Srila Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam, Part 7


Lord Nityananda, Jagai and Madhai

Jan 25, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial exploration of Srila Prabhupada's preaching on Srimad Bhagavatam.

Today we continue with the Introduction to Srimad Bhagwatam -- 'A short life sketch and teachings of Lord Chaitanya, the Preacher of Srimad Bhagwatam.' In this section, Srila Prabhupada is describing Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pastime with the brothers Jagai and Madhai. While this section of the 'short life sketch' is relatively brief, it contains a number of interesting examples of Srila Prabhupada's 'Vrindavan voice', as it is.

Once Srila Prabhupada had arrived in America, his lila pastimes became fairly well documented by his disciples and followers. For whatever reason, he chose not to share with his followers many details about his life prior to coming west other than the basic facts, including his stay at the Radha Damodar temple, and so on. What we have here in the form of Srila Prabhupada's original Bhagwatams is a real insight into the way Prabhupada led his life during this period.

Although the Lilamrta attempts to drag together all sorts of facts about Srila Prabhupada's circumstances in India prior to coming west, here in the Bhagwatam Introduction we can see that just like the previous Acaryas, Srila Prabhupada had a particular emphasis. For example, he concentrated on the Caitanya-caritamrta rather than the Caitanya Bhagavat, because it's the philosophy that's most important. Similarly, although we have the extensive Mahabharata, we focus primarily on the Bhagavad-gita, emphasizing philosophy over historical narrative.

In the same way, the three editions of Srimad Bhagwatam that Srila Prabhupada brought with him on the Jaladuta are akin to the Bhagavad-gita as the essential portion of Mahabharata. These Bhagwatams contain Srila Prabhupada's realizations. They are imbued with a certain atmosphere, a state of consciousness and mood of renunciation, which were required not in order to produce the physical books, but to actually comment on these first transcendental volumes.

So we are hearing Srila Prabhupada's original voice in the Bhagwatams, and even seeing how Srila Prabhupada wrote them, with his capitalization and emphasis, his stream of thought, etc. This provides us with a unique window into the mood of Srila Prabhupada, the great Acarya.

Srila Prabhupada wrote in the beginning of his Introduction to the first volume of the Bhagwatam:

    "The early life of the Lord is most fascinatingly expressed by the author of 'Chaitanya Bhagwat' and so far the teachings are concerned, they are more vividly explained in the Chaitanya Charitamrita. We have tried to combine these two books in one under the name of CHAITANYA CHARITAMRITA ESSAYS AND TEXT (3000 Pages) for the English readers."

The original scriptures mentioned above are considered by the Vaisnavas to be the quintessential truth about Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His pastimes -- the Chaitanya Bhagavat by Vrindavan das Thakur and Caitanya-caritamrta by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraj. Srila Prabhupada also mentions here the Chaitanya Charitamrita Essays. Of course, he later published his complete translation and purports to Caitanya-caritamrta.

Again, we find here the true spirit of the bona fide Spiritual Master. He has condensed the Absolute Truth of Lord Caitanya's lila down to the most essential truths. It is a transcendental work of art. Sri Krsna took all the Vedic knowledge and condensed it into the Bhagavad-gita. Sri Krsna Caitanya chose, out of all the Vedic scriptures, the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and Brahma-samhita as being the most essential of all the sastra. Then His disciples and followers condensed all the pastimes and teachings of Lord Caitanya down into the Chaitanya Bhagavat and Caitanya-caritamrta. And now we have the sastra given to us by the most recent Sampradaya Acarya, condensing those scriptures down into the the Caitanya-caritamrta with Prabhupada's purports, the Teachings of Lord Caitanya, and the essay we are studying today -- 'A short life sketch and teachings of Lord Chaitanya, the Preacher of Srimad Bhagwatam'.

Srila Prabhupada didn't simply write this essay as one would write an article or give a lecture. He crafted this introductory essay into the most condensed and relishable jewel of Caitanya lila – just like taking milk and boiling it down to a thick, sweet kheer. This 'short life sketch' is a work of art, amazing. This is perfect preaching.

We'll continue now with the next segment of the essay, on the Lord's pastime with Jagai and Madhai.

A short life sketch and teachings of Lord Chaitanya,
the Preacher of Srimad Bhagwatam

From Srimad Bhagwatam, Vol. I, First Part

"After this incidance the Lord began to preach and propagate his Bhagwat Dharma or Samkirtan movement more vigorously and whoever stood against this propagation of the Yuga Dharma or duty of the age, was properly punished by various chastisement. Two Brahmin gentlemen called by the names of Chapala and Gopala who also happened to be maternal uncles of the Lord were also chastised by infliction of leprosy upon them and later on when they were repentant they were accepted by the Lord. In course of His vigorous preaching work, He used to send every day all His followers including Srila Nityananda Prabhu and Thakur Haridas two chief whips of His party to go from door to door and preach the cult of Srimad Bhagwatam. The whole of Nabadwipa was surcharged with His Samkirtan Movement and the H. Q. was situated at the house of Shrinivas Thakur and Sri Adwita Prabhu another couple of chief whips amongst the householders. These two heads of the Brahmins and learned community were most ardent supporters of Lord Chaitanya's movement. Sri Adwaita Prabhu is the chief agent to bring in the advent of the Lord. When Adwaita Prabhu saw that the complete society is full of materialistic activities without any tinge of devotional service which alone could save them from the threefold miseries of material existence, he out of his causeless compassion for the age-worn human society, he prayed fervently for the incarnation of the Lord with continued worship by the water of the Ganges together with the leaves of Tulsi. So far preaching was concerned every body was to do his bit of work daily according to the order of the Lord.

Once Nityananda Prabhu accompanied by Srila Haridas Thakur both were passing the main road and on the way they saw an assembly of crowd roaring on the way. On enquiry from the passers-by it was understood that two brothers of the name Jagai and Madhai were creating public disturbances in drunken state. It was also gathered from informations that the two brothers were born in a respectable Brahmin family but on account of low association, both of them had turned to be debauches of the first order. They were not only drunkards but also they were meateaters, women hunters, dacoits and sinners of all description. Srila Nityananda Prabhu heard all these stories and decided that these two fallen souls must be delivered first. If they are delivered from this sinful life then the goodname of Lord Chaitanya will be still more glorified. Thus thinking both Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas pushed into the crowd and asked the two brothers to chant the Holy Name of the Lord Hari. The drunken brothers got enraged on this request and attacked Nityanand Prabhu with filthy languages. Both Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas Thakur hurriedly left the place and the drunken brothers chased them to a considerable distance. In the evening the report of the preaching work was submitted to the Lord and He was glad to learn that such a pair of stupid fellows were attempted for deliverance.

The next day again Nityananda Prabhu went to see the brothers and as soon as He approached them one of them threw a piece of broken earthen pot hurled on the body of Nityananda Prabhu. At once the broken part struck on the forehead of the Lord squizing out flow of blood. Srila Nityananda Prabhu was so kind upon them that instead of protesting against the heinous act, He said 'it does not matter that you have thrown stone upon me but still I request you to chant the holy name of Lord Hari.'

One of the brothers was astonished to see this behavior of Nityananda Prabhu and he at once fell down on the feet of Him asking Him to pardon his sinful brother. The other one was again attempting to hurt Him but Jagai checked him and implored him to fall down unto the feet of Nityananda Prabhu. In the meantime the news of hurting Nityananda reached the Lord and he at once came up to the spot in an angry mood like fire. The Lord at once asked for Sudarshan to kill the sinners but Nityananda Prabhu reminded Him about His mission. The mission of the Lord is to deliver the hopelessly fallen souls of the Kaliyuga and the two brothers Jagai and Madhai were typical examples of the present day population. The population of the present age are ninety nine per cent like the two brothers although some of them are born of very respectable families of the higher caste. According to the verdict of the revealed scriptures all the population of the world, of this age, will be of the lowest Sudra quality or less than that the Chandala quality. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu never acknowledged the stereotyped caste system by birth right and He strictly followed the verdict of the Shastras in the matter of one's Swarupa real-identity.

When the Lord was asking for the Sudarshan Chakara and Srila Nityananda Prabhu was imploring Him to forgive them, both the brothers fell on the lotus feet of the Lord and begged to be pardoned for their gross misbehaviour. The Lord was asked by them as well as by Nityananda Prabhu to accept the repenting souls and the Lord asked them only one condition that thence forward they will completely give-up the habit of debauchery and sinful activities. Both the brothers agreed and promised to give up their sinful habits and the kind Lord accepted them without reference to their past misdeeds and sinful acts.

That is the specific kindness of Lord Chaitanya. In this age no body can say very boldly that he is free from all kinds of sinful acts. Rather it is impossible for every one to say like that. But Lord Chaitanaya accepts all kinds of sinful persons only on one condition that such repenting soul promises not to indulge in the sinful habits after one is spiritually initiated by the bonafide spiritual master.

There are instructive things in this incidence of deliverance of the two brothers Jagai and Madhai by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One thing is that in this age of Kali Yuga practically all the people are specimen of Jagai and Madhai. But if they want to be relieved from the reaction of their misdeeds, they must take shelter of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and after spiritual initiation such persons must refrain from the prohibitory things enjoined in the Shastras. We shall deal in the prohibitory rulings in connection with the Lord's teachings to Srila Rupa Goswami."

[End of this section of Srimad Bhagwatam]

Our comments on the above excerpt:

As in previous sections, we again find a number of interesting points of comparison between the passage above as it appears in Srila Prabhupada's original Bhagwatams, and the original BBT edition of this volume.

One of the endearing terms Srila Prabhupada used was in describing how Madhai threw the clay pot at Nityananda Prabhu. In the Bhagwatam he writes:

    "At once the broken part struck on the forehead of the Lord squizing out flow of blood."

This was revised to read:

    "This struck Him on the forehead, and immediately blood began to flow."

We find another instance where the term "cult" was eliminated: "preach the cult of Srimad Bhagwatam" was revised to "peach the Srimad-Bhagavatam".

In the Bhagwatam there is reference to Shrinivas Thakur being one of the chief whips amongst the householders, but he is referred to as Srivasa Thakura in the later edition. Both names are commonly used. For example, in his song, 'Kali Kukkura Kadan', Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur writes: "Sri Srivasa (Srinivas-isvar)".

Among the examples of revised words or phrases where a change of meaning might be construed to some degree, we find the following (blue from Bhagwatam, red from Bhagavatam):

    Sri Adwaita Prabhu is the chief agent to bring in the advent of the Lord.

    Sri Advaita Prabhu was the chief cause for the advent of the Lord.

    The Lord at once asked for Sudarshan to kill the sinners…

    The Lord immediately invoked His Sudarsana cakra (the Lord's ultimate weapon, shaped like a wheel) to kill the sinners…

There are two examples of the above, where the Lord is "invoking" as opposed to "asking for" his Sudarsana cakra.

    …although some of them are born of very respectable families of the higher caste…

    …despite high birth and mundane respectability…

    …lowest Sudra quality or less than that the Chandala quality…

    …the lowest sudra quality, or even lower…

    In this age no body can say very boldly that he is free from all kinds of sinful acts.

    In this age no one can say that he is free from sin.

Srila Prabhupada ends the narration of Mahaprabhu's pastime with Jagai and Madhai, saying:

    in this age of Kali Yuga practically all the people are specimen of Jagai and Madhai.

    In this Kali-yuga practically all people are of the quality of Jagai and Madhai

Likewise, Srila Prabhupada's narration of Sri Caitanya's life is a specimen – it is the quality of -- transcendental perfection.


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