SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Adi Lila Chapter 7
All glories, all glories to Lord Gauracandra who is the Supreme Lord of lords. All glories, all glories to Sri Visvambhara and His dear most devotees.
All glories to the illustrious son of Sri Jagannatha Misra and Mother Sacidevi. He is the life and soul of all surrendered devotees. O Lord Visvambhara, please glance upon us mercifully and deliver us all.
Under the pretext of mirthful childish pastimes, Lord Gaurasundara expanded His unlimited spiritual forms and His transcendental devotional service in Navadvipa dhama.
The restless Nimai, tirelessly created mischief for everyone. Though His mother tried to correct Him with sweet advice, He paid not the slightest attention. In the presence of good instruction He created twice as much mischief. Whatever He could reach in the house, He would gleefully smash. Out of apprehension, the parents at last refrained from giving any further instructions. The unrestrained Nimai played at will, displaying His wonderful pastimes.
The descriptions of Nimai in Adi-Khanda are like nectar to the ears. The wonderful childhood pastimes of the Supreme Lord Narayana are described there.
The Lord feared no one - neither His father nor His mother. But in the presence of His elder brother Visvarupa, He became soft and humble. Sri Visvarupa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was the treasure house of all divine qualities, and a renunciate from His very birth.
Visvarupa explained that the essence of all scriptures was the path of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. No one has ever had the power to refute His explanations. He was totally absorbed in Lord Krsna, and by engaging His hearing, speech, mind and all other senses in the service of the Lord, He grew disinterested in everything else.
While contemplating Nimai's unusual behavior, Visvarupa was filled with wonder: "This young boy is not an ordinary mundane personality. His beautiful form and extraordinary behavior make Me think He is Lord Bala-Gopala. I have seen Him perform continuous superhuman activities, but I personally believe it is actually the Supreme Lord Krsna who enacts these pastimes in the body of this child."
The magnanimous Visvarupa pondered this matter for some time but did not reveal His realization to anyone, preferring to remain engrossed in His own service. Visvarupa was always found in the association of pure Vaisnava devotees discussing topics about Krsna, engaging in Krsna's service or worshiping the Lord in devotion.
People of the world have always been mad after mundane life, wealth, children, education, etc. When the materialistic people of Nadia would see the Vaisnava devotees who are naturally disgusted with material life, they would taunt them. The materialists composed verses and recited them whenever they saw a Vaisnava. "The renounced sannyasis, the chaste ladies and the yogis performing austerity will all have to die. Then why their futile endeavor? By our standard a fortunate person has the means to ride on a horse or be carried on a palanquin with ten to twenty persons running in front and behind him. You drench yourselves with tears of spiritual emotions while singing to your Lord, yet we do not see any sign of your poverty and misery being alleviated. Your Lord will surely become angry if you continue to call out 'Hari Hari' so loudly and so often!"
The Lord's pure devotees felt sorry for the atheistic people who were devoid of devotion and therefore spoke in an offensive manner. In every direction the devotees saw people burning in the fire of material existence. Nowhere could they hear the kirtana of Lord Hari's names. Sri Visvarupa in particular felt great anguish over the absence of kirtana of the name of His beloved Krsna Candra.
If ever Bhagavat-Gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam discourses were held, the speaker could never explain the privileges of devotional service to Lord Krsna which are the real essence of those scriptures. The teachers destroyed themselves by perverting the meaning of the scriptures and speculating about the conclusion. Devotional service is unknown to such a materialistic society.
Sri Advaita Acarya Prabhu and the other Vaisnava devotees were overcome with pity and sorrow for the unfortunate living entities who were afflicted by perverted conceptions of life.
Sri Visvarupa was depressed by the environment and said to Himself, "I do not like to see the sinful faces of the people of this materialistic society. I will go and live in the forest."
Each day at dawn, after a bath in the Ganga, Sri Visvarupa would visit the house of Sri Advaita Acarya Prabhu. Sri Acarya Prabhu used to roar in delight when he heard Sri Visvarupa explain that the essence of all scriptures was the process of devotional service to Lord Krsna. He would leave aside his regular worship just to hear Sri Visvarupa's discourses, and the assembled Vaisnavas would exclaim, "Hari! Hari!" in appreciation of the discussion. The devotees roared like lions in the ecstasy of Krsna consciousness and felt the heavy burden of gloom lift from their hearts. On such days no one wanted to leave Visvarupa's association, nor could He separate Himself from the devotees.
One day when Mother Saci had completed her cooking, she asked Sri Visvambhara to fetch His elder brother home to eat. Bearing that instruction Lord Visvambhara ran to Sri Advaita Acarya's residence to retrieve His brother. At the Acarya's house He saw the assembly of Vaisnavas discussing the most auspicious topics of Krsna lila.
Sri Gaurasundara, who is Lord Krsna Himself, felt satisfied to hear the devotees glorify Him. He captivated them with His glances. Every line of the Lord's transcendental form seemed to defy the extremities of delicate beauty; the radiance of millions upon millions of moons lost their luster when compared to the effulgence of even one of the Lord's finger nails. Bare-chested and covered with dust, Visvambhara smiled and addressed His elder brother: "Brother, come to eat. Mother is calling You." He caught hold of Visvarupa's dhoti and together They walked home.
Sri Visvambhara's enchanting beauty held the devotees in a trance. They stared at Him in wonder, unable to move. The devotees entered into meditation, experiencing the ecstasy of love of Godhead. Even the discussions about Krsna could not be continued. The materialistic person is unable to comprehend the Lord's transcendental activities of attracting and alluring the hearts of His devotees.
This mystery was revealed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam where the matchless message of Sukadeva Gosvami was given to Maharaja Pariksita. In a previous millennium, this Sri Gaurasundara appeared in Gokula as Krsna. He roamed about in different houses enacting His childhood pastimes in the company of other children. The cowherd ladies of Gokula were more fond of baby Krsna than their own sons. Although the gopis did not understand that Lord Krsna was the Supreme Lord, they naturally felt more affection for Him than for their own sons. King Pariksita was amazed by Sukadeva Gosvami's unequivocal answers to his questions, and he listened in rapt ecstasy.
"O Sukadeva Gosvami, what you have revealed to me has never before been heard in the entire universe. It is certainly the most extraordinary topic. Just see how they loved Krsna, the child of another woman, more than their own sons."
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami replied, "O King Pariksit, the Supreme Personality is perceived as the Supersoul existing in the hearts of every living entity. He is the most beloved Lord of the heart. When the soul leaves the body of the son, wife, friend or relative, the family members have the body taken away from the house in a matter of moments. Therefore, it is the Supersoul who is the life of every living entity. That Supersoul is none other than Sri Nanda-nandana, Krsna.
"Because of the inherent characteristics of the Supersoul, Lord Krsna is able to attract the affection of the gopis. This fact is applicable only to the devotees, for a non-devotee can never feel affection for the Lord. Lord Krsna resided within the heart of Kamsa and other demons, so why were they envious and inimical towards Him? The reason was that these demons had committed grievous offenses in their previous lives.
"Everyone agrees that the sweetness of sugar is easily discernible; only a diseased person will find its taste bitter. The tongue is diseased; it is not the fault of the sugar. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Caitanya is the sweetest of all."
Everyone saw the Lord in Navadvipa, yet no one except the devotees recognized Him. Wherever He wandered in Navadvipa, Nimai captivated the hearts of the devotees while performing His wonderful pastimes. On the day that Visvambhara came to call His brother home, He enchanted the hearts of the Vaisnavas.
The magnanimous Advaita Mahasaya thought, "This young boy is certainly not an ordinary mundane personality. I cannot determine what substance this boy is made of," said Advaita to the assembled devotees. The devotees simultaneously glorified His extraordinary beauty.
Sri Visvarupa returned home briefly, and then went straight back to Sri Advaita Acarya's house. Enjoyments of material life had no attraction for Sri Visvarupa. He experienced joy only in singing the glories of Lord Krsna. In His own house Sri Visvarupa spent all His time in the Visnu grha, a room set aside for Salagrama sila. He was unfamiliar with the ways of familial dealings. His parents were eager to have Him married, but when He heard of their plans He grew morose. He was consumed by only one thought, "I will leave My family and go to the forest."
The Supreme Lord, alone is able to know His own inner inclinations, thus Sri Visvarupa, the Supreme Lord accepted the renounced order of sannyasa within a few days of that time. With the name Sri Sankararanya which would become famous throughout the universe, that foremost Vaisnava set out on the eternal path.
Sri Visvarupa's disappearance left the hearts of Mother Saci and Sri Misra in intense grief. With the other family members and friends, the parents wailed in lamentation. Sri Visvambhara was unable to bear the separation of His brother and He fell unconscious.
I am unable to depict the scene of intense grief and lamentation which struck the house of Sri Misra. Sri Advaita Acarya Prabhu and all the other devotees shed profuse tears in the unbearable separation from Sri Visvarupa. People from all classes of Nadia society were moved with grief when they heard the news of the boy's sannyasa.
Their hearts broken with sorrow, Mother Saci and Sri Misra continuously called out, "Visvarupa, Visvarupa." Sri Jagannatha was overwhelmed with the throbbing pains of separation from his son. His friends and relatives tried to console him, "Dear Misra, please compose yourself. Do not feel sad; this magnanimous personality has delivered your entire family. If any member in the family takes the sannyasa order of life, then innumerable generations become eligible to live in the transcendental abode of Vaikuntha.
"The course of action your son adopted is certainly the perfection of all education. We should express our great happiness for you." they said as they held the feet and hands of the afflicted parents. "Think about Visvambhara. He is the glory of your family. This son of yours will be the scion of the entire family line. He will eliminate all your sufferings. What is the need to have countless millions of sons when you have a son like this one?"
Friends and relatives tried to make Sri Misra understand his fortunate position. They offered good counsel but failed to mitigate his misery. Misra Mahasaya tried to control his emotion, but as soon as he remembered the wonderful qualities of Sri Visvarupa, he again lost himself in bereavement.
"I could never know for certain whether this son would stay with me or not," said Sri Misra. "The Supreme Lord Krsna gave me the child, and He Himself took Him back. Whatever Lord Krsna desires must certainly occur. The infinitesimal living entities possess but insignificant power over life's phenomena. I therefore surrender my body, senses and everything to You, Lord Krsna, the Supreme omnipotent Lord. You are my shelter."
Exerting true wisdom and established in knowledge of the absolute, Misra Mahasaya gradually composed his disturbed mind.
In this way Sri Visvarupa enacted the pastime of leaving His house and accepting sannyasa. He is the non-different, direct expansion of Lord Nityananda, the original Sankarsana.
Whoever hears the pastime of Sri Visvarupa accepting the sannyasa order of life is freed from the noose of karma and attains devotional service to Lord Krsna.
The devotees experienced mixed feelings over Sri Visvarupa's sannyasa. They were caught between elation and depression. "Lord Krsna has taken from us the only saintly Vaisnava association we had. With Sri Visvarupa we discussed topics of Krsna consciousness, but now He is gone. We should also leave everything and go to the forest where we no longer have to see the faces of this sinful society.
"The entire population is engrossed in reprobate activities. How long is one supposed to tolerate insults inflicted by the vile words of atheists? Nowhere is the holy name of Lord Krsna uttered. The entire world is inviting its doom, drowning itself in illusory, sense gratifying activities. And when the unequivocal process of devotional service to Lord Krsna is explained to the atheists, they reject it and ridicule us. 'What happiness have you gained by worshiping Krsna?' they demand. 'You live in an improvised condition, you beg even for your food, yet your misery continuously increases."
The devotees uttered long sighs and agreed that they were no longer capable of living in that degraded society. They wanted to go off to the forest.
Advaita Mahasaya consoled each devotee saying, "You will certainly meet with the highest of bliss. I feel a great exhilaration in My heart as though Lord Krsnacandra has made His divine appearance. Go and happily sing Lord Krsna's holy name. In a few days you will see our beloved Lord Krsna right here. Lord Krsna will perform many pleasurable pastimes assisted by all of you. Only then will I, Advaita, become an unalloyed servitor of Lord Krsna. That rare mercy which is seldom experienced by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami or Prahlada Maharaja will be received by all of you."
Inspired by the nectarine words of Srila Advaita Acarya Prabhu the devotees sang the name of Hari jubilantly. As the devotees roared with the repetition of Lord Hari's name, their hearts became filled with happiness.
Lord Gaurasundara was busy playing with His friends when the sound of Lord Hari's name reached His house. When He arrived in the midst of the devotees they enquired, "What brings You here, dear child?" Nimai replied, "Why did you call for Me?"
With His troupe of young friends, Nimai then took off at a run. No one could grasp Lord Visvambhara's real identity due to the influence of His transcendental illusory potency.
From the day Sri Visvarupa left the house to become a sannyasi, Lord Visvambhara minimized His restless and mischievous behavior. Nimai stayed by the side of His mother and father to mitigate their grief in separation from Visvarupa. He restrained Himself from playing, and while studying He would not leave His books for a moment. After studying any aphorism once, Nimai mastered it so well that when questioned about it, He bettered everyone else.
Because of Nimai's extraordinary intelligence, people praised His parents saying, "Sri Misra and Sacimati are truly blessed." To Jagannatha Misra they said, "Dear Misra, you are truly successful to have such an illustrious son. There is not another child in all the three worlds to match Nimai's superior wisdom. He will excel even Sri Brhaspati in erudition. He can present His own spontaneous explanations on any point; no one is able to defeat His deceptive arguments."
Mother Saci was happy to hear about her son's wonderful attributes, but Sri Misra felt morose once again. "This son of ours will never remain involved in household life," Sri Misra told Sacimata. Visvarupa studied the scriptures just as Nimai is doing now. He understood that there isn't a shred of reality in material existence. Knowing the essence of all scriptures, our wise Visvarupa rejected transient material life and went away.
"If Nimai also learns all the scriptures He will certainly follow the same path. Nimai is all that is left for us; He is our very life. If we lose Him we will certainly leave our bodies. Therefore He should no longer study. He can be an illiterate child and remain in the house".
Mother Saci argued, "How will He maintain His life if He remains illiterate? Moreover, no one will give their daughter in marriage to an illiterate person."
But Sri Misra replied, "Surely you must be the naive daughter of a brahmin; you should know that Lord Krsna who is everyone's protector has created everything. He will give and take whatever is required. The entire material creation is maintained by the Lord of the universe, Krsna. Who has misinformed you that mere materialistic knowledge can help maintain anything?
"Lord Krsna is in complete control of everything; He even designs the results of the matching of brides and grooms. Both the learned groom as well as the illiterate groom are given brides. Lord Krsna is omnipotent and He maintains everyone. Whatever you see as lineage or formal education, etc., are simply semblances of reality.
"Why don't you take me as an example standing right here in front of you? I possess sufficient learning, yet there is insufficient food in my house. There are persons who cannot even pronounce the alphabets properly, yet see for yourself the thousands of scholars who crowd their doorsteps.
"Hence, it is not formal education or other material qualifications that maintain us, rather it is Lord Krsna who keeps and maintains everyone. When one has never worshiped the lotus feet of Lord Govinda, how is it possible for Him to live in comfortable opulence and meet death in a blissful state? By rendering devotional service to Lord Krsna we suffer from the pangs of poverty, but we embrace death in a happy state. This is not the case for one who depends on their material knowledge and wealth.
"A person may possess sufficient learning, high birth and enormous wealth, but without the mercy of Lord Krsna they can never be delivered from the misery of material life. A person may live amidst fine sense enjoyment and opulence, but Lord Krsna may also allot them some incurable disease, causing them much misery. Such a person cannot really revel in sense pleasure. They burn with frustration, and I would say that they are more miserable than a penniless derelict.
"Take note from this: all is but naught. In spite of their having great material wealth, one's future is determined entirely by Lord Krsna's desire. Do not bother yourself thinking about your son's maintenance. I can assure you that Lord Krsna will look after Him. As long as there remains life in my body, Nimai will not feel even the slightest sign of suffering. We all have Lord Krsna as our only shelter. Why should you worry when you are a good mother and a chaste and dedicated wife?
"I impress upon you that there is no need for Nimai's studies. Let my son remain in the house as an illiterate." Having made his decision, Sri Misra called his son and announced, "Nimai, I promise You that from today forward You are relieved of all studies. You may do as You like. Whatever You desire, my son, I am ready to provide. Just stay in the house and be fully satisfied."
Sri Misra left to attend to other business, and the Supreme Lord Visvambhara could understand that His studies had been discontinued. As the spring source of eternal religious principles, Sri Gauranga was obedient to His father's instruction and did not attend school. But the Lord was disappointed, and once again took to His restless impetuous ways with other young boys His age.
Both in His own house and in neighbor's houses, Nimai smashed or squandered away whatever He found within reach. Even after dark Nimai remained away from home. The whole evening He performed various pastimes with the other young boys. Covering themselves with a blanket so they looked like a bull, Nimai and another friend moved around in a most amusing manner. During the day they had seen a small backyard banana plantation, and at night dressed in their bull costume, they plundered the banana trees. The owner of the house raised a loud alarm when he saw the bull in his garden, but by the time a crowd was awake to remedy the situation, Nimai and His friends had already escaped.
Sometimes they tied the neighbor's doors from the outside so that they could not leave the house to use the outdoor lavatory. When the people inside the house made a commotion, Nimai would run off. Day and night the Lord of Vaikuntha and His friends performed endless pranks. There was no limit to Lord Visvambhara's mischievous deeds, yet Sri Misra never corrected Him.
One day Sri Misra was called away for some duty. Nimai felt angry because He was not allowed to study. The pots used for cooking Lord Vishnu's offerings were kept outside in a pile for cleaning. Nimai decided to sit on top of those contaminated pots.
Kindly listen with undivided attention to this confidential incident. Devotional service to Lord Krsna is perfected by sincerely hearing this story.
Sitting on the pile of contaminated pots as if it was a royal throne, Sri Gaurasundara glanced around with a smile playing on His lips. His golden complexion was spotted by the black soot from the contaminated pots. He looked like a golden doll smeared by dark sweet-smelling sandalwood and aguru paste.
Several friends went to Mother Saci and informed her, "Nimai is sitting on top of the contaminated pots." Mother Saci was shocked when she saw Him. "My dear child, this is not a proper place to sit," she scolded. Can you not judge between clean and unclean things after all these years? Don't you know that one must bathe after touching unclean pots?"
Lord Nimai retorted, "You do not allow Me to study, how do you expect Me to know the differences between clean and unclean? I am just an illiterate brahmin. I am an uneducated fool with no idea of what is clean or unclean. I see oneness in everything; My vision is non-dual." After His speech Nimai smiled from atop His seat of unclean pots. At that moment He manifested the mood of Lord Dattatreya, Krsna's incarnation as the son of Atri.
His Mother replied, "Now that You have sat in a dirty place, how are You going to clean Yourself?"
But Lord Visvambhara replied, "Mother, you have an extremely child-like mentality. I am never situated in a contaminated place. Wherever I am, that place becomes most sanctified. Ganga devi and all other places of pilgrimage naturally reside there. 'Clean and unclean' are imaginary. It is a conditioned way of thinking. What can be the fault of the Creator or His creation? Let us assume something is contaminated according to social etiquettes and Vedic ritualistic opinions. If I, the Supreme Absolute purity, touch it, then what contamination can remain? In reality, these pots are not in the least contaminated because you have cooked for Lord Vishnu in them. Lord Vishnu's cooking utensils can never be contaminated. On the contrary, they can purify everything and every place simply by their touch.
"Similarly, I do not reside in a degraded place nor on a materialistic plane; everyone is purified by My contact."
After speaking the absolute non-dual truth just as a child would speak on ordinary topics, Nimai smiled. By the influence of His illusory potency, no one could fathom His words. Nevertheless they all smiled condescendingly at small Nimai's speech, while Sacimata insisted He come for a bath.
Nimai would not leave the pots so Sacimata coaxed, "Come quickly before Your father comes home and learns about all of this."
But Nimai was adamant. "If you do not permit Me to study, then I will not move from this spot. I am telling you clearly."
The neighbors turned to Nimai's mother and enquired, "Why do you forbid Nimai to continue His education? Many persons tutor their sons with painstaking care. How fortunate for you that this young boy desires to study of His own accord. Which of your enemies has advised you to keep your son in the house as an illiterate fool? Nimai is not to be blamed in the least for this situation." Turning to Nimai they said, "Come child, if from today You are not allowed to study then You should continue Your work of destruction properly."
Sitting atop the pots, Nimai smiled sweetly, and the fortunate souls who saw Him floated in an ocean of absolute bliss. The mother herself had to bring the child down. All the while Lord Gauracandra, looking like a beautiful blue sapphire, continued to smile sweetly.
Nimai spoke the non-dual absolute truth in the mood of His previous incarnation Lord Dattatreya, but none could grasp the import due to the influence of Lord Vishnu's illusory potency. The pious Mother Saci took Nimai for a bath and meanwhile Sri Misra returned.
Mother Saci told the entire story to Sri Misra and lamented, "Our son is sorry that He is not allowed to study." Some neighbor's petitioned Nimai's father, "Dear Misra, we know you are a high-minded soul. On whose advice did you forbid your son to continue His education? Whatever Lord Krsna desires will always come true, therefore discard all your worries and allow your son to study without anxiety. You are truly fortunate that your son wants to learn of His own volition. Therefore choose an auspicious day, initiate your son with the sacred brahmin's thread and begin His studies again properly."
Sri Misra replied, "You are all my dearest friends; whatever you decide I must consent to."
Young Nimai's activities were all superhuman, and although everyone saw them with utter amazement, they could never understand their deep mystery. Occasionally, pious and fortunate people who came to visit Sri Misra informed him of the superhuman qualities of his child. "This child must never be considered an ordinary boy," they would advise, "Keep Him close to your heart with utmost care."
The supreme actor of Vaikuntha, Nimai frolicked mischievously in His own courtyard. Then with His father's permission, Sri Caitanya joyfully resumed His studies.