Grantha Samalocana - A Book Review by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami PrabhupadaGrantha Samālocanā (A Book Review)
Viraha-gitika - A Song of Separation by Srila B.P. Puri Maharaja about Bhaktivinoda ThakuraViraha-Gītikā (A Song of Separation)
By Published On: June 9, 2023Tags: 28.3 min read

Overview

In verses 51 to 55 of Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja's Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram, Rūpa, Sanātana, Rāmānanda and other associates of Mahāprabhu are glorified. The Lord's pastimes with Vallabha Bhaṭṭa are briefly narrated, and His mood while residing in the Gambhīra is described.

Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 51-55

by
His Divine Grace
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja

with the
Narasiṅgha Sevaka Vivṛtti
by Tridaṇḍi Swami Bhakti Vijñāna Giri

Verse 51
śrī sanātanānu-rūpa-jīva-sampradāyakaṁ
lupta-tīrtha-śuddha-bhakti-śāstra-su-pracārakam
nīla-śaila-nātha-pīṭha-naija-kārya-saukaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

śrī sanātana – Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī; ānu – younger brother; rūpa – Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī; jīva – Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī; sampradāyaka – in the sampradāya; lupta – lost; tīrtha – holy places; śuddha-bhakti – pure bhakti; śāstra – the śāstra; su-pracāraka – great propagators; nīla-śaila – Jagannātha Purī; nātha – the Lord; pīṭha – place; naija – His own; kārya – servitors; saukara – affection; 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 His sampradāya through Śrī Sanātana, his younger brother Śrī Rūpa, and Śrī Jīva who all became great preachers by writing śāstra on pure bhakti and rediscovering the lost holy places. The Lord also showed His affection by revealing Himself to the servitors of Jagannātha, the Lord of Nīla-śaila.

Commentary

In His discussions with Rūpa and Sanātana, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed them to write works on pure devotion (śuddha-bhakti-śāstra) and to rediscover the lost holy places (lupta-tīrtha). He instructed Śrī Rūpa:

vraje yāi rasa-śāstra kariha nirūpaṇa
lupta-tīrtha saba tāhāṅ kariha pracāraṇa
kṛṣṇa-sevā rasa-bhakti kariha pracāra

(“In Vraja, you should compose śāstra concerning rasa, and excavate all the lost holy places. Engage in Kṛṣṇa’s service and preach about rasa-bhakti.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 1.218-219)

To Śrī Sanātana, He said:

bhakta-bhakti-kṛṣṇa-prema-tattvera nirdhāra
vaiṣṇavera kṛtya āra vaiṣṇava-ācāra
kṛṣṇa-bhakti kṛṣṇa-prema-sevā-pravartana
lupta-tīrtha-uddhāra āra vairāgya-śikṣaṇa

(“You must ascertain the principles of the devotee, bhakti and kṛṣṇaprema. Explain what are the activities of a Vaiṣṇava and what should be their proper conduct. Establish kṛṣṇa-bhakti, and what is service in the mood of kṛṣṇa-prema. Rediscover the lost holy places and give instructions on renunciation.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 4.79-80)

Accordingly, both Rūpa and Sanātana wrote unparalleled works on kṛṣṇa-bhakti such as Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Ujjvala Nīlamaṇī, Laghu-Bhāgavatāmṛta, Lalitā-Mādhava, Vidagdha-Mādhava, Mathurā Māhātmya, Uddhava-Sandeśa, Bṛhat-Bhāgavatāmṛta, Kṛṣṇa-līlā-stava and the Vaiṣṇava Toṣaṇī-ṭīkā. They unearthed many of the places of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vraja that had been lost over time, and rediscovered the Deities of Govindajī and Madana-mohana and established temples for Them.

Later, they were joined by their nephew Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu, who complied the six Sandarbhas on Gauḍīya siddhānta, various commentaries, and composed such works as Gopāla Campu, Mādhava Mahotsava, Hari-nāmāmṛta Vyākaraṇa, Saṅkalpa-kalpadruma etc. Śrī Jīva also established the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple in the area of Sevā-kuñja.

The contributions of Rūpa, Sanātana and Jīva created the philosophical foundation of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, thus in this verse Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja refers to them as su-pracāraka (‘the great propagators’).

At the end of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, nīla-śaila-nātha-pīṭha-naija-kārya-saukara (‘The Lord also showed His affection by revealing Himself to the servitors of Jagannātha, the Lord of Nīla-śaila’). Servitors of Jagannātha refers to Rāya Rāmānanda, Pratāparudra, Sārvabhauma, Kāśī Miśra etc. Just as Mahāprabhu gave His mercy to Rūpa-Sanātana and instructed them to go to Vṛndāvana, He also blessed His associates in Purī-kṣetra which is considered to be vipralambha-kṣetra. In Purī, Kṛṣṇa manifests His aiśvarya-śakti and is worshipped with royal opulence as Dvārakādīśa, the Lord of Dvārakā. However, He feels intense separation from His beloved Vṛndāvana, thus the annual Ratha Yātrā festival commemorates Kṛṣṇa being pulled back to Vṛndāvana by the Vraja-vāsis. His very form, with large eyes, huge smile and arms outstretched is due to His happy remembrance of Vraja and the residents of Vṛndāvana – recollecting His pastimes there, He feels supreme bliss and desires to embrace all His associates. Another reason why Purī is known as vipralambha-kṣetra is because Kṛṣṇa in the form of Śrī Caitanya also felt the pangs of separation from Vraja-bhūmi while residing there. Thus, both Jagannātha and Mahāprabhu are vipralambha-mūrtis, the embodiment of separation from Vṛndāvana. In this form, Mahāprabhu as the Supreme ācārya of mādhuryarasa-tattva, teaches the sādhaka what the internal life of bhajana should be. In other words, first it is necessary to enter the fire of viraha (separation) in order to achieve sambhoga (union with Kṛṣṇa). To achieve such genuine feelings of separation, it is imperative that one first engage in nāmasaṅkīrtana and approach the vipralambha-mūrti of Mahāprabhu in dāsya-rāsa.

Verse 52
tyāga-bāhya-bhoga-buddhi-tīvra-daṇḍa-nindanaṁ
rāya-śuddha-kṛṣṇa-kāma-sevanābhi-nandanam
rāya-rāga-sevanokta-bhāgya-koṭi-duṣkaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

tyāga – renunciation; bāhya – external; bhoga – enjoy; buddhi – mentality; tīvra – intensely; daṇḍa – condemn; nindana – reproach; rāya – Rāmānanda Rāya; śuddha – pure; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; kāma – desires; sevana – service; abhi – towards; nandana – happiness; rāya– Rāmānanda Rāya; rāga – spontaneous; sevana – service; ukta – proclaim; bhāgya – great fortune; koṭi – millions; duṣkara – difficult to attain; 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. Mahāprabhu severely condemned those who were externally renounced but harboured an enjoying mentality, and He felt great joy with Rāya Rāmānanda’s service to please the desires of Kṛṣṇa, declaring that Rāmānanda’s mood of spontaneous service was difficult to achieve even after attaining a million varieties of good fortune.

Commentary

In the first line of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja describes how Śrī Caitanyadeva could not tolerate seeing mendicants with an enjoying mentality. As a gṛhastha, Śrī Caitanya showed the exemplary behaviour of a householder, and as a sannyāsī, He taught the ideal standards of the renounced order. In His instructions to Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī, the Lord said:

markaṭa-vairāgya nā kara loka dekhāñā

(“Do not show off to the public by becoming a monkey-like renunciate.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 16.238)

Śrīman Mahāprabhu also showed great disdain for śuṣka-vairāgya (dry renunciation) and taught the devotees to abandon such show-bottle renunciation and perform their bhajana based upon yuktavairāgya (using everything in the service of Kṛṣṇa).

yukta-vairāgya-sthiti saba śikhāila
śuṣka-vairāgya-jñāna saba niṣedhila

(“The Lord taught Sanātana to apply yukta-vairāgya in all situations, and forbade all types of dry vairāgya and jñāna.”– Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 23.105)

Nowadays it is common to see devotees in the renounced order accumulating huge amounts of money, eating opulent prasāda, living in big mansions, buying expensive gadgets, flying business class, initiating thousands of followers and surrounding themselves with beautiful women – all in the name of so-called yukta-vairāgya. Such conduct is very dangerous for a sannyāsī and all these things can become serious impediments to kṛṣṇa-bhajana. Mahāprabhu has warned His followers about this in His Śikāṣṭakam:

na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ
kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

(O Lord of the universe, I do not desire wealth, followers, beautiful women nor great praise. Birth after birth I only wish to have unmotivated bhakti unto You, O Lord. – Śikṣāṣṭaka 4)

When questioned about their behaviour, some sannyāsīs say, “It is all for preaching! Śrīla Prabhupāda also had so much money, many followers etc.” Such a pretext for living a lavish lifestyle in the name of preaching and using Śrīla Prabhupāda as an example is indeed a travesty. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam has warned us about imitating great personalities:

naitat samācarej jātu manasāpi hy anīśvaraḥ
vinaśyaty ācaran mauḍhyād yathārudro’bdhi-jaṁ viṣam

(Those who are not great controllers should never imitate the behaviour of great personalities, even mentally. They will be destroyed by such imitation, just like a person who is not Rudra would be killed if he drank an ocean of poison. – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10. 33.30)

There is a gulf of difference between anukaraṇa (imitation) and anusaraṇa (following in the footsteps of our gurus). Those that think they can simply imitate Śrīla Prabhupāda, a śaktyāveśa-avatāra, empowered by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, will undoubtedly fall from the path of bhajana. They will leave the blissful path of bhakti-yoga and travel down the harsh, thorny road of bhakti-bhoga (enjoying the secondary material results of bhakti). Although such persons may continue to externally play the role of a sannyāsī, being attached to so many unnecessary material possessions, they will never be able to dive deep into the ocean of bhakti-rasa.

Next, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja give the example of Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya (rāya-śuddha-kṛṣṇa-kāma-sevanābhi-nandana) and how Mahāprabhu felt great joy with Rāmānanda’s service to Kṛṣṇa. In particular, Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī is alluding to the pastime of Rāmānanda and the Devadāsīs. In Chapter Five of the Antyalīlā of Caitanyacaritāmṛta, Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī tells the story of how Pradyumna Miśra came to hear kṛṣṇa-kathā from the lips of Mahāprabhu. The Lord, however, sent him to hear from Rāmānanda Rāya. When Pradyumna Miśra arrived at the house of Rāmānanda, he inquired from Rāmānanda’s servant what Rāmānanda was doing. The servant replied that Rāmānanda was busy with two young Devadāsīs (female temple dancers) instructing them how to dance for his new drama that he had written for Lord Jagannātha (the Jagannātha Vallabha Nāṭaka). Rāmānanda also massaged the young girls with oil, bathed them and dressed them. Pradyumna Miśra was shocked to hear all this from Rāmānanda’s servant. Rāmānanda then came to see Pradyumna Miśra and apologised for keeping him waiting. After exchanging some pleasantries, Pradyumna Miśra excused himself and returned home. The next day Mahāprabhu asked Pradyumna if he had heard from Rāmānanda. After Pradyumna Miśra told the Lord what he had heard from the servant, the Lord replied:

āmi ta sannyāsī āpanāre virakta kari māni
darśana rahu dūre prakṛtira nāma yadi śuni
tabahiṅ vikāra pāya mora tanu-mana
prakṛti-darśane sthira haya kon jana

(“I am a sannyāsī and consider Myself as being renounced. What to speak of seeing a woman, even if I hear the name of a woman, My mind immediately becomes disturbed. Which person can remain unaffected upon seeing a woman?” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 35-36)

Again, in this śloka, Mahāprabhu warns those in the sannyāsa order against close association with the opposite sex. One should never think that he has become so advanced that he has conquered māyā. As the saying goes, “Pride cometh before the fall.” A Vaiṣṇava should always maintain a healthy fear of the many allurements of Māyā Devī.

Mahāprabhu then continued to tell Pradyumna Miśra and the devotees that even though Rāmānanda was in such close proximity with the Devadāsīs, Rāmānanda Rāya’s mind was totally unaffected because he was situated on the path of rāgānuga-bhakti, and ultimately considered himself to be a gopī of Vraja. The Lord then instructed Pradyumna to return to Rāmānanda Rāya and tell him that he had been sent by Mahāprabhu to hear kṛṣṇa-kathā from him. Pradyumna Miśra did so, and upon hearing Rāmānanda speak about the divine pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, he became elated.

Once again, the activities of Rāmānanda Rāya are not to be imitated by ordinary persons. Imitation has no power to attract Kṛṣṇa – indeed, such a mockery ultimately repels Him. Rāmānanda Rāya, being an eternal pārṣada of the Lord, could engage in such extraordinary behaviour without being affected. Therefore, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja concludes, rāya-rāga-sevanokta-bhāgya-koṭi-duṣkara – Rāmānanda’s mood of spontaneous service is difficult to achieve even if one attains a million varieties of good fortune.


Verse 53
śrī-prayāga-bhaṭṭa-vallabhaika-niṣṭha-sevanaṁ
nīla-śaila-bhaṭṭa-datta-rāga-mārga-rādhanam
śrī gadādharārpitādhikāra-mantra-mādhuraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

śrī-prayāga – Prayāga; bhaṭṭa-vallabha – Vallabha Bhaṭṭa; eka-niṣṭha – exclusive; sevana – service; nīla-śaila – Purī Dhāma; bhaṭṭa – Vallabha; datta – gave; rāga-mārga – the path of spontaneous devotion; rādhana – satisfied; śrī gadādhara – Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita; arpita – transfer; adhikāra – appropriate; mantra – mantra; mādhura – conjugal mellows; 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. When the Lord was in Prayāga, Vallabha Bhaṭṭa served Him with exclusive devotion, and when Vallabha came to Purī, the Lord satisfied him by introducing him to the path of rāga. He handed him over to Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita who gave him the appropriate mantra for mādhuryarasa.

Commentary

When Mahāprabhu was travelling to Vṛndāvana, He first came to Prayāga and stayed at the home of Vallabha Bhaṭṭa (Vallabhācārya) in the village of Āḍāila. Vallabha Bhaṭṭā was a Telegu brāhmaṇa born in Champāraṇya in present day Madhya Pradesh. He was extremely learned in the Vedic literature and was a devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. While Mahāprabhu was residing at his residence, Vallabha served Him with great respect and devotion. This pastime is related in the 19th Chapter of the Madhya-līlā of Caitanyacaritāmṛta.

Later, when Mahāprabhu returned to Purī, Vallabha came to see Him at the time of Ratha Yātrā. Mahāprabhu embraced Vallabha, had him sit next to Him, and extolled the virtues of the various devotees in Purī such as Advaita Ācārya, Rāya Rāmānanda, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, Ṭhākura Haridāsa etc. Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī explains that the reason Mahāprabhu praised all these Vaiṣṇavas and their transcendental qualities was because Vallabha Bhaṭṭa was proud of his learning. He considered himself to be a great Vaiṣṇava who had fully understood the secrets of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. But upon hearing the glories of Mahāprabhu’s associates, Vallabha’s pride was somewhat diminished and he desired to meet all these great devotees. The next day, Mahāprabhu introduced Vallabha Bhaṭṭa to all the devotees – seeing the effulgence of these Vaiṣṇavas, Vallabha felt like a mere glow-worm. Vallabha fed all the assembled devotees with sumptuous mahāprasāda from Jagannātha, offered them garlands and sandalwood pulp, and paid his daṇḍavats to their feet.

Some days after the Ratha Yātrā festival was over, Vallabha Bhaṭṭa approached the Lord and requested Him to hear his commentary on the Bhāgavata. Initially, Mahāprabhu excused Himself as being unqualified to hear the Bhāgavatam – “I simply sit and chant kṛṣṇa-nāma all day and night.” Then Vallabha tried another tactic to get the Lord’s attention, saying how he had written an explanation of the Holy Name. Mahāprabhu replied:

prabhu kahe kṛṣṇa-nāmera bahu artha nā māni
śyāmasundara yaśodānandana ei-mātra jāni

tamāla-śyāmala-tviṣi śrī-yaśodā-stanandhaye
kṛṣṇa-nāmno rūḍhir iti sarva-śāstra-vinirṇayaḥ

ei artha āmi mātra jāniye nirdhāra
āra sarva-arthe mora nāhi adhikāra

(The Lord said, “I don’t know of many meanings to kṛṣṇa-nāma. I only know that it is Śyāmasundara, the Son of Yaśodā. All the śāstra conclude that the main explanation of kṛṣṇanāma is He who is dark like a tamāla tree, who sucks the breast of Śrī Yaśodā. This is the meaning that I know exclusively. I do not possess the capacity to know any other meaning.” Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 7.85-87)

Feeling dejected, Vallabha Bhaṭṭa left and his mood towards Mahāprabhu changed. Because Mahāprabhu had rejected his explanations, none of the devotees in Purī were interested to hear them either. Every day, Vallabha would have philosophical quarrels with devotees such as Advaita Ācārya and Svārūpa Dāmodara but was soundly defeated every single time. One day, Vallabha came to the Lord and His associates, declaring that his commentary on the Bhāgavatam was greater than that of even the great commentator Śrīdhara Svāmī. Mahāprabhu replied:

prabhu hāsi kahe svāmī nā māne yei jana
veśyāra bhitare tāre kariye gaṇana

(The Lord laughed saying, “Anyone who does not accept the svāmī, I count them amongst prostitutes!” Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 7.115)

The word svāmī here refers to Śrīdhara Svāmī and also means ‘husband’ in Sanskrit. In this way, Mahāprabhu continuously chopped at the pride of Vallabha Bhaṭṭa. Eventually, Vallabha understood why the Lord was correcting him, and approaching Mahāprabhu with humility and falling at His lotus feet, begged forgiveness. Mahāprabhu encouraged Vallabha to write his commentary to the Bhāgavatam, not in competition with Śrīdhara Svāmī, but following in his footsteps.

Previously, Vallabha had worshipped Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the mood of vātsalya-rasa. However, by taking the association of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates, he eventually became enamoured with the worship of Kṛṣṇa in mādhurya-prema on the path of rāga. He therefore approached Gadādhara Paṇḍita and requested initiation into the rāga-mārga mantra. Only after Mahāprabhu gave His consent did Gadādhara initiate Vallabha Bhaṭṭa into the path of mādhurya-rasa. This pastime is explained in detail in Chapter Seven of the Antya-līlā.

However, it seems that Vallabha was not fully purified of his pride and He later neglected Mahāprabhu’s teachings, starting his own philosophical school known as the puṣṭi-mārga. We find later in the Tenth Chapter of the Antya-khaṇḍa of Caitanya-bhāgavata that Gadādhara approached Mahāprabhu and requested Him to give him initiation again into rāga-mantra. He explained to the Lord:

iṣṭa-mantra āmi ye kahiluṅ kāro prati
sei haite āmāra nā sphure bhāla mati

(“I have given someone my iṣṭa-mantra, and because of that, I am not feeling any proper spiritual realisation.” Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya-khaṇḍa 10.23)

The phrase iṣṭa-mantra means one’s personal mantra pertaining to one’s beloved Deity (iṣṭa-deva). We can only surmise that the person that Gadādhara gave his mantra to was Vallabha Bhaṭṭa, since he did not initiate anyone else during the presence of Mahāprabhu. Hearing Gadādhara’s plea, the Lord told him that his guru, Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi, would arrive soon and he should accept the mantra again from him.

Even after the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Gauḍīyas and the followers of Vallabhācārya initially peacefully coexisted with each other – so much so, that we find Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī placing Viṭthaleśvara, the son of Vallabha, in charge of the worship of Mādhavendra Purī’s Deity of Gopāla in Jatipur. While Gauḍīya vairāgīs did the pūjā for Gopāla, the Vallabhas took care of the management and finances of the temple. Later, however, relations between the two groups soured when the Vallabhas conspired against the Gauḍīyas so that they could have sole possession of the Deity. They burned down the kuṭīras of the Gauḍīya pūjārīs, stole the Deity of Gopāla, and eventually took Him to Rajasthan. The Deity was renamed Śrīnāthajī, and to this day, is worshipped in Nathadwar by the followers of Vallabha.


Verse 54
śrī-svarūpa-rāya-saṅga-gāmbhirāntya-līlanaṁ
dvādaśābda-vahni-garbha-vipralambha-śīlanam
rādhikādhirūḍha-bhāva-kānti-kṛṣṇa-kuñjaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

śrī-svarūpa – Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara; rāya – Rāmānanda Rāya; saṅga – association; gāmbhira – at the Gambhīra; antya – final; līlana – pastimes; dvādaśa – twelve; abda – years; vahni – fire; garbha – union; vipralambha – separation; śīlana – embracing; rādhikā – Śrī Rādhikā; adhirūḍha –the highest stage of mahā-bhāva; bhāva – mood; kānti – effulgence; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; kuñjara – like an elephant; 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. During His last twelve years, in the association of Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāya Rāmānanda, the Lord embraced the fire of union and separation at the Gambhīra. Like an intoxicated elephant, Kṛṣṇa took the mood and lustre of Śrī Rādhikā and experienced Her adhirūḍhabhāva.

Commentary

During the last twelve years of His līlā, Śrī Caitanyadeva mostly became reclusive and resided at the house of Kāśī Miśra in a small room known as the Gambhīra. The Sanskrit word gambhīra means esoteric, deep, or mystical, and it was in this room that Mahāprabhu became submerged in the most profound ecstasies. As Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes here, vahni-garbha-vipralambha-śīlana – ‘the Lord embraced the fire of union in separation.’ Someone who knowingly embraces fire is considered to be insane, and this was the temperament of Śrīman Mahāprabhu – in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, He had become completely mad for Kṛṣṇa.

The phrase ‘union in separation’ (garbha-vipralambha) is most significant. The unique mood of vipralambha-sambhoga is demonstrated when there is separation from one’s beloved, but one intensely meditates upon meeting them again. When Kṛṣṇa went to Mathurā, this feeling was seen amongst all the residents of Vraja-bhūmi. However, it’s most extreme manifestation appeared within the gopīs, and amongst them, Śrīmatī Rādhikā manifested the highest intensity of vipralambha-sambhoga. Indeed, Her feelings of vipralambha-sambhoga are so great that they are compared to a blazing fire (vahni).

Mahāprabhu is Śrī Kṛṣṇa and, as mentioned in this verse, He has taken the bhāva (mood) and kānti (effulgence) of Rādhārāṇī. From one perspective, Rādhā and Kṛṣna are both present within the divine form of Śrī Caitanya – thus, there is union. However, because the aspect of Śrī Rādhā is predominant within Him, Mahāprabhu feels great separation from Kṛṣṇa – thus there is also separation. In this way, just as it has been pointed out that Mahāprabhu is the vipralambha-mūrti, or the embodiment of divine separation, He can also be said to be the vipralambha-sambhoga-mūrti, the embodiment of divine union in separation.

In this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja uses the word adhirūḍha. In śṛṅgara-rasa, there are two ecstatic symptoms known as rūḍha (advanced) and adhirūḍha (highly advanced). Adhirūḍha-bhāva is of two types – modana and mādana. Modana occurs when all the sāttvikabhāvas found in Kṛṣṇa and His beloved are stimulated to a great extent, Modana is exclusive to those sakhīs in the camp of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. When mahābhāva increases and becomes more advanced and intense, this is called mādana. This is only found within Śrī Rādhikā and occurs at the time when She meets with Govinda. Thus, Śrīla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī refers to the state of adhirūḍha as, adhirūḍha mahābhāva rādhikāra prema (‘Rādhikā’s prema is highly advanced mahābhāva’).

When Mahāprabhu experiences this mood of adhirūḍha-bhāva, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja likens Him to an elephant, implying an intoxicated elephant. This analogy is very appropriate. When a male elephant is in rut, he becomes extremely aggressive and a dark fluid oozes from the temporal glands in his forehead which is called mada. This mada is rich in protein and fats, and runs into the elephants mouth, making him intoxicated (this is why the Sanskrit word for alcohol is mada). In this inebriated condition, the elephant becomes bewildered. Thus, experiencing the adhirūḍha-bhāva of Śrī Rādhā, Mahāprabhu was like an intoxicated elephant.

While remaining in the Gambhīra, Mahāprabhu was accompanied by Śri Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya. Again, there is great significance in this. Mahāprabhu is exhibiting the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇi in the association of Svarūpa Dāmodara, who is Lalitā Sakhī, and Rāya Rāmānanda, who is Viśākhā Devī. In Vraja, these two gopīs are the dearest associates of Rādhikā. Knowing Her deepest feelings, they make all arrangements for Her to unite with Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, Śrī Svarūpa and Rāmānanda knew the feelings of Mahāprabhu, and at the Gambhīra they would sing songs and prayers according to the various sentiments of the Lord, which would enhance His ecstatic moods. Due to Mahāprabhu’s intensity, only His most intimate associates were allowed to see Him in the Gambhīra.

bahiraṅga-saṅge kare nāma-saṅkīrtana
antaraṅga-saṅge kare rasa-asvadana

(Amongst the ordinary devotees the Lord engaged in nama-sankirtana, and with His intimate associates He relished rasa.)

In the Gambhīra the majority of the devotees had no access to the Lord. The significance of this is that in order to attain the association of the Lord, we must first become qualified by passing through the Gambhīra. In other words, we must be purified by the fire of separation first, in order to attain union with Him. In this regard, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahāraja has used the word garbha in this verse to indicate union. Garbha also means womb, or birth. Thus, vahni-garbha-vipralambha also means that in order to gain the Lord’s association, then like the mythical phoenix, one must enter the purifying fire of union in separation and be reborn.


Verse 55
śrī-svarūpa-kaṇṭha-lagna-māthura-pralāpakaṁ
rādhikānu-vedanārta-tīvra-vipralambhakam
svapnavat-samādhi-dṛṣṭa-divya-varṇanāturaṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

śrī-svarūpa – Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara; kaṇṭha – neck; lagna –clasping; māthura – Mathurā; pralāpaka – speaking incoherently; rādhikā – Śrī Rādhikā; anu – condition; vedana – pain; arta – afflicted; tīvra – strong; vipralambhaka – separation; svapnavat – like a dream; samādhi – trance; dṛṣṭa – seen; divya – divine; varṇana – description; atura – struggle; 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. Clasping the neck of Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara, the Lord spoke incoherently about Mathurā in the mood of Rādhikā, and was greatly afflicted by the pain of separation. He struggled to describe His deep divine trance which were simply like dreams to ordinary persons.

Commentary

In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī Prabhu narrates how Śrī Caitanyadeva would speak incoherently while grasping the neck of Svarūpa Dāmodara.

rātre pralāpa kare svarūpera kaṇṭha dhari
āveśe āpana bhāva kahaye ughāḍi

(At night, the Lord would grasp the neck of Svarūpa and speak unintelligibly, revealing His ecstatic mood. – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 4.108)

It is mentioned later in the Antya-līlā, that the Lord also acted in a similar way with Rāmānanda Rāya:

rāmānandera galā dhari karena pralāpana
svarūpe puchena māni nija-sakhī-gaṇa
pūrve yena viśākhāre rādhikā puchilā
sei śloka paḍi’ pralāpa karite lāgilā

(Embracing the beck of Rāmānanda and speaking incoherently, the Lord inquired from Svarūpa, considering him to be a confidential sakhī. Just as Rādhikā formerly inquired from Viśākhā, He began to recite that śloka, speaking like a madman. – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 19.33-34)

The word used for ‘incoherent talk,’ in both this verse of Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram, and these ślokas from Caitanya-caritāmṛta is pralāpa. Not only does pralāpa mean delirious speech, but it also suggests a mood of lamentation and pain. In this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja gives us a hint as to why Mahāprabhu was lamenting by using the word mathurā. This is explained again by Kavirāja Gosvāmī:

ācambite sphure kṛṣṇera mathurā-gamana
udghūrṇā-daśā haila unmāda-lakṣaṇa

(Suddenly, the thought of Kṛṣṇa leaving for Mathurā awakened in Him, and He manifested the madness of the state of udghūrṇā. – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 19.32)

Udghūrṇa is a symptom of divyonmāda (divine madness) and is the same condition exhibited by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇi when Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana for Mathurā. In the state of udghūrṇā, various astounding uncontrollable endeavours are made in a fit of madness. When Kṛṣṇa departed for Mathurā, Rādhikā felt such intense separation that She would run back to the kuñja where She had sported with Kṛṣṇa, and begin to arrange things, thinking that He was returning. Seeing the dark clouds in the sky, She would think that they were Kṛṣna, and chastise them. She would run out in the middle of the darkness of night, imagining that She was having a rendezvous with Kṛṣṇa. In this mood, Mahāprabhu lamented and chanted the same śloka that Rādhārāṇi had spoken to Her confidantes at that time:

kva nanda-kula-candramāḥ kva śikhi-candrakālaṅkṛtiḥ
kva mandra-muralī-ravaḥ kva nu surendra-nīla-dyutiḥ
kva rāsa-rasa-tāṇḍavī kva sakhi jīva-rakṣauṣadhir
nidhir mama suhṛt-tamaḥ kva bata hanta hā dhig vidhim

(“Where is that Moon who arose in the family of Nanda? Where is He whose head is adorned with a peacock feather? Where is He whose flute produces the deepest of sounds? Where is that Lord of all the Devas, whose bodily hue resembles a sapphire? Where is He who is so expert in dancing in the rasa-maṇḍala? O my dear friend, where is He who is the panacea who can save My life? Where can I find that treasure who is the best of friends? O alas! I must condemn Providence!” – Lalitā Mādhava 3.25)

Thus, in great pain and in this mood of Śrī Rādhikā’s separation from Govinda, Śrīman Mahāprabhu lamented thus (rādhikānu-vedanārta-tīvra-vipralambhaka).

Finally, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, svapnavat-samādhi-dṛṣṭa-divya-varṇanātura (‘He struggled to describe His deep divine trance which were simply like dreams to ordinary persons.’). For those persons steeped in material ignorance, these high, esoteric experiences are like dreams, in the sense that they seem unreal. When mundane scholars discuss the divine love of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, invariably they always conclude that He was an epileptic, whose convulsions were misunderstood by ignorant people to be divine. Because such persons lack sukṛti and śraddhā, they arrive at such erroneous and offensive conclusions. How can such unfortunate persons ever gain entrance into the deepest and most sublime experiences of transcendence?

Here, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja describes Mahāprabhu’s trance-like experience with the word samādhi. Samādhi is comprised of two words, sama meaning to unite, and dhi referring to one consciousness (from the root dhiṣaṇa, to meditate upon). Thus, samādhi means to fix or unite one’s consciousness with a particular object. This is not the nebulous samādhi spoken of in the Yogasūtras of Patañjali. Samādhi is the perfect word to describe the mood of Śrī Caitanyadeva. While constantly remembering Kṛṣṇa and burning in the fire of vipralambha, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, in the mood or Rādhā, desired sambhoga with Him – therefore His consciousness was fully united with Kṛṣṇa. Thus the word samādhi has been used.

Related Articles

Further Reading

Grantha Samalocana - A Book Review by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami PrabhupadaGrantha Samālocanā (A Book Review)
Viraha-gitika - A Song of Separation by Srila B.P. Puri Maharaja about Bhaktivinoda ThakuraViraha-Gītikā (A Song of Separation)

Share this article!

About the Author: Swami B.V. Giri

Avatar of Swami B.V. Giri
  • Vaiśiṣṭyāṣṭaka (Eight Stanzas of Significance)

Vaiśiṣṭyāṣṭaka (Eight Stanzas of Significance)

By |February 29, 2024|Tags: |

We present this important Vyāsa Pūjā offering by Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda on the 150th appearance anniversary of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda. Vaiśiṣṭyāṣṭaka (‘Eight Stanzas of Significance’) was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Vyāsa Pūjā offering written at the Vaṁśī-Gopāla Temple, on the 86th appearance day of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. It was first published in Śrī Gauḍīya Patrikā, Vol. 12. Issues 1 & 2 in April 1961. As our readers will see, many points that Prabhupāda addresses in this poem are as relevant today as they were when he wrote it sixty-three years ago.

  • Pilgrimage With Swami Narasiṅgha – Part 6: Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana Temple

Pilgrimage With Swami Narasiṅgha – Part 6: Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana Temple

By |February 16, 2024|Tags: |

Continuing with our series,‘Pilgrimage with Swami Narasiṅgha,’ this week we go to the Madana-mohana Temple in Vṛndāvana and Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja explains the history and importance of this holy place. This article was adapted from an essay written in 1994 and a class given in Vṛndāvana in 1996.

  • Bhai Sahajiya

Bhāi Sahajiyā (Part Two)

By |February 9, 2024|Tags: |

The second part of Bhāi Sahajiyā was first published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī Vol. 20, issue 1. In this section, Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura continues to point out the defects of various sahajiyā groups. While some of his points are generic criticisms, he also seems to be taking a jab at particular unnamed persons or groups from that era who remain unknown to us. In some cases, we have included footnotes for the readers clarification.

  • Vaiśiṣṭyāṣṭaka (Eight Stanzas of Significance)

Vaiśiṣṭyāṣṭaka (Eight Stanzas of Significance)

By |February 29, 2024|Tags: |

We present this important Vyāsa Pūjā offering by Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda on the 150th appearance anniversary of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda. Vaiśiṣṭyāṣṭaka (‘Eight Stanzas of Significance’) was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Vyāsa Pūjā offering written at the Vaṁśī-Gopāla Temple, on the 86th appearance day of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. It was first published in Śrī Gauḍīya Patrikā, Vol. 12. Issues 1 & 2 in April 1961. As our readers will see, many points that Prabhupāda addresses in this poem are as relevant today as they were when he wrote it sixty-three years ago.

  • Pilgrimage With Swami Narasiṅgha – Part 6: Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana Temple

Pilgrimage With Swami Narasiṅgha – Part 6: Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Madana-mohana Temple

By |February 16, 2024|Tags: |

Continuing with our series,‘Pilgrimage with Swami Narasiṅgha,’ this week we go to the Madana-mohana Temple in Vṛndāvana and Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja explains the history and importance of this holy place. This article was adapted from an essay written in 1994 and a class given in Vṛndāvana in 1996.

  • Bhai Sahajiya

Bhāi Sahajiyā (Part Two)

By |February 9, 2024|Tags: |

The second part of Bhāi Sahajiyā was first published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī Vol. 20, issue 1. In this section, Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura continues to point out the defects of various sahajiyā groups. While some of his points are generic criticisms, he also seems to be taking a jab at particular unnamed persons or groups from that era who remain unknown to us. In some cases, we have included footnotes for the readers clarification.