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(II) THE GLORIES OF SRILA VRNDAVANA DASA
THE AUTHOR OF SRI CAITANYA-BHAGAVATA
Cc Adi 8.55
bhagavate krishna-lila varnila vedavyasa
chaitanya-lilate vyasa--vrindavana dasa
Shrila Vyasadeva described the pastimes of Krishna in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The Vyasa of the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was Vrindavana dasa.
Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura was an incarnation of Vedavyasa and also a friendly cowherd boy named Kusumapida in krishna-lila. In other words, the author of Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata, Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura, the son of Shrivasa Thakura’s niece Narayani, was a combined incarnation of Vedavyasa and the cowherd boy Kusumapida. There is a descriptive statement by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in his commentary on Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata giving the biographical details of the life of Vrindavana dasa Thakura.
Cc Adi 8.34
krishna-lila bhagavate kahe veda-vyasa
As Vyasadeva has compiled all the pastimes of Lord Krishna in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Thakura Vrindavana dasa has depicted the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya.
tanra garbhe janmila shri-dasa-vrindavana
Narayani eternally eats the remnants of the food of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura was born of her womb.
Cc Antya 20.82
chaitanya-lilaya tenho hayena ‘adi-vyasa’
Vrindavana dasa Thakura is Lord Nityananda’s favorite devotee, and therefore he is the original Vyasadeva in describing the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that all writers after Vrindavana dasa Thakura who are pure devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and who have tried to describe the Lord’s activities are to be considered like Vyasa. Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura is the original Vyasadeva in describing chaitanya-lila, and all others who follow in his footsteps by describing Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes are also to be called Vyasadeva. The bona fide spiritual master is called Vyasa because he is a representative of Vyasa. Worshiping the birthday of such a spiritual master is called Vyasa-puja.
Not ordinary. He’s Vrindavana dasa Thakura. Vrindavana dasa Thakura is one of the acaryas. He has written Chaitanya-Bhagavata. As there is Shrimad-Bhagavata, he has written Chaitanya-Bhagavata.
(SP Initiation Lecture, Boston, December 26, 1969)
By this time, contemporary and near-contemporary scholars and devotees had already written several biographical works on the life of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. These included Shri Chaitanya-carita, by Murari Gupta, Chaitanya-mangala, by Locana dasa Thakura, and Chaitanya-bhagavata. This latter work, by Vrindavana dasa Thakura, who was then considered the principal authority on Shri Chaitanya's life, was highly revered. While composing his important work, Vrindavana dasa, fearing that it would become too voluminous, avoided elaborately describing many of the events of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's life, particularly the later ones. (SP in Cc Adi Foreword)
From the Gaudiya Bhasya of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:
Vrndavana dasa Thakura, the son of Narayani, had great knowledge of devotional scriptures and was always engaged in preaching the glories of Vaishnava acaryas with his mind, body, and speech.
Those who have studied Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata, composed by this great soul, certainly know that Shrila Vrndavana dasa Thakura was the topmost preacher of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's philosophy of pure devotional service.
Wonderful social reconciliations of the conclusions of devotional service are written in golden words by Vrndavana dasa Thakura in various places throughout Chaitanya-bhagavata. His service attitude towards his spiritual master, Shri Nityananda Prabhu, is incomparable. No scholar of that time-in Navadvipa, Gauda-desa, Bharata-varsa, or the world-could stand before him.
At the time of writing Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata, the author knew very well that even many years after the Lord's disappearance the sankirtana movement inaugurated by Shri Chaitanya would continue. Without discrimination, both men and women joined in that movement. (SBSST purport to Cb Adi 14.81)