Sri Caitanya's Nectarian River Pastimes, Part 19


The Banks of the Godavari near Vidyanagara

Oct 29, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — Sri Caitanya's transcendental pastimes with rivers.

Lord Caitanya Instructs Ramananda Raya

Srila Prabhupada provides a beautiful commentary on the transcendental nature of Lord Caitanya's philosophical discussions with Ramananda Raya, in a section entitled "A Mine of Nectar" from In Search of the Ultimate Goal of Life:

    "During the presence of Lord Caitanya at Vidyanagara, the city where Ramananda Raya lived, all the scholars of different schools of philosophy were converted into devotees of Sri Krsna, and they gave up their previous ways of thinking. After the departure of Lord Caitanya, Ramananda was overwhelmed with grief on account of separation from the Lord, and thus he remained aloof from all sorts of routine work while continuing to absorb himself in deep meditation on the Lord.

    This is a short sketch of the meeting that took place between Ramananda Raya and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The instructive and transcendental topics that were discussed between them are completely sublime and simple at the same time. Any fortunate person can take advantage of the revelations within this conversation and thus bring about the perfection of his life. Once the topic is heard with a reverential attitude, it will no longer be possible to leave aside the spiritual ambition of reaching the abode of Radha and Krsna.

    By hearing this short narration, one can enter into the essence of transcendental romance and pure love of Godhead. The most important thing to understand from this discussion is the secret of Lord Caitanya's appearance in this world and the essence of His sankirtana movement."

One can appreciate the environment of Vidyanagara on the banks of the Godavari River by savoring the details of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes there with Ramananda Raya. Following are the Translations of Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila 8.11 to 8.53, which refer to the Lord's initial visit to Vidyanagara-tirtha:

Dry Godavari bed at Gudur, near Vidyanagara

    Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya Lila 8:

    8.11: When He saw the river Godavari, the Lord remembered the river Yamuna, and when He saw the forest on the banks of the river, He remembered Sri Vrndavana-dhama.

    8.12: After performing His usual chanting and dancing for some time in this forest, the Lord crossed the river and took His bath on the other bank.

    8.13: After bathing in the river, the Lord walked a little distance from the bathing place and engaged in chanting the holy name of Krsna.

    8.14: At that time, accompanied by the sounds of music, Ramananda Raya came there on a palanquin to take his bath.

    8.15: Many brahmanas following the Vedic principles accompanied Ramananda Raya. According to the Vedic rituals, Ramananda Raya took his bath and offered oblations to his forefathers.

    8.16: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu could understand that the person who had come to bathe in the river was Ramananda Raya. The Lord wanted so much to meet him that His mind immediately began running after him.

    8.17: Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was running after him mentally, He patiently remained sitting. Ramananda Raya, seeing the wonderful sannyasi, then came to see Him.

    8.18: Srila Ramananda Raya then saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be as brilliant as a hundred suns. The Lord was covered by a saffron garment. He was large in body and very strongly built, and His eyes were like lotus petals.

    8.19: When Ramananda Raya saw the wonderful sannyasi, he was struck with wonder. He went to Him and immediately offered his respectful obeisances, falling down flat like a rod.

    8.20: The Lord stood up and asked Ramananda Raya to arise and chant the holy name of Krsna. Indeed, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very eager to embrace him.

    8.21: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then inquired whether he was Ramananda Raya, and he replied, "Yes, I am Your very low servant, and I belong to the sudra community."

    8.22: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Sri Ramananda Raya very firmly. Indeed, both the master and the servant almost lost consciousness due to ecstatic love.

    8.23: Their natural love for each other was awakened in them both, and they embraced and fell to the ground.

    8.24: When they embraced each other, ecstatic symptoms -- paralysis, perspiration, tears, shivering, paleness and standing up of the bodily hairs -- appeared. The word "Krsna" came from their mouths falteringly.

    8.25: When the stereotyped, ritualistic brahmanas who were following the Vedic principles saw this ecstatic manifestation of love, they were struck with wonder. All these brahmanas began to reflect as follows.

    8.26: The brahmanas thought, "We can see that this sannyasi has a luster like the effulgence of Brahman, but how is it He is crying upon embracing a sudra, a member of the fourth caste in the social order?"

    8.27: They thought, "This Ramananda Raya is the Governor of Madras, a highly learned and grave person, a maha-pandita, but upon touching this sannyasi he has become restless like a madman."

    8.28: While the brahmanas were thinking in this way about the activities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw those outsiders and restrained His transcendental emotions.

    8.29: When they regained their sanity, they both sat down, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu smiled and began to speak as follows.

    8.30: "Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya spoke of your good qualities, and he made a great endeavor to convince Me to meet you.

    8.31: "Indeed, I have come here just to meet you. It is very good that even without making an effort I have gotten your interview here."

    8.32: Ramananda Raya replied, "Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya thinks of me as his servant. Even in my absence he is very careful to do me good.

    8.33: "By his mercy I have received Your interview here. Consequently I consider that today I have become a successful human being.

    8.34: "I can see that You have bestowed special mercy upon Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Therefore You have touched me, although I am untouchable. This is due only to his love for You.

    8.35: "You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana Himself, and I am only a government servant interested in materialistic activities. Indeed, I am the lowest among men of the fourth caste.

    8.36: "You do not fear the Vedic injunctions stating that You should not associate with a sudra. You were not contemptuous of my touch, although in the Vedas You are forbidden to associate with sudras.

    8.37: "You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself; therefore no one can understand Your purpose. By Your mercy You are touching me, although this is not sanctioned by the Vedas.

    8.38: "You have come here specifically to deliver me. You are so merciful that You alone can deliver all fallen souls.

    8.39: "It is the general practice of all saintly people to deliver the fallen. Therefore they go to people's houses, although they have no personal business there.

    8.40: "'My dear Lord, sometimes great saintly persons go to the homes of householders, although these householders are generally low-minded. When a saintly person visits their homes, one can understand that it is for no other purpose than to benefit the householders.'

    8.41: "Along with me there are about a thousand men -- including the brahmanas -- and all of them appear to have had their hearts melted simply by seeing You.

    8.42: "I hear everyone chanting the holy name of Krsna. Everyone's body is thrilled with ecstasy, and there are tears in everyone's eyes.

    8.43: "My dear Sir, according to Your behavior and bodily features, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is impossible for ordinary living beings to possess such transcendental qualities."

    8.44: The Lord replied to Ramananda Raya, "Sir, you are the best of the topmost devotees; therefore simply the sight of you has melted everyone's heart.

    8.45: "Although I am a Mayavadi sannyasi, a nondevotee, I am also floating in the ocean of love of Krsna simply by touching you. And what to speak of others?

    8.46: "Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya knew this would happen, and thus to rectify My heart, which is very hard, he asked Me to meet you."

    8.47: In this way each of them praised the qualities of the other, and both of them were pleased to see each other.

    8.48: At this time a brahmana Vaisnava following the Vedic principles came and offered obeisances. He fell flat before Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and invited Him for lunch.

    8.49: Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the invitation, knowing the brahmana to be a devotee, and slightly smiling, He spoke as follows to Ramananda Raya.

    8.50: "I wish to hear from you about Lord Krsna. Indeed, My mind is inclined to desire this; therefore I wish to see you again."

    8.51-52: Ramananda Raya replied, "My Lord, although You have come to correct me, a fallen soul, my mind is not yet purified simply by seeing You. Please stay for five or seven days and kindly cleanse my polluted mind. After that much time, my mind will certainly be pure."

    8.53: Although neither could tolerate separation from the other, Ramananda Raya nonetheless offered his obeisances to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and departed.

(To be continued)

Caitanya-caritamrta - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


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