Tag Archive | chaitanya charitamrita

For Srila Rupa Goswami’s Dissapearance day

Sri Rupa Goswami’s Siksha

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaja

Through Rupa Goswami, Mahaprabhu taught the world about Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes and the process for attaining Krishna in Vrindavan. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami writes, “Through the mercy of Sanatan I have learned the devotional doctrines, while by the grace of Rupa I have been able to discover the extensiveness of the divine aesthetics of devotion.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.5.203)

The Lord taught about sacred rapture and Vraja’s pastimes of love through Rupa Goswami. Who can effectively describe the subtleties of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila? (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.5.87)

vrndavaniyam rasa-kelivartam
kalena luptam nija-saktim utkah |
sancarya rupe vyatanot punah sa
prabhor vidhau prag iva loka-srstim ||

Just as the Lord enlightened the heart of Lord Brahma with the details of the creation and thus made the manifestation of the cosmos possible, so did Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eagerly impregnate the heart of Rupa Goswami with spiritual potency so that he could revive Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes which had almost been lost to memory. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.1)

While in Prayag, Mahaprabhu gave Rupa the direct order to write Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. This has been stated by Rupa himself in the introductory verses to that book:

hrdi yasya preramaya pravartito’ham varaka-rupo’ pi |
tasya hareh pada-kamalam vande caitanya-devasya ||

I worship the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Lord Chaitanya-deva, for by his inspiration I have set out to write this book even though I am nothing but a ignorant wretch. (Brs 1.1.2)

Particularly relevant in this connection is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur’s commentary on the importance of studying and writing books as an element of devotional practice: “The lives of the Goswamis were exemplary in their renunciation. Sometimes they would engage in chanting the holy names of the Lord, sometimes they would worship him by writing books on divine aesthetics, and sometimes they would remember or glorify Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

There is an idea which has some currency amongst the prakrta-sahajiyas that devotional practice entails the renunciation of studying and writing devotional scriptures, indeed that any kind of scriptural study should be stopped so that one can attain to a state of ignorance. Those who follow in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami have no patience with such ideas. However, if a devotional practitioner studies or writes devotional scriptures for the sake of making money through which to satisfy his material senses or attain material fame, respect or any of the other insignificant and superficial goals which are classed as distractions or weeds in the garden of devotional service, then he will not attain the auspicious results which are the real fruit such activity. A real Rupanuga has no fruitive ambition for such petty results.” (Anubhasya, 2.19.131)

When Mahaprabhu was giving Rupa the outline for his book on sacred rapture, he described the characteristics of the different mellows and showed him how to get a taste of the fathomless ocean of sacred rapture, he pointed out how difficult it was to attain devotional service to Krishna. The jiva or living entity is an atomic spark of conscious energy.

There are countless jivas, who are divided into two categories–those which are mobile and those which are stationary. Those which have mobility are again divided into three: those which move on the land, in the air or in the water. Amongst those who live on the land, a small number are human beings, of which only a minority accept the Vedic principles. Outcastes such as Pulindas, Mlecchas, Savaras and Buddhists are in the majority. Of those who accept the Vedas, some do so in name only and engage in sinful activity. Those who practice the Vedic principles are in the minority. Those who are engaged in religious practices toward some fruitive end form the majority in this group.

Amongst millions of such karma-nistha followers of the Veda, one person may perhaps attain the level of spiritual knowledge; yet only one of many millions of such jnanis will be an actual liberated soul. And out of millions of liberated souls, it will still be difficult to find a devotee of Krishna. Devotion to Krishna which is thus so rare can take birth when a certain merit is attained through great good fortune. The seed to the devotional creeper comes through the mercy of the Lord and his devotee. The creeper of spontaneous ecstatic devotion does not flower anywhere within this world, not even in Vaikuntha in the spiritual world, but only in Vrndavan at Krishna’s lotus feet. Krishna’s feet are like the wish-fulfilling tree around which the vine of devotion wraps itself and bears fruit. This is described in a most clear and wonderful manner by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami in Chaitanya Charitamrita:

After wandering through this entire universe, birth after birth, some fortunate souls receive the seed of devotion (bhakti-lata-bija) by the mercy of Krishna and the guru. Upon receiving the seed of devotional service, one should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing it in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtan [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout. As one waters the bhakti-lata-bija, the seed sprouts, and the creeper gradually increases to the point where it penetrates the walls of this universe and goes beyond the Viraja River between the spiritual world and the material world. It passes through the Brahma-loka, the Brahman effulgence until it finally reaches the spiritual sky and the spiritual planet Goloka Vrindavan where it takes shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krishna. There the creeper expands greatly and produces the fruit of love for Krishna, while the gardener continues to regularly sprinkle the creeper with the water of hearing and chanting here in the material world.

An offense to the Vaishnavas is like a mad elephant that uproots or breaks the creeper, causing its leaves to dry up.

The gardener must therefore take care to protect the creeper by making a fence around it so that the elephant of offenses may not enter. Even so, unwanted creepers, such as the weeds of desire for material enjoyment or release from the world, may grow along with the creeper of devotional service. Such weeds are countless in their variety. Some examples are forbidden activity, faultfinding and duplicity, causing suffering to other creatures, seeking wealth, adulation or mundane importance. All these weeds grow alongside the main creeper as one waters it, causing its growth to be curtailed.

As soon the devotee sees one of these weeds growing beside the original creeper, he must cut it down instantly. Then the real bhakti-lata can grow nicely all the way to Vrindavan where it will find shelter under the lotus feet of Krishna. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.151-61)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has commented on this passage in his Anubhasya: “Through the act of watering the creeper of devotional service by hearing and chanting, weeds may also grow which results in the growth of the bhakti-lata being stifled. If one does not avoid bad association, which is the only way to be free of offenses while hearing and chanting, then one becomes attached to sense gratification, the idea of liberation from material bondage, various mystic achievements, or the practice of deception. One may also become addicted to the illicit association of women or practice other false manifestations of devotion practiced by the prakrta-sahajiyas or a dweller of the five places given by Pariksit to Kali, namely wherever there is gambling, intoxication, prostitution, animal slaughter and the accumulation of gold.

He starts to take the Vaishnavas to be members of a particular race or caste, he finds dishonest ways of collecting money, or makes a show of practicing spiritual life in seclusion while secretly harboring desires for fame and adulation. Or one’s desire for mundane reputation may result in his making compromises with nondevotees, compromising one’s philosophy or spiritual life, or becoming a supporter of the hereditary caste system by professing discipleship to a so-called guru who opposes Vishnu and the Vaishnavas. The sum and substance of these aberrant paths is that one becomes intoxicated in the gratification of one’s own senses and, in order to attain these superficial and destructible ends, in short, anything besides pure devotion, one presents oneself as a great saintly person or as a religious person in order to accumulate followers. None of these things is useful in attaining pure devotional service to Krishna.

“If one uproots the various weeds as soon as one sees them beginning to sprout, then the creeper of devotional service will be able to grow as far as Goloka Vrindavan where it will give forth transcendental fruits. If not, one will end up being cut off from the devotional life and, remaining in the material world, whether in the higher or lower planets, will have to suffer its vagaries.” (Anubhasya, 2.19.160-1)

There are twelve devotional sentiments. The five primary sentiments are those of peacefulness, servitude, friendship, parenthood, and erotic love. The seven secondary sentiments are humor, astonishment, heroism, compassion, anger, disgust and fear.

The five primary sentiments remain permanently within the devotee’s heart, while the secondary sentiments are adventitious, appearing only when there is cause. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.188)

The secondary rasas act as supporting elements for the primary sentiments, coming and going when propitious circumstances arise.

After serving their function, they again disappear, whereas the primary sentiments are permanently ensconced in the devotee’s heart.

In his teachings to Rupa Goswami, Mahaprabhu established that of the five primary rasas, the divine sentiment of conjugal love is foremost. The characteristics of santa-rasa abandonment of other desires and steady attachment to Krishna. Over and above these characteristics, the possessor of the serving mood has his service, the friend has an intimacy, while the parent has a sense of being the protector. The devotee in madhura-rasa has all these qualities with the addition of serving with her own body. Just as all the qualities of the other elements starting with the ether are added together to be united in earth, so are all the qualities of the other devotional moods united in the mood of erotic love. Since all the sentiments are present in madhura-rasa, it is the best.

Rupa Goswami’s samadhi temple can be found in the courtyard of the Radha Damodar temple in Vrindavan. This is also where he performed his bhajana at the end of his life. Other places consecrated to Rupa’s memory in the Vraja area include his place of worship near Nandagrama, called Terikadamba. In this place, Radha came in disguise to give Rupa milk, rice and sugar so that he could cook a sweet-rice preparation for Sanata n Goswami. When Sanatan tasted the sweet rice, he felt divine ecstasies invade his body. Upon learning how he had received the ingredients, however, Sanatan forbad Rupa to ever cook sweet rice again, so that Radharani would not have to go to any trouble on his behalf.

Rupa Goswami’s pastimes in this world came to an end in the month of Bhadra, on the twelfth day of the waxing moon, the day after Jhulana Ekadasi.

—-excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj.

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For Srila Rupa Goswami’s Dissapearance day

Sri Rupa Goswami’s Siksha

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaja

Through Rupa Goswami, Mahaprabhu taught the world about Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes and the process for attaining Krishna in Vrindavan. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami writes, “Through the mercy of Sanatan I have learned the devotional doctrines, while by the grace of Rupa I have been able to discover the extensiveness of the divine aesthetics of devotion.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.5.203)

The Lord taught about sacred rapture and Vraja’s pastimes of love through Rupa Goswami. Who can effectively describe the subtleties of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila? (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.5.87)

vrndavaniyam rasa-kelivartam
kalena luptam nija-saktim utkah |
sancarya rupe vyatanot punah sa
prabhor vidhau prag iva loka-srstim ||

Just as the Lord enlightened the heart of Lord Brahma with the details of the creation and thus made the manifestation of the cosmos possible, so did Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eagerly impregnate the heart of Rupa Goswami with spiritual potency so that he could revive Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes which had almost been lost to memory. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.1)

While in Prayag, Mahaprabhu gave Rupa the direct order to write Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. This has been stated by Rupa himself in the introductory verses to that book:

hrdi yasya preramaya pravartito’ham varaka-rupo’ pi |
tasya hareh pada-kamalam vande caitanya-devasya ||

I worship the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Lord Chaitanya-deva, for by his inspiration I have set out to write this book even though I am nothing but a ignorant wretch. (Brs 1.1.2)

Particularly relevant in this connection is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur’s commentary on the importance of studying and writing books as an element of devotional practice: “The lives of the Goswamis were exemplary in their renunciation. Sometimes they would engage in chanting the holy names of the Lord, sometimes they would worship him by writing books on divine aesthetics, and sometimes they would remember or glorify Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

There is an idea which has some currency amongst the prakrta-sahajiyas that devotional practice entails the renunciation of studying and writing devotional scriptures, indeed that any kind of scriptural study should be stopped so that one can attain to a state of ignorance. Those who follow in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami have no patience with such ideas. However, if a devotional practitioner studies or writes devotional scriptures for the sake of making money through which to satisfy his material senses or attain material fame, respect or any of the other insignificant and superficial goals which are classed as distractions or weeds in the garden of devotional service, then he will not attain the auspicious results which are the real fruit such activity. A real Rupanuga has no fruitive ambition for such petty results.” (Anubhasya, 2.19.131)

When Mahaprabhu was giving Rupa the outline for his book on sacred rapture, he described the characteristics of the different mellows and showed him how to get a taste of the fathomless ocean of sacred rapture, he pointed out how difficult it was to attain devotional service to Krishna. The jiva or living entity is an atomic spark of conscious energy.

There are countless jivas, who are divided into two categories–those which are mobile and those which are stationary. Those which have mobility are again divided into three: those which move on the land, in the air or in the water. Amongst those who live on the land, a small number are human beings, of which only a minority accept the Vedic principles. Outcastes such as Pulindas, Mlecchas, Savaras and Buddhists are in the majority. Of those who accept the Vedas, some do so in name only and engage in sinful activity. Those who practice the Vedic principles are in the minority. Those who are engaged in religious practices toward some fruitive end form the majority in this group.

Amongst millions of such karma-nistha followers of the Veda, one person may perhaps attain the level of spiritual knowledge; yet only one of many millions of such jnanis will be an actual liberated soul. And out of millions of liberated souls, it will still be difficult to find a devotee of Krishna. Devotion to Krishna which is thus so rare can take birth when a certain merit is attained through great good fortune. The seed to the devotional creeper comes through the mercy of the Lord and his devotee. The creeper of spontaneous ecstatic devotion does not flower anywhere within this world, not even in Vaikuntha in the spiritual world, but only in Vrndavan at Krishna’s lotus feet. Krishna’s feet are like the wish-fulfilling tree around which the vine of devotion wraps itself and bears fruit. This is described in a most clear and wonderful manner by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami in Chaitanya Charitamrita:

After wandering through this entire universe, birth after birth, some fortunate souls receive the seed of devotion (bhakti-lata-bija) by the mercy of Krishna and the guru. Upon receiving the seed of devotional service, one should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing it in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtan [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout. As one waters the bhakti-lata-bija, the seed sprouts, and the creeper gradually increases to the point where it penetrates the walls of this universe and goes beyond the Viraja River between the spiritual world and the material world. It passes through the Brahma-loka, the Brahman effulgence until it finally reaches the spiritual sky and the spiritual planet Goloka Vrindavan where it takes shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krishna. There the creeper expands greatly and produces the fruit of love for Krishna, while the gardener continues to regularly sprinkle the creeper with the water of hearing and chanting here in the material world.

An offense to the Vaishnavas is like a mad elephant that uproots or breaks the creeper, causing its leaves to dry up.

The gardener must therefore take care to protect the creeper by making a fence around it so that the elephant of offenses may not enter. Even so, unwanted creepers, such as the weeds of desire for material enjoyment or release from the world, may grow along with the creeper of devotional service. Such weeds are countless in their variety. Some examples are forbidden activity, faultfinding and duplicity, causing suffering to other creatures, seeking wealth, adulation or mundane importance. All these weeds grow alongside the main creeper as one waters it, causing its growth to be curtailed.

As soon the devotee sees one of these weeds growing beside the original creeper, he must cut it down instantly. Then the real bhakti-lata can grow nicely all the way to Vrindavan where it will find shelter under the lotus feet of Krishna. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.151-61)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has commented on this passage in his Anubhasya: “Through the act of watering the creeper of devotional service by hearing and chanting, weeds may also grow which results in the growth of the bhakti-lata being stifled. If one does not avoid bad association, which is the only way to be free of offenses while hearing and chanting, then one becomes attached to sense gratification, the idea of liberation from material bondage, various mystic achievements, or the practice of deception. One may also become addicted to the illicit association of women or practice other false manifestations of devotion practiced by the prakrta-sahajiyas or a dweller of the five places given by Pariksit to Kali, namely wherever there is gambling, intoxication, prostitution, animal slaughter and the accumulation of gold.

He starts to take the Vaishnavas to be members of a particular race or caste, he finds dishonest ways of collecting money, or makes a show of practicing spiritual life in seclusion while secretly harboring desires for fame and adulation. Or one’s desire for mundane reputation may result in his making compromises with nondevotees, compromising one’s philosophy or spiritual life, or becoming a supporter of the hereditary caste system by professing discipleship to a so-called guru who opposes Vishnu and the Vaishnavas. The sum and substance of these aberrant paths is that one becomes intoxicated in the gratification of one’s own senses and, in order to attain these superficial and destructible ends, in short, anything besides pure devotion, one presents oneself as a great saintly person or as a religious person in order to accumulate followers. None of these things is useful in attaining pure devotional service to Krishna.

“If one uproots the various weeds as soon as one sees them beginning to sprout, then the creeper of devotional service will be able to grow as far as Goloka Vrindavan where it will give forth transcendental fruits. If not, one will end up being cut off from the devotional life and, remaining in the material world, whether in the higher or lower planets, will have to suffer its vagaries.” (Anubhasya, 2.19.160-1)

There are twelve devotional sentiments. The five primary sentiments are those of peacefulness, servitude, friendship, parenthood, and erotic love. The seven secondary sentiments are humor, astonishment, heroism, compassion, anger, disgust and fear.

The five primary sentiments remain permanently within the devotee’s heart, while the secondary sentiments are adventitious, appearing only when there is cause. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.19.188)

The secondary rasas act as supporting elements for the primary sentiments, coming and going when propitious circumstances arise.

After serving their function, they again disappear, whereas the primary sentiments are permanently ensconced in the devotee’s heart.

In his teachings to Rupa Goswami, Mahaprabhu established that of the five primary rasas, the divine sentiment of conjugal love is foremost. The characteristics of santa-rasa abandonment of other desires and steady attachment to Krishna. Over and above these characteristics, the possessor of the serving mood has his service, the friend has an intimacy, while the parent has a sense of being the protector. The devotee in madhura-rasa has all these qualities with the addition of serving with her own body. Just as all the qualities of the other elements starting with the ether are added together to be united in earth, so are all the qualities of the other devotional moods united in the mood of erotic love. Since all the sentiments are present in madhura-rasa, it is the best.

Rupa Goswami’s samadhi temple can be found in the courtyard of the Radha Damodar temple in Vrindavan. This is also where he performed his bhajana at the end of his life. Other places consecrated to Rupa’s memory in the Vraja area include his place of worship near Nandagrama, called Terikadamba. In this place, Radha came in disguise to give Rupa milk, rice and sugar so that he could cook a sweet-rice preparation for Sanata n Goswami. When Sanatan tasted the sweet rice, he felt divine ecstasies invade his body. Upon learning how he had received the ingredients, however, Sanatan forbad Rupa to ever cook sweet rice again, so that Radharani would not have to go to any trouble on his behalf.

Rupa Goswami’s pastimes in this world came to an end in the month of Bhadra, on the twelfth day of the waxing moon, the day after Jhulana Ekadasi.

—-excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj.

For Srimati Gangamata Gosvamini Appearance

Ganga Mata Goswamini was initiated in the line of Gauranga’s shakti, Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami, by Hari Das Pandit Goswami. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami himself has described this Hari Das’s character in his Chaitanya Charitamrita:

The chief servitor of the Govinda temple was Sri Hari Das Pandit. His qualities and fame are known all over the world; he was gentle, tolerant, peaceful, magnanimous, grave, sweet in his words, and very sober in his endeavors. He was respectful to everyone and worked for the benefit of all. Diplomacy, envy and jealousy were unknown to his heart.The fifty general qualities of Lord Krishna were all present in his body… Ananta Acharya, a disciple of Gadadhara Pandit, was always absorbed in love of Godhead, magnanimous and advanced in all respects. He was a reservoir of all good qualities. No one can estimate how great he was. Pandit Hari Das was his beloved disciple.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.8.54-7, 59-60)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur writes in his Anubhashya: “During the advent of Lord Sri Krishna, Ananta Acharya was Sudevi, one of the eight gopis. This is stated in the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, verse 165, as follows: ‘Ananta Acharya Goswami was formerly Sudevi-gopi in Vraja [Vrindavan].’ According to the disciplic succession descending from him at the famous Ganga-mata monastery, he is known as Vinoda manjari. One of his disciples was Hari Das Pandit Goswami, who is also known as Sri Raghu Gopal and as Sri Rasa manjari. He had two important disciples: Lakshmipriya and her niece, Ganga-mata, daughter of the Raja of Puntiya.”

More is learned about Ganga-mata’s holy life from Hari Das Das’s Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana and, in more detail, from Sundarananda Vidyavinoda’s Shrikshetra, where an elaborate account is given.

Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: HisLife & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

Available here from Mandala Publishing

Srimati Vishnupriya Devi

by Srila Bhakti Ballabha Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

On the holy occasion of the appearance day of Srimati Vishnupriya Devi (3rd February 2014),

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj. More information about this book.

sri-sanatana-misro’yad pura satrajito napa |
vinˆupriya jagan-mata yat-kanya bhu-svarupiˆi ||

He who was King Satrajit in Krishna lila was Sanatan Mishra in Chaitanya lila.
The mother of the universe, the incarnation of the Lord’s bhu-sakti,
is his daughter Vishnupriya. (Gaura-gaˆoddesa-dipika 47)

Krishna married Satyabhama, the daughter of King Satrajit and a Yadu princess. In Gaura lila, this same Satrajit became Sanatan Mishra and she became Vishnupriya Devi. All manifestations of Vishnu tattva have three energies, known as Sri, Bhu and Nila (or Lila). Lakshmipriya Devi is the sri-sakti of Mahaprabhu in his majestic Gaura-Narayan attitude; Vishnupriya is his bhu-sakti and Nabadwip Dham is his lila-sakti. Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami is the sakti of Gaura-Krishna, or Mahaprabhu in the mood of Krishna. Knowledge is of two kinds, apara vidya or material knowledge, and para vidya, or transcendental knowledge. Vishnupriya Devi is the personification of transcendental knowledge. Devotees worship her on her appearance day on the sukla pa cami of the month of Magh. On the same day, those materialistic persons who are seeking the perfection of knowledge of this world worship the goddess of learning, Saraswati. Vishnupriya Devi’s grandfather was Durga Das Mishra. Some people believe that Durga Das was Vishnupriya’s father. In the Prema-vilasa, the family of Durga Das Mishra’s descendants through Yadavacharya is known as Vishnupriya’s parivara.

Mahaprabhu’s marriage to Vishnupriya Devi

Vrindavan Das Thakur describes the birth of Gaura-Narayan’s sakti, Vishnupriya Devi, in his Chaitanya Bhagavat. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami has also mentioned the event in his Chaitanya Charitamrita.

In the Adikhaˆa, the death of Mahaprabhu’s first wife is described, and then his second marriage to the daughter of the court pandit. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.1.110)

Then he was married to Vishnupriya Thakurani, after which he defeated the Digvijayi Pandit. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.16.25)

For the materialistic person, the marriage of a man and woman is the source of bondage. When the Lord marries in imitation of ordinary mortals, it becomes a something quite different: it is a transcendental affair. By chanting and hearing about the union of the Supreme Lord with his divine energy, one is liberated from the material energy.

Whoever hears about the holy pastime of the Lord’s marriage will be liberated from his bondage to this world. Lakshmi sat beside the Lord and the house of Sachi was filled with light. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.10.110-1)

Whoever saw the Lord’s effulgent form on that day was freed from his or her sins and went to Vaikuntha. This is why the Lord is known as the merciful lord of the fallen. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.216-7)

Mahaprabhu spent an inordinate time absorbed in teaching his students on a trip to eastern Bengal, and Lakshmipriya Devi found it impossible to support his absence. So, meditating on his lotus feet, she departed from this world. When Mahaprabhu finally arrived back in Nabadwip, he consoled his mother who was deeply affected by the loss of her daughter-in-law. Sachi Mata then started looking for another wife for her son and consulted Kashinatha Pandit for that purpose. Kashinatha was a well-known matchmaker who is described in Gaura-gaˆoddesa-dipika (50) as having been the Brahmin in Krishna lila named Kulaka who was sent by Satrajit to arrange the marriage between his daughter Satyabhama and Krishna. He then went to the court pandit Sanatan Mishra to arrange the marriage between Mahaprabhu and his daughter, the devotionally minded Vishnupriya. Kashinatha said the following to Sanatan Mishra:

Give your daughter to Vishvambhara Pandit; it is a perfect combination. She alone is worthy of such a divine husband, while he deserves such a pious and chaste wife. Just as Krishna and Rukmiˆi were worthy of each other, so are Vishnupriya and Nimai Pandit. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.57-59)

From her early childhood, Vishnupriya Devi was always devoted to her parents and to Vishnu, taking her bath in the Ganges three times daily. She regularly saw mother Sachi there, paying obeisances and being blessed by her. In this way, Sachi already knew Vishnupriya’s good qualities, and so was happy to agree to accept her as a wife for her son. Buddhimanta Khan was a rich and wise friend of Nimai’s family who volunteered to bear the entire expense of his marriage. Once it had been decided that Vishnupriya and Vishvambhara would be married, an auspicious day and moment were fixed for the ceremony. With great pomp, the adhivasa rituals were carried out on the eve of the marriage. The Lord arrived at Sanatan Mishra’s house in a palanquin at dusk and Gaura and Vishnupriya’s wedding ceremony was performed according to both scriptural and popular traditions. On the following day, Vishnupriya joined her new husband on the palanquin and returned with him to his house. If one hears the eternal pastime of the wedding of Lakshmi and Narayan, then he loses his desire for the material relationship of enjoyer and enjoyed, for one comes to understand that Narayan alone is the supreme enjoyer of the entire universe. Buddhimanta Khan was fulfilled by receiving Mahaprabhu’s embrace and mercy. Vrindavan Das Thakur has further written the following about the wedding:

Some people of the pious women said, They remind me of Gauri and Shiva. Others said, It seems that they are Lakshmi and Narayan. Yet others said, No, they rather resemble Rati and Kamadeva. Some compared them to Indra and Sachi, and others to Rama and Sita. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.205-8)

Vishnupriya Devi after Nimai’s sannyas

When Mahaprabhu left home to go to Katwa and take sannyas, he was only 24 years old. Lochan Das Thakur has described Vishnupriya’s terrible feelings of separation in the days that followed his departure in the Chaitanya Ma”gala:

The earth splits from the sound of Vishnupriya’s crying: the birds and beasts, even the trees and stones shed tears when they heard it. Falling to the ground she would lament, crying out Why does my sinful life not end? In separation, her breath was like fire, drying her lips and her body trembled constantly. (Cm 2.14.15-6)

The Advaita-prakasa also describes how Vishnupriya lived her life in terrible separation from the Lord after his departure. Every morning, she would go for her bath in the Ganges with mother Sachi, after which she spent the entire day inside the house, never allowing the moon or the sun to see her form. Not even the devotees were allowed to see anything more than her feet, nor would anyone ever hear her voice. Constantly shedding tears and eating only Mother Sachi’s remnants, she became pale and thin. She took intense delight in the Holy Name, chanting all day long in solitude before a portrait of Gauranga, serving it as though he were present in it and surrendering herself to his lotus feet. In this way, she demonstrated the ideal character of a devoted wife as well as the forbearance spoken of by the Lord in his verse, taˆad api sunicena taror iva sahinˆuna, etc. Srinivas Acharya received Vishnupriya Devi’s blessing. He personally witnessed her devotion to Mahaprabhu in separation. Narahari Chakravarti has described this in his Bhakti-ratnakara:

Every day Srinivas would come to see her. He observed her daily activities, which are beyond description. She had completely renounced sleep, and if ever she closed her eyes, it would be while lying on the bare ground. Her bodily luster, which had formerly glowed more brilliantly than gold, had become dull and she was as thin as the waning moon on its fourteenth day. She set aside grains of rice to count the Holy Names she chanted, and would cook only this rice and offer it to her Lord. Of this amount, she would only eat a small portion. No one understood how she could remain alive. (BhaktiR09;ratnakara 4.47-51)

Jahnava Devi’s disciple Nityananda Das has also described the standard Vishnupriya Devi set for bhajan in his Prema-vilasa.

Listen, brothers, to the way which Isvari Vishnupriya would take the names of the Lord. By listening to this, you will get a feeling for the lila. Every day she would place two clay pots on either side of her, one filled with uncooked rice, the other empty. Each time she completed one mantra of sixteen names and thirty-two syllables, she would joyfully place a grain of rice into the empty container. She would chant in this way until three o’clock in the afternoon, and then would take whatever rice had accumulated and cook it. This is the only food that she prepared, drenching it with her tears before she offered it to the Lord. It is not possible to estimate how many names Mahaprabhu himself chanted, but he chanted all day and night. Similarly, his beloved wife Vishnupriya chanted incessantly through the day and the night. Such dedication to the Holy Name was not impossible for her, for the Lord had planted the seed of his power in her.

It is said that Vishnupriya Devi was the first to establish worship of a murti of Gauranga. This has been stated in Murari Gupta’s kaaaca:

prakasa-rupeˆa nija-priyaya
samipam asadya nijad hi murtim |
vidhaya tasyad sthita ena kanˆa
sa laknmi-rupa ca ninevate prabhum ||

Krishna came to his beloved wife in this expansion form to remain by her side as the Mahaprabhu deity. Thus she, the incarnation of the goddess of fortune, was able to serve him constantly.

The devotees of Mahaprabhu sometimes said that just as Ramachandra, who had taken the vow of monogamy, performed a sacrifice to a golden Sita that he had had made during his exile in the forest rather than marry a second time, so Vishnupriya repaid her debt to her Lord in the pastimes of Gaura-Narayan by having an image of Mahaprabhu created so she could perform the sacrifice of the Holy Name to him. This deity is still present and worshiped in Nabadwip.

Sri Vamsivadana Thakur and Ishan Thakur were blessed by the service of taking care of Vishnupriya Devi and Sachi Devi after Mahaprabhu took sannyas.

For more articles on a variety of devotional topics by and about Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj and other Vaishnava authors, kindly visit the GOKUL website athttp://www.gokul.org.uk or http://www.sreecgmath.org For more information, or to subscribe to our newsletter, write to bhakti@gokul.org

For Srimati Gangamata Gosvamini Appearance

Ganga Mata Goswamini was initiated in the line of Gauranga’s shakti, Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami, by Hari Das Pandit Goswami. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami himself has described this Hari Das’s character in his Chaitanya Charitamrita:

The chief servitor of the Govinda temple was Sri Hari Das Pandit. His qualities and fame are known all over the world; he was gentle, tolerant, peaceful, magnanimous, grave, sweet in his words, and very sober in his endeavors. He was respectful to everyone and worked for the benefit of all. Diplomacy, envy and jealousy were unknown to his heart.The fifty general qualities of Lord Krishna were all present in his body… Ananta Acharya, a disciple of Gadadhara Pandit, was always absorbed in love of Godhead, magnanimous and advanced in all respects. He was a reservoir of all good qualities. No one can estimate how great he was. Pandit Hari Das was his beloved disciple.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.8.54-7, 59-60)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur writes in his Anubhashya: “During the advent of Lord Sri Krishna, Ananta Acharya was Sudevi, one of the eight gopis. This is stated in the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, verse 165, as follows: ‘Ananta Acharya Goswami was formerly Sudevi-gopi in Vraja [Vrindavan].’ According to the disciplic succession descending from him at the famous Ganga-mata monastery, he is known as Vinoda manjari. One of his disciples was Hari Das Pandit Goswami, who is also known as Sri Raghu Gopal and as Sri Rasa manjari. He had two important disciples: Lakshmipriya and her niece, Ganga-mata, daughter of the Raja of Puntiya.”

More is learned about Ganga-mata’s holy life from Hari Das Das’s Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana and, in more detail, from Sundarananda Vidyavinoda’s Shrikshetra, where an elaborate account is given.

Excerpted from “Sri Chaitanya: HisLife & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj

Available here from Mandala Publishing

Srimati Vishnupriya Devi

by Srila Bhakti Ballabha Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

On the holy occasion of the appearance day of Srimati Vishnupriya Devi (14th February 2013),

The following is an excerpt from the book “Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj. More information about this book.

sri-sanatana-misro’yad pura satrajito napa |
vinˆupriya jagan-mata yat-kanya bhu-svarupiˆi ||

He who was King Satrajit in Krishna lila was Sanatan Mishra in Chaitanya lila.
The mother of the universe, the incarnation of the Lord’s bhu-sakti,
is his daughter Vishnupriya. (Gaura-gaˆoddesa-dipika 47)

Krishna married Satyabhama, the daughter of King Satrajit and a Yadu princess. In Gaura lila, this same Satrajit became Sanatan Mishra and she became Vishnupriya Devi. All manifestations of Vishnu tattva have three energies, known as Sri, Bhu and Nila (or Lila). Lakshmipriya Devi is the sri-sakti of Mahaprabhu in his majestic Gaura-Narayan attitude; Vishnupriya is his bhu-sakti and Nabadwip Dham is his lila-sakti. Srila Gadadhara Pandit Goswami is the sakti of Gaura-Krishna, or Mahaprabhu in the mood of Krishna. Knowledge is of two kinds, apara vidya or material knowledge, and para vidya, or transcendental knowledge. Vishnupriya Devi is the personification of transcendental knowledge. Devotees worship her on her appearance day on the sukla pa cami of the month of Magh. On the same day, those materialistic persons who are seeking the perfection of knowledge of this world worship the goddess of learning, Saraswati. Vishnupriya Devi’s grandfather was Durga Das Mishra. Some people believe that Durga Das was Vishnupriya’s father. In the Prema-vilasa, the family of Durga Das Mishra’s descendants through Yadavacharya is known as Vishnupriya’s parivara.

 

Mahaprabhu’s marriage to Vishnupriya Devi

Vrindavan Das Thakur describes the birth of Gaura-Narayan’s sakti, Vishnupriya Devi, in his Chaitanya Bhagavat. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami has also mentioned the event in his Chaitanya Charitamrita.

In the Adikhaˆa, the death of Mahaprabhu’s first wife is described, and then his second marriage to the daughter of the court pandit. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.1.110)

Then he was married to Vishnupriya Thakurani, after which he defeated the Digvijayi Pandit. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.16.25)

For the materialistic person, the marriage of a man and woman is the source of bondage. When the Lord marries in imitation of ordinary mortals, it becomes a something quite different: it is a transcendental affair. By chanting and hearing about the union of the Supreme Lord with his divine energy, one is liberated from the material energy.

Whoever hears about the holy pastime of the Lord’s marriage will be liberated from his bondage to this world. Lakshmi sat beside the Lord and the house of Sachi was filled with light. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.10.110-1)

Whoever saw the Lord’s effulgent form on that day was freed from his or her sins and went to Vaikuntha. This is why the Lord is known as the merciful lord of the fallen. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.216-7)

Mahaprabhu spent an inordinate time absorbed in teaching his students on a trip to eastern Bengal, and Lakshmipriya Devi found it impossible to support his absence. So, meditating on his lotus feet, she departed from this world. When Mahaprabhu finally arrived back in Nabadwip, he consoled his mother who was deeply affected by the loss of her daughter-in-law. Sachi Mata then started looking for another wife for her son and consulted Kashinatha Pandit for that purpose. Kashinatha was a well-known matchmaker who is described in Gaura-gaˆoddesa-dipika (50) as having been the Brahmin in Krishna lila named Kulaka who was sent by Satrajit to arrange the marriage between his daughter Satyabhama and Krishna. He then went to the court pandit Sanatan Mishra to arrange the marriage between Mahaprabhu and his daughter, the devotionally minded Vishnupriya. Kashinatha said the following to Sanatan Mishra:

 

Give your daughter to Vishvambhara Pandit; it is a perfect combination. She alone is worthy of such a divine husband, while he deserves such a pious and chaste wife. Just as Krishna and Rukmiˆi were worthy of each other, so are Vishnupriya and Nimai Pandit. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.57-59)

From her early childhood, Vishnupriya Devi was always devoted to her parents and to Vishnu, taking her bath in the Ganges three times daily. She regularly saw mother Sachi there, paying obeisances and being blessed by her. In this way, Sachi already knew Vishnupriya’s good qualities, and so was happy to agree to accept her as a wife for her son. Buddhimanta Khan was a rich and wise friend of Nimai’s family who volunteered to bear the entire expense of his marriage. Once it had been decided that Vishnupriya and Vishvambhara would be married, an auspicious day and moment were fixed for the ceremony. With great pomp, the adhivasa rituals were carried out on the eve of the marriage. The Lord arrived at Sanatan Mishra’s house in a palanquin at dusk and Gaura and Vishnupriya’s wedding ceremony was performed according to both scriptural and popular traditions. On the following day, Vishnupriya joined her new husband on the palanquin and returned with him to his house. If one hears the eternal pastime of the wedding of Lakshmi and Narayan, then he loses his desire for the material relationship of enjoyer and enjoyed, for one comes to understand that Narayan alone is the supreme enjoyer of the entire universe. Buddhimanta Khan was fulfilled by receiving Mahaprabhu’s embrace and mercy. Vrindavan Das Thakur has further written the following about the wedding:

 

Some people of the pious women said, They remind me of Gauri and Shiva. Others said, It seems that they are Lakshmi and Narayan. Yet others said, No, they rather resemble Rati and Kamadeva. Some compared them to Indra and Sachi, and others to Rama and Sita. (Chaitanya Bhagavat 1.15.205-8)

Vishnupriya Devi after Nimai’s sannyas

When Mahaprabhu left home to go to Katwa and take sannyas, he was only 24 years old. Lochan Das Thakur has described Vishnupriya’s terrible feelings of separation in the days that followed his departure in the Chaitanya Ma”gala:

 

The earth splits from the sound of Vishnupriya’s crying: the birds and beasts, even the trees and stones shed tears when they heard it. Falling to the ground she would lament, crying out Why does my sinful life not end? In separation, her breath was like fire, drying her lips and her body trembled constantly. (Cm 2.14.15-6)

The Advaita-prakasa also describes how Vishnupriya lived her life in terrible separation from the Lord after his departure. Every morning, she would go for her bath in the Ganges with mother Sachi, after which she spent the entire day inside the house, never allowing the moon or the sun to see her form. Not even the devotees were allowed to see anything more than her feet, nor would anyone ever hear her voice. Constantly shedding tears and eating only Mother Sachi’s remnants, she became pale and thin. She took intense delight in the Holy Name, chanting all day long in solitude before a portrait of Gauranga, serving it as though he were present in it and surrendering herself to his lotus feet. In this way, she demonstrated the ideal character of a devoted wife as well as the forbearance spoken of by the Lord in his verse, taˆad api sunicena taror iva sahinˆuna, etc. Srinivas Acharya received Vishnupriya Devi’s blessing. He personally witnessed her devotion to Mahaprabhu in separation. Narahari Chakravarti has described this in his Bhakti-ratnakara:

 

Every day Srinivas would come to see her. He observed her daily activities, which are beyond description. She had completely renounced sleep, and if ever she closed her eyes, it would be while lying on the bare ground. Her bodily luster, which had formerly glowed more brilliantly than gold, had become dull and she was as thin as the waning moon on its fourteenth day. She set aside grains of rice to count the Holy Names she chanted, and would cook only this rice and offer it to her Lord. Of this amount, she would only eat a small portion. No one understood how she could remain alive. (BhaktiR09;ratnakara 4.47-51)

Jahnava Devi’s disciple Nityananda Das has also described the standard Vishnupriya Devi set for bhajan in his Prema-vilasa.

Listen, brothers, to the way which Isvari Vishnupriya would take the names of the Lord. By listening to this, you will get a feeling for the lila. Every day she would place two clay pots on either side of her, one filled with uncooked rice, the other empty. Each time she completed one mantra of sixteen names and thirty-two syllables, she would joyfully place a grain of rice into the empty container. She would chant in this way until three o’clock in the afternoon, and then would take whatever rice had accumulated and cook it. This is the only food that she prepared, drenching it with her tears before she offered it to the Lord. It is not possible to estimate how many names Mahaprabhu himself chanted, but he chanted all day and night. Similarly, his beloved wife Vishnupriya chanted incessantly through the day and the night. Such dedication to the Holy Name was not impossible for her, for the Lord had planted the seed of his power in her.

It is said that Vishnupriya Devi was the first to establish worship of a murti of Gauranga. This has been stated in Murari Gupta’s kaaaca:

 

prakasa-rupeˆa nija-priyaya
samipam asadya nijad hi murtim |
vidhaya tasyad sthita ena kanˆa
sa laknmi-rupa ca ninevate prabhum ||

Krishna came to his beloved wife in this expansion form to remain by her side as the Mahaprabhu deity. Thus she, the incarnation of the goddess of fortune, was able to serve him constantly.

The devotees of Mahaprabhu sometimes said that just as Ramachandra, who had taken the vow of monogamy, performed a sacrifice to a golden Sita that he had had made during his exile in the forest rather than marry a second time, so Vishnupriya repaid her debt to her Lord in the pastimes of Gaura-Narayan by having an image of Mahaprabhu created so she could perform the sacrifice of the Holy Name to him. This deity is still present and worshiped in Nabadwip.

Sri Vamsivadana Thakur and Ishan Thakur were blessed by the service of taking care of Vishnupriya Devi and Sachi Devi after Mahaprabhu took sannyas.

For more articles on a variety of devotional topics by and about Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj and other Vaishnava authors, kindly visit the GOKUL website athttp://www.gokul.org.uk or http://www.sreecgmath.org For more information, or to subscribe to our newsletter, write to bhakti@gokul.org

Svarup laksana (primary attributes) of a sadhu

Sree Sree Guru Gaurangau Jayatah!

The original quality or kife of the sadhu is to have one-pointed devotion. The one who serving krishna is serving all. The most elevated stage is to serve Krishna. If you pour water to the roots, the whole plant will be nourished. If you give food to the stomach, the whole body will be nourished. If you serve Krishna, you serve all. This is the fundamental original quality of a sadhu.

Will the aquatic animals living in the rivers, seas and oceans get Bhagawan? No. There are many vegetarians like the goat etc. By simply becoming vegetarians, you cannot get Bhagawan. Without one-pointed devotion, nobody can get Bhagawan. We perform japa of Bhagawan and we get something else. A person, who wants Bhagawan from the core of his heart, will immediately get Him. One, who has the one-pointed devotion to the Supreme Lord, is a sadhu. He does not worship any demigod. But he knows that by serving Krishna, he serves all. A chaste wife, who has got love for her honest husband, will serve the servant for the satisfaction of her husband. Like that, sadhus have got respect for all but they respect in relation to Sri Krishna. They do not go and worship any demigods. All the demigods are satisfied with the sudha bhaktas. The demigods are congenial to all those who have devotion to Lord Hari. So we should have one-pointed devotion. Krishna has said: mam ekam saranam vraja.

Sadhus cannot live without hearing and speaking about Krishna. Just like a fish, cannot live without the water. Without hearing about Krishna’s name, fame, pastimes and without engaging their senses in the service of Krishna, sadhus cannot live in this world. But some are doing for business. They speak about Krishna for another motive. Bhagwan is omni-potent. If I take shelter of Bhagawan, will He not protect me? Everywhere there are mishaps, but when God protects, nobody can do anything. Sadhus know that God will protect them. Therefore, they are calm and serene.

—Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj