Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Madhya-lila
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Sanatana Gosvami in the Science of the Absolute Truth
The following summary study of this chapter is given by Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amrta-pravaha-bhasya. When Srila Sanatana Gosvami was imprisoned by Nawab Hussain Shah, he received news from Rupa Gosvami that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had gone to Mathura. Sanatana Gosvami thereafter satisfied the superintendent of the jail by sweet solicitations and bribery. After giving the jailer seven thousand gold coins, Sanatana Gosvami was released. He then crossed the Ganges and fled. One of his servants, Isana, followed him, carrying eight gold coins. Sanatana Gosvami and his servant then spent the night in a small hotel on the way to Benares. The hotel owner knew that Sanatana Gosvami and his servant had eight gold coins, and he decided to kill them and take the money. Making plans in this way, the hotel owner received them as honorable guests. Sanatana Gosvami, however, asked his servant how much money he had, and, taking seven of the gold coins, Sanatana offered them to the hotel owner. Thus the owner helped them reach the hilly tract toward Varanasi. On the way, Sanatana Gosvami met his brother-in-law, Srikanta, at Hajipura, and Srikanta helped him after he had heard about all Sanatana’s troubles. Thus Sanatana Gosvami finally arrived at Varanasi and stood before the door of Candrasekhara. Caitanya Mahaprabhu called him in and ordered him to change his dress so that he could look like a gentleman. For his garment, he used an old cloth of Tapana Misra’s. Later, he exchanged his valuable blanket for a torn quilt. At this time Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased with him, and thus Sri Sanatana Gosvami received knowledge of the Absolute Truth from the Lord Himself.
First they discussed the constitutional position of the living entities, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained to Sanatana Gosvami how the living entity is one of Lord Krsna’s energies. After this, the Lord explained the way of devotional service. While discussing the Absolute Truth, Sri Krsna, the Lord analyzed Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan, as well as the expansions of the Lord called svayam-rupa, tad-ekatma and avesa, which are divided into various branches known as vaibhava and prabhava. Thus the Lord described the many forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He also described the incarnations of God within the material world, incarnations such as the purusa-avataras, manvantara-avataras, guna-avataras and saktyavesa-avataras. The Lord also discussed the divisions of Krsna’s different ages, such as balya and pauganda, and the different pastimes of the different ages. He explained how Krsna attained His permanent form when He reached youth. In this way Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained and described everything to Sanatana Gosvami.
nico ’pi yat-prasadat syad
vande—I offer my respectful obeisances; ananta—unlimited; adbhuta—wonderful; aisvaryam—possessing opulences; sri-caitanya-mahaprabhum—unto Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; nicah api—even a person in the lowest status of life; yat-prasadat—by whose mercy; syat—may become; bhakti-sastra—of the science of devotional service; pravartakah—an inaugurator.
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who has unlimited, wonderful opulences. By His mercy, even a person born as the lowest of men can spread the science of devotional service.
jaya jaya sri-caitanya jaya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda
jaya jaya—all glories; sri-caitanya—to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu; jaya—all glories; nityananda—to Nityananda; jaya—all glories; advaita-candra—to Advaita Acarya; jaya—all glories; gaura-bhakta-vrnda—to all devotees of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to Nityananda Prabhu! All glories to Advaita Acarya! And all glories to all the devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!
etha gaude sanatana ache bandi-sale
sri-rupa-gosanira patri aila hena-kale
etha—here; gaude—in Bengal; sanatana—Sanatana Gosvami; ache—was; bandi-sale—in prison; sri-rupa-gosanira—of Srila Rupa Gosvami; patri—the letter; aila—came; hena-kale—at that time.
While Sanatana Gosvami was imprisoned in Bengal, a letter arrived from Srila Rupa Gosvami.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura informs us that this letter from Rupa Gosvami to Sanatana Gosvami is mentioned by the annotator of Udbhata-candrika. Srila Rupa Gosvami wrote a note to Sanatana Gosvami from Bakla. This note indicated that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was coming to Mathura, and it stated:
yadu-pateh kva gata mathura-puri
raghu-pateh kva gatottara-kosala
iti vicintya kurusva manah sthiram
na sad idam jagad ity avadharaya
“Where has the Mathura Puri of Yadupati gone? Where has the northern Kosala of Raghupati gone? By reflection, make the mind steady, thinking, ’This universe is not eternal.’ ”
patri pana sanatana anandita haila
yavana-raksaka-pasa kahite lagila
patri pana—receiving the note; sanatana—Sanatana Gosvami; anandita haila—became very pleased; yavana—meat-eater; raksaka—the superintendent of the jail; pasa—before; kahite lagila—began to say.
When Sanatana Gosvami received this note from Rupa Gosvami, he became very pleased. He immediately went to the jail superintendent, who was a meat-eater, and spoke as follows.
"tumi eka jinda-pira maha-bhagyavan
ketaba-korana-sastre ache tomara jnana
tumi—you; eka jinda-pira—a living saint; maha-bhagyavan—very fortunate; ketaba—books; korana—the Koran; sastre—in the scripture; ache—there is; tomara—your; jnana—knowledge.
Sanatana Gosvami told the Mohammedan jailkeeper, "Dear sir, you are a saintly person and are very fortunate. You have full knowledge of the revealed scriptures such as the Koran and similar books.
eka bandi chade yadi nija-dharma dekhiya
samsara ha-ite tare mukta karena gosana
eka bandi—one imprisoned person; chade—one releases; yadi—if; nija-dharma—one’s own religion; dekhiya—consulting; samsara ha-ite—from material bondage; tare—him; mukta karena—releases; gosana—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“If one releases a conditioned soul or imprisoned person according to religious principles, he himself is also released from material bondage by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
It appears from this statement that Sanatana Gosvami, who was formerly a minister of the Nawab, was trying to cheat the Mohammedan superintendent. A jail superintendent had only an ordinary education, or practically no education, and he was certainly not supposed to be very advanced in spiritual knowledge. However, just to satisfy him, Sanatana Gosvami praised him as a very learned scholar of the scriptures. The jailkeeper could not deny that he was a learned scholar because when one is elevated to an exalted position, one thinks oneself fit for that position. Sanatana Gosvami was correctly explaining the effects of spiritual activity, and the jailkeeper connected his statement with his release from jail. There are innumerable conditioned souls rotting in the material world, imprisoned by maya under the spell of sense gratification. The living entity is so entranced by the spell of maya that in conditioned life even a pig feels satisfied.
There are two kinds of covering powers exhibited by maya. One is called praksepatmika, and the other is called avaranatmika. When one is determined to get out of material bondage, the praksepatmika-sakti, the spell of diversion, impels one to remain in conditioned life fully satisfied by sense gratification. Due to the other power (avaranatmika), a conditioned soul feels satisfied even if he is rotting in the body of a pig or a worm in stool. To release a conditioned soul from material bondage is very difficult because the spell of maya is so strong. Even when the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself descends to deliver conditioned souls, asking them to surrender unto Him, the conditioned souls do not agree to the Lord’s proposals. Therefore Sri Sanatana Gosvami said, “Somehow or other, if one helps another gain release from the bondage of maya, he is certainly recognized immediately by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” As stated in Bhagavad-gita (18.69):
na ca tasman manusyesu
kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad
anyah priyataro bhuvi
The greatest service one can render to the Lord is to try to infuse devotional service into the heart of the conditioned soul so that the conditioned soul may be released from conditional life. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said that a Vaisnava is recognized by his preaching work-that is, by convincing the conditioned soul about his eternal position, which is explained here as nija-dharma. It is the living entity’s eternal position to serve the Lord; therefore to help one get release from material bondage is to awaken one to the dormant understanding that he is the eternal servant of Krsna. jivera ’svarupa’ haya-krsnera ’nitya-dasa’. This will be further explained by the Lord Himself to Sanatana Gosvami.
purve ami tomara kariyachi upakara
tumi ama chadi’ kara pratyupakara
purve—formerly; ami—I; tomara—your; kariyachi—have done; upakara—welfare; tumi—you; ama—me; chadi’-releasing; kara—do; prati-upakara—return welfare.
Sanatana Gosvami continued, "Previously I have done much for you. Now I am in difficulty. Please return my goodwill by releasing me.
panca sahasra mudra tumi kara angikara
punya, artha,--dui labha ha-ibe tomara"
panca sahasra—five thousand; mudra—golden coins; tumi—you; kara angikara—please accept; punya—pious activity; artha—material gain; dui labha—two kinds of achievement; ha-ibe—will be; tomara—yours.
“Here are five thousand gold coins. Please accept them. By releasing me, you will receive the results of pious activities and gain material profit as well. Thus you will profit in two ways simultaneously.”
tabe sei yavana kahe,--"suna, mahasaya
tomare chadiba, kintu kari raja-bhaya"
tabe—thereafter; sei—that; yavana—meat-eater; kahe—says; suna—just hear; mahasaya—my dear sir; tomare—you; chadiba—I would release; kintu—but; kari raja-bhaya—I am afraid of the government.
In this way Sanatana Gosvami convinced the jailkeeper, who replied, “Please hear me, my dear sir. I am willing to release you, but I am afraid of the government.”
sanatana kahe,--"tumi na kara raja-bhaya
daksina giyache yadi leuti’ aoyaya
tanhare kahio--sei bahya-krtye gela
gangara nikata ganga dekhi’ jhanpa dila
sanatana kahe—Sanatana replied; tumi—you; na—not; kara—do; raja-bhaya—fear of the government; daksina—to the south; giyache—has gone; yadi—if; leuti’-returning; aoyaya—comes; tanhare—to him; kahio—you say; sei—he; bahya-krtye—to evacuate; gela—went; gangara nikata—near the bank of the Ganges; ganga dekhi’-seeing the Ganges; jhanpa dila—jumped.
Sanatana replied, "There is no danger. The Nawab has gone to the south. If he returns, tell him that Sanatana went to pass stool near the bank of the Gages and that as soon as he saw the Ganges, he jumped in.
aneka dekhila, tara lag na paila
daduka-sahita dubi kahan vahi’ gela
aneka—for a long time; dekhila—I looked; tara—of him; lag—contact; na paila—could not obtain; daduka-sahita—with the shackles; dubi—drowning; kahan—somewhere; vahi’ gela—washed away.
"Tell him,’I looked for him a long time, but I could not find any trace of him. He jumped in with his shackles, and therefore he was drowned and washed away by the waves.’
kichu bhaya nahi, ami e-dese na raba
daravesa hana ami makkake yaiba"
kichu—any; bhaya—fear; nahi—there is not; ami—I; e-dese—in this country; na raba—shall not remain; daravesa hana—becoming a mendicant; ami—I; makkake yaiba—shall go to Mecca.
“There is no reason for you to be afraid, for I shall not remain in this country. I shall become a mendicant and go to the holy city of Mecca.”
tathapi yavana-mana prasanna na dekhila
sata-hajara mudra tara age rasi kaila
tathapi—still; yavana-mana—the mind of the meat-eater; prasanna—satisfied; na—not; dekhila—he saw; sata-hajara—seven thousand; mudra—golden coins; tara—of him; age—in front; rasi kaila—made a stack.
Sanatana Gosvami could see that the mind of the meat-eater was still not satisfied. He then stacked Seven thousand gold coins before him.
lobha ha-ila yavanera mudra dekhiya
ratre ganga-para kaila daduka katiya
lobha ha-ila—there was attraction for the money; yavanera—of the meat-eater; mudra dekhiya—seeing the golden coins; ratre—at night; ganga-para kaila—he got him across the Ganges; daduka—shackles; katiya—breaking.
When the meat-eater saw the coins, he was attracted to them. He then agreed, and that night he cut Sanatana’s shackles and let him cross the Ganges.
gada-dvara-patha chadila, nare tahan yaite
ratri-dina cali’ aila patada-parvate
gada-dvara-patha—the path of the fortress; chadila—gave up; nare—not able; tahan—there; yaite—to go; ratri-dina—night and day; cali’-walking; aila—arrived; patada-parvate—in the hilly tract of land known as Patada.
In this way, Sanatana Gosvami was released. However, he was not able to walk along the path of the fortress. Walking day and night, he finally arrived at the hilly tract of land known as Patada.
tatha eka bhaumika haya, tara thani gela
’parvata para kara ama’--vinati karila
tatha—there; eka bhaumika—one landowner; haya—there is; tara thani—unto him; gela—he went; parvata—the hilly tract; para kara—cross over; ama—me; vinati—submission; karila—he made.
After reaching Patada, he met a landholder and submissively requested him to get him across that hilly tract of land.
sei bhunara sange haya hata-ganita
bhunara kane kahe sei jani’ ei katha
sei bhunara—the landlord; sange—with; haya—there is; hata-ganita—an expert in palmistry; bhunara—of the landlord; kane—in the ear; kahe—says; sei—that man; jani’-knowing; ei katha—this statement.
A man who was expert in palmistry was at that time staying with the landlord. Knowing about Sanatana, he whispered the following in the landlord’s ear.
’inhara thani suvarnera asta mohara haya’
suni’ anandita bhuna sanatane kaya
inhara thani—in the possession of this man; suvarnera—of gold; asta—eight; mohara—coins; haya—there are; suni’-hearing; anandita—pleased; bhuna—the landlord; sanatane—to Sanatana; kaya—says.
The palmist said, “This man Sanatana possesses eight gold coins.” Hearing this, the landlord was very pleased and spoke the following to Sanatana Gosvami.
"ratrye parvata para kariba nija-loka diya
bhojana karaha tumi randhana kariya"
ratrye—at night; parvata—the hilly tract; para kariba—I shall cross; nija-loka diya—with my own men; bhojana karaha—just take your meal; tumi—you; randhana kariya—cooking.
The landlord said,“I shall get you across that hilly tract at night with my own men. Now just take your lunch and cook for yourself.”
eta bali’ anna dila kariya sammana
sanatana asi’ tabe kaila nadi-snana
eta bali’—saying this; anna dila—supplied food grains; kariya sammana—showing great respect; sanatana—Sanatana Gosvami; asi’-coming; tabe—then; kaila—did; nadi-snana—bathing in the river.
Saying this, the landlord offered Sanatana grains to cook. Sanatana then went to the riverside and took his bath.
dui upavase kaila randhana-bhojane
raja-mantri sanatana vicarila mane
dui upa vase—fasting for two days; kaila—performed; randhana-bhojane—cooking and eating; raja-mantri—the former minister of the Nawab; sanatana—Sanatana; vicarila—considered; mane—in the mind.
Because Sanatana had been fasting for two days, he cooked the food and ate it. However, having formerly been a minister of the Nawab, he began to contemplate the situation.
’ei bhuna kene more sammana karila?’
eta cinti’ sanatana isane puchila
ei bhuna—this landlord; kene—why; more—unto me; sammana karila—offered so much respect; eta cinti’-thinking this; sanatana—Sanatana; isane—from Isana, his servant; puchila—inquired.
As a former minister for the Nawab, Sanatana could certainly understand diplomacy. He therefore thought,“Why is this landlord offering me such respect?” Thinking in this way, he questioned his servant, whose name was Isana.
’tomara thani jani kichu dravya achaya’
isana kahe,--’mora thani sata mohara haya’
tomara thani—in your possession; jani—I understand; kichu—some; dravya—valuable thing; achaya—there is; isana kahe—Isana replied; mora thani—in my possession; sata mohara—seven gold coins; haya—there are.
Sanatana asked his servant,“Isana, I think you have some valuable things with you.” Isana replied,“Yes, I have seven gold coins.”
suni’ sanatana tare karila bhartsana
’sange kene aniyacha ei kala-yama?’
suni’—hearing; sanatana—Sanatana Gosvami; tare—him; karila bhartsana—chastised; sange—with you; kene—why; aniyacha—have you brought; ei—this; kala-yama—death knell.
Hearing this, Sanatana Gosvami chastised his servant, saying,“Why have you brought this death knell with you?”
tabe sei sata mohara hastete kariya
bhunara kache yana kahe mohara dhariya
tabe—thereafter; sei sata mohara—these seven golden coins; hastete kariya—taking in the hands; bhunara kache—to the landlord; yana—going; kahe—says; mohara dhariya—holding the golden coins.
Thereupon, Sanatana Gosvami took the seven gold coins in his hands and went to the landlord. Holding the gold coins before him, he spoke as follows.
"ei sata suvarna mohara achila amara
iha lana dharma dekhi’ parvata kara para
ei sata—these seven; suvarna mohara—golden coins; achila—were; amara—mine; iha lana—accepting them; dharma dekhi’-observing religious principles; parvata—the hilly tract of land; kara para—kindly get me across.
"I have these seven gold coins with me. Please accept them, and from a religious point of view please get me across that hilly tract of land.
raja-bandi ami, gada-dvara yaite na pari
punya habe, parvata ama deha’ para kari"
raja-bandi—a prisoner of the government; ami—I; gada-dvara yaite—to go openly on the road by the ramparts; na pari—I am not able; punya—pious activity; habe—there will be; parvata—the hilly tract of land; ama—to me; deha’-give help; para kari—by crossing over.
“I am a prisoner of the government, and I cannot go along the way of the ramparts. It will be very pious of you to take this money and kindly get me across this hilly tract of land.”
bhuna hasi’ kahe,--"ami janiyachi pahile
asta mohara haya tomara sevaka-ancale
bhuna—the landlord; hasi’-smiling; kahe—said; ami—I; janiyachi—knew; pahile—before this; asta mohara—eight golden coins; haya—there are; tomara—your; sevaka-ancale—in the pocket of the servant.
Smiling, the landlord said, "Before you offered them, I already knew that there were eight gold coins in your servant’s possession.
toma mari’ mohara la-itama ajikara ratrye
bhala haila, kahila tumi, chutilana papa haite
toma mari’—killing you; mohara—golden coins; la-itama—I would have taken; ajikara ratrye—on this night; bhala haila—it was very good; kahila tumi—you have spoken; chutilana—I am relieved; papa haite—from such a sin.
"On this very night I would have killed you and taken your coins. It is very good that you have voluntarily offered them to me. I am now relieved from such a sinful activity.
santusta ha-ilana ami, mohara na la-iba
punya lagi’ parvata toma’ para kari’ diba"
santusta—satisfied; ha-ilana—have become; ami—I; mohara—the golden coins; na la-iba—I shall not take; punya lagi’-simply for pious activity; parvata—the hilly tract of land; toma’-you; para kari’ diba—I shall get across.
“I am very satisfied with your behavior. I shall not accept these gold coins, but I shall get you across that hilly tract of land simply to perform a pious activity.”
gosani kahe,--"keha dravya la-ibe ama mari’
amara prana raksa kara dravya angikari’ "
gosani kahe—Sanatana Gosvami said; keha—someone else; dravya—the valuable coins; la-ibe—will take; ama mari’-killing me; amara—my; prana—life; raksa kara—save; dravya angikari’-by accepting these coins.
Sanatana Gosvami replied, “If you do not accept these coins, someone else will kill me for them. It is better that you save me from the danger by accepting the coins.”
tabe bhuna gosanira sange cari paika dila
ratrye ratrye vana-pathe parvata para kaila
tabe—thereupon; bhuna—the landlord; gosanira sange—with Sanatana Gosvami; cari paika—four watchmen; dila—gave; ratrye ratrye—during the whole night; vana-pathe—on the jungle path; parvata—the hilly tract of land; para kaila—took him across.
After this settlement was made, the landlord gave Sanatana Gosvami four watchmen to accompany him. They went through the forest path for the whole night and thus brought him over the hilly tract of land.
tabe para hana gosani puchila isane
’jani,--sesa dravya kichu ache toma sthane"
tabe—thereafter; para hana—after crossing; gosani—Sanatana Gosvami; puchila—asked; isane—Isana; jani—I know; sesa dravya—something valuable left; kichu—some; ache—there is; toma sthane—with you.
After crossing the hills, Sanatana Gosvami told his servant, “Isana, I think you still have some balance left from the gold coins.”
isana kahe,--“eka mohara ache avasesa”
gosani kahe,--“mohara lana yaha’ tumi desa”
isana kahe—Isana replied; eka—one; mohara—gold coin; ache—is; avasesa—left; gosani—Sanatana Gosvami; kahe—replied; mohara lana—taking this gold coin; yaha—return; tumi—you; desa—to your country.
Isana replied, “I still have one gold coin in my possession.” Sanatana Gosvami then said, “Take the coin and return to your home.”
tare vidaya diya gosani calila ekala
hate karonya, chinda kantha, nirbhaya ha-ila
tare vidaya diya—bidding him farewell; gosani—Sanatana Gosvami; calila ekala—began to travel alone; hate—in the hand; karonya—a beggar’s pot; chinda kantha—a torn quilt; nirbhaya ha-ila—he became free from all anxiety.
After departing from Isana, Sanatana Gosvami began traveling alone with a waterpot in his hand. Simply covered with a torn quilt, he thus lost all his anxiety.
cali’ cali’ gosani tabe aila hajipure
sandhya-kale vasila eka udyana-bhitare
cali’ cali’—walking and walking; gosani—Sanatana Gosvami; tabe—then; aila—arrived; hajipure—at Hajipura; sandhya-kale—in the evening; vasila—sat down; eka—one; udyana-bhitare—within a garden.
Walking and walking, Sanatana Gosvami finally arrived at a place called Hajipura. That evening he sat down within a garden.
sei hajipure rahe--srikanta tara nama
gosanira bhagini-pati, kare raja-kama
sei—that; hajipure—in Hajipura; rahe—there is; sri-kanta—Srikanta; tara—his; nama—name; gosanira—of Sanatana Gosvami; bhagini-pati—sister’s husband; kare—executes; raja-kama—government service.
In Hajipura there was a gentlemen named Srikanta, who happened to be the husband of Sanatana Gosvami’s sister. He was engaged there in government service.
tina laksa mudra raja diyache tara sthane
ghoda mulya lana pathaya patsara sthane
tina laksa—300,000; mudra—golden coins; raja—the king or nawab; diyache—has given; tara sthane—in his custody; ghoda—of horses; mulya lana—taking the price; pathaya—sends; patsara sthane—to the care of the emperor.
Srikanta had 300,000 gold coins with him, which had been given to him by the emperor for the purchase of horses. Thus Srikanta was buying horses and dispatching them to the emperor.
tungi upara vasi’ sei gosanire dekhila
ratrye eka-jana-sange gosani-pasa aila
tungi upara vasi’-sitting in an elevated place; sei—that Srikanta; gosanire—Sanatana Gosvami; dekhila—saw; ratrye—at night; eka-jana-sange—with a servant; gosani-pasa—near Sanatana Gosvami; aila—he came.
When Srikanta was sitting in an elevated place, he could see Sanatana Gosvami. That night he took a servant and went to see Sanatana Gosvami.
dui-jana mili’ tatha ista-gosthi kaila
bandhana-moksana-katha gosani sakali kahila
dui-jana mili’-meeting together; tatha—there; ista-gosthi—various types of conversation; kaila—did; bandhana-moksana—of the arrest and release; katha—the story; gosani—Sanatana Gosvami; sakali—everything; kahila—narrated.
When they met, they had many conversations. Sanatana Gosvami told him in detail about his arrest and release.
tenho kahe,--"dina-dui raha ei-sthane
bhadra hao, chada’ ei malina vasane"
tenho kahe—he said; dina-dui—at least for two days; raha—stay; ei-sthane—in this place; bhadra hao—become like a gentleman in appearance; chada’-give up; ei—this; malina—dirty; vasane—dress.
Srikanta then told Sanatana Gosvami, “Stay here for at least two days and dress up like a gentleman. Abandon these dirty garments.”