Mahāprabhu jump into the waters of the Yamunā? Smārita-vrajāti-tīvra-vipralambha-kātara – remembering the land of Vraja, He felt intense separation. By His own example, Śrī Caitanyadeva taught that the mood of vipralambha-sevā (service in separation) is superior to sambhoga-sevā (service in union) because of its level of intensity. Naturally, the pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa always desire sambhoga, but by His mercy, Kṛṣṇa gives them vipralambha in order to increase their love for Him. Thus, when there is union after a long period of separation, that meeting is even sweeter. Mahāprabhu, displaying His ācārya-līlā, taught His followers the path of vipralambha-prema which had never been experienced in this world before.
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
mādhavendra – Mādhavendra Purī; vipralambha – separation; māthurā – Mathurā; iṣṭa – beloved Lord; mānana – overwhelmed; prema – prema; dhāma – abode; dṛṣṭa – sight; kāma – desire; pūrva – previously kuñja – forest bowers; kānana – gardens; gokula – Gokula; ādi – etc; goṣṭha – association; gopa – gopas; gopikā – gopīs; priyaṅkara – showing kindness; 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. Overwhelmed with the mood of separation that Mādhavendra Purī felt for his beloved Lord of Mathurā, He desired to see Vṛndāvana, the abode of prema where He had previously sported amongst the gardens and forest-bowers. As He visited Gokula and the other forests, He showed great affection to the gopas and gopīs there.
Upon entering Mathurā-maṇḍala, Mahāprabhu was immediately immersed in vraja-prema and, as Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja explains here, He felt the same feelings of separation from Kṛṣṇa that His param-guru, Śrīmad Mādhavendra Purī Gosvāmī felt when he spoke the following śloka to the Lord of Mathura (māthureṣṭa):
ayi dīna-dayārdra nātha he
dayita bhrāmyati kiṁ karomy aham
(O Lord whose heart is moist with mercy for the poor! O Lord of Mathurā! When shall I see You again? Without seeing You, my heart is agitated. O my Beloved! I am overwhelmed. What shall I do now?)
This śloka is a rahasya (a confidential mystery) because it reveals the secret of attaining Kṛṣṇa, therefore, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has described it as a ‘mūla–mantra’ (foundational mantra). In arcana, mūla-mantras are used to invoke a particular Deity. In this case, the Deity that Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī is propitiating is Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In pūjā, when one invokes the Deity, one chants the mūla-mantra and offers flowers at His feet. But with this mūlā-mantra, Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī is offering puṣpañjali to Kṛṣṇa with his tears of separation.
Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī has revealed that this śloka was actually spoken by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī Herself and manifest by Mādhavendra Purī. When Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra left Vraja-bhūmi to go to Mathurā, the residents of Vṛndāvana were devoured by virahānala, the fire of intense separation. Thus, in this śloka, the kind of separation felt by Śrī Rādhikā is dūra-pravāsa (the feelings of separation of a lover from a great distance). Firstly, She refers to Kṛṣṇa as dīna-dayārdra nātha (‘that Lord whose heart is moist with mercy for the poor’), implying that She Herself is most poor and in extreme need of His mercy. Next, She calls Him Mathurā-nātha (‘Lord of Mathurā’). Rādhārāṇī does not refer to Him as Vṛnḍāvana-nātha. Instead She indirectly reminds Him that He used to frolic in the pastures and groves of Vraja with all His friends and lovers, but now He has abandoned all that to become a king in Mathurā. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura explains in Śrī Kṛṣṇa Saṁhitā that Mathurā represents the land of knowledge. Therefore, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is stating here that the yogīs and jñānīs can see Kṛṣṇa by dint of their austerities and knowledge, but the simple village folk of Vṛndāvana have been deprived of seeing Him. Thus, She exclaims, kadāvalokyase – “When will I see You again?” This mood of despondency of not seeing Kṛṣṇa is also echoed by Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura:
amūny adhanyāni dināntarāṇi
hare tvad-ālokanam antareṇa
hā hanta hā hanta kathaṁ nayāmi
(Alas, alas! O Hari! O friend of those who are deprived of all refuge! O ocean of mercy! How can I continue through all these wretched days without seeing You? – Kṛṣṇa-Karṇāmṛta 41)
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī then reveals the state of Her heart upon not seeing Kṛṣṇa – hṛdayaṁ tvad-aloka-kātaraṁ dayita (‘O My beloved, My heart is agitated’). Then finally, with a feeling of utter helplessness, She cries, bhrāmyati kiṁ karomy aham (‘I am overwhelmed. What shall I do now?’). In this forlorn state, Rādhārāṇī exhibits the various stages of lamentation due to separation such as ālambana-śūnyatā (absence of mental support), adhīti (lack of interest in anything) and unmāda (madness).
Commenting on this verse, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has given the panacea to cure this painful condition of the heart:
What is the remedy for this heart condition – that sickness of the heart for one who is bewildered by kṛṣṇa-viraha (separation from Kṛṣṇa)? It is the mūla-mantra of Gaurasundara. Gaurasundara says, “O people whose hearts are absorbed in mundanity, how will you attain auspiciousness while engaging as a low-class porter, carrying the piles of ashes and rubbish of worldly affairs? Don’t you feel disgusted with it? How will all of you attain a higher plane? Accept this teaching – engage in śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana!”
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
(Śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana is possessed of all victory. Its nature is that it purifies the mirror of the consciousness, eradicates the blazing fire of material life, it is the very life of knowledge, it expands the ocean of bliss, it enables one to relish complete nectar at every step, and it is completely purifying).
When Śrīman Mahāprabhu would remember this śloka of Mādhavendra Purī which had captured the heart-expression of Śrī Rādhikā, He became so overwhelmed with ecstasy that He could not fully recite it:
ayi dīna ayi dīna bale bāra-bāra
kaṣṭhe nā niḥsare vāṇī netre aśru-dhāra
(All He could say repeatedly was, “Ayi dīna! Ayi dīna!” No sound came from His throat and His eyes gushed forth torrents of tears – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 4.201)
In fact, Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī goes on to say that the purport of this śloka is so deep and mysterious, that only Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Mahāprabhu and Mādhavendra Purī could fully understand it:
kibā gauracandra ihā kare āsvādana
ihā āsvādite āra nāhi chauṭha-jana
(How Gauracandra relished this, no fourth person is capable of doing so. – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 4.195)
Only Rādhārāṇī, Śrī Caitanyadeva and Mādhavendra Purī are capable of feeling the sentiments of mahā-bhāva, thus only they are capable of fully relishing the mood encapsulated in this śloka. However, for the sādhaka, this śloka indicates that in order to attain service to Nanda-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Vraja-dhāma, one must throw themselves wholesale into the blazing fire of separation from Him.
In the next line of this śloka, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, prema-dhāma-dṛṣṭa-kāma-pūrva-kuñja-kānana (‘He desired to see Vṛndāvana, the abode of prema where He had previously sported amongst the gardens and forest-bowers’). The words prema-dhāma indicates Vṛndāvana the abode of prema, and the word pūrva (previously) suggests that in Dvāpara-yugā, as Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord played amongst the forest bowers (kuñja) and gardens (kānana) of Vraja.
Gokulādi-goṣṭha-gopa-gopikā-priyaṅkara (‘As He visited Gokula and the other forests, He showed great affection to the gopas and gopīs there’). It is inferred by the word gokulādi (Gokula etc.) that while He was in Vraja-maṇḍala, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited all the forests and pastime places. Śrīla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes in Chapter 18 of the Madhya-līlā, how the Lord went to Kāmyavana, Nandīśvara, Pāvana Sarovara, Khadiravana, Śeṣaśāyi, Khelā-tīrtha, Bhāṇḍīravana, Bhadravana, Śrīvana, Lohavana, Mahāvana, Gokula etc. Wherever He went, the Lord showed affection to all the residents of the dhāma.
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
prema – with prema; guñjana – buzzing; āli – bees; puñja – swarms; puṣpa – flowers; puñja – multitudes; rañjita – delighted; gīta – singing; nṛtya – dancing; dakṣa – expertly; pakṣi – birds; vṛkṣa – trees; lakṣa – thousands; vandita – offering respects; go – cows; vṛṣa – bulls; ādi – etc. nāda – call; dīpta – loudly; pūrva – previously; moda – affection; medura – intensely; 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. In the forests of Vraja, the Lord felt great prema seeing the swarms of bees hovering around multitudes of flowers, the birds expertly dancing and singing, and thousands of trees offering their respects to Him. He remembered how previously, as Govinda, the cows, bulls and calves would loudly call out to Him with intense affection.
Here, the natural beauty of Vraja-bhūmi is described by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja, and how observing this, Śrī Caitanyadeva felt great ecstasy. In this regard, the poet Śrī Vidyāpati Ṭhākura describes the forest of Vṛndāvana:
nava vṛndāvana navīna taru-gaṇa
nava nava vikasita phula
navīna vasanta navīna malayānila
matala nava ali-kula
viharai naula kiśora
kālindī pulina kuñja nava śobhana
nava nava prema vibhora
navīna rasāla mukula madhu matīya
nava kokila kuñja gāya
(Vṛndāvana is eternally new. Its trees are eternally fresh, the blossoming flowers are fresh, the spring season is fresh, the Malaya breezes are fresh, the intoxicated bees are fresh, and Kṛṣṇa is eternally youthful and playful. The Kālindī, her banks, and the forest bowers are fresh and beautiful. They are all absorbed in new varieties of prema. The new buds on the fruit trees and their honey are fresh. The cuckoos that sing in the forest bowers are fresh.)
As previously mentioned, all the components of the dhāma are there to serve Kṛṣṇa. Everything is conscious – the trees, the flowers, the shrubs, the water. Every atom of that land is a unit of service. In contrast, everything in the material world is jaḍa, dead matter. The only thing here that is conscious is the ātmā. In the spiritual world, the five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air and accommodating space) and the three subtle elements (mind, intelligence and false ego) are absent. Everything in that realm is sat, cit and ānanda (eternity, cognisance and bliss). From the finite perspective of this world, we would generally consider these three qualities as relative concepts rather than tangible elements. But in connection with Kṛṣṇa, such features are a substantial transcendental reality. When we come in connection with that Reality, everything that we encounter in this temporal world of our experience becomes an abstraction. When we sleep at night, whatever is experienced in the dream-state, we consider to be reality until we eventually wake up and realise its falsity. Similarly, at the present moment we are in a dream-state, where we believe that the temporary world around us, with its scenery, relationships, activities etc. is fully real. The only reality however, is the world of transcendence, the world of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
Word for Word
prema – in prema; buddha – experiencing; ruddha – overwhelmed; buddhi – consciousness; matta – mad; nṛtya – dance; kīrtana – kīrtana; plāvita – drenched; aśru – tears; kāñcana – golden; āṅga – body; vāsa – cloth; cātura – four; aṅgana – directions; kṛṣṇa-kṛṣṇa – chanting ‘Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa!’; rāva – crying; bhāva – in ecstasy; hāsya – laughing; lāsya – dancing; bhāsvara – brilliance; 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. His consciousness overwhelmed with prema, the Lord danced madly in kīrtana, and tears drenched his golden form, His cloth and the four directions. As radiant as the sun, He loudly cried, “Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa!” and feeling great bhāva, He laughed as He danced.
As Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed through the various forests of Vraja-maṇḍala, His ecstasy increased. In this verse Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja describes some of the ecstatic symptoms exhibited by the Lord. There are eight ecstatic bodily transformations (aṣṭa-sāttvika-bhāva) that naturally appear in the body of advanced Vaiṣṇavas. They are stambha (paralysis), sveda (perspiration), romāñca (horripulation), svara-bhaṅga (faltering of the voice) kampa (shivering), vaivarṇa (change of bodily hue), aśru (tears) and pralaya (fainting due to devastation). Mahāprabhu manifested all these symptoms and more.
Pseudo-devotees sometimes make an attempt to imitate what they believe to be the style of Mahāprabhu’s dancing, but this is completely impossible. It is easy to raise one’s hands in the air, twirl around, roll one’s eyes and display crocodile tears, but such dramatic exhibitions are far removed from the ecstasy experienced by the Lord. Such performances may deceive gullible neophytes, but sincere Vaiṣṇavas who are sensitive to true devotional sentiments are never bewildered by them. Thus, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states:
nisarga-picchila-svānte tad-abhyāsa-pare’pi ca
sattvābhāsaṁ vināpi syuḥ kvāpy aśru-pulakādayaḥ
(When someone who is internally hard-hearted imitates sāttvika-bhāva, but does not have even a trace of true ecstasy, the appearance of tears etc. is only external. – Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 2.3.89)
niśamayato hari-caritaṁ na hi sukha-duḥkhādayo ’sya hṛdi bhāvāḥ
anabhiniveśāj jātā katham asravad asram aśrāntam
(Upon hearing narrations of Hari, if someone feels neither happiness or sadness due to having a hard heart, then how can tears continuously flow from their eyes? It can only be due to practice. – Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 2.3.90)
prakṛtyā śithilaṁ yeśāṁ manaḥ picchilam eva vā
teṣv-eva sattvikābhāsaḥ prāyaḥ saṁasadi jāyate
(Persons whose minds are hard or soft generally manifest such symptoms known as sattvikābhāsa during festivals when there is a performance of kīrtana. – Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 2.3.91)
Making a pretense of spiritual advancement through cheap spectacles may win adoration and prestige from the ignorant masses, but ultimately such self-deception only deprives one of the treasure of kṛṣṇa-prema in this life and the next.