Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Tirtha-yatra, Part 58


Sri Ranganatha, Ranga-ksetra

Mar 26, CANADA (SUN) — A serial exploration of the holy sites visited by Lord Caitanya.


If one makes a count of the number of slokas in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila Chapter 9, which total 365, and considers the division of those verses by subject matter, we find that there are five particular pastimes to which a significant number of slokas are dedicated. These include Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's defeat of the Buddhists (Madhya 9.47-63 16 verses), His defeat of the Tattvavadis at Udupi (Madhya 9.245-278 33 verses), the Lord's pastimes with Sri Ranga Puri at Pandarapura (Madhya 9.282-303 21 verses), and Mahaprabhu's famous discourse with Sri Ramananda Raya (Madhya 9.318-335 17 verses).

But one topic dominates all these other famous pastimes by virtue of the number of slokas dedicated to its discussion, and that is the Lord's pastimes at Ranga-ksetra. Here we find a total of 86 slokas focused on Mahaprabhu's visit to Sri Rangam tirtha (Madhya 9.79-165).

Because there is such a depth of information offered in Caitanya-caritamrta on the Lord's pastimes at Ranga-ksetra, and given the obvious importance of this particular stop on Lord Caitanya's pada-yatra, we will begin with the complete narrative, including Srila Prabhupada's purports. In tomorrow's segment we will explore the environs of Ranga-ksetra, including the temple and Deities Lord Caitanya visited at Rangam tirtha.

Sri Rangam Temple, Ranga-ksetra

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
Madhya Lila Chapter 9.79-165


papa-nasane visnu kaila darasana

sri-ranga-ksetre tabe karila gamana

After visiting the holy place named Siva-ksetra, Caitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at Papanasana and there saw the temple of Lord Visnu. Then He finally reached Sri Ranga-ksetra.


According to some, the place known as Papanasana was located eight miles southwest of Kumbhakonnam. Others say that in the district of Tinebheli there is a city known as Palamakota and that Twenty miles west of there is the holy place known as Papanasana, near the river Tamraparni. Sri Ranga-ksetra is a very famous place. Near Tiruchchirapalli is a river named Kaveri, or Kolirana. A city known as Sri Rangam is located on this river in the district of Tanjorean, about ten miles west of Kumbhakonnam. The Sri Ranga temple is the largest in India, and there are seven walls surrounding it. There are also seven roads leading to Sri Ranga. The ancient names of these roads are the road of Dharma, the road of Rajamahendra, the road of Kulasekhara, the road of Alinadana, the road of Tiruvikrama, the Tirubidi road of Madamadi-gaisa, and the road of Ada-iyavala-indana. The temple was founded before the reign of Dharmavarma, who reigned before Rajamahendra. Many celebrated kings like Kulasekhara, and others such as Alabandaru, resided in the temple of Sri Rangam. Yamunacarya, Sri Ramanuja, Sudarsanacarya and others also supervised this temple.

The incarnation of the goddess of fortune known as Godadevi, who was one of the twelve liberated persons known as divya-suris, was married to the Deity, Lord Sri Ranganatha. Later she entered into the body of the Lord. An incarnation of Karmuka, Tirumanga (one of the Alwars), acquired some money by stealing and built the fourth boundary wall of Sri Rangam. It is said that in the year 289 of the Age of Kali, the Alwar of the name Tondaradippadi was born. While engaged in devotional service, he fell victim to a prostitute, and Sri Ranganatha, seeing His devotee so degraded, sent one of His servants with a golden plate to that prostitute. When the golden plate was discovered missing from the temple, there was a search, and it was found in the prostitute's house. When the devotee saw Ranganatha's mercy upon this prostitute, his mistake was rectified. He then prepared the third boundary wall of the Ranganatha temple and cultivated a tulasi garden there.

There was also a celebrated disciple of Ramanujacarya's known as Kuresa. Sri Ramapilla was the son of Kuresa, and his son was Vagvijaya Bhatta, whose son was Vedavyasa Bhatta, or Sri Sudarsanacarya. When Sudarsanacarya was an old man, the Mohammedans attacked the temple of Ranganatha and killed about twelve hundred Sri Vaisnavas. At that time the Deity of Ranganatha was transferred to the temple of Tirupati in the kingdom of Vijaya-nagara. The governor of Gingeen, Goppanarya, brought Sri Ranganatha from the temple of Tirupati to a place known as Simha-brahma, where the Lord was situated for three years. In the year 1293 Saka (A.D. 1372) the Deity was reinstalled in the Ranganatha temple. On the eastern wall of the Ranganatha temple is an inscription written by Vedanta-desika relating how Ranganatha was returned to the temple.


kaverite snana kari' dekhi' ranganatha

stuti-pranati kari' manila krtartha

After bathing in the river Kaveri, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw the temple of Ranganatha and offered His ardent prayers and obeisances. Thus He felt Himself successful.


premavese kaila bahuta gana nartana

dekhi' camatkara haila saba lokera mana

In the temple of Ranganatha, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted and danced in ecstatic love of Godhead. Seeing His performance, everyone was struck with wonder.


sri-vaisnava eka,----'vyenkata bhatta' nama

prabhure nimantrana kaila kariya sammana

One Vaisnava known as Venkata Bhatta then invited Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home with great respect.


Sri Venkata Bhatta was a Vaisnava brahmana and an inhabitant of Sri Ranga-ksetra. He belonged to the disciplic succession of Sri Ramanujacarya. Sri Ranga is one of the places of pilgrimage in the province of Tamil Nadus. The inhabitants of that province do not retain the name Venkata. It is therefore supposed that Venkata Bhatta did not belong to that province, although he may have been residing there for a very long time. Venkata Bhatta was in a branch of the Ramanuja-sampradaya known as Badagala-i. He had a brother in the Ramanuja-sampradaya known as Sripada Prabodhananda Sarasvati. The son of Venkata Bhatta was later known in the Gaudiya-sampradaya as Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, and he established the Radharamana temple in Vrndavana. More information about him may be found in a book known as Bhakti-ratnakara, by Narahari Cakravarti.


nija-ghare lana kaila pada-praksalana

sei jala lana kaila sa-vamse bhaksana

Sri Venkata Bhatta took Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home. After he washed the Lord's feet, all the members of his family drank the water.


bhiksa karana kichu kaila nivedana

caturmasya asi' prabhu, haila upasanna

After offering lunch to the Lord, Venkata Bhatta submitted that the period of Caturmasya had already arrived.


caturmasye krpa kari' raha mora ghare

krsna-katha kahi' krpaya uddhara' amare

Venkata Bhatta said, "Please be merciful to me and stay at my house during Caturmasya. Speak about Lord Krsna's pastimes and kindly deliver me by Your mercy."


tanra ghare rahila prabhu krsna-katha-rase

bhatta-sange gonaila sukhe cari mase

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu remained at the house of Venkata Bhatta for four continuous months. The Lord passed His days in great happiness, enjoying the transcendental mellow of discussing Lord Krsna's pastimes.


kaverite snana kari' sri-ranga darsana

pratidina premavese karena nartana

While there, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took His bath in the river Kaveri and visited the temple of Sri Ranga. Every day the Lord also danced in ecstasy.


saundaryadi premavesa dekhi, sarva-loka

dekhibare aise, dekhe, khande duhkha-soka

The beauty of Lord Caitanya's body and His ecstatic love of God were witnessed by everyone. Many people used to come see Him, and as soon as they saw Him, all their unhappiness and distress vanished.


laksa laksa loka aila nana-desa haite

sabe krsna-nama kahe prabhuke dekhite

Many hundreds of thousands of people from various countries came to see the Lord, and after seeing Him they all chanted the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.


krsna-nama vina keha nahi kahe ara

sabe krsna-bhakta haila,----loke camatkara

Indeed, they did not chant anything but the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and all of them became Lord Krsna's devotees. Thus the general populace was astonished.


sri-ranga-ksetre vaise yata vaisnava-brahmana

eka eka dina sabe kaila nimantrana

All the Vaisnava brahmanas residing in Sri Ranga-ksetra invited the Lord to their homes. Indeed, He had an invitation every day.


eka eka dine caturmasya purna haila

kataka brahmana bhiksa dite na paila

Each day the Lord was invited by a different brahmana, but some of the brahmanas did not get the opportunity to offer Him lunch because the period of Caturmasya came to an end.


sei ksetre rahe eka vaisnava-brahmana

devalaye asi' kare gita avartana

In the holy place of Sri Ranga-ksetra, a brahmana Vaisnava used to visit the temple daily and recite the entire text of the Bhagavad-gita.


astadasadhyaya pade ananda-avese

asuddha padena, loka kare upahase

The brahmana regularly read the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad-gita in great transcendental ecstasy, but because he could not pronounce the words correctly, people used to joke about him.


keha hase, keha ninde, taha nahi mane

avista hana gita pade anandita-mane

Due to his incorrect pronunciation, people sometimes criticized him and laughed at him, but he did not care. He was full of ecstasy due to reading the Bhagavad-gita and was personally very happy.


pulakasru, kampa, sveda,----yavat pathana

dekhi' anandita haila mahaprabhura mana


While reading the book, the brahmana experienced transcendental bodily transformations. His hair stood on end, tears welled in his eyes, and his body trembled and perspired as he read. Seeing this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu became very happy.


Although the brahmana could not pronounce the words very well due to illiteracy, he still experienced ecstatic symptoms while reading the Bhagavad-gita. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very much pleased to observe these symptoms, and this indicates that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased by devotion, not by erudite scholarship. Even though the words were imperfectly pronounced, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Krsna Himself, did not think this very serious. Rather, the Lord was pleased by the bhava (devotion). In Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.11) this is confirmed:

tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo

yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api

namany anantasya yaso-'nkitani yat

srnvanti gayanti grnanti sadhavah

"On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world's misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literature, even though imperfectly composed, is heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest."

The purport to this verse may be considered for further information on this subject.


mahaprabhu puchila tanre, suna, mahasaya

kon artha jani' tomara eta sukha haya

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked the brahmana, "My dear sir, why are you in such ecstatic love? Which portion of the Bhagavad-gita gives you such transcendental pleasure?"


vipra kahe,----murkha ami, sabdartha na jani

suddhasuddha gita padi, guru-ajna mani'

The brahmana replied, "I am illiterate and therefore do not know the meaning of the words. Sometimes I read the Bhagavad-gita correctly and sometimes incorrectly, but in any case I am doing this in compliance with the orders of my spiritual master."


This is a good example of a person who had become so successful that he was able to capture the attention of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu even while reading the Bhagavad-gita incorrectly. His spiritual activities did not depend on material things such as correct pronunciation. Rather, his success depended on strictly following the instructions of his spiritual master.

yasya deve para bhaktir

yatha deve tatha gurau

tasyaite kathita hy arthah

prakasante mahatmanah

"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed."(Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23)

Actually the meaning of the words of the Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam are revealed to one strictly following the orders of the spiritual master. They are also revealed to one who has equal faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, being faithful to both Krsna and the spiritual master is the secret of success in spiritual life.


arjunera rathe krsna haya rajju-dhara

vasiyache hate totra syamala sundara

The brahmana continued, "Actually I only see Lord Krsna sitting on a chariot as Arjuna's charioteer. Taking the reins in His hands, He appears very beautiful and blackish.

TEXT 100

arjunere kahitechena hita-upadesa

tanre dekhi' haya mora ananda-avesa

"While seeing Lord Krsna sitting in a chariot and instructing Arjuna, I am filled with ecstatic happiness.

TEXT 101

yavat padon, tavat pana tanra darasana

ei lagi' gita-patha na chade mora mana

"As long as I read the Bhagavad-gita, I simply see the Lord's beautiful features. It is for this reason that I am reading the Bhagavad-gita, and my mind cannot be distracted from this."

TEXT 102

prabhu kahe,----gita-pathe tomara-i adhikara

tumi se janaha ei gitara artha-sara


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told the brahmana, "Indeed, you are an authority in the reading of the Bhagavad-gita. Whatever you know constitutes the real purport of the Bhagavad-gita."


According to the sastras: bhaktya bhagavatam grahyam na buddhya na ca tikaya. One should understand the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam by hearing them from a real devotee. One cannot understand them simply by erudite scholarship or sharp intelligence. It is also said:

gitadhita ca yenapi

bhakti-bhavena cetasa


tenadhitani sarvasah

To one who reads the Bhagavad-gita with faith and devotion, the essence of Vedic knowledge is revealed. And according to the Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.23):

yasya deve para bhaktir

yatha deve tatha gurau

tasyaite kathita hy arthah

prakasante mahatmanah

All Vedic scriptures are to be understood with faith and devotion, not by mundane scholarship. We therefore present the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. There are many so-called scholars and philosophers who read the Bhagavad-gita in a scholarly way. They simply waste their time and mislead those who read their commentaries.

TEXT 103

eta bali' sei vipre kaila alingana

prabhu-pada dhari' vipra karena rodana


After saying this, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced the brahmana, and the brahmana, catching the lotus feet of the Lord, began to cry.

TEXT 104

toma dekhi' taha haite dvi-guna sukha haya

sei krsna tumi,----hena mora mane laya

The brahmana said, "Upon seeing You, my happiness is doubled. I take it that You are the same Lord Krsna."

TEXT 105

krsna-sphurtye tanra mana hanache nirmala

ataeva prabhura tattva janila sakala

The mind of the brahmana was purified by the revelation of Lord Krsna, and therefore he could understand the truth of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in all details.

TEXT 106

tabe mahaprabhu tanre karaila siksana

ei bat kahan na kariha prakasana

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then taught the brahmana very thoroughly and requested him not to disclose the fact that He was Lord Krsna Himself.

TEXT 107

sei vipra mahaprabhura bada bhakta haila

cari masa prabhu-sanga kabhu na chadila

That brahmana became a great devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and for four continuous months he did not give up the Lord's company.

TEXT 108

ei-mata bhatta-grhe rahe gauracandra

nirantara bhatta-sange krsna-kathananda


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu remained at the house of Venkata Bhatta and constantly talked with him about Lord Krsna. In this way He was very happy.

TEXT 109

sri-vaisnava' bhatta seve laksmi-narayana

tanra bhakti dekhi' prabhura tusta haila mana


Being a Vaisnava in the Ramanuja-sampradaya, Venkata Bhatta worshiped the Deities of Laksmi and Narayana. Seeing his pure devotion, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very much satisfied.

TEXT 110

nirantara tanra sange haila sakhya-bhava

hasya-parihase dunhe sakhyera svabhava

Constantly associating with each other, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Venkata Bhatta gradually developed a friendly relationship. Indeed, sometimes they laughed and joked together.

TEXT 111

prabhu kahe,----bhatta, tomara laksmi-thakurani

kanta-vaksah-sthita, pativrata-siromani

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told the Bhattacarya, "Your worshipable goddess of fortune, Laksmi, always remains on the chest of Narayana, and she is certainly the most chaste woman in the creation.

TEXT 112

amara thakura krsna----gopa, go-caraka

sadhvi hana kene cahe tanhara sangama

"However, my Lord is Lord Sri Krsna, a cowherd boy who is engaged in tending cows. Why is it that Laksmi, being such a chaste wife, wants to associate with My Lord?

TEXT 113

ei lagi' sukha-bhoga chadi' cira-kala

vrata-niyama kari' tapa karila apara

"Just to associate with Krsna, Laksmi abandoned all transcendental happiness in Vaikuntha and for a long time accepted vows and regulative principles and performed unlimited austerities."

TEXT 114

kasyanubhavo 'sya na deva vidmahe


yad-vanchaya srir lalanacarat tapo

vihaya kaman su-ciram dhrta-vrata

Caitanya Mahaprabhu then said, " 'O Lord, we do not know how the serpent Kaliya attained such an opportunity to be touched by the dust of Your lotus feet. Even the goddess of fortune, for this end, performed austerities for centuries, giving up all other desires and observing austere vows. Indeed, we do not know how the serpent Kaliya got such an opportunity."'


This is a quotation from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.16.36); it was spoken by the wives of the Kaliya serpent.

TEXT 115

bhatta kahe, krsna-narayana----eka-i svarupa

krsnete adhika lila-vaidagdhyadi-rupa

Venkata Bhatta then said, "Lord Krsna and Lord Narayana are one and the same, but the pastimes of Krsna are more relishable due to their sportive nature.

TEXT 116

tara sparse nahi yaya pativrata-dharma

kautuke laksmi cahena krsnera sangama

"Since Krsna and Narayana are the same personality, Laksmi's association with Krsna does not break her vow of chastity. Rather, it was in great fun that the goddess of fortune wanted to associate with Lord Krsna."


This is an answer to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's question, and from this we can understand that Venkata Bhatta knew the truth. He told Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that Narayana is a form of Krsna associated with transcendental opulence. Although Krsna is two-armed and Narayana four-armed, there is no difference in the person. They are one and the same. Narayana is as beautiful as Krsna, but Krsna's pastimes are more sportive. It is not that the sportive pastimes of Krsna make Him different from Narayana. Laksmi's desiring to associate with Krsna was perfectly natural. In other words, it is understandable that a chaste woman wants to associate with her husband in all his different dresses. Therefore one should not criticize Laksmi for wanting to associate with Krsna.

TEXT 117

siddhantatas tv abhede 'pi


rasenotkrsyate krsna-

rupam esa rasa-sthitih

Venkata Bhatta continued, " 'According to transcendental realization, there is no difference between the forms of Narayana and Krsna. Yet in Krsna there is a special transcendental attraction due to the conjugal mellow, and consequently He surpasses Narayana. This is the conclusion of transcendental mellows.'


This verse quoted by Venkata Bhatta is also found in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.59).

TEXT 118

krsna-sange pativrata-dharma nahe nasa

adhika labha paiye, ara rasa-vilasa

"The goddess of fortune considered that her vow of chastity would not be damaged by her relationship with Krsna. Rather, by associating with Krsna she could enjoy the benefit of the rasa dance."

TEXT 119

vinodini laksmira haya krsne abhilasa

ihate ki dosa, kene kara parihasa

Venkata Bhatta further explained, "Mother Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, is also an enjoyer of transcendental bliss; therefore if she wanted to enjoy herself with Krsna, what fault is there? Why are You joking so about this?"

TEXT 120

prabhu kahe,----dosa nahi, iha ami jani

rasa na paila laksmi, sastre iha suni

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, "I know that there is no fault on the part of the goddess of fortune, but still she could not enter into the rasa dance. We hear this from revealed scriptures.

TEXT 121

nayam sriyo 'nga u nitanta-rateh prasadah

svar-yositam nalina-gandha-rucam kuto 'nyah

rasotsave 'sya bhuja-danda-grhita-kantha-

labdhasisam ya udagad vraja-sundarinam


" 'When Lord Sri Krsna was dancing with the gopis in the rasa-lila, He put His arms around their necks and embraced them. This transcendental favor was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or the other consorts in the spiritual world. Nor was such a thing ever imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, girls whose bodily luster and aroma exactly resemble the lotus flower. And what to speak of worldly women, who may be very, very beautiful according to material estimation?'


This is a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.60).

TEXT 122

laksmi kene na paila, ihara ki karana

tapa kari' kaiche krsna paila sruti-gana

"But can you tell Me why the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, could not enter the rasa dance? The authorities of Vedic knowledge could enter the dance and associate with Krsna.

TEXT 123

nibhrta-marun-mano-'ksa-drdha-yoga-yujo hrdi yan-

munaya upasate tad arayo 'pi yayuh smaranat

striya uragendra-bhoga-bhuja-danda-visakta-dhiyo

vayam api te samah samadrso 'nghri-saroja-sudhah

" 'Great sages conquer the mind and senses by practicing the mystic yoga system and controlling the breath. Thus engaging in mystic yoga, they see the Supersoul within their hearts and ultimately enter into impersonal Brahman. But even the enemies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead attain that position simply by thinking of the Supreme Lord. However, the damsels of Vraja, the gopis, being attracted by the beauty of Krsna, simply wanted to embrace Him and His arms, which are like serpents. Thus the gopis ultimately tasted the nectar of the lotus feet of the Lord. Similarly, we Upanisads can also taste the nectar of His lotus feet by following in the footsteps of the gopis.' "


This verse is from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.87.23).

TEXT 124

sruti paya, laksmi na paya, ithe ki karana

bhatta kahe,----iha pravesite nare mora mana

Having been asked by Caitanya Mahaprabhu why the goddess of fortune could not enter into the rasa dance whereas the authorities on Vedic knowledge could, Venkata Bhatta replied, "I cannot enter into the mysteries of this behavior."

TEXT 125

ami jiva,----ksudra-buddhi, sahaje asthira

isvarera lila----koti-samudra-gambhira

Venkata Bhatta then admitted, "I am an ordinary human being. Since my intelligence is very much limited and I am easily agitated, my mind cannot enter within the deep ocean of the pastimes of the Lord.

TEXT 126

tumi saksat sei krsna, jana nija-karma

yare janaha, sei jane tomara lila-marma

"You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna Himself. You know the purpose of Your activities, and the person whom You enlighten can also understand Your pastimes."


The Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna and His pastimes cannot be understood by blunt material senses. One has to purify the senses by rendering transcendental loving service unto the Lord. When the Lord is pleased and reveals Himself, one can understand the transcendental form, name, qualities and pastimes of the Lord. This is confirmed in the Katha Upanisad (2.23) and in the Mundaka Upanisad (3.2.3): yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam. "Anyone who is favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead can understand His transcendental name, qualities, form and pastimes."

TEXT 127

prabhu kahe,----krsnera eka svabhava vilaksana

sva-madhurye sarva citta kare akarsana

The Lord replied, "Lord Krsna has a special characteristic: He attracts everyone's heart by the mellow of His personal conjugal love.

TEXT 128

vraja-lokera bhave paiye tanhara carana

tanre isvara kari' nahi jane vraja-jana

"By following in the footsteps of the inhabitants of the planet known as Vrajaloka or Goloka Vrndavana one can attain the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna. However, in that planet the inhabitants do not know that Lord Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

TEXT 129

keha tanre putra-jnane udukhale bandhe

keha sakha-jnane jini' cade tanra kandhe

"There someone may accept Him as a son and sometimes bind Him to a grinding mortar. Someone else may accept Him as an intimate friend and, attaining victory over Him, playfully mount His shoulders.

TEXT 130

'vrajendra-nandana' bali' tanre jane vraja-jana

aisvarya-jnane nahi kona sambandha-manana

"The inhabitants of Vrajabhumi know Krsna as the son of Maharaja Nanda, the King of Vrajabhumi, and they consider that they can have no relationship with the Lord in the rasa of opulence.

TEXT 131

vraja-lokera bhave yei karaye bhajana

sei jana paya vraje vrajendra-nandana

"One who worships the Lord by following in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi attains Him in the transcendental planet of Vraja, where He is known as the son of Maharaja Nanda."


The inhabitants of Vrajabhumi, or Goloka Vrndavana, know Krsna as the son of Maharaja Nanda. They do not accept Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as people in general do. The Lord is the supreme maintainer of everyone and the chief personality among all personalities. In Vrajabhumi Krsna is certainly the central point of love, but no one knows Him there as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, a person may know Him as a friend, son, lover or master. In any case, the center is Krsna. The inhabitants of Vrajabhumi are related to the Lord in servitude, friendship, parental love and conjugal love. A person engaged in devotional service may accept any one of these transcendental relationships, which are known as mellows. When such a person reaches the perfectional stage, he returns home, back to Krsna, in his pure spiritual identity.

TEXT 132

nayam sukhapo bhagavan

dehinam gopika-sutah

jnaninam catma-bhutanam

yatha bhakti-matam iha

Caitanya Mahaprabhu then quoted, " 'The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, the son of mother Yasoda, is accessible to those devotees engaged in spontaneous loving service, but He is not as easily accessible to mental speculators, to those striving for self-realization by severe austerities and penances, or to those who consider the body the same as the self.'


This verse, also given in Madhya-lila 8.227, is quoted from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.9.21).

TEXT 133

sruti-gana gopi-ganera anugata hana

vrajesvari-suta bhaje gopi-bhava lana

"The authorities in the Vedic literature who are known as the sruti-gana worshiped Lord Krsna in the ecstasy of the gopis and followed in their footsteps.


The authorities in the Vedic literature known as the sruti-gana desired to enter into Lord Sri Krsna's rasa dance; therefore they began to worship the Lord in the ecstasy of the gopis. In the beginning, however, they were unsuccessful. When they could not enter the dance simply by thinking of Krsna in the ecstasy of the gopis, they actually accepted bodies like those of the gopis. They even took birth in Vrajabhumi just like the gopis and consequently became engrossed in the ecstasy of the gopis' love. In this way they were allowed to enter into the rasa-lila dance of the Lord.

TEXT 134

bahyantare gopi-deha vraje yabe paila

sei dehe krsna-sange rasa-krida kaila

"The personified authorities on the Vedic hymns acquired bodies like those of the gopis and took birth in Vrajabhumi. In those bodies they were allowed to enter into the Lord's rasa-lila dance.

TEXT 135

gopa-jati krsna, gopi----preyasi tanhara

devi va anya stri krsna na kare angikara

"Lord Krsna belongs to the cowherd community, and the gopis are the dearmost lovers of Krsna. Although the wives of the denizens of the heavenly planets are most opulent within the material world, neither they nor any other women in the material universe can acquire Krsna's association.

TEXT 136

laksmi cahe sei dehe krsnera sangama

gopika-anuga hana na kaila bhajana

"The goddess of fortune, Laksmi, wanted to enjoy Krsna and at the same time retain her spiritual body in the form of Laksmi. However, she did not follow in the footsteps of the gopis in her worship of Krsna.

TEXT 137

anya dehe na paiye rasa-vilasa

ataeva 'nayam' sloka kahe veda-vyasa

"Vyasadeva, the supreme authority on Vedic literature, composed the verse beginning 'nayam sukhapo bhagavan' because no one can enter into the rasa-lila dance in any body other than that of a gopi."


This verse confirms a verse of the Bhagavad-gita (9.25):

yanti deva-vrata devan

pitrn yanti pitr-vratah

bhutani yanti bhutejya

yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam

"[Lord Krsna said:] 'Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.' "

In the material world, every conditioned soul changes his material body again and again, but when the spirit soul is purified of all material coverings, there is no longer a chance of his accepting a material body. Such a soul then remains in his original, spiritual identity, a state that is possible to achieve only by understanding Krsna in truth through the practice of Krsna consciousness. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita (4.9),

janma karma ca me divyam

evam yo vetti tattvatah

tyaktva deham punar janma

naiti mam eti so 'rjuna

"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."

Only when one regains his original spiritual body can he enter into the spiritual kingdom. As far as the rasa-lila pastimes of the Lord are concerned, it is futile for one who is within the material world to attempt to imitate the Lord's dances.. One has to attain a spiritual body like that of a gopi to enter into the pastimes of the rasa-lila.In the nayam sukhapo verse, the devotees are referred to as bhaktimat, that is, fully engaged in devotional service and devoid of material contamination. One cannot enter into Krsna's rasa-lila dance simply by artificially imitating it or artificially thinking oneself a sakhi and dressing up like one. Krsna's rasa-lila dance is completely spiritual. It has nothing to do with material contamination; therefore no one can enter into this pastime by artificial, material means. That is the instruction of the nayam sukhapo verse, and it must be strictly understood.

TEXT 138

purve bhattera mane eka chila abhimana

'sri-narayana' hayena svayam-bhagavan

Before this explanation was given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Venkata Bhatta thought that Sri Narayana was the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

TEXT 139

tanhara bhajana sarvopari-kaksa haya

sri-vaisnave'ra bhajana ei sarvopari haya

Thinking in this way, Venkata Bhatta believed that worship of Narayana was the supreme form of worship, superior to all other processes of devotional service, for it was followed by the Sri Vaisnava disciples of Ramanujacarya.

TEXT 140

ei tanra garva prabhu karite khandana

parihasa-dvare uthaya eteka vacana

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had understood this misconception of Venkata Bhatta's, and to correct it the Lord talked so much in a joking way.

TEXT 141

prabhu kahe,----bhatta, tumi na kariha samsaya

'svayam-bhagavan' krsna ei ta' niscaya

The Lord then continued, "My dear Venkata Bhatta, please do not continue doubting. Lord Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this is the conclusion of the Vedic literature.

TEXT 142

krsnera vilasa-murti----sri-narayana

ataeva laksmi-adyera hare tenha mana

"Lord Narayana, the opulent form of Krsna, attracts the minds of the goddess of fortune and her followers.

TEXT 143

ete camsa-kalah pumsah

krsnas tu bhagavan svayam

indrari-vyakulam lokam

mrdayanti yuge yuge

" 'All these incarnations of Godhead are either plenary portions or parts of the plenary portions of the purusa-avataras. But Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. In every age He protects the world through His different features when the world is disturbed by the enemies of Indra.'


This is a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28).

TEXT 144

narayana haite krsnera asadharana guna

ataeva laksmira krsne trsna anuksana

"Because Krsna has four extraordinary qualities not possessed by Lord Narayana, the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, always desires His company.


Lord Narayana has sixty transcendental qualities. Over and above these, Krsna has four extraordinary transcendental qualities absent in Lord Narayana. These four qualities are: (1) His wonderful pastimes, which are compared to an ocean; (2) His association in the circle of the supreme devotees in conjugal love (the gopis); (3) His playing on the flute, whose vibration attracts the three worlds; and (4) His extraordinary beauty, which surpasses the beauty of the three worlds. Lord Krsna's beauty is unequaled and unsurpassed.

TEXT 145

tumi ye padila sloka, se haya pramana

sei sloke aise 'krsna----svayam bhagavan'

"You have recited the sloka beginning with 'siddhantatas tv abhede 'pi.' That very verse is evidence that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

TEXT 146

siddhantatas tv abhede 'pi


rasenotkrsyate krsna-

rupam esa rasa-sthitih

" 'According to transcendental realization, there is no difference between the forms of Krsna and Narayana. Yet in Krsna there is a special transcendental attraction due to the conjugal mellow, and consequently He surpasses Narayana. This is the conclusion of transcendental mellows.'


This is a verse from the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.59). Here Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja says that Lord Caitanya spoke the verse to Venkata Bhatta, and earlier he said that Venkata Bhatta spoke it to the Lord. But since their conversation took place long, long before the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu was composed, the question my be raised as to how either of them quoted the verse. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that this verse and many others like it were current among devotees long before the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu was composed. Thus devotees would always quote them and explain their purport in ecstasy.

TEXT 147

svayam bhagavan 'krsna' hare laksmira mana

gopikara mana harite nare 'narayana'

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, attracts the mind of the goddess of fortune, but Lord Narayana cannot attract the minds of the gopis. This proves the superexcellence of Krsna.

TEXT 148

narayanera ka katha, sri-krsna apane

gopikare hasya karaite haya 'narayane'

"To say nothing of Lord Narayana personally, Lord Krsna Himself appeared as Narayana just to play a joke on the gopis.

TEXT 149

'catur-bhuja-murti' dekhaya gopi-ganera age

sei 'krsne' gopikara nahe anurage

"Although Krsna assumed the four-armed form of Narayana, He could not attract the serious attention of the gopis in ecstatic love.

TEXT 150

gopinam pasupendra-nandana-juso bhavasya kas tam krti

vijnatum ksamate duruha-padavi-sancarinah prakriyam

aviskurvati vaisnavim api tanum tasmin bhujair jisnubhir

yasam hanta caturbhir adbhuta-rucim ragodayah kuncati

" 'Once Lord Sri Krsna playfully manifested Himself as Narayana, with four victorious hands and a very beautiful form. When the gopis saw this exalted form, however, their ecstatic feelings were crippled. A learned scholar, therefore, cannot understand the gopis' ecstatic feelings, which are firmly fixed upon the original form of Lord Krsna as the son of Nanda Maharaja. The wonderful feelings of the gopis in ecstatic parama-rasa with Krsna constitute the greatest mystery in spiritual life.' "


This is a verse spoken by Narada Muni in the Lalita-madhava-nataka (6.14), a drama written by Srila Rupa Gosvami.

TEXT 151

eta kahi' prabhu tanra garva curna kariya

tanre sukha dite kahe siddhanta phiraiya

In this way Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu deflated the pride of Venkata Bhatta, but just to make him happy again, He spoke as follows.

TEXT 152

duhkha na bhaviha, bhatta, kailun parihasa

sastra-siddhanta suna, yate vaisnava-visvasa

The Lord pacified Venkata Bhatta by saying, "Actually whatever I have said is by way of jest. Now you can hear from Me the conclusion of the sastras, in which every Vaisnava devotee has firm faith.

TEXT 153

krsna-narayana, yaiche eka-i svarupa

gopi-laksmi-bheda nahi haya eka-rupa

"There is no difference between Lord Krsna and Lord Narayana, for They are of the same form. Similarly, there is no difference between the gopis and the goddess of fortune, for they also are of the same form.

TEXT 154

gopi-dvare laksmi kare krsna-sangasvada

isvaratve bheda manile haya aparadha

"The goddess of fortune enjoys the association of Krsna through the gopis. One should not see a difference between the forms of the Lord, for such a conception is offensive.

TEXT 155

eka isvara----bhaktera dhyana-anurupa

eka-i vigrahe kare nanakara rupa

"There is no difference between the transcendental forms of the Lord. Different forms are manifest due to different attachments of different devotees. Actually the Lord is one, but He appears in different forms just to satisfy His devotees.


In the Brahma-samhita (5.33) it is stated:

advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam

adyam purana-purusam nava-yauvanam ca

The Lord is advaita, without differentiation. There is no difference between the forms of Krsna, Rama, Narayana and Visnu. All of them are one. Sometimes foolish people ask whether when we chant "Rama" in the Hare Krsna mantra we refer to Lord Ramacandra or Lord Balarama. If a devotee says that the name Rama in the Hare Krsna maha-mantra refers to Balarama, a foolish person may become angry because to him the name Rama refers to Lord Ramacandra. Actually there is no difference between Balarama and Lord Rama. It does not matter if one chants Hare Rama referring to Balarama or Lord Ramacandra, for there is no difference between Them. However, it is offensive to think that Balarama is superior to Lord Ramacandra or vice versa. Neophyte devotees do not understand this sastric conclusion, and consequently they unnecessarily create an offensive situation. In text 154 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu clarified this in a very lucid way: isvaratve bheda manile haya aparadha. "It is offensive for one to differentiate between the forms of the Lord." On the other hand, one should not think that the forms of the Lord are the same as the forms of the demigods. This is certainly offensive, as confirmed by the Vaisnava-tantra:

yas tu narayanam devam


samatvenaiva vikseta

sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam

"A pasandi is one who considers the great demigods such as Lord Brahma and Lord Siva equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana." (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 7.117)

The conclusion is that we should neither differentiate between the forms of the Lord nor equate the forms of the Lord with the forms of demigods or human beings. For instance, sometimes foolish sannyasis, thinking the body of the Lord to be material, equate daridra-narayana with Narayana, and this is certainly offensive. Unless one is instructed by a bona fide spiritual master, he cannot perfectly understand these different forms. The Brahma-samhita confirms, vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau. One cannot understand the differences between the forms of the Lord simply by academic study or by reading Vedic literature. One must learn from a realized devotee. Only then can one learn how to distinguish between one form of the Lord and another. The conclusion is that there is no difference between the forms of the Lord, but there is a difference between His forms and those of the demigods.

TEXT 156

manir yatha vibhagena

nila-pitadibhir yutah

rupa-bhedam avapnoti

dhyana-bhedat tathacyutah

" 'When the jewel known as vaidurya touches various other materials, it appears to be separated into different colors, and consequently its forms also appear different. Similarly, according to the meditational ecstasy of the devotee, the Lord, who is known as Acyuta [infallible], appears in different forms, although He is essentially one.' "


This is a verse quoted from Sri Narada-pancaratra.

TEXT 157

bhatta kahe,----kahan ami jiva pamara

kahan tumi sei krsna,----saksat isvara

Venkata Bhatta then said, "I am an ordinary fallen living entity, but You are Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.

TEXT 158

agadha isvara-lila kichui na jani

tumi yei kaha, sei satya kari' mani

"The transcendental pastimes of the Lord are unfathomable, and I do not know anything about them. Whatever You say I accept as the truth.


This is the way to understand the truth about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After hearing the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna said very much the same thing:

sarvam etad rtam manye

yan mam vadasi kesava

na hi te bhagavan vyaktim

vidur deva na danavah

"O Krsna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me. Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord, can understand Your personality." (Bg. 10.14)

It is not possible to understand the truth about the pastimes of the Lord simply by using our own logic, argument and academic education. We must receive bona fide information from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, just as Arjuna received information when Krsna spoke the Bhagavad-gita. We have to accept the Bhagavad-gita or any other Vedic literature in good faith. These Vedic scriptures are the only source of knowledge about the Lord. We must understand that we cannot comprehend the Absolute Truth by the speculative process.

TEXT 159

more purna krpa kaila laksmi-narayana

tanra krpaya painu tomara carana-darasana

"I have been engaged in the service of Laksmi-Narayana, and it is due to Their mercy that I have been able to see Your lotus feet.

TEXT 160

krpa kari' kahile more krsnera mahima

yanra rupa-gunaisvaryera keha na paya sima

"Out of Your causeless mercy You have told me of the glories of Lord Krsna. No one can reach the end of the opulence, qualities and forms of the Lord.

TEXT 161

ebe se janinu krsna-bhakti sarvopari

krtartha karile, more kahile krpa kari'

"I can now understand that devotional service unto Lord Krsna is the supreme form of worship. Out of Your causeless mercy You have made my life successful simply by explaining the facts."

TEXT 162

eta bali' bhatta padila prabhura carane

krpa kari' prabhu tanre kaila alingane

After saying this, Venkata Bhatta fell down before the lotus feet of the Lord, and the Lord, out of His causeless mercy, embraced him.

TEXT 163

caturmasya purna haila, bhatta-ajna lana

daksina calila prabhu sri-ranga dekhiya

When the period of Caturmasya was completed, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took permission to leave Venkata Bhatta, and after visiting Sri Ranga He proceeded further toward southern India.

TEXT 164

sangete calila bhatta, na yaya bhavane

tanre vidaya dila prabhu aneka yatane

Venkata Bhatta did not want to return home but also wanted to go with the Lord. It was with great endeavor that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bade him farewell.

TEXT 165

prabhura viyoge bhatta haila acetana

ei ranga-lila kare sacira nandana

When He did so, Venkata Bhatta fell down unconscious. Such are the pastimes of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the son of mother Saci, at Sri Ranga-ksetra.

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.


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