Srila-Govinda-Maharaj-Soquel

Introduction to Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat

Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj’s homage to Śrīla Vṛndāvan Dās Ṭhākur.

The following is excerpted and translated from the introduction by Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj to Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh’s Bengali publication of Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat.

saṁsārera pāra ha-i’ bhaktira sāgare
ye ḍubibe se bhajuka nitāichā̐dere
āmāra prabhura prabhu śrī gaurasundara
e baḍa bharasā chitte dhari nirantara
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: Ādi-khaṇḍa, 17.152–153)

“If you desire to cross over material existence and swim in the ocean of devotion, then serve Nitāichā̐d. My Master’s Master is Śrī Gaurasundar. I hold this great hope in my heart forever.”

adyāpiha ‘śeṣa’-deva sahasra-śrī-mukhe
gāyena chaitanya-yaśa, anta nāhi dekhe
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: Ādi-khaṇḍa, 1.69)

“To this very day, Lord Śeṣa chants Śrī Chaitanya’s glories with thousands of mouths and still does not see their end.”

lāg bali’ chali’ yāya sindhu taribāre
yaśera sindhu nā deya kūla, adhika adhika bāḍe
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: Ādi-khaṇḍa, 1.71)

“Thinking He is close, He tries to cross the ocean of those glories, but the ocean does not reveal its shore; it expands more and more.”

Naturally couching esoteric conclusions about devotion to the Lord in such clear, exuberant, colloquial language is possible only for Vyāsadev. Thus, regarding the identity and writing style of Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat, Śrīla Kavirāj Goswāmī, the best of the paramahaṁsas  in the inexhaustible reservoir of the nectar of Śrī Śrī Gaura-Govinda’s Pastimes, has clearly stated,

sahaje vichitra madhura chaitanya-vihāra
vṛndāvana-dāsa-mukhe amṛtera dhāra
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 4.5)

“Śrī Chaitanya’s Pastimes are by nature wonderful and sweet. A stream of their nectar has come through Vṛndāvan Dās’ mouth.”

nityānanda-kṛpā-pātra—vṛndāvana-dāsa
chaitanya-līlāra te̐ho hayena ‘ādi-vyāsa’
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 20.82)

“Vṛndāvan Dās, the recipient of Nitānanda’s mercy, is the original Vyāsa of Śrī Chaitanya’s Pastimes.”

manuṣye rachite nāre aichhe grantha dhanya
vṛndāvana-dāsa-mukhe vaktā śrī-chaitanya
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 8.39)

“A human being could not write such a glorious book. Śrī Chaitanya Himself spoke through Vṛndāvan Dās’ mouth.”

There is no need to say anything more about Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat or Śrīla Vṛndāvan Dās Ṭhākur Mahāśay, the original Vyāsa of Śrī Chaitanya’s Pastimes. We find in his writing the answer to the only question that remains after him: why did he later write Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta? Answer:

nityānanda-līlā-varṇane ha-ila āveśa
chaitanyera śeṣa-līlā rahila avaśeṣa
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 8.48)

“Vṛndāvan Dās became immersed in describing Nityānanda’s Pastimes. Thus Śrī Chaitanya’s final Pastimes remained untold.”

Śrīla Kavirāj Goswāmī elaborated on all the Pastimes that Vṛndāvan Dās, fearing his book would become too long, summarised and recorded, considering, “Vistāriyā Vedavyāsa kariba varṇane: Vedavyās will describe them elaborately later on” (Cc: 3.20.86). Furthermore, the exclusive followers of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Raghunāth residing in Vraja, who desired to hear Śrī Chaitanyadev’s final Pastimes, as well as Śrī Madan Gopāl’s order, completely inspired him. So, one must read Śrī Chaitanua-bhāgavat to know from beginning to end the earthly Pastimes of Bhagavān Śrī Chaitanyadev.

While reading Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat, as they are bathed in the infinite mercy of Śrīman Nityānanda Prabhu—the saviour of the fallen, the giver of Śrī Gaura Kṛṣṇa—even the hearts of very great sinners melt and become completely enriched with the rasa of devotion. This is the special quality of Śrīla Vṛndāvan Dās Ṭhākur’s unequalled, unsurpassed gift.

Lastly, with obeisance and an earnest prayer for mercy, I conclude this offering, proclaiming, “Jay!” and praying for complete forgiveness for all types of offences committed knowing and unknowing at the holy feet of the Vyāsas of Śrī Chaitanya’s Pastimes.

dāsa-vṛndāvanaṁ vande kṛṣṇa-dāsa-prabhuṁ tathā
chhannāvatāra-chaitanya-līlā-vistāra-kāriṇau
dvau nityānanda-pādābja-karuṇā-reṇu-bhuṣitau
vyakta-chchhannau budhāchintyau vāvande vyāsa-rūpiṇau
śrī-guru-gaura-gāndharvā-govindāś cha gaṇaiḥ saha
jayanti pāṭhakāś chātra sarveṣāṁ karuṇārthinaḥ

“I bow to Śrīla Vṛndāvan Dās Ṭhākur and Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī Prabhu. They are the expounders of the Pastimes of the hidden Avatār, Śrī Chaitanya, and are adorned with mercy-pollen from Nityānanda Prabhu’s lotus feet. I bow to these two forms of Vyāsadev, one of whom is manifest and one of whom is hidden, one of whom is intelligible and one of whom is inconceivable (one of whom reveals the open, conceivable Pastimes of Śrī Chaitanya, and one of whom reveals the hidden, inconceivable Pastimes of Śrī Chaitanya). Śrī Śrī Guru Gaurāṅga Gāndharvā Govindasundar and Their associates conquer all, and we, the students here, pray for Their mercy.”

The lowly and fallen,

Tridaṇḍi Bhikṣu Śrī Bhakti Sundar Govinda

Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh, Nabadwīp

Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu’s Disappearance Day,

Jhulan Dvādaśī,

8 August 1995

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