Continuing our presentation of the verses which adorn the Temple of Love and Affection, this verse begins a series on Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s favourite verses about Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Temple of Love and Affection Verse Twenty-Seven
kālaḥ kalir balina indriya-vairi-vargāḥ
śrī-bhakti-mārga iha kaṇṭaka-koṭi-ruddhaḥ
hā hā kva yāmi vikalaḥ kim ahaṁ karomi
chaitanya-chandra yadi nādya kṛpāṁ karoṣi
(Sri Chaitanya-chandramrita: 49)
“It is the Age of Kali: the path of devotion is blocked by millions of thorns, and my enemies, the senses, are very strong. I am overwhelmed! O Chaitanyachandra! If You do not now bestow Your mercy upon me, then alas! Alas! What shall I do? Where shall I go?”
The Age of Kali began when Lord Krishna departed from this world (Sb. 1.16.30). Kali is the personification of the cause of irreligion (adharma) (Sb. 1.17.28). He destroys the four fundamental principles of dharma—austerity (tapa), purity (shaucha), mercy (daya), and truthfulness (satya) (Sb. 1.17.24)—with the four primary pillars of irreligion—falsehood, lust, violence, and pride. Kali was given five places to reside by Maharaj Pariksit shortly after the withdraw of Krishna’s Pastimes from this world (Sb. 1.17.38–39). Thus his influence is strongest wherever any of these five things are found:
Striyam: association with one’s spouse.
According to Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s Vivriti:
Dyutam refers to gambling and any sort of gaming: dice, cards, chess, horse racing, the lottery, and so on. Its basis is falsehood and it destroys the virtue of truthfulness. (He also notes that Kali is always creating newer and newer forms of games to lead people away from dharma.)
Panam refers to consuming alcohol, ganja, tobacco, opium, and any other intoxicant. Its basis is pride and it destroys the virtue of mercy.
Striyam refers to illicit association with, or attachment to, one’s spouse (or a significant other). Its basis is lust and it destroys the virtue of purity.
Sunam refers to taking the life of any living being for any purpose other than the service of the Lord. It specifically refers to killing animals, as well as preparing, cooking, transporting, selling, or serving them for human consumption. Its basis is violence and it destroys all virtues.
Jatam refers to gold, silver, and any type of money or wealth. It also indicates hoarding wealth for any purpose other than the Lord’s service. Its basis is enmity, as well as falsehood, pride, lust, and violence. It destroys all virtues.
In the Age of Kali these forms of irreligion are rampant in the world. Souls aspiring to serve the Lord should not take part in such irreligion whatsoever (Sb. 1.17.42), yet these vices are ubiquitous and constantly disturb even the virtuous.
Were it not for the appearance of Sriman Mahaprabhu, what would be our fate? How would we ever know of a better life? Under the influence of such irreligion, what atrocious acts would we ourselves have committed? What wicked desires would bewitch our hearts? What hope would we have of transcending illusion? How could we know the depth of the Lord’s compassion? How could we understand divine love? How could we even dream of the strength of His devotees’ attachment for Him?
vande śrī-kṛṣṇa-chaitanya-devaṁ taṁ karuṇārṇavam
kalāv apy ati-gūḍheyaṁ bhaktir yena prakāśitā
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrtia: Madhya-lila, 22.1)
“I offer my obeisance unto the ocean of mercy Sri Krishna Chaitanyadev, who distributed even the most confidential form of devotion within the age of Kali.”