Feb 27, 2015 CANADA (SUN) Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's English introduction to "Srimad-Gaurangalila-Smaranamangal Stotram", in eight parts.
After his sanyas, he was induced to visit the house of Advaita prahbu in Santipur. Advaita managed to invite all his friends and admirers from Nadia and brought Sachidevi to see her son. Both pleasure and pain invaded her heart when she saw her son in the attire of a sanyasi. As a sanyasi Krishna Chaitanya put up nothing but a kaupin and a bahirbas (outer covering). His head was without hairs and his hands bore a danda (stick) and a kamandalu (hermit's water pot).
The holy son fell at the feet of his beloved mother and said, "Mother! this body is yours and I must obey your orders. Permit me to go to Vrindaban for my spiritual attainments." The mother in consultation with Advaita and others asked her son to reside in Puri (town) of Jagannath so that she might obtain his information now and then. Mahaprabhu agreed to that proposition and in a few days left Santipur for Orrissa.
His biographers have described the journey of Krishna Chaitanya (that was the name he got after his sanyas) from Santipur to Puri in great details. He travelled along the side of the Bhagirathi as far as Chhatra-bhoga situated now in Thana Mathurapur Diamond Harbour, 24 Perghs. There he took a boat and went as far as Prayag ghat in the Midnapur District. Thence he walked through Balasore and Cuttack to Puri, seeing the temple of Bhubaneshwar on his way. Upon his arrival at Puri, he saw Jagannath in the temple and put up with Sarvabhouma at the request of the latter. Sarvabhouma was a gigantic pandit of the day. His readings knew no bounds. He was the best Naiyaik of the times and was known as the most erudite scholar in the Vedant Philosophy of the school of Sankaracharya. He was born in Nadia (Vidyanagar) and taught innumerable pupils in the Naya Philosophy in his tol there. He had left for Puri sometimes before the birth of Nimai Pandit. His brother-in-law Gopinath Misra introduced our new sanyasi to Sarvabhouma, who was astonished at his personal beauty and feared that it would be difficult for the young man to maintain sanyas-dharma during the long run of his life. Gopinath, who had known Mahaprabhu from Nadia, had a great reverence for him and gave out that the sanyasi was not a common human being. On this point Gopinath and Sarvabhouma had a hot discussion.
Sarvabhouma then requested Mahaprabhu to hear his recitation of the Vedunt sutras to which the latter tacitly submitted. Chaitanya heard with silence what the great Sarvabhouma uttered with gravity, for seven days, at the end of which the latter said "Krishna Chaitanya! I think you do not understand the Vedant as you do not say anything after hearing my recitations and explanations." The reply of Chaitanya was that he understood the sutras very well, but he could not make out what Sankaracharya meant by his commentaries. Astonished at this, Sarvabhouma said "How is it that you understand the meanings of the sutras and do not understand the commentaries which explain the sutras ? All well! If you understand the sutras, please let me have your interpretations?" Mahaprabhu there¬¬on explained all the sutras in his own way without touching the Pantheistic commentary of Sankar.
The keen understanding of Sarvabhouma saw the truth, beauty and harmony of arguments in the explanations given by Chaitanya and obliged him to utter that it was the first time that he found one, who could explain the Brahma sutras in such a simple manner. He admitted also that the commentaries of Sankar never gave such natural explanations of the Vedant sutras as he had obtained from Mahaprabhu. He then submitted himself as an advocate and follower. In a few days Sarvabhouma turned out as one of the best Vaishnavs of the times. Report ran out,—whole of Orrissa sang the praise of Krishna Chaitanya and hundreds and hundreds came to him and became his followers. In the meantime Mahaprabhu thought of visiting Southern India, and he started With one Krishnadas Brahmin for the journey.
His biographers have given us a detail of the journey. He first went to Kurmakshetra where he did a miracle by curing a leper named Vasudev. He met Ramananda Rai, the governor of Vidyanagar on the banks of the Godavari and had a philosophical conversation with him on the subject of Prembhakti. He worked another miracle by touching (making them immediately disappear) the seven Tal trees, through which Ramchandra, the son of Dasarath had shot his arrow and killed the great Bali Raj! He preached Vaishnavism and nam-sankirtan throughout his journey. At Rangakshetra he staid for four months in the house of one Venkat Bhatta in order to spend the rainy season. There he converted the whole family of Venkat from Ramanuji Vaisnavism into Krishna bhakti, along with the son of Venkat, a boy of ten years, named Gopal, who afterwards came to Vrinda-van and became one of the six Gosvamis or Prophets serving under their leader Srikrishna Chaitanya. Trained up in Sanskrit by his uncle Probodhananda Sarasvati, Gopal wrote several books on Vaishnavism.
Chaitanya visited numerous places in southern India as far as Cape Comorin and returned to Puri in two years by Panderpur on the Bhima. In this latter place he spiritualized one Tukaram who became from that time a religious preacher himself. This fact has been admitted in his abhangas which have been collected in a volume by Mr. Satyendranath Tagore of the Bombay Civil Service. During his journey he had discussions with the Budhists, the Jains and the mayavadis in several places and converted his opponents to Vaishnavism.
Upon his return to Puri, Raja Prataprudra Dev and several pandit Brahmins joined the banners of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was now twenty-seven years of age. In his 28th year he went to Bengal as far as Gour in Maldah. There he picked up two great personages named Rup and Sanatan. Though descended from the line of the Karnatic Brahmins, these two brothers turned out demi-musalmans by their continual contact with Hossain Shah, the then Emperor of Gour. Their names had been changed by the Emperor into Dabirkhash and Saker Mallik and their master loved them heartily as they were both learned in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit and were loyal servants of the state. The two gentlemen had found no way to come back as regular Hindus and had written to Mahaprabhu, while he was at Puri, for spiritual help. Mahaprabhu had written in reply that he would come to them and extricate them out of their spiritual difficulties. Now that he had come to Gour, both the brothers appeared before him with their long standing prayer. Mahaprabhu ordered them to go to Vrindavan and meet him there.
Chaitanya returnd to Puri through Santipur where he again met his dear mother. After a short stay at Puri he left for Vrindavan. This time he was accompanied by one Balabhadra Bhattacharya. He visited Vrindavan and came down to Prayag (Allahabad) converting a large number of Mahomedans into Vaishnavism by arguments from the Koran. The descendants of those converts are still known as Pathan Vaishnavs. Rup Gosvami met him at Allahabad. Chaitanya trained him up in spirituality in ten days and directed him to go to Vrindavan on two missions. His first mission was to write theological works explaining scientifically pure bhakti and prem.
The second mission was to revive the places where Krishnachandra had in the end of Dwapar yug exhibited His spiritual lila for the benefit of the religious world. Rup Gosvami left Allahabad for Vrindavan and Mahaprabhu came down to Benares. There he put up in the house of Chandrasekhar and accepted his daily bhiksha (meal) in the house of Tapan Misra. Here it was that Sanatan Gosvami joined him and took instructions for two months in spiritual matters. The biographers, specially Krishnadas Kaviraj, have given us details of Chaitanya's teachings to Rup and Sanatan. Krishnadas was not a contemporary writer, but then he gathered his informations from the Gosvamis themselves, the direct disciples of Maha¬prabhu. Jiv Gosvami, who was nephew of Sanatan and Rup and who has left us his invaluable work the Sath-sandarbha, has philosophized on the precepts of his great leader. We have gathered and summarized the precepts of Chaitanya from the books of those great writers.
While at Benares, Chaitanya had an interview with the learned sanyasis of that town in the house of a Marhatta Bramhin who had invited all the sanyasis for an entertainment. At this interview, Chaitanya shewed a miracle which attracted all the sanyasis to him. Then ensued reciprocal conversations. The sanyasis were headed by their most learned leader Prakashananda Sarasvati. After a short controversy they submitted to Mahaprabhu and admitted that they had been misled by the commentaries of Sankaracharya. It was impossible even for learned scholars to oppose Chaitanya for a long time, as there was some spell in him which touched their hearts and made them weep for their spiritual improvement.
The sanyasis of Benares soon fell at the feet of Chaitanya and asked for his grace (kripa ) Chaitanya then preached pure bhakti and instilled into their hearts a spiritual love for Krishna which obliged them to give up sectarian feelings. The whole of Benares, on this wonderful conversion of the sanyasis, turned out Vaishnavas and they made a monster sankirtan with their new Lord. After sending Sanatan to Vrindavan, Mahaprabhu went to Puri again by the jungles with his comrade Balabhadra. Balabhadra has reported that Mahaprabhu shewed a good many miracles on his way to Puri such as making tigers and elephants dance, on hearing the name of Krishna.
From this time, that is from his 31st year, Mahaprabhu continually lived in Puri in the house of Kasi Misra until his disappearance in his forty-eigth year at the time of sankirtan in the temple of Tota Gopinath. During these 18 years, his life was one of settled love and piety. He was surrounded by numerous followers, all of whom were of the highest order of the Vaishnavas, and distinguished from the common people by their purest character and learning, firm religious principles and spiritual love in Radhakrishna. Svarupdamodar, who had been known by the name of Purushottamacharya while Mahaprabhu was in Nadia, joined him from Benares and accepted his service as his secretary. No production of any poet or philosopher could be laid before Mahaprabhu unless Svarup had passed it as pure and useful. Rai Ramananda was his second mate. Both he and Svarup sang while Mahaprabhu expressed his sentiment on a certain point of worship. Paramananda Puri was his minister in matters of religion.
There are hundreds of anecdotes described by his biographers which we do not think it meet here to reproduce. Mahaprabhu slept short. His sentiments carried him far and far in the firmament of spirituality every day and night and all his admirers and followers watched him throughout. He worshiped, communicated with his missionaries at Vrindavan, and conversed with those religious men who newly came to visit him. He sang and danced, took no care of himself and oft times lost himself in religious beatitude. All who came to him, believed him as the all-beautiful God appearing in the nether world for the benifit of mankind. He loved his mother all along and sent her mahaprasad now and then with those who went to Nadia. He was most amiable in nature. Humility was personified in him. His sweet appearance gave cheers to all, who came in contact with him.
He appointed Prabhu Nityananda as the missionary in charge of Bengal. He despatched six disciples (Gosains) to Vrindaban to preach love in the up-country. He punished all of his disciples who deviated from a holy life. This he markedly did in the case of junior Haridas. He never lacked in giving proper instructions in life to those who solicited them. This will be seen in his teachings to Raghunath Das Gosvami. His treatment to Haridas (senior) will show how he loved spiritual men and how he defied caste distinction in case of spiritual brotherhood.