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Vyasa Avatara Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura
Chapter Twelve: The Lord’s Wandering Throughout Navadvipa
CB Adi-khanda 12.151
ei-mata navadvipe yata nagariya
sabara mandire prabhu bulena bhramiya
In this way the Lord visited every house in Navadvipa.
CB Adi-khanda 12.152
sei bhagye adyapi nagarika-gana
paya shri-chaitanya-nityanandera carana
For this reason even today the residents of Navadvipa attain the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda.
CB Adi-khanda 12.153
tabe icchamaya gauracandra bhagavan
sarvajnera ghare prabhu karila payan
The supremely independent Lord Gaurachandra then went to the house of an astrologer.
CB Adi-khanda 12.154
dekhiya prabhura teja sei sarva-jana
vinaya-sambhrama kari’ karila pranama
As the astrologer saw the effulgence of the Lord, he humbly offered obeisances.
The word sarva-jana, or sab-janta in common language, refers to one who is perfect in Vishnu-mantras, who is omniscient, and who knows past, present, and future.
CB Adi-khanda 12.155
prabhu bole,-“tumi sarva-jana bhala shuni
bola dekhi, anya-janme ki chilana ami?”
The Lord asked him, “I’ve heard that you are a good astrologer. Could you please tell Me who I was in My previous birth?”
CB Adi-khanda 12.156
“bhala” bali’ sarva-jna sukriti cinte mane
japite gopala mantra dekhe sei-kshane
The pious astrologer agreed to the Lord’s request and began to chant the Gopala mantra within his mind.
CB Adi-khanda 12.157
shankha, cakra, gada, padma, catur-bhuja shyama
At that moment the astrologer saw a beautiful blackish personality with four hands holding the conch, disc, club, and lotus flower. His chest was decorated with Shrivatsa and the brilliantly effulgent Kaustubha gem.
The word shankha refers to the Pancajanya conch, the word cakra refers to the Sudarshana cakra, gada refers to the Kaumodaki club, and padma refers to the Shrivasa lotus. It is stated in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana (Prakriti-khanda, Chapter 14): “Behold Lord Hari, who is holding the conch, disc, club, and lotus in His four hands. His enchanting form is blackish like the new rain cloud.”
Shrivatsa is an upanga, or secondary limb, of Lord Vishnu, situated as a white tuft of hair curling clockwise on His chest. Another opinion is given by Bharata Muni in his commentary on the Amara-kosha as follows: “The devotees of Krishna accept Shrivatsa as a special jewel like Kaustubha, which adorns the chest of the Lord.”
Kaustubha, the upanga, or secondary limb, of Lord Vishnu is the best of all jewels and is situated on the chest of Vishnu.
In the Laghu-bhagavatamrita it is stated:
kaustubhas tu mahatejah koti-surya-sama-prabhah
idam kim uta vaktavyam pradipad ati-diptiman
“The most effulgent Kaustubha gem is as bright as millions of suns. How can the source of all illumination be compared to a lamp?”
Hemacandra the dictionary compiler has said:
shankho ‘sya pancajanyo ‘nkah shrivatso ‘sis tu nandakah
gada kaumudaki capam sharnga cakram sudarshanah
manih syamantako haste bhuja-madhye tu kaustubhah
“The name of Lord Vishnu’s conch is Pancajanya, the white hairs on His chest that curl clockwise are called Shrivatsa, His sword is called Nandaka, His club is called Kaumodaki, His bow is called Sharnga, His disc is called Sudarshana, the jewel in His hand is called Syamantaka, and the jewel on His chest is called Kaustubha.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.158
nishabhage prabhure dekhena bandi-ghare
pita-mata dekhaye sammukhe stuti kare
He saw the Lord in the prison cell being offered prayers by His parents at the dead of night.
CB Adi-khanda 12.159
sei-kshane dekhe-pita putre lai’ kole
sei ratre thuilena aniya gokule
He then saw Vasudeva carry the Lord that night to Gokula.
CB Adi-khanda 12.160
punah dekhe,-mohana dvi-bhuja digambare
katite kinkini, navanita dui kare
The astrologer again saw the Lord as an enchanting two-armed naked child with a string of small bells around His waist and butter in His two hands.
CB Adi-khanda 12.161
nija-ishta-murti yaha cinte anukshana
sarva-jna dekhaye sei-sakala lakshana
The astrologer saw His worshipable Lord decorated with all the symptoms that he had meditated on.
CB Adi-khanda 12.162
punah dekhe tribhangima murali-vadana
catur-dike yantra-gita gaya gopi-gana
He then again saw the threefold bending form of the Lord playing on His flute and surrounded on all sides by the gopis, who were singing and playing various musical instruments.
The phrase yantra-gita refers to singing with the accompaniment of musical instruments.
CB Adi-khanda 12.163
dekhiya adbhuta, cakshu mele sarva-jana
gaurange cahiya punah-punah kare dhyana
After seeing this wonderful vision, the astrologer opened his eyes and saw Gauranga standing before him. Then he again entered into meditation.
CB Adi-khanda 12.164
sarva-jna kahaye,-“shuna, shri-bala-gopala!
ke achila dvija ei, dekhao sakala”
The astrologer said, “O Bala-gopala, please listen! Quickly show me who this brahmana was.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.165
tabe dekhe,-dhanurdhara durvadala-shyama
virasane prabhure dekhaye sarva-jana
The astrologer then saw the Lord with a greenish durva grass complexion holding a bow in His hand and sitting on a royal throne.
CB Adi-khanda 12.166
punah dekhe prabhure pralaya-jala majhe
adbhuta varaha-murti, dante prithvi saje
Thereafter he saw the Lord in the middle of the waters of devastation. He had the wonderful form of a boar, and He held the earth on His tusks.
CB Adi-khanda 12.167
punah dekhe prabhure nrisimha-avatara
maha-ugra rupa bhakta-vatsala apara
He then saw the Lord as Nrisimha. Although He appeared most ferocious, He was the ultimate well-wisher of His devotees.
CB Adi-khanda 12.168
punah dekhe tanhare vamana-rupa dhari’
bali-yajna chalite achena maya kari’
Next he saw the form of Vamana, waiting to deceive Bali at his sacrifice.
CB Adi-khanda 12.169
punah dekhe,-matsya-rupe pralayera jale
karite achena jala-krida kutuhale
He then saw the form of Matsya happily sporting in the waters of devastation.
CB Adi-khanda 12.170
sukriti sarva-jna punah dekhaye prabhure
matta haladhara-rupa shri-mushala kare
The pious astrologer then saw the intoxicated form of Lord Balarama, holding a plow and club in His hands.
CB Adi-khanda 12.171
punah dekhe jagannatha-murti sarva-jana
madhye shobhe subhadra, dakshine balarama
He next saw the form of Jagannatha, with Balarama on His right and Subhadra in-between.
CB Adi-khanda 12.172
ei-mata ishvara-tattva dekhe sarva-jana
tathapi na bujhe kichu,-hena maya ta’na
In this way the astrologer saw the Lord’s various incarnations, but due to the Lord’s illusory energy he was unable to ascertain the meaning of what he had seen.
CB Adi-khanda 12.173
cintaye sarva-jna mane haiya vismita
“hena bujhi,-e brahmana maha-mantra-vit
The astrologer was struck with wonder and thought, “I think that this brahmana is expert in the chanting of mantras.
CB Adi-khanda 12.174
athava devata kona asiya kautuke
parikshite amare va chale vipra-rupe
“Otherwise He may be a demigod who has come disguised as a brahmana to test me.
CB Adi-khanda 12.175
amanushi teja dekhi’ viprera sharire
sarva-jna kariya kiba kadarthe amare?”
“I see a supernatural effulgence emanating from the body of this brahmana. Has He come to discredit me?”
CB Adi-khanda 12.176
eteka cintite prabhu balila hasiya
“ke ami, ki dekha, kene na kaha bhangiya?”
The Lord smiled and asked the thoughtful astrologer, “Who am I? What did you see? Tell Me everything in detail.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.177
sarva-jna bolaye,-“tumi calaha ekhane
vikale kahimu mantra japi’ bhala mane”
The astrologer said, “You please go home for now. I will tell You everything in the afternoon after I peacefully chant my mantra.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.178
“bhala bhala” bali’ prabhu hasiya calila
tabe priya-shridharera mandire aila
Smiling, the Lord agreed to the astrologer’s request and went to the house of His dear devotee Shridhara.
Shridharera mandira, the house of Shridhara, is situated on an elevated tract of land at one end of Mayapur, near the village of Sharadanga and one mile east of Chand Kazi’s samadhi. There is a small pond nearby.
CB Adi-khanda 12.179
shridharere prabhu bada prasanna antare
nana chale aisena prabhu ta’na ghare
Shridhara was very dear to the Lord’s heart, and the Lord would therefore visit him on various pretexts.
CB Adi-khanda 12.180
vakovakya-parihasa shridharera sange
dui cari danda kari’ cale prabhu range
The Lord would tease Shridhara in the course of their regular conversations, which would last for an hour or two.
The word vakovakya means “conversation” or “speaking and hearing.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.181
prabhu dekhi’ shridhara kariya namaskara
shraddha kari’ asana dilena vasivara
When Shridhara saw that Nimai had arrived, he offered Him obeisances and a place to sit.
CB Adi-khanda 12.182
parama-sushanta shridharera vyavasaya
prabhu viharena yena uddhatera praya
Shridhara was always peaceful in his behavior, while the Lord enjoyed playing the role of an agitated young man.
The word vyavasaya means “behavior,” “dealings,” or “nature.” The phrase uddhatera praya refers to an externally mischievous display of arrogance while actually benefiting the living entities by accepting service.
CB Adi-khanda 12.183
prabhu bole,-“shridhara, tumi ye anukshana
‘hari hari’ bola, tabe duhkha ki karana?
The Lord said, “Shridhara, you always chant the name of Hari, so why are you always afflicted by poverty?
CB Adi-khanda 12.184
lakshmi-kante sevana kariya kene tumi
anna-vastre duhkha pao, kaha dekhi, shuni?”
“Can you please tell Me why, after serving the beloved Lord of Lakshmi, you do not get sufficient food and clothes?”
Lord Narayana is the omnipotent sole proprietor of unlimited opulences. In order to test His own servant, Shridhara, the Lord asked him why the servants of Narayana remain afflicted with poverty in this world even though they are eligible for the wealth of their Lord. Although the followers of shakta philosophy who wish to mitigate their poverty or gratify their senses and fulfill their self-interest offer water and tulasi leaves at the feet of Lord Narayana and thus receive mundane opulences or temporary benefits, they do not achieve eternal good fortune. But the fully surrendered servants of Narayana who are engaged in unalloyed service do not accept any exchange for their service. In order to exhibit the ideal example of such Vaishnava qualities, the Lord’s associates from Vaikuntha display various poverty stricken pastimes. By such pastimes, however, they do not feel any misery. They have the following strong conviction at heart: tomara sevaya duhkha haya yata, se o ta’ parama sukha-“Whatever misery comes in the course of Your service is my greatest happiness.” They do not desire anything from the Lord for their own sense gratification. But foolish persons, through material vision inspired by external considerations, think that Vaishnavas are afflicted by various needs. Since due to a lack of wealth, Shridhara Vipra or other pure devotees of the Lord appear from the material point of view unable to accumulate fine items of enjoyment for dressing and eating like ordinary people, such questions may naturally arise. This is clearly seen in this conversation between Shridhara and Shri Gaurasundara.
CB Adi-khanda 12.185
shridhara bolena,-“upavasa ta’ na kari
chota hauka, bada hauka, vastra dekha pari”
Shridhara replied, “At least I’m not starving, and whether small or large I’m still wearing some cloth.”
In reply to Nimai’s question, Shridhara said, “I have no difficulties due to a lack of food and clothing. I do not completely fast, I eat something or another. Though I do not have the opportunity to wear fine clothing, I cover myself somehow with torn cloth.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.186
prabhu bole,-“dekhilana ganthi dasha-thani
ghare bola, dekhitechi khadagachi nai
The Lord said, “But I see your cloth is mended in ten places, and the roof of your cottage has no straw.
The word ganthi (a corrupted form of the Sanskrit word granthi) means “knotted,” “tied,” or “sown.”
The Lord then said, “I can see that there are many knots all over your old torn cloth, and there are many holes in the thatched roof of your old cottage.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.187
dekha, ei candi-vishaharire pujiya
ke na ghare khaya pare’ saba nagariya”
“Look at other people. They worship Candi or Vishahari, so they have no scarcity for food or cloth.”
The Lord further said, “Just see how the followers of shakta philosophy live happily and comfortably, not by worshiping the eternally revered Supreme Lord but by worshiping Candika-devi, who awards benedictions for sense gratification like wealth, followers, and conquest of enemies, and by worshiping Vishahari, who destroys the fear of snakes! And you have brought on yourself this pathetic condition by engaging in the service of the Lord without expressing any desire for material happiness and comfort!” Through this question put before the great devotee Shridhara, Shri Gaurasundara revealed the mentality of pure Vaishnavas and illustrated proper philosophy. In Shrimad Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s famous book named Jaiva-dharma the mentality of the shakta philosophy followers, who desire material advancement, is described. We can see by his description that communities desirous of material advancement and puffed up with false pride based on perishable material wealth, followers, knowledge, and their deceitful civilization are cheated out of achieving the ultimate goal of life on account of seeing the external poverty of the Vaishnavas and attributing various needs and abominations on the Vaishnavas. Actually they do not understand that the Vaishnavas alone are the rightful heirs of Lord Narayana’s entire sixfold opulences.
CB Adi-khanda 12.188
shridhara bolena,-“vipra, balila uttama
tathapi sabara kala yaya eka-sama
Shridhara then replied, “O brahmana, what You say is indeed correct, yet the time passes equally for everyone.
CB Adi-khanda 12.189
ratna ghare thake, raja divya khaya pare’
pakshi-gana thake, dekha, vrikshera upare
“The king has jewels in his house, and he eats opulent food. Meanwhile, the birds live in trees.
CB Adi-khanda 12.190
kala punah sabara samana hai’ yaya
sabe nija-karma bhunje ishvara-icchaya”
“Yet time passes equally for everyone, as they all enjoy the fruits of their previous activities by the will of the Lord.”
In reply to the Lord’s question, Shridhara Vipra said, “Although according to mundane calculation the worshipers of the demigods who do not worship Vishnu appear superior, the Vaishnavas and non-Vaishnavas both pass their lives in the same way. Actually non-Vaishnavas are busy making arrangements for their comfortable material happiness through material advancement while remaining indifferent to the service of Lord Hari, and the Vaishnavas are always busy serving the Lord while remaining indifferent to material advancement and thus have no opportunity to act as sense enjoyers. As a king lives in his palace, which is full of unlimited jewels, pearls, wealth, and opulences, receiving unlimited care, affection, and respect from his many order-carriers, servants, and associates and thus passes his time accumulating many valuable foodstuffs and clothes that he desires, in a similar way birds who are nourished without endeavor by mother nature also build their nests with straw and grasses at the tops of high trees and pass their time accumulating their respective foods from here and there by their own hard labor, without the help of anyone else. Everyone passes their life in the same way, and everyone lives within this world, enjoying the happiness and distress of their own karma. As a result of my karma I am also passing my time in the service of the Lord according to my own intelligence and taste without desiring external material advancement. Therefore according to material calculation I have no necessities at all. Those with equal vision do not discriminate between objects of sense enjoyment; rather, discriminating between inferior and superior objects of sense enjoyment simply indicates one’s likes and dislikes. In ancient times, due to the scarcity of varieties of enjoyment like good food and clothing, people were extremely poor and narrow-minded. In the course of time people gradually became more busy in activities of material sense enjoyment and continued such endeavors with the support of mundane physics and science. If we minutely study, however, we will see that there is not much difference between the people’s happiness and distress in the two time periods. Although there is certainly an increase and decrease in the necessities of life, since conditioned souls welcome enjoyment of the fruits of their activities according to their respective desires, all living entities pass their time in the same way. But those who are devotees of the Lord achieve happiness from His service and thus pass their time in unalloyed happiness, considering even so-called external misery as happiness. And those who are engaged in material enjoyment, which is not related with the Lord, pass their time in temporary adulterated happiness and distress.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.191-192
prabhu bole,-“tomara vistara ache dhana
taha tumi lukaiya karaha bhojana
taha mui vidita karimu kata dine
tabe dekhi, tumi loka bhandiba kemane?”
The Lord then said, “You have great wealth that you are secretly enjoying. I will soon disclose this to everyone. Then how will you cheat us?”
After hearing Shridhara’s words, the Lord replied, “You are already very rich, so there is no need for you to accumulate external mundane wealth. Therefore you do not consider external worldly scarcity as poverty. One who is engaged in the service of the fully omnipotent Lord cannot have any weakness or scarcity at all. After a few days I will reveal to the human society that is ignorant of the position and glories of the Vaishnavas that the Vaishnavas are the sole proprietors of all wealth. It will no longer remain secret that the Vaishnavas are situated on the topmost platform and are the proprietors of everything, including all opulences. I will soon disclose this to all the foolish ignorant people of the world.” The materialists, who are attached to sense gratification and who are greedy for material advancement, cannot measure the expertise and supremacy of the Vaishnavas through their own broken, limited yardstick. That is why they are completely cheated out of receiving the Vaishnavas’ mercy and understanding the Absolute Truth. Since the value of their qualification is so meager, the Vaishnavas conceal their real identities from them.
CB Adi-khanda 12.193
shridhara bolena,-“ghare calaha, pandita
tomaya amaya dvandva na haya ucita”
Shridhara said, “O Pandita, please go home now. It is not proper for us to argue.”
The Lord externally accepted the doctrine of the shakta philosophy and opposed the path of devotional service followed by Shridhara. The Lord, acting as one of the ordinary persons amongst whom there are differences of opinion, is actually disclosing the real form and process of Vaishnava philosophy on the pretext of questions and answers.
CB Adi-khanda 12.194
prabhu bole,-“ami toma’ na chadi emane
ki amare diba’, taha bola ei-kshane
The Lord said, “I’m not going to leave you so easily. First tell Me what you’ll give Me.”
After Shridhara and the Lord personally exhibited pastimes of giving and taking, the Lord is trying to accept a portion of Shridhara’s confidential internal and ordinary external wealth.
CB Adi-khanda 12.195
shridhara bolena,-“ami khola veci’ khai
ihate ki dimu, taha balaha, gosani!”
Shridhara said, “I maintain myself by selling leaf cups. So tell me, what can I give You, Gosani?”
The Lord personally displayed pastimes of poverty and want and accepted ingredients earned through the physical and mental labor of poverty-stricken poor people in order to benefit them. Shridhara said, “According to Your own calculation, whatever wealth I have, is not even sufficient for me. Therefore I cannot give charity like a wealthy person. What can I give You? The fruitive workers who are maddened within this material world are busy enjoying the fruits of their respective activities. They donate a portion of their wealth and become famous as charitable persons. But there is no possibility of achieving such fame for a poor penniless person like me.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.196-197
prabhu bole,-“ye tomara pota dhana ache
se thakuka ekhane, paiba taha pache
ebe kala, mula, thoda deha kadi-vine
dile, ami kandala na kari toma’ sane”
The Lord said, “Let your hidden treasure remain for now. I’ll take that later. For now, give Me some bananas, banana flowers, and banana stalks free of charge. Then I won’t argue with you.”
In answer to this, the Lord said, “At present I do not want the spiritual wealth that you possess. I am only trying to take a portion of your external wealth. I will accept spiritual service from you after some time. For now, relieve My needs with your service as a sadhaka. As a spiritual master, I am the worshipable object of sadhana-bhakti. So for now I will accept a portion of your ordinary wealth as an offering.”
In the Shri Narada-pancaratra it is stated:
surarshe vihita shastre harim uddishya ya kriya
saiva bhaktir iti prokta taya bhaktih para bhavet
“O sage amongst the demigods, Narada, those activities prescribed in the revealed scriptures for satsifying the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, are called the regulative principles of bhakti, (sadhana-bhakti), by practicing which one may attain the highest bhakti (prema).”
Some people who are intoxicated by material existence think, “Whatever activities we must perform in this life, or the duties that are prescribed in this world by the niti-shastras, must be totally followed as long as we have a human body. Apart from these duties there is no need for performing devotional service to the Supreme Lord, because the Absolute Truth is neither a product of this material world nor perceivable by the senses, rather the Absolute Truth is just the opposite. Therefore as long as we are alive we will remain fruitive enjoyers, and our only perpetual occupation will be to enjoy the fruits of our karma. Service to the Supreme Lord is not our occupation; we will think about this in the next world or after death.” But they do not know that the material objects that we see are diametrically incompatible with each other. Both propensities-service and enjoyment-are present in every object, either in manifest or unmanifest form. If someone partially manifests a attitude for enjoying the object of worship, no one should count his service attitude on the same level as those with a pure service attitude. To consider the object of worship as the ideal object of enjoyment is totally reprehensible. When a worshiper is self-realized, then his worship is purified, his perception of the worshipable object is purified, and the ingredients he offers in worship are purified. Though many rituals in the process of worship appear incongruous from the external point of view, if one’s intelligence for understanding the purport and essence of the shrutis is awakened, then he can appreciate unalloyed devotional service, which is situated beyond material enjoyment and renunciation. Some persons who accept material enjoyment as the goal of life think that all objects of this visible world are unfit for the service of the Lord and are simply meant for the enjoyment of the living entities-in other words, they are not ingredients for the service of the Lord-for the proper utility of all objects is to increase the living entities’ thirst for sense enjoyment, not to be engaged in the service of the Lord. But Shri Gaurasundara said, “All objects can be seen in relationship to Krishna. If the living entities simply give up their attachment for sense gratification, then such vision is possible. If one renounces objects that are related to Krishna, considering them mundane, then he is misusing his renunciation. Actually, the purpose of renunciation is to give up attachment for matter and engage the mind in the Supreme Lord.”
CB Adi-khanda 12.198-200
mane bhave shridhara,-“uddhata vipra bada
kon dina amare kilaya pache dada
marile o brahmanere ki karite pari?
kadi-vina prati-dina dibare o nari
tathapiha bale chale ye laya brahmane
se amara bhagya bate, dimu prati-dine”
Shridhara thought, “This brahmana is very aggressive. I’m afraid that one day He will beat me. But even if He beats me, what can I do to a brahmana? At the same time, I can’t supply Him free of charge every day. Anyway, whatever this brahmana takes by force or deceit, that is my good fortune. So I’ll continue to give Him every day.”
Shridhara Vipra thought, “Prabhu has a very arrogant nature. If I do not act according to His will, then He may even beat me. Moreover, I am personally poor and unable to meet the expenses of my own food and clothing. Therefore it is impossible for me to give anything free of cost. Nevertheless a brahmana is the representative of the Supreme Lord; if I can help Him without duplicity in any way, then there is a possibility of awakening my good fortune. For this reason whatever He will take from me either by force or trickery, I have no objection. I will be prepared to give Him every day. If by His exhibition of force or trickery this brahmana is benefited by me in any way, then I will consider it the result of my good fortune.” By this pastime, Shri Gaurasundara and His devotee, Shridhara, set an example for living entities who desire their own benefit to earn unknown piety. Although the smarta communities, or persons who are expert in worldly morality, consider the behavior of both as unsatisfactory and apparently contradictory, a living entity who is self-realized can understand that such exchanges are the source of unlimited auspiciousness. Great personalities who desire the welfare of other living entities give fallen souls the opportunity to earn unknown piety; it is to be understood that their apparent use of force and trickery is only for the benefit of others (in other words, for the benefit of the fallen souls).
Commentary and Chapter Summaries of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.