Madhya 3: Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s Stay at the House of Advaita Ācārya
In his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura gives the following summary of the third chapter. After accepting the sannyāsa order at Katwa, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu traveled continuously for three days in Rāḍha-deśa and, by the trick of Nityānanda Prabhu, eventually came to the western side of Śāntipura. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was induced to believe that the river Ganges was the Yamunā. When He was worshiping the sacred river, Advaita Prabhu arrived in a boat. Advaita Prabhu asked Him to take His bath in the Ganges and took Him to His (Advaita’s) house. There all the Navadvīpa devotees, along with mother Śacīdevī, came to see Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This house was located at Śāntipura. Mother Śacīdevī cooked for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu, and at that time there were many joking exchanges between Advaita Prabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu. In the evening there was a mass saṅkīrtana at the house of Advaita Prabhu, and mother Śacīdevī gave Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu permission to leave. She requested Him to make Jagannātha Purī, Nīlācala, His headquarters. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu granted His mother’s request and, followed by Nityānanda, Mukunda, Jagadānanda and Dāmodara, left Śāntipura. Bidding farewell to mother Śacīdevī, they all proceeded toward Jagannātha Purī, following the path of Chatrabhoga.
vṛndāvanaṁ gantu-manā bhramād yaḥ
rāḍhe bhraman śānti-purīm ayitvā
lalāsa bhaktair iha taṁ nato ’smi
jayādvaitacandra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
tāra śukla-pakṣe prabhu karilā sannyāsa
rāḍha-deśe tina dina karilā bhramaṇa
The word Rāḍha-deśa comes from the word rāṣṭra, or “state.” From rāṣṭra the corrupted word rāḍha has come. The part of Bengal on the western side of the Ganges is known as Rāḍha-deśa. Another name is Pauṇḍra-deśa or Peṇḍo-deśa. The word peṇḍo is a corrupted form of the word pauṇḍra. It appears that the capital of Rāṣṭra-deśa was situated in that part of Bengal.
bhramite pavitra kaila saba rāḍha-deśe
adhyāsitāṁ pūrvatamair mahadbhiḥ
ahaṁ tariṣyāmi duranta-pāraṁ
In connection with this verse, which is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.23.57), Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura says that of the sixty-four items required for rendering devotional service, acceptance of the symbolic marks of sannyāsa is a regulative principle. If one accepts the sannyāsa order, his main business is to devote his life completely to the service of Mukunda, Kṛṣṇa. If one does not completely devote his mind and body to the service of the Lord, he does not actually become a sannyāsī. It is not simply a matter of changing dress. In Bhagavad-gītā (6.1) it is also stated, anāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ/ sa sannyāsī ca yogī ca: one who works devotedly for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa is a sannyāsī. The dress is not sannyāsa, but the attitude of service to Kṛṣṇa is.
The word parātma-niṣṭhā means being a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Parātmā, the Supreme Person, is Kṛṣṇa. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ. Those who are completely dedicated to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa in service are actually sannyāsīs. As a matter of formality, the devotee accepts the sannyāsa dress as previous ācāryas did. He also accepts the three daṇḍas. Later Viṣṇu Svāmī considered that accepting the dress of a tri-daṇḍī was parātma-niṣṭhā. Therefore sincere devotees add another daṇḍa, the jīva-daṇḍa, to the three existing daṇḍas. The Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī is known as a tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī. The Māyāvādī sannyāsī accepts only one daṇḍa, not understanding the meaning of tri-daṇḍa. Later, many persons in the community of Śiva Svāmī gave up the ātma-niṣṭhā (devotional service) of the Lord and followed the path of Śaṅkarācārya. Instead of accepting 108 names, those in the Śiva Svāmī sampradāya follow the path of Śaṅkarācārya and accept the ten names of sannyāsa. Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the then-existing order of sannyāsa (namely eka-daṇḍa), He still recited a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam about the tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa accepted by the brāhmaṇa of Avantīpura. Indirectly He declared that within that eka-daṇḍa, one daṇḍa, four daṇḍas existed as one. Accepting ekadaṇḍa-sannyāsa without parātma-niṣṭhā (devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa) is not acceptable to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In addition, according to the exact regulative principles, one should add the jīva-daṇḍa to the tri-daṇḍa. These four daṇḍas, bound together as one, are symbolic of unalloyed devotional service to the Lord. Because the ekadaṇḍi-sannyāsīs of the Māyāvāda school are not devoted to the service of Kṛṣṇa, they try to merge into the Brahman effulgence, which is a marginal position between material and spiritual existence. They accept this impersonal position as liberation. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, not knowing that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was a tridaṇḍī, think of Caitanya Mahāprabhu as an ekadaṇḍi-sannyāsī. This is due to their vivarta, bewilderment. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is no such thing as an ekadaṇḍi-sannyāsī; indeed, the tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī is accepted as the symbolic representation of the sannyāsa order. By citing this verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the sannyāsa order recommended in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, who are enamored of the external energy of the Lord, cannot understand the mind of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
To date, all the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, following in His footsteps, accept the sannyāsa order and keep the sacred thread and tuft of unshaved hair. The ekadaṇḍi-sannyāsīs of the Māyāvādī school give up the sacred thread and do not keep any tuft of hair. Therefore they are unable to understand the purport of tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa, and as such they are not inclined to dedicate their lives to the service of Mukunda. They simply think of merging into the existence of Brahman because of their disgust with material existence. The ācāryas who advocate the daiva-varṇāśrama (the social order of cātur-varṇyam mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā) do not accept the proposition of āsura-varṇāśrama, which maintains that the social order of varṇa is indicated by birth.
The most intimate devotee of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, namely Gadādhara Paṇḍita, accepted tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa and also accepted Mādhava Upādhyāya as his tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī disciple. It is said that from this Mādhavācārya the sampradāya known in western India as the Vallabhācārya sampradāya has begun. Śrīla Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, who is known as a smṛty-ācārya in the Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya, later accepted the tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa order from Tridaṇḍipāda Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī. Although acceptance of tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa is not distinctly mentioned in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava literature, the first verse of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Upadeśāmṛta advocates that one should accept the tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa order by controlling the six forces:
vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
“One who can control the forces of speech, mind, anger, belly, tongue and genitals is known as a gosvāmī and is competent to accept disciples all over the world.” The followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never accepted the Māyāvāda order of sannyāsa, and for this they cannot be blamed. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted Śrīdhara Svāmī, who was a tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī, but the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, not understanding Śrīdhara Svāmī, sometimes think that Śrīdhara Svāmī belonged to the Māyāvāda ekadaṇḍa-sannyāsa community. Actually this was not the case.
mukunda sevana-vrata kaila nirdhāraṇa
mukunda-sevāya haya saṁsāra-tāraṇa
In this connection, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the sannyāsa order and recommended the determination of the Avantīpura bhikṣu to engage in the service of Mukunda. He accepted the brāhmaṇa’s version due to his determination to serve Mukunda. The sannyāsī dress is actually an attraction for material formality. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not like such formality, but He wanted the essence of it — service to Mukunda. Such determination in any condition is parātma-niṣṭhā. That is required. The conclusion is that the sannyāsa order depends not on the dress but the determination to serve Mukunda.
kṛṣṇa-niṣevaṇa kari nibhṛte vasiyā
dik-vidik-jñāna nāhi, kibā rātri-dina
prabhu-pāche-pāche tine karena gamana
premāveśe ‘hari’ bale, khaṇḍe duḥkha-śoka
‘hari’ ‘hari’ bali’ ḍāke ucca kariyā
‘bala’ ‘bala’ bale sabāra śire hasta dhari’
kṛtārtha karile more śunāñā hari-nāma
śikhāilā sabākāre kariyā prabandha
gaṅgā-tīra-patha tabe dekhāiha tāṅre
kaha dekhi, kon pathe yāba vṛndāvana’
sei pathe āveśe prabhu gamana karila
śīghra yāha tumi advaita-ācāryera ṭhāñi
sāvadhāne rahena yena naukā lañā tīre
śacī-saha lañā āisa saba bhakta-gaṇa
mahāprabhura āge āsi’ dila paricaya
śrīpāda kahe, tomāra saṅge yāba vṛndāvana
teṅho kahena, — kara ei yamunā daraśana
āveśe prabhura haila gaṅgāre yamunā-jñāne
eta bali’ yamunāra karena stavana
aghānāṁ lavitrī jagat-kṣema-dhātrī
pavitrī-kriyān no vapur mitra-putrī
This verse is recorded in the Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka (5.13), by Kavi-karṇapūra.
eka kaupīna, nāhi dvitīya paridhāna
āila nūtana kaupīna-bahirvāsa lañā
ācārya dekhi’ bale prabhu mane saṁśaya kari’
āmi vṛndāvane, tumi ke-mate jānilā
mora bhāgye gaṅgā-tīre tomāra āgamana
gaṅgāke āniyā more yamunā kahilā
yamunāte snāna tumi karilā ekhana
paścime yamunā vahe, pūrve gaṅgā-dhāra
The Ganges and Yamunā mix at the confluence at Allahabad (Prayāga). The Yamunā flows from the western side and the Ganges from the eastern, and they merge. Since Caitanya Mahāprabhu bathed on the western side, He actually took His bath in the river Yamunā.
ārdra kaupīna chāḍi’ śuṣka kara paridhāna
āji mora ghare bhikṣā, cala mora vāsa
śukhārukhā vyañjana kailuṅ, sūpa āra śāka
pāda-prakṣālana kaila ānanda-antara
viṣṇu-samarpaṇa kaila ācārya āpani
This is the ideal householder’s life. The husband and wife live together, and the husband works very hard to secure paraphernalia for worshiping Lord Viṣṇu. The wife at home cooks a variety of foods for Lord Viṣṇu, and the husband offers it to the Deity. After that, ārati is performed, and the prasādam is distributed amongst family members and guests. According to the Vedic principles, there must always be a guest in a householder’s house. In my childhood I have actually seen my father receive not less than four guests every day, and in those days my father’s income was not very great. Nonetheless, there was no difficulty in offering prasādam to at least four guests every day. According to Vedic principles, a householder, before taking lunch, should go outside and shout very loudly to see if there is anyone without food. In this way he invites people to take prasādam. If someone comes, the householder offers him prasādam, and if there is not much left, he should offer his own portion to the guest. If no one responds to his call, the householder can accept his own lunch. Thus the householder’s life is also a kind of austerity. Because of this, the householder’s life is called the gṛhastha-āśrama. Although a person may live with his wife and children happily in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he also observes the regulative principles followed in any temple. If there is no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the householder’s abode is called a gṛha-medhī’s house. Householders in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are actually gṛhasthas — that is, those living in the āśrama with their families and children. Śrī Advaita Prabhu was an ideal gṛhastha, and His house was the ideal gṛhastha-āśrama.
kṛṣṇera bhoga bāḍāila dhātu-pātropari
The word bāḍāila, meaning “increased,” is very significant in this verse. It is a sophisticated word used by the gṛhasthas in Bengal. Whenever food is prepared and we take away a portion, the food is actually decreased. But here it is the system to say bāḍāila, or “increased.” If food is prepared for Kṛṣṇa and offered to Him and the Vaiṣṇavas, the stock is increased, never decreased.
dui ṭhāñi bhoga bāḍāila bhāla mate
cāri-dike vyañjana-ḍoṅgā, āra mudga-sūpa
paṭola, kuṣmāṇḍa-baḍi, mānakacu āra
amṛta-nindaka pañca-vidha tikta-jhāle
We request our editors of cookbooks to add all these nice preparations described by the experienced author Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī.
mocā-ghaṇṭa, dugdha-kuṣmāṇḍa, sakala pracura
sakala vyañjana kaila loke yata haya
kṣīra-pulī, nārikela, yata piṭhā iṣṭa
cale hāle nāhi, — ḍoṅgā ati baḍa daḍa
tina bhogera āśe pāśe rākhila dhariñā
tina pātre ghanāvarta-dugdha rākheta dhariñā
yateka karila’ tāhā kahite nā śaki
cāṅpākalā-dadhi-sandeśa kahite nā pāri
tina jala-pātre suvāsita jala bhari’
ei-rūpe sākṣāt kṛṣṇe karāila bhojana
prabhu-saṅge sabe āsi’ ārati dekhila
ācārya āsi’ prabhure tabe kailā nivedana
dui bhāi āilā tabe karite bhojana
yoḍa-hāte dui-jana kahite lāgila
pāche muñi prasāda pāmu, tumi yāha ghare
bāhire eka muṣṭi pāche karimu bhojana
Although the Hindus and Muslims lived together in a very friendly manner, still there were distinctions between them. The Muslims were considered yavanas, or low-born, and whenever a Muslim was invited, he would be fed outside of the house. Although personally called by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu to take prasādam with Them, still, out of great humility, Haridāsa Ṭhākura submitted, “I shall take the prasādam outside of the house.” Although Haridāsa Ṭhākura was an exalted Vaiṣṇava accepted by Advaita Ācārya, Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, nonetheless, in order not to disturb social tranquillity, he humbly kept himself in the position of a Muslim, outside the jurisdiction of the Hindu community. Therefore he proposed to take prasādam outside the house. Although he was in an exalted position and equal to other great Vaiṣṇavas, he considered himself a pāpiṣṭha, a most sinful man, and adhama, the lowest among men. Although a Vaiṣṇava may be very advanced spiritually, he keeps himself externally humble and submissive.
prasāda dekhiyā prabhura ānanda antare
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was pleased because He saw how nicely so many varieties of food were prepared for Kṛṣṇa. Actually all kinds of prasādam are prepared for Kṛṣṇa, not for the people, but the devotees partake of prasādam with great pleasure.
janme janme śire dharoṅ tāṅhāra caraṇa
ācāryera manaḥ-kathā nahe prabhura vedya
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura states that one of these servings was offered in a metal dish and was meant for Kṛṣṇa, whereas the other two were placed on big banana leaves. The offering on the metal plate was personally offered by Advaita Ācārya to Kṛṣṇa. The other two servings, on banana leaves, were to be accepted by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lord Nityānanda. That was Advaita Ācārya’s intention, but He did not disclose this to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw the food offered in three places, He thought that all of it was meant for Kṛṣṇa.
ācārya kahe — āmi kariba pariveśana
alpa kari’ āni’ tāhe deha vyañjana bhāta
eta bali’ hāte dhari’ vasāila duṅhāre
ihā khāile kaiche haya indriya vāraṇa
The word upakaraṇa indicates a variety of foods, such as dhal, vegetables and other varieties of possible dishes that one can eat very nicely with rice. It is not proper, however, for a sannyāsī to eat such palatable dishes. If he did so, he would not be able to control his senses. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not encourage sannyāsīs to eat very palatable dishes, for the whole Vaiṣṇava cult is vairāgya-vidyā, as renounced as possible. Caitanya Mahāprabhu also advised Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī not to eat very palatable dishes, wear very nice garments or talk on mundane subjects. These things are all prohibited for those in the renounced order. A devotee does not accept anything to eat that is not first offered to Kṛṣṇa. All the rich foods offered to Kṛṣṇa are given to the gṛhasthas, the householders. There are many nice things offered to Kṛṣṇa — garlands, bedsteads, nice ornaments, nice food and even nicely prepared pan, betel nuts — but a humble Vaiṣṇava, thinking his body material and nasty, does not accept such preparations for himself. He thinks that by accepting such things he will offend the lotus feet of the Lord. Those who are sahajiyās cannot understand what Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu meant when He asked Advaita Ācārya to bring two separate leaves and give a small quantity of the prasādam to Him.
āmi saba jāni tomāra sannyāsera bhāri-bhuri
prabhu kahe — eta anna khāite nā pāri
yadi khāite nā pāra pāte rahibeka āra
sannyāsīra dharma nahe ucchiṣṭa rākhite
According to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.18.19):
bahir jalāśayaṁ gatvā tatopaspṛśya vāg-yataḥ
vibhajya pāvitaṁ śeṣaṁ bhuñjītāśeṣam āhṛtam
“Whatever edibles a sannyāsī gets from a householder’s house he should take outside near some lake or river, and after offering the food to Viṣṇu, Brahmā and the sun (three divisions), he should eat the entire offering and not leave anything for others to eat.”
eka-bāre anna khāo śata śata bhāra
tāra lekhāya ei anna nahe pañca-grāsa
chāḍaha cāturī, prabhu, karaha bhojana
hāsiyā lāgilā duṅhe bhojana karite
āji pāraṇā karite chila baḍa āśa
ardha-peṭa nā bharibe ei grāseka anne
kabhu phala-mūla khāo, kabhu upavāsī
ihāte santuṣṭa hao, chāḍa lobha-mana
tata dite cāha, yata kariye bhojana
kahena tāṅhāre kichu pāiyā pirīta
sannyāsa la-iyācha, bujhi, brāhmaṇa daṇḍite
There is always a difference of opinion between a smārta-brāhmaṇa and a Vaiṣṇava gosvāmī. There are even smārta opinions and Vaiṣṇava gosvāmī opinions available in astrological and astronomical calculations. By calling Nityānanda Prabhu a bhraṣṭa avadhūta (a rejected paramahaṁsa), Advaita Ācārya Prabhu in a sense accepted Nityānanda Prabhu as a paramahaṁsa. In other words, Nityānanda Prabhu had nothing to do with the rules governing smārta-brāhmaṇas. Thus under pretense of condemning Him, Advaita Ācārya was actually praising Him. In the avadhūta stage, the paramahaṁsa stage, which is the supermost stage, one may appear to be viṣayī, on the platform of sense gratification, but in actuality he has nothing to do with sense gratification. At that stage, a person sometimes accepts the symbols and dress of a sannyāsī and sometimes does not. Sometimes he dresses like a householder. We should know, however, that these are all joking words between Advaita Ācārya and Nityānanda Prabhu. They are not to be taken as insults.
In Khaḍadaha, sometimes people misunderstood Nityānanda Prabhu to belong to the śākta-sampradāya, whose philosophy is antaḥ śāktaḥ bahiḥ śaivaḥ sabhāyāṁ vaiṣṇavo mataḥ. According to the śākta-sampradāya, a person called kaulāvadhūta thinks materially while externally appearing to be a great devotee of Lord Śiva. When such a person is in an assembly of Vaiṣṇavas, he appears like a Vaiṣṇava. Actually Nityānanda Prabhu did not belong to such a community. Nityānanda Prabhu was always a brahmacārī of a sannyāsī of the vaidika order. Actually He was a paramahaṁsa. Sometimes He is accepted to be a disciple of Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha. If He is so accepted, Nityānanda Prabhu belonged to the Madhva-sampradāya. He did not belong to the tāntrika-sampradāya of Bengal.
āmi tāhā kāṅhā pāba daridra brāhmaṇa
A māna is a measurement containing about forty kilos.
pāgalāmi nā kariha, nā chaḍāio jhuṭha”
ardha-ardha khāñā prabhu chāḍena vyañjana
ei mata punaḥ punaḥ pariveśe vyañjana
prabhu balena — āra kata kariba bhojana
ekhana ye diye, tāra ardheka khāibā
ācāryera icchā prabhu karila pūraṇa
lañā yāha, tora anna kichu nā khāila
ujhāli’ phelila āge yena kruddha hañā
bhāta aṅge lañā ācārya nāce bahu-raṅge
parama pavitra more kaila ei ḍhaṅge
The word avadhūta refers to one above all rules and regulations. Sometimes, not observing all the rules and regulations of a sannyāsī, Nityānanda Prabhu exhibited the behavior of a mad avadhūta. He threw the remnants of food on the ground, and some of these remnants touched the body of Advaita Ācārya. Advaita Ācārya accepted this happily because He presented Himself as a member of the community of smārta-brāhmaṇas. By touching the remnants of food thrown by Nityānanda Prabhu, Advaita Ācārya immediately felt Himself purified of all smārta contamination. The remnants of food left by a pure Vaiṣṇava are called mahā-mahā-prasādam. This is completely spiritual and is identified with Lord Viṣṇu. Such remnants are not ordinary. The spiritual master is to be considered on the stage of paramahaṁsa and beyond the jurisdiction of the varṇāśrama institution. The remnants of food left by the spiritual master and similar paramahaṁsas, or pure Vaiṣṇavas, are purifying. When an ordinary person touches such prasādam, his mind is purified, and his mind is raised to the status of a pure brāhmaṇa. The behavior and statements of Advaita Ācārya are meant for the understanding of ordinary people who are unaware of the strength of spiritual values, not knowing the potency of food left by the bona fide spiritual master and pure Vaiṣṇavas.
tora jāti-kula nāhi, sahaje pāgala
The words sahaje pāgala (“by nature a madman”) indicate that Nityānanda Prabhu was transcendentally situated on the paramahaṁsa stage. Because He always remembered Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Their service, this was transcendental madness. Śrī Advaita Ācārya was pointing out this fact.
jhuṭhā dile, vipra bali’ bhaya nā karile
The words āpanāra sama indicate that Advaita Ācārya considered Himself to belong to the smārta-brāhmaṇas, and He considered Nityānanda Prabhu to be on the transcendental stage with pure Vaiṣṇavas. Lord Nityānanda gave Advaita Ācārya His remnants to situate Him on the same platform and make Him a pure unalloyed Vaiṣṇava or paramahaṁsa. Advaita Ācārya’s statement indicates that a paramahaṁsa Vaiṣṇava is transcendentally situated. A pure Vaiṣṇava is not subject to the rules and regulations of the smārta-brāhmaṇas. That was the reason for Advaita Ācārya’s stating, āpanāra sama more karibāra tare: “to raise Me to Your own standard.” A pure Vaiṣṇava, or a person on the paramahaṁsa stage, accepts the remnants of food (mahā-prasādam) as spiritual. He does not consider it to be material or sense gratificatory. He accepts mahā-prasādam not as ordinary dhal and rice but as spiritual substance. To say nothing of the remnants of food left by a pure Vaiṣṇava, prasādam is never polluted even if it is touched by the mouth of a caṇḍāla. Indeed, it retains its spiritual value. Therefore by eating or touching such mahā-prasādam, a brāhmaṇa is not degraded. There is no question of being polluted by touching the remnants of such food. Actually, by eating such mahā-prasādam, one is freed from all the contaminations of the material condition. That is the verdict of the śāstra.
ihāke ‘jhuṭhā’ kahile, tumi kaile aparādha
In the Bṛhad-viṣṇu Purāṇa it is stated that one who considers mahā-prasādam to be equal to ordinary rice and dhal certainly commits a great offense. Ordinary edibles are touchable and untouchable, but there are no such dualistic considerations where prasādam is concerned. Prasādam is transcendental, and there are no transformations or contaminations, just as there are no contaminations or transformations in the body of Lord Viṣṇu Himself. Thus even if one is a brāhmaṇa he is certain to be attacked by leprosy and bereft of all family members if he makes such dualistic considerations. Such an offender goes to hell, never to return. This is the injunction of the Bṛhad-viṣṇu Purāṇa.
tabe ei aparādha ha-ibe khaṇḍana
sannyāsī nāśila mora saba smṛti-dharma
uttama śayyāte la-iyā karāila śayana
tulasī-mañjarī saha dila mukha-vāsa
sugandhi puṣpa-mālā āni’ dila hṛdaya-upara
saṅkucita hañā prabhu balena vacana
mukunda-haridāsa la-iyā karaha bhojana
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is here telling Advaita Ācārya that it is not befitting for a sannyāsī to accept nice beds to lie on or to chew cloves and cardamom and have his body smeared with sandalwood pulp. Nor is it befitting for him to accept fragrant garlands and have his legs massaged by a pure Vaiṣṇava. “You have already made Me dance according to Your vow,” Caitanya Mahāprabhu said. “Now please stop it. You can go and take Your lunch with Mukunda and Haridāsa.”
karila icchāya bhojana, ye āchila mane
dekhite āilā loka prabhura caraṇa
camatkāra pāila prabhura saundarya dekhiñā
aruṇa-vastra-kānti tāhe kare jhala-mala
lokera saṅghaṭṭe dina haila avasāna
ācārya nācena, prabhu karena darśana
haridāsa pāche nāce haraṣita hañā
cira-dine mādhava mandire mora
This is a song composed by Vidyāpati. Sometimes the word mādhava is misunderstood to refer to Mādhavendra Purī. Advaita Ācārya was a disciple of Mādhavendra Purī, and consequently some people think that He was referring to Mādhavendra Purī by using the word mādhava. But actually this is not the fact. This song was composed to commemorate the separation of Kṛṣṇa from Rādhārāṇī during Kṛṣṇa’s absence in Mathurā. It is thought that this song was sung by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī when Kṛṣṇa returned. It is technically called Mathurā-viraha.
caraṇe dhariyā prabhure balena vacana
gharete pāñāchi, ebe rākhiba bāndhiyā
prahareka-rātri ācārya kaila saṅkīrtana
virahe bāḍila prema-jvālāra taraṅga
gosāñi dekhiyā ācārya nṛtya sambarilā
bhāvera sadṛśa pada lāgilā gāite
pada śuni’ prabhura aṅga nā yāya dhāraṇa
kṣaṇe uṭhe, kṣaṇe paḍe, kṣaṇeka rodana
kānu-prema-viṣe mora tanu-mana jare
When Mukunda saw that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was feeling ecstatic pain and manifesting ecstatic bodily symptoms, all due to feelings of separation from Kṛṣṇa, he sang songs about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s meeting with Kṛṣṇa. Advaita Ācārya also stopped dancing.
yāhāṅ gele kānu pāṅ, tāhāṅ uḍi’ yāṅ
śuniyā prabhura citta antare vidare
prabhura sahita yuddha kare bhāva-sainya
Harṣa is described in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Harṣa is experienced when one finally attains the desired goal of life and consequently becomes very glad. When harṣa is present, the body shivers, and one’s bodily hairs stand on end. There are perspiration, tears and an outburst of passion and madness. The mouth becomes swollen, and one experiences inertia and illusion. When a person attains his desired object and feels very fortunate, the luster of his body increases. Because of his own qualities and feelings of greatness, he does not care for anyone else, and this is called garva, or pride. In this condition one utters prayers and does not reply to others’ inquiries. Looking at one’s own body, concealing one’s desires and not heeding the words of others are symptoms visible in the ecstasy of garva.
bhūmite paḍila, śvāsa nāhika śarīre
ācambite uṭhe prabhu kariyā garjana
bujhana nā yāya bhāva-taraṅga prabala
ācārya, haridāsa bule pāche ta’ nāciñā
kabhu harṣa, kabhu viṣāda, bhāvera taraṅge
uddaṇḍa-nṛtyete prabhura haila pariśrama
nityānanda mahāprabhuke rākhila dhariñā
nānā sevā kari’ prabhuke karāila śayana
eka-rūpe kari’ kare prabhura sevana
bhakta-gaṇa-saṅge āilā śacīmātā lañā
saba loka āilā, haila saṅghaṭṭa samṛddha
śacīmātā lañā āilā advaita-bhavana
kāndite lāgilā śacī kole uṭhāiñā
keśa nā dekhiyā śacī ha-ilā vikala
dekhite nā pāya, — aśru bharila nayana
viśvarūpa-sama nā kariha niṭhurāi
tumi taiche kaile mora ha-ibe maraṇa
tomāra śarīra ei, mora kichu nāi
koṭi janme tomāra ṛṇa nā pāri śodhite
tathāpi tomāre kabhu nahiba udāsa
tumi yei ājñā kara, sei ta’ kariba
tuṣṭa hañā āi kole kare bāra bāra
bhakta-gaṇa milite prabhu ha-ilā satvara
sabāra mukha dekhi’ kare dṛḍha āliṅgana
saundarya dekhite tabu pāya mahā-sukha
gaṅgādāsa, vakreśvara, murāri, śuklāmbara
vāsudeva, dāmodara, mukunda, sañjaya
sabāre mililā prabhu kṛpā-dṛṣṭye hāsi’
ācārya-mandira haila śrī-vaikuṇṭha-purī
nānā-grāma haite, āra navadvīpa haite
bahu-dina ācārya-gosāñi kaila samādhāna
yata dravya vyaya kare tata dravya haya
bhakta-gaṇa lañā prabhu karena bhojana
rātre loka dekhe prabhura nartana-kīrtana
stambha, kampa, pulakāśru, gadgada, pralaya
Devastation is described in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu as a combination of happiness and distress that becomes conspicuous by an absence of any sense of them. In this condition, a devotee falls to the ground, and the subsequent symptoms in the body ensue. These symptoms are mentioned above, and when they become prominent in the body, a state called pralaya (devastation) is manifest.
dekhi’ śacīmātā kahe rodana kariyā
hā-hā kari’ viṣṇu-pāśe māge ei vara
tāra ei phala more deha nārāyaṇa
vyathā yena nāhi lāge nimāñi-śarīre
harṣa-bhaya-dainya-bhāve ha-ila vikala
These verses indicate that mother Śacī, born in the family of Nīlāmbara Cakravartī, used to worship Lord Viṣṇu even before her marriage. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (6.41):
prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo ’bhijāyate
“The unsuccessful yogī, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.” Mother Śacī, a nitya-siddha living entity, is an incarnation of mother Yaśodā. She appeared in the house of Nīlāmbara Cakravartī and was everlastingly engaged in the service of Lord Viṣṇu. Later she directly had as her child Lord Viṣṇu, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and she served Him from the day of His appearance. This is the position of nitya-siddha associates. Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore sings: gaurāṅgera saṅgi-gaṇe nitya-siddha kari māne. Every devotee should know that all the associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu — His family members, friends and other associates — were all nitya-siddhas. A nitya-siddha never forgets the service of the Lord. He is always engaged, even from childhood, in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
prabhuke bhikṣā dite haila sabākāra mana
It is the duty of all gṛhasthas to invite a sannyāsī to their homes if he happens to be in the neighborhood or village. This very system is still current in India. If a sannyāsī is in the neighborhood of a village, he is invited by all householders, one after another. As long as a sannyāsī remains in the village, he enlightens the inhabitants in spiritual understanding. In other words, a sannyāsī has no housing or food problems even when he travels extensively. Even though Advaita Ācārya was supplying Caitanya Mahāprabhu with prasādam, the other devotees from Navadvīpa and Śāntipura also desired to offer Him prasādam.
nimāñira daraśana āra muñi pāba kati
muñi abhāginīra mātra ei daraśana
muñi bhikṣā dimu, sabākāre māgoṅ dāna
mātāra ye icchā sei sammata sabāra
bhakta-gaṇa ekatra kari’ balilā vacana
yāite nārila, vighna kaila nivartana
tathāpi tomā-sabā haite nahiba udāsa
mātāre tāvat āmi chāḍite nāriba
nija janma-sthāne rahe kuṭumba lañā
sei yukti kaha, yāte rahe dui dharma
śacī-pāśa ācāryādi karila gamana
śuni’ śacī jagan-mātā kahite lāgila
tāṅ’ra nindā haya yadi, seha mora duḥkha
It is a great happiness for a mother if her son does not leave home to search out Kṛṣṇa but remains with her. At the same time, if a son does not search after Kṛṣṇa but simply remains at home, he is certainly blamed by experienced saintly persons. Such blame certainly causes great unhappiness for a mother. If a real mother wants her son to progress spiritually, she had better allow him to go out searching for Kṛṣṇa. The mother naturally desires the welfare of the son. If a mother does not allow her son to search for Kṛṣṇa, she is called mā, which indicates māyā. By allowing her son to go as a sannyāsī and search for Kṛṣṇa, Śacīmātā instructs all mothers of the world. She indicates that all sons should become real devotees of Kṛṣṇa and should not stay at home under the care of an affectionate mother. This is supported by Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.5.18):
gurur na sa syāt sva-jano na sa syāt
pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt
daivaṁ na tat syān na patiś ca sa syān
na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum
“No one should become a spiritual master — nor a relative, father, mother, worshipable Deity or husband — if he cannot help a person escape the imminent path of death.” Every living entity is wandering within the universe, subjected to the law of karma and transmigrating from one body to another and from one planet to another. Therefore the whole Vedic process is meant to save the wandering living entities from the clutches of māyā — birth, death, disease and old age. This means stopping the cycle of birth and death. This cycle can be stopped only if one worships Kṛṣṇa. As the Lord says in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):
janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”
To stop the cycle of birth and death, one has to understand Kṛṣṇa as He is. Simply by knowing Kṛṣṇa, one can stop the process of rebirth into this material world. By acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can return to Godhead. The highest perfection of life is for a father, mother, spiritual master, husband or any other family member to help others return home, back to Godhead. That is the most preferred welfare activity for the benefit of relatives. Therefore, Śacīmātā, although the mother of Nimāi Paṇḍita, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, considered all the facts and decided to allow her son to go out and search for Kṛṣṇa. At the same time, she made some arrangements in order that she might get news of all the activities of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
nīlācale rahe yadi, dui kārya haya
loka-gatāgati-vārtā pāba nirantara
gaṅgā-snāne kabhu habe tāṅra āgamana
tāṅra yei sukha, tāhā nija-sukha māni
veda-ājñā yaiche, mātā, tomāra vacana
śuniyā prabhura mane ānanda ha-ila
sabāre sammāna kari’ balilā vacana
ei bhikṣā māgoṅ, — more deha tumi saba
kṛṣṇa-nāma, kṛṣṇa-kathā, kṛṣṇa ārādhana
The cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, is very nicely explained by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu authoritatively. It is not that everyone has to take sannyāsa like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Everyone can execute the cult of Kṛṣṇa consciousness at home, as ordered by the Lord. Everyone can congregationally chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. One can also discuss the subject matter of the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and install Deities of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa or Gaura-Nitāi or both and worship them very carefully in one’s own home. It is not that we have to open different centers all over the world. Whoever cares for the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can install Deities at home and, under superior guidance, worship the Deity regularly, chanting the mahā-mantra and discussing the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. We are actually teaching in our classes how to go about this. One who feels that he is not yet ready to live in a temple or undergo strict regulative principles in the temple — especially householders who live with a wife and children — can start a center at home by installing the Deity, worshiping the Lord morning and evening, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and discussing the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Anyone can do this at home without difficulty, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested all the devotees present there to do so.
madhye madhye āsi’ tomāya diba daraśana
vidāya karila prabhu sammāna kariñā
haridāsa kāndi’ kahe karuṇa vacana
nīlācale yāite mora nāhika śakati
Although Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura was born in a Muslim family, he was accepted as a properly initiated brāhmaṇa. As such, he had every right to enter the temple of Jagannātha Purī, but because there were some rules and regulations stipulating that only brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras (members of the varṇāśrama-dharma system) could enter, Haridāsa Ṭhākura, out of his great humility, did not want to violate these existing rules. He therefore said that he did not have the strength to enter into the temple, and he pointed out that if Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu lived within the temple, there would be no way for Haridāsa Ṭhākura to see Him. Later, when Haridāsa Ṭhākura went to Jagannātha Purī, he lived outside the temple, at a place called Siddhabakula. A monastery has now been erected there, known as Siddhabakula Maṭha. People who visit Jagannātha Purī often go to see Siddhabakula and the tomb of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, on the beach by the sea.
kemate dhariba ei pāpiṣṭha jīvana
tomāra dainyete mora vyākula haya mana
tomā-lañā yāba āmi śrī-puruṣottama
dina dui-cāri raha kṛpā ta’ kariñā
rahilā advaita-gṛhe, nā kaila gamana
prati-dina kare ācārya mahā-mahotsava
rātre mahā-mahotsava saṅkīrtana-raṅge
sukhe bhojana kare prabhu lañā bhakta-gaṇa
sakala saphala haila prabhura ārādhane
Advaita Ācārya set an ideal example for all householder devotees in His reception of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His devotees and in His execution of a daily festival at His home. If one has the proper means and wealth, he should occasionally invite the devotees of Lord Caitanya who are engaged in preaching all over the world and hold a festival at home simply by distributing prasādam and talking about Kṛṣṇa during the day and holding congregational chanting for at least three hours in the evening. This procedure must be adopted in all centers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Thus they will daily perform saṅkīrtana-yajña. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.32) the daily performance of saṅkīrtana-yajña is recommended for this age (yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ). One should worship Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His four associates, the Pañca-tattva, by distributing prasādam and holding congregational chanting. Indeed, that yajña or sacrifice, is most recommended in this Age of Kali. In this age, other yajñas are not possible to perform, but this yajña can be performed everywhere and anywhere without difficulty.
bhojana karāñā pūrṇa kaila nija-sukha
vañcilā kataka-dina mahā-kutūhale
nija-nija-gṛhe sabe karaha gamane
punarapi āmā-saṅge ha-ibe milana
kabhu vā āsiba āmi karite gaṅgā-snāna
dāmodara paṇḍita, āra datta mukunda
jananī prabodha kari’ vandila caraṇe
ethā ācāryera ghare uṭhila krandana
kāndite kāndite ācārya paścāt calilā
As Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains, the word nirapekṣa means not being affected by anything material and remaining fixed in the service of the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not very much care for the roaring tumult and cry at the house of Advaita Ācārya, which He heard when starting for Jagannātha Purī. Worldly moralists may criticize Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu for being very cruel, but the Lord did not care for such criticism. As the world teacher of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, He actually showed that a person seriously engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should not be affected by worldly affection. The best course is to engage in rendering service to the Lord and to become callous to material objectives. Externally everyone is attached to material things, but if one becomes entangled in such things, he cannot make progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore those who are engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should not care for the so-called morality of the material world if that morality opposes the service of the Lord. As Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu has personally shown, one cannot properly execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness without being neutral.
ācārye prabodhi’ kahe kichu miṣṭa bāta
tumi vyagra haile kāro nā rahibe prāṇa
nivṛtti kariyā kaila svacchanda gamana
nīlādri calilā prabhu chatrabhoga-pathe
In the southern section of the Eastern Railway, in the district of twenty-four pargaṇās, is a station named Magrāhāṭa. If one goes to the southeastern side of that station for some fourteen miles, there is a place called Jayanagara. About six miles south of this Jayanagara station is a village named Chatrabhoga. Sometimes this village is called Khāḍi. In this village is a Deity of Lord Śiva known as Vaijurkānātha. A festival takes place there every year during the month of Caitra (March-April). The festival is known as Nandā-melā. At the present moment the Ganges does not flow there. On the same railway line is another station, known as Bāruipura, and near this station is another place, called Āṭisārā. Formerly this village was also situated on the banks of the Ganges. One can go from this village to Pānihāṭi and from there to Varāha-nagara, north of Calcutta. In those days the Ganges flowed to the south of Calcutta through Kālī-ghāṭa, which is still known as Ādi-gaṅgā. From Bāruipura, the Ganges branched out and flowed through Diamond Harbour near the Mathurāpura police station. It is to be noted that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed through all these places on His way to Jagannātha Purī.
vistāri varṇiyāchena dāsa-vṛndāvana
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura states that while Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed through Bengal, He passed through Āṭisārā-grāma, Varāha-grāma and Chatrabhoga. He then reached the Orissa province, where He passed through Prayāga-ghāṭa; the Suvarṇarekhā River; Remuṇā; Yājapura, where He bathed at the Daśāśvamedha-ghāṭa, on the Vaitaraṇī River; Kaṭaka (Cuttack), where the Mahānadī River flows; Bhuvaneśvara, where there is a big lake known as Bindu-sarovara; Kamalapura; and Āṭhāranālā. In this way, passing through all these and other places, He reached Jagannātha Purī.
acire milaye tāṅre kṛṣṇa-prema-dhana
caitanya-caritāmṛta kahe kṛṣṇadāsa
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, third chapter, describing Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s stay at the house of Advaita Ācārya, His acceptance of the sannyāsa order and observation of daily festivals at Advaita Ācārya’s house, His congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord and His feasting with all the devotees.