Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 18
BY: SUN STAFF
Ramananda Raya gets darshan of Sri Chaitanya as Sri Radha-Krsna
Oct 25, 2015 CANADA (SUN) Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.
The Godavari River
In his Summary of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila 8, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur describes Lord Caitanya's first journey to Vidyanagara, and one of His most famous demonstrations of mercy – His discussions with Sri Ramananda Raya on the banks of the holy Godavari River.
Madhya lila 8 Summary
"The summary of the Eighth Chapter is given by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amrta-pravaha-bhasya. After visiting the temple of Jiyada-nrsimha, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the banks of the river Godavari, to a place known as Vidyanagara. When Srila Ramananda Raya went there to take his bath, they met. After introducing himself, Sri Ramananda Raya requested Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to remain in the village for some days. Honoring his request, Caitanya Mahaprabhu stayed there in the home of some Vedic brahmanas. In the evening, Srila Ramananda Raya used to come to see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Ramananda Raya, who was clothed in ordinary dress, offered the Lord respectful obeisances. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu questioned him on the object and process of worship and also asked him to recite verses from the Vedic literature.
First of all, Srila Ramananda Raya enunciated the system of the varnasrama institution. He recited various verses about karmarpana, stating that everything should be dedicated to the Lord. He then spoke of detached action, knowledge mixed with devotional service, and finally the spontaneous loving service of the Lord. After hearing Srila Ramananda Raya recite some verses, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the principle of pure devotional service devoid of all kinds of speculation. After this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Ramananda Raya to explain the higher platform of devotional service. Then Srila Ramananda Raya explained unalloyed devotional service, love of Godhead, and serving the Lord in the moods of pure servitude, fraternity and parental love. Finally he spoke of serving the Lord in conjugal love. He then spoke of how conjugal love can be developed in various ways. This conjugal love attains its highest perfection in Srimati Radharani's love for Krsna. He next described the position of Srimati Radharani and the transcendental mellows of love of God. Srila Ramananda Raya then recited a verse of his own concerning the platform of ecstatic vision, technically called prema-vilasa-vivarta. Srila Ramananda Raya also explained that all stages of conjugal love can be attained through the mercy of the residents of Vrndavana, especially by the mercy of the gopis. All these subject matters were thus vividly described.
Gradually Ramananda Raya could understand the position of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His real form, Ramananda Raya fell unconscious. After some days, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Ramananda Raya to retire from government service and come to Jagannatha Puri. These descriptions of the meetings between Ramananda Raya and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are taken from the notebook of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami."
The location of the Vidyanagara Lord Caitanya visited when he met with Ramananda Raya is easy to confirm, because it is also Ramananda Raya's birthplace. This Vidyanagara is on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh, about 63 kilometers south of Nellore and 15 km inland from the coastal village of Durgarajupatnam.
Ramananda Raya was a prominent Viceroy of the Rajamahendri (Rajahmundry) of Andhra Pradesh. Lying on the bank of the River Godavari, his birthplace, Vidyanagara, was in the Godavari Province of the Kalinga-Utkala Empire, under the reign of the Medieval Orissan Emperor, Gajapati Sri Prataparudra Dev. Ramananda Raya was born in the early 14th century at Cuttack, to a prominent Oriya Kayastha (Karana) family.
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