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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

mouths falteringly.


"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

devotional service.


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

ecstatic emotions.


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

of Krishna."


"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

of Krishna."


"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

of Radha-Krishna."


"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.