Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 8


Lord Caitanya takes the sea for the Yamuna
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Oct 05, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.

Before moving on to another of the most famous lila pastimes of Lord Caitanya associated with rivers -- the one in which Nityananda Prabhu tricked the Lord into believing that the Ganges was actually the Yamuna -- we will first set the stage.

Lord Caitanya's attraction for the Yamuna River is established throughout Caitanya-caritamrta, with many references to how Mahaprabhu displayed symptoms of ecstasy as He re-enacted Krsna-lila pastimes with the Gopis in Vrindavana.

    "Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructs us that just as Kṛṣṇa is worshipable, Kṛṣṇa's place, Vṛndāvana, is also worshipable. And as Vṛndāvana is worshipable, similarly the paraphernalia in Vṛndāvana — the trees, roads, river, everything — is worshipable." ( Madhya 12.38)

When Sri Caitanya went to Prayaga, and visited the confluence of the holy Ganges and Yamuna, as soon as He saw the river Yamuna, He would throw Himself into it. This divine attraction is further explained in Madhya 17:

    "When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed through the Jhārikhaṇḍa forest, He took it for granted that it was Vṛndāvana. When He passed over the hills, He took it for granted that they were Govardhana. Similarly, whenever Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw a river, He immediately accepted it as the river Yamunā." (Madhya 17.55-56)

Later in Madhya 17 we read:

    "While the Lord was going to Mathurā, He came across the river Yamunā several times, and as soon as He saw the river Yamunā, He would immediately jump in, falling unconscious in the water in the ecstasy of love of Kṛṣṇa." (Madhya 17.154)

Sri Mahaprabhu's blissful enjoyment of Radha and Krsna's pastimes in the Yamuna, causing Him to dive spontaneously into the Yamuna's waters, is by no means a singular event. And in this regard, is non-different from the pastime where He is tricked by Nityananda and Advaita Acarya.

In a similar pastime, we read in Antya lila how the Lord jumped into the ocean, thinking it to be the waters of the Yamuna:

    "While thus wandering near the temple of Aitota, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu suddenly saw the sea. Brightened by the shining light of the moon, the high waves of the sea glittered like the waters of the river Yamuna. Mistaking the sea for the Yamuna, the Lord ran swiftly and jumped into the water, unseen by the others.

    Falling into the sea, He lost consciousness and could not understand where He was. Sometimes He sank beneath the waves, and sometimes He floated above them. The waves carried Him here and there like a piece of dry wood. Who can understand this dramatic performance by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu?

    Keeping the Lord sometimes submerged and sometimes afloat, the waves carried Him toward the Konarka temple. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu fully merged in the pastimes Lord Krishna performed with the gopis in the waters of the Yamuna.

    Meanwhile, all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara, lost sight of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Astonished, they began searching for Him, asking, "Where has the Lord gone?"

    (Antya-lila 18.26-33)


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