As Vyasadeva has compiled all the pastimes of Lord Krsna in Srimad –Bhagavatam, Thakura Vrndavana dasa has decided the pastime of Lord Caitanya in the book known as Sri Caitanya–bhagavata. By reading Sri Caitanya-Bhagavata, one can understand all the glories and truth of Lord Caitanya and Nityanand and come to the ultimate conclusion of devotional sevice to Lord Krsna. In Sri Caitanya –bhagavata, Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura has given the conclusion and essence of devotional service by quoting the authoritative statements of Srimad –Bhagavatam. If even a great atheist heart Sri Caitanya –bhagavatam, he immediately becomes a great devotee. The subject matter of this book is so sublime that it appears that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has personally spoken through the writing of Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura Sri Caitanya –caritamrta .
This book -- Sri Krsna Caitanya: An Insight into His life and Precepts – is a summary study of Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura's Sri Caitanya –bhagavata.
There is passage in Sri Caitanya –bhagavata [18.223-224], which describe the conditions of the sentiment foetus within the worth of the mother. It is an allegorical passage, articulating through the lamentations of the unborn child a certain melancholy yearning for God, and it reads as follows:
Garbha vasa dukha prabhu cho mora bhala
Yadi tora Smrti mora rahe sarva- kala.
Tora pada padmera smarana nahi yatha.
hena krpa kara, prabhu na pheliba tatha.
"My dear Lord, although the conditions of living within this womb are miserable, intolerate and heart –rending, if my constant remembrance of You can remain intact even under such painful conditions, then I do not mind this suffering. O Lord, do not send me the place where remembrance of Your lotus feet is absent Please grant me this mercy."
The voice of the unborn child echoes the sentiments of the soul which, suspended in a state of constant suffering, seeks shelter in the remembrance of the Lord. Within the womb, the dwelling –place of disillusionment, the solitary consicousnes becomes aware of the true nature of material existence –painful, miserable and difficult. So he struggles, endures and prays, Praying, he finds solace.
It is said that at the moment of birth, the infant becomes immersed within the illusory energy known as maya. The memory of the dreams that fades in the minutes that follow awakening. The remembrance of the Lord's lotus feet is like a moment of inspiration: fleeting blisfull, difficult to obtain.
The Sri Caitanya-bhagavata is, among other things, the story of that fleeting bliss, that transient spark of divine rapture : always sought, rarely attained and miserable in its absence. It is a story of devotion, of a transcendent form of love of God, and the personalities contained herein are like enamored lovers obessed with the object of their affection.
The Sri Caitanya –bhagavata is, among other things, the story of sought rarely attained and miserable in its absence. It is a story of devotion of a transcendent from of love of God, and the personalities contained herein are like enamored Lovers obsessed with the object of their affection.
For a lay reader, there are many ways to approach this text. It is an exploration and a demonstration of the divine bliss consequent of a personal devotion to God. But it is also a rendition of God's pastimes, or lila. The eponymous Lord Caitanya is direct incarnation of Krsna. Whose advent, It is later revealed, expresses the mood of his consort, Radha.
In this sense, the Sri Caitanya –bhagavata is also hagiographical, and chronicles the life of lord Caitanya and his associates during a time of religious renaissance in Bengal. The text is singular among hagiographies precisely because it provides a relatively contemporary perspective, beginning as recently as the fifteenth century. Consequently, several reference within the text, and the events surroundings them, are visibly documented in the history of India.
The Sri Caitanya –bhagavata therefore provides a rare historical proximity to the advent of Krsna into the material world. This proximity provides a sense of immediacy, a feeling of familiarity to the events. Five hundred years, given the long history of Vedic texts, is almost recent enough to reach out and touch. It is a matter of generations, rather than millennia.
Nonetheless, it seems oddly disingenuous to read the Sri Caitanya. Bhagavata as hagiographical chronicle. Indeed, it is impossible to read this book in the manner of a deatched academic, which is dry and objective. This is because the nature of bliss to induce bliss, and it is tautological truth that rapture induces rapture. The basis of the sankirtana movement as described in the Sri Caitanya –bhagavata is rooted firmly in the inherent contagiousness of bliss.
It is more accurate, then to describe the Sri Caitanya –bhagavata not as a hagiography, or a description of the conditions which surrounded a Vaisnava renaissance in India, or a religious text limited in its appeal to the followers of particular sect, but a chronicle of bliss itself.
This is a story about love, about the ecstasy of love and the despair of its absence, and the beautiful madness of its pursuit. The personalities contained herein, in the descriptions of their activities, journeys, struggles and realizations, share their bliss with us, so that we may follow. This story is a pastime enacted for our benefit; it is an act of mercy, a demonstration of devotion, an illumination of a path.
I offer millions of obeisances unto the lotus feet of Vrndavana dasa Thakura. No one else could write such a wonderful book for the deliverance of all fallen souls. Narayani eternally eats the remnants of the food of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sirla Vrndavana dasa Thakura was born of her womb. What a wonderful description he has given of the pastimes of Lord Caitanya! Anyone in the three worlds who hears it is purified.
I fervently appeal to everyone to adopt the method of devotional service given by Lord Caitanya and Nityananda Prabhu, and thus be freed from the miseries of material existence and ultimately achieve the loving service of the Lord. Srila Vrndavana Dasa Thakura has written Sri Caitanya –mangla [later known as Sri Caitanya –bhagavata] and therein described in all repects the pastimes of Lord Caitanya. The subject matter of this book is so sublime that it appears that Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura.
Vrndavana dasa Thakura is Lord Nityananda's favourite devotee, and therefore he is the original Vyasadeva in describing the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore, if the people of this world desire to go to the spiritual abode, they should first take shelter of the Lord in the audarya [magnanimous] featre. The statements of Sri Caitanya –bhagavata, written by the soothing hands of Thakura Vrndavana dasa, will certainly favor such people by fulfilling their desired goal.
This work of Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura is so simple that even less knowledgeable persons can make their lives glorious by understanding the highest conclusions of devotional service. Those who remain faithful to the subject matter of this book can give up all endeavours for mundane knowledge and enter into the kingdom of devotional service, eternally engaging in the service of the magnanimous pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the reservoir of all transcendental mellows. In this way, they can be eternally absorbed in the pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna.
Those who are after sense gratification and are averse to serving the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu have become overwhelmed by the illusory energy of Lord Visnu. Having seen the hearts of such people covered with the dust of material enjoyment and liberation, Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura took shelter of the holy names of Lord Krsna and narrated the topic of Lord Caitanya, the personification of devotional service, to the people of this world. In this way, by playing the glorious victory drum of Sri krsna kirtana he destroyed the deafness of ears attached to hearing mundane topics.
Even though, in this world, we are unable to meet many devotees from the spiritual world, the conversations and pastimes of the devotes of Mahaprabhu's time exist eternally shelters us from feeling so much pain from material troubles. If we live here in the association of the words of the spiritual world, then the memory of this association will keep us at a distance from material misery.
All glories to Vrndavana dasa Thakura, who has thrown the misconception of the sense enjoyers, fruitive workers and mental spectacular across the Pacific Ocean by Presenting the sweet songs of Lord Caitanya's Pastimes. The topmost summit of knowledge possessed by persons from the universities of the world cannot even equal a farthing of Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura's unprecedented writings.
Sri Caitnaya –bhagavata is collection of the jewel –like pastimes Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu. One should always hear and chant as if with thousands of mouths the unsurpassable glorification of the Lord contained in this great book, Simply by hearing the pastimes of Sriman Mahaprabhu, one's constitutional position is received, the activity of one in that constitutional position is the revived. The activity of one in that constritutional position is the devotional service of Lord Krsna Knowledge of Sri Caitanya, His manifestations and His gories, are nourishment for the living, entity's ears. When the living entity awakens to his constitutional activities. He fully engages in the service of Sri Gaura –Krsna. In other words, he performs pure devotional service with knowledge of his relationship with the Lord.
Sri Caitanya –bhagavata is the first half of Lord Caitanya's pastimes; Sri Caitanya –Caritamrta is the second half. We request all readers to attentively and impartially study Sri Caitanya –bhagavata, and after completing it, I am confident they will be eager to hear and chant the topics of Lord Caitanya glorified by Srila Kaviraja Goswami. By this process, the human society will experience a new light of spiritual life, which will open the field of activity for the soul.
The contant of this book is extracted from the Gaudiya – bhasya [commentaries] of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. In preparing this book, we have consulted the English translation of Sri Caitnaya –bhagavata by Bhumipari Dasa and Pundarika Vidyanaidhi Dasa. I beg to offer my sincere thanks to Nitai R. Poddar for his help in proofreading
Invoking Auspiciousness: I offer my obeisances to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even an ignorant child can crocodile of various theories. O my merciful Lord Caitanya, may the naractarien Ganges waters of Your transcendental activities flow on the surface of my desert –like tongue. Beautiful these waters, are the lotus flowers of singing, dancing and loud chanting of Krsna's holy name, which are the pleasure –adobes of unalloyed deserves. These devotees are compared to swans, ducks and bees. The river's flowing produces a melodious sound that gladdens their ears.
What the Upanisads describe as the impersonal Brahman is but the effulgence of his body, and Lord known as the Supersoul is but his localized plenary portion. Lord Caitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna Himself, full with six opulences. He is the Absolute Truth, and no other truth is greater than or equal to Him. Impersonal Brahman, the localized Paramatma and the Personality of Godhead are three subject, and the glowing effulgence, the partial manifestation and the original form are their three respective predicates, in the way that a predicate always follows its subject.
Krsna the original form of the Personality of Godhead, is the summum bonum of the all-peravading Visnu. He is all –perfect knowledge and all –perfect bliss. He is the Supreme Transcendence. He whom Srimad –Bhagavatam describes as the son of Nanda Maharaja has descended to earth as Lord Caitanya. In terms of His various manifestations, He is known in three features the impersonal Brahman, the localized Paramatma and the original Personality of Godhead.
That Govinda personally appears as Caitanya Gosan. No other Lord is as merciful in delivering the fallen souls. Having described Govinda in terms of His Brahman and Paramatma features ,the author of Sri Caitanya –caritamrta advances his argument to prove that Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the identical personality. The same Lord Sri Krsna in the garb of a devotee of Sri Krsna, descended to this mortal world to reclaim the fallen human beings, who had misunderstood the personality of Godhead even after the explanation of the Bhagvad –gita. In the Bhagvad –gita, the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna directly instructed Brahman is His glowing effulgence, and that the Paramatma is His partial representation. All men were therefore advised to follow the path of Sri Krsna leaving aside all mundaine "isms." Offenders misunderstood this instruction, however, because of their poor fund of knowledge. Thus by his causeless, unlimited mercy Sri Krsna came again as Sri Caitanya Gosani.
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