The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna-Chaitanya. Part I
The Supreme Lord having accepted Sannyas (renunciation) in the bright fortnight of the month of Magh took up His residence at Nilachal (Puri) in the month of Falgun following. At Puri the Lord witnessed the swing festival of Krishna and delivered Sarbabhauma in the month of Chiatra. He started for the South in Baisakh. The Lord proposed to go alone on His journey but allowed Himself to he persuaded at the special request of Nityananda to take with Him a Brahman, by name Krishnadas, who happened to possess a nature of great simplicity. Sarbabhauma supplied the Lord with four sets of clothing, the lower as well as the outer pieces, worn by an ascetic and requested Him to meet on His way on the bank of the Godavari, Ramananda Rai who was residing there at the time. Nityananda and some of the devotees accompanied the Lord up to Alalnath. From Alalnath the Lord separated from His companions except Krishnadas and began His memorable journey reciting continuously as He went the word ‘Krishna’ in a passion of over-whelming love.
On hearing the Name of Hari from the lips of the Supreme Lord all the people of those parts began forthwith to recite the holy Name. Infusing the power of the spirit in all those who threw themselves at His feet the Supreme Lord effected the spiritual conversion of the entire population of the South by means of the disciples of those favoured persons. The glory of the mercy of the Lord manifested itself in the South in even greater measure than at Nabadwip. Moving forward in this manner the Lord arrived at Kurmakshetra. There He accepted the worship of the Kurma-Brahman and bestowing on him His mercy commanded him to preach the Name of Krishna to others. The Supreme Lord commanded everyone to preach the tidings of Krishna by practising what he was to preach, or, in other words, to become an Acharyya. In the temple of Kurma the Lord showed His mercy to a Brahman of the name of Vasudeva who was afflicted with leprosy of a malignant type, and freeing him at once from the diseases of body and mortality made him an Acharyya. For this act the Lord became known as ‘Vasudevamritaprada’ (Dispenser of the nectar, or immortality, to Vasudeva).
The Supreme Lord next visited Jior-Nrisingha. At Vidyanagar He met Ramananda Rai by accident on the bank of the Godavari where Rai had come for his daily bath. Rai Ramananda begged the Lord to stop at Vidyanagar for a few days to preach the tidings of Hari. The Lord acceded to his request and stayed for some time at the house of a Vaidic Brahman. When in the evening Rai Ramananda presenting himself before the Lord in the garb of a humble suppliant made his prostrated obeisance the Supreme Lord commanded him to read out a few slokas explaining the object (prayojan) of spiritual endeavour.
Thereupon Ramananda having briefly referred to the Varnasrama Dharma which was followed by all good people, read a number of slokas bearing respectively on the offering of all work to Krishna, on work without worldly attachment, on devotion adulterated with empiric knowledge and lastly on devotion unalloyed with such knowledge. The Lord recognised the last as the true end. He then asked Ramananda to tell him of those subjects that belonged to a still higher stage of endeavour. Rai Ramananda then launched on a memorable discourse taking his topics in the following order of excellence viz. loving devotion in the form of unalloyed attachment for Krishna, love as that of a servant, love as friendship, love as paternal affection and love as embodied in the idea of the lover which last he declared to be the Supreme object of spiritual endeavour. Rai also dilated on the various aspects of amorous love to prove how it constituted the very highest end. The Lord having denied that it was the limit of the end Rai next described the love of Sri Radhika. Rai Ramananda then launched out into a description of the natures of Krishna and Radha and the principles respectively of rasa (rapturous quality) and love.
Thereafter in response to the requisition of the Supreme Lord Ramananda Rai recited a song composed by himself which is surcharged with the mood in which the mistress identifies herself with the object of her love in the destruction of separation and which expresses itself in loving activities in keeping with the strong persuasion of such mistaken identity with her lover. Lastly the all-important subject of the absolute necessity of loyal submission to the guidance of Sri Radhika’s female confidantes of Braja as the means of attaining the highest object of spiritual pupillage viz. the direct loving service of Radha-Krishna, was treated in detail.
After several successive nights had been passed in Krishna discourse the Supreme Lord showed Rai Ramananda His Form as Shyama Who reigns supreme over the realm of rasa (rapture that melts the soul) and as Gaura Who is the highest Love Itself. The sight of the Form Divine caused Rai Ramananda to faint for excessive joy. After a few more days had passed the Lord commanded Rai Ramananda to proceed to Puri giving up his post as an officer of the king and resumed His journey southwards.
Starting from Vidyanagar the Lord visited successively Gautami Ganga, Mallikarjuna, Ahobal Nrishingha, Siddha Bat, Skandha-Kshetra, Trimath, Briddha Kasi, Bauddhaasthan, Tripati, Trimalla, Pana-Nrishingha, Siva-Kanchi, Vishnu-Kanchi, Trilakalsasti, Briddha-Kol, Siyali-Bhairabi, Bank of Kaveri, Kumbhakarnakapal and arrived at Sri Ranga-Kshetra.
By the mercy of the Supreme Lord attachment for Krishna manifested itself even among the elevationists (Karmis), salvationists (jnanis), worshippers of Rama, professors of knowledge as end, Sri Vaishnavas and other sects, or in other words, all the inhabitants of South India. At Bauddhasthan the Supreme Lord refuted the casuistries of the learned Acharyya of the Buddhists. Enraged by his discomfiture the Buddhist teacher laid a plot and caused desecrated food to be offered to the Supreme Lord as mahaprasada, when a great bird made its appearance and snatched away the impure food together with the dish in which it had been served. The dish then descended on the head of the Buddhist teacher and cut into the skull. The luckless savant was rendered senseless by the violence of the blow. The Buddhists on witnessing the fate of their preceptor at once submitted to the Supreme Lord and by command of the Lord chanting the Kirtan of Krishna were turned into Vaishnavas along with their Acharyya. The quondam Buddhist teacher thereupon recited a hymn in praise of the Supreme Lord Whom he recognised as Krishna. The Lord also enabled the Saivas to awake into Vaishnavism or consciousness of the real self.
During the four months of Chaturmashya the Lord stayed in Sri Ranga-Kshetra at the house of Venkata Bhatta who was a native of the place and a Vaishnava, being a follower of Sri Ramanujacharyya. The Lord converted Venkata Bhatta with his whole family who had been worshippers of Lakshmi-Narayana, into devotees of Krishna. The three brothers Tirumalaya Bhatta, Venkata Bhatta and Probodhananda Saraswati obtaining the refuge of the feet of the Supreme Lord attained the eligibility of realising the intoxicating sweetness of Radha-Krishna. Sri Probodhananda Saraswati, the brother of Venkata Bhatta, was an ascetic with the triple staff (tridanda). He is uncle and spiritual preceptor of Sri Gopala, Bhatta, son of Sri Venkata Bhatta. During the period of His stay at the house of Venkata Bhatta, Gopala Bhatta had an opportunity of beholding and serving the Lord.
On His arrival at Rishava Parvat from Sri Rangam the Supreme Lord met with Sri Paramananda Puri. Puri Goswami then proceeded to Nilachal (Puri). The Supreme Lord started for Rama’s Bridge. At South Mathura being touched by the grief of a devotee of Rama the Lord consoled him with the assurance that transcendental Seeta Devi is the mistress of Vaikuntha and is beyond the scope of the polluted touch or sight of the worldly Ravana. Later the Lord procured from Rameswar certain slokas of the Kurma Purana that corroborate His statement and showed them to the delighted Brahman. The simple minded Brahman Krishnadas, who accompanied the Supreme Lord, having fallen into the clutches of Bhattatharis of Malabar the Lord rescued him from his degradation thereby teaching this lesson as a warning to everybody that the thraldom of the illusory power is the inevitable result of the abuse of one’s freedom of will and that this terrible calamity is sure to overtake one who forgets to serve Krishna even for the space of a single moment.
The Lord secured on the bank of the Payaswini river the fifth chapter of the Brahma Samhita, an authoritative work on the principles of the Vaishnava religion. From there He went on to Sringeri Math and Udupi. The Supreme Lord did not esteem the discourses of the then Madhavacharyya of Udupi who was an upholder of the doctrine of knowledge as the end and a supporter of devotion adulterated with empiric knowledge. The Madhavacharyya being afterwards vanquished in controversy recognised the greatness of the Supreme Lord. At Pandarpur the Lord received the tidings of the disappearance of His elder brother, Biswarup, known as Sankararanya, from the lips of Sri Rangapuri. He secured the work ‘Krishnakarnamrita’ on the bank of the Krishnavenva river. Retracing His steps to Vidyanagar and there once more visiting Rai Ramananda the Supreme Lord returned to Puri by way of Alalnath.
On His return to Puri the Lord took up His residence at the house of Kashi Misra. Sarbabhauma introduced to the Lord all the Vaishnavas who resided at Sri-Kshetra. Krishnadas was sent to Nabadwip. On learning from Krishnadas the tidings of the Lord’s return to Sri-Kshetra the Gaudiya devotees prepared to come up to Puri. Sri Paramananda Puri arrived there by way of Nabadwip bringing with him the Brahman Kamalakanta who was a disciple of Advaitacharyya. Sri Purushottam Bhattacharyya, a native of Nabadwip, after exhibiting the lila of accepting sannyas from a preceptor of the name of Chaitanyananda at Benares and becoming thereby known under the appellation of Swarup without assuming the saffron robes now presented himself at the feet of the Supreme Lord at Puri. Govinda who was a disciple of Sri Iswarapuri also made his way to the Supreme Lord after the disappearance of Puri Gossain and in obedience to the command of his preceptor, and was employed in attendance on the person of the Lord. The Supreme Lord with great skill made Brahmananda Bharati give up his skin garment. Kashiswar Pandit, disciple of Iswarapuri, also arrived at this time.