Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Adi-lila
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
This Thirteenth Chapter of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta describes Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance. The entire Adi-lila section describes Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s household life, and similarly the Antya-lila describes His life in the sannyasa order. Within the Antya-lila, the first six years of His sannyasa life are called Madhya-lila. During this time, Caitanya Mahaprabhu toured southern India, went to Vrndavana, returned from Vrndavana and preached the sankirtana movement.
A learned brahmana named Upendra Misra who resided in the district of Srihatta was the father of Jagannatha Misra, who came to Navadvipa to study under the direction of Nilambara Cakravarti and then settled there after marrying Nilambara Cakravarti’s daughter, Sacidevi. Sri Sacidevi gave birth to eight children, all daughters, who died one after another immediately after birth. After her ninth pregnancy, she gave birth to a son, who was named Visvarupa. Then, in 1407 Saka Era (A.D. 1486), on the full moon evening of the month of Phalguna, during the constellation of simha-lagna, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared as the son of Sri Sacidevi and Jagannatha Misra. After hearing of the birth of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, learned scholars and brahmanas, bringing many gifts, came to see the newly born baby. Nilambara Cakravarti, who was a great astrologer, immediately prepared a horoscope, and by astrological calculation he saw that the child was a great personality. This chapter describes the symptoms of this great personality.
sa prasidatu caitanya-
devo yasya prasadatah
sadyah syad adhamo ’py ayam
sah—He; prasidatu—may bestow His blessings; caitanya-devah—Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; yasya—of whom; prasadatah—by the grace; tat-lila—His pastimes; varnane—in the description; yogyah—able; sadyah—immediately; syat—becomes possible; adhamah—the most fallen; api—although; ayam—I am.
I wish the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even one who is fallen can describe the pastimes of the Lord.
To describe Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu or Lord Sri Krsna, one needs supernatural power, which is the grace and mercy of the Lord. Without this grace and mercy, one cannot compose transcendental literature. By dint of the grace of the Lord, however, even one who is unfit for a literary career can describe wonderful transcendental topics. Description of Krsna is possible for one who is empowered. Krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana (Cc. Antya 7.11). Unless endowed with the mercy of the Lord, one cannot preach of the Lord’s name, fame, quality, form, entourage and so on. It should be concluded, therefore, that the description of Caitanya-caritamrta by Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami manifests specific mercy bestowed upon the author, although he thought of himself as the most fallen. We should not consider him fallen because he describes himself as such. Rather, anyone who is able to compose such transcendental literature is our esteemed master.
jaya jaya sri-krsna-caitanya gauracandra
jayadvaitacandra jaya jaya nityananda
jaya jaya—all glories; sri-krsna-caitanya—Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; gaura-candra—Lord Gauracandra; jaya advaita-candra—all glories to Advaita Acarya; jaya jaya—all glories to; nityananda—Lord Nityananda Prabhu.
All glories to Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Advaitacandra! All glories to Lord Nityananda Prabhu!
jaya jaya gadadhara jaya srinivasa
jaya mukunda vasudeva jaya haridasa
jaya jaya gadadhara—all glories to Gadadhara Prabhu; jaya srinivasa—all glories to Srivasa Thakura; jaya mukunda—all glories to Mukunda; vasudeva—all glories to Vasudeva; jaya haridasa—all glories to Haridasa Thakura.
All glories to Gadadhara Prabhu! All glories to Srivasa Thakura! All glories to Mukunda Prabhu and Vasudeva Prabhu! All glories to Haridasa Thakura!
jaya damodara-svarupa jaya murari gupta
ei saba candrodaye tamah kaila lupta
jaya—all glories; damodara-svarupa—of the name Svarupa Damodara; jaya—all glories; murari gupta—of the name Murari Gupta; ei saba—of all these; candra-udaye—such moons having arisen; tamah—darkness; kaila—made; lupta—dissipated.
All glories to Svarupa Damodara and Murari Gupta! All these brilliant moons have together dissipated the darkness of this material world.
jaya sri-caitanyacandrera bhakta candra-gana
sabara prema jyotsnaya ujjvala tri-bhuvana
jaya—all glories; sri-caitanya—of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; candrera—who is as bright as the moon; bhakta—devotees; candra-gana—other moons; sabara—of all of them; prema-jyotsnaya—by the full light of love of Godhead; ujjvala—bright; tri-bhuvana—all the three worlds.
All glories to the moons who are devotees of the principal moon, Lord Caitanyacandra! Their bright moonshine illuminates the entire universe.
In this verse we find the moon described as candra-gana, which is plural in number. This indicates that there are many moons. In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord says, naksatranam aham sasi: “Among the stars, I am the moon.” (Bg. 10.21) All the stars are like the moon. Western astronomers consider the stars to be suns, but Vedic astronomers, following the Vedic scriptures, consider them moons. The sun has the ability to shine powerfully, and the moons reflect the sunshine and therefore look brilliant. In Caitanya-caritamrta Krsna is described to be like the sun. The supreme powerful is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, or Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and His devotees are also bright and illuminating because they reflect the supreme sun. The Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.31) states:
krsna--surya-sama; maya haya andhakara
yahan krsna, tahan nahi mayara adhikara
“Krsna is bright like the sun. As soon as the sun appears, there is no question of darkness or nescience.” Similarly, this verse also describes that by the illumination of all the moons, brightened by the reflection of the Krsna sun, or by the grace of all the devotees of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the entire world will be illuminated, despite the darkness of Kali-yuga. Only the devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu can dissipate the darkness of Kali-yuga, the ignorance of the population of this age. No one else can do so. We therefore wish that all the devotees of the Krsna consciousness movement may reflect the supreme sun and thus dissipate the darkness of the entire world.
ei ta’ kahila grantharambhe mukha-bandha
ebe kahi caitanya-lila-krama-anubandha
ei ta’-thus; kahila—I have spoken; grantha-arambhe—in the beginning of the book; mukha-bandha—preface; ebe—now; kahi—I speak; caitanya—of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; lila-krama—the chronological order of His pastimes; anubandha—as they are combined together.
Thus I have spoken the preface of Caitanya-caritamrta. Now I shall describe Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in chronological order.
prathame ta’ sutra-rupe kariye ganana
pacne taha vistari kariba vivarana
prathame—in the beginning; ta’-however; sutra-rupe—in the form of a synopsis; kariye—do; ganana—counting; pache—thereafter; taha—that; vistari—describing; kariba—I shall do; vivarana—expansion.
First let me give a synopsis of the Lord’s pastimes. Then I shall describe them in detail.
sri-krsna-caitanya navadvipe avatari
ata-callisa vatsara prakata vihari
sri-krsna-caitanya—Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; navadvipe—at Navadvipa; avatari—adventing Himseif; ata-callisa—forty-eight; vatsara—years; prakata—visible; vihari—enjoying.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, adventing Himself in Navadvipa, was visible for forty-eight years, enjoying His pastimes.
caudda-sata sata sake janmera pramana
caudda-sata pancanne ha-ila antardhana
caudda-sata—1400 (A.D. 1479); sata—and seven; sake—in the Saka Era; janmera—of birth; pramana—evidence; caudda-sata pancanne—in the year 1455 (A.D. 1534); ha-ila—became; antardhana—disappearance.
In the year 1407 of the Saka Era (A.D. 1486), Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared, and in the year 1455 (A.D. 1534) He disappeared from this world.
cabbisa vatsara prabhu kaila grha-vasa
nirantara kaila krsna-kirtana-vilasa
cabbisa—twenty-four; vatsara—years; prabhu—the Lord; kaila—did; grha-vasa—residing at home; nirantara—always; kaila—did; krsna-kirtana—chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra; vilasa—pastimes.
For twenty-four years Lord Caitanya lived in the grhastha-asrama [household life], always engaging in the pastimes of the Hare Krsna movement.
cabbisa vatsara-sese kariya sannyasa
ara cabbisa vatsara kaila nilacale vasa
cabbisa—twenty-four; vatsara—years; sese—at the end of; kariya—accepting; sannyasa—renounced order; ara—another; cabbisa—twenty-four; vatsara—years; kaila—did; nilacale—at Jagannatha Puri; vasa—reside.
After twenty-four years He accepted the renounced order of life, sannyasa, and He resided for twenty-four years more at Jagannatha Puri.
tara madhye chaya vatsara--gamanagamana
kabhu daksina, kabhu gauda, kabhu vrndavana
tara madhye—out of that; chaya vatsara—six years; gamana-agamana—touring; kabhu—sometimes; daksina—in South India; kabhu—sometimes; gauda—in Bengal; kabhu—sometimes; vrndavana—in Vrndavana.
Of these last twenty-four years, He spent the first six years continuously touring India, sometimes in South India, sometimes in Bengal and sometimes in Vrndavana.
astadasa vatsara rahila nilacale
krsna-prema-namamrte bhasa’la sakale
astadasa—eighteen; vatsara—years; rahila—remained; nilacale—at Jagannatha Puri; krsna-prema—love of Godhead; nama-amrte—in the nectar of the Hare Krsna mantra; bhasa’la—inundated; sakale—everyone.
For the remaining eighteen years He continuously stayed in Jagannatha Puri. Chanting the nectarean Hare Krsna maha-mantra, He inundated everyone there in a flood of love of Krsna.
garhasthye prabhura lila--’adi’-lilakhyana
’madhya’- ’antya’-lila--sesa-lilara dui nama
garhasthye—in household life; prabhura—of the Lord; lila—pastimes; adi—the original; lila—pastimes; akhyana—has the name of; madhya—middle; antya—last; lila—pastimes; sesa-lilara—the last part of the pastimes; dui—two; nama—names.
The pastimes of His household life are known as adi-lila, or the original pastimes. His later pastimes are known as madhya-lila and antya-lila, or the middle and final pastimes.
adi-lila-madhye prabhura yateka carita
sutra-rupe murari gupta karila grathita
adi-lila—the original pastimes; madhye—within; prabhura—of the Lord; yateka—whatever; carita—activities; sutra-rupe—in the form of notes; murari gupta—of the name Murari Gupta; karila—has; grathita—recorded.
All the pastimes enacted by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His adi-lila were recorded in summary form by Murari Gupta.
prabhura ye sesa-lila svarupa-damodara
sutra kari’ granthilena granthera bhitara
prabhura—of the Lord; ye—whatever; sesa-lila—pastimes at the end; svarupa- damodara—of the name Svarupa Damodara; sutra kari’-in the form of notes; granthilena—recorded; granthera—a book; bhitara—within.
His later pastimes [madhya-lila and antya-lila] were recorded in the form of notes by His secretary, Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, and thus kept within a book.
ei dui janera sutra dekhiya suniya
varnana karena vaisnava krama ye kariya
ei—of these; dui—two; janera—persons; sutra—notes; dekhiya—after looking at; suniya—and hearing; varnana—description; karena—does; vaisnava—the devotee; krama—chronological; ye—which; kariya—making.
By seeing and hearing the notes recorded by these two great personalities, a Vaisnava, a devotee of the Lord, can know these pastimes one after another.
balya, pauganda, kaisora, yauvana,--cari bheda
ataeva adi-khande lila cari bheda
balya—childhood; pauganda—early boyhood; kaisora—later boyhood; yauvana—youth; cari—four; bheda—divisions; ataeva—therefore; adi-khande—in the original part; lila—of the pastimes; cari—four; bheda—divisions.
In His original pastimes there are four divisions: balya, pauganda, kaisora and yauvana [childhood, early boyhood, later boyhood and youth].
sarva—all; sat—auspicious; guna—qualities; purnam—filled with; tam—that; vande—I offer obeisances; phalguna—of the month of Phalguna; purnimam—the full-moon evening; yasyam—in which; sri-krsna-caitanyah—Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; avatirnah—advented; krsna—Lord Krsna’s; namabhih—with the chanting of the holy names.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the full-moon evening in the month of Phalguna, an auspicious time full of auspicious symptoms, when Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advented Himself with the chanting of the holy name, Hare Krsna.
phalguna-purnima-sandhyaya prabhura janmodaya
sei-kale daiva-yoge candra-grahana haya
phalguna-purnima—of the full moon of the month of Phalguna; sandhyaya—in the evening; prabhura—of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; janma-udaya—at the time of His birth; sei-kale—at that moment; daiva-yoge—accidentally; candra-grahana—lunar eclipse; haya—takes place.
On the full-moon evening of the month of Phalguna when the Lord took birth, coincidentally there was also a lunar eclipse.
’hari’ ’hari’ bale loka harasita hana
janmila caitanya-prabhu ’nama’ janmaiya
hari hari—the holy names of the Lord; bale—speak; loka—the people; harasita—jubilant; hana—becoming; janmila—took birth; caitanya-prabhu—Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; nama—the holy name; janmaiya—after causing to appear.
In jubilation everyone was chanting the holy name of the Lord-“Hari! Hari!”-and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then appeared, after first causing the appearance of the holy name.
hari-nama laoyaila prabhu nana chale
janma—time of birth; balya—childhood; pauganda—early boyhood; kaisora—end of boyhood; yuva-kale—youth; hari-nama—the holy name of the Lord; laoyaila—caused to take; prabhu—the Lord; nana—various; chale—under different pleas.
At His birth, in His childhood, in His early and later boyhood as well as in His youth, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, under different pleas, induced people to chant the holy name of Hari [the Hare Krsna maha-mantra].
balya-bhava chale prabhu karena krandana
’krsna’ ’hari’ nama suni’ rahaye rodana
balya-bhava chale—as if in His childhood state; prabhu—the Lord; karena—does; krandana—crying; krsna—Lord Krsna; hari—Lord Hari; nama—names; suni’-hearing; rahaye—stops; rodana—crying.
In His childhood, when the Lord was crying, He would stop immediately upon hearing the holy names Krsna and Hari.
ataeva ’hari’ ’hari’ bale narigana
dekhite aise yeba sarva bandhu jana
ataeva—therefore; hari hari—the holy name of the Lord; bale—chant; nari-gana—all the ladies; dekhite—to see; aise—they come; yeba—whoever; sarva—all; bandhu-jana—friends.
All the friendly ladies who came to see the child would chant the holy names, “Hari, Hari!” as soon as the child would cry.
’gaurahari’ bali’ tare hase sarva nari
ataeva haila tanra nama ’gaurahari’
gaurahari—of the name Gaurahari; bali’-addressing Him thus; tare—unto the Lord; hase—laugh; sarva nari—all the ladies; ataeva—therefore; haila—became; tanra—His; nama—name; gaurahari—of the name Gaurahari.
When all the ladies saw this fun, they enjoyed laughing and called the Lord “Gaurahari.” Since then, Gaurahari became another of His names.
balya vayasa--yavat hate khadi dila
pauganda vayasa--yavat vivaha na kaila
balya vayasa—childhood age; yavat—until the time; hate—in His hand; khadi—chalk; dila—was given; pauganda vayasa—the part of boyhood known as pauganda; yavat—until; vivaha—marriage; na—not; kaila—did take place.
His childhood lasted until the date of hate khadi, the beginning of His education, and His age from the end of His childhood until He married is called pauganda.
vivaha karile haila navina yauvana
sarvatra laoyaila prabhu nama-sankirtana
vivaha karile—after getting married; haila—began; navina—new; yauvana—youth; sarvatra—everywhere; laoyaila—caused to take; prabhu—the Lord; nama-sankirtana—the sankirtana movement.
After His marriage His youth began, and in His youth He induced everyone to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra anywhere and everywhere.
pauganda-vayase padena, padana sisyagane
sarvatra karena krsna-namera vyakhyane
pauganda-vayase—in the age of pauganda; padena—studies; padana—teaches; sisya-gane—disciples; sarvatra—everywhere; karena—does; krsna-namera—the holy name of Lord Krsna; vyakhyane—description.
During His pauganda age He became a serious student and also taught disciples. In this way He used to explain the holy name of Krsna everywhere.
sutra-vrtti-panji-tika krsnete tatparya
sisyera pratita haya,--prabhava ascarya
sutra—aphorisms; vrtti—explanation; panji—application; tika—notes; krsnete—unto Krsna; tatparya—culmination; sisyera—of the disciple; pratita—realization; haya—becomes; prabhava—influence; ascarya—wonderful.
When teaching a course in grammar [vyakarana] and explaining it with notes, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught His disciples about the glories of Lord Krsna. All explanations culminated in Krsna, and His disciples would understand them very easily. Thus His influence was wonderful.
Srila Jiva Gosvami compiled a grammar in two parts named Laghu-hari-namamrta-vyakarana and Brhad-dhari-namamrta-vyakarana. If someone studies these two texts in vyakarana, or grammar, he learns the grammatical rules of the Sanskrit language and simultaneously learns how to become a great devotee of Lord Krsna.
In the Caitanya-bhagavata, First Chapter, there is a statement about the method by which Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught grammar. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained the aphorisms of grammar to be eternal, like the holy name of Krsna. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. The purport of all revealed scriptures is understanding of Krsna. Therefore if a person explains anything that is not Krsna, he simply wastes his time laboring hard without fulfilling the aim of his life. If one simply becomes a teacher or professor of education but does not understand Krsna, it is to be understood that he is among the lowest of mankind, as stated in Bhagavad-gita (7.15): naradhama mayayapahrta-jnanah. If one does not know the essence of all revealed scriptures but still becomes a teacher, his teaching is like the disturbing braying of an ass.
yare dekhe, tare kahe,--kaha krsna-nama
krsna-name bhasaila navadvipa-grama
yare—whomever; dekhe—He sees; tare—to him; kahe—He says; kaha—speak; krsna-nama—the holy name of Lord Krsna; krsna-name—by the holy name of Lord Krsna; bhasaila—was inundated; navadvipa—the place of the name Navadvipa; grama—village.
When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a student, He asked whomever He met to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. In this way He inundated the whole town of Navadvipa with the chanting of Hare Krsna.
The present Navadvipa-dhama is but a part of the whole of Navadvipa. Navadvipa means “nine islands.” These nine islands, which occupy an area of land estimated at thirty-two square miles, are surrounded by different branches of the Ganges. In all nine of those islands of the Navadvipa area there are different places for cultivating devotional service. It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.23) that there are nava-vidha bhakti, nine different activities of devotional service:
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
There are different islands in the Navadvipa area for cultivation of these nine varieties of devotional service. They are as follows: (1) Antardvipa, (2) Simantadvipa, (3) Godrumadvipa, (4) Madhyadvipa, (5) Koladvipa, (6) Rtudvipa, (7) Jahnudvipa, (8) Modadruma-dvipa and (9) Rudradvipa. According to the settlement map, our ISKCON Navadvipa center is situated on the Rudradvipa island. Below Rudradvipa, in Antardvipa, is Mayapur. There Sri Jagannatha Misra, the father of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, used to reside. In all these different islands, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as a young man, used to lead His sankirtana party. He thus inundated the entire area with the waves of love of Krsna.
kisora vayase arambhila sankirtana
ratra-dine preme nrtya, sange bhakta-gana
kisora vayase—just before the beginning of His youthful life; arambhila—began; sankirtana—the sankirtana movement; ratra-dine—night and day; preme—in ecstasy; nrtya—dancing; sange—along with; bhakta-gana—the devotees.
Just prior to His youthful life, He began the sankirtana movement. Day and night He used to dance in ecstasy with His devotees.
nagare nagare bhrame kirtana kariya
bhasaila tri-bhuvana prema-bhakti diya
nagare nagare—in different parts of the town; bhrame—wanders; kirtana—chanting; kariya—performing; bhasaila—inundated; tri-bhuvana—all the three worlds; prema-bhakti—love of Godhead; diya—distributing.
The sankirtana movement went on from one part of the town to another, as the Lord wandered everywhere performing kirtana. In this way He inundated the whole world by distributing love of Godhead.
One may raise the question how all three worlds became inundated with love of Krsna since Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed kirtana only in the Navadvipa area. The answer is that Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself. The entire cosmic manifestation results from the Lord’s first setting it in motion. Similarly, since the sankirtana movement was first set in motion five hundred years ago by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire that it spread all over the universe, the Krsna consciousness movement, in continuity of that same motion, is now spreading all over the world, and in this way it will gradually spread all over the universe. With the spread of the Krsna consciousness movement, everyone will merge in an ocean of love of Krsna.
cabbisa vatsara aiche navadvipa-grame
laoyaila sarva-loke krsna-prema-name
cabbisa—twenty-four; vatsara—years; aiche—in that way; navadvipa—of the name Navadvipa; grame—in the village; laoyaila—induced; sarva-loke—every man; krsna-prema—love of Krsna; name—in the holy name.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu lived in the Navadvipa area for twenty-four years, and He induced every person to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and thus merge in love of Krsna.
cabbisa vatsara chila kariya sannyasa
bhakta-gana lana kaila nilacale vasa
cabbisa—twenty-four; vatsara—years; chila—remained; kariya—accepting; sannyasa—the renounced order; bhakta-gana—devotees; lana—taking with Him; kaila—did; nilacale—in Jagannatha Puri; vasa—reside.
For His remaining twenty-four years, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, after accepting the renounced order of life, stayed at Jagannatha Puri with His devotees.
tara madhye nilacale chaya vatsara
nrtya, gita, premabhakti-dana nirantara
tara madhye—out of those twenty-four years; nilacale—while He was staying at Jagannatha Puri; chaya vatsara—continuously for six years; nrtya—dancing; gita—chanting; prema-bhakti—love of Krsna; dana—distribution; nirantara—always.
For six of these twenty-four years in Nilacala [Jagannatha Puri], He distributed love of Godhead by always chanting and dancing.