SRI CAITANYA BHAGAVATA
Madhya Lila Chapter 22
All glory to Lord Gauracandra who is an ocean of mercy. He is the beautiful son of Mother Saci and Sri Jagannatha Misra. He is known as Sri Krishna Caitanya. He has rained down showers of benediction upon the living entities by distributing the holy name of "Krishna".
Navadvipa saw the endless transcendental pastimes of the Lord as He manifested Them with His associates like Nityananda Prabhu, Gadadhara Pandit and others. Now the Lord returned home after chastising Devananda Pandita. Devananda also returned home in a state of acute mental agony. The cause of all his suffering was that he was associating too closely with the mundane students and scholars. Although the others considered Devananda to be saintly, he had to flee from Lord Caitanya, for he was not pure enough to remain in the Lord's presence.
The Supreme Lord Visvambhar is attained only through the grace of saintly Vaisnavas. One may chant the Lord's name and perform austerities, but if such activities lack devotion then they are useless. A person may seem to be attracting the Lord's mercy in the eyes of the public by performing some devotional activities, but factually he is deprived of any spiritual ecstasy. These are not my words; I simply repeat what the Vedas declare. Lord Caitanya, Himself has given this verdict.
Mother Saci, in whose womb the Supreme Lord Gauracandra appeared, was guilty of some previous offenses committed against a saintly Vaisnava. The Lord personally exonerated His mother from this offense and instructed her in the science of loving devotional service to the Lord. Dear readers, listen attentively to this wonderful narration. This will alleviate you from the sin of Vaisnava-aparadha.
One day Lord Caitanya sat on the throne of the Deities. He picked up the Shaligram Sila forms of the Lord, and placing Them on His lap, He manifested His Supreme absolute form. He said, "I am the Supreme Lord Narayana Krishna, who in Kaliyuga appears in the form of the holy name. I bridged the ocean in My incarnation as Lord Ramachandra. I was resting on the ocean of milk, on My bed of Ananta Sesa, when I was awakened by Advaita Acarya, Nada's roaring sounds calling Me down to the earth. The reason for My advent in this incarnation is to freely distribute love of Godhead. O Nada and Srivas, ask all you can - I am here to give."
When Lord Nityananda saw this manifestation of the Lord, He immediately held an opened umbrella above Lord Caitanya's head. Gadadhara Pandit became busy preparing betel for the Lord, and the others began to whisk yak-tails or camaras around the Lord.
The Lord dispensed His causeless mercy to everyone, and the devotees received it each according to their heart's desire. Each devotee had a different reason for begging favor from the Lord. Someone said, "My father is mischievous. If he can be rectified it would be a great relief to me." Some wanted blessings for their guru, or disciples or son or wives. Lord Visvambhar, who never disregards the sincere prayers of His devotees, fulfilled each of their desires with love of Godhead, smiling benignly upon them.
Srivas Pandit, that exalted personality then said, "My Lord, we greatly desire that you bless Saci Ma with love of Godhead." The Lord replied, "Please do not make such a request, I cannot comply with it. She has committed an offense against a Vaisnava devotee, therefore she is deprived of love of Godhead." Again Srivas Pandit said, "Such words steal away our very life air, my Lord. She has borne You in her womb - You who are the Supreme Lord. I cannot fathom why she is refused Your favor. She is our very life and soul, the Universal Mother. O Lord, please stop this deception, and be merciful to her. My Lord, You are her son and she is the Mother of the entire existence. So how can a son consider a mother's action to be offensive? If she committed a mistake against a Vaisnava, then absolve it and favor her."
The Lord replied, "I can instruct her properly, but I am unable to pardon her from Vaisnava-aparadha. She has to be forgiven by that person alone to whom she was offensive; no one else can do that. You know well how Durvasa Muni was forgiven for his offenses to King Ambarisa. She has committed an offense against Nada, Advaita; He can forgive her if He wants and make her the recipient of the Lord's sweet mercy. I can assure you: she will receive love of Godhead the very moment she takes the dust from Advaita Acarya's lotus feet and smears it on her head."
Immediately the devotees accompanied Mother Saci to meet Advaita Acarya to explain the situation to Him. When Advaita Acarya heard them, He remembered Lord Visnu to avoid disaster. Then He retorted: "You want to smash My head open? She is the mother of My Lord and master. She is My mother as well. It is her feet dust which must decorate My head. I cannot even fathom her position - she is not an ordinary person. She is the embodiment of devotional service, the Universal Mother. How could you bring yourselves to say these words? If anyone speaks her name, even for some material reason, then they are relieved of all suffering. Mother Saci or Ai is non-different from Gangadevi. She is the same personality as Mother Yasoda, and Mother Devaki."
As Advaita was delineating the truth about Mother Saci He fell unconscious to the ground in spiritual ecstasy. Realizing that the opportune moment had arrived, Mother Saci quickly came from the inner quarters, and taking the dust from Advaita Acarya's feet, she placed it on her head.
Mother Saci, a very exalted Vaisnava devotee endowed with perfect devotion, also fell down unconscious feeling divine bliss as she placed Advaita's feet dust on her head. All the devotees exclaimed joyously upon witnessing such sublime spiritual reciprocations amongst exalted personalities.
The Lord watched the entire happening from His throne and was satisfied with His mother. He said, "Now that you are rid of your offenses to Advaita Acarya you are blessed with love of Godhead." The devotees responded jubilantly to the Lord's words.
The Supreme Lord acting as the instructing spiritual master, warned everyone to avoid Vaisnava aparadha; He used His own mother as an example to teach others. According to the scriptures even the most powerful person is destroyed by Vaisnava aparadha. If one disregards the instructions of the scriptures and commits Vaisnava aparadha, they have to suffer the hellish life of a sinner, life after life. Imagine the fate of others, if even the most powerful Lord Caitanya's own mother was taken to task for committing Vaisnava aparadha.
If one really analyzes Sacidevi's Vaisnava aparadha then she would be found innocent. Yet the Lord found her guilty. Why do people call him "Advaita" which means non-dual? What prompted Mother Saci to call him "Dvaita" or dual? This entire episode began with Visvarupa's early transcendental pastimes.
Visvarupa was a very elevated personality; He was the Lord's elder brother. He possessed unsurpassed handsome features, and was radiant and powerful. Well-versed in all branches of philosophy and scriptures, He was gentle and composed. He is non-different from Lord Nityananda. No one could fathom His analysis and explanations of the scriptures. Yet He was playing the role of a child with the other children.
One day Sri Jagannatha Misra was invited to an assembly of brahman pandits. He took his son Visvarupa with him. All those attending were gray with erudition and tricky logic. They were stunned to see this young but beautiful and attractive child. His effulgent personality seemed to have stolen their gravity and cynicism. One of the panditas approached Him asking, "How far have you studied, young lad?" Visvarupa replied, "A little of everything." The others did not mind his slightly insolent reply, but His father was embarrassed by it.
As they were returning home from the assembly, Sri Jagannatha Misra slapped his son. Reprimanding Him he said, "Why did you not say clearly the names of the books you are studying, instead of talking in circles? You certainly made a fool of Yourself in that learned assembly, and also spoiled my reputation." They returned home, but Jagannatha Misra was still in a fit of rage.
Visvarupa decided to go back to that assembly. He went alone, and said to the Brahmans, "None of you asked Me any questions when I replied to your question; My father was very angry with My reply and your silence. So now please ask Me any question, so I may back up My answer to your inquiry." The scholars laughed condescendingly at what they considered to be mere preciousness. One of them said, "Okay, young lad! What did you study today?" Visvarupa explained to them a few aphorisms from logic, and they appreciated and understood His presentation. They said, "You have explained the aphorisms well." Visvarupa replied, "You are bluffing! You have not understood a thing."
To the utter amazement of the scholars, He then refuted all the logical conclusions He had just established. He did this twice, each time presenting a new conclusion, and then refuting it again. In a dazed state they acquiesced, "Yes, You are most intelligent." But they were unable to know the truth about Him or His words because of the influence of the Lord's illusory potency. Although Visvarupa was moving about in their midst they had no idea who He was. The entire society was so drunk with material activities that they were incapable of glorifying or appreciating a Vaisnava's transcendental status. They were ready to spend lavishly for mundane functions like their son's birthday or marriage, but no one raised a finger to worship Krishna or to follow a Krishna-centered life. All the scholars and teachers prided themselves in their ability to argue based on logic and sophistry, but not one of them endeavored to cultivate Krishna consciousness or devotion to God. And if a few amongst them taught the Bhagavad-Gita, then instead of explaining its true essence, devotion to God, they spent their time in dry speculation.
Visvarupa went from one assembly to another, one school to another, but everywhere the subject of devotion to God was never discussed. This threw Him into the depths of despondency.
Advaita Acarya was then lecturing on the book "Yoga Vasistha". Even though the book presents the impersonal philosophy, Advaita Acarya explained everything in the light of devotional service to Krishna. Who could comprehend Advaita's dissertation? Therefore He was accepted as the foremost amongst the Vaisnavas.
For Visvarupa, Advaita Acarya's association was the one and only that gave Him sublime satisfaction. Visvarupa spent as much time as He could with Advaita, and Advaita enjoyed Visvarupa's company, exchanging devotional mellows with Him.
Visvambhar was then a beautiful young boy, sprightly and radiant. One day Mother Saci sent Him to call Visvarupa: "Go, run and call Your brother to come immediately." Visvambhar ran swiftly to Advaita Acarya's house. He found many exalted devotees including Srivas Pandit sitting around Advaita Acarya. Smiling sweetly Visvambhar said, "O brother, please come quickly and take Your lunch." The little boy, Visvambhar was so attractive that everyone was captivated by His extraordinary good looks; they forgot everything and drank His beauty with their eyes. Everyday the little Visvambhar would come on the pretext of calling His elder brother.
Advaita Acarya seeing the boy, began to consider in His heart, "This beautiful lad steals My heart away. This must be the Lord of My heart who bewilders My mind with His exquisite beauty. No one else can do this to Me." Lord Visvambhar is the Supersoul within everyone's heart, so having understood Advaita's mind, He quickly left.
Visvarupa began to spend more and more time in Advaita Acarya's company, relishing transcendental moments with him, free from all material encumbrances. Detailed narrations of Visvarupa's unlimited pastimes are mentioned earlier in the first volume. By the will of providence, Visvarupa left home and adopted the sannyasa order of a mendicant. His name now became Sankararanya. Visvarupa's embracing the renounced order left an indelible mark of acute separation on Saci devi's tender and vulnerable heart.
When the throbbing pain of the first days of Visvarupa's departure had waned to a dull despondent ache, Mother Saci calmly considered the following thoughts, "Advaita, due to my son's close association with Him, must have influenced Visvarupa to take up the renounced order." Mother Saci never spoke these thoughts aloud; careful not to commit Vaisnava aparadha, she silently suffered her fate. Then gradually she started finding solace in little Visvambhar, and seeming to understand His mother's grief, He did much to give her joy, slowly filling the emptiness Visvarupa had left behind.
Then after some time had passed and Visvambhara had grown into a young man, He also started to spend more and more time in Advaita Acarya's company. He rarely remained at home with His young and patient wife, Lakshmipriya, but instead spent long hours at Advaita's house. The sad realization dawned on Mother Saci that her son was hardly ever at home; He was more often to be seen at Advaita's house. She thought, "Advaita Acarya will also take this son away from me."
So out of desperation and anguish, Mother Saci burst out saying, "To the world he may be known as "Advaita" or non-dual, but to me He is "Dvaita" or full of duplicity. He already drove out my moon-like effulgent son, and now this young one is not at peace. I am a destitute mother, yet no one has any pity for me. This Advaita has deceived me." This was all that Mother Saci had said. This is supposed to be so offensive that the Lord deemed her unfit to render devotional service to the Supreme Lord.
Some persons make the grave blunder for which they will soon have to suffer, trying to compare Vaisnavas, calling one Vaisnava bigger than another. Lord Caitanya made His own mother instrumental in teaching the whole world how to avoid and become free from Vaisnava-aparadha. If someone does not pay heed to Lord Caitanya's warning and teachings on Vaisnava-aparadha, then they will remain completely ignorant about the offenses, and thereby suffer the terrible consequences. In this context a few words can be said about why Lord Caitanya revealed this pastime.
Lord Caitanya, the Supreme Lord is the knower of the past, present and future. He knew that in the future some evil-minded persons would try to exploit this situation to their own selfish advantage. They would wrongly proclaim Advaita Acarya to be the Supreme Lord Krishna, thus violating the instructions of the pure Vaisnavas and committing a grievous offense. These miscreants will try to protect against those who rightly will declare that Advaita is a "pure Vaisnava devotee". Although they may claim to be the followers of Advaita Acarya still no one will rescue them from the jaws of imminent destruction - not even Advaita Acarya, Himself.
Lord Caitanya knew that this would happen soon in the future, so He punished His own mother in the presence of exalted Vaisnavas like Advaita Acarya. Even the spiritual master cannot protect his own disciples against the wrath of the Lord if his disciple commits Vaisnava-aparadha. In fact, such a disciple's guru is hard-pressed to protect even himself from the reactions of that Vaisnava-aparadha. If the guru is in a very elevated stage of devotion, then he can protect himself alone; but if he is not so elevated, then he along with the disciple sinks down into hell.
Therefore those who try to glorify Advaita Acarya as the Supreme Lord instead of respecting Him as an exalted Vaisnava, in fact end up criticizing Him and dishonoring Him. What greater glorification embellishes someone than to be known as the associate of the Supreme Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya has of course declared in no uncertain terms about Lord Nityananda, that He is the Supreme Lord Himself. And one can know the Supreme Absolute position of Lord Caitanya only by Lord Nityananda's mercy.
Only by Lord Nityananda's mercy can one recognize a true Vaisnava and understand his transcendental position. Without Lord Nityananda's sweet grace, there is no way to be delivered from the punishment of Vaisnava-aparadha. It is only by His mercy alone that one develops the mood of loving devotion to the Supreme Lord.
The true followers of Lord Nityananda are free from fault-finding. They engage all their time blissfully glorifying Lord Caitanya. They are always careful to avoid all the pitfalls in devotional life. They have made Lord Caitanya their very life and soul.
No ordinary person with little piety can become a devotee of Lord Nityananda, because only to them are revealed the supramundane activities of Lord Caitanya. One who reads or hears this transcendental narration about Visvarupa becomes the servant of Lord Ananta and also very dear to Lord Nityananda.
Lord Nityananda and Visvarupa are one and the same personality. Mother Saci is well aware of this esoteric truth. This truth is also known to others who are fixed in mature Krishna consciousness.
All glory to Lord Nityananda who is always taking shelter of Lord Gauracandra.
You are the stalwart preacher of congregational chanting from Bengal. Who can take shelter of Lord Caitanya without first receiving Your grace?
If anyone falls from the favor and association of Lord Nityananda, then they can never ever experience actual bliss. Will that day ever be mine when I shall see Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya together with all Their associates?
My greatest source of strength and security is that Lord Caitanya is the Lord of my dear Lord Nityananda. I also pray at the lotus feet of Advaita Acarya Prabhu that my natural attraction may flow spontaneously to His lotus feet, and to the feet of all His servitors.
Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu are my life and soul.
I, Vrndavana dasa, offer this humble song at Their lotus feet.