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In Praise of Sri Sri Prema-vivarta

Compiled from the talks of

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj


Srila Jagadananda Pandit collected his notes on Sriman Mahaprabhu's Pastimes and teachings, and presented them in the form of a book named Prema-vivarta. This book was published by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and is full of Gaudiya siddhanta.

Student: Some people say Prema-vivarta was written by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, not Jagadananda Pandit.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: If we can understand that Srimad Bhagavatam is the highest development of theism and the teachings of Sri Chaitanyadev are the highest, full-fledged form of that theism, then anything that correlates with them has value and cannot but be true. Some claim that Sri Brahma-samhita was written by Sri Chaitanyadev. Srila Jiva Goswami has shown that there really was a Brahma-samhita with one hundred chapters and that the Brahma-samhita given by Sri Chaitanyadev is one chapter from that book. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, however, also wrote, "We do not find any book by Sri Chaitanyadev Himself anywhere. If Brahma-samhita comes from Him, then we are very proud and satisfied that He has left us at least one book." We may see Prema-vivarta in this way.

There are many things mentioned in Prema-vivarta that greatly help the Gaudiya Math's propaganda. A particular opposition camp of the Gaudiya Math says that Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has written Prema-vivarta in the name of Jagadananda Pandit because the book supports the Gaudiya Math's position very well. For example, a section of sahajiyas say that there is no Ekadasi in Puri. They say that when Mahaprabhu lived in Puri, He did not follow Ekadasi because in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita He is always found to be taking mahaprasad. They say that in Puri even on Ekadasi we should not fast because there is always mahaprasad present, and there mahaprasad cannot be refused. It is, however, clearly stated in Jagadananda Pandit's Prema-vivarta that when Mahaprabhu was offered mahaprasad on Ekadasi, He touched it to His head, kept it respectfully nearby, performed kirtan the whole day and night, and then took the prasad the next morning. Many similar points that are very helpful for the preaching of the Gaudiya Math are found in Prema-vivarta.

Student: Was Jagadananda Pandit in the mood of Satyabhama or was he an incarnation of Satyabhama?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: He was an incarnation of Satyabhama. Satyabhama's mood is known as vamya-bhava, opposition. She is very sentimental. She apparently opposes the Lord and behaves insistently. Ostentatiously, she opposes the Lord, but from the heart she has no opposition to Him, only loving emotions. Jagadananda Pandit sometimes played with the Lord in a way that might seem sinful. He was full of sentiments, but he has the highest qualification of having the greatest attraction to Mahaprabhu.

Once, Jagadananda Pandit asked Mahaprabhu for permission to go to Vrindavan. Mahaprabhu granted him permission but gave him instructions to follow while he was there.

mathura gele sanatana-sangei rahiba
mathurara svami sabera charana vandiba
dure rahi' bhakti kariha sange na rahiba
tan-sabara achara-chesta la-ite nariba
sanatana-sange kariha vana darasana
sanatanera sanga na chhadiba eka-ksana
sighra asiha, tahan na rahiha chira-kala
govardhane na chadiha dekhite 'gopala'

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Antya-lila, 13.36–39)

"You may go to Vrindavan, but do not remain there for a long time and do not climb on top of Govardhan to see Madhavendra Puri's Gopal. Offer respect to the Vraja-vasis, but do not imitate their practices. And as long as you are there, stay under the guidance of Sanatan."

Student: Why did the Lord tell Jagadananda Pandit not to come too close to the Vraja-vasis?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Although the Lord was advising Jagadananda, these instructions are really for us. They are to warn us that the Vraja-vasis may not be scrupulous about following physical practices, and that we should not imitate their external behaviour. Also, in Vraja at that time, everyone was not a follower of Chaitanyadev. They were followers of Nimbarka Acharya, Visnu Swami, and others. Furthermore, it was a period of Mohammedan rule. Under those circumstances, Mahaprabhu did not want Jagadananda's sentiments to be publicly exposed in Vraja Mandal. Sanatan Goswami was the most sober and respected follower of Mahaprabhu there, and he could deal with things in the locality well. Jagadananda was very intolerant of anyone who did not follow Mahaprabhu. He had many eccentricities, and he could create havoc. Mahaprabhu thought, "He quarrels even with Me here. He won't care for anyone there. For his own interest, he may create quarrel there. So, he should always be under the guidance of Sanatan. Sanatan is a sober man and knows how to deal with the people in that place. He is My trusted leader there. Jagadananda must remain under his guidance and should not mix closely with the Vraja-vasis. Because of his intolerance, he may quarrel with them." Mahaprabhu knew Jagadananda was very sentimental, and He did not want that Jagadananda would go there and freely display intense sentiments for Him. Still, Jagadananda did so.

One day, while Jagadananda Pandit was cooking, Sanatan Goswami came to visit him just as he was placing a cooking pot on the oven. Sanatan Goswami was wearing a turban made of red cloth. Jagadananda Prabhu was delighted to see the red cloth and said, "That must be Mahaprabhu's cloth! Did He give it to you?"

Sanatan Goswami replied, "No, no. I received this cloth from another sannyasi, Mukunda Saraswati, who stays in this area."

Jagadananda said, "Oh! Is it? You are the leading follower of Mahaprabhu but you wear on your head the cloth of another sannyasi!"

Jagadananda rushed toward Sanatan to strike Sanatan with the cooking pot in his hand. "Who can tolerate this?" he exclaimed.

"Yes, Panditji!" Sanatan Goswami joined his palms, "I have now found the jewel I have been searching for. I wanted to see your exclusive love for Mahaprabhu, and today, by Mahaprabhu's grace, I have seen it. I wore this turban only with the hope that I would see your exclusive devotion to Mahaprabhu and the extreme intolerance produced by your love. Seeing the intensity of your love for Mahaprabhu, my life is fulfilled. I am very fortunate."

Jagadananda was nonplussed by Sanatan's words and felt that his excitement was quite abrupt and awkward. He felt shy and fell silent. Then he said, "No, no, no. I am mistaken. But who can tolerate this? You are one of the main followers of Mahaprabhu, but you have such respect for another sannyasi, a mayavadi, that you wear his cloth on your head as a turban? I cannot tolerate this, but please forgive me for coming to strike you."

On another occasion, when Sanatan Goswami came to Puri, he asked for Jagadananda's advice as to whether he should remain there with Mahaprabhu or return to Vrindavan. Jagadananda advised him to return to Vrindavan, and later Sriman Mahaprabhu heard that Jagadananda had given this advice to Sanatan Goswami, who was his senior. Mahaprabhu chastised Jagadananda and then praised Sanatan Goswami, but Sanatan Goswami replied to Mahaprabhu, "Oh! This is my misfortune. You are feeding me so much bitterness coated with praise. Jagadananda's fortune is higher. You blame him and punish him with ill words—that means that You think of him as Your own, but You keep me at a respectful distance. This shows his good fortune and my bad fortune. It is my bad fate that You praise me and keep me at a respectful distance. That You punish Jagadananda shows that You favour him, and that he is Your own. You are actually treating him most affectionately."

Through Sanatan's glorification, we can understand the exalted position of Jagadananda Pandit and his intimate relationship with Mahaprabhu.

In another instance, Jagadananda Pandit carried a large clay pot full of sandalwood oil from Bengal to Puri, a distance of more than three hundred miles. He came to Govinda, Mahaprabhu's personal servant, and modestly offered it: "With great trouble, I have carried this pot full of sandalwood oil here for Mahaprabhu. May the Lord graciously accept it. Please keep it here. You can massage Mahaprabhu's head with this oil; it has a cooling effect. Sometimes the Lord cannot sleep, and sometimes He speaks deliriously. This oil will help Him greatly at those times. I have taken the oil from Sivananda Sen, and it is pure. Please keep it here and use it for the Lord."

Mahaprabhu overheard Jagadananda saying this to Govinda. "What is this?" He asked.

"Jagadananda Pandit has brought a full pot of sandalwood oil for You, and his request is that You smear it on Your head now and then so that You will sleep soundly and remain in good health", said Govinda.

"No, no, no. Sandalwood oil is very fragrant. What will people say about Me? I am a sannyasi. If I smear this oil on My head and go to see Jagannath, the public will smell it and say, 'Such luxury for a sannyasi? Does He also keep a woman with Him?' I cannot use this oil at all. I will get a bad name."

Mahaprabhu turned to Jagadananda, "Would that please you? I advise you to take the oil to the Temple of Jagannath. There it can be burned in the lamps, and Jagannath will enjoy its scent. In that way, your labour of carrying the oil here will be successful. You will be greatly benefitted by offering the oil in that way."

"Remove the oil from My room", Mahaprabhu said to Govinda.

Hearing this, Jagadananda took the pot of oil from Govinda, came in front of Mahaprabhu, and smashed it on the floor. The oil spilled everywhere, and Jagadananda ran straight to his room. He locked the door from the inside and did not come out for three days. When Mahaprabhu heard that Jagadananda had been fasting for three days, He could not contain Himself, and He personally went to Jagadananda's door. "O Jagadananda! What is the matter? Arise and open the door. Today, I shall take prasadam prepared by your hands. I will not take prasadam from anyone else. I am going now, and at noon time I will return to take lunch here, prepared by you."

Jagadananda thought, "Oh! Mahaprabhu will accept my cooking today!" He got out of bed and began to cook. Mahaprabhu came with Govinda to take prasadam, and He remarked, "Oh! All the dishes are very, very sweet today. Perhaps your cooking with a hot temper has made them extra sweet."

After eating, Mahaprabhu stood and said, "Now you eat. Before I leave, I want to see you eat."

Jagadananda replied, "Oh no, no, no. My Lord, You go and take rest. I shall take later. Certainly I will eat."

Mahaprabhu said, "Govinda, you remain here. Once Jagadananda has eaten, come and inform Me." Finally, Jagadananda took prasadam.

Jagadananda Pandit has a very sentimental character like that of Satyabhama. He cannot give up his tendency of being reactionary towards Mahaprabhu. He is abhimanyu, very sensitive about subtle things, and known for his prema-vivarta, the peculiar characteristics of the reactions produced by his divine love. They are of a peculiar type and are described in the science of divine love. Like Satyabhama, he has vamya-bhava, which is the nature of the highest class of heroines (nayikas). They instantly refuse whatever is offered to them by their lover (nayaka). In the science of love, we are told that this nature is the most valuable: it increases the lover's earnestness.

Radharani's nature is also of that type: always in opposition (nirantara vamya). This spirit of opposition is a peculiar thing, and the experts in rasa say that it is the highest mood because it enhances the intensity of the other side. This mood is found in Jagadananda and Satyabhama.

After Krishna went to Mathura, His Vrindavan-lila continued underground, that is, outside of ordinary vision. During that time, parts (amsas) of the gopis went to Dvaraka. Satyabhama appeared from a portion of Radharani's lustre and Rukmini from Chandravali's. Chandravali is more judicious, Radharani more sentimental. Sentiment has the upper hand in Vrindavan: it is above judiciousness in matters of love. In Dvaraka, however, judiciousness gets the upper hand, and sentimentalism goes into the lower position. So, Satyabhama—Radharani's connection, or shadow—is considered of lower value there, and the judiciousness and cleverness of Chandravali—Rukmini—comes into the first rank. The mood that has its highest glory in Vrindavan cannot play fully in Dvaraka. It goes into a secondary position there. These are the peculiarities in the lila.

yatha yatha gaura-padaravinde
vindeta bhaktim krta-punya-rasih
tatha tathotsarpati hrdy akasmad

(Sri Chaitanya-chandramrta: 88)

As much as one engages in the service of Gaura-lila, automatically one finds oneself within the inner development of the service of Sri Radhika in Vraja-lila. One's service begins here and reaches there. Automatically, spontaneously, one will be led there to the service of the highest value and quality. So, begin properly with Gaura-lila, begin with Nityananda and Gaura-Gadadhar, and then find yourself in the midst of Vrindavan-lila. Unknowingly, you will find, "I have attained a good position in Vrindavan-lila."


⇐ Introduction

Invocation of Auspiciousness ⇒



Translator's Note
In Praise of Sri Sri Prema-vivarta
Sri Sri Prema-vivarta:
1 Invocation of Auspiciousness
2 The Composition of this Book
3 First Obeisances
4 Gaura's Greatness
5 Transformations of Ecstasy in Service
6 The Journey of the Soul
7 The Name is for Everyone
8 Give up Deceit
9 Proper Renunciation
10 Caste and Class
11 The Light of Nabadwip
12 Glories of the Vaisnavas
13 Eagerness to see Sri Gaura
14 Contradictory Transformations
15 Morning Pastimes in Nabadwip
16 What is Love?
17 Different Practices for Different Devotees
18 Sri Ekadasi
19 A Collection of Hidden Truths about the Name
20 The Glories of the Name
+ The Ten Offences to the Holy Name
+ Glossary