Advaita Prakasha, Chapter Seventeen
BY: SUN STAFF
Aug 17, 2011 CANADA (SUN) Advaita Prakasha: Lord Advaita Acarya by Shrila Ishana Nagara, translated by HH Subhag Swami.
All glories to Shri Chaitanya! All glories to Sitanatha! All glories to Nityananda, along with all the devotees!
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then went to Prayaga and stayed in the house of a brahmana Vaishnava. He took bath in the Triveni and then saw the Deity of Bindu Madhava. Gaura chanted and danced in ecstatic love. Absorbed in that ecstasy, He offered hundreds of obeisances and unlimited prayers. While in Prayaga, Shri Chaitanya propagated the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Those who were most fortunate took up the Lord's instructions and became Vaishnavas.
Then one day the great scholar Rupa Gosvami arrived in Shri Prayaga. He was a resident of Ramakeli and the minister to the king. By the mercy of Lord Chaitanya he gave up the poison of material sense gratification. Rupa Gosvami's brother Anupama was accompanying him. Anupama was most munificent and a topmost devotee of the Lord.
The happiness enjoyed in the meeting between Rupa Gosvami and Lord Gauranga cannot be described. Rupa became saturated with ecstatic love by seeing Gauranga. He offered hundreds of obeisances and prayers to the Lord. Anupama also awakened to transcendental love by seeing Gaura. He tied a cloth around his neck and offered obeisances to the Lord. Shri Chaitanya embraced the two brothers, and they told Him, "We are untouchable, the lowest of mankind."
Gaura said, "A devotee of Krishna is the best of all men. Any low class person can attain the quality of a brahmana by rendering devotional service, because the twelve characteristics of a brahmana mentioned in the scriptures are all by-products of devotional service. Wherever the master goes, the servants automatically follow."
Shri Rupa Gosvami replied, "This is a fact. Please tell me for certain where bhakti can be found."
Shri Acyuta said, "If someone lives on the bank of the Mandakini River of devotional service, how can he die of thirst?"
Shri Rupa Gosvami said, "But where is the good fortune of the cataka bird? Without the cloud of Krishna's mercy, he is not satisfied."
Mahaprabhu said, "Devotional service is a priceless jewel. The Vedas state that it can be obtained only by the mercy of devotees. You are fortunate to have the mercy of a devotee, and as a result you gave up attachment to material enjoyment. With the appearance of Bhaktidevi, illusion disappears just as an elephant leaves a place on the arrival of a lion."
Shri Rupa Gosvami said, "I cannot recognize a devotee. I only know that I came to devotional service by being attracted to You. Although iron does not know the power of a magnet, it is drawn towards the magnet by its quality of attraction."
Mahaprabhu said, "Don't make a show of humility. Pure consciousness is already established in your heart. I consider you both Krishna's eternal associates, for you have the symptoms that are described by all saintly persons. Compassion for all living entities, association with devotees, and humility are the three natural symptoms of Lord Krishna's servant."
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then eagerly inquired about Sanatana Gosvami, and Shri Rupa replied, "Sanatana is under arrest. Please be merciful and free Your servant from bondage. I am surrendering myself at Your lotus feet."
Gaura then said, "Devotees of Krishna are never bound. He will quickly join your association."
Rupa said, "Your words are certainly infallible."
And Acyuta said, "They are like Vedic injunctions."
Then Gaura answered Rupa and Anupama's questions on the goal of life and how to attain it. Rupa Gosvami was a greatly learned scholar, and by the mercy of Lord Chaitanya he became a reservoir of devotional jewels. One day Gaura asked Rupa and Anupama to go to Vrindavana. Rupa Gosvami folded his hands and replied, "I don't feel happy leaving You to go to Vrindavana."
Gaura said, "Vraja is the abode of spiritual bliss where the Supreme Personality of Godhead eternally performs pastimes. In due course of time that place has become almost forgotten. It is the duty of the devotee to excavate the lost places of pilgrimage there. Preaching devotional service, writing devotional literatures, and excavating the lost holy places are three main requirements. Go quickly to Vrindavana and engage in these activities, and by Krishna's mercy you will be successful."
Rupa said, "It is difficult to understand Your transcendental mood. You are giving me, an insignificant soul, a great responsibility. Yet everything is possible by the strength of Your mercy, even a dog can easily become a lion."
After saying this, Rupa and Anupama offered obeisances to Lord Chaitanya and silently started for Vrindavana. Gaura then left Prayaga and went to Varanasi. When the Lord arrived there He met Candrashekhara, who took Gaura to his home.
Candrashekhara said, "I am most fortunate. You appeared in my dream and kindly indicated Your arrival."
Gaura said, "The devotees' glories are inconceivable. In their ecstatic trance they can know the past, present, and future."
Candrashekhara said, "I am the lowest of mankind."
Shri Chaitanya replied, "You are the topmost devotee."
At that time Tapana Mishra came there and met the Lord. He engaged in Gauranga's service along with his friends and relatives. For some days Shri Krishna Chaitanya blessed the inhabitants of Kashi by distributing the holy names there.
One day a naked sannyasi came for taking bath in the Ganges at Manikarnika-ghata. At the time, Shri Acyuta was just finishing his bath, and as he came out on the bank he was chanting the name of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. Seeing Acyuta, the sannyasi inquired, "Are you from Bengal? Why are you mistakenly considering Gauranga to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Though He is undoubtedly a sannyasi, He has given up the activities of a sannyasi to chant the name of Hari. I have heard that He deceived the learned Sarvabhauma of Orissa with His mystical power. Thus He always acts contrary to the Vedic injunctions, and He does not consider the association of yavanas to be degrading. If a mleccha pretentiously chants the name of Hari, Gaura doesn't mind embracing him without considering religious principles. Though He violates Vedic injunctions in this way, people still follow Him. But what does He have other than some mystic power?"
Hearing this blasphemy of Shri Chaitanya, Shri Acyuta was pained at heart. He therefore gently said, "O naked sannyasi, please hear me. One who has the symptoms of the Supreme Lord should be accepted as the Supreme Lord. A great personality has thirty-two auspicious symptoms, but those symptoms are Gauranga's secondary characteristics. Shri Krishna Chaitanya possesses the natural characteristics of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in full. One can see those characteristics with eyes of devotion, otherwise one can never see them even on the strength of millions of pious activities."
The sannyasi countered, "The Supreme Absolute Truth has no form. Saintly persons only imagine a form."
Acyuta then said, "But this imagination has no basis. How can one attain the Supreme Absolute Truth by worshiping an imaginary form?"
The sannyasi replied, "The Supreme Truth eternally exists in all objects. There is no liberation other than seeing everything as one."
Acyuta said, "What is the difference between the Absolute Truth and this creation?"
The sannyasi replied, "They are nondifferent."
Acyuta then said, "The creation is an expansion of the Absolute Truth."
The sannyasi replied, "That is true. But Brahman is seen everywhere."
Acyuta said, "The Vedas state that Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan are eternally full of knowledge and bliss. By His sweet will He takes many forms, but He remains one, while His energies spread everywhere. You should know that both moving and nonmoving living entities, from Lord Brahma down to the most insignificant, are all expansions of the Supreme Lord. What can stop the Complete Whole from appearing as a part? Anything is possible for the omnipotent Supreme Lord. By His glance over the external energy even a leech has the power to contract and expand its body. There is no doubt that the power to contract and expand exists in the form of the Lord, who is full with six opulences. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself descends in order to reestablish the principles of religion for the welfare of the living entities."
Thus Acyuta put forward many arguments based on the scriptures and refuted the sannyasi's false arguments. The sannyasi was struck with wonder and said, "I accept that the Supreme Lord descends for the benefit of the living entities, but where is the proof that the Lord appears in Kali-yuga?"
Acyuta said, "Listen carefully. The Lord has innumerable incarnations, which are described in the Vedas and Puranas. Krishna appears in each of the four yugas with different bodily complexions—white, red, black, and yellow. He has appeared in Kali-yuga as a devotee with a yellowish complexion—Shri Krishna Chaitanya. He has kindly appeared in Navadvipa to teach devotional service to the living entities by practicing it Himself. Nondevotees mistake the Lord of the material energy to be an ordinary living entity, just as someone with jaundice sees a conchshell to be yellow."
The sannyasi said, "What is the proof that He is that personality?"
Acyuta said, "The evidence is the characteristics of His holy name. Just once call out the name `Gauranga' and see how your hairs stand on end in ecstasy."
Accepting Acyuta's request, the sannyasi called out Gauranga's name and on the strength of His devotee's words the rays of Gaura's mercy spread. By the inconceivable virtue of the association with Krishna's devotee, the sannyasi's hair stood on end like a kadamba flower.
The sannyasi was amazed and declared, "There is no doubt that Shri Chaitanya is a transcendental personality. Shri Gauranga's name is full of pure loving sentiments. It is even sweeter than the perfect name of Hari. Now I will go see Gaura to relieve my body, mind, and soul."
Shri Acyuta said, "Come along with me. See Lord Gauranga and make your life perfect. But He will be shy and unhappy to see you naked."
The sannyasi said, "Who will offer clothes to one that does not beg?"
Shri Acyuta said, "I will give you." He then tore his cloth and gave half to the sannyasi. The sannyasi put on the cloth like a saintly person, and then the two went to see Lord Chaitanya. Shri Acyuta offered his obeisances at the feet of Lord Gauranga, and the sannyasi stood there staring at the Lord. That fortunate sannyasi then saw the Lord's universal form within the body of Gauranga.
When the sannyasi saw that most wonderful transcendental vision, tears of love flowed like the Ganges from his eyes. He folded his hands and glorified the Lord, saying, "You are the Supreme Lord, Vrajendra-nandana Himself. You have appeared as a devotee in order to teach people devotional service. All glories to You and Your unalloyed mercy! I am the lowest among men. Without knowing Your glories and being intoxicated by false ego, I have blasphemed You. I take shelter at Your feet. Kindly forgive my offense."
The sannyasi offered many submissive prayers to the Lord and then fell down offering obeisances at His feet. Gaura touched him and said, "Namo Narayana." On the pretext of touching him, Lord Chaitanya surcharged him with spiritual energy. When the sannyasi came in contact with the touchstone of Gauranga, loving devotion awakened within him and he began to dance with raised arms. He roared loudly and frightened everyone. Again and again he exclaimed, "Shri Chaitanya is the Supreme Lord!"
Shri Acyuta danced along with the other devotees. While performing kirtana, they declared, "Kali-yuga is glorious!"
I offer millions of obeisances at the feet of the devotees, by whose mercy that sannyasi was delivered. I am unable to write about even a fragment of the character of the devotees. Whatever little I have written is by their mercy.
The entire city of Kashi came under Gauranga's influence, and many people became devotees as a result. One famous sannyasi named Prabodhananda Sarasvati resided there. He was as intelligent as Brihaspati. He was proud of being a big scholar and well-versed in many scriptures, so he blasphemed Gauranga. Lord Chaitanya, being an ocean of mercy, bestowed His kindness on him by convincing him to become His follower by shastric argument. All Prabodhananda's doubts were destroyed, and he became convinced that Shri Chaitanya was the Supreme Lord. Gauranga was most merciful to Shri Prabodhananda. He invested him with spiritual potency and gave him pure devotional service.
Prabodhananda was freed from his false arguments and he became a great Vaishnava, decorated with ecstatic love of God. He became a prominent devotee of Shri Gauranga and day and night he would murmur, "The Supreme Lord has appeared in a golden form."
While engaged in sankirtana, tears flowed from his eyes and he would roll on the ground without considering whether the place was proper or not. Sometimes he danced in ecstasy with his arms raised, and sometimes he cried loudly while rebuking himself. Prabodhananda composed various prayers which he offered to Lord Gauranga. People were thrilled on hearing his wonderful glorification. All his scholarly students also took shelter at the lotus feet of Gauranga.
There is no end to Gaurachandra's wonderful transcendental pastimes. What to speak of an insignificant soul like me, even Lord Anantadeva is unable to fully describe those pastimes. Shri Krishna Chaitanya is the storehouse of mercy, He taught Sanatana the essence of the science of devotional service.
Sanatana Gosvami met Gauranga in Kashi, and by His order he went to Vrindavana. Sanatana was well-versed in all scriptures. He was the greatly renounced elder brother of Rupa Gosvami. Shri Rupa installed the Deity of Govinda in Vrindavana, and Sanatana established the worship of Madana-gopala. These two brothers were great devotees and full of compassion for the living entities. They compiled many devotional literatures, which they gave to the devotees. Their nephew, Jiva Gosvami, had no equal in his ability to establish the conclusion of the scriptures. Shri Gopala Bhatta, Raghunatha Bhatta, and Raghunatha dasa were all great scholars. They were all free from envy and were great authorities in devotional literatures. They were known as Gosvamis, and they discovered many lost places of pilgrimage. With the consent of Mahaprabhu and the two Prabhus, they made devotional literatures and the path of bhakti known to the world.
My Prabhu glorified these six devotees as eternal assistants to Krishna's gopi friends. Shri Chaitanya is the only Mahaprabhu. Nityananda and Advaita are counted as Prabhus. Gadadhara Pandita told Shrivasa the true identity of the twelve cowherd boys and sixty-four mahantas.
Although I cannot understand the glories of the unlimited followers of Lord Gauranga, I am writing whatever I have heard from the mouth of the devotees.
Meanwhile Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left Varanasi and traveled again through the forest of Jharikhanda on His way to Shri Kshetra. When Mahaprabhu arrived, all the devotees shed tears of joy on seeing Him. Ramananda Raya and others all offered obeisances to the Lord, and Gaura embraced each one of the devotees.
In the soothing moonshine of the topmost brahmana, Shri Krishna Chaitanya, the waves of the nectarean ocean of sankirtana expanded. What to speak of insignificant human beings, even the demigods were attracted as all the devotees assembled together to perform sankirtana.
Praying at the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Shri Advaita, always desiring Their mercy, I, Ishana Nagara, narrate Shri Advaita Prakasha.