Srila Sridhar Maharaj Smiling

Relishing the Essence

In honour of the disappearance day of Sri Ramananda Ray today we are presenting an excerpt from his celebrated conversation with Sriman Mahaprabhu on the bank of the Godavari.

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj has commented: “I find everything within the divine discourse between Ramananda and Mahaprabhu. It covers the whole of Gaudiya–Vaishnava theology.”

The following verses are found in the Madhya-lila of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Chapter Eight: 244–258).

prabhu puchhe, rāmānanda karena uttara
ei mata sei rātre kathā paraspara

The Lord asked questions and then Ramananda answered them. In this way they conversed throughout the night.

prabhu kahe,—“kon vidyā vidyā-madhye sāra?”
rāya kahe, —“kṛṣṇa-bhakti vinā vidyā nāhi āra”

The Lord asked, “Among all types of knowledge, which is the best?”
Ramananda Ray answered, “There is no knowledge other than Krishna-bhakti.”

‘kīrti-gaṇa-madhye jīvera kon baḍa kīrti?’
‘kṛṣṇa-bhakta baliyā yā̐hāra haya khyāti’

“Among all glorious persons, who is the most glorious?”
“Krishna’s devotees are the most glorious.”

‘sampattira madhye jīvera kon sampatti gaṇi?’
‘rādhā-kṛṣṇe prema yā̐ra, sei baḍa dhanī’

“Among all types of wealth, which is considered the greatest?”
“One who has prema for Radha-Krishna possesses the greatest wealth.”

‘duḥkha-madhye kona duḥkha haya gurutara?’
‘kṛṣṇa-bhakta-viraha vinā duḥkha nāhi dekhi para’

“Among all types of distress, which is the heaviest?”
“I find no distress other than separation from Krishna’s devotees.”

‘mukta-madhye kon jīva mukta kari’ māni?’
‘kṛṣṇa-prema yā̐ra, sei mukta śiromaṇi’

“Among liberated souls, who is the greatest?”
“One who has Krishna-prema is the greatest liberated soul.”

‘gāna-madhye kona gāna—jīvera nija dharma?’
‘rādhā-kṛṣṇera prema-keli’—yei gītera marma’

“Among all types of songs, which is natural for the soul?”
“Songs about the loving Pastimes of Radha-Krishna.”

‘śreyo-madhye kona śreyaḥ jīvera haya sāra?’
‘kṛṣṇa-bhakta-saṅga vinā śreyaḥ nāhi āra’

“Among beneficial activities, which is the best for the soul?”
“There is no beneficial activity other than associating with Krishna’s devotees.”

‘kā̐hāra smaraṇa jīva karibe anukṣaṇa?’
‘kṛṣṇa-nāma-guṇa-līlā—pradhāna smaraṇa’

“What should the soul always remember?”
“Krishna’s Names, Qualities, and Pastimes are the foremost objects of remembrance.”

‘dhyeya-madhye jīvera kartavya kon dhyāna?’
‘rādhā-kṛṣṇa-padāmbuja-dhyāna—pradhāna’

“Among all types of meditation, which is to be done by the soul?”
“Meditation on Radha-Krishna’s lotus feet is foremost.”

‘sarva tyaji’ jīvera kartavya kā̐hā vāsa?’
‘śrī-vṛndāvana-bhūmi—yā̐hā nitya-līlā-rāsa’

“Leaving all other places, where is the soul to reside?”
“The land of Sri Vrindavan, the site of the eternal rasa-lila.”

‘śravaṇa-madhye jīvera kon śreṣṭha śravaṇa?’
‘rādhā-kṛṣṇa-prema-keli karṇa-rasāyana’

“Among all topics for listening, which is best for the soul?”
“Radha-Krishna’s loving Pastimes are supremely pleasing to the ears.”

‘upāsyera madhye kon upāsya pradhāna?’
‘śreṣṭha upāsya—yugala ‘rādhā-kṛṣṇa’ nāma’

“Among all objects of worship, which is foremost?”
“The Names of the Divine Couple Radha-Krishna are the best object of worship.”

‘mukti, bhukti vāñchhe yei, kā̐hā du̐hāra gati?’
‘sthāvara-deha, deva-deha yaichhe avasthiti

“What is the destination of those who desire liberation and material enjoyment?”
“Those who desire liberation attain the bodies of non-moving entities and those who desire material enjoyment attain the bodies of demigods.”

‘arasajña kāka chūṣe jñāna-nimba-phale
rasajña kokila khāya premāmra-mukule

“Tasteless crows suck the neem fruits of jnan (metaphysics). Tasteful cuckoos eat the mangos of prema.

abhāgiyā jñānī āsvādaye śuṣka jñāna
kṛṣṇa-premāmṛta pāna kare bhāgyavān

“Unfortunate jnanis taste only dry metaphysics. The fortunate drink the nectar of Krishna-prema.”

ei-mata dui jana kṛṣṇa-kathā-rase
nṛtya-gīta-rodane haila rātri-śeṣe

In this way the night came to end as Ramananda and the Lord danced, sang, cried, and relished discussing Krishna.

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