Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Tirtha-yatra, Part 58
BY: SUN STAFF
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
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
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
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
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
sri-ranga-ksetre vaise yata
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 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
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:
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
The purport to this verse may be considered for further information on
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
vipra kahe,----murkha ami, sabdartha na jani
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
"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.
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.
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."
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
To one who reads the Bhagavad-gita with faith and devotion, the essence
of Vedic knowledge is revealed. And according to the Svetasvatara Upanisad
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
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
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
prabhu kahe,----bhatta, tomara laksmi-thakurani
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.
amara thakura krsna----gopa, go-caraka
sadhvi hana kene cahe
"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?
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."
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.
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
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
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.
siddhantatas tv abhede 'pi
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
This verse quoted by Venkata Bhatta is also found in
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."
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
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.
nayam sriyo 'nga u nitanta-rateh prasadah
svar-yositam nalina-gandha-rucam kuto 'nyah
rasotsave 'sya bhuja-danda-grhita-kantha-
labdhasisam ya udagad
" '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).
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.
nibhrta-marun-mano-'ksa-drdha-yoga-yujo hrdi yan-
munaya upasate tad arayo 'pi yayuh smaranat
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).
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
ami jiva,----ksudra-buddhi, sahaje asthira
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
'vrajendra-nandana' bali' tanre jane
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.
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.
nayam sukhapo bhagavan
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
This verse, also given in Madhya-lila 8.227, is quoted from
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ataeva laksmi-adyera hare tenha mana
"Lord Narayana, the opulent form of Krsna, attracts the minds of
the goddess of fortune and her followers.
ete camsa-kalah pumsah
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).
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.
tumi ye padila sloka, se haya pramana
sei sloke aise
"You have recited the sloka beginning with 'siddhantatas tv abhede
'pi.' That very verse is evidence that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of
siddhantatas tv abhede 'pi
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
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.
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.
'catur-bhuja-murti' dekhaya gopi-ganera age
sei 'krsne' gopikara
"Although Krsna assumed the four-armed form of Narayana, He could
not attract the serious attention of the gopis in ecstatic love.
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.
eta kahi' prabhu tanra garva curna kariya
tanre sukha dite kahe
In this way Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu deflated the pride of Venkata
Bhatta, but just to make him happy again, He spoke as follows.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
manir yatha vibhagena
" '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.
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.
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
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
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