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Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī

[October 17, 2021 is the disappearance day of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of the kathā given by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on the October 5, 2014 and October 24, 2015. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]


THE SPECIALTY OF ŚRĪLA KṚṢṆADĀSA KAVIRĀJA GOSVĀMĪ


Jhāmaṭapura [In Katwā District] is the place [of birth and parental home] of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī.


Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī did not mention the name of his parents nor of his [dīkṣā] guru anywhere [in his writings]. Yet, he repeatedly cited the names of his śikṣā gurus, at the beginning and/or conclusion of each chapter. That is his specialty:

ei chaya guru — śikṣā-guru ye āmāra tāṅ’-sabāra pāda-padme koṭi namaskāra


(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 1.37)


[These six are my instructing spiritual masters, therefore I offer millions of respectful obeisances unto their lotus feet.]


Some say Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī is his śikṣā/ dīkṣā guru and others say it is someone else. [Endnote 1]


VAIṢṆAVA IS GURU


In the temple of Sri Govindajī there used to be daily recital of Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata. However, there is no narration of Caitanya-deva’s pastimes after the acceptance of sannyāsa in that scripture. So Śrīla Haridāsa Gosvāmī, the chief servitor of the Govindajī temple requested Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī to describe Caitanya-deva's pastimes after His acceptance of sannyāsa. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī was highly esteemed in the society of Vaiṣṇavas for his composition named ‘Govinda-līlāmṛta’ [An important and unique piece of literature for the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava community composed with the sole purpose of inspiring the devotees to contemplate the daily eightfold pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and Their associates in Vṛndāvana].


Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī considered, “Vaiṣṇava is guru, thus it is my duty to follow his order without hesitation. Moreover, due to my advanced age, my eyesight has become weak, my hands tremble while writing and my ears cannot hear properly, nevertheless it is the order of a Vaiṣṇava, so what to do? I cannot ignore the order of guru and Vaiṣṇavas, at the same time I am unqualified to abide by it. This is my predicament.”


THE REAL AUTHOR OF ŚRĪ CAITANYA-CARITĀMṚTA


So he surrendered to the sambandha-ādi deva Śrī Madan-mohana [the predominating Deity of sambandha (understanding of our relationship with Kṛṣṇa)] and prayed, “What shall I do in this time of predicament? I cannot transgress the order of a Vaiṣṇava, ājñā gurūṇāṁ hy avicāraṇīyā [The order of the spiritual master must be obeyed without consideration (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 10.145)]. This is my situation now, so what is my duty in such a situation? ” [Just then] the flower garland from the neck of Madana-mohana fell and Gosāi dāsa pūjārī offered that prasadī garland to him. Then (accepting this as an indication of Śrī Madan-mohana’s permission) Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī began writing the scripture. He said:


ei grantha lekhāya more ‘madana-mohana’ āmāra likhana yena śukera paṭhana


Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 8.78


[Actually, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta is not my writing but the dictation of Śrī Madana-mohana. My writing is like the repetition of a parrot.]


He repeatedly states, “Śuka is a bird (a parrot) who will repeat what you speak to him. Whatever Madana-mohana dictates me, I write only that”.


ATHEISTS CAN BE LIBERATED BUT NOT HYPOCRITES


In the house of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī there was a [regular] night kīrtana. Gurṇārṇava Miśra [a brāhmaṇa] was engaged in the service of the Deities. Śrī Mīnaketana Rāmadāsa, a great devotee of Nityānanda Prabhu [was invited by the brother of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, hence he paid a visit]. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī’s brother possessed strong faith in Śrī Caitanya-deva, but very little faith in Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu.


caitanya-prabhute tāṅra sudṛḍha viśvāsa nityānanda-prati tāṅra viśvāsa-ābhāsa


Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 5.173


[My brother had firm faith in Lord Caitanya but only a dim glimmer of faith in Lord Nityānanda.]


Observing this, Śrī Mīnaketana Rāmadāsa broke his flute and went away contemplating ‘Where there is no respect for my Prabhu [Nityānanda], I cannot remain there’. So Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī rebuked his brother saying:


kiṁvā, doṅhā nā māniñā hao ta’ pāṣaṇḍa eke māni’ āre nā māni, — ei-mata bhaṇḍa


(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 5.177)


[“It would be better to be an atheist by slighting both brothers than a hypocrite by believing in one and slighting the other.”]


Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī addressed his brother as bhaṇḍa [hypocrite] for not regarding Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and respecting only Śrī Caitanya-deva. There is hope of liberation for a pāṣaṇḍa [atheist], but not for a bhaṇḍa [hypocrite]. Saying this he rebuked his brother.


Locana Dāsa Ṭhākura has also mentioned:


je deśe mora nitāi nāi, se deśe nā jāba; nitāi vimukha janera, mukha nā heriba


[I have taken a determined lifelong vow that I will never ever visit that place even in my dreams where the holy name of Nityānanda is not known. I will never even desire to see the face of a person who is even minutely or indirectly averse to the holy name and glories of Lord Nityānanda.]


I refuse to see the face of persons who are averse to Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu.


VṚNDĀVANA – THE MERCY OF ŚRĪ NITYĀNANDA PRABHU


On that very night Nityānanda Prabhu ordered Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī in a dream, “You should leave for Vṛndāvana and there you will attain all perfection.” [When he narrates this incidence in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta] he mentions: “By saying this I may attract some fame, but I am helpless because if I do not speak I will incur the fault of being ungrateful. Am I not to sing the glories of the one who has been so very merciful and kind to me?” And further he prayed, “Prabhu, please forgive me for my offence.”


So Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī went to Vṛndāvana and there, by the grace of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu he had darśana of the six gosvāmīs and other Vaiṣṇavas [like Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara], and the darśana of the Deities of Śrī Govinda, Śrī Gopīnātha and Śrī Madana-mohana which he described.


HIS HUMILITY


How did Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī introduce himself?


jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha


mora nāma śune yei tāra puṇya kṣaya mora nāma laya yei tāra pāpa haya


emana nirghṛṇa more kebā kṛpā kare eka nityānanda vinu jagat bhitare


Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 5.205-207


[I am more sinful than Jagāi and Mādhāi and even lower than the worms in the stool. Anyone who hears my name loses the results of his pious activities. Anyone who utters my name becomes sinful. Who in this world but Nityānanda could show His mercy to such an abominable person as me?]


ŚRĪ CAITANYA-CARITĀMṚTA IS THE MOST GLORIOUS SCRIPTURE


Śrīla Prabhupāda, my parama-gurudeva, once posed a question to Rājarṣi Śaradendu Nārāyaṇa Rāya who was from a royal family. He looked very handsome and regal, and also spoke very sweetly. [Although this interaction was only briefly referred in this lecture by Śrīla Mahārāja, we thought that the readers would be delighted at the prospect of reading the detailed account of this conversation already published in Śrīla Mahārāja’s book Viśuddha Caitanya–vāṇī, as it brings out the unprecedented glories of the timeless masterpiece, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and its equally unparalleled composer Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī.]


[Excerpt from the book Viśuddha Caitanya-vāṇī]


My parama-gurudeva, Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura, once abruptly asked Śrī Rājarṣi Śaradendu Nārāyaṇa Rāya, the head of Philosophy at the University of Lahore in Agastya Villa, Darjeeling, “If you were forced to live without the association of devotees, but could keep just one spiritual text with you, which text would you choose?”


Rājarṣi Śaradendu Rāya immediately replied, “Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, because it has been stated:”


ekaṁ śāstraṁ devakī-putra-gītam


Gītā-māhātmya (7)


The divine song sung by Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the topmost scripture among all holy scriptures.


sarvopaniṣado gāvo dogdhā gopāla-nandanaḥ pārtho vatsaḥ su-dhīr bhoktā dugdhaṁ gītāmṛtaṁ mahat


Gītā-māhātmya (6)


The Upaniṣads are like a cow, and the cowherd boy Śrī Kṛṣṇa milks this cow. The wonderful necterean milk is Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, which is first taken by the calf-like Arjuna, and the remaining milk is drank by the learned scholars and devotees.


gītā su-gītā kartavyā kim anyaiḥ śāstra-vistarāyaḥ yā svayaṁ padmanābhasya mukha-padmād-viniḥsṛtā


Gītā-māhātmya (4)


One should attentively and regularly hear and read Bhagavad-gītā. What is the need to read any other Vedic literature? This one book will suffice, because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and has emanated from the lotus mouth of Padmanābha (Śrī Kṛṣṇa).


mala-nirmocanaṁ puṁsāṁ jala-snānaṁ dine dine sakṛd gītāmṛta-snānaṁ saṁsāra-mala-nāśanam


Gītā-māhātmya (3)


By daily bathing in water, one cleanses oneself of physical dirt only. But bathing even once in the sacred Gaṅgā-like waters of Bhagavad-gītā altogether vanquishes the dirt of this gross material existence (saṁsāra-mala).


After hearing Śrī Rājarṣi Śaradendu Rāya’s answer, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “Āge kaha āra—speak further,” just as Śrīman Mahāprabhu said to Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya on the banks of Godāvarī River. After thinking deeply for a while, Śrī Rājarṣi Śaradendu Rāya replied, “Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam,” and cited the following verses:


dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śivadaṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2)


In this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam—which has been manifested by Śrī Vyāsadeva, the greatest saint of the primeval times—the true and topmost duty of the living entities (bhāgavata-dharma) has been explained. If a person devotedly hears this most sublime scripture and follows the bhāgavata-dharma explained within, his threefold miseries will be destroyed, he will meet with all auspiciousness, and he will then realize true knowledge about the Supreme Truth. Thus, he will be able to bind the Supreme Lord within his heart as per his own sweet will. For a person desirous of attaining the above-mentioned symptoms, there is no need to hear or follow any scripture other than Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. But an applicant of the university of bhāgavata-dharma must have two qualifications. Firstly, he should not engage in kaitava (pretentious, cheating activities), and secondly, he should be a nirmatsāra sādhu, a person whose heart is full of compassion for all living beings, including himself.


yasyāṁ vai śrūyamāṇāyāṁ kṛṣṇe parama-pūruṣe bhaktir utpadyate puṁsaḥ śoka-moha-bhayāpahā


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.7.7)


Mere aural reception of this Vedic literature causes bhakti to Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa to sprout up at once and extinguish the fire of lamentation, illusion and fear.


nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayaṁ muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.3)


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the mature, succulent fruit of the wish-fulfilling tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī and, through the disciplic succession of bona fide gurus, it has willingly descended upon this earth in its entirety. It is saturated with the supremely pleasing ambrosial nectar of transcendental emotion (rasa). Having no skin, hard seed, fibers or other discardable parts, it is fit for drinking because it is completely liquid. O great devotees—you who are bhāvuka (well acquainted with the transcendental nectarean emotions of divine love) and rasika (expert in relishing all the specific forms of the liquefied, ambrosia of transcendental emotion)—you should repeatedly drink the sweet nectar of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, even in the liberated stage. Indeed, the supremely liberated souls perpetually relish Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.*


artho ’yaṁ brahma-sūtrāṇāṁ bhāratārtha-vinirṇayaḥ gāyatrī-bhāṣya-rūpo ’sau vedārtha-paribṛṁhitaḥ


Garuda Purāṇa


The meanings of the Vedānta-sūtra are present in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and are the highest philosophical ascertainments of Mahābhārata. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the embodiment of the commentary on brahma-gāyatrī, and it gives an elaborate explanation of the meanings of the Vedas.*


sarva-vedānta-sāraṁ hi śrīmad-bhāgavatam iṣyate tad-rasāmṛta-tṛptasyā nānyatra syād ratiḥ kvacit


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.13.15)


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is accepted as the essence of all Vedānta. Whoever has been satisfied by the transcendental mellow (bhakti-rasa) of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is never attracted to any other literature.*


cāri-veda—‘dadhi’, bhāgavata—‘navanīta’ mathilena śuke, khāilena parīkṣita


Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata (Madhya-khaṇḍa 21.16)