Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 13

BY: SUN STAFF

King Prataparudra in Jagannatha Puri


Oct 15, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.

In our last segment we mentioned the pastime in which King Prataparudra arranged various facility for Lord Chaitanya after He arrived at Kataka. This included the king making a new boat available for the Lord to use when crossing the Citrotpala River.

Mahaprabhu pressed on with His desire to go to Vrindavan, despite the devotees begging Him not to leave and finally, after visiting Vijaya-dashami, the devotees consented. King Prataparudra offered Mahaprabhu a great deal of help to smooth his journey, and again the Lord crossed the Citrotpala River in the new boat. Raya Ramananda, Mardaraja and Harichandana traveled along with Him.

But this is not the only pastime in which Mahaprabhu, King Prataparudra and the river Citrotpala are associated together.

Prior to this pastime there is another one, narrated in Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 13, in which King Prataparudra first wished to have the Lord's darshan. This took place at the time of Lord Jagannatha's Rathayatra in Puri. But the king was refused by the Lord because Sri Chaitanya did not wish to associate with a materialist. This pastime is also the subject of Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya by Srila Kavi karnapura. In Act Eight of this transcendental drama, 'The Rising of the Moon of Lord Shri Chaitanya', is the story of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya trying to make arrangements for the king to see Mahaprabhu.

In the latter half of Act Eight there is a scene describing the throngs of followers who came to see Lord Caitanya. In this case, the king's desire to associate with the Lord was no doubt furthered by seeing the throngs of followers who had come to see him on the banks of the Citrotpala River. The scene is described here:

    "Doorkeeper: Lord, a messenger has just come in great haste from the capitol.

    King: He may enter.

    Doorkeeper: (hastily exits and then returns with the messenger). My Lord, this is he.

    King: Messenger, tell the reason you have come in such haste.

    Messenger: Lord, thousands of men have come to the far shore of the Citrotpala River. Whether they are pilgrims of the enemy soldiers I do not know. I heard the tumultuous sounds they are making and I immediately ran here.

    Sarvabhauma: They are pilgrims. If not, then we would have heard about them. I can guess they are the Bengalis who are dear associates of Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya. They will meet the Lord and speak sweet words with Him.

    (a tumultuous sound comes from behind the scenes).

    Sarvabhauma: O king, they must have come at the shore of the Narendra-sarovara lake. I hear the tumultuous sounds of their happiness.

    King: It is true.

    Sarvabhauma: O king, if you like, climb to the topmost parapet and look at the wonderful scene."

    (Shri Chaitanya Chandrodaya, Act Eight, lines 120-128)



The image above shows the current path of the Citrotpala River, coming off as a branch of the Mahanadi River, southeast of Salipur. While the Narendra-sarovara lake is a famous theertham in Puri Dham, it is quite a distance from there to the current path of the Citrotpala. Perhaps the course of the river changed over time, or another branch of the Citrotpala came closer to Jagannatha Puri during Sri Chaitanya's lila.


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