A Great Scholar Meets Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
- Category: 2008
- Saturday, 03 May 2008
- Last Updated on Saturday, 03 May 2008
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Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Alachua, Florida: May 3, 2008
[Respected Harikatha Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga. We just realized that we forgot to send you this beautiful lecture of Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's last summer tour. Fortunately, Harikatha is eternal, ever-new, and ever-nourishing to the soul. We pray that you will receive immense spiritual benefit by reading this nectar.
- the Harikatha team]
We explained in yesterday's class that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu became angry after His danda was broken by Nityananda Prabhu. *[See endnote 1] He said, "O Nityananda Prabhu, Mukunda, Damodara, Jagadananda - either all of you should go to see Lord Jagannatha first, or I should go first. I do not want to go with you."
They replied, "Lord, please go first. We will go later."
Do you know the place of Mahaprabhu's pastimes called Danda-bhanga? This is the place where Mahaprabhu's danda was broken. From there, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw the cakra on top of Lord Jagannatha's temple (approximately six miles away), and He offered His obeisances.
When He entered the temple, Srimati Radhika's mood manifested within Him so heavily that as soon as He saw Lord Jagannatha, overwhelmed with an intolerable pain of separation, He at once fell upon the ground, unconscious. At that time His mind, absorbed in Srimati Radhika's transcendental sentiments when She saw Sri Krsna at Kuruksetra, was thinking, "O My most beloved, I have met You after such a long time."
sei ta parana-natha painu
yaha lagi' madana-dahane jhuri' genu
["Now I have gained the lord of my life, in the absence of whom I was being burned by Cupid and was withering away." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.113)]
Seeing Mahaprabhu fainting in the temple and not understanding His divinity, the guards of the temple took hold of bamboo rods. They were ready to beat Him and take Him out of the temple, but they were forbidden to do so by Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.
Having seen the Lord's manifestation of transcendental ecstasy in the form of sudipta, pradipta, and all the sattvika bhavas, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya considered, "I have never before seen these symptoms in any devotee. I have read about them in books, but I have never seen them before now. This is very wonderful. Oh, He may be a maha-bhagavata, a topmost devotee in ecstatic love of God."
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya requested his disciples, "Please carry Him to my house." Five or six disciples then picked up Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and brought Him to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's house, which was not very far away from the temple. You can go and see this temple when you are in Jagannatha Puri. There, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu remained unconscious for over five hours, until the afternoon.
In the meantime, Nityananda Prabhu, Damodara Pandita, Jagadananda Pandita, and Mukunda arrived at Lord Jagannatha's temple, where they heard that a sannyasi had come and fainted and had been brought by Sarvabauma Bhattacarya to his house. They went immediately to that house, where they became very pleased to see their Lord.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya told them to go and see the Deity of Lord Jagannatha and then return, upon which Nityananda Prabhu and his company went, and soon returned. They surrounded Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and performed a very loud kirtana, at which time Mahaprabhu became conscious and jumped up, calling out, "Hari bol! Hari bol!"
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya told Him, "Prabhu, Please do not go alone to visit the Jagannatha Deity. I will go with You or send someone with You." After this he told Gopinatha Acarya, His brother-in-law, "Please go to the home of my maternal aunt and make all arrangements for Mahaprabhu to stay there. It is a very solitary and good place, where hardly anyone goes." Gopinatha Acarya then took Mahaprabhu there.
After that a discussion ensued between Gopinatha Acarya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, wherein Sarvabhauma heard about the identity of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In that conversation Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya first asked, "Who is this person?" Gopinatha Acarya replied, "He is the son of Jagannatha Misra, whose father-in-law is Nilambara Cakravarti. He is from Navadvipa." Sarvabauma Bhattacarya said, "I know Nilambara Cakravarti. He was a classmate of my father. I am very happy to know that this sannyasi is related to me. I will teach Him Vedanta and improve His sannyasa."
Gopinatha Acarya replied to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who was with his disciples, "Who are you desiring to teach?? Do you know who is He is? He is the Supreme Lord Himself, Sri Krsna. The disciples of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya asked, "How can you say that He is the Supreme Lord?"
Gopinath Acarya replied, "No one can know by direct perception. Direct perception is not evidence:
nayam atma pravacanena labhyo
na medhasa na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam
["The Supreme Lord is not obtained by expert explanations, by vast intelligence, or even by much hearing. He is obtained only by one whom He Himself chooses. To such a person, He manifests His own form." (Mundaka Upanisad 3.2.3)]
"With whom the Lord becomes happy, He mercifully reveals Himself to that person; in this way one can know Him. He will not be known by the scholars of The Vedic Scriptures. I know that you are a scholar; there is no one equal to you in this world. Still, because you are devoid of pure devotion to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, you cannot know Him. If you will receive His mercy one day, only then you can know Him." In this way the dialogue was going on between them.
After that, one day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went with Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya to see Lord Jagannatha, and when they returned, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya told Him, "I want to teach you Vedanta."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied "You are My guru; you are like My father. I have given Myself to your lotus feet. Please teach Me."
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya began to explain scriptural sutras like "athato brahma jijnasa," "ananda-mayo 'bhyasat," and so many other sutras and verses. However, he wrongly explained all this to mean that the Absolute Spirit is without qualities, or form, or powers.
In this way He continued to explain his faulty conclusions for seven days, during which time Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was only hearing - not speaking. He was not even saying, "Very good, very good," or "I am not understanding your words." Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was in wonder and considered, "I think this boy does not understand. Why is He silent, not asking anything?" He asked Mahaprabhu why He was silent.
Mahaprabhu replied that the verses of the Vedic scriptures are as clear as the Sun, but that his explanations were like the covering cloud. He quoted the verse (from Svetasvatara Upanisad, 3.19):
apani-pado javano grahita
pasyaty acaksuh sa srnoty akarnah
sa vetti vedyam na ca tasyasti vetta
tam ahur agryam purusam mahantam
["Without legs and hands, He moves and accepts. Without eyes He sees, and without ears He hears. He knows all that is knowable, but no one knows Him. They call Him the original Supreme Person."]
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya had explained this verse in such a way as to mean that the Supreme Lord has no power and no form, but Mahaprabhu explained it from the viewpoint of a devotee.
Most Indian learned scholars in this world follow the Vedanta commentary of Sripad Sankaracarya, the leader of the impersonalists, who writes that the Supreme Spiritual Truth is only knowledge and bliss. He says, "He is satyam jnanam anantam brahma - He is ananda-svarupa. He is knowledge, and He is bliss." But this is actually wrong.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya that the Supreme Truth is surely ananda, of the nature of bliss, but He is also ananda-maya, a Transcendental Person, who is full of bliss. Srila Vyasadeva states in the Brahma-sutra, (1.1.12) "Ananda-mayo 'bhyasat - by nature the Lord is always joyful." Mahaprabhu told the Bhattacarya, "You should perform bhakti to this form of transcendental happiness. Though He is happiness, He is also the reservoir of happiness. He is jnana (knowledge), but He is also jnani, the possessor of knowledge, and He can give knowledge to others as well. He is not formless; He is the Supreme Lord:
ete camsa-kalah pumsah
krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
mrdayanti yuge yuge
["All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Sri Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on various planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28)]
"You also said that the soul is one in all respects with that an impersonal Absolute Truth: "You are all brahma, I am also brahma, tattvam-asi, aham brahmasmi, and sarvam khalvidam brahma: whatever we see in this world is also brahma."
Mahaprabhu said "Your statements are not actually the prominent explanations of the Vedas. Rather it is the transcendental vibration Om, and Om is Krsna, the Supreme Lord. Who is Krsna? Srimad Bhagavatam states:
aho bhagyam aho bhagyam
purnam brahma sanatanam
["How greatly fortunate are Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd men, and all the other inhabitants of Vrajabhumi! There is no limit to their good fortune, because the Absolute Truth, the source of transcendental bliss, the eternal Supreme brahma, has become their friend." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.32)]
Mahaprabhu inquired from Sarvabhuama Battacarya, "Why have you said that the Supreme has no form, no qualities? He is very merciful. What would be the need of worshiping a God who has no mercy? If the Supreme Truth cannot do anything, there is no need for such a Supreme Truth."
Mahaprabhu continued, "Sruti (the Vedas) is the first evidence. There it is stated that a human being's stool, urine, and bones are very impure. However, although a conchshell is bone, and cow dung and cow urine are stool and urine, they are always pure. In fact, we perform abhiseka (the bathing ceremony of the Deity on the altar) of Krsna with cow urine and cow dung, and we use conch-shells in all temples. Sruti says this. You are not speaking from Sruti. You are twisting the meaning and imagining your own meaning, not giving the direct meaning. Especially, the living entities are not the Supreme Spirit Truth."
There are so many examples of this in the Vedas.
yato vä imäni bhütäni jäyante, yena jätäni jévanti
yat prayanty abhisaàviçanti, tad vijijïäsasva tad brahma
["Search for that Supreme Truth, from whom all existence arises, by whom all beings exist, and into whom they enter." (Taittiriya Upanisad 3.1.1)]
There are seven grammatical cases (declensions), [* See Endnote 2] and all of them describe only that Supreme Truth:
1) karma - nominative
2) karana_ accusative
3) kartr - instrumental
4) sampradana - dative
5) apadana - ablative
6) sambandha - genitive
7) adhikarana - locative
"The Absolute Truth is He from whom this world has come, [from whom indicates the ablative case (apadana)] and in whom this world rests [in whom indicates the locative case (adhikarana)], who (The Supreme Truth) is protecting and nourishing the world [The subject of a verb is in the nominative case (karma)], and unto whom the world returns in the end [unto whom indicates the dative case (sampradana)] This world is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead [by indicates the instrumental case (kartr)]. This world belongs to Him [belongs to indicates the genitive case (sambandha)], and everyone and everything exists to serve Him [Him indicates the accusative case (karana)]. How, then, can He be without form and qualities?"
Mahaprabhu continued, "If it is true that everything we see in this world is ultimately manifested from that Supreme Truth (brahma) and all jivas are brahma - "sarvam khalvidam brahma," "aham brahmasmi" - how, then, can the world be false (mithya).You have said, "brahma satya jagan mithya - the Absolute Spirit is truth and this world is false." How can you say this? You are also saying that all jivas are God. You have quoted "aham brahmasmi" and other verses that are not the prominent Vedic mantras (maha-vakyas).
"One of the prominent Vedic statements is given in Mundaka Upanisad. There it is stated that the individual spirit soul is infinitesimal, whereas the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unlimited. The soul is minute and therefore it can be covered with maya, whereas the Supreme Truth is the master of maya. How can they be the same?
satadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneyah
sa canantyaya kalpate
"'If the tip of a hair were divided into one hundred parts, and if one of those parts were again divided into a hundred parts, that one ten-thousandth part of the tip of the hair would be the dimension of the living entity.'"
Mahaprabhu continued, "The Absolute Spirit Whole is the greatest. The entire world is in one of His bodily pores, only one; there are millions of universes within Him. The individual soul is His part and parcel, coming from tatastha-sakti, His marginal energy, and it can be covered by maya. You are saying that God and the minute soul are the same? Maya punishes those who speak like this.
"You should understand that the jiva soul is minute and is part and parcel of the Supreme Absolute Truth. There are unlimited jivas, and they are all His parts and parcels.
In Bhagavad-Gita it is stated:
["The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind." (Bhagavad-gita 15.7)]
Sri Krsna is not without sakti:
na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca
["He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.7-8)]
From this verse Mahaprabhu explained that the Supreme Lord possesses unlimited powers (saktis), like jiva-sakti (the living entities), maya-sakti (the external, deluding potency), cit-sakti (the transcendental power), hladini-sakti (the power of spiritual bliss), samvit sakti (the power of transcendental knowledge, by which the Lord knows Himself and causes others to know Him), and sandhini-sakti (the power of spiritual maintenance and existence). He possesses so many potencies.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained His philosophical conclusions in such a way that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya raised several questions, to which Mahaprabhu replied, defeating all of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya's arguments. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya then told Mahaprabhu, "I want to hear Your explanation of the meaning of the verse beginning atmaramas ca munayo."
atmaramas ca munayo
nirgrantha apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim
["‘Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Sri Krsna, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Krsna because He has such transcendentally attractive features.'" (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.10)]
Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "You please explain it first." The Bhattacarya then explained this verse in nine ways, after which Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told him, "You are personally Brhaspati, the teacher of the demigods; no one can explain scripture as you can."
Mahaprabhu then said that there are some more meanings to be told, and He proceeded to give eighteen explanations without touching the nine. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya then said, "Unless one is Krsna, the Supreme Absolute Truth, no one cannot explain the Vedic conclusions in the way You have done."
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya thus realized that Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, and fell flat at His lotus feet. Mahaprabhu then showed him His four-armed form, then His form as Krsna, then His six-armed form which combined Krsna, Rama, and Mahaprabhu together. At that time Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya became a high-class Vaisnava, and shortly after this incident he wrote down the following Srimad-Bhagavatam verse:
tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
["My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words, and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)]
He substituted the word ‘bhakti' for the word ‘mukti,' thus writing "bhakti-pade sa daya-bhak." Reading this change, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told him, "You need not do this. What is written in Srimad Bhagavatam is okay. ‘Mukti-pade' means that mukti, liberation from the miseries of material existence, is found at the lotus feet of bhakti (pure devotion to Sri Krsna).
Approximately one month after this, Mahaprabhu desired to go to South India. He told Nityananda Prabhu and others, "My brother Visvarupa has renounced the world and taken sannyasa, and I have not received any news from him. I want to go to South India to search for him, but I want to go alone; not with any other devotee." His associates requested that a servant go with Him, so He accepted that a young brahmana named Kala Krsnadasa would accompany Him.
Just before His departure, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya told Him, "Do you know Raya Ramananda? I used to joke with him by telling him that he does not know anything, but now I am realizing that he is a high-class rasa-tattvajna devotee. He knows all philosophical truths and all about the Lord's loving pastimes." He requested the Lord, "Since You are going to South India, You must meet with him."
On the way to South India, Mahaprabhu saw many temples, and finally He reached Vidyanagara in South India, where Raya Ramananda was the governor under Maharaja Pratraparudra. Mahaprabhu met with Raya Ramananda there, on the bank of the Godavari River, and we will discuss their dialogue.
"When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to the temple of Lord Siva known as Kapotesvara, Nityananda Prabhu, who was keeping His sannyasa staff in custody, broke the staff in three parts and threw it into the river Bharginadi. Later this river became known as Danda-bhanga-nadi.
The mystery of the sannyasa-danda (staff) of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has been explained by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the order of sannyasa from a Mayavadi sannyasi. The Mayavadi sannyasis generally carry one staff, or danda. Taking advantage of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's absence, Srila Nityananda Prabhu broke the staff into three parts and threw it into the river later known as the Danda-bhanga-nadi. In the sannyasa order there are four divisions-kuticaka, bahudaka, hamsa and paramahamsa. Only when the sannyasi remains on the kuticaka and bahudaka platforms can he carry a staff. However, when one is elevated to the status of hamsa or paramahamsa, after touring and preaching the bhakti cult, he must give up the sannyasa staff.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is therefore said, sri-krsna-caitanya, radha-krsna nahe anya: "Two personalities-Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna-are combined in the incarnation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu." Therefore, considering Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be an extraordinary person, Lord Nityananda Prabhu did not wait for the paramahamsa stage. He reasoned that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is automatically on the paramahamsa stage; therefore He does not need to carry the sannyasa-danda. This is the reason Sri Nityananda Prabhu broke the staff into three pieces and threw it into the water." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 5.142-3, with purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja)]
[The earliest Sanskrit grammar is the Astadhayi of Panini. All of our Gosvamis studied Panini's Astadhyayi from childhood. According to Panini the cases or declensions of nouns (called karakas) show the relationship between nouns and verbs. Therefore, he accepted only six karakas, because the genitive case (possessive) shows the relationship between two nouns. Srila Jiva Gosvami composed a grammar for Gaudiya Vaisnavas called Sri Harinamamrta Vyakaranam in which he accepts seven cases. They are first described in Chapter 2 of Visnupada prakaranam, sutra 3 - ed]
Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Brajanath dasa, and Sri Prema-prayojana dasa
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Editor: Syamarani dasi
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
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