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Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura in Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata Adi Khanda 1st Chp on Lord Nityananda Balarama.
I offer my respectful obeisances to my worshipable Lord and spiritual master, Shri Nityananda Raya, by whose mercy the transcendental pastimes of Lord Shri Chaitanya become spontaneously manifest. With a thousand tongues we should incessantly glorify the Supreme Lord Balarama, because His thousand mouths as Ananta Sesa constantly glorify Lord Krishna. Just as priceless gems are kept in secure custody, so also the invaluable jewel of knowledge about Krishna's pastimes is kept safely in the mouth of Anantadeva. Therefore the tongue which initially glorifies Balarama will automatically be qualified to vibrate the transcendental pastime of Shri Chaitanya.
The Supreme Lord Haladhara holds His thousand hoods like snakes. He is a gigantic figure and the source of all inspiration. As Nityananda He is fully transcendental and eternally existent, intoxicated by the nectar of Shri Chaitanya. Whoever sings or hears about Nityananda's supramundane character is offered the supreme shelter of Lord Chaitanya.
Mahesa and his consort Parvatidevi take great pleasure in eulogizing the object of their love - Sankarsana, Nityananda Prabhu. In the midst of a million fresh young maidens, the pure devotee, Shri Siva, and his consort pour out nectarean devotional hymns to Lord Sankarsana.
All this is revealed in the Fifth Canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Balarama is worshipped by the entire Vaishnava world with songs of praise. Balarama danced with His gopis in Vrndavana, and their rasa dance is the pinnacle of sublimity. The Puranas describe that Balarama performed His rasa dance during the two months of spring, Madhava and Madhu. The Shrimad Bhagavatam verses narrating this subject were spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Pariksit.
Balarama spent the moonlit nights of the months of Vaisaka and Caitra with the cowherd damsels in the supramundane abode of Vrndavana. The place was set aglow with the rays of the moon. The lotus and kadamba flowers bloomed freely under the influence of the moon's rays, and a soft breeze circulated their scent. In the groves on the bank of the Jamuna, Balarama danced with the gopis, increasing their conjugal mood. The Supreme Lord Balarama, like an exquisite gem decorated by the cluster of gopis, performed His pleasurable pastimes. He behaved like Indra's elephant Airavata - the controller of many she-elephants. The Gandharvas observed the rasa dance and offered their prayers.
The sound of kettle drums rose from the heavens, the demigods joyously showered flowers upon Them, and the Gandharvas and sages worshipped the Supreme Lord Balarama with verses praising His activities. The sages unequivocally denounce association with women, yet they sung hymns in praise of Balarama's rasa dance with His cowherd damsels. The demigods attended Balarama's rasa dance to shower flower petals. They knew that there was no difference between Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama, Haladhara. The transcendental qualities of Balarama are obscure in the four Vedas, but the Puranas describe them boldly. What power do I have to describe them? Out of ignorance, some people disregard the Puranas and reject Balarama's rasa dance as unauthentic.
The two brothers, Lord Krishna and Balarama, performed the rasa dance with the gopis in the same place in Vrndavana. On the radiant full moon night of holi, at the end of sivaratri vrata, Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama, accompanied by Their cowherd boy friends, enjoyed Themselves in the midst of the beautiful maidens of Vrndavana. They were both pleasingly decorated with the finest jewelry, sandalwood pulp, wildflower garlands and exquisite clothes. The fortunate gopis sang sweetly, their hearts enraptured by love for Krishna and Balarama.
Evening had not set in; the moon and the stars appeared. The fragrance of Arabian jasmine intoxicated the bumblebees, and a light breeze carried the aromas of white lilies and lotus flowers. Considering that very moment to be appropriate, Krishna and Balarama began Their pleasurable dalliances. They sang together for the pleasure of all living entities, Their voices rising and falling melodiously.
If a person, after reading Shrimad Bhagavatam, is not affectionately inclined towards Lord Balarama, then he is rejected by the Supreme Lord Vishnu and His devotees. In the words of Shrimad Bhagavatam, a non-believer is a yavana (a barbarian). He is destined to suffer in hell, birth after birth.
There are others who, like eunuchs, make emotional gesticulations, challenging, "Which scripture describes the rasa dance of Balarama?" Who is so sinful that even after reading the scriptures, he can not accept the truth, but misinterprets the real meaning and gives his own distorted understanding?
Lord Balarama is the abode of Lord Chaitanya's deep affection. Offense at Balarama's lotus feet destroys all possibilities for salvation. In His incarnation as Laksmana the younger brother of Lord Ramacandra, Balarama enacted the role of the Lord's servitor. Yet in His manifestation as the Supreme Lord, Balarama serves Himself in every respect - as a friend and a brother, by fanning Him, putting Him to sleep, glorifying Him with Vedic invocations and expanding Himself as His house, umbrella, attire, jewelry and seat. "O Lord ! Your direct, partial expansion, Ananta Sesa, is the source of all the various ingredients for Your service in the transcendental realm of Vaikuntha. Ananta Sesa is famous because He is manifest as Your residence, bed throne, shoes, clothes, jewelry, etc. When shall I see you with Laksmidevi seated on the throne of Ananta Sesa?
Ananta Sesa's partial expansion is the mighty Shri Garuda whose satisfaction is derived from acting as the Lord's carrier in every pastime. Ananta's devotees include Brahma, Siva, the four Kumaras, Shrila Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami, Narada Muni and others. His glorious qualities are unlimited and are not fully understood by anyone. He is the original personality, the greatest mystic, the Supreme Lord, and the greatest devotee of the Vaishnavas.
Thus far you have heard about the wonderful services performed by Ananta Sesa; now hear about His great opulence. He is enthroned in the lower planetary system of patala as his own source and repose. He is worshipped by all as His thousand mouths continually taste the full nectar of love of Godhead. In the court of Brahma, Narada Muni plays on his vina, and with well-composed verses he sings the wonderful glories of Ananta. Is it humanly possible to know the supramundane nature of Anantadeva? Just by His glance, He sets in motion the three modes of material nature which are the cause of this world's creation, maintenance, and annihilation. Although He is one, He supports the entire variegated material cosmic manifestation Himself (within the pores of His person). He is beginningless and eternal. Other then Lord Sankarsana, who can offer shelter to persons devoid of all material aspirations? He is the support on which the material world manifests and acts. That Supreme Lord, the cause of all causes, has appeared in His sublime spiritual form. He is the most powerful; in comparison, the power of a lion is insignificant. He performs pure transcendental pastimes to capture the hearts of His dear devotees, and He destroys countless sins by manifesting His transcendental form. What more is there to say than this? One becomes purified by hearing or calling out the name of Lord Anantadeva, either respectfully or accidentally. Even a degraded person is purified when he tauntingly utters the name of Shri Ananta.
Anantadeva's mighty potency is beyond measure. That Supreme Lord carries on just one of His thousand heads the entire universe with all its living entities, mountains, and rivers, and that universe appears to be only a minute, atomic speck. Even if a person acquires a thousand tongues, how can he describe the power of the omnipotent Supreme Lord? Anantadeva is His own shelter and source, filled with unlimited power and strength. While residing in the lower planetary system of rasatala, He holds this gigantic cosmic manifestation with ease born of detachment. This material world's creation, maintenance, and annihilation, as well as the three modes of material nature, are activated by His glance. Who can fathom Anantadeva's non-dual, transcendental, eternal and unborn existence?
Out of mercy toward the living entities the Lord manifests His supramundane spiritual form while He performs His variegated pastimes. All living entities reside within that transcendental form. The mighty Lord Nrsimhadeva represents but a wave in the ocean of the Lord's unlimited pastimes which satisfy the hearts of His devotees. Anantadeva's unlimited names, when heard or chanted by anyone in any manner, immediately sever the noose of innumerable births and deaths. Thus the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord always appreciated those who glorify Him. Ananta Sesa is the supreme destination of the entire universe; His holy name is the only means for the living entities's redemption. The Lord holds on His head the unlimited material nature - along with its mountains and oceans - simply for its protection and maintenance. The entire universe is a speck on one of His thousand hoods, and because of His unlimited strength, He does not feel the burden.
Lord Anantadeva, the original Supreme Personality and maintainer of the entire cosmic manifestation, incessantly sings in glorification of Lord Krishna. He continuously describes every aspect of the Lord's divine attributes. Lord Krishna is eternal and His attributes are unending, therefore He can never be fully described or glorified. But Ananta is also eternal and His ability to glorify the Lord is unending. In Their divine relationship, neither is ever victorious. Even today Ananta Sesa's thousand mouths continuously sing the glories of the Supreme Lord Krishna Chaitanya. How wonderfully Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama compete with each other! Brahma, Siva, other demigods and the perfected sages look on, feeling great exhilaration. The eulogies of Anantadeva pursue the ever-expanding, elusive shores of Lord Krishna's ocean of qualities.
O Narada, I Brahma, and your elders, Sanaka and other sages cannot even fathom the extent of this material nature, what to speak of knowing the Supreme Lord's spiritual potencies. Anantadeva, the origin of all demigods, is unable to exhaustively glorify the Supreme Lord's transcendental opulence and potencies with His thousand mouths. Therefore how is it possible for ordinary mortals to understand these divine potencies? Anantadeva is Himself the master of unlimited attributes, and He resides in rasatala simply to support the vast material creation.
In the court of Brahma Narada Muni plays His vina and sings about these very same transcendental qualities of the Supreme Lord. Brahma and others are stunned in ecstasy upon hearing about the supramundane qualities of the Supreme Lord, and Narada Muni is worshiped by all because he sings about those qualities. I have also been moved to write a few phrases in praise of the unlimited potencies of Lord Nityananda, Anantadeva, so I humbly request all of you to develop a loving devotional mood toward the Lord. Those who desire to cross over the dangerous ocean of material existence, yet drown in the ocean of devotional ecstasy, may take shelter of Lord Nityananda.
I pray to the merciful Vaishnava devotees of the Lord to fulfill my hearts yearning, that I may serve my Lord Balarama birth after birth. Just as dvija, vipra, and brahma are different names for the same person, similarly Nityananda, Ananta and Balarama are different names for the same Supreme Personality. My Lord Nityananda Prabhu appeared within my heart and instructed me to narrate the transcendental qualities of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in this book.
The pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are revealed by Nityananda's mercy only, because His personal expansion, Ananta Sesa, is the storehouse of information about Lord Chaitanya and Lord Krishna's pastimes. Although Shri Ananta Sesa is the embodiment of Krishna kirtana, I have been able to offer only a humble prayer in His honor.