Ādi 14: Lord Caitanya’s Childhood Pastimes
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has given a summary of this chapter in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya: “In the fourteenth chapter there is a description of how Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu enjoyed His childhood pastimes — crawling, crying, eating dirt and giving intelligence to His mother, favoring a brāhmaṇa guest, riding on the shoulders of two thieves and misleading them to His own house, and, on the plea of being diseased, taking prasādam in the house of Hiraṇya and Jagadīśa on the Ekādaśī day. The chapter further describes how He displayed Himself as a naughty boy, how when His mother fainted He brought a coconut to her on His head, how He joked with girls of the same age on the banks of the Ganges, how He accepted worshipful paraphernalia from Śrīmatī Lakṣmīdevī, how He sat down in a garbage pit and instructed His mother in transcendental knowledge, how He left the pit on the order of His mother, and how He dealt with His father with full affection.”
duṣkaraṁ sukaraṁ bhavet
vismṛte viparītaṁ syāt
śrī-caitanyaṁ namāmi tam
In his book Caitanya-candrāmṛta, Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī says, “One who receives a little favor from the Lord becomes so exalted that he does not care even for liberation, which is sought after by many great scholars and philosophers. Similarly, a devotee of Lord Caitanya considers residence in the heavenly planets a will-o’-the-wisp. He surpasses the perfection of mystic yoga power because for him the senses are like snakes with broken fangs.” A snake is a very fearful and dangerous animal because of his poison fangs, but if these fangs are broken, the appearance of a snake is no cause for fear. The yoga principles are meant to control the senses, but there is no scope for the senses of one engaged in the service of the Lord to be dangerous like snakes. These are the gifts of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The Hari-bhakti-vilāsa confirms that difficult things become easy to understand if one remembers Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and easy things become very difficult to understand if one forgets Him. We actually see that even those who are very great scientists in the eyes of the general public cannot understand the very simple idea that life comes from life, because they do not have the mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. They defend the false understanding that life comes from matter, although they cannot prove that this is a fact. Modern civilization, therefore, progressing on the basis of this false scientific theory, is simply creating problems to be solved by the so-called scientists.
The author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta takes shelter of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu to describe the pastimes of His appearance as a child because one cannot write such transcendental literature by mental speculation. One who writes about the Supreme Personality of Godhead must be especially favored by the Lord. Simply by academic qualifications it is not possible to write such literature.
jayādvaitacandra, jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
yaśodā-nandana yaiche haila śacī-putra
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura confirms this statement that now Lord Kṛṣṇa, the son of mother Yaśodā, has appeared again as Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, becoming the son of mother Śacī:
vrajendra-nandana yei, śacī-suta haila sei
balarāma ha-ila nitāi
“The son of Śacī is none other than the son of mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja, and Nityānanda Prabhu is the same Balarāma.”
ebe kahi bālyalīlā-sūtrera gaṇana
laukikīm api tām īśa-
In the Bhagavad-gītā (9.11) this statement is confirmed as follows:
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto mama bhūta-maheśvaram
“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.” To execute His pastimes, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears on this planet or within this universe like an ordinary human being or human child, yet He maintains His superiority as the Supreme Lord. Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as a human child, but His uncommon activities, even in His childhood — like the killing of the demon Pūtanā or the lifting of Govardhana Hill — were not the engagements of an ordinary child. Similarly, although the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, as they will be described in this chapter, appear like the activities of a small boy, they are uncommon pastimes impossible for an ordinary human child to execute.
pitā-mātāya dekhāila cihna caraṇa
The word uttāna is also used to mean “lying down on the bed face upwards” or “lying down flat on the bed.” In some readings the word is utthāna, which means “standing up.” In His childhood pastimes the Lord tried to catch the wall and stand up, but as an ordinary child falls down, so the Lord also fell down and again took to lying on His bed.
tāhe śobhe dhvaja, vajra, śaṅkha, cakra, mīna
kāra pada-cihna ghare, nā pāya niścaya
teṅho mūrti hañā ghare khele, jāni, raṅge
When the form of the Lord is carved from wood, stone or any other element, it is to be understood that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is there. Even logically we can understand that all material elements are expansions of the energy of the Lord. Since the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is nondifferent from His personal body, the Lord is always present in His energy, and He manifests Himself on account of the ardent desire of a devotee. Since the Lord is supremely powerful, it is logical that He can manifest Himself in His energy. Deity worship or worship of the śālagrāma-śilā is not idol worship. The Deity of the Lord in the house of a pure devotee can act exactly as He can in His original transcendental personality.
aṅke lañā śacī tāṅre piyāila stana
sei cihna pāye dekhi’ miśre bolāila
gupte bolāila nīlāmbara cakravartī
lagna gaṇi’ pūrve āmi rākhiyāchi likhiyā
ei śiśu aṅge dekhi se saba lakṣaṇa
The five large parts are the nose, arms, chin, eyes and knees. The five fine parts are the skin, fingertips, teeth, hair on the body and hair on the head. The seven reddish parts are the eyes, soles, palms, palate, nails and upper and lower lips. The six raised parts are the chest, shoulders, nails, nose, waist and mouth. The three small parts are the neck, thighs and male organ. The three broad parts are the waist, forehead and chest. The three grave parts are the navel, voice and existence. Altogether these are the thirty-two symptoms of a great personality. This is a quotation from the Sāmudrika.
ei śiśu sarva loke karibe tāraṇa
ihā haite habe dui kulera nistāra
Only Nārāyaṇa Himself or His bona fide representative can preach the cult of Vaiṣṇavism, or devotional service. When a Vaiṣṇava is born, he delivers both his maternal and paternal families simultaneously.
āji dina bhāla, — kariba nāma-karaṇa
It is a Vedic principle to observe a festival in connection with Nārāyaṇa and brāhmaṇas. Giving a child a particular name is among the purificatory processes known as daśa-vidha-saṁskāra, and on the day of such a ceremony one should observe a festival by worshiping Nārāyaṇa and distributing prasādam, chiefly among the brāhmaṇas.
When Nīlāmbara Cakravartī, Śacīmātā and Jagannātha Miśra understood from the marks on the Lord’s lotus feet that child Nimāi was not an ordinary child but an incarnation of Nārāyaṇa, they decided that on that very same day, which was very auspicious, they should observe a festival for His name-giving ceremony. In this connection we can particularly see how an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is ascertained by His bodily symptoms, His activities and the prediction of the śāstras. By factual evidence a person can be accepted as an incarnation of God, not whimsically or by the votes of rascals and fools. There have been many imitation incarnations in Bengal since the appearance of Lord Caitanya, but any impartial devotee or learned man can understand that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was accepted as an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa not on the basis of popular votes but by evidence from the śāstras and bona fide scholars. It was not ordinary men who accepted Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the beginning His identity was ascertained by learned scholars like Nīlāmbara Cakravartī, and later all His activities were confirmed by the six Gosvāmīs, especially Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, and many other learned scholars, with evidence from the śāstra. An incarnation of God is such from the very beginning of His life. It is not that by performing meditation one can become an incarnation of God all of a sudden. Such false incarnations are meant for fools and rascals, not sane men.
‘viśvambhara’ nāma ihāra, — ei ta’ kāraṇa
The Caitanya-bhāgavata confirms that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, by His birth, has made the whole world peaceful, as in the past Nārāyaṇa protected this earth in His incarnation as Varāha. Because of His protecting and maintaining this world in the present Kali-yuga, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is known as Viśvambhara, which refers to one who feeds the entire world. The movement inaugurated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu when He was present five hundred years ago is again being propagated all over the world, and factually we are seeing its practical results. People are being saved, protected and maintained by this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. Thousands of followers, especially Western youths, are taking part in this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, and how safe and happy they feel can be understood from the expressions of gratitude in their hundreds and thousands of letters. The name Viśvambhara is also mentioned in the Atharva-veda-saṁhitā (184.108.40.206): viśvambhara viśvena mā bharasā pāhi svāhā.
brāhmaṇa-brāhmaṇī āni’ mahotsava kaila
It is the Vedic system to observe all kinds of festivals, including birthday festivals, marriage festivals, name-giving festivals and festivals marking the beginning of education, by especially inviting brāhmaṇas. In every festival the brāhmaṇas are to be fed first, and when the brāhmaṇas are pleased they bless the festival by chanting Vedic mantras or the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
nānā camatkāra tathā karāila darśana
The Caitanya-bhāgavata describes that one day while the Lord was crawling upon His knees, the bells on His waist ringing very sweetly, a snake came out to crawl in the yard of the Lord, who captured the snake like a curious child. Immediately the snake coiled over Him. The Lord as a child then rested on the snake, and after some time the snake went away, leaving the Lord aside.
nārī saba ‘hari’ bale, — hāse gaura-dhāma
In the Caitanya-bhāgavata this pastime is described as follows: “The Lord, with His beautiful eyes, would cry, but He would stop immediately upon hearing the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. When the ladies, understanding the fun of the Lord, discovered that He would cry and then stop upon hearing the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, they all took it as a clue to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa as soon as the Lord cried. Thus it became a regular function. The Lord would cry, and the ladies would begin chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, clapping their hands. In this way all the ladies of the neighboring houses would assemble in the home of Śacīmātā to join in the saṅkīrtana movement twenty-four hours a day. As long as the ladies continued to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, the Lord would not cry but would very pleasingly smile upon them.”
śiśu-gaṇe mili’ kaila vividha khelana
bāṭā bhari’ diyā baila, — khāo ta’ basiyā
lukāñā lāgilā śiśu mṛttikā khāite
māṭi kāḍi’ lañā kahe ‘māṭi kene khāya’
tumi māṭi khāite dile, mora kibā doṣa
eho māṭi, seha māṭi, ki bheda-vicāra
avicāre deha doṣa, ki balite pāri
This is an explanation of the Māyāvāda philosophy, which takes everything to be one. The necessities of the body, namely eating, sleeping, mating and defending, are all unnecessary in spiritual life. When one is elevated to the spiritual platform, there are no more bodily necessities, and in activities pertaining to the bodily necessities there are no spiritual considerations. In other words, the more we eat, sleep, have sex and try to defend ourselves, the more we engage in material activities. Unfortunately, Māyāvādī philosophers consider devotional activities to be bodily activities. They cannot understand the simple explanation in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
māṁ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
“Anyone who engages in spiritual devotional service without motivation, rendering such service for the satisfaction of the Lord, is elevated immediately to the spiritual platform, and all his activities are spiritual.” Brahma-bhūyāya refers to Brahman (spiritual) activities. Although Māyāvādī philosophers are very eager to merge into the Brahman effulgence, they have no Brahman activities. To a certain extent they recommend Brahman activities, which for them means engagement in studying the Vedānta and Sāṅkhya philosophies, but their interpretations are but dry speculation. Lacking the varieties of spiritual activity, they cannot stay for long on that platform of simply studying Vedānta or Sāṅkhya philosophy.
Life is meant for varieties of enjoyment. The living entity is by nature full of an enjoying spirit, as stated in the Vedānta-sūtra (1.1.12): ānanda-mayo ’bhyāsāt. In devotional service the activities are variegated and full of enjoyment. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.2), all devotional activities are easy to perform (su-sukhaṁ kartum) and are eternal and spiritual (avyayam). Since Māyāvādī philosophers cannot understand this, they take it for granted that a devotee’s activities (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam, etc.) are all material and are therefore māyā. They also consider Kṛṣṇa’s advent in this universe and His activities to be māyā. Therefore, because they consider everything māyā, they are known as Māyāvādīs.
Actually, any activities performed favorably for the satisfaction of the Lord, under the direction of the spiritual master, are spiritual. But for a person to disregard the order of the spiritual master and act by concoction, accepting his nonsensical activities to be spiritual, is māyā. One must achieve the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the mercy of the spiritual master. Therefore one must first please the spiritual master, and if he is pleased, then we should understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also pleased. But if the spiritual master is displeased by our actions, they are not spiritual. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura confirms this: yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ’pi. Activities that please the spiritual master must be considered spiritual, and they should be accepted as satisfying to the Lord.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as the supreme spiritual master, instructed His mother about the Māyāvāda philosophy. By saying that the body is dirt and eatables are also dirt, He implied that everything is māyā. This is Māyāvāda philosophy. The philosophy of the Māyāvādīs is defective because it maintains that everything is māyā but the nonsense they speak. While saying that everything is māyā, the Māyāvādī philosopher loses the opportunity of devotional service, and therefore his life is doomed. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore advised, māyāvādi-bhāṣya śunile haya sarva-nāśa (Cc. Madhya 6.169). If one accepts the Māyāvāda philosophy, his advancement is doomed forever.
“māṭi khāite jñāna-yoga ke śikhāla tore
In the philosophical discourse between the mother and the son, when the son said that everything is one, as impersonalists say, the mother replied, “If everything is one, why do people in general not eat dirt but eat the food grains produced from the dirt?”
māṭi khāile roga haya, deha yāya kṣaya
māṭi-piṇḍe dhari yabe, śoṣi’ yāya pāni”
This simple philosophy propounded by Śacīmātā, even though she is a woman, can defeat the Māyāvādī philosophers who speculate on oneness. The defect of Māyāvāda philosophy is that it does not accept the variety that is useful for practical purposes. Śacīmātā gave the example that although an earthen pot and a lump of dirt are basically one, for practical purposes the waterpot is useful whereas the lump of dirt is useless. Sometimes scientists argue that matter and spirit are one, with no difference between them. Factually, in a higher sense, there is no difference between matter and spirit, but one should have the practical knowledge that matter, being an inferior state of existence, is useless for our spiritual, blissful life, whereas spirit, being a finer state, is full of bliss. In this connection the Bhāgavatam gives the example that dirt and fire are practically one and the same. From the earth grow trees, and from their wood come fire and smoke. Nevertheless, for heat we can utilize the fire but not the earth, smoke or wood. Therefore, for the ultimate realization of the goal of life, we are concerned with the fire of the spirit, not the dull wood or earth of matter.
“āge kena ihā, mātā, nā śikhāle more
If from the beginning of life one is taught the Vaiṣṇava philosophy of duality or variety, the monistic philosophy will not bother him very much. In reality, everything is an emanation from the supreme source (janmādy asya yataḥ). The original energy is exhibited in varieties, exactly as the sunshine, the original energy emanating from the sun, exhibits itself in variety as light and heat. One cannot say that light is heat or that heat is light, yet one cannot separate one from the other. Therefore Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s philosophy is acintya-bhedābheda, inconceivable nonseparation and distinction. Although there is an affinity between the two physical manifestations light and heat, there is also a difference between them. Similarly, although the whole cosmic manifestation is the Lord’s energy, the energy is nevertheless exhibited in varieties of manifestations.
kṣudhā lāge yabe, tabe tomāra stana piba”
stana pāna kare prabhu īṣat hāsiyā
bālya-bhāva prakaṭiyā paścāt lukāya
pāche gupte sei vipre karila nistāra
The story of the deliverance of this brāhmaṇa is as follows. A brāhmaṇa who was touring all over the country, traveling from one place of pilgrimage to another, reached Navadvīpa and became a guest in the house of Jagannātha Miśra. Jagannātha Miśra gave him all ingredients for cooking, and the brāhmaṇa prepared his food. When the brāhmaṇa was offering the food to Lord Viṣṇu in meditation, child Nimāi came before him and began to eat it, and because of this the brāhmaṇa thought the whole offering had been spoiled. Therefore by the request of Jagannātha Miśra he cooked for a second time, but when he was meditating the child again came before him and began to eat the food, again spoiling the offering. By the request of Jagannātha Miśra the brāhmaṇa cooked for a third time, but for a third time the Lord came before him and began to eat the food, although the child had been locked within a room and everyone was sleeping because it was late at night. Thus, thinking that on that day Lord Viṣṇu was not willing to accept his food and that he was therefore ordained to fast, the brāhmaṇa became greatly agitated and cried aloud, hāya hāya: “What has been done! What has been done!” When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw the brāhmaṇa in that agitated state, He told him, “Formerly I was the son of mother Yaśodā. At that time also you became a guest in the house of Nanda Mahārāja, and I disturbed you in this way. I am very much pleased by your devotion. Therefore I am eating the food you have prepared.” Understanding the favor offered to him by the Lord, the brāhmaṇa was greatly pleased, and he was overwhelmed with love of Kṛṣṇa. He was thankful to the Lord, for he felt himself greatly fortunate. Then the Lord asked the brāhmaṇa not to disclose the incident to anyone else. This pastime is very elaborately explained in the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa, chapter five.
tāra skandhe caḍi’ āilā tāre bhulāiyā
In His childhood the Lord was profusely decorated with gold ornaments. Once upon a time, when the Lord was playing outside His house, two thieves passing on the street saw the opportunity to rob Him. Therefore they took Him on their shoulders, pleasing Him by offering Him some sweetmeats. The thieves thought they would carry the child to the forest and then kill Him and take away the ornaments. The Lord, however, expanded His illusory energy upon the thieves, so much so that instead of carrying Him to the forest they came right back in front of His house. When they came before His house they became afraid because everyone from the house of Jagannātha Miśra and all the inhabitants of that quarter were busy searching for the child. Therefore the thieves, thinking it dangerous to remain, went away and left Him. The child was brought within the house and given to mother Śacī, who was in great anxiety, and she became satisfied. This incident is also very elaborately explained in the Ādi-khaṇḍa of Caitanya-bhāgavata, third chapter.
viṣṇu-naivedya khāila ekādaśī-dine
The Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa, chapter six, fully describes the Lord’s accepting viṣṇu-prasādam on the Ekādaśī day at the house of Jagadīśa and Hiraṇya. Regular prasādam is offered to Lord Viṣṇu on Ekādaśī because although fasting is recommended for devotees on Ekādaśī, it is not recommended for Lord Viṣṇu. Once on Ekādaśī in the house of Jagadīśa and Hiraṇya Paṇḍita there were arrangements for preparing special prasādam for Lord Viṣṇu, and Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked His father to go there to ask for the viṣṇu-prasādam because He was feeling sick. The house of Jagadīśa and Hiraṇya Paṇḍita was situated about two miles from the house of Jagannātha Miśra. Therefore when Jagannātha Miśra, on the request of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, came to ask Jagadīśa and Hiraṇya for the prasādam, they were a little astonished. How could the boy understand that special prasādam was being prepared for Lord Viṣṇu? They immediately concluded that Nimāi must have supernatural mystic power. Otherwise how could He understand that they were preparing special prasādam? Therefore they immediately sent the food to Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu through His father, Jagannātha Miśra. Nimāi was feeling sick, but immediately after eating the viṣṇu-prasādam He was cured, and He also distributed the prasādam among His playmates.
curi kari’ dravya khāya māre bālakere
śuni’ śacī putre kichu dilā olāhana
kene para-ghare yāha, kibā nāhi ghare”
According to the Vedānta-sūtra (janmādy asya yataḥ), since creation, maintenance and annihilation exist in the Supreme Absolute, whatever we find within this material world is already in the spiritual world. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa Himself. How is He stealing, and how is He fighting? It is not as a thief or an enemy but as a friend in a loving condition. He steals as a child not because He is in want but out of a natural instinct. In this material world also, small children, without enmity or bad will, sometimes go to a neighboring house and steal, and sometimes they fight. Kṛṣṇa also, like other children, did all these things in His childhood. Without the existence of the stealing propensity and fighting propensity in the spiritual world, they cannot exist here in this material world. The difference between the material and spiritual worlds is that stealing in the spiritual world is done in friendship and love, whereas fighting and stealing within this material world are executed on the basis of enmity and envy. Therefore we should understand that in the spiritual world all these activities exist, but there is no inebriety, whereas in the material world all activities are full of miserable conditions.
ghare yata bhāṇḍa chila, phelila bhāṅgiyā
lajjita ha-ilā prabhu jāni’ nija-doṣa
There is a nice description of the faults of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His childhood in the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khaṇḍa, chapter three, where it is said that as a child the Lord used to steal all kinds of eatables from the houses of neighboring friends. In some houses He would steal milk and drink it, and in others He would steal and eat prepared rice. Sometimes He would break cooking pots. If there were nothing to eat but there were small babies, the Lord would tease the babies and make them cry. Sometimes a neighbor would complain to Śacīmātā, “My child is very small, but your child puts water in his ears and makes him cry.”
mātāke mūrcchitā dekhi’ karaye krandana
tabe sustha ha-ibena tomāra jananī”
dekhiyā apūrva haila vismita sakala
kanyāgaṇa āilā tāhāṅ devatā pūjite
According to the Vedic system, when small girls ten or twelve years old would go to the bank of the Ganges to take their bath, they would especially worship Lord Śiva with prayers to get good husbands in the future. They especially wanted to get a husband like Lord Śiva because Lord Śiva is very peaceful and at the same time most powerful. Formerly, therefore, small girls in Hindu families would worship Lord Śiva, especially in the month of Vaiśākha (April-May). To take a bath in the Ganges is a great pleasure for everyone, not only for adults but for children also.
kanyāgaṇa-madhye prabhu āsiyā basilā
gaṅgā-durgā — dāsī mora, maheśa — kiṅkara
There is a misconception about the Hindu religion among people who profess other religions, such as Christians and Muslims, who say that in the Hindu religion there are many Gods. Actually that is not a fact. God is one, but there are many other powerful living entities who are in charge of different departments of administration. They are called demigods. All the demigods are servants who carry out the orders of the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu disclosed this fact in His childhood. Out of ignorance, sometimes people worship the demigods to receive some particular boon, but actually, one who becomes a devotee and worshiper of the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not need to go to the demigods for any benediction because he obtains everything by the grace of the Supreme Lord. The Bhagavad-gītā (7.20, 28) therefore condemns such demigod worship:
kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ prapadyante ’nya-devatāḥ
taṁ taṁ niyamam āsthāya prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā
“Only persons whose intelligence is lost and who are mad with lusty desires worship the demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.”
yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
“But persons who are freed from all sinful activities and the duality of delusion engage themselves in the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with determination.” Only the less intelligent worship the demigods for their various purposes. The most intelligent worship only the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.
Sometimes we, the members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, are accused of not approving of the worship of demigods. But how can we approve of this when it is condemned by Lord Caitanya and Lord Kṛṣṇa? How can we allow people to become foolish and hṛta-jñāna, bereft of intelligence? Our propaganda is simply meant to enable intelligent people to understand the distinction between matter and spirit and understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the whole spiritual identity. That is our mission. How could we mislead people into worshiping so-called gods in material bodies within this material world?
Our position of not allowing worship of the many hundreds of demigods was confirmed by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu even in His childhood. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung in this connection:
anya devāśraya nāi tomāre kahinu bhāi
ei bhakti parama-kāraṇa
“To become a staunch, pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead without deviation [ananya-bhāk], one should not divert his attention to the worship of the demigods. Such control is a symptom of pure devotional service.”
naivedya kāḍiyā khā’na — sandeśa, cāla, kalā
According to the system of worship, when something is offered to deities outside one’s home, it is generally not cooked food but raw rice, bananas and sweetmeats. Out of His causeless mercy, the Lord would snatch the offerings from the girls and eat them, admonishing the girls not to worship the demigods but to worship Him. This worship of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is recommended in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
“One should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appears in this Age of Kali with His associates as the Pañca-tattva: the Lord Himself and His associates Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrī Advaita Prabhu, Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu and Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura. In this age an intelligent person worships the Pañca-tattva by the method of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and, if possible, distributing prasādam.” Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is introducing this bona fide method of worship in the Western world. Its members are going from village to village and town to town with Deities of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, teaching people how to worship the Lord by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, offering prasādam and distributing prasādam to people in general.
grāma-sambandhe hao tumi āmā sabāra bhāi
nā laha devatā sajja, nā kara anyāya
tomā sabāra bhartā habe parama sundara
sāta sāta putra habe — cirāyu, matimān”
Generally it is the ambition of a young girl to have a very handsome husband who is learned, clever, young and rich. According to the Vedic culture, one is rich if he possesses a large stock of food grain and a very large number of animals. Dhānyena dhanavān gavayā dhanavān: one is rich if he possesses food grain, cows and bulls. A girl also desires to have many children, especially sons (putra) who are very intelligent and long-lived. Now because society has deteriorated there is propaganda to have one or two children and kill the rest by contraceptive methods. But the natural ambition of a girl is to possess not only more than one child but at least half a dozen.
In exchange for the paraphernalia of worship He usurped for Himself, Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to bless the girls to fulfill all their ambitions and desires. One can easily become happy and obtain the material benefits of a good husband, wealth, food grain and a number of nice children by worshiping Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted sannyāsa at an early age, it is not necessary for His devotees to follow Him by also taking sannyāsa. One can stay a householder, but one must be a devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Then one will be happy, with all the material opulences of a good home, good children, good mate, good wealth and everything he desires. Therefore the śāstras advise, yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ (Bhāg. 11.5.32). Every householder, therefore, who is actually intelligent should introduce the saṅkīrtana movement home to home and live peacefully in this life and go back to Godhead in the next.
bāhire bhartsana kare kari’ mithyā roṣa
This double-dealing is natural for girls. When they are satisfied within, they externally show dissatisfaction. Such feminine dealings are very palatable to boys who try to make friendships with them.
tāre ḍāki’ kahe prabhu sakrodha ha-iyā
buḍā bhartā habe, āra cāri cāri satinī
In India in those days and even until fifty years ago, polygamy was freely allowed. Any man, especially of the higher castes — the brāhmaṇas, the vaiśyas and particularly the kṣatriyas — could marry more than one wife. In the Mahābhārata, or the old history of India, we see that kṣatriya kings especially used to marry many wives. According to Vedic civilization there was no restriction against this, and even a man more than fifty years old could marry. But to be married to a man who had many wives was not a very pleasing situation because the husband’s love would be divided among his many wives. To punish the girls unwilling to offer Him the naivedya, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu apparently wanted to curse them to be married to men who had at least four wives.
The social structure allowing a man to marry more than one wife can be supported in this way. Generally in every society the female population is greater in number than the male population. Therefore if it is a principle in the society that all girls should be married, unless polygamy is allowed it will not be possible. If all the girls are not married there is a good chance of adultery, and a society in which adultery is allowed cannot be very peaceful or pure. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness society we have restricted illicit sex. The practical difficulty is to find a husband for each and every girl. We are therefore in favor of polygamy, provided, of course, that the husband is able to maintain more than one wife.
kona kichu jāne, kibā devāviṣṭa haya
khāiyā naivedya tāre iṣṭa-vara dila
duḥkha kāro mane nahe, sabe sukha pāya
devatā pūjite āila kari gaṅgā-snāna
According to the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (45), Lakṣmī was formerly Jānakī, the wife of Lord Rāmacandra, and Rukmiṇī, the wife of Lord Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā. The same goddess of fortune descended as Lakṣmī to become the wife of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
lakṣmī citte prīta pāila prabhura darśana
bālya-bhāvācchanna tabhu ha-ila niścaya
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lakṣmīdevī are eternal husband and wife. Therefore it was quite natural for their dormant love to awaken when they saw each other. Their natural feelings were immediately awakened by their meeting.
deva-pūjā chale kaila duṅhe parakāśa
āmāre pūjile pābe abhīpsita vara’
This is the same philosophy declared by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself:
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Bg. 18.66) People do not understand this. They are accustomed to flattering or worshiping many demigods, human beings, or even cats and dogs, but when requested to worship the Supreme Lord, they refuse. This is called illusion. Factually, if one worships the Supreme Lord there is no need to worship anyone else. For example, in a village of a limited area one may use different wells for different purposes, but when one goes to a river where there is water constantly flowing in waves, that water can serve all his purposes. When there is a river, one can take drinking water, wash his clothes, bathe and so on, for that water will serve all purposes. Similarly, if one worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, all his goals will be achieved. Kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ prapadyante ’nya-devatāḥ: only men who have lost their intelligence worship the various demigods to fulfill their desires (Bg. 7.20).
mallikāra mālā diyā karila vandana
śloka paḍi’ tāṅra bhāva aṅgīkāra kailā
The verse quoted in this connection is the twenty-fifth verse of the twenty-second chapter, Tenth Canto, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The gopīs worshiped goddess Durgā, or Kātyāyanī, but their inner desire was to get Lord Kṛṣṇa as their husband. Kṛṣṇa, as Paramātmā, could realize the ardent desire of the gopīs, and therefore He enjoyed the pastime of vastra-haraṇa. When the gopīs went to bathe in the river Yamunā, they left their garments on the land and dipped into the water completely naked. Taking this opportunity, Kṛṣṇa stole all their garments and sat down in the top of a tree with them, desiring to see the girls naked just to become their husband. The gopīs desired to have Kṛṣṇa as their husband, and since it is only before her husband that a woman can be naked, to fulfill their desire Lord Kṛṣṇa accepted their prayers by this pastime of stealing their garments. When the gopīs received their garments back from Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa recited this verse.
mayānumoditaḥ so ’sau
satyo bhavitum arhati
The gopīs, the girlfriends of Kṛṣṇa, were almost of the same age as He. Within their minds they desired that Kṛṣṇa be their husband, but because of feminine bashfulness they could not express their desire. Therefore later on, after stealing their garments, Kṛṣṇa informed them, “I immediately understood your desire and approved of it. Because I have now stolen your garments, you have presented yourselves before Me completely naked, which means that I have accepted all of you as My wives.” Sometimes foolish rascals, not knowing the purpose of the Lord or the purpose of the gopīs, unnecessarily criticize from their own angle of vision, but the real purpose of vastra-haraṇa is expressed by the Lord in this verse.
gambhīra caitanya-līlā ke bujhite pāre
śacī-jagannāthe dekhi’ dena olāhana
dharibāre gelā, putra gelā palāiyā
basiyāchena sukhe prabhu deva-viśvambhara
Formerly it was the custom of brāhmaṇas to worship Lord Viṣṇu daily at home and cook food in new pots. This system is still going on in Jagannātha Purī. The food would be cooked in earthen pots, all fresh and new, and after cooking, the pots would be thrown away. By the side of the house there was generally a big pit where such pots were thrown. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu sat down on the pots very pleasingly, just to give His mother a lesson.
gaṅgā-snāna kara yāi’ — apavitra ha-ilā
vismitā ha-iyā mātā karāila snāna
The absolute knowledge explained by the Lord to His mother is described by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya as follows: “The Lord said, ‘Mother, that this is pure and that is impure is surely a worldly sentiment with no basis in fact. You have cooked food for Lord Viṣṇu within these pots and offered the food to Him. How then can these pots be untouchable? Everything in relationship with Viṣṇu is to be considered an expansion of Viṣṇu’s energy. Viṣṇu, the Supersoul, is eternal and uncontaminated. How then may these pots be considered pure or impure?’ Hearing this discourse on absolute knowledge, His mother was very much astonished and forced Him to take a bath.”
dekhe, divyaloka āsi’ bharila bhavana
mātṛ-ājñā pāiyā prabhu calilā bāhire
śuni’ camakita haila pitā-mātāra mana
śiśura śūnya-pade kene nūpurera dhvani
divya divya loka āsi’ aṅgana bharila
kāhāke vā stuti kare — anumāna kari
viśvambharera kuśala ha-uk, — ei mātra cāi
dharma-śikṣā dila bahu bhartsanā kariyā
miśrere kahaye kichu sa-roṣa vacana
bhartsana-tāḍana kara, — putra kari’ māna”
ye se baḍa ha-uk mātra āmāra tanaya
āmi nā śikhāle kaiche janibe dharma-marma
svataḥ-siddha-jñāna, tabe śikṣā vyartha haya
The brāhmaṇa Jagannātha Miśra saw in his dream told him that his son was not an ordinary human being. If He were a transcendental person, He would have self-effulgent knowledge, and thus there would be no need to educate Him.
tathāpi pitāra dharma — putrera śikṣaṇa”
viśuddha-vātsalya miśrera, nāhi jāne āra
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.8.45) it is said, “Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped with exalted hymns by all the Vedas and Upaniṣads and by great personalities through sāṅkhya-yoga in the mode of goodness, was considered by mother Yaśodā and Nanda to be their own little son.” Similarly, Jagannātha Miśra also considered Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu his beloved little boy, although He is worshiped with all veneration by learned brāhmaṇas and saintly persons.
miśra jāgiyā ha-ilā parama vismita
śuniyā sakala loka vismita ha-ila
dine dine pitā-mātāra bāḍāya ānanda
alpa dine dvādaśa-phalā akṣara śikhila
The twelve phalā, or combinations of letters, are called repha; mūrdhanya (cerebral), ṇa; dāntavya (dental), na; ma; ya; ra; la; va; ṛ; ṝ; ḷ; and ḷ. Hāte khaḍi is the primary educational beginning. At the age of four or five years, on an auspicious day called vidyārambha marking the beginning of primary education, there is a ceremony worshiping Lord Viṣṇu, and after that the teacher gives the child a long chalk pencil. Then, guiding the hand of the student, he instructs him how to write the letters of the alphabet (a, ā, i, etc.) by writing big letters on the floor. When the child is a little advanced in writing, he is given a slate for his primary education, which ends when he learns the two-letter combinations, which are called phalā, as mentioned above.
ihā vistāriyāchena dāsa-vṛndāvana
punarukti-bhaye vistāriyā nā kahila
caitanya-caritāmṛta kahe kṛṣṇadāsa
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādilīlā, fourteenth chapter, describing Lord Caitanya’s childhood pastimes.