Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Tirtha-yatra, Part 23


May 28, 2013 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial exploration of the holy sites visited by Lord Caitanya.

Lord Caitanya Takes His Leave of the Devotees

In yesterday's segment, we covered several of the narratives on the periods of life during which Lord Chaitanya took His various travels. Cape Comorin was mentioned in several of these passages, as a marker for the various legs of the trip.

Several of the verses talked about where some of the other devotees were traveling, like Nityananda Prabhu and the Goswamis. Today, we offer this super-excellent narrative from Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila 7, which describes how the Lord made arrangements to take His leave of the devotees at Puri Dhama, in order to be free to travel alone on the lengthy tirtha-yatra to South India.

Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila 7.7-41

"Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu called all His devotees together and, holding them by the hand, humbly informed them, "You are all more dear to Me than My life. I can give up My life, but to give you up is difficult for Me.

"You are all My friends, and you have properly executed the duties of friends by bringing Me here to Jagannatha Puri and giving Me the chance to see Lord Jagannatha in the temple.

"I now beg all of you for one bit of charity. Please give Me permission to leave for a tour of South India.

"I shall go to search out Visvarupa. Please forgive Me, but I want to go alone; I do not wish to take anyone with Me

Knowing everything, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was aware that Visvarupa had already passed away. A pretense of ignorance was necessary, however, so that He could go to South India and liberate the people there.

Upon hearing this message from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, all the devotees became very unhappy and remained silent with sullen faces.

Nityananda Prabhu then said, "How is it possible for You to go alone? Who can tolerate this?

"Let one or two of us go with You; otherwise You may fall into the clutches of thieves and rogues along the way. They may be whomever You like, but two persons should go with You.

"Indeed, I know all the paths to the different places of pilgrimage in South India. Just order Me, and I shall go with You."

The Lord replied, "I am simply a dancer, and You are the wire-puller. However You pull the wires to make Me dance, I shall dance in that way.

"After accepting the sannyasa order, I decided to go to Vrndavana, but You took Me instead to the house of Advaita Prabhu.

"While on the way to Jagannatha Puri, You broke My sannyasa staff. I know that all of you have great affection for Me, but such things disturb My activities.

"Jagadananda wants Me to enjoy bodily sense gratification, and out of fear I do whatever he tells Me.

"If I sometimes do something against his desire, out of anger he will not talk to Me for three days.

"Being a sannyasi, I have a duty to lie down on the ground and to take a bath three times a day, even during the winter. But Mukunda becomes very unhappy when he sees My severe austerities.

"Of course, Mukunda does not say anything, but I know that he is very unhappy within, and upon seeing him unhappy, I become twice as unhappy.

"Although I am in the renounced order of life and Damodara is a brahmacari, he still keeps a stick in his hand just to educate Me.

"According to Damodara, I am still a neophyte as far as social etiquette is concerned; therefore he does not like My independent nature.

"Damodara Pandita and others are more advanced in receiving the mercy of Lord Krsna; therefore they are independent of public opinion. As such, they want Me to enjoy sense gratification, even though it be unethical. But since I am a poor sannyasi, I cannot abandon the duties of the renounced order, and therefore I follow them strictly.

    A brahmacari is supposed to assist a sannyasi; therefore a brahmacari should not try to instruct a sannyasi. That is the etiquette. Consequently Damodara should not have advised Caitanya Mahaprabhu of His duty.

"You should all therefore remain here in Nilacala for some days while I tour the sacred places of pilgrimage alone."

Actually the Lord was controlled by the good qualities of all His devotees. On the pretense of attributing faults, He tasted all these qualities.

    All the accusations made by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu against His beloved devotees actually showed His great appreciation of their intense love for Him. Yet He mentioned these faults one after another as if He were offended by their intense affection. The personal associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu sometimes behaved contrary to regulative principles out of intense love for the Lord, and because of their love Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself sometimes violated the regulative principles of a sannyasi. In the eyes of the public, such violations are not good, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so controlled by His devotees' love that He was obliged to break some of the rules. Although accusing them, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was indirectly indicating that He was very satisfied with their behavior in pure love of Godhead. Therefore in verse 27 He mentions that His devotees and associates place more importance on love of Krsna than on social etiquette. There are many instances of devotional service rendered by previous acaryas who did not care about social behavior when intensely absorbed in love for Krsna. Unfortunately, as long as we are within this material world, we must observe social customs to avoid criticism by the general populace. This is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's desire.

No one can properly describe Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's affection for His devotees. He always tolerated all kinds of personal unhappiness resulting from His acceptance of the renounced order of life.

The regulative principles observed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu were sometimes intolerable, and all the devotees became greatly affected by them. Although strictly observing the regulative principles, Caitanya Mahaprabhu could not tolerate the unhappiness felt by His devotees.

Therefore, to prevent them from accompanying Him and becoming unhappy, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu declared their good qualities to be faults.

    The Lord wanted to tour all the places of pilgrimage alone and strictly observe the duties of the renounced order.

Four devotees then humbly insisted that they go with the Lord, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, being the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, did not accept their request.

Thereupon Lord Nityananda said, "Whatever You order is My duty, regardless of whether it results in happiness or unhappiness.

"Yet I still submit one petition to You. Please consider it, and if You think it proper, please accept it.

"You must take with You a loincloth, external clothes and a waterpot. You should take nothing more than this.

"Since Your two hands will always be engaged in chanting and counting the holy names, how will You be able to carry the waterpot and external garments?

    From this verse it is clear that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was chanting the holy names a fixed number of times daily. The Gosvamis used to follow in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Haridasa Thakura also followed this principle. Concerning the Gosvamis -- Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami -- Srinivasa Acarya confirms, sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih. (Sad-gosvamy-astaka 6) In addition to other duties, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the system of chanting the holy name of the Lord a fixed number of times daily, as confirmed in this verse (tomara dui hasta baddha nama-ganane). Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to count on His fingers. While one hand was engaged in chanting, the other hand kept the number of rounds. This is corroborated in the Caitanya-candramrta and also in Srila Rupa Gosvami's Stava-mala:

    badhnan prema-bhara-prakampita-karo granthin kati-dorakaih
    sankhyatum nija-loka-mangala-hare-krsneti namnam japan

    (Caitanya-candramrta 16)

    hare krsnety uccaih sphurita-rasano nama-ganana-

    (Prathama-caitanyastaka 5)

    Therefore devotees in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu must chant at least sixteen rounds daily, and this is the number prescribed by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Haridasa Thakura daily chanted 300,000 names. Sixteen rounds is about 28,000 names. There is no need to imitate Haridasa Thakura or the other Gosvamis, but chanting the holy name a fixed number of times daily is essential for every devotee.

"When, along the way, You fall unconscious in ecstatic love of Godhead, who will protect Your belongings -- the waterpot, garments and so forth?"

Sri Nityananda Prabhu continued, "Here is a simple brahmana named Krsnadasa. Please accept him and take him with You. That is My request.

    This Krsnadasa, known as Kala Krsnadasa, is not the Kala Krsnadasa mentioned in the Eleventh Chapter, verse 37, of the Adi-lila. The Kala Krsnadasa mentioned in the Eleventh Chapter is one of the twelve gopalas (cowherd boys) who appeared to substantiate the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is known as a great devotee of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. The brahmana named Kala Krsnadasa who went with Sri Caitanya to South India and later to Bengal is mentioned in the Madhya-lila, Tenth Chapter, verses 62-79. One should not take these two to be the same person.

"He will carry Your waterpot and garments. You may do whatever You like; he will not say a word."

Accepting the request of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, Lord Caitanya took all His devotees and went to the house of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.

(To be continued)

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.


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