|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Nityananda dasa > Prema Vilasa > CHAPTER 1|
All glories to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, and all the devotees of Gaura. All glories to Jahnava Mata and Viracandra. All glories to holy name of the Lord, the deliverer of the fallen in this age of Kali. All glories to Shrinivasa Acarya, and his dear disciple, Ramacandra, in whom the divine seed of love of Godhead was implanted. All glories to Govinda Kaviraja who is the giver of joy to the residents of the seven islands. Glories to the devoted listeners. The author requests that they fully concentrate on the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. Please listen attentively to the description of Shrinivasa Acarya Thakura's birth.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent Nityananda Prabhu to Gauda to flood the land with love of Godhead. However, when Mahaprabhu inquired about events in Gauda from some Vaishnavas who arrived from there, He was told that no Harinama was being held in Gauda. They also reported that Advaita Acarya Prabhu had given up the doctrine of devotion and was now propagating the theory of salvation. Shocked and angry, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lamented the absence of Nityananda Prabhu at this time of distress.
Shortly thereafter Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya suddenly arrived there and the Lord welcomed them joyfully. The Lord then explained the dilemma in Gauda, "Gauda has become devoid of devotion. Although Advaita Acarya is the embodiment of God, he has discarded devotion and is propagating the five types of liberation. I cannot understand the mind of Advaita. I can hardly believe my ears, perhaps this is simply a false rumour. Please suggest something to save the situation."
Just at that moment a letter arrived from Nityananda Prabhu. The Lord reluctantly read the letter, fearing the contents. As the Lord had feared, Nityananda Prabhu verified the rumors regarding Advaita Acarya. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately replied to the letter then went to the temple of Lord Jagannatha, along with His associates, for darsana. Seeing Garuda in the temple compound soothed the heart of the Lord.
While the Lord was relishing the sight of Garuda, Sarvabhauma suddenly came before Mahaprabhu. Simply upon seeing Sarvabhauma, Mahaprabhu fell into a trance and began explaining superiority of devotion over salvation. Bhattacarya carried the Lord out of the temple and brought Him to the house of Kasi Misra. Upon regaining His external consciousness, Mahaprabhu gave Nityananda's letter to Sarvabhauma and ordered him to read it. Upon reading the contents of the letter, Bhattacarya became furious. "Who is this ignorant person who is propagating the doctrine of salvation in place of devotion," he retorted. "The three of us shall go to Gauda and challenge this fool to a debate, and if he refuses we shall bring him by force."
Hearing these words Mahaprabhu became joyful and immediately wrote two letters, one to Advaita Acarya and the other to Nityananda Prabhu. These letter where carried to Gauda by one Vaishnava.
With folded hands Bhattacarya said, "I am the most unfortunate person, but by Your grace I have understood that devotion cannot be attained through argument. Devotional service alone can satisfy the soul, salvation cannot. Previously I spent many hours in fruitless arguments with Gopinatha Acarya who, understanding Your glories, tried to convince me of the superiority of devotional service. Through your dear devotee, Gopinatha Acarya, You saved me from the blind path of salvation and implanted the seed of devotion within me." After some time Bhattacarya and the other devotees returned to their homes.
Left alone, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could not stop thinking about the unfortunate condition of the fallen conditioned souls of this age who are devoid of devotion. Intently He considered how the glories of devotional service could be spread throughout the world. For this reason the Lord had empowered the two brothers, Rupa and Sanatana, and sent them to Vrndavana to write and publish devotional literatures. Now He wanted to enlighten Gauda. How could He send Nityananda for this purpose** People in general would not easily accept the doctrine of devotion. Thinking in this way the Lord decided that it was necessary to bring forth another person who was capable of distributing love of Godhead. Thus Mahaprabhu called out the name of Mother Earth. The Deity of the Earth immediately appeared before the Lord with folded hands and Prabhu said, "Oh Mother Earth, please listen to Me carefully. You must bear a person who is filled with love for God."
Mother Earth replied, "O My Lord, whatever divine love which you deposit within me, I shall distribute to the proper person at the proper time." With a delighted heart the Lord agreed to her proposal, but He did not give the name of the person who would be the recipient of this love.
When Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya came to see the Lord, Mahaprabhu said, "It is good that you have come, now let us consider what is to be done." Mahaprabhu then informed them about His conversation with the Earth. Simply speaking about this incidence filled the Lord with ecstatic emotions and He cried out the name of Nityananda Prabhu, then fell unconscious. After a long time Svarupa began to chant the holy name in the Lord's ear and thus He regained external consciousness. Mahaprabhu then suggested that they go to have darsana of Lord Jagannatha, when suddenly Sarvabhauma arrived on the spot.
Pleased to see Sarvabhauma, the Lord offered him a seat and said, "Listen, Advaita Acarya has given up the path of devotional service and is propagating the theory of salvation, so what should we do?"
Sarvabhauma, who was very unhappy to see the distressed condition of the Lord, replied, "Advaita Acarya is God Himself and the creator of this universe. He cannot talk like this. Who has told you about this? Bring him here before me."
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Advaita became upset with Me because I left Navadvipa. He is doing this to frighten the people...** I have full faith in Acarya and cannot violate his orders. But please suggest some solution to this dilemma so that the path of devotion may be irrevocably established."
Bhattacarya replied, "O my Lord, only You can indicate the proper course of action. I am the living proof of that. I was wrongly fascinated by the doctrine of Maya, yet by Your grace I was rectified. Now the people of the world are being oppressed by the domination of atheistic kings. Now, it is up to you and Nityananda Prabhu to propagate the cult of devotion. Previously You sent Nityananda Prabhu to Gauda to cure the diseased persons there with the medicinee of the sankirtana movement.
Mahaprabhu said, "I am now separated from Nityananda Prabhu, so what shall I do?"
Bhattacarya suggested, "Only you can consult with Shri Jagannatha Deva of Nilacala. Then certainly everything will be revealed."
"That is a good idea Bhatta," the Lord said, "let us go to see Lord Jagannatha."
In the temple Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu prayed intently to Jagannatha Deva. Suddenly the fourteen yard long garland of Jagannatha fell to the ground and the priest handed it to Prabhu. Filled with happiness Mahaprabhu returned to His house and peacefully went to bed. That night Shri Jagannatha Deva appeared to Him in a dream. Smiling brightly the Lord said to Mahaprabhu, "You are superior to Me in quality. One very worthy brahmana by the name of Chaitanya Dasa Acarya has been crying before me, begging for the benediction of a son. I became very moved by his devotion and granted him his boon. He is certainly a worthy recipient of your mercy. You should deposit your divine love within him, and fulfill his hearts desire. His wife Laksmipriya is the daughter of Balarama. She is a devoted wife and endowed with a sweet disposition."
At that very moment Mahaprabhu came back to his sense and cried in despair due to separation from Lord Jagannatha. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called on Kasi Misra and ordered him to bring Chaitanya dasa Acarya of Gauda, explaining that this was the direct order of Lord Jagannatha. Misra replied, "My Lord, the brahmana Chaitanya dasa was here in Puri for a long time but now he has returned to his home." "Do you know where he lives, the Lord asked?" "I will find out," Misra said.
In the meantime Jagadananda arrived from Vrndavana. The Lord inquired about Sanatana's well being, and Jagadananda reported that everything was fine in Vraja. Jagadananda had also visited Mahaprabhu's mother in Navadvipa and Advaita Acarya in Santipura. When he was departing from Acarya's house, Advaita Prabhu said something mysterious and requested that the message be conveyed to Mahaprabhu. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard the message He began to laugh and said that He had never heard such a riddle. However, from that time Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to manifest great sorrow in separation from Krishna. **Heeding the words of Lord Jagannatha, Mahaprabhu began to search for the brahmana Chaitanya dasa.
At that time the earth, being unable to bear the burden of Mahaprabhu's love any longer. She began to shake and tremble throughout the entire day and night. Speaking amongst themselves people said that this was not an earthquake, but it was Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was responsible for the earth's condition. Formerly Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had deposited his love in the ocean which had flooded Nilacala. The ocean, unable to bear the force of that love, deposited it on the earth, who was also unable to bear the weight, began to shake the entire country. Some people began to consider leaving the country, while others thought why should they abandon their homeland. Others felt that only Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could solve the dilemma.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara, and other devotees came out from Mahaprabhu's residence the excited people excitedly pleaded with the Lord. "Previously you saved us from a flood, now the earth is shaking, O Lord, please save us from this calamity. You are the only one who can save us, do something to help us so that we do not have to move elsewhere."
Meanwhile the priest of the temple brought Jagannatha prasadam and reported to Mahaprabhu, "O Lord, I am no longer able to perform the worship of Lord Jagannatha. Every time I try to touch the Lord, His whole body begins to tremble. Thus the worship of Lord Jagannatha has come to a complete halt. The priest then requested Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to personally perform the worship of Jagannatha Deva. Mahaprabhu called upon the earth and ordered her to take control of herself. He then pacified the priest and all of them returned to their own houses. All the while the Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mind was preoccupied with thought of Chaitanya dasa.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu again called upon Mother Earth and inquired of the whereabouts of Chaitanya dasa. The Earth replied that there are many Chaitanya dasa's, which one was she to search for? The Lord then told her whatever he knew about Chaitanya dasa.
Three days later the Earth returned and informed that Lord that there was a Chaitanya dasa living in Cakandi village. He was a very religious minded brahmana and was now performing some rituals for the birth of a son. Filled with joy, the Lord ordered the Earth, "Listen to me carefully, you go and deposit the entire quantity of divine love which I gave to you upon the wife of Chaitanya dasa, Laksmipriya." The Earth at once obeyed the Lord's order. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, feeling greatly relieved and happy, began dancing in kirtana in the courtyard of the temple of Lord Jagannatha. The Lord stood before Jagannatha Deva with folded hands and began to cry, uttering the name of Shrinivasa. Jagannatha Deva, being very delighted, began to laugh and showered His divine love upon Chaitanya dasa. Seeing the smile of Lord Jagannatha, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also began to laugh. Being ordered by Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent His love to Chaitanya dasa, the result of which was a son named Shrinivasa who would perform many transcendental pastimes in his life. Formerly Rupa and Sanatana went to Vrndavana to write and publish devotional books regarding Radha Krishna lila. Later the responsibility to distribute the message of the Gosvamis would fall upon Shrinivasa. After bowing to Lord Jagannatha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to his house.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called on Kasi Misra**. Svarupa and Ramananda came to consult with Prabhu and suggested that He send a letter to Nityananda in Gauda, as He was anxiously awaiting news from Mahaprabhu. The Lord accepted the suggestions and happily wrote one letter advising Nityananda Prabhu to kick out the influence of Mayavada philosophy and propagate the path of Bhakti by performing Harinama sankirtana at every home, thus flooding the entire universe with the glories of the holy name. He also informed Him that near the river Ganges in the village of Cakandi there lived a brahmana by the name of Chaitanya dasa. This brahmana would have a great Vaishnava son named Shrinivasa who would be the embodiment of devotional love.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed His days happily absorbed in thoughts of the Lord. One day a letter from Sanatana Gosvami arrived from Vrndavana informing the Lord that Gopala Bhatta had come to stay in Vraja. The Lord happily informed all the devotees of the good news and said, "I would like to send some gifts to Vrndavana, but what can I do, I am a poor penniless sannyasi. I have nothing substantial except my dora and asana, but because they belong to me they have great potency. I shall send them top Bhatta." Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied to Sanatana, advising he and Rupa to carry on writing lila sastras. He also said that Rupa would be happy to know that Gauda would soon produce a jewel like brahmana named Shrinivasa who would spread Radha Krishna lila in Gauda. The Lord wrote, j"After My disappearance, Shrinivasa will go to Vrndavana. Hand over your books to him at that time. I shall send Nityananda to Gauda with Ramadasa, Gadadhara and Sundarananda. Chaitanya dasa went to Nilacala where he received the mercy of Jagannatha Deva. I am now living with Svarupa and Ramananda Raya in a secluded kunja in Nilacala. I am sending a Vaishnava to you who will give you My asana and dora. Ramananda has given him the necessary funds for the journey."
When the Vaishnava reached Vrndavana, Rupa and Sanatana were both sitting in a secluded place. Upon receiving the Lord's letter the two brothers were overjoyed and could hardly control their emotions. When they saw the dora and asana, they fell unconscious in ecstasy. Crying, they placed the dora around their necks. and fell on the ground crying out the name of Gaurahari. Lamenting they cried out pitifully, "Will we ever see the face of Prabhu Gaurachandra again? Not having the opportunity to hear His sweet words our hearts are aching in pain." Holding the asana to their bosoms they were able to smell the scent of the Lord, thus they rolled on the ground and cried loudly. Meanwhile Bhugarbha and Lokanatha arrived and they also fell on the ground experiencing intense feelings of separation from Mahaprabhu.
Now, oh listeners, please hear attentively the glories of Shri Lokanatha Gosvami. Generally Lokanatha remained in complete seclusion, with eyes closed he remained in deep meditation, sometimes crying and sometimes laughing in trance. He was extremely dear to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and thus Rupa and Sanatana offered him great respect. In the future the great preacher of love of Godhead, Narottama dasa Thakura, would become the dedicated disciple of Lokanatha Gosvami. Narottama, the son of Krishnananda Raya from Gaderahat, was so named by Gauranga Mahaprabhu Himself. Just as Rupa and Sanatana were inseparable associates, similarly Shrinivasa and Narottama were intimate friends. Their relationship shall be discussed later, now I shall explain the mental condition of Rupa and Sanatana.
Feeling intense separation from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sanatana Gosvami became completely morose. Seeing Sanatana miserable condition, Rupa Gosvami said, "You are the embodiment of Mahaprabhu's love. If you behave in this way no one will be able to survive." Thus Rupa somewhat consoled Sanatana. In this way they both helped each other to keep their feelings of separation in check. Rupa and Sanatana took the Lord's asana and dora to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. When they read the letter to Bhatta, he immediately fell unconscious. Gradually Rupa and Sanatana pacified him. Sanatana said to Bhatta, "You can sit on this asana while you are speaking about Krishna or Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is not offensive to do so, but how can I sit on my Prabhu's asana? Yet the Lord has ordered me to do so, how can I disobey Him?" Gopala Bhatta then placed the dora around Sanatana Gosvami's neck and sat on the asana. Everyone was very happy and returned to their own residences.
That night, in a dream, Sanatana saw Shri Gaurachandra holding his shoulder saying, "A brahmana boy named Shrinivasa will distribute love of God in Gauda. When I have completed my manifest pastimes on this earth, he will come to Vrndavana. Look after him when he arrives in Vraja. Do not worry about seeing Me again. Whether I am present on this earth or not, by my grace you shall be able to see me in everyone."
The next day the Gosvamis discussed together. Bhatta said, "Prabhu will send an illustrious devotee to Vraja. Shall I be able to see him with my own eyes?" Shri Rupa replied, "By the grace of Mahaprabhu I received the order to write books. My labour will see its fruition if I am able to meet this gifted devotee in my lifetime. I want to hand over these books to him with my own hands. I shall personally instruct him on the science of Krishna consciousness."
The Gosvamis were extremely happy to think that in the future all types of people would be delivered from a hellish condition of life. From that time it became the daily custom of Gopala Bhatta to wear the dora on his neck at the time of his meditation. One day Bhatta declared that in a dream he had seen Shrinivasa in his mother's womb in the house of Chaitanya dasa. He also predicted that after Shrinivasa's birth, he would propagate the holy name of the Lord and deliver all classes of mankind. Sanatana and others also saw the same thing in their dreams. Thus their minds were filled with thought of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and they eagerly awaited the day when they would meet Shrinivasa.
Meanwhile in Nilacala, Svarupa Damodara's mind was perturbed. Regularly he was observing many bad omens in his dreams. One day Svarupa privately requested Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to tell him something about the qualities of Shrinivasa. After hearing about Shrinivasa, Svarupa was greatly relieved and wrote a letter to Sanatana Gosvami. He explained that Chaitanya dasa was now performing rituals on the bank of the Ganges hoping for the benediction of a son. It was revealed to Chaitanya dasa in a dream that his son would be of a bright (Gaura) golden complexion, his name would be Shrinivasa and he would spread the message of Lord of Godhead on Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's behalf. Chaitanya dasa's wife, Laksmipriya, had also been blessed with the darsana of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in her dream. The Lord placed His hand on her head and told her to be happy for she would be the mother of a wonderful son. The touch of the Lord filled her with ecstacy emotions and she cried incessantly. Laksmipriya told her husband, "An extraordinary person is within my womb. Due to his presence there will be no poverty in our family. Please stay here with me now, and do not go elsewhere, even to perform Harinama sankirtana."
Chaitanya dasa replied, "But how can I remain at home? I cannot even sleep for I have no money to care for my family."
Laksmipriya said, "We have enormous wealth now. Our poverty-stricken days are over. Formerly we suffered due to the tyranny of the Muslim king, but now he is gone. Formerly the Zamindar of our village had fled in fear of the Muslim king, but now he has returned to care for our village. Previously the people in general constantly chanted the names of Durga and Siva, now we hear them uttering the names of Radha Krishna. All of these are auspicious signs."
Around that time a wicked brahmana misdirected the Zamindar and thus the Zamindar sent out a drummer to announce to the people that they should utter the names of Siva and Durga, otherwise their properties would be taken away. The drummer went out to make the announcement, but the drummer spontaneously began to chant the name of Radha Krishna, rather than Durga and Siva. Hearing this all the young boys and girls danced and chanted the names of Radha Krishna. Thus the entire city became ecstatic in love for Radha Krishna. All the dancers went to the house of Chaitanya dasa, who became very nervous upon seeing the Zamindar. He quickly welcomed him and offered him a seat. He was not sure how to receive Durgadasa, the Zamindar, but politely requested him to take his bath and after that Chaitanya dasa offered him sumptuous foodstuffs. Durgadasa was astonished to see that such a poor man had arranged this wonderful variety of opulent food. After finishing his meal Durgadasa took rest in the house of Chaitanya dasa. At night he awoke from his sleep upon hearing the beautiful sound of khola and kartalas playing. However, when he woke up he could no longer hear the extraordinary sound and fell unconscious on the ground. At that time Laksmipriya told her husband, "Look carefully, two bright complexioned boys are dancing in sankirtana. Both of them placed their feet on my head and ordered that I remain peaceful for ten months. After that they will again dance in my courtyard." Durgadasa, who had seen and heard everything, was overcome with ecstacy. He cried loudly and fell to the ground.
Acarya (Chaitanya dasa) eventually pacified Durgadasa, yet he remained desperate to understand what he had seen. Acarya told him, "The two personalities you have seen were simply in a dream, why are you becoming so restless over a dream?" Raya (Durgadasa) would not except this answer, "Why are you trying to fool me," he said, "it is not a dream. I have seen them with my own eyes. But now cruel Providence has deprived me of their sight. O Acarya, I know that my own God has entered into my body. It is the saying of the scriptures that he who discards his own God, will go to hell. I have heard from others that God has incarnated as Gaura in Navadvipa and that is the God which has entered into my heart. That God has taken the place of my own worshipable deity and is the God who was dancing in you courtyard. I saw two bright complexioned deities in my dream. Now please tell me what am I to do?"
Acarya replied, "You are my king and I am your subject, what can I say to you?"
Raya said, "I have told you everything. Now I am filled with the desire to chant the holy name of Radha and Krishna." Thereafter Raya returned to his home, determined to find a proper guru. When he understood who his guru was to be, he returned to Acarya and said, "It is inconceivable that even within his mother's womb, this Shrinivasa, has the power to flood the world with the holy names of God. Even in Navadvipa, Mahaprabhu has not succeeded in inducing others to chant the holy names to the extent that Shrinivasa has done in Cakandi from within the womb of his mother. Even the atheist's have taken to chanting the holy name of Krishna. Mahaprabhu has certainly showered His blessings upon Shrinivasa. My advice to all the people is to worship the two brothers, Chaitanya and Nitai, as there is none so merciful as these two Lord's."
While Shrinivasa was within the womb of his mother, Laksmipriya and Acarya spent their days in extreme happiness. The villagers of Cakandi brought all the necessities of life to the house of Chaitanya dasa and in this way he no longer felt the strain of poverty.
Eventually the auspicious time for giving birth to a child came near and on the day of the full moon in the month of Vaisakha (April-May) Laksmipriya gave birth to a male child. With a delighted heart, Acarya entered the room and saw the moon-like face of his son. The brahmanas recited from the Vedas, the demigods showered blessings from the sky, and the women made auspicious sounds, while the children and aged danced together joyfully. Even the cows with their calves made jovial sounds. The villagers all brought gifts for the child, and Durgadasa Raya came along with a grand musical possession to the house of Chaitanya dasa. Everyone danced merrily in the courtyard of the house, while Acarya distributed gifts to the brahmanas. No sound other than the chanting of the holy name could be heard. At the end of the day Raya happily returned home.
Keeping faith in the lotus feet of Shri Jahnava and Viracandra, I, Nityananda dasa narrate Prem Vilasa.