|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Holy Days of the Year > Holy Days > Shrila Ramananda Raya|
Title: Shrila Ramananda Raya
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-05-19 08:36:10
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! I had compiled the complete glories of Shrila Ramananda Raya many years back and if I find it I will post it here. Till then, this is a short version
Shrila Ramananda Ray was the viceroy of the east and west side of the Godavari River in the empire of Raja Shri Prataparudra. When Mahaprabhu was setting out on his tour of South India, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya especially requested him to meet Ramananda Raya.
"'Please do not neglect him, thinking he belongs to a sudra family engaged in material activities. It is my request that You meet him without fail. Ramananda Raya is a fit person to associate with You; no other devotee can
compare with him in knowedge of the transcendental mellows.'[C.c. Madhya
7.63,64] "As previously, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu converted to Vaishnavism
many people He met on the road. After some days, the Lord reached the banks
of the River Godavari. When He saw the River Godavari, the Lord remembered
the River Yamuna, and when He saw the forest on the banks of the river, He
remembered Shri Vrndavana-dhama.
"After performing His usual chanting and dancing for some time in this
forest, the Lord crossed the river and took His bath on the other bank.
After bathing in the river, the Lord walked a little distance from the
bathing place and engaged in chanting the holy name of Krishna. "At that time,
accompanied by the sounds of music, Ramananda Raya came there mounted on a
palanquin to take his bath. Many brahmanas, following the Vedic principles,
accompanied Ramananda Raya. According to Vedic rituals, Ramananda Raya took
his bath and offered oblations to his forefathers.
"Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could understand that the person who had come to
bathe in the river was Ramananda Raya. The Lord wanted so much to meet him
that His mind immediately began running after him.
"Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was running after him mentally, He
patiently remained sitting. Ramananda Raya, seeing the wonderful sannyasi,
then came to see Him. Shrila Ramananda Raya then saw Shri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhuas brilliant as a hundred suns. The Lord was covered by a saffron
garment. He was large in body and very strongly built, and His eyes were
like lotus petals.
"When Ramananda Raya saw the wonderful sannyasi, he was struck with wonder.
He went to Him and immediately offered his respectful obeisances, falling
down flat like a rod. The Lord stood up and asked Ramananda to arise and
chant the holy name of Krishna. Indeed, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very eager
to embrace him. Shri Chaitanya then inquired whether he was Ramananda Raya,
and he replied, "Yes, I am Your very low servant, and I belong to the sudra
"Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Shri Ramananda Raya very firmly.
Indeed, both the master and the servant almost lost consciousness due to
ecstatic love. Their natural love for one another was awakened in them both,
and they both embraced and fell down on the ground. When they embraced one
another, ecstatic symptoms - paralysis, persperation, tears, shivering,
palpitations, and paleness - appeared. The word 'Krishna' came from their
"When the stereotyped, ritualistic brahmanas who were following the Vedic
principles saw the ecstatic manifestation of love, they were struck with
wonder. All these brahmanas began to reflect as follows. These brahmanas
began to think, 'We can see that this sannyasi has a luster like the
effulgence of Brahman, but how is it He is crying upon embracing a sudra, a
member of the fourth caste in the social order?' They thought, 'This
Ramananda is the Governor of Madras, a highly learned and grave person, a
mahaŠpandita, but upon touching this sannyasi he has become restless like a
"While the brahmanas were thinking in this way about the activities of Shri
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the
brahmanas and restrained His transcendental emotions. When they regained
their sanity, they both sat down, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to smile
and speak as follows.
"'Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya has spoken of your good qualities, and he has made
a great endeavor to convince Me to meet you. Indeed, I have come here just
to meet you. It is very good that even without making an effort I have
gotten your interview here.'
"Ramananda Raya replied, 'Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya thinks of me as his
servant. Even in my absence he is very careful to do me good. By his mercy I
have received Your interview here. Consequently I consider that today I have
become a successful human being. I can see that You have bestowed special
mercy upon Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Therefore You have touched me, although
I am untouchable. This is due only to his love for You. You are the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Narayana Himself, and I am only a government servant
interested in materialistic activities. Indeed, I am the lowest amongst men
of the fourth caste. You do not fear the Vedic injuctions stating that You
should not associate with a sudra. You were not contemptuous of my touch,
although in the Vedas You are forbidden to associate with sudras. You care
the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself; therefore no one can understand
Your purpose. By Your mercy, You are touching me, although this is not
sanctioned in the Vedas.'
"'You have come here specifically to deliver me. You are so merciful that
You alone can deliver all fallen souls. It is the general practice of all
saintly people to deliver the fallen. Therefore they go to people's houses,
although they have no personal business there."
"'Along with me there are about a thousand me - including the brahmanas -
and all of them appear to have had their hearts melted simply by seeing You.
I hear everyone chanting the holy name of Krishna. Everyone's body is thrilled
with ecstacy, and there are tears in everyone's eyes. My dear sir, according
to Your bodily features and Your behavior, You are the Supreme Personality
of Godhead. Such behavior and features are impossible for ordinary living
beings, for they cannot possess such transcendental qualities.'"
"The Lord replied to Ramananda Raya: 'Sir, you are the best of topmost
devotees; therefore upon seeing you everyone's heart has melted. Although I
am a Mayavadi sannyasi, a nondevotee, I am floating in the ocean of love of
Krishna simply by touching you. And what to speak of others? Knowing this, in
order to rectify My heart, which is very hard, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya asked
Me to meet you.' In this was each of them praised the qualities of the
other, and both of them were pleased to see one another." [C.c. Madhya
One Vaishnava brahmana came forward at this time and invited the Lord to
accept His midday meal at his house. And so the Lord, after arranging a
later meeting with Raya Ramananda, left the Godavari in the company of that
Shri Ramananda Raya was the son of Shri Bhavananda Ray, who was previously
Maharaja Pandu, the father of the five Pandavas. Bhavananda Raya dedicated
all of his five sons, Ramananda, Gopinatha, Kalanidhi, Sudhanidhi and
Baninatha to the service of Shriman Mahaprabhu. His wife was formerly Shri
In the afternoon, after Mahaprabhu had finished His bath in the Godavari, He
sat down and waited. Ramananda Raya, accompanied by one servant, arrived
there. He fell down to offer his obeisances at the Lord's lotus feet.
Mahaprabhu pulled him up, and after embracing him very firmly, seated
Ramananda next to Himself in a secluded place. Then the two of them, in the
madness of ecstatic love, began to converse together on the topics of Shri
Krishna. Mahaprabhu asked questions to which Ramananda was to supply the
On the subject of the supreme goal of life, Ramananda first proposed
observance of the four orders of social and spiritual life and executing
one's duties in accordance with these. Next, one after another, he mentioned
renouncing the fruits of one's activities, rendering formal service to the
Lord, serving the Lord in devotion mixed with knowledge, and finally pure
Though Mahaprabhu assented that the rendering of pure devotional service is
the entrance into the ultimate goal of life, he urged Ramananda Raya to go
even beyond this. One after the other, Ramananda then described attachment
to Krishna in servitorship, friendship, parenthood, and finally conjugal love,
to which Mahaprabhu again replied, "Kindly proceed further and tell me
something more." Ramananda Raya then explained that amongst the gopis who
worship Krishna in conjugal love, the mood of Shrimati Radharani is
This Mahaprabhu accepted as being the essense of perfection. As He still
wanted to hear more, Ramananda Raya sang a song of his own composition that
nicely conveyed Shrimati Radharani's confidential mood known as
prema-vivarta-vilasa. Hearing this song, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu covered
Ramananda's mouth with His hand, confirming that he had expressed the limit
of the goal (sadhya) of human life, which could only be realized by the
practice of devotional service (sadhana). Then Ramananda Raya explained that
Shrimati Radharani is the creeper of love for Krishna and her sakhis are like
the twigs, flowers and leaves of that creeper of devotion. Shri Krishna is the
reservoir of pleasure and Radharani is the greatest manifestation of
Finally Lord Chaitanya and Ramananda Raya embraced, crying in the ecstacy of
Krishna-prema. Toward the end of the night they concluded their talk and each
went to take rest.
The next evening Ramananda again came to Mahaprabhu's lotus feet and offered
his prostrated obeisances. Mahaprabhu firmly embraced him and after seating
him began to again ask him questions:
"What is the best education?" "Devotion to Krishna," answered Ramananda Raya.
"What is the greates activity for a living entity?" "To be the servant of
"What is the supreme wealth?" "Love of Radha-Krishna."
"What is the greatest unhappiness?" "To not have the association of devotees
"What is the highes liberation?" "The best jewel of all kinds of liveration
is to develop love for Krishna."
"What is the best song?" "Songs describing the pastimes of Radha-Krishna."
"What is most auspicious for living entities?" "The association of a devotee
"What is the only thing we have to remember?" "Krishna's name, qualities and
"What is the only thing to meditate upon?" "The lotus feet of Radha-Krishna."
"Where is the best place to live?" "In the place where Krishna has His
"What is the best thing to be heard?" "Descriptions of the loving pastimes
"What is the only thing which has to be glorified?" "The name of
Radha-Krishna." "What are the destinations of those who desire liberation,
and those who are gross materialistic enjoyers?" "The first attain bodies as
trees and the second, demigods."
Ramananda Raya continued, "Those who are devoid of all mellows are like the
crows that suck the juice from the bitter fruits of the nimba tree of
knowledge, whereas those who enjoy mellows are like the cuckoos who eat the
buds of the mango tree of love of Godhead." Ramananda Raya concluded, "the
unfortunate empiric philosophers taste the dry process of philosophical
knowledge, whereas the devotees reularly drink the nectar of love of Krishna.
Therefore they are the most fortunate of all."
Thereafter Mahaprabhu revealed His form of Radha-Krishna, seeing which
Ramananda fell unconscious. Regaining his senses he began to offer hymns and
praises in glorification of the Lord. Mahaprabhu requested him to please not
reveal any of these esoteric truths to anyone.
When Mahaprabhu was about to take leave of Ramananda Raya, He gave him the
following instruction: "Give up all material engagements and come to
Jagannatha Puri. I will return there very soon after finishing My tour and
pilgrimage. The two of us shall remain together at Jagannatha Puri and
happily pass our time discussing Krishna."
When He returned to Puri He found that Ramananda had gotten the permission
of Maharaja Prataparudra to leave his post and reside in Shri Ksetra,
Jagannatha Puri. He had become a close friend of Shri Svarupa Damodara.
Ramananda Raya would compose dramas and then would have them acted out for
the pleasure of Lord Jagannatha by young girls. Mahaprabhu stated that the
minds of great yogis can become disturbed simply by seeing a female doll,
but the mind of Raya Ramananda doesn't slightly waver, even he personally
bathed and decorated the bodies of young dancing girls.
Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara were the constant companions of
Mahaprabhu during His final pastimes.
"When the Lord acutely felt pangs of separation from Krishna, only Shri
Ramananda Raya's talk about Krishna and the sweet songs of Svarupa Damodara
kept Him alive."
"Hearing that Mahaprabhu had closed his earthly pastimes, Maharaja
Prataparudra threw himself on the ground and lost consciousness, his head
suffering heavy blows with the earth, while Ramananda Raya was only just
barely able to remain alive."
Ramananda Raya's house is still existing at Jaganath-Ballabha Uddyan, on the
Grand Road, Puri.