This article is a MUST read for ecstatic Prabhupada nectar. Sunday and Yesterday most ISKCON temples celebrated the auspicious Appearance day of Sri Advaita Acarya in grand style. Yesterday night right before going to bed I read some more nectar of Advaita Acarya but this time in relations to our most beloved and merciful Srila Prabhupada. This story was very stirring and I just wanted to share it...
This story was heard in Mayapura in 1980. A man came to the ISKCON’s Caitanya Candrodoya Mandira carrying with him a copy of the Back of Godhead article about Srila Prabhupada, entitled A Lifetime in Preparation.
“Just recently an amazing realization occurred to me that I wanted to share with devotees everywhere. I have been the pujari and sevaite at the house of Adwaita Acarya for many years. I was also there back in the 1940′s and 50′s. At that time, I noticed that one grhasta Bengali devotee used to come to the temple quite regularly. He was dressed in a white khadidhoti and kurta and he always came alone. He would sit in the back of the Mandira without speaking, and would chant harinama on his mala very quietly and deeply. I noticed that he came on the weekends, usually once every month or two in regular way. After chanting there for many hours, he would always thank me when he left. His presence was profound and I became attracted to him. Since his devotions were solitary, I never spoke to disturb him. Sometimes I happened to notice that while he was chanting, his eyes would be full of tears and his voice would be choked up.”
“Then, for a very long time he did not come. However, I distinctly recall that in August of 1965, I saw a saffron-clothed sannyasi sitting in the back of the Mandira. In a moment I recognized him to be my old friend from before. Again he sat for a long time chanting Hare Krsna. I could see his beads moving, his eyes closed in concentrated devotion. He was weeping unabashedly even more than he used to while he took the Holy Name. Finally, as evening came, he paid his dandavat pranama for long time. When he arose he came up to me and again thanked me for my seva here at Adwaita Bhavan. I asked him. Who are you? I remember you from so long ago.’”
“He replied, ‘My name is Abaya Caranaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. I am an unworthy disciple of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Prabhupada, my divine master. I have been coming here for such a long time because my Gurudeva has given me an impossible mission. His desire was for me to go across the ocean to the Western countries and spread the sublime teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are countless souls there who have never heard of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and so they are suffering greatly. I have not known how this mission of his will be successful, so I have been coming here to this special house of Adwaita Acarya, where he, Nityananda Prabhu, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would gather together to plan the sankirtana movement. It was here that they launched the inundation of love of God that swept India and continues to this day. Thus, I have been praying very earnestly here that they will all give me their mercy that somehow they will empower me and guide me. I want to satisfy my gurudeva’s desire, but I am feeling unqualified to do this.’”
“As he was speaking to me, I saw tears falling down on his cheeks again. Then he continued, ‘Tomorrow I am leaving for Calcutta to go upon a ship across the ocean to America. I do no know what will befall me there, but I am praying most earnestly here for help.’ Then he very humbly asked me for my blessings. I was indeed moved by this Vaisnava’s sincerity and determination was I watched him depart upon his journey.”
“It was a few years later that I began noticing, for the first time, white Vaisnavas coming to Adwaita Bhavan. They were wearing dhotis and saris and chanting on tulasi-mala. I never spoke to any of them but then one of them gave me this “Back to Godhead” magazine from America. As I looked at the photographs, suddenly I recognized a painting of the Founder-Acarya who had brought Krsna consciousness to the West. It was a picture of my friend, Bhaktivedanta Swami, who had come and prayed here so many times before. Then I realized that he has actually accomplished that impossible mission of his Gurudeva. I saw that it was indeed he, starting alone and without pretense, who had accomplished this glorious miracle against all odds.”
“As soon as I saw this, I came here to his temple in Mayapura to tell you this information. I know that he has gone from this world now, but I though perhaps you might want to know this story about you and my beloved Srila Prabhupada.”
Excerpt from Our Srila Prabhupada — A Friend To All — Early Contemporaries Remember Him – Compiled by Mulaprakrti devi dasi.
"because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord's devotee. Therefore I take shelter of Him.”
Yesterday was the auspicious appearance day of Sri Advaita Acharya and in India and many parts of the world it is being celebrated today. Went to a temple yesterday hoping for more local festivities and glorifications for the "foremost of all the Vaishnavas who reside at Navadwip"...
A while back we posted a video post describing the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. http://www.radhashyamasundar.com/2/post/2011/01/sri-chaitanya-mahaprabhu-part-1.htmlThat video shows Sri Advaita Acharya offering prayers for the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabu. As one posts describes it "Advaita Acharya became increasingly saddened by the pursuit of materialistic goals that, he believed, lead to a dysfunctional, unhappy society and concluded that the only solution was to offer prayers, begging his Supreme Lord Krishna to come as an avatar and attract people back to the joy of the spiritual life. Advaita Acharya is said to have prayed for several months, crying out and worshipping him in the form of his Shaligram Shila with sacred Tulasi leaves and Ganges water. At the end of thirteen months during an eclipse of the full moon, his prayers were answered when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born."
I thought that in many ways devotees are like seedlings with the same desires. We are begging for Krishna names to be sung on every street and for His message to be in everyone's hands. We are also begging people to take to the joy of spirtual life.
So it is because of Sri Advaita Acharya who is the combined incarnation of Maha Visnu and Sadaisiva, that we have the oppurtunity to worship Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is also the ultimate demonstration or pastime where Lord Krishna is showing how he listens to His devotees and in this case actually took advent to fulfill the desire of Sri Advaita Acharya. This is in line with how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu chanted His names...the names of Krishna to demonstrate what is needed in kali yuga.
We had no knowledge and any knowledge we now have is a direct result of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada so we will turn to his words:
bhaktavataram isam tam
advaitacaryam asraye So gradually the author is offering respect, sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita. He has already offered respect to Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda. Now it is the turn for Sri Advaitacarya. So advaitam, nondifferent, expansion of Mahavisnu. Therefore He is Visnu-tattva. He is not jiva-tattva. Therefore, He is Advaita.
Advaita acyuta anadi ananta-rupam. Krsna has got unlimited number of expansions, expansion, expansion of the expansion, then expansion of the expansion, in this way. So Advaitacarya is expansion of Krsna, it is already explained. Therefore He is called advaitam, and acaryam bhakti-samsanat. This is the business of acarya, to spread bhakti cult. Acaryam mam vijaniyat navamanyeta karhicit. It is said by the Lord that “You should accept the acarya...” Acarya means one who transmits bhakti cult. Bhakti-samsanat, spreading, gosthy-anandi.
One who is not spreading -- he is cultivating Krsna consciousness for his personal benefit in a secluded place, sitting and chanting -- that is also nice, but he's not acarya. Acarya means he must spread, Gosthy-anandi.
Bhajananandi, gosthy-anandi. So generally, gosthy-anandi means one who wants to increase the number of devotees. He's called gosthy-anandi. And one who is self-satisfied, that “Let me do my own duty”, he is called bhajananandi. So my Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he was gosthy-anandi; he wanted to increase the number of devotees. And the more you increase the number of devotees, the more you become very much recognized by Krsna. It is Krsna's business. Krsna personally comes as He is, Krsna, to spread this bhakti cult. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. He's canvassing personally. Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam, dharmasamstha-panarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge. So -- same thing entrusted to another devotee, and who spreads, he's acarya. So Krsna says, the acarya... Here it is said, that advaita harina advaitad. So, of course Advaita Acarya is expansion of Visnu-tattva, but any acarya, he is to be considered identical with the Lord. The Lord says that, that acaryam mam vijaniyat. “One should understand the acarya.” Acarya bhakti-samsanat. Acarya means who is spreading pure bhakti cult. “That acarya”, Krsna says, “you should consider such acarya as Myself”.
Acaryam mam vijaniyat navamanyeta karhicit, that... You cannot consider, “Yes, he's acarya, but not as good as Krsna”. No. Na avamanyeta. Don't deride in that way. Then there will be falldown. Acaryam mam vijaniyat navamanyeta karhicit. And in the Vedas also it is said, yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau: “Anyone who has got unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality and the similar faith in guru...” Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau, tasyaite kathita hy arthah: “All the Vedic literature”, prakasante, “becomes revealed simply by these two principle”.
Guru krsna krpapaya bhakti lata bija. We should not jump over Krsna without the help of guru. That is not possible. You must go through. Because Krsna says, acaryam mam vijani... Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam: “Actually one who is serious to understand higher transcendental subject matter, he must approach guru.” Tasmad gurum, prapadyeta. These are Vedic injunctions. Caksudana dilo yei, janme janme pita sei. So anyone who opens... Guru means who opens the eyes of the ignorant person. Ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya. Opening the eyes by giving real knowledge... Guru krsna krpapaya bhakti lata bija. So bhakti-lata, the devotional service, the seed of devotional service, can be received by the parampara system through bona fide spiritual master. And if we abide by the orders of spiritual master faithfully, then Krsna becomes pleased. That is stated by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. Ara na koriya mane asa. Narottama dasa... All the acaryas they say like that.
Acaryam mam vijaniyat. Acaryavan puruso veda: “One who has accepted acarya, he knows things are they are.” Others, they do not know. It is not possible. So Advaita Acarya is the typical example, how to become acarya. All are our acaryas, sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu nityananda, sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. All of them are acaryas because they are following the acarya, Supreme Acarya, Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore they are acarya. evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh. So we have to follow the acarya. Then, when we are completely, cent per cent follower of acarya, then you can also act as acarya. This is the process. Don't become premature acarya. First of all follow the orders of acarya, and you become mature. Then it is better to become acarya. Because we are interested in preparing acarya, but the etiquette is, at least for the period the guru is present, one should not become acarya.
Even if he is complete, he should not, because the etiquette is, if somebody comes for becoming initiated, it is the duty of such person to bring that prospective candidate to his acarya, not that “Now people are coming to me, so I can become acarya”. That is avamanya. Navamanyeta karhicit. Don't transgress this etiquette. Navamanyeta. That will be fall down. Just like during the lifetime of our Guru Maharaja, all our godbrothers now who are acting as acarya, they did not do so. That is not etiquette. Acaryam mam vijaniyat na avaman... That is insult. So if you insult your acarya, then you are finished. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasya aprasadat na gatih kuto 'pi -- finished. If you displease your acarya, then you are finished. Therefore it is said, Caitanya Mahaprabhu says to all the acaryas... Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu and Srivasadi-gaur-bhakta-vrnda, they are all carriers of orders of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
So try to follow the path of acarya process. Then life will be successful. And to become acarya is not very difficult. First of all, to become very faithful servant of your acarya, follow strictly what he says, try to please him and spread Krsna consciousness. That's all. It is not at all difficult. Try to follow the instruction of your guru maharaja and spread Krsna consciousness. That is the order of Lord Caitanya. Amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa, yare dekha tare kaha krsna-upadesa: “By following My order, you become guru.” And if we strictly follow the acarya system and try our best to spread the instruction of Krsna... Yare dekha tare kaha krsna-upadesa. There are two kinds of krsna-upadesa. Upadesa means instruction. Instruction given by Krsna, that is also krsna-upadesa, and instruction received about Krsna, that is also krsna-upadesa. Krsnasya upadesa iti krsna upadesa. Samasa, sasti-tat-purusa-samasa. And Krsna visaya upadesa, that is also Krsna upadesa. Bahu-vrihi-samasa.
This is the way of analyzing Sanskrit grammar. So Krsna's upadesa is Bhagavad-gita. He's directly giving instruction. So one who is spreading Krsna-upadesa, simply repeat what is said by Krsna. Then you become acarya. Not difficult at all. Everything is stated there. We have to simply repeat like parrot. Not exactly parrot. Parrot does not understand the meaning; he simply vibrates. But you should understand the meaning also. Otherwise how you can explain. So, so we want to spread Krsna consciousness. Simply prepare yourself how to repeat Krsna's instructions very nicely, without any malinterpretation. Then, in future... Suppose you have got now ten thousand. We shall expand to hundred thousand. That is required. Then hundred thousand to million, and million to ten million. Devotees: Jaya! Prabhupada: So there will be no scarcity of acarya, and people will understand Krsna consciousness very easily. So make that organization. Don't be falsely puffed up. Follow the acarya instruction and try to make yourself perfect, mature. Then it will be very easy to fight out maya. Yes. Acaryas, they declare war against maya's activities, that maya instructing that “here is wine, here is cigarette, here is tha”t, in your country these advertisements are very prominent, holding both ways, wine advertisement, cigarette advertisement, naked woman advertisements, and sometimes gambling also, advertisement. What is that? Congo? Devotees: Bingo. Prabhupada: Bingo. (laughter) Yes. So this is maya. And our declaration of war with maya -- no intoxication, no meat-eating, no bingo -- (laughter) these are our declaration of war. So we have to fight in that way because nobody can understand Krsna without being free from all sinful activities. These are sinful activities.
Therefore it is acarya's business to stop these nonsense activities. Otherwise they'll not be able to understand, especially the meat-eaters. They cannot understand. Nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanad bhavausadhi chrotra-mano 'bhiramat, ka uttamasloka-gunanuvadat puman virajyeta vina pasughnat. Unless one is very expert in killing animals, he's not bereft from Krsna consciousness. That means one who is very expert in killing, he cannot understand. Therefore Christ also said, “Thou shall not kill”, the first business. Nobody will be able if one is a killer of animal, small or big, ultimately killer of his own children, killer of his own self. The killing process is so nice that it goes up to the point of killing one's children. That is now happening. Killing business has so expanded that they are killing their own children. Just see the influence of Kali-yuga. The children, they take shelter of the father and mother, thinking very safe. Now, in this Kali-yuga, even there is no safety under the care of father and mother. Just see how this material civilization is progressing. Very, very dangerous. Kalau nasta-drsam. Therefore that Bhagavata verse is there, krsnesvadhamopagate dharma-jnanadibhih, kalau nasta-drsam puranarko 'dhunoditam. Very, very abominable condition in this age of Kali, very, very. It is the beginning of Kali. Now we have to pass through 427,000's of years. Kali-yuga will make progress in that way. And people are now practicing eating their children, and at the end of Kali there will be no food available.
They'll... They have to eat the children just like the snakes do. The snake eat their own children. There are many animals; they eat their own children. So don't try to repeat your birth again and again in this Kali-yuga. It will be not very happy life. Better sacrifice everything in this life and be fully Krsna conscious and go back to home, back to Godhead. Don't wait for the next life. This is very seriously repeated, that “This life I shall finish my Krsna consciousness business”, and, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, that Krsna consciousness business means to understand Krsna rightly. And He's explaining Himself rightly. Where is the difficulty to finish the Krsna consciousness business? If Krsna is explaining Himself, what He is, then where is your difficulty? Krsna is explaining Himself in the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna is sending His representative acarya to teach you and Krsna is within yourself trying to teach you if you are actually serious. Then where is the difficulty? Inside, outside, always, books, knowledge -- He is prepared.
So where is the difficulty to make yourself perfect in Krsna consciousness? There is no difficulty at all. Provided you are serious, you can become fully Krsna conscious in this very life. You are all young men. You are not old man like me. I have no opportunity.
~ Srila Prabhupada - Mayapur - April 6, 1975 (CC Adi 1.13)
[posted by Indresh since Subhavilasa Prabhu continues his travelling and preaching and is currently in Punjab and then onto Delhi before ]
Continuing with the 7 posts to mark this weekend which contains 7 celebrations on the Vaishnava calendar [plus the Appearance day of Sri Advaita Acarya which is being celebrated today in Toronto and tomorrow in India and other parts of the world.]
This weekend marked the auspicious appearance of Srimati Visnupriya Devi. She is the eternal consort of Sri Gaurasundar and according to scripture she is none other than Satyabhama in Krishna's pastimes.
Srimati Visnupriya Devi exemplifies self-surrender at the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
When she was only fourteen, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, and she lived the rest of her life in penance. From early morning she would take the Holy Name all day. Some say that for every Mahamantra that she chanted, she would put one grain of rice into a clay pot. After chanting she would take that rice and cook it and offer it to the Lord. She had a Deity of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and she would worship Him in this form. Since that time when Visnupriya did the worship herself to the present this same worship is continuing in a temple in Navadvipa known as Mahaprabhura Badi.
So by honoring Srimati Visnupriya Devi and her example of surrender to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu we can learn to glorify, serve and surrender to Gaurasundar so we may be part of His sankirtan movement and one day return to His abode.
Srimati Visnupriya Devi ki Jaya!
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki Jaya!
Friends are always suprised with such a busy "party" schedule..."even" on weekdays. Thanks to Srila Prabhupada we have so many days to celebrate and in doing so we i ncrease our Krishna Consciousness. This weekend is a perfect example. Depending on where you are located, yesterday in India and Friday here in Toronto/North America there were 7 items on the Vaishnava calendar plus the advent of Advaita Acarya being celebrated today in Toronto and tomorrow in India and other parts of the world.
So writing this blog is an ideal way to increase our family's conscousness of these special festivals and thanks for sharing in this bhakti process with us.
Since my dad is travelling and it has been a crazy weekend this far we are a bit tardy on the posts but you can never be too late to glorify exalted personalities which we should do day in and day out. We will post mini-blog posts in rapid succession to honour each of the 7 celebrations which we missed and then tomorrow the glorifications of Advaita Acarya's Appearance day will flow.
All glories to all these Vaishnava celebrations and all glories, all glories, all glories to Srila Prabhupada who has delivered all this mercy to his devotees around the globe...
O jiyat kaisora-caitanyo
lakshmyarcito ’tha vag-devya
Long live Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His kaisora age! Both the goddess of fortune and the goddess of learning worship Him. The goddess of learning, Sarasvati, worshiped Him in His victory over the scholar who had conquered all the world, and the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi devi, worshiped Him at home. Since He is therefore the husband or Lord of both goddesses, I offer my obeisances unto Him.
(Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta. Adi lila 16:3.)
The 4th of 7 events being marked is the disappearane day of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
The following article appeared in the monthly magazine "Gaudiya", 18th volume, number 18 in 1922 A.D. The magazine was founded and edited by His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
The names of all the Vrajvasi Gosvamis who were living during the time of Sri Mahaprabhu are very well known. Later, after their disappearance, the flow of pure devotion for the Lord took shelter of the three famous Prabhus -- Srinivasa Acarya, Thakura Narottama, and Syamananda Parbhu -- and surged on with full force. In the disciplic succession coming from Thakura Narottama, Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura appeared in the fourth position.
The story of Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti is more or less know only among the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. They speak of the outstanding excellence of achievement demonstrated by Srila Cakravarti Thakura in his examination of the Srimad Bhagavat and the Bhagavad Gita, as well as his complete understanding of the opinions expressed by the Gosvamis in their own books. Our Thakura is the protector, guardian and acarya of the middle period of Gaudiya Vaisnava dharma's historical developement.
Nowadays amongst the Vaisnavas, there is the following saying in relation to Cakravarti Thakura's three most famous books: "kirana bindu kana, e tin niye vaisnava pana"
"These three books, Ujjvala-Nilamani-Kirana, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindhu, and Bhagavatamrta-kana, are taken and used by the Vaisnavas as their wealth." In this connection, we also hear the following verse sung everywhere:
visvasya natha-ripo 'sau
cakravarty akhyaya bhavat
"Because he has shown the visva-vasis (residents of the material universe) the path of bhakti, he is called 'Visvanatha'; and because he is situated amongst the cakra (circle) of devotees, he is called 'Cakravarti'."
Srila Cakravarti Thakura Defends Sri Narottama's True Position
Previously, Srila Narottama Thakura Mahasaya had achieved fame as Rasika-raja, or The King of those devotees who know how to relish the mellows of the topmost madhura-rasa. And he certainty is that. However, certain persons who are envious of Lord Hari -- who are loyal servants of that energy which completely surrounds the fallen souls with strict difficulties -- have dared to attempt to forcibly throw such a wonderful, true rasika as Narottama into their own well of material rasa. Needless to say, they have not been successful. Being unable to understand the purely spiritual activities of Sri Narottama Thakura, many prakrta-sahajiyas had given him the title "Sahajiya-kula-bhusana" (the ornament of the family of cheap imitators). Therefore, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura appeared in time to check the spread of this concocted sahajiya mentality, and to truly defend the factual spiritual rank of Srila Thakura Mahasaya.
Visvanatha's Family Lineage, Birth & Studies
Srila Visvanatha took birth in a family of brahmanas found in the Radha-desa area of Nadia District, West Bengal (Radha-sreniya-vipra-kula). According to some, he also used the pen name 'Hari-vallabha'. He had two older brothers named Ramabhadra and Raghunatha, and he stayed in Deva-grama during his childhood. Upon the completion of his studies in vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar), he moved to Saiyadabad-grama Murasidabad District, where he studied the bhakti-sastras (literature of devotion) in the home of his guru Sri Radha-ramana Cakravarti. This Radha-ramana was the disciple of Sri Krsna-carana Cakravarti, who was in turn the disciple of Sri Ganga-narayana Cakravarti (one of the chief disciples of Thakura Narottama.) Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura later composed Sanskrit prayers describing this disciplic succession --Sri Gurudevastika, Sri Parama-gurudevastika, Sri Pratapara-gurudevastika, and Sri Parama-parat-gurudevastika. All these stotrascan be found, along with many other compositions, in his book named Sri Stavamrta-lahari (Waves of Nectarean Prayers).
His Residence in Sri Vraja Mandal
By the mercy of his spiritual master, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarty Thakura lived in many different places within Vraja-dhama, and composed various transcendental literatures there. Most of these books are very difficult to find nowadays; however a few of them are well known, and are considered to be the supremely honorable wealth of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas.
Sometimes Srila Cakravarty Thakura lived at Sri Govardhana, sometimes on the bank of Sri Radha-kunda, sometimes at Sri Yavata and sometimes in Sri Vrindavana within the compound of Sri Gokulananda's temple. His movements here and there are made very clear by the statements found at the end of his books.
The Date of His Birth
In Attempting to ascertain the time of Cakravarty Thakura, we see that he states at the end of Sri Krsna-Bhavanamrta that this book was completed on the full moon day of the month of Phalguna, 1607 Saka (1685 A.D.). This was the day commemorating the auspicious appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on the full moon in February-March. Additionally, in his commentary of the Srimad Bhagavatam named saratha-darsini, we see that this tika was written during the month of Magha, 1626 Saka (1704 A.D.). Therefore, estimating that his time of birth was approximately 1560 Saka (1638 A.D.), and determining his time of death as 1630 Saka (1708 A.D.), we can calculate that he was present in this world for 70 years.
His Disciplic Succession
Sri Ganga-narayana Cakravarti was a disciple of Srila Narottama Thakura Mahasaya, and a resident of Balucara Gambila (the place of Narottama's disappearance). By the Lords desire, he had no sons; however, he had one daughter named Visnu-priya. Srila Thakura Mahasaya also had a famous disciple known as Sri Rama-krsna Bhattacarya (a Barendra-sreniya-brahmana). The youngest son of this Bhattacarya was named Sri Krsna-carana, who was accepted by Sri Ganga-narayana as his own son (since he had none of his own.) This Krsna-carana is the parama-guru, or grand spiritual master of Srila Cakravarti Thakura. In Visvanatha's Bhagavatam commentary named Sarartha-darsini, at the beginning of the famous Rasa-pancadhyayi (five chapters describing Lord Sri Krsna's rasa-lila dance), we find the following verse:
sri rama krsna ganga caran natva gurun uru premnah
srila narottama natha sri gauranga prabhum naumi
"Having bowed down while absorbed in the most exalted divine love at the feet of all my gurus in disciplic succession -- Sri Radha-ramana Cakravarti, Sri Krsna-carana Cakravarty, Sri Ganga-narayana Cakravarty, Sri Narottama Thakura and Sri Lokanath Gosvami -- I now offer my respectful obeisances unto my Lord Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu."
We understand from this sloka that Sri Radha-ramana's abbreviated name is 'Sri Rama', and that Sri Krsna-carans's abbreviated name is 'Krsna'. The word 'natha' is understood to mean Sri Lokanatha Gosvami.
Refuting the Faulty Conclusions of Rupa Kaviraja
Srinivasa Acarya's famous daughter, Srimati Hamalata Thakurani, rejected an envious disciple named Sri Rupa Kaviraja from the Viasnava society. This Rupa Kaviraja is counted amongst the sub-branch of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya known as atibadi. He spread his own concocted philosophy (counter to the Gaudiya tradition) that only a person in the renounced order of life is capable of acting as acarya. He claimed that it was not possible for a householder to become a spiritual master. Fully disregarding the vidhi-marga, or path of devotional rules and regulations, he also tried to preach a philosophical path of raga-marga, or spontaneous devotion, which was completely unregulated and undisciplined. He also preached that smarana (remembrance) was possible without the help of sravana and kirtana (hearing and chanting.) Thus, this Rupa Kaviraja propogated a path which was unfavorable to the path shown by the Gosvamis. Therefore, Srila Cakravarti Thakura has refuted all these false conclusions in his sarartha-darshini commentary on the 3rd canto of Srimad bhagavatam. Actually, this refutation is a rendering of the truths outlined in Srila Jiva Gosvami's Bhakti Sandarbha.
Refuting the Caste Gosvamis
The later descendants of Sri Rupa Kaviraja, as well as the descendants of Sri Nityananda Prabhu's son Sri Virabhadra and the descendants of Sri Advaita Acarya's rejected sons all gave the title "Gosvami" to their disciples, even if they are householders. In preaching his refutation of this bogus practice, Srila Cakravarti Thakura has stated, citing scriptural evidence, that such a title of "Gosvami" is not at all improper for a befitting offspring of an acarya. However, it is highly improper to simply tack the word "Gosvami" onto the ends of names of offspring who are born in unfit families, even though descendants of an acarya -- especially when there is a motive of greed for increasing wealth and followers. For this reason, even one conducting the activities of an acarya should never use the title "Gosvami". Srila Cakravarti Thakura maintains that such foolish persons, who are bereft of proper behavior -- are so ignorant that they are not even fit to be seen.
The Gaudiya Sampradaya's Conquest at Jaipur
During the time of Srila Cakravarti Thakura, the offspring of acaryas were signing the title "Gosvami" next to their own names, thereby displaying their foolish ignorance. Being envious of the Lord and averse to the scriptures, they were very proud to announce the name of their vamsa-parampara (family lineage). At that time, at Sri Govindadeva's temple at Gulta-grama (just outside Jaipur), the acaryas of the Sri Ramanuja-sampradaya issued a challenge against the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. The King of Jaipur consequently invited the most prominent Gaudiya Vaisnavas of Sri Vrindavana to attend. Knowing them to be followers of Srila Rupa Gosvami, he called them to council with the followers of Sri Ramanuja. This happened in 1628 Saka (1706 A.D.), when Srila Cakravarti Thakura was very old (about 68 years). So he consulted his foremost student, Gaudiya Vaishnava Vedantacarya Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit-kula-mukta Sripada Baladeva Vidys-bhusana. Thereafter, Sri Vidya-bhusana left Vrndavana to join the assembly in Jaipur, accompanied by his own student (and disciple of Srila Cakravarti Thakura), Sri Krsnadeva Sarvabhauma.
The caste Gosvamis had completely forgotten their own loyalty to the Sri Madhva-sampradaya. Being ignorant of the true facts of the disciplic succession, and being disrespectful to Vaisnava Vedanta, they had fallen into such a degraded condition that Sri Blaldeva Vidya-bhusna was onliged to write a separate commentary on the Vedanta-sutra, according to the philosophy of the Gaudiya -sampradaya. This was done just to refute their false conclusions. Srila Cakravarti Thakura gave his full sanction and approval to this task of counteracting the challenge, which simultaneously resulted in allowing the Gaudiya Vaisnava parampara to continue preaching freely.
This event marks the second illustration of Srila Cakravarty Thakura's preaching of the Vaisnava dharma. Specifically, this is a brilliant example of his endeavor to reform the Vaisnava acaryas who happened to be born in impure brahmana families.
The 6th of 7 glorifications in this series of posts is to honour the appearance Sri Raghunandana Thakura. One option is to narrate the story of his appearance and life but one particular story provides the ultimate nectar and demonstrated how great of a Vaishnave Sri Raghunandana Thakur was.
In the house of Sri Mukunda Das, who lives at Sri Khanda, Lord Sri Gopinath is served with great devotion. One day Mukunda was called out to do some work, and then he instructed his son Raghunandan to worship the deity and asked him to serve the Lord Gopinath that day. He explained to him that this deity is in our family for many generations and thus He has been worshipped by my father and his father and his father on and on, in this way for many years. Just as your mother feeds you and I everyday, so also He has to be fed everyday. Having explained to Raghunandan that this is a very big responsibility and he should be very careful to give his full attention to this service, Mukunda went out.
Raghunandan meanwhile having been instructed by his father, collected the items for offering to Sri Gopinathji and entered into the deity room. Raghunandan was at that time barely 5 years old and therefore, when he saw that Gopinath hadn't eaten the offering after he had imitated how his father offered the bhoga, he became very worried. Ultimately he simply requested Gopinath with tears in his eyes: "Please eat! Eat!" Gopinath became completely subjected by Raghunandan's simple request, which was made entirely in love, and thus he stealthily ate up everything without leaving any remnants.
After some time Raghu-nandan's father, Mukunda, returned and asked his son if he had done as he was told? When his son replied "Yes", then Mukunda asked him to bring some of the prasadam. Raghunandan replied, "Prasadam? I offered everything just like you told me, and Gopinath ate everything; so what should I bring you now?" Mukunda was completely taken aback. "This boy is not naughty and is always accustomed to speak the truth. I doubt if he could have eaten everything. I wonder what actually happened?"
Musing on this matter in this way for some time, on another day his curiosity was so stirred that he again requested Raghunandan to offer the bhoga to Gopinath on that day. On this day however, having gone out of the house, he again came in by another way and remained hiding in one place. Raghunandan was very happy to be able to serve Sri Gopinathji again and brought everything into the deity room. As before, he again very insistently persuaded Gopinath to take his meal. As Gopinath had eaten half of a laddu, he espied Mukunda peering out from his hiding spot. He didn't try to cover up the fact that he had eaten what he had, but neither did he eat anymore.
Seeing all this Mukunda was completely immersed in ecstatic love and picked up his son and put him on his lap. He extolled his virtues in a voice trembling with ecstasy, all the while torrents of tears of joy falling from his eyes. Even today, those who are greatly fortunate can still see that half-eaten laddu in Gopinatha's lotus hand.
Jaya Sri Raghunandana Thakur!
Content compiled from Jaya Tirtha Caran Prabhu
So the last post was about Gopinatha's Ladoo and I was thinking of Gopinatha's khir that is offered here at ISKCON Toronto daily to their Lorships Sri Sri Radha Ksira Chora Gopinatha! So what a perfect story for the last post of today to glorify the appearance day of Srila Ragunatha Das Gosvami.
The glories of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami can fill volumes but the above picture showing his personal association with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tell it all. The story below is even more nectar.
As we soak up the transcedental literature and nectar of Vrindavan we must honor the Six Goswami's and the mercy of our guru Srila Prabhupada that has allowed us to taste these sweet droplets.
So on to the nectar...
Raghunatha dasa Gosvami used to always serve Sri Sri Radha-Govinda in his mind. One day in his meditation he cooked sweet rice and offered it to Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. In great pleasure they accepted the offering and the other sakhis also relished this prasadam. Then Raghunatha himself honored the remnants of their prasadam and in great ecstasy, due to the pleasure of having been able to satisfy Sri Sri Radha-Govinda and Their loving attendants, he ate a little more than was his custom.
In the afternoon Raghunatha dasa used to speak about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. However, this day when the devotees came in the afternoon to hear him speak, they found that the door to his kutir was closed. They waited for some time but when it appeared that there was no movement inside they became a little anxious and called out, "Gosvamiji, are you all right?" Sri dasa Gosvami answered, "My body is not well."
The devotees became concerned and immediately sent word to Sanatana Gosvami in Mathura. At that time Sri Sanatana Gosvami was staying with Sri Vallabhacarya's son Sri Vithalnathji, who immediately sent two physicians to Radha-kunda to examine Sr Raghunath dasa Gosvami. After checking his pulse, the doctors concluded that, "due to eating a combination of rice and milk his body is feeling very heavy."
Hearing this diagnosis everyone was struck with wonder. That Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who subsisted on only a little buttermilk each day, should fall ill from eating too much sweet rice was astonishing, especially because it was eaten only in meditation.
"Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had three Raghus among His associates--Vaidya Raghunatha, Bhatta Raghunatha and Dasa Raghunatha. Dasa Raghunatha became celebrated as the Raghunatha of Svarupa." Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya lila 6:203
Raghunatha dasa Gosvami ki Jaya!
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki Jaya!
Ananta koti vaishnava-vrinda ki jaya!
I hope you enjoyed the series of posts. It was certainly enlivening to read so many Vaishnava gems and to pick out some droplets of nectar to share. Our humble obeisances for allowing us to share and beg forgiveness for any offences or typos.
A disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puri, Pundarika Vidyanidhi was Sri Gadadhara Pandit's guru, and an intimate friend of Svarupa Damodara. Once in Jagannatha Puri, Pundarika Vidyanidhi met Svarupa Damodara after a long separation. In a joyful mood of friendship Pundarika and Svarupa wanted to take the dust from each other's feet. A scuffle began as they tried to simultaneously catch the feet of one another, but at the same time, avoid having their own feet caught. Both being quite strong, neither won. But Sri Gauranga enjoyed their sporting play and everyone laughed.
Pundarika Vidyanidhi has other names—Sri Vidyanidhi, Acaryanidhi, Bhaktyanidhi, and Premanidhi (given by Lord Caitanya). "Simply by hearing his name," said Sri Gaura, "the whole world becomes purified." Premanidhi's pure devotion caused Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to sometimes cry profusely and call out loudly, "Bop, (father) Pundarika! Pundarika is My father, My dearmost friend. When will I see him again?" Pundarika Vidyanidhi is King Vrsabhanu, Sri Radha's father, in Vrndavana lila.
Continually floating in the sea of Krishna prema, Pundarika often showed ecstatic bodily symptoms of tears, horripilation, falling unconscious. "Whoever recites or hears the following narration of the meeting of Pundarika Vidyanidhi and Sri Gadadhara Pandit will receive the treasure of love of God." (Sri Caitanya Bhagavata)
When he first arrived in Navadvipa Pundarika Vidyanidhi disguised himself as a worldly sense enjoyer. Besides Mukunda, nobody knew that Pundarika Vidyanidhi was pure a Vaisnava. "Today, I will introduce you to a most exceptional Vaisnava," said Mukunda, as he took Gadadhara Pandit to meet Pundarika Vidyanidhi.
They found Pundarika reclining on an opulent brass bed covered with red satin sheets, silk pillows, and topped with a three-tiered canopy. A gem-studded pan box stuffed with fragrant spices and betel nuts waited within arm's reach. Two shiny brass spittoons stood as silent sentries beside the bed. Seeing the mirror stained red from his chewing pan, Pundarika laughed heartily. Two servants cooled him with peacock fans.
Was this a Vaisnava or a prince wallowing in luxury wondered Gadadhara Pandit? Doubts arose in Gadadhara's mind about Pundarika's spiritual status. Reading his mind, Mukunda decided to reveal the highly exalted transcendental identity of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. Mukunda recited Srimad Bhagavatam (10.6.35): "Always hankering to taste the blood of small children, Putana came to kill baby Krishna. However, because she offered her breast to the Supreme Lord Putana attained the greatest blessing of being accepted as a mother of Sri Krishna."
Hearing this verse totally transformed Pundarika Vidyanidhi. A Ganges river of tears flooded his eyes. Perspiration rained from his body, his hairs stood erect. He ripped off his embroidered silk shirt and wildly thrashed his legs about. Rolling on the ground, he wailed, "The Lord is infinitely merciful. Yet He deprives me of His mercy." His clothes, brass bed, fine bed sheets, mirror, spittoons, all his opulent trappings were ripped to shreds-smashed to bits. Ten men tried but couldn't restrain the force of Pundarika's ecstasy. The manifestations of Pundarika Vidyanidhi's pure love for Krishna competed with one another for some time. Finally, his spiritual emotions reached their peak and he lost external unconscious.
After witnessing this spectacular display of transcendental feelings Gadadhara Pandit realized his offense in misjudging Pundarika Vidyanidhi to be a materialistic devotee. To rectify his mistake he wanted to take initiation from Pundarika Vidyanidhi. Six hours later, Sri Pundarika returned to external consciousness. Now he seemed calm and composed. Happily he initiated Gadadhara Pandit.
Information compiled from His Grace Nandanandana dasa
This is the beginning of the Vasanta season, Vasanta-Pancami, at which time the Rasa Dance of Krsna was performed in Govardhana, in the village of Parasauli, by the lake known as Candra Sarovara. On that night the moon stood still, not moving from its best view of the sight of the dancing of Radhika and all Her sakhis with Krsna.
In this lila, Krsna openly demonstrated the prominence and superiority of Srimati Radhika. Krsna disappeared in the midst of this vasanti-rasa-lila, and all the gopis were bitterly crying, "Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?" The gopis were searching for Him everywhere, and after some time they saw Him in His four-handed form, standing like a statue.
Coming nearer, they said, "Oh, He looks like Krsna, but at the same time He is not Krsna. Our Krsna is not four-handed. Where has His flute, His peacock feather, and all His other apparel gone? He now carries a sankha, cakra, gada and padma (conch shell, disc, club, and lotus flower) – in four hands!" They prayed to Him,"We are very attached to Krsna, and we are searching for Him. Without Him we will die. If you are Narayana, please be merciful and tell us which way Krsna went.Be merciful so that we may find Him." Then, after praying in this way, they left Him and went on their way.
When Srimati Radhika was arriving after the other gopis had left that place, the breeze that had just touched Her veil carried so much fragrance from Her body that it entered the nostril of Krsna and He thought, "Oh, My most beloved is near." He forgot that He was supposed to maintainHis four-handed form, and He could no longer hide His original form. Two hands disappeared at once, entering His body, and His original two-armed form reappeared – with His flute in His hands and His peacock feather atop His head.
rasarambha-vidhau niliya vasata kunje mrgaksi-ganair
drstam gopayitum svam uddhura-dhiya ya susthu sandarsita
adhayah pranayasya hanta mahima yasya sriya raksitu
sa sakya prabhavisnunapi harina nasic catur-bahuta
"At the beginning of the rasa dance, Lord Krsna hid Himself in a grove just to have fun. When the gopis came, their eyes resembling those of deer, by His sharp intelligence He exhibited His beautiful four-armed form to hide Himself. But when Srimati Radharani came there, Krsna could not maintain His four arms in Her presence. This is the wonderful glory of Her love." (a quotation from the Ujjvala-nilamani by Srila Rupa Gosvami, as quoted in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 17.293)
When Krsna sees Radhika, His most beloved and the embodiment of all love and affection, He forgets everything else. She is no one other than Krsna. She is Krsna Himself, but in the body of Radhika. In this way, Krsna returned to His own form and quickly embraced Her. This occurred in vasanti-rasa-lila.
Srimati Radharani ki Jaya!
Sri Krishna Rasa lila ki Jaya!
Jaya Jaya Sri Radha Shyam!