THE SEARCH FOR SRI KRISHNA: CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Reality the Beautiful
Ramananda Raya was a married man, but he was recognized by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as a master of his senses to the extreme degree. Once a brahmana priest named Pradyumna Misra came to Mahaprabhu and told Him, "I would like to hear about Krishna from Your lips." Mahaprabhu said, "I do not know anything about Krishna, but Ramananda Raya knows. Go to him and hear about Krishna. Take My name, and perhaps he will talk with you."
Pradyumna Misra was hesitant, but he went and observed Ramananda Raya for some time and then returned and reported to Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu asked him, "Have you heard about Krishna from Ramananda?" "No." "Why?" "I saw him engaged in something objectionable. I watched for some time, and then returned here." "What did you see?" Pradyumna Misra answered, "I saw Ramananda Raya training some young dancing girls!"
Girls who are generally devoted to the service of the Jagannath Deity from a young age are known as deva-dasis. They do not marry, and sometimes their character is not very good. Pradyumna Misra saw Ramananda Raya training deva-dasis in a very objectionable way. He was showing them how to go before the Jagannath Deity and dance and sing. He showed them how their posture should be, how they should gesture, and how their looks should be enticing. And for such training he would sometimes even touch their private parts. So Pradyumna Misra told Mahaprabhu, "Seeing Ramananda doing all these things, I had no regard for him, so for some time I saw him busily engaged in that matter, and then I went away."
MASTER OF THE SENSES
Mahaprabhu told him, "Don't underestimate Ramananda Raya. He is the master of his senses. There is not a tinge of craft in him. Even I feel trouble from sense disturbance within Me, but Ramananda has no such trouble. We have no direct experience that a stage can be attained where it is possible to be above mundane sense pleasure, but we have only heard through the scriptures that there is a stage when a man may transcend all these gross attachments.
"This is mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.39):
vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh
"One who hears with firm faith the supramundane amorous affairs of Lord Krishna and the gopis, as described by a pure devotee of the Lord, soon becomes freed from mundane lust and achieves divine love of Krishna.
"One may be engaged bodily in such activities, while his heart is elsewhere. And there is only one who is of that type, Ramananda Raya. There are not big numbers of Ramanandas; there is only one Ramananda, who has acquired such a stage because he is well-versed in the kind of sentiment and realization which is necessary for the service of Krishna and the gopis. His heart is completely dedicated to the cause of Krishna; He has no selfish interest. He is always in Krishna consciousness, and whatever he does is for Krishna's satisfaction, so don't think ill of him. Go there again."
MAD FOR KRISHNA
Then Pradyumna Misra again went to see Ramananda Raya, and Ramananda began their conversation by saying "Oh, on that day I could not oblige you. But again you have come to hear about Krishna. How fortunate I am!" In the morning, Ramananda Raya began to speak, and when the afternoon came, still he was madly talking about Krishna. He completely forgot about eating, bathing, or anything else. He was mad, incessantly speaking of Krishna. Then, when it was late, his servants came twice, thrice, to ask him to take bath and eat his dinner, and finally, he had to leave the talk and go. Then Pradyumna Misra returned to Mahaprabhu and said, "Yes, I have heard from Ramananda Raya, and my heart is full from hearing about Krishna from him."
Mahaprabhu Himself had heard from Ramananda Raya, and He said, "Ramananda knows what is Krishna. What I taught to Rupa and Sanatana, I heard from Ramananda." It is mentioned that Mahaprabhu took diksa, initiation, from Isvara Puri; for preaching purposes he took sannyasa, the renounced order, from Kesava Bharati; and for entrance into the transcendental pastimes of Krishna in Vrndavana, He took raga marga initiation from Ramananda Raya. Of course, Isvara Puri, Kesava Bharati, and Ramananda Raya never thought of themselves as the guru of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. But it was seen that Mahaprabhu treated Ramananda with some respect. It is mentioned in the Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 8.204) that if one wants to enter into the spontaneous devotion of Krishna's pastimes in Vraja, it is required that he take shelter of a confidential maidservant in conjugal mellow, madhurya rasa (sakhi vina ei lilaya anyera nahi gati).They are masters of that situation. The whole storehouse of this madhurya lila is in the hands of those maidservants. Only they can give it to others. In madhurya rasa, the guru is seen in the form and spirit of a sakhi, a maidservant of Radharani (guru rupa sakhi). Ramananda Raya was Visakha-sakhi, the right-hand personal attendant of Srimati Radharani.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gives us a hint of the necessity of approaching a confidential associate of Srimati Radharani when He says to Ramananda:
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
"Why do you shrink away from instructing Me? I am learning so much from you. You are well-versed in the affairs of Krishna, so you are guru; therefore I am hearing from you. Whoever is the master of that store-house of Krishna-lila, and whoever can distribute it—he is guru; of this, there is no doubt."
The famous talks between Ramananda Raya and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took place on the banks of the Godavari river. The name Godavari is significant, for it indicates that place where the highest fulfillment of our spiritual senses was given. The fullest engagement of all our senses was announced there on the banks of the Godavari: "Your senses are not to be rejected. If you can give up the spirit of exploitation and renunciation, then your senses will have their fulfillment with Krishna. Those tendencies bar your approach to Krishna. To properly approach Krishna, you will have to utilize your senses to the fullest extent." That was dealt with on the banks of the Godavari.
THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF LIFE
There, in his famous conversations with Ramananda Raya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began the approach to pure devotional service in a general and comprehensive way. This is recorded in the Madhya-lila of Chaitanya-caritamrta (8.51-313). He asked Ramananda Raya, prabhu kahe, "pada sloka sadhyera nirnaya": "What is the ultimate goal of life? I not only want to hear your statements, but also evidence from the scriptures."
The answer came from Ramananda Raya: raya kahe, "sva-dharmacarane visnu-bhakti haya." "Discharge your own duty, without expecting anything in return." Sva dharma means varnasrama dharma, Vedic social stratification. "You are posted in your present position by your previous karma. According to your present position, you have to discharge your duties on one condition: you must do them without remuneration. If you go on with your duties in varnasrama dharma, without any mundane aim, you can achieve visnu-bhakti, devotion to God. This is confirmed in the Visnu Purana (3.8.9):
"The only way to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, is to worship Him by properly executing one's prescribed duties in the social system of varna and asrama." Here, Ramananda Raya says that visnu-bhakti, adherence to the Lord who is permeating everything, is the object and ultimate destination of our life. This is the Vasudeva conception: everything is in Him, and He is everywhere. Ramananda explained that from our local interests, we must come to embrace the general interest, and that must reach the level of Visnu consciousness: visnu-bhakti. Our submission to Visnu, the internal spirit who is everywhere, is the object of life. We must connect with Him and live accordingly, not a phenomenal life, but a spiritual life pertaining to a deeper, more subtle plane.
DEVOTION MIXED WITH DESIRES
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "This is superficial; go deeper." Of course, it may be thought that actual theistic life begins from here, giving up the special, local purpose, and acting for a universal purpose, as already ordered and programmed in the Vedas and Upanisads. But Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "This is superficial; go deeper."
Then, Ramananda Raya said, krsne karmarpana—sarva-sadhya-sara: "To offer the results of one's activities to Krishna is the essence of all perfection." In varnasrama dharma, it is the fashion that people are generally engaged in external activities and do not care to give up the fruits of their action. Even if they do, they have no direct consciousness of Visnu or Krishna. They worship the goddess Durga, perform the sraddha funeral ceremony and execute so many other religious practices. Indirectly, it is ultimately connected with Visnu. They may or may not know how, but the link is there. That is the general conception of varnasrama, but here, Ramananda says that it will be better to have direct consciousness that Krishna is the authority. All the results of whatever we do within the varnasrama social system must be given to Krishna. If we perform all our physical, social, national and spiritual activities in Krishna consciousness, then we can approach the fulfillment of our goal in life.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said "This is superficial; go deeper." Then Ramananda Raya revealed new light, quoting the Bhagavad-gita (18.66): sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, "Give up all your duties, and just surrender to Me." We must be particular with the object of life, not the external activities of varnasrama. Less importance should be given to the form of our activity; whether I am a king, a brahmana intellectual, or a worker does not matter. We may think, "I have this sort of duty, I have that sort of duty," but that does not matter very much. We must have no attachment for that. The king may leave his kingdom and take to a brahmanical life of renunciation and austerity. A sudra may give up his labor, become a beggar, and chant the name of Krishna. A brahmana may give up his performance of sacrifice and become a mendicant. So, we are to be particular about the aim of life, not the form of our duty. We must exclusively devote ourselves to the cause of the Lord, ignoring our present paraphernalia and duty.
KNOWLEDGE AND DEVOTION
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "This is also superficial; go ahead—deeper." Then, Ramananda Raya explained jnana-misra bhakti, devotional service mixed with knowledge, by quoting from the Bhagavad-gita (18.54) where Krishna says:
One who has come to the stage of identifying himself with spirit above matter has nothing to do with this mundane world. Any loss or gain in this mundane world is of no use to him. He is spirit; his prospect is in the world of soul, and he has nothing to do with this material world, whether it is laudable or blamable. He is already settled in the consciousness that he is soul proper and has nothing to do with matter, so within himself he feels satisfaction. He is atmarama: self-content; he neither mourns, nor aspires for anything. If something is lost, does he mourn? No. He thinks, "This is nothing; it is only matter." And when something is gained, he is not overly cheerful, because it is only matter; it is unnecessary and unimportant. Now true devotional service can begin. His soul can begin living in the spiritual plane, with a pure serving attitude, unmixed with any mundane aspiration. When one attains the spiritual platform, he gets the opportunity to practice a higher type of service.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "This is also superficial. Such a person is only on the verge of devotional service; he has no substantial touch of devotion. He has not entered the domain of bhakti; he is just waiting in the marginal position, at the door. He may attain bhakti, but he has not yet achieved it. His negative forces are finished, but still, he is just at the door; he has not yet entered. He may enter; he may not enter. From there, if he gets anything, it will be pure, but he is still at the door.
BEYOND SPIRIT, "GO DEEPER"
Ramananda Raya then said, jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva: "It is a very difficult thing to cross the charm of knowledge." We think, "I want to understand everything first, and then I shall act." Calculation and an underlying suspicion is there. Before we act, we want to know everything fully; only then will we risk our capital. The ego, the "I" is very strong, and he wants to have an account of his loss and gain. He thinks, "I am the master. The key is in my hand, I want to test everything, I want to know it all. I know what is good for me." So, we think ourselves masters, not servants, and from the position of a master we make our inquiry.
But this calculating mentality must be given up if we at all want to enter into the domain of the Lord, where everything is superior to us. No one there will care to come to us with an explanation, thinking that we are their master. They will not reassure us by saying, "Yes, there will be no loss; your gain will be big." We may think, "I am an independent separate entity, so in my account there must be no loss. I must stand here with my head erect," but that won't do. We are to go there as slaves, not masters. That sort of mentality is necessary: we must bow down our heads, not that with our heads erect we will march over everything. But everything there is superior in quality to us.
So, we have to enter into that transcendental land, where even the earth, water, air, and whatever we will find, is made of higher materials than we ourselves are made of. They are all guru, and we are disciples. They are all masters, and we are servants; we have to enter the land where everything is our master. We will have to submit; that will be our real qualification. What we will be ordered to do, we will have to do. We are not to exercise our brain so much there. The brain has no room there; they are all brainier than we. Our brain is unnecessary there; only our hands are necessary. Menial labor is necessary there. Brain there is enough. We are to enter that land if we like. It is a land of slavery for us. So, we are to hatefully dismiss our brains, and taking only our hearts, we must approach and enter that land.
We should think, "I am as insignificant as a mosquito," just as Lord Brahma did when he went to Dwaraka to visit Lord Krishna. And it is not only for the time being; not that one will accept a humble attitude, finish his work and then come back. No. We will have to accept such an insignificant position eternally. Of course, we may expect to be educated about Krishna consciousness: how it is good, how it is great, how it is useful to us. We will be allowed pariprasna, honest inquiry. In the transcendental realm, everyone is our friend. They will come to help us, to make us understand that devotional service is beautiful, and that Krishna consciousness is the best form of life. Our aspiration and purity of purpose is to be valued, not our external position. The recruiters from that side will consider our purity of purpose, not so much our present position and capacity.
And although apparently it seems that we are going to be slaves, the result is just the opposite. If you can accept such an attitude of surrender and slavery, then He who can never be conquered, will be conquered. Friends will come and help you; the sadhus will come and make you understand that we should become slaves, that Krishna likes His slaves very much. He is the master of slaves, and sometimes He wants to become the slave of His slaves (gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah). This is the key to success, and we can achieve the highest gain through this attitude.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Ramananda Raya, "Yes, this is true. The unconquerable is conquered by surrender. We can capture Him. I accept this as the beginning plane of divine love: by giving we can get as much as we risk. As much as we risk to give ourselves, so much we can demand from that unconquerable infinite." Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "I accept this as the beginning of suddha-bhakti, pure devotional service. But go farther."
THE SCIENCE OF RASA
Ramananda Raya explained that from there pure devotional service develops in a crude form, in a general way. And when it is more mature, it must take the shape of santa, neutrality; dasya, servitorship; sakhya, friendship; vatsalya, paternal affection; and madhurya rasa, conjugal love. In santa rasa, there is adherence, nistha; one thinks, "I cannot withdraw myself from this consciousness of continuous submission to the truth.
Neutrality develops into dasya rasa, the desire to do some service. When a devotee is not satisfied by only sitting, showing loyalty to the Supreme Authority, he wants to be utilized by Him. He awaits the Lord's order, praying that the Lord may give him some engagement. When a devotee has such deep penetration that he wants to be utilized in any way by the Lord, that is known as dasya rasa, or devotion in the mood of service. Then there is sakhya rasa; devotional service in friendship.
GOD THE FRIEND
When, in dasya rasa, confidence is added to service, then it becomes a little superior. Generally old servants who are faithful become confidential servants, so when the confidential stage is added to service, it becomes sakhya rasa, or devotional service as a friend of the Lord. First there is nistha, adherence, submission; then the devotee wants to be utilized for His satisfaction; then there is confidential utilization; and then it comes to friendly service, sakhya rasa. In Vaikuntha, where Lord Narayana is served in calculative devotion, only santa rasa, dasya rasa, and half of sakhya rasa are seen. Full confidence is not possible there. Awe, reverence, splendor, grandeur, pomp, apprehension— all these vanish when we develop a more confidential relationship with the Supreme Lord. At that time, the object of our worship or love changes in another way. Then from Vaikuntha, we feel attraction for Ayodhya, the divine abode of Lord Ramacandra, where there is neutrality, servitorship, and friendship with Vibhisana and Sugriva. There, we can also trace vatsalya rasa, parental love of Godhead.
GOD THE SON
In vatsalya rasa, confidence has developed to the peculiar stage in which the servitors think themselves promoted to the post of protecting the object of their veneration. Filial affection is also service. Although it seems that the parents are masters of the situation, controlling the Lord as their son, sometimes chastising and punishing Him, this is a superficial view. If we can enter into the depth of their service, we shall find an incomparable love of a most peculiar type. On the surface, they are engaged in punishing and rebuking the Lord; underground, they are full of interest for the welfare of the object of their service. Vatsalya, or parental love of Godhead, is a peculiar type of divine love. We see a very light type of vatsalya in Ayodhya, so it is almost ignored.
MATHURA: THE KRISHNA CONCEPTION
Rupa Goswami leaped from Vaikuntha to Mathura in one stride. In his Upadesamrta (9), he writes: vaikunthaj janito vara madhu-puri tatrapi rasotsavad. "Mathura is superior to Vaikuntha because Lord Sri Krishna appeared there." It is there that everything is shown in a clear and substantial way. In Mathura we find the Krishna conception of Godhead. In one stride he has come from Vaikuntha to the Krishna conception, but Sanatana Goswami has filled up the gap. In his book, Brhad-bhagavatamrta, he says that on the way to Mathura there is Ayodhya, the spiritual kingdom of Lord Rama, and there we find sakhya and vatsalya rasa.
But Rupa Goswami goes to Mathura at once. He says, "Come to Mathura; here you will find sakhya and vatsalya rasa clearly visible. He has shown how sakhya rasa service is present there. The devotees there are playing with Krishna, sometimes climbing on His shoulders, and perhaps sometimes even giving Him a slap. But although they may mix with Him in this way, their heart is full of a peculiar type of service attitude. That is the criterion; they may give up their lives a thousand times to take a thorn out of His sole. They can sacrifice themselves a thousand times for the slightest satisfaction of their friend. They consider Him a thousand times more valuable than their own life. In vatsalya rasa also, the criterion is similar. For the slightest interest of the object of their veneration they can give their lives millions of times. Such affection is found there.
And then, from vatsalya, it progresses to conjugal love (madhurya rasa), the all-comprehensive rasa which includes adherence (santa-nistha), service (dasya), friendly confidence (sakhya), and parental love (vatsalya rasa). But the wholesale dedication of every atom of our existence for Krishna's satisfaction is found in madhurya rasa, which includes all other rasas.
And madhurya rasa is more enhanced when it is couched in the form of parakiya, or paramour relationship. In parakiya rasa, the gopis risk everything for the service of Krishna. Parakiya rasa takes two forms: in one, there is no obligation of anything; the union may happen or may not happen. So, because their meeting is very rare, it becomes even sweeter. There is another kind of parakiya rasa: we are told that ordinary food is not palatable to Krishna, but when He takes food by stealing, that is more tasteful to Him. If we can follow this art, that may also be applied in the case of parakiya rasa. "I am deceiving the party, getting what I want. I am stealing the property of someone else." That sort of posing becomes more tasteful to the subjective party.
And the dedicated party risks everything: their good name, society, future, and even the dictation of the religious scriptures. They take a wholesale risk, just as one time, when we were in Madras, the King of Jaipur gave some money for the construction of a temple. The money was sent to our head office in Calcutta. Out of five thousand rupees, the first installment was one thousand rupees, and the construction work was begun by sending a worker from our main center. Then, Madhava Maharaj and I were sent to Madras, where we heard that the king would soon come. In order to show him that some work had been done we raised the construction to some extent, so the king could be told, "Your money has been spent, and now the next installment is necessary." In order to do this, we incurred a debt. We took a loan for bricks and other things and raised the construction to a higher level.
When we wrote this to our guru maharaj, we had some apprehension that he would chastise us, "Why have you taken this loan?" Instead of that, he gave us his appreciation. "You have risked your future in the service of Krishna. You have taken a loan, and that means you have to pay off that loan, so you have engaged your future energy in the service of Krishna. You will have to collect money and pay off the loan, so there is service with risk for the future." The gopis consciously risked their future: "We have disobeyed our superior persons and the directions of the Vedas; what we do is neither approved by society, nor by the religious books. Our future is dark." Still, they could not but serve Krishna.
So, vaikunthaj janito vara madhu-puri tatrapi rasotsavad. Janito means vatsalya rasa, and madhurya rasa in Vrndavana: radha-kundam ihapi gokula-pateh. In the madhurya rasa also, three groups are shown: Vrndavana in general, selected groups in Govardhana, and the highest group in Radha-kunda. All these things have been shown in the conversation between Ramananda Raya and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
RADHA: QUEEN OF THE GOPIS
After this, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Go further." Then, Ramananda Raya began to explain the kind of service rendered by Radharani in madhurya rasa. Her devotional service is categorically higher than that of all the other gopis. Radham adhaya hrdaye tatyaja vraja-sundarih (Gita-govinda 3.1 by Jayadeva Goswami). The whole group of gopis can be canceled for only one: Srimati Radharani. What peculiar type of service may come from Her? And Krishna, the Original Personality of Godhead (svayam-rupa) is only by the side of Radharani. By the side of other gopis, that is prabhava prakasa, a plenary expansion, not svayam-rupa, the original form. Such is the quality of Srimati Radharani. We should show our highest reverence to this highest ideal of devotional service.
RADHA-KRISHNA: UNION IN SEPARATION
Then the last question came from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: "Can you think of anything more than this?" Then, Ramananda Raya said, "You asked me to quote scripture to support whatever I say, but here I won't be able to quote scripture from anywhere. Still, I have a new feeling within me, and if You would like to know that, I can explain it to You." In this way, one song was composed by Ramananda Raya. He introduced this song by saying, "Whether or not it will be pleasing to You, I do not know, but it seems to me that there is a stage which is even better than the meeting of Radha and Govinda." There is a stage where both of Them, the positive and negative are combined, no individual consciousness is clear, and one is searching another in self-forgetfulness. This searching of one party by the other is very strong and intense. This seems to be a more highly elevated love: union in separation. Radha and Govinda are so intense in Their search of one another that even They have no consciousness of whether They have each other. Radharani sometimes experiences that even while Krishna is present before Her, She fears losing Him; that feeling becomes as intense as if She has lost Him. They are together, but the apprehension that one may lose the other makes their meeting intolerably painful, just as a mother is always alert about the safety of her son (anista-sankini bandhu-hrdayani bhavanti hi). A mother thinks, "Oh, my son is out—is he in an accident?" This fear of separation is the symptom of deep love.
SRI CHAITANYA AVATARA
Ramananda Raya's composition gave a hint about the divine appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in which both Radha and Govinda are combined, and it is as if they are unconscious of Their separate existence. One is searching the other. Krishna Himself is overflowing with the feelings of Radharani, and They are so deeply embraced that one is lost in the other. Then, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu put His palm over the mouth of Ramananda Raya, and told him, "No further." Rasa-raja mahabhava—dui eka rupa. Lord Sri Krishna is the fountainhead of all pleasure, and Srimati Radharani is the embodiment of ecstatic love of Godhead. These two forms are united as one in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
RASA RAJA: ECSTASY HIMSELF
Mahaprabhu replied, "Oh, because you are a cent-per-cent devotee, wherever you cast your glance you see only Krishna, nothing else. The object of your interest is represented everywhere." Ramananda Raya said, "My Lord, don't deceive me in this way. You have come here so graciously to purify this mean person, and if You act diplomatically now, it will not look well for You. I won't hear what You say; come out with Your real position. Who are You?" Mahaprabhu said, "By dint of your loving devotion, you can know everything in this world; nothing can be concealed from your loving eye." Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena.
Then, Mahaprabhu revealed Himself: "When you see Me to be externally of a golden color, it is not so. It is by the touch of the color of Radharani. And who can Radharani touch and closely embrace? She will never touch anyone except Krishna. So, now you know who I am: Rasaraja—ecstasy Himself, and Mahabhava—the one who can taste that highest rasa. See how They mingle together!
Ramananda Raya fainted and fell flat on the floor. He could not keep his senses. Then by the touch of His hand, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu again brought him to his senses. Ramananda returned to his previous stage of consciousness and saw a sannyasi sitting before him. After a short pause, Mahaprabhu said, "Remain here, I am going."
Afterwards, Ramananda Raya and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had some other talks, and Mahaprabhu said, "Ramananda, as long as I live I want your company." Ramananda replied, "Yes, I must take shelter of Your divine feet and live there for the rest of my life." Ramananda later made arrangements with the King of Orissa to retire from his post as Governor of Madras and came to Jagannath Puri. For almost two years, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wandered about the holy places of Southern and Western India and at last returned to Puri. There they again met.
After this, Mahaprabhu went to Vrndavana through Bengal. Six years passed, and Advaita Prabhu almost gave leave to Mahaprabhu, saying, "Our pastimes of introducing the chanting of Hare Krishna are finished." Then Mahaprabhu continuously showed Radharani's mood of tasting krishna-prema, ecstatic love of Krishna, for twelve years. Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, who are Lalita and Visakha, the two principle gopi assistants of Radharani, were Mahaprabhu's most important company during that time. There, so many things about the deep feelings of Divine love have been shown. It has never been found in the history of the world, or even expressed in any scripture how such intense love within can produce such corresponding symptoms on the surface. That was shown by Radharani and later shown by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
It was shown by Mahaprabhu in His practices also, how krishna prema, love of Krishna, can play a man like a doll. Sometimes His legs and hands would enter inconceivably into His body, and sometimes His joints would disconnect and His transcendental body would appear elongated. Sometimes His whole body would become white, and He would lay unconscious, breathing so slowly that His breath could not be traced. In this way, He exhibited many amazing symptoms of ecstasy.
Svarupa Damodara, the personal secretary of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has explained the meaning of His appearance in his memoirs, which were recorded in the Chaitanya-caritamrta of Kaviraj Goswami. He writes:
radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini saktir asmad
Sometimes Radha and Krishna are combined; sometimes They are separate. They are separate in Dvapara-yuga, and in Kali-yuga they are combined as Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Both are eternal expressions of the same Absolute Truth. Summer, autumn, winter, and spring continue in a cyclic order; it cannot be said that summer is the beginning and winter comes later. So, the pastimes of Sri Radha and Krishna are eternally being enacted. In ancient times, sometimes Radha and Krishna divided Themselves and showed Their pastimes; again both of Them, the potency and the owner of the potency, are combined and closely embraced as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The predominating and the predominated moiety are mixed, and an extraordinary ecstatic feeling is there. Krishna is overpowered by His potency, and He Himself is searching after His own Self: krsnasya atmanusandhana. Krishna Himself is engaged in the search for Sri Krishna, Reality the Beautiful. The influence of Radharani over Krishna has transformed Him into a devotee, and He is searching Himself. Sweetness is tasting Itself and becoming mad. And it is living sweetness—not dead or static, but dynamic ecstasy, sweetness endowed with life. And He is tasting Himself, the personification of happiness, ecstasy, and beauty—and dancing in madness. And His performance of kirtan means distributing that ecstasy to others. The ultimate sweetness, or ananda, is such that no other thing exists that can taste itself and express its own happiness with such intensity. I have described Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the Prema Dhama Deva Stotram:
"The highest conception of the Absolute Truth must also be the highest form of ananda, ecstasy. Mahaprabhu's dancing indicates that He is full of ecstasy, and His kirtan is distribution of that rasa. So, if we scientifically search out who Mahaprabhu is, we cannot but find that He is the Ultimate Reality. He is mad in tasting His own internal nectar, and His dancing is the outcome of His transcendental ecstasy. And He is chanting, distributing that to others. So, studying quite closely the character of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we cannot but think that He is the Supreme Absolute Truth, in its fullest, and most dynamic expression."
|HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE | HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE|
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