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By Published On: April 19, 2024Tags: 21.2 min read

Overview

In verses 61 to 65 of 'Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram', Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja narrates the pastime of Śrī Caitanya at Caṭaka Parvata In Purī and explains how the scriptures produced by Brahmā and Śiva are ultimately searching for the personality of Mahāprabhu who is merciful too all jīvas, no matter what their social position.

Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 61-65

by
His Divine Grace
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja

with the
Narasiṅgha Sevaka Vivṛtti
by Tridaṇḍi Swami Bhakti Vijñāna Giri

Verse 61
yāmunāmbu-kṛṣṇa-rādhikāli-keli-maṇḍalaṁ
vyakta-gupta-dṛpta-tṛpta-bhaṅgi-mādanākulam
gūḍha-divya-marma-moda-mūrcchanā-camatkaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

yāmuna – the Yamunā; ambu – waters; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; rādhikā – Śrī Rādhikā: ali – friends; keli-maṇḍala – arena of divine play; vyakta – manifest; gupta – hidden; dṛpta – firm; tṛpta – satisfied; bhaṅgi – break; mādana –  intoxicating; akula – bewilderment; gūḍha – confidential; divya – divine; marma – meaning; moda – pleasure; mūrcchanā – stupor; camatkara – astounding; 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 waters of the Yamunā become the sporting ground for Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Rādhikā along with the gopīs. Sometimes they manifest these intoxicating and bewildering pastimes are manifest, and sometimes they hide them. Sometimes they play harmoniously, sometimes they are in opposition to one another. The divine, confidential purport of this līlā is so blissful that one becomes astounded and stupefied.

Commentary

As mentioned in the previous commentary, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s description of the jala-kelī-līlā of Rādhā-Kṛṣna in the Yamunā is given in the 18th Chapter of the Antya-līlā of Caitanya-caritāmṛta. It should be pointed out that our paramaguru, Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, gave no purports to this section of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Only those rasika-bhaktas who have fully imbibed kṛṣṇabhaktirasa can relish such intimate pastimes. Those of us still mired in mundane consciousness cannot appreciate them. Those that are still attached to their physical body, family, place of birth, society (both mundane and religious) etc. lack the eligibility to delve into such transcendental narrations.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja explained once how during the time of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, certain sections of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta were not open to general discussion, especially the līlā portions describing the pastimes of Rādhā-Govinda. There were only consecutive readings (pārāyaṇa) of those sections, but no discussion or commentary on them. Amongst the stalwart disciples of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura there were many elevated souls, yet they were instructed by their Gurudeva not to discuss these chapters of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Nowadays however, it seems that many persons, both Indian and western, have suddenly gained the adhikāra (qualification) to read, speak and write about these higher topics of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa līlā. What brought about this unanticipated evolution of adhikāra is anyone’s guess! In this regard, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said:

na uṭhiyā vṛkṣopari,  ṭānāṭāni phala dhari
duṣṭa-phala karile arjana

(If you don’t climb the tree to pick the fruits, you will only acquire rotten ones. – Kalyāṇa Kalpataru 1.18.4)

Those who lack adhikāra, who stubbornly refuse to climb the tree beginning with śraddhā, sādhusaṅga, bhajana-kriyā etc, and who neglect the process of anarthanivṛtti are only left with the inedible, worm-infested fruits that have fallen on the ground. When one is standing in such close proximity to the tree of prema, eating rotten fruits and considering them to be nectar, is utter madness. Such insanity is further compounded when one encourages others to also partake of such spoiled fruit.

The process of bhakti as given by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu cannot be underestimated and must be rigidly adhered to at all times. Some persons may think that they have reached spiritual maturity merely based upon their age, because they have managed to live in an āśrama for many years, because they know many verses, because they know Sanskrit, or because they are a sannyāsī or a guru – none of these externalities are prerequisites for advancement in bhakti. Along with śraddhā, sādhu-saṅga, bhajana-kriyā, anartha-nivṛtti etc. the necessary requirements are śaraṇāgati (surrender), nāmaruci (a taste for the Holy Name) and jīva-dayā (compassion for the living entities). Without these, the perception of oneself as an advanced devotee is simply self-deception.

Verse 62
āsya-gharṣaṇādi-cāṭakādri-sindhu-līlanaṁ
bhakta-marma-bhedi-tīvra-duḥkha-saukya-khelanam
atyacintya-divya-vaibhavāśritaika-śaṅkaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

āsya – face; gharṣaṇa – rubbing; adi – etc; cāṭaka – Cāṭaka Pārvata; ādri – hill; sindhu – ocean; līlana – pastimes;  bhakta – devotees; marma-bhedi – extreme anxiety; tīvra – intense; duḥkha – grief saukya – bliss; khelana – pastimes; ati – extreme;  acintya – inconceivable; divya – divine; vaibhava – greatness; āśrita – surrendered devotees; eka – only; śaṅkara – auspicious; 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. Upon seeing Caṭaka Pārvata He would rub His face on the ground, and seeing the ocean He was reminded of Kṛṣṇa’s divine līlā. Exhibiting pastimes of intense grief and bliss, He would cause great anxiety to the devotees. Such inconceivable divine and auspicious wealth was only awarded to those surrendered souls.

Commentary

In Purī-kṣetra at the place known as Yameśvara Toṭa, there is a large sand dune known as Caṭaka Pārvata. In the Caitanyacaritāmṛta, it is narrated that when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw Caṭaka Pārvata, He was immediately reminded of Govardhana Hill. This pastime is mentioned by Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī Prabhu:

samīpe nīlādreś-caṭaka-giri-rājasya kalanād
aye goṣṭhe govardhana-giri-patiṁ lokitum itaḥ
vrajann asmīty uktvā pramada iva dhāvann avadhṛto
gaṇaiḥ svair gaurāṅgo hṛdaya udayan māṁ madayati

(Near to Nīlādri was the best of hills known as Caṭaka. Upon seeing it, the Lord cried, “O, I shall leave here and go to see Govardhana, the Lord of hills!” Saying this, He became mad with ecstasy and ran towards it, followed by His close associates. Such thoughts of Śrī Gaurāṅga arise within my heart and madden me. – Gaurāṅga Stava Kalpa-vṛkṣa 8)

As Mahāprabhu ran towards Caṭaka Pārvata, He recited the following verse spoken by the gopīs from the Bhāgavata:

hantāyam adrir abalā hari-dāsa-varyo
yad rāma-kṛṣṇa-caraṇa-sparaśa-pramodaḥ
mānaṁ tanoti saha-go-gaṇayos tayor yat
pānīya-sūyavasa-kandara-kanda-mūlaiḥ

(O friends! This hill is the best amongst the servants of Hari because it is touched by the feet of Rāma and Kṛṣṇa. It blissfully offers respects to Them. It supplies Them, as well as the calves, cows and the cowherd boys’ water, tender grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.21.18)

As Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī states in this verse, bhakta-marma-bhedi – the devotees would be plunged into intense anxiety whenever the Lord experienced divine ecstasy. As mentioned in previous ślokas, the Lord would sometimes dive into the ocean, or manifest supernatural bodily transformations. Thus, His entourage was always perturbed about His safety. Seeing the Lord running towards Caṭaka Pārvata, Svarupa Dāmodara, Gadādhara, Govinda, Jagadānanda and others ran after Him. Before the Lord reached Caṭaka Pārvata however, He suddenly stopped and exhibited stambhabhāva (stunned with ecstasy). His bodily hair stood on end and the pores of His skin erupted like pimples. He began to sweat blood and could not enunciate any words – simply a gargling noise came from His throat. Tears flowed constantly from His eyes, His body shook and His bodily hue became extremely pale. Mahāprabhu then fell to the ground and when the devotees reached Him, they began to cry, seeing Him in such a pitiful condition. Simultaneously, they were astounded to see the symptoms of aṣṭa-sāttvika-bhāva manifested in Him. Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja has referred to this as atyacintya-divya-vaibhavāśritaika-śaṅkara – an inconceivable auspicious wealth which was only shown to those associates who were fully surrendered to the Lord.

The devotees, poured water on the Lord’s body and as they chanted the Names of Kṛṣṇa, He eventually came back to external consciousness. Turning to Svarūpa Dāmodara, Mahāprabhu said, “I was at Govardhana seeing the līlā of Kṛṣna – who brought Me back here?” He then narrated what He had seen. Mahāprabhu had witnessed Kṛṣṇa tending the cows at Govardhana Hill, and as He played the flute, Rādhārāṇī and the gopīs arrived. Kṛṣṇa then took Rādhā into the caves of Govardhana, and the gopīs asked Mahāprabhu to pick flowers. Suddenly, He heard a tumultuous noise and was brought back.

We have previously mentioned how the Lord sometimes complained of being brought back to the external world by the ‘noise’ made by the devotees chanting. In this instance, the Lord asked Svarūpa:

kene vā ānilā more vṛthā duḥkha dite
pāñā kṛṣṇera līlā nā pāinu dekhite

eta bali mahāprabhu karena krandana
tāṅra daśā dekhi vaiṣṇava karena rodana

(“Why did you unnecessarily bring Me here and cause Me so much pain? I was experiencing the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and now I cannot see them!” Saying this, Mahāprabhu began to weep, and seeing Him in this condition, the Vaiṣṇavas also began to cry. – Caitanyacaritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 9.111-112)

Objects and persons who stimulate bhāva are known as uddīpana, and we see in the līlā of Śrī Caitanyadeva at Puruṣottama-kṣetra, everything around Him served as a constant uddipana for the highest stages of kṛṣṇaprema.

Verse 63
śrotra-netra-gatyatīta-bodha-rodhitādbhutaṁ
prema-labhya-bhāva-siddha-cetanā-camatkṛtam
brahma-śambhu-veda-tantra-mṛgya-satya-sundaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

śrotra – hearing; netra – seeing; gatya – power; atīta – beyond; bodha – intellectual; rodhita – halts; adbhuta – astounding; prema – divine love; labhya – attained; bhāva – awareness; siddha – perfected beings; cetanā – consciousness; camatkṛta – amazes; brahma – Brahmā; śambhu – Śiva; veda – the Vedas; tantra – the Tantras; mṛgya – searching; satya – reality; sundara – beautiful;  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. He is so astounding that He is beyond the power of sight and sound, and any intellectual endeavour to understand Him is thwarted. Being situated in prema, He amazes the consciousness of perfected beings. Even the Vedas of Brahmā and the Tantras of Śiva are searching for that Reality the Beautiful.

Commentary

In this śloka, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja again reminds us of the omnipotence of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by stating how He is beyond the reach of the mundane senses. That which is spiritual by nature cannot be perceived by physical instruments such as the eye or the ear. The Lord is known as Adhokṣaja because He is able to defeat (adho) perceptions born from (ja) the mundane senses (akṣa). Another definition of adhokṣaja is as follows:

adho-bhūte hy’akṣa-gaṇe pratyag rūpa pravāhite
jāyate tasya vai jñānam tena’dhokṣaja ucyate

(When the senses [akṣa] are made to look inwards [adho], knowledge of the Supreme arises [jayate]. Thus, He is known as Adhokṣaja.)

In other words, He can only be perceived internally. However, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja also reminds us in this śloka that any intellectual endeavour to understand Mahāprabhu is arrested (bodharodhita). Therefore, He is mānasagocaraṁ – beyond the mental sphere. The verse continues to explain how even the minds of the Siddhas, the great sages who are perfected, self-controlled and fixed on the path of self-realisation, are bewildered by Śrī Caitanyadeva (bhāva-siddha-cetanā-camatkṛta). How then can the Lord be perceived internally? The verse gives us a clue by stating prema-labhya – ‘He is situated in prema.’ Not only is Mahāprabhu situated in prema, but in order to fully perceive Him, the devotee must also be established in prema. Thus, He can only be fully realised by that pure ātmā who is situated in prema-bhakti.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja continues to describe the imperceptibility of Mahāprabhu by stating that even the Vedas that are taught by Brahmā, and the Tantras taught by Śiva are searching for Him (brahma-śambhu-veda-tantra-mṛgya-satya-sundara). The Vedas and the Tantras are, in the words of Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja, “a jungle of sounds.” They prescribe many paths such as jñāna, karma, yoga, bhakti etc. for various sādhakas according to their individual desires and qualifications. All jīvas are searching for ānanda, happiness. Unfortunately, they are covered by lust, anger, greed etc. and thus their search for true ānanda is hampered at every step. Kṛṣṇa is ānandamaya, full of the highest type of eternal bliss, thus in reality, all jīvas are ultimately searching for Kṛṣṇa. When one eventually comes in connection with Him, one attains ānanda. Similarly, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, being non-different from Kṛṣṇa Himself, is also ānandamaya and He distributes that kṛṣṇa-premānanda, the bliss of love for Śrī Kṛṣna, to one and all. The Brahmasaṁhitā (5.33) states, vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau – He is inaccessible to the Vedas, but He is attained by those ātmās who are situated in bhakti.

In conclusion, the Lord is fully independent and retains the right to reveal Himself to the finite jīvātmā if and when He chooses. It is not a question of our own physical or mental endeavours, whether we be perfected sages, Devas or devotees. Thus, the Kathopaniṣad (1.2.23) says:

nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo
na medhayā na bahunā
śrutena
yam evaiṣa vṛnute tena labhyas
tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛnute tanuṁ svām

(The Supreme cannot be realised simply by lecturing, or by applying one’s intelligence or by studying many śāstra. One can achieve the Supreme only when the Lord Himself chooses. To that person the Supreme reveals His own personal form.)

Verse 64
vipra-śūdra-vijña-mūrkha-yāvanādi-nāmadaṁ
vitta-vikramocca-nīca-sajjanaika-sampadam
strī-pumādi-nirvivāda-sārvavādikoddharaṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

viprabrāhmaṇa; śūdraśūdra; vijña – learned; mūrkha – foolish; yāvana – Yavanas; adi – etc; nāma – the Holy Name; da – distributed; vitta – wealthy; vikramocca – poor; nīca – lowborn; sajjana – noble persons; eka – alone; sampada – wealth; strī – women; puma – men; adi – etc. nirvivāda – indisputable; sārva – all; vādika – glorified; uddhara – deliverer; 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. He distributes the Holy Name to the brāhmaṇas, the śūdras, the learned, the foolish, the Yavanas etc. and He is the sole wealth of the rich, poor, lowborn and high-born. Thus, He is glorified by men and women alike as their indisputable saviour.

Commentary

The mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu cannot be monopolised by any particular race, caste, etc. It is meant for one and all. In gauralīlā, we see how Mahāprabhu showed mercy to brāhmaṇas (Sārvabhauma, Prakāśānanda, Veṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa, Kāśī Mīśra), kṣatriyas (Pratāparudra and the Rajput devotee Kṛṣṇa Dāsa), vaiśyas (Uddhāraṇa Datta, Murāri Gupta), śūdras (Rāmānanda Rāya, Raghunātha Dāsa), outcastes (Rūpa, Sanātana) and yavanas (Thākura Hari Dāsa and the Pathan Vaiṣṇavas). He also showed His supreme compassion to the poor (Kolaveca Śrīdhara) and to the lady section (Mādhavi Devī, Sītā Devī etc).

Although Śrīman Mahāprabhu acted within the societal parametres of varṇāśrama, fundamentally He saw everyone as kṛṣṇadāsa, eternal servants of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

nāhaṁ vipro na ca nara-patir nāpi vaiśyo na śūdro
nāhaṁ varṇī na ca gṛha-patir no vanastho yatir vā
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramānanda-pūrnāmṛtābdher
gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ

(“I am not a brāhmaṇa, a kṣatriya, a vaiśya or a śūdra. I am not a brahmacārī, a householder, a vānaprastha or a sannyāsī. However, I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of He who is the Lord of the gopīs, who is a complete ocean of nectar, and who radiates with supreme, universal bliss.” Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 13.80)

Within the mundane caste system, some brāhmaṇas opine that the knowledge of the Vedas is their birthright and that nobody else can access it apart through them. Similarly, the caste-gosvāmīs in India also declare that they are the sole recipients of the mercy of Mahāprabhu and His associates, and in order to acquire it, one must take initiation in their line. Nowadays, this same provincial mentality has percolated into various Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava societies who claim that theirs is the only institution that can take one “back home, back to Godhead.”

Mahāprabhu and His followers did not have such a narrow-minded mentality. In Caitanya-caritāmṛta, the Lord clearly states that anyone who understands kṛṣṇatattva is a Vaiṣṇava and can accept the position of guru.

kibā vipra kibā nyāsī śūdra kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā sei guru haya

(Whether one is a brāhmaṇa, a sannyāsī or a śūdra, whoever is fully conversant with kṛṣṇatattva can accept the position of guru. Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Madhya-līlā 8.128)

The transcendental knowledge of kṛṣṇa-tattva supersedes one’s seminal birth in this world. One may be born in a particular high-class family due to one’s good karma, and this may be advantageous in advancing in bhakti. Ultimately however, this physical form created by the union of one’s mother and father is insignificant. The ātmā is neither a brāhmaṇa, a śudra, a gosvāmī, or a mleccha. All material bodies are comprised of the same five gross elements. High pedigree does not predetermine one’s level of bhakti since we find in śāstra many examples of personalities who were not born in high class families, yet they became great devotees. We cannot assess someone’s bhakti based upon mere knowledge either, since there are many well-read persons who know the śāstra, yet lack proper behaviour. Furthermore, joining a particular society does not reflect one’s deep devotion – prior to Gauḍīya Maṭha, there were no ‘registered institutions’ in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya. There was only paramparās. We have also seen some of these societies become an end in themselves – in other words, they propagate ‘society consciousness’ rather than Kṛṣṇa consciousness. None of these material principles are measurements of one’s bhakti. Bhakti is estimated according to the individual’s śraddhā, śaraṇāgati and sevā, as well as their nāmaruci (taste for the Holy Name) and jīvadayā (compassion for the other jīvas). In his article Vaiṣṇave Jāti Buddhi, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura writes:

We find that even within various vaiṣṇava vaṁśas, many individuals have taken birth who are a disgrace to their dynasty and who behave like demons. On the other hand, many great souls have taken birth in the families of dog-eaters (caṇḍālas) and barbarians (yāvanas), yet they became Vaiṣṇavas on the strength of practising pure bhakti. In fact, it is seen that many non-Vaiṣṇavas have even taken birth in the dynasties of Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, while many Vaiṣṇavas have taken birth in extremely irreligious dynasties. Therefore, any respect or honour that comes with the reputation of being born in a so-called Vaiṣṇava caste or in being a direct descendent of a Vaiṣṇava ācārya, can never add dignity to true Vaiṣṇava dharma.

In fact, pride stemming from one’s birth, caste, learning, wealth, institutional affiliation etc. are all major obstacles in cultivating śuddhabhakti. Śrī Kṛṣna confirms this in His conversation with Uddhava:

śriyā vibhūtyābhijanena vidyayā
tyāgena rūpeṇa balena karmaṇā
jāta-smayenāndha-dhiyaḥ saheśvarān
sato’vamanyanti hari-priyān khalāḥ

(From pride born from their wealth, abilities, high birth, education, renunciation, beauty, strength and activities, their intelligence is blinded and they become hateful and disrespectful towards the Supreme and those who are dear to Hari. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.5.9)

In order to attract the mercy of Mahāprabhu, who is glorified as the saviour of all jīvas in Kali-yuga, one must abandon these impediments, and cultivate a mood of sincere humility.

ahaṅkāra-nivṛttānāṁ keśavo na hi dūragaḥ
ahaṅkāra-yutānāṁ hi madhye parvata-rāśayaḥ

(Keśava is not far away for those who renounce their false ego. For those who possess false ego, there is a mountain range between them and Him. Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa)

Thus, Mahāprabhu in His Śikṣāṣṭakam has instructed the jīva to develop the qualities of su-nicatva (humility), sahiṣnutva (tolerance) and amānitva (lack of pride). When we chant hari-nāma in such a state of mind, Śrī Caitanyadeva will undoubtedly shower us with His blessings and all good qualities will manifest within us.

Verse 65
sindhu-sūnya-veda-candra-śāka-kumbha-pūrṇimā
sāndhya-cāndrakoparāga-jāta-gaura-candramā
snāna-dāna-kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅga-tat-parātparaṁ

prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

sindhu – seven; sūnya – zero; veda – four; candra – one; śāka – the Śaka era; kumbha – Aquarius;  pūrṇimā – full moon; sāndhya – twilight; cāndraka – lunar; uparāga – Rahu; jāta – appeared; gaura – golden; candramā – moon; snāna – bathing; dāna – offerings; kṛṣṇa-nāma – the Name of Kṛṣṇa; saṅga –everyone; tat – that; parātpara – Supreme; 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. Like the golden moon, He appeared in 1407 Śākābda (1486 CE) under the zodiacal sign of Kumbha (Aquarius) on the Pūrṇimā (full moon) at twilight during a lunar eclipse. At that time, everyone chanted kṛṣṇa-nāma and gave charity and were focused on the Supreme Lord.

Commentary

In this śloka, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja gives some details concerning the appearance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Firstly, he states that the Lord appeared in 1407 of the Śāka Era. India has two common calendars – the Vikrama Calendar, named after Mahārāja Vikramāditya of Ujjain starting in 56 BCE, and the Śāka Calendar which began with the rule of the Śaka Dynasty in 78 CE.  Mahāprabhu’s appearance in 1407 corresponds with 1486 CE of the western calendar. Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja also employs a common cryptic method of giving the year of Mahāprabhu’s birth. The number seven is represented by the word sindhu (because of the Sapta Sindhu, or seven oceans). Śūnya is the Sanskrit word for zero. The word veda denotes the number four (because of the four Vedas) and candra corresponds to the number one (since there is one moon in the sky). Thus, when turned backwards, we have the number 1407.

Next, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja points out the zodiacal sign during the time of Mahāprabhu’s appearance as Kumbha, or Aquarius. The tithi (lunar phase), was Pūrṇimā, or full moon. Then the time of day is given as sandhyā, referring to one of the three daily transition periods – sunrise, midday and twilight. Sandhyā is a compound comprised of two words, sam (good) and dhya (mediate) – thus, these three sandhyā periods are considered the best times to perform japa, meditation etc. We can understand that Mahāprabhu appeared during the evening sandhyā because the moon was in the sky. Moreover, the śloka informs us that there was a lunar eclipse that evening by the phrase candrakoparāga, implying that Rahu (or Uparāga) covered the moon.

It is common that during a solar or lunar eclipse, the followers of the Vedas perform japa, kīrtana, and offer charity etc. According to śāstra, those who perform any auspicious activities at that time attain a thousand times more benefit. Thus, during the time of Śrī Caitanya’s appearance, the residents of Navadvīpa bathed in the auspicious waters of the Gaṅgā and chanted the Holy Names of Kṛṣṇa.

The golden moon covered by the dark shadow of Rahu could be said to represent the manifestation of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa appearing as Śri Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Furthermore, the chanting of kṛṣṇa-nāma by all the residents of Navadvīpa heralded the Lord’s appearance as the yugāvatāra, presenting the yugadharma of nāmasaṅkīrtana for humanity at large.

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Further Reading

Prabhupāda Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Visit to AyodhyāPrabhupāda Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Visit to Ayodhyā
Pilgrimage with Swami Narasiṅgha – Part 7: Keśī GhāṭaPilgrimage with Swami Narasiṅgha – Part 7: Keśī Ghāṭa

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About the Author: Swami B.V. Giri

Avatar of Swami B.V. Giri
Swami B.V. Giri is a senior disciple of Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha Mahārāja. Receiving dīkṣā and sannyāsa initiation in the year 2000, he has been the main editor, translator and researcher for many books and articles written by Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha and many that he's authored himself. He is currently residing in Vṛṇdavana where he is engaged translating and publishing articles and books of our acāryās.
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By |May 10, 2024|Tags: |

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By |April 26, 2024|Tags: |

Continuing with our pilgrimage series, this week Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja takes us to Keśī Ghāṭā where he tells us about Madhumaṅgala’s meeting with the Keśī demon, what Keśī represents, and how Śrīla Prabhupāda almost acquired Keśī Ghāṭa. Mahārāja also narrates his own experience. This article has been adapted from a number of talks and articles by Narasiṅgha Mahārāja.