Published on March 22nd, 2021 | by Harmonist staff9
Vande Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya
By Swāmī Śrī Bhaktivedānta Tripurāri
In the auspicious invocation to his treatise, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī offers two prāṇaṁ verses. Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa tells us that the second of these verses is specific (viśeṣa), indicating that in it the presiding deity of the book is named and described. This stanza runs as follows:
vande śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.2
citrau śandau tamo-nudau
Kavirāja Gosvāmī offers his respect (vande) to Sri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. Śrī Kṛṣṇa means Radha Kṛṣṇa, who have appeared as Caitanya. He is Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, or Kṛṣṇa conscious. This name was given to him by Keśava Bhāratī Mahārāja as Mahāprabhu began his preaching līla. The word ‘caitanya‘ means consciousness. Mahāprabhu is always conscious of Kṛṣṇa. ‘Caitanya‘ also means ‘soul.’ Mahāprabhu is the soul of Kṛṣṇa, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and thus he is conscious of Kṛṣṇa as only she can be. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī wants to say all of these things. He wants us to know from this verse that Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Śrī (Radha) and Kṛṣṇa combined.
Śrī Radha saw Gaurāṅga in her dream once, a golden dancing figure in a land non-different from her own Vṛndāvana. His dancing and chanting made the entire universe cry. When she awoke, she wondered who this figure was. Was he Kṛṣṇa, or was he her own self in another form? When Kṛṣṇa arrived and heard her speaking about this he merely laughed. However, his kaustubha-maṇi (gem) that he wears over his heart and which represents all jīvas suddenly shone brightly, revealing to Radha the reason why Kṛṣṇa only laughed.
She understood from the joy of the jīvas resulting from thinking of that golden figure that he was both Kṛṣṇa and herself in one figure. She told Kṛṣṇa, “You, Gopāla, are that figure,” ‘tat tvam asi,’ and in that figure, “I am also you, Gopal,” ‘aham gopālo.’ This is the truth of the Upaniṣads.
Then Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī says ‘nityāndandau sahoditau.’ The word “sahoditau” refers to both the figurative, simultaneous rising of the sun and moon referred to in the third line of this verse, as well as to the oneness of Gaura and Nityānanda. These two are one. “Saha” means ‘together with,’ and suggests action in common. Kṛṣṇa Caitanya appears together with Nityānanda Prabhu, his other self, who knows nothing other than the service of Gaurāṅga.
“Udita” means ‘rising high,’ ‘exalted.’ Nityānanda causes the name and person of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya to rise high on the spiritual horizon through his part in the conversion of Jagāi and Mādhāi and other preaching exploits, and Kṛṣṇa Caitanya made clear to all of his devotees the exalted position of Nitāi, lest he be misunderstood owing to his unorthodox behavior.
They appeared together on gaudadaye, the eastern horizon of Gauda. “Gauḍa” means sweet. Gauḍadeśa is the sweet country that is non-different from Vṛndāvana, the land of sweetness, mādhurya. As the sun and moon rise in the east, “udaye” implies this direction. East is the spiritual direction, to which we shall turn to uncover the secret treasure of our spiritual inheritance. Light arises in the east, the direction of the gods.
The mādhurya human-like sweetness of Kṛṣṇa in his aprākṛta-līla looks ordinary and mundane (prākṛta), but it is Godly to the extreme (aprākṛta).
Gauḍa represents his sweetness, and udaya the eastern direction, that of his aiśvarya. When he who is all majestic appears as if ordinary, this is truly sweet. When the two sweet Gods, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, appear as Kṛṣṇa Caitanya and Prabhu Nityānanda there is something more added to their sweetness.
On the eastern horizon of the land of mādhurya they appeared like the sun and moon, as if these two luminary orbs had simultaneously arisen. Kavirāja Gosvāmī describes this as “citrau,” brilliant and wonderful. This wonder (camatkāra) is the basis of the aesthetic rapture (rasa) that they came to bestow wonderfully and with brilliance like that of the simultaneous rising of the sun and moon.
The word “puṣpavantau” indicates the sun and moon. Puṣpa implies nourishment. These two Gods nourish our soul sweetly, as the sun produces rain to nourish the crops and the moon is said to make them succulent. Viśvambhara sustains the universe with bhakti and the ever-happy Nitāi makes the world joyful by giving everyone Gaurāṅga. This rising from mādhurya on the eastern horizon is the compassionate, magnanimous heart of the Godhead that stands so exalted in our mind.
Kavirāja Gosvāmī says “sam-dau,” indicating that the appearance of Gaura Nityānanda is mādhurya with the addition of audārya (generosity). Sama is the son of Dharma. Sama indicates the absence of sexual passion and the peacefulness that follows this absence. Gaura Nityānanda bestow (dau) this soothing sama, giving rise to the ananda of the soul, and more, the prema-dharma of Vraja-bhakti.
To further stress this point and make clear what the farthest reach of this benediction of Gaura Nityānanda is, Kavirāja Gosvāmī says “tamo-nudau.” Gaura Nityānanda take away the darkness of ignorance. What is this ignorance? Kavirāja Gosvāmī says “ajñāna-tamera nāma kahiye ‘kaitava’.” It is known as kaitava, and it appears in four forms: “dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa-vāñchā ādi saba.”
The desires for piety, economic development, sense indulgence, and liberation from all of these is kaitava, cheating. The desire for these four goals of life are the darkness (tamo) of ignorance, especially the desire for mokṣa, which ignores one’s innate nature as a servant of God.
The gift of Gaura Nityānanda, their benediction (sam-dau), is called “pañcama puruṣārtha,” the fifth goal of life “prema pumartho mahān.” Kavirāja Gosvāmī says “tattva-vastu — kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa-bhakti, prema-rūpa nāma-saṅkīrtana — saba ānanda-svarūpa.” The Absolute truth, Kṛṣṇa (sambandha), Kṛṣṇa-bhakti (abhidheya), and prema-rupa (prayojana) can be realized by nāma-saṅkīrtana, which is the essence of all bliss (saba ānanda-svarūpa).
This nāma-saṅkīrtana taught by Gaura Nityānanda dissipates the darkness of the heart (ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ) and brings us to niṣṭhā-bhakti in the service of two bhagavatas, the book bhagavata and those who embody its message (naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā).
Serving these two is the door to bhakti-rasa (dui bhāgavata dvārā diyā bhakti-rasa). The nature of this bhakti-rasa is that having removed all ignorance from the heart, it imprisons Kṛṣṇa therein.