Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Adi-lila
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Tree of Devotional Service
A summary of Chapter Nine has been given as follows by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amrta-pravaha-bhasya. In the Ninth Chapter the author of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta has devised a figurative example by describing the “plant of bhakti.” He considers Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is known as Visvambhara, to be the gardener of this plant because He is the main personality who has taken charge of it. As the supreme enjoyer, He enjoyed the flowers Himself and distributed them as well. The seed of the plant was first sown in Navadvipa, the birthsite of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then the plant was brought to Purusottama-ksetra (Jagannatha Puri) and then to Vrndavana. The seed fructified first in Srila Madhavendra Puri and then his disciple Sri Isvara Puri. It is figuratively described that both the tree itself and the trunk of the tree are Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The devotees, headed by Paramananda Puri and eight other great sannyasis, are like the spreading roots of the tree. From the main trunk there extend two special branches, Advaita Prabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu, and from those branches grow other branches and twigs. The tree surrounds the entire world, and the flowers of the tree are to be distributed to everyone. In this way the tree of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu intoxicates the entire world. It should be noted that this is a figurative example meant to explain the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
devam vande jagad-gurum
mahabdhim santaret sukham
tam—unto Him; srimat—with all opulence; krsna-caitanya-devam—unto Lord Krsna Caitanyadeva; vande—I offer obeisances; jagat-gurum—spiritual master of the world; yasya—whose; anukampaya—by the mercy of; sva api—even a dog; maha-abdhim—great ocean; santaret—can swim; sukham—without difficulty.
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual master of the entire world, Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even a dog can swim across a great ocean.
Sometimes it is to be seen that a dog can swim in the water for a few yards and then come back to the shore. Here, however, it is stated that if a dog is blessed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he can swim across an ocean. Similarly, the author of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, placing himself in a helpless condition, states that he has no personal power, but by the desire of Lord Caitanya, expressed through the Vaisnavas and Madana-mohana vigraha, it is possible for him to cross a transcendental ocean to present Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.
jaya jaya sri-krsna-caitanya gauracandra
jaya jayadvaita jaya jaya nityananda
jaya jaya—all glories; sri-krsna-caitanya—to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; gauracandra—whose name is Gaurahari; jaya jaya—all glories; advaita—to Advaita Gosani; jaya jaya—all glories; nityananda—to Nityananda.
All glories to Sri Krsna Caitanya, who is known as Gaurahari! All glories to Advaita and Nityananda Prabhu!
jaya jaya srivasadi gaura-bhakta-gana
sarvabhista-purti-hetu yanhara smarana
jaya jaya—all glories; srivasa-adi—to Srivasa and others; gaura-bhakta-gana—all the devotees of Lord Caitanya; sarva-abhista—all ambition; purti—satisfaction; hetu—for the matter of; yanhara—whose; smarana—remembrance.
All glories to the devotees of Lord Caitanya, headed by Srivasa Thakura! In order to fulfill all my desires, I remember their lotus feet.
The author here continues to follow the same principles of worship of the Panca-tattva that were described in the Seventh Chapter of the Adi-lila.
sri-rupa, sanatana, bhatta raghunatha
sri-jiva, gopala-bhatta, dasa-raghunatha
sri-rupa—Srila Rupa Gosvami; sanatana—Srila Sanatana Gosvami; bhatta raghunatha—Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami; sri-jiva—Sri Jiva Gosvami; gopala-bhatta—Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami; dasa-raghunatha—Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
I also remember the six Gosvamis-Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta Raghunatha, Sri Jiva, Gopala Bhatta and Dasa Raghunatha.
This is the process for writing transcendental literature. A sentimentalist who has no Vaisnava qualifications cannot produce transcendental writings. There are many fools who consider krsna-lila to be a subject of art and write or paint pictures about the pastimes of Lord Krsna with the gopis, sometimes depicting them in a manner practically obscene. These fools take pleasure in material sense gratification, but one who wants to make advancement in spiritual life must scrupulously avoid their literature. Unless one is a servant of Krsna and the Vaisnavas, as Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami presents himself to be in offering respects to Lord Caitanya, His associates and His disciples, one should not attempt to write transcendental literature.
esaba-prasade likhi caitanya-lila-guna
jani va na jani, kari apana-sodhana
esaba—all these; prasade—by the mercy of; likhi—I write; caitanya—of Lord Caitanya; lila-guna—pastimes and qualities; jani—know; va—or; na—not; jani—know; kari—do; apana—self; sodhana—purification.
It is by the mercy of all these Vaisnavas and gurus that I attempt to write about the pastimes and qualities of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Whether I know or know not, it is for self-purification that I write this book.
This is the sum and substance of transcendental writing. One must be an authorized Vaisnava, humble and pure. One should write transcendental literature to purify oneself, not for credit. By writing about the pastimes of the Lord, one associates with the Lord directly. One should not ambitiously think, “I shall become a great author. I shall be celebrated as a writer.” These are material desires. One should attempt to write for self-purification. It may be published or it may not be published, but that does not matter. If one is actually sincere in writing, all his ambitions will be fulfilled. Whether one is known as a great author is incidental. One should not attempt to write transcendental literature for material name and fame.
mala-karah svayam krsna-
data bhokta tat-phalanam
yas tam caitanyam asraye
mala-karah—gardener; svayam—Himself; krsna—Lord Krsna; prema—love; amara—transcendental; taruh—tree; svayam—Himself; data—giver; bhokta—enjoyer; tat-phalanam—of all the fruits of that tree; yah—one who; tam—unto Him; caitanyam—Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu; asraye—I take shelter.
I take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who Himself is the tree of transcendental love of Krsna, its gardener and also the bestower and enjoyer of its fruits.
prabhu kahe, ami ’visvambhara’ nama dhari
nama sarthaka haya, yadi preme visva bhari
prabhu kahe—the Lord said; ami—I; visvambhara—Visvambhara; nama—named; dhari—accept; nama—the name; sarthaka—complete; haya—becomes; yadi—if; preme—in love of God; visva—the whole universe; bhari—fulfilled.
Lord Caitanya thought, “My name is Visvambhara, ’one who maintains the entire universe.’ Its meaning will be actualized if I can fill the whole universe with love of Godhead.”
eta cinti’ laila prabhu malakara-dharma
navadvipe arambhila phalodyana-karma
eta cinti’-thinking like this; laila—took; prabhu—the Lord; mala-kara-dharma—the business of a gardener; navadvipe—in Navadvipa; arambhila—began; phala-udyana—garden; karma—activities.
Thinking in this way, He accepted the duty of a planter and began to grow a garden in Navadvipa.
sri-caitanya malakara prthivite ani’
bhakti-kalpataru ropila sinci’ iccha-pani
sri-caitanya—Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; mala-kara—gardener; prthivite—on this planet; ani’-bringing; bhakti-kalpa-taru—the desire tree of devotional service; ropila—sowed; sinci’-watering; iccha—will; pani—water.
Thus the Lord brought the desire tree of devotional service to this earth and became its gardener. He sowed the seed and sprinkled upon it the water of His will.
In many places devotional service has been compared to a creeper. One has to sow the seed of the devotional creeper, bhakti-lata, within his heart. As he regularly hears and chants, the seed will fructify and gradually grow into a mature plant and then produce the fruit of devotional service, namely, love of Godhead, which the gardener (mala-kara) can then enjoy without impediments.
jaya sri madhavapuri krsna-prema-pura
bhakti-kalpatarura tenho prathama ankura
jaya—all glories; sri madhava-puri—unto Madhavendra Puri; krsna-prema-pura—a storehouse of all love of Godhead; bhakti-kalpa-tarura—of the desire tree of devotional service; tenho—he is; prathama—first; ankura—fructification.
All glories to Sri Madhavendra Puri, the storehouse of all devotional service unto Krsna! He is a desire tree of devotional service, and it is in him that the seed of devotional service first fructified.
Sri Madhavendra Puri, also known as Sri Madhava Puri, belonged to the disciplic succession from Madhvacarya and was a greatly celebrated sannyasi. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the third disciplic descendant from Sri Madhavendra Puri. The process of worship in the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya was full of ritualistic ceremonies, with hardly a sign of love of Godhead; Sri Madhavendra Puri was the first person in that disciplic succession to exhibit the symptoms of love of Godhead and the first to write a poem beginning with the words ayi dina-dayardra natha, “O supremely merciful Personality of Godhead.” In that poem is the seed of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cultivation of love of Godhead.
sri-isvarapuri-rupe ankura pusta haila
apane caitanya-mali skandha upajila
sri-isvara-puri—by the name Sri Isvara Puri; rupe—in the form of; ankura—the seed; pusta—cultivated; haila—became; apane—Himself; caitanya-mali—the gardener of the name Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; skandha—trunk; upajila—expanded.
The seed of devotional service next fructified in the form of Sri Isvara Puri, and then the gardener Himself, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, became the main trunk of the tree of devotional service.
Sri Isvara Puri was a resident of Kumara-hatta, where there is now a railroad station known as Kamarhatta. Nearby there is also another station named Halisahara, which belongs to the Eastern Railway that runs from the eastern section of Calcutta.
Isvara Puri appeared in a brahmana family and was the most beloved disciple of Srila Madhavendra Puri. In the last portion of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 8.28-31), it is stated:
isvara-puri gosani kare sri-pada sevana
sva-haste karena mala-mutradi marjana
nirantara krsna-nama karaya smarana
krsna-nama krsna-lila sunaya anuksana
tusta hana puri tanre kaila alingana
vara dila krsne tomara ha-uka prema-dhana
sei haite isvara-puri premera sagara
“At the last stage of his life Sri Madhavendra Puri became an invalid and was completely unable to move, and Isvara Puri so completely engaged himself in his service that he personally cleaned up his stool and urine. Always chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and reminding Sri Madhavendra Puri about the pastimes of Lord Krsna in the last stage of his life, Isvara Puri gave the best service among his disciples. Thus Madhavendra Puri, being very pleased with him, blessed him, saying, ’My dear boy, I can only pray to Krsna that He will be pleased with you.’ Thus Isvara Puri, by the grace of his spiritual master, Sri Madhavendra Puri, became a great devotee in the ocean of love of Godhead.” Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti states in his Gurv-astaka prayer, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ’pi: “By the mercy of the spiritual master one is blessed by the mercy of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master one cannot make any advancement.” It is by the mercy of the spiritual master that one becomes perfect, as vividly exemplified here. A Vaisnava is always protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if he appears to be an invalid, this gives a chance to his disciples to serve him. Isvara Puri pleased his spiritual master by service, and by the blessings of his spiritual master he became such a great personality that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted him as His spiritual master.
Srila Isvara Puri was the spiritual master of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but before initiating Lord Caitanya he went to Navadvipa and lived for a few months in the house of Gopinatha Acarya. At that time Lord Caitanya became acquainted with him, and it is understood that he served Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by reciting his book, Krsna-lilamrta. This is explained in Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, Adi-lila, Chapter Eleven.
To teach others by example how to be a faithful disciple of one’s spiritual master, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, visited the birthplace of Isvara Puri at Kamarhatta and collected some earth from his birthsite. This He kept very carefully, and He used to eat a small portion of it daily. This is stated in the Caitanya-bhagavata, Adi-lila, Chapter Seventeen. It has now become customary for devotees, following the example of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to go there and collect some earth from that place.
nijacintya-saktye mali hana skandha haya
sakala sakhara sei skandha mulasraya
nija—His own; acintya—inconceivable; saktye—by potency; mali—gardener; hana—becoming; skandha—trunk; haya—became; sakala—all; sakhara—of other branches; sei—that; skandha—trunk; mula-asraya—original support.
By His inconceivable powers, the Lord became the gardener, the trunk and the branches simultaneously.
paramananda puri, ara kesava bharati
brahmananda puri, ara brahmananda bharati
visnu-puri, kesava-puri, puri krsnananda
sri-nrsimhatirtha, ara puri sukhananda
ei nava mula nikasila vrksa-mule
ei nava mule vrksa karila niscale
paramananda puri—of the name Paramananda Puri; ara—and; kesava bharati—of the name Kesava Bharati; brahmananda puri—of the name Brahmananda Puri; ara—and; brahmananda bharati—of the name Brahmananda Bharati; visnu-puri—of the name Visnu Puri; kesava-puri—of the name Kesava Puri; puri krsnananda—of the name Krsnananda Puri; sri-nrsimha-tirtha—of the name Sri Nrsimha Tirtha; ara—and; puri sukhananda—of the name Sukhananda Puri; ei nava—of these nine; mula—roots; nikasila—fructified; vrksa-mule—in the trunk of the tree; ei nava mule—in these nine roots; vrksa—the tree; karila niscale—became very steadfast.
Paramananda Puri, Kesava Bharati, Brahmananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati, Sri Visnu Puri, Kesava Puri, Krsnananda Puri, Sri Nrsimha Tirtha and Sukhananda Puri-these nine sannyasi roots all sprouted from the trunk of the tree. Thus the tree stood steadfastly on the strength of these nine roots.
Paramananda Puri: Paramananda Puri belonged to a brahmana family of the Trihut district in Uttara Pradesh. Madhavendra Puri was his spiritual master. In relationship with Madhavendra Puri, Paramananda Puri was very dear to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In the Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-lila, there is the following statement:
sannyasira madhye isvarera priya-patra
ara nahi eka puri gosani se matra
sannyasi-parsade ei dui adhikari
niravadhi nikate thakena dui jana
prabhura sannyase kare dandera grahana
puri dhyana-para damodarera kirtana
yata-priti isvarera puri-gosanire
damodara-svarupereo tata priti kare
“Among his sannyasi disciples, Isvara Puri and Paramananda Puri were very dear to Madhavendra Puri. Thus Paramananda Puri, like Svarupa Damodara, who was also a sannyasi, was very dear to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and was His constant associate. When Lord Caitanya accepted the renounced order, Paramananda Puri offered Him the danda. Paramananda Puri was always engaged in meditation, and Sri Svarupa was always engaged in chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu offered full respect to His spiritual master, Isvara Puri, He similarly respected Paramananda Puri and Svarupa Damodara.” It is described in the Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-lila, Chapter Three, that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu first saw Paramananda Puri He made the following statement:
aji dhanya locana, saphala aji janma
saphala amara aji haila sarva-dharma
prabhu bale aji mora saphala sannyasa
aji madhavendra more ha-ila prakasa
“My eyes, My mind, My religious activities and My acceptance of the sannyasa order have now all become perfect because today Madhavendra Puri is manifest before Me in the form of Paramananda Puri.” The Caitanya-bhagavata further states:
kathoksane anyo ’nye karena pranama
paramananda-puri caitanyera priya-dhama
“Thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu exchanged respectful obeisances with Paramananda Puri, who was very dear to Him.” Paramananda Puri established a small monastery behind the western side of the Jagannatha temple, where he had a well dug to supply water. The water, however, was bitter, and therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prayed to Lord Jagannatha to allow Ganges water to come into the well to make it sweet. When Lord Jagannatha granted the request, Lord Caitanya told all the devotees that from that day hence, the water of Paramananda Puri’s well should be celebrated as Ganges water, for any devotee who would drink it or bathe in it would certainly get the same benefit as that derived from drinking or bathing in the waters of the Ganges. Such a person would certainly develop pure love of Godhead. It is stated in the Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya-lila:
prabhu bale ami ye achiye prthivite
niscaya-i janiha puri-gosanira prite
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to say: ’I am living in this world only on account of the excellent behavior of Sri Paramananda Puri.’ ” The Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, verse 118, states, puri sri-paramanando ya asid uddhavah pura. “Paramananda Puri is none other than Uddhava.” Uddhava was Lord Krsna’s friend and uncle, and in caitanya-lila the same Uddhava became the friend of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His uncle in terms of their relationship in the disciplic succession.
Kesava Bharati: The Sarasvati, Bharati and Puri sampradayas belong to the Srngeri Matha in South India, and Sri Kesava Bharati, who at that time was situated in a monastery in Katwa, belonged to the Bharati-sampradaya. According to some authoritative opinions, although Kesava Bharati belonged to the Sankara-sampradaya, he had formerly been initiated by a Vaisnava. He is said to have been a Vaisnava on account of having been initiated by Madhavendra Puri, for some say that he took sannyasa from Madhavendra Puri. The temple and Deity worship started by Kesava Bharati are still existing in the village known as Khatundi, which is under the postal jurisdiction of Kandara in the district of Burdwan. According to the managers of that matha, the priests are descendants of Kesava Bharati, and some say that the worshipers of the Deity are descendants of the sons of Kesava Bharati. In his householder life he had two sons, Nisapati and Usapati, and a brahmana of the name Sri Nakadicandra Vidyaratna, who was a member of the family of Nisapati, was the priest in charge at the time that Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati visited this temple. According to some, the priests of the temple belong to the family of Kesava Bharati’s brother. Still another opinion is that they descend from Madhava Bharati, who was another disciple of Kesava Bharati’s. Madhava Bharati’s disciple Balabhadra, who also later became a sannyasi of the Bharati-sampradaya, had two sons in his family life, named Madana and Gopala. Madana, whose family’s surname was Bharati, lived in the village of Auriya, and Gopala, whose family’s surname was Brahmacari, lived in the village of Denduda. There are still many living descendants of both families.
In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, verse 52, it is said:
pura krsnaya yo munih
dadau sandipanih so ’bhud
“Sandipani Muni, who formerly offered the sacred thread to Krsna and Balarama, later became Kesava Bharati.” It is he who offered sannyasa to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There is another statement from the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, verse 117: iti kecit prabhasante ’krurah kesava-bharati. “According to some authoritative opinions, Kesava Bharati is an incarnation of Akrura.” Kesava Bharati offered the sannyasa order to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the year 1432 sakabda (A.D. 1510) in Katwa. This is stated in the Vaisnava-manjusa, Part Two.
Brahmananda Puri: Sri Brahmananda Puri was one of the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu while He was performing kirtana in Navadvipa, and he also joined Lord Caitanya in Jagannatha Puri. We may note in this connection that the name Brahmananda is accepted not only by Mayavadi sannyasis but by Vaisnava sannyasis also. One of our foolish Godbrothers criticized our sannyasi Brahmananda Svami, saying that this was a Mayavadi name. The foolish man did not know that Brahmananda does not always refer to the impersonal. Parabrahman, the Supreme Brahman, is Krsna. A devotee of Krsna can therefore also be called Brahmananda; this is evident from the fact that Brahmananda Puri was one of the chief sannyasi associates of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Brahmananda Bharati: Brahmananda Bharati went to see Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha-dhama. At that time he used to wear only a deerskin to cover himself, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu indirectly indicated that He did not like this deerskin covering. Brahmananda Bharati therefore gave it up and accepted a loincloth of saffron color, as used by Vaisnava sannyasis. For some time he lived with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Jagannatha Puri.
madhya-mula paramananda puri maha-dhira
asta dike asta mula vrksa kaila sthira
madhya-mula—the middle root; paramananda puri—of the name Paramananda Puri; maha-dhira—most sober; asta dike—in the eight directions; asta mula—eight roots; vrksa—the tree; kaila sthira—fixed.
With the sober and grave Paramananda Puri as the central root and the other eight roots in the eight directions, the tree of Caitanya Mahaprabhu stood firmly.
skandhera upare bahu sakha upajila
upari upari sakha asankhya ha-ila
skandhera upare—upon the trunk; bahu sakha—many branches; upajila—grew; upari upari—over and above them; sakha—other branches; asankhya—innumerable; ha-ila—fructified.
From the trunk grew many branches and above them innumerable others.
visa visa sakha kari’ eka eka mandala
maha-maha-sakha chaila brahmanda sakala
visa visa—twenty, twenty; sakha—branches; kari’-making a group; eka eka mandala—form a society; maha-maha-sakha—big branches; chaila—covered; brahmanda—the whole universe; sakala—all.
Thus the branches of the Caitanya tree formed a cluster or society, with great branches covering all the universe.
Our International Society for Krishna Consciousness is one of the branches of the Caitanya tree.
ekaika sakhate upasakha sata sata
yata upajila sakha ke ganibe kata
ekaika—each branch; sakhate—in the branch; upasakha—subbranches; sata sata—hundreds and hundreds; yata—all; upajila—grew; sakha—branches; ke—who; ganibe—can count; kata—how much.
From each branch grew many hundreds of subbranches. No one can count how many branches thus grew.
mukhya mukhya sakha-ganera nama aganana
age ta’ kariba, suna vrksera varnana
mukhya mukhya—the foremost of them all; sakha-ganera—of the branches; nama—name; aganana—uncountable; age—subsequently; ta’ kariba—I shall do; suna—please hear; vrksera varnana—the description of the Caitanya tree.
I shall try to name the foremost of the innumerable branches. Please hear the description of the Caitanya tree.
vrksera upare sakha haila dui skandha
eka ’advaita’ nama, ara ’nityananda’
vrksera—of the tree; upare—on the top; sakha—branch; haila—became; dui—two; skandha—trunks; eka—one; advaita—Sri Advaita Prabhu; nama—of the name; ara—and; nityananda—of the name Nityananda Prabhu.
At the top of the tree the trunk branched into two. One trunk was named Sri Advaita Prabhu and the other Sri Nityananda Prabhu.