SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Adi Lila Chapter 13
All glories to Lord Gauracandra, the brightest lamp in the brahmana race. All glories to the Lord who inspires the deepest feelings of ecstasy in the hearts of all His devotees. All glories to the Lord and master of Govinda dasa, the door keeper. Please shower Your merciful glances on the conditional living entities. All glories to the emperor of the brahmanas and the crest-jewel among all teachers. All glories to the society of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's devotees.
The Lord of Vaikuntha, Nimai was immersed in the mellow of an insolent and arrogant scholar. Navadvipa town itself in those days was an institution, housing many scholars and teachers well-versed in all branches of the scriptures. Titles like Bhattacarya, Cakravarty, Misra or Acarya were common and the only work for these scholars was teaching. Their sport was debate and in their intolerant and impatient ways they did whatever was required to win an argument. Even if a well-respected superior scholar made valuable points, others would disagree with him.
Lord Nimai's habit was to constantly rebuke the other scholars and refute their arguments right in front of them. There was no teacher in Navadvipa who could confront the Lord's arguments and offer a second opinion. As soon as they saw the Lord, such fear gripped their hearts that they immediately exhibited servile compliance. Whoever spoke with the Lord even by chance became His dedicated servant.
From His early childhood, the Lord's erudition and intellect were known to everyone. Within their hearts they also knew that Lord Nimai could never be defeated by anyone. The mere sight of the Lord created a feeling of awe and respect amongst the scholars, so they naturally became submissive in His presence. Yet His illusionary energy prevented anyone from knowing Him in truth. Only when the Lord revealed Himself of His own volition could anyone understand His real identity. Although the Supreme Lord is most munificent in every respect, it is entirely by His personal desire that one is able to perceive His confidential, transcendental pastimes. In Navadvipa Lord Gauracandra performed His transcendental pastimes in the mood of a scholar, deluding everyone about His true identity.
Once a very learned but supercilious scholar holding the title Digvijaya - meaning one who has conquered scholars in all directions - came to Navadvipa. He was a dedicated devotee of the Goddess of Learning, Sarasvati, and he captivated her by chanting her propitiatory mantra. Mother Sarasvati is actually the Universal Mother; she is non-different from Laksmi-Devi, the eternal consort of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayana. Laksmi Devi is the embodiment of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord. She is the internal potency of the Lord, and She is always situated on His chest.
By the brahmana's desire and fortune he received a benediction from her to become a Digvijaya scholar. For her to give such a boon was quite easy, for she is capable of benedicting anyone with even the rare gift of transcendental devotional service to the Supreme Lord Narayana. Having received this benediction directly from Goddess Sarasvati, the brahmana proceeded to travel throughout the country, conquering scholars wherever he went. All the scriptures were on the tip of his tongue. No one in this world could challenge him. Many could not even follow his introduction to the main dissertations, thus he went unchecked and unchallenged everywhere.
When Navadvipa's fame as a center for great scholars reached his ears, he went there with great pomp, leading a procession of elephants, horses and men. News spread like wildfire to every house of Navadvipa, creating waves of confusion. After conquering the scholars of every land, the Digvijaya had at last come to Navadvipa. The teachers of Navadvipa were further alarmed when they heard that he was a direct recipient of a boon from Goddess Sarasvati.
In those days Navadvipa was the most famous center of learning in the entire world. If the Digvijaya were to defeat its scholars, Navadvipa's glory would be minimized and the world would hear of its failure. Yet no one had the courage to challenge him for he was the recipient of Mother Sarasvati's special benediction. It was said that Mother Sarasvati herself appeared on his tongue whenever he spoke. How could a mere human defeat him? The hundreds of Bhattacarya scholars residing in Navadvipa were distraught with anxiety and abandoned all activities. Navadvipa bustled with excitement as time for the trial of intellectual strength drew near.
All this was described in detail to Sri Gauranga by His students. "After conquering all other parts of the world, a Digviraja Pandita has come to Navadvipa to challenge our scholars in debate. It is said that he has received the special favor of Goddess Sarasvati, and he has entered Navadvipa in a great procession of horses, elephants, palanquins and men. He says that if there are no challengers amongst the Navadvipa scholars, he wants a letter of victory issued on his behalf."
Lord Gauracandra heard His students and then with a smile reminded them about the nature of the Absolute. "Listen brothers, and I will tell you the actual situation. The Supreme Lord does not tolerate anyone who indulges in continual insolence. Whenever He finds someone burdened by arrogance over some personal quality, He invariably removes the cause of their pride. A fruit-laden tree and a person endowed with good qualities will inevitably bend down in humility. You must have heard of other great conquerors like Hoi Hoi, Nahusam, Benah, Banah, Narakah Ravana, etc. Did the Supreme Lord neglect to prune their overbearing pride? He never tolerates such disgraceful insolence.
"Here in Navadvipa you will witness the end of this supercilious scholar."
The Lord amused Himself with His students in this way. In the evening He went to the bank of the river Ganga, sprinkled some Ganga water on His head, offered His obeisances and then sat in the midst of His students. The Lord lectured on various subjects such as religion and its different scriptural explanations. No one, however, understood that the Lord was simultaneously thinking of the manner in which He could defeat the Digvijaya Pandita.
"This brahmana has become extremely arrogant, and he thinks that there is no one in this world who can defeat him," thought the Lord. "If I humble him in front of everyone it will be like a shameful death for him. People will dishonor him, he will lose everything, and eventually he will die from humiliation. Therefore I must confront him secretly in a solitary place but yet insure his downfall. In that way I can eclipse his vanity without destroying him."
While the Supreme Lord was thinking in that manner the Digvijaya arrived at the Ganga. As dusk faded into night, the river Ganga looked radiant beneath the full moon in the soft clear sky. The Supreme Lord was effulgent in the midst of His students and His exquisite beauty captivated the entire creation.
A sweet smile decorated the glowing moon-like face of the Lord, and His two beautiful eyes showered transcendentally merciful glances. Pearls were lack-luster in comparison with His teeth and His radiant lips were easily mistaken for the rising sun. With His soft and delicate body, He was the personification of compassion. His perfect head was covered with raven black curls; His graceful lion-like neck rested perfectly on His beautiful broad shoulders. He was dressed in divinely exquisite clothes, His perfectly proportioned body was large, and His heart was ruled by His munificent nature. The brahmana's thread hanging loosely across His shoulders was the bow of Ananta Sesa. His long arms extended gracefully to His knees and the Urdhapurna tilaka decorating His wide forehead enraptured the hearts of everyone.
With His dhoti tied elegantly at His waist, Sri Gauranga sat in the cross-legged posture of a yogi, establishing and refuting various arguments in His usual manner of discourse. Many students had gathered around Mahaprabhu that evening, and the Digvijaya Pandita was astonished to see the wonderful assembly.
"Is this Nimai Pandita?" he thought.
Unseen by anyone he stood spellbound by the Lord's extraordinary beauty.
"Who is this person?" he enquired from one of the students.
"This is the famous Nimai Pandita." replied the student.
After offering his obeisances to the Ganga, the Digvijaya moved a little closer to the Lord. Noticing him, Nimai smiled and affectionately offered him a seat. Having already conquered all the scholars in the land, the Digvijaya Pandita was naturally fearless, yet in the presence of the Lord he was filled with awe. By the design of the omnipotent Supreme Lord, whoever approaches Him in a challenging mood will feel both awe and fear.
The Lord exchanged a few words with the Pandita and asked him a few questions. "You are an extremely versatile poet," said the Lord. "There is no subject which you cannot perfectly describe. Therefore, please elucidate the wonderful glories of the holy Ganga so that whoever hears it will be freed from sin.
At that very instant, the Digvijaya Pandita began to extemporarily compose and recite unparalleled verses in praise of the holy river. Who can imagine the countless ways in which he described Mother Ganga? Verses swiftly passed his lips and his voice resounded like a continuous roll of thunder. It certainly seemed that Mother Sarasvati herself had appeared on the tip of his tongue. Whatever he uttered was precisely appropriate. Was it humanly possible to find a mistake in his eloquent composition? There seemed to be no one present who could even understand it.
Nimai's hundreds of students who had assembled there stared at the Pundit with mouths agape. "O Lord Rama," they said. "How wonderful! Is it possible for a human to compose such eloquent poetry?" His composition was profusely ornamented with the most exceptional figures of speech applied to the most appropriate topics. His word usage perplexed even the scholars who were present. For nearly an hour the Digvijaya composed and recited his unparalleled verses; there seemed to be no end to his brilliant oration.
When at last he finished, the Lord smiled sweetly and said, "Your poetry was so exceptional that no one can understand the meaning unless you yourself explain it. The verses you have composed are certainly appropriate for glorification of the Ganga, but we entreat you to analyze them for us."
The Lord's sweet words affected him like an intoxicating beverage, and he began to explain his verses. But as soon as he started to speak, the Lord interrupted him to point out three mistakes - one in the beginning, one in the middle and one towards the end of the Pundit's composition.
The Lord said, "According to grammar, the figures of speech you have used show numerous imperfections. Please tell us in what context you have used them."
The Digvijaya Pandita, foremost of the favorite sons of Mother Sarasvati, lost his intelligence. He tried but failed to offer proper explanations for the mistakes Nimai pointed out. His feeble and confused attempts to defend his composition brought further criticism from the Lord who then elucidated the flaws in the explanations as well as the verses. The Pundit's unparalleled talent seemed to vanish, and the situation grew incomprehensible to him. He could not even understand his own identity.
Lord Nimai then said, "Leave this poem aside for now and compose another one." But alas, the great world-conquering Pundit was unable to compose a single verse. He sat before the Lord in a state of total bewilderment.
Of course, even the Vedas personified have become perplexed in the presence of the Lord. Powerful personalities like Ananta Sesa, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva - who could each create a universe by their mere glance - have also been deluded by the Lord's presence. The bewilderment of the Digvijaya Pandita in front of Nimai was not surprising because even Mother Laksmi, Mother Sarasvati and other internal potencies of the Lord which can delude the entire creation, become themselves deluded by the Supreme Lord and thus remain forever in an inferior position. The reciter of the Vedas, Lord Sesa, and the compiler of the Vedas, Sri Veda Vyasa, are even bewildered in the presence of the Lord, what to speak of a mere Digvijaya Pandita.
It is impossible for any human to match the accomplishments of the Lord. Therefore, I say all of His activities are extraordinary. Whatever the Supreme Lord does is always for the ultimate benefit of the suffering living entities, to release them from material bondage.
While the Digvijaya Pandita was struggling to swallow his ignominious defeat, the students began laughing and giggling excitedly. The Lord immediately stopped them, and spoke soft soothing words to the Pandita, "Today let us stop here. Please return to your home and tomorrow we can continue our discussion. You must be tired after composing such a lengthy recitation. It is also very late now; soon it will be time to sleep."
The Lord's behavior was so gentle and compassionate that even a defeated person did not suffer humiliation. Although the Lord was victorious, He nevertheless spoke words of concern for the scholars and teachers of Navadvipa. Again to the Digvijaya Pandita He said, "Please go home now and study your books. Tomorrow I will ask you questions and you must try to answer them." The Lord was so merciful that despite His victory, He did not dishonor the great scholar. Hence, everyone felt pleased. The scholars and teachers of Navadvipa were very affectionate towards the Lord because of His sweet disposition.
The Lord and His students left the assembly to go home, but the Digvijaya sat alone in utter shame and dejection. He thought to himself, "Mother Sarasvati herself has given me this boon. I have not come across anyone in the whole world who would dare confront me in a debate. Neither the expert scholars in the six philosophical branches like logic, sankhya, patanjali, virmansa, etc., nor the scholars of sastra would contest my authority. How is it that the Lord has allowed this insignificant teacher of children to defeat me in this manner. Seeing the power of Mother Sarasvati undermined in this way causes me equal consternation. How have I offended the Goddess that all my talent and knowledge were disparaged in this humiliating defeat? I must try to determine the cause of this situation." With that, he chanted his mantras and then lay down to sleep.
In his dream, Mother Sarasvati looked compassionately upon the brahmana and spoke confidentially to him: "O learned brahmana, listen to me. I will now reveal to you that knowledge which is undisclosed even in the Vedas. If for any reason you reveal this secret to anyone, you will immediately forfeit your body. The person who defeated you today is actually the Supreme Lord of the entire cosmic manifestation. I am an eternal servant at His lotus feet, and out of shyness I hesitate to stand before Him.
"In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is mentioned, 'Being ashamed of her position, the illusory energy of the Lord cannot take precedence, but those who are bewildered by her, continually talk nonsense being absorbed in thoughts of 'It is I' and 'It is mine'. Because of the Lord's presence, it was impossible for me to appear on the tip of your tongue as I have done in the past. I lost my potency, but that is not my fault. How could it be otherwise? Even Lord Ananta Sesa who describes the Vedas with His thousands of mouths, Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and all the other demigods worship Him and are totally bewildered in His presence, what to speak of me? He is the Supreme Absolute Truth, eternal, pure, indivisible and infallible. He is the omnipotent Supreme Lord residing in everyone's heart as the Supersoul. The person who appeared before you as a young brahmana boy is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate cause of destruction of the entire cosmic manifestation.
"He is the cause of the dualities of fruitive action, knowledge, learning, good and bad, manifest and unmanifest - everything.
"It is by His desire that all living entities (from Lord Brahma on down) experience happiness and distress. He is the Supreme source of all incarnations like Matsya, Kurma and others. It is He who appeared as Lord Varaha to lift the world and again as Nrsimhadeva to protect His devotee, Prahlada. He appeared again as Lord Vamana to trick Bali Maharaja and thus His lotus feet became the source of Mother Ganga.
"He appeared in Ayodhya as Lord Ramacandra and performed many wonderful pastimes, ultimately killing the demon Ravana. He who is known as the son of Sri Vasudeva and Sri Nanda Maharaja has now appeared as a young brahmana boy immersed in the mellows of a scholar.
"Where in the Vedas is this incarnation of the Supreme Lord revealed? Who will know about it if the Lord Himself does not reveal His true identity? To become the greatest of all the scholars of the world is not the real result of chanting the mantra I gave you. You have received the factual result: you were able to see in person the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord of the entire cosmic creation.
"O brahmana, go quickly to Him and take shelter of His lotus feet. Surrender yourself completely to Him. Do not imagine my advice to be a dream or hallucination. The power behind the mantra you chant has brought me here and forced me to reveal the most esoteric knowledge of the Vedas."
Mother Sarasvati disappeared after consoling the Pandita. He awoke from his sleep feeling purified and fortunate. Early dawn had just touched the eastern sky when he left for the Lord's house. He threw himself at the feet of Nimai Pandita to offer his obeisances and the Lord reciprocated by lifting him up and embracing him.
"Why, it is you!" said the Lord. "Why are you behaving in this manner?"
"So that I may attract Your kind grace," replied the Pandita.
"But you are a famous and erudite Digvijaya scholar. Why do you approach Me like this?" questioned the Lord.
"O Lord of the learned brahmanas, please hear me out. The highest perfection in all activities is achieved simply by worshiping You. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayana. You have appeared as a brahmana in this age of Kali, but no one has the potency to perceive Your real identity? Doubt entered my heart the very moment You asked me questions and then remained silent. Now I have personal realization that You are magnanimous and free from any pride, and my realizations are in keeping with the verdict of all Vedic scriptures.
"You defeated me three times, yet You kept my honor intact. Is such behavior possible for anyone other than the Supreme Lord? I am convinced that You are that Supreme Personality of Godhead.
"I have traveled far and wide - Bengal, Trihatta, Kasi, Gujarat, Vijaya Nagara, Anga, Banga, Tailanga, Udra and many other places. The most qualified scholars in each place were defeated by me. They could not even understand my discourses, let alone find fault with them. But in Your presence all my education and intellect seemed to flee - I know not where. I now realize that this was not an extraordinary feat for You, because You are the Lord and master of Mother Sarasvati. She personally revealed this to me.
"I was wallowing in material existence, but because of my immeasurably good fortune I came to Navadvipa and met You face to face. I was captivated and deluded by the desire for material knowledge, and in self-deception I roamed about neglecting real Absolute knowledge. Destiny has favored me and thus I have met You personally. O Lord, kindly purify me by Your benevolent glance and destroy my nescience. You have a magnanimous nature and You are inclined to favor others, so there is no one but You from whom I can seek shelter. O Lord, please instruct me so that I shall never again allow unholy desires to enter my heart."
As a meek and insignificant man, the Digvijaya Pandita spoke with repentance before the Lord. Sri Gaurasundara replied, "O learned brahmana, you are very fortunate because Mother Sarasvati resides on the tip of your tongue. But conquering the world with mundane knowledge is not a suitable objective for one with true wisdom. Knowledge becomes valuable only when it augments the worship of the Supreme Lord. Try to carefully understand. When death strikes and the soul is forced from the body, no one can take their material knowledge or opulence. The learned and self-realized souls completely reject this transient phenomenal existence, and engage with unalloyed faith in the Lord's devotional service.
"Now O brahmana, leave aside all extraneous engagements and utilize your time worshiping the lotus feet of Sri Krsna for the remainder of your life. Remember that the fruit of true knowledge is tasted when the heart and mind are unflinchingly attached to the lotus feet of Lord Krsna. Of all activities, devotional service to the Supreme Lord Vishnu, is the only manifestation of absolute truth. This is the advice I offer you."
Lord Gaurasundara embraced the Pandita, and at once the shackles of material existence fell away from the Digvijaya. The Lord said, "O Brahmana, curb your arrogance and insolence; worship Krsna and be kind to all living entities. Be careful that you do not reveal anything Mother Sarasvati has told you. Revealing the confidential knowledge of the Vedas to unauthorized persons reduces the life-span and deviates one from the spiritual path."
Having received the Lord's instructions, Digvijaya Pandita begged permission to leave. He repeatedly offered his prostrated obeisances at the feet of the Lord and uttered prayers, feeling fortunate and purified. By the Lord's mercy, the brahmana was immediately blessed with detachment from material affairs, perception of Absolute Truth, and devotion to the Supreme Lord. Within moments, the brahmana's arrogance and vanity diminished and he grew as humble and meek as a blade of grass. He renounced everything - his elephants, horses, palanquins, money and the undesirable associates he had previously kept. Lord Gauracandra's mercy had such a miraculous effect that the brahmana Digvijaya abandoned everything and traveled alone.
That mercy could make a king leave his palace and take up a beggar's bowl. The remarkable example of this was Srila Rupa Gosvami who was also known as Dabir Khas. He left his kingly position and lived in the forests of Vrndavana. A servant of Krsna can ignore material wealth, position and prestige which are desired by the common people. Any person who has not realized the value of devotional service to the Supreme Lord will naturally consider the position of a king to be most comfortable and enviable.
But for the devotee of Krsna, even the happiness derived from liberation is insignificant, therefore mere kingly comfort is of no consequence whatsoever. Reality and true happiness lie solely in the merciful glance of the Supreme Lord, and therefore the Vedas advise everyone to serve Him.
Lord Gaurasundara's wonderful defeat of the Digvijaya, and the Pandita's subsequent conversion was soon known in all corners of Nadia. People were astounded by the news and they commented, "Nimai Pandita must truly be a great scholar for even the Digvijaya, the greatest of all panditas was humbled by him. Nimai Pandita has now made Himself worthy of our praise, and His fame will definitely spread."
Someone said, "If this brahmana boy studies logic, He can immediately claim the highest title, Bhattacarya." But another suggested, "Let's jointly offer Him the title of Badhi Sinha now."
The Lord's illusory potency was so strong that in spite of witnessing His miracles, no one could perceive His true identity. From that time forward, the people of Nadia could only discuss Nimai's victory over the Digvijaya.
I offer my obeisances to the feet of all the residents of Navadvipa for they were fortunate enough to see the Lord's transcendental activities.
Whoever faithfully and attentively hears this pastime of the Lord defeating the Digvijaya Pandita will always be victorious, and whoever hears about His captivating pastimes as a scholar will immediately become His eternal servant.
Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu are my life and soul.
I, Vrndavana dasa, an insignificant soul, humbly offer this song at Their lotus feet.