INTRODUCTION TO SRI CHAITANYA-BHAGAVAT

Homage to Srila Vrndavan Das Thakur.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

The following is excerpted and translated from the introduction by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj to his publication of Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat and includes an original verse composed by His Divine Grace in glorification of Srila Vrndavan Das Thakur and Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami.

Bright Blue Ocean

 

samsarera para ha-i’ bhaktira sagare
ye dubibe se bhajuka nitaichadere
amara prabhura prabhu sri gaurasundara
e bada bharasa chitte dhari nirantara
(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat: Adi-khanda, 17.152–153)

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

adyapiha ‘sesa’-deva sahasra-sri-mukhe
gayena chaitanya-yasa, anta nahi dekhe
(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat: Adi-khanda, 1.69)

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

lag bali’ chali’ yaya sindhu taribare
yasera sindhu na deya kula, adhika adhika bade
(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat: Adi-khanda, 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 Vyasadev. Thus, regarding the identity and writing style of Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat, Srila Kaviraj Goswami, the best of the paramahamsas in the inexhaustible reservoir of the nectar of Sri Sri Gaura-Govinda’s Pastimes, has clearly stated,

sahaje vichitra madhura chaitanya-vihara
vrndavana-dasa-mukhe amrtera dhara
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 4.5)

[“Sri Chaitanya’s Pastimes are by nature wonderful and sweet. A stream of their nectar has come through Vrndavan Das’ mouth.”]

nityananda-krpa-patra—vrndavana-dasa
chaitanya-lilara te̐ho hayena ‘adi-vyasa’
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 20.82)

[“Vrndavan Das, the recipient of Nityananda’s mercy, is the original Vyasa of Sri Chaitanya’s Pastimes.”]

manusye rachite nare aichhe grantha dhanya
vrndavana-dasa-mukhe vakta sri-chaitanya
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 8.39)

[“A human being could not write such a glorious book. Sri Chaitanya Himself spoke through Vrndavan Das’ mouth.”]

There is no need to say anything more about Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat or Srila Vrndavan Das Thakur Mahasay, the original Vyasa of Sri Chaitanya’s Pastimes. We find in his writing the answer to the only question that remains after him: why did he later write Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta? The answer:

nityananda-lila-varnane ha-ila avesa
chaitanyera sesa-lila rahila avasesa
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 8.48)

[“Vrndavan Das became immersed in describing Nityananda’s Pastimes. Thus, Sri Chaitanya’s final Pastimes remained untold.”]

Srila Kaviraj Goswami elaborated on all the Pastimes that Vrndavan Das, fearing his book would become too long, summarised and recorded, considering, “Vistariya Vedavyasa kariba varnane: Vedavyas will describe them elaborately later on” (Cc: 3.20.86). Furthermore, the exclusive followers of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunath residing in Vraja, who desired to hear Sri Chaitanyadev’s final Pastimes, as well as Sri Madan Gopal’s order, completely inspired him. So, one must read Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat to know from beginning to end the earthly Pastimes of Bhagavan Sri Chaitanyadev.

While reading Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat, as they are bathed in the infinite mercy of Sriman Nityananda Prabhu—the saviour of the fallen, the giver of Sri Gaura Krishna—even the hearts of very great sinners melt and become completely enriched with the rasa of devotion. This is the special quality of Srila Vrndavan Das Thakur’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 Vyasas of Sri Chaitanya’s Pastimes.

dasa-vrndavanam vande krsna-dasa-prabhum tatha
chhannavatara-chaitanya-lila-vistara-karinau
dvau nityananda-padabja-karuna-renu-bhusitau
vyakta-chchhannau budhachintyau vavande vyasa-rupinau
sri-guru-gaura-gandharva-govindas cha ganaih saha
jayanti pathakas chatra sarvesam karunarthinah

[“I offer my obeisance to Srila Vrndavan Das Thakur and Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami Prabhu. They are the expounders of the Pastimes of the hidden Avatar, Sri Chaitanya, and are adorned with the pollen-like mercy of Nityananda Prabhu’s lotus feet. I offer my obeisance to these two forms of Vyasadev, one manifest and one hidden, one intelligible and one inconceivable (or: one of whom reveals the open, conceivable Pastimes of Sri Chaitanya, and one of whom reveals the hidden, inconceivable Pastimes of Sri Chaitanya). Sri Guru, Sri Gauranga, Sri Sri Gandharva-Govindasundar, their associates, and the students present here are most glorious, and we pray for the mercy of all.”]

The lowly and fallen,

Tridandi Bhiksu
Sri Bhakti Sundar Govinda

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu’s Disappearance Day,
Jhulan Dvadasi,
8 August 1995

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern representative of the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Both definitive and progressive, his exemplary life, practice, and teachings brilliantly illuminate the path of divine love. For more information on Srila Govinda Maharaj, please visit his biography page.

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