Today we begin the celebration of the Ratha Yatra festival. The following is the 13th chapter of the Caitanya Caritamrita, describing the ecstatic dance and the deep emotions of Sriman Mahaprabhu during the Ratha festival of Jagannatha Deva.
THE RATHA YATRA FESTIVAL
May the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna Caitanya, who danced in front of the car of Sri Jagannatha, be all glorified! By seeing His dancing, not only was the whole universe held in wonder, but Lord Jagannatha Himself became very much astonished.
All glories to Sri Krsna Caitanya and Prabhu Nityananda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to the devotees of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! All glories to the listeners of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta! Please hear the description of the dancing of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu at the Ratha-yatra festival. His dancing is very enchanting. Please hear of it with great attention.
The next day, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His personal associates got up in the dark and attentively took their early-morning baths. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His personal associates then went to see the ceremony of Pandu-vijaya. During this ceremony, Lord Jagannatha leaves His throne and gets up onto the car. King Prataparudra in person, as well as his entourage, allowed the Pandu-vijaya ceremony to be seen by all the associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His prominent devotees—Advaita Acarya, Nityananda Prabhu and others—were very happy to observe how Lord Jagannatha began the Ratha-yatra.
The very strongly built dayitas [carriers of the Jagannatha Deity] were as powerful as drunken elephants. They manually carried Lord Jagannatha from the throne to the car. While carrying the Deity of Lord Jagannatha, some of the dayitas took hold of the shoulders of the Lord, and some caught His lotus feet. The Lord Jagannatha Deity was bound at the waist by a strong, thick rope made of silk. From two sides the dayitas caught hold of this rope and raised the Deity. Strong, puffed-up cotton pads called tulis were spread out from the throne to the car, and the heavy Deity of Lord Jagannatha was carried from one pillowlike pad to the next by the dayitas. While the dayitas carried the heavy Jagannatha Deity from one pad to the next, some of the pads broke, and the cotton contents floated into the air. When they broke, they made a heavy cracking sound. Lord Jagannatha is the maintainer of the whole universe. Who can carry Him from one place to another? The Lord moves by His personal will just to perform His pastimes.
While the Lord was transported from the throne to the car, tumultuous sounds were made on various musical instruments. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was chanting “Manima! Manima!” but He could not be heard. While the Lord was being carried from the throne to the car, King Prataparudra personally engaged in the Lord’s service by cleansing the road with a broom that had a golden handle. The King sprinkled the road with sandalwood-scented water. Although he was the owner of the royal throne, he engaged in menial service for the sake of Lord Jagannatha. Although the King was the most exalted respectable person, still he accepted menial service for the Lord; he therefore became a suitable candidate for receiving the Lord’s mercy. Upon seeing the King engaged in such menial service, Caitanya Mahaprabhu became very happy. Simply by rendering this service, the King received the mercy of the Lord.
Everyone was astonished to see the decorations on the Ratha car. The car appeared to be newly made of gold, and it was as high as Mount Sumeru. The decorations included bright mirrors and hundreds and hundreds of camaras [white whisks made of yak tails]. On top of the car were a neat and clean canopy and a very beautiful flag. The car was also decorated with silken cloth and various pictures. Many brass bells, gongs and ankle bells rang. For the pastimes of the Ratha-yatra ceremony, Lord Jagannatha got aboard one car, and His sister, Subhadra, and elder brother, Balarama,
got aboard two other cars.
For fifteen days the Lord had remained in a secluded place with the supreme goddess of fortune and had performed His pastimes with her. Having taken permission from the goddess of fortune, the Lord came out to ride on the Ratha car and perform His pastimes for the pleasure of the devotees. The fine, white sand spread all over the path resembled the bank of the Yamuna, and the small gardens on both sides looked just like those in Vrndavana. As Lord Jagannatha rode in His car and saw the beauty on both sides, His mind was filled with pleasure.
The pullers of the car were known as gaudas, and they pulled with great pleasure. However, the car sometimes went very fast and sometimes very slow. Sometimes the car would stand still and not move, even though it was pulled very vigorously. The chariot therefore moved by the will of the Lord, not by the strength of any ordinary person. As the car stood still, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gathered all His devotees and, with His own hand, decorated them with flower garlands and sandalwood pulp. Paramananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati were both personally given garlands and sandalwood pulp from the very hands of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This increased their transcendental pleasure. Similarly, when Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu felt the touch of the transcendental hand of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, They were very pleased. The Lord also gave garlands and sandalwood pulp to the performers of sankirtana. The two chief performers were Svarupa Damodara and Srivasa Thakura.
There were altogether four parties of kirtana performers, comprising twenty-four chanters. In each party there were also two mrdanga players, making an additional eight persons. When the four parties were formed, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, after some consideration, divided the chanters. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Haridasa Thakura and Vakresvara Pandita to dance in each of the four respective parties. Svarupa Damodara was chosen as the leader of the first party and was given five assistants to respond to his chanting.
The five who responded to the singing of Svarupa Damodara were Damodara Pandita, Narayana, Govinda Datta, Raghava Pandita and Sri Govindananda. Advaita Acarya Prabhu was ordered to dance in the first group. The Lord then formed another group with Srivasa Thakura as the chief man. The five singers who responded to the singing of Srivasa Thakura were Gangadasa, Haridasa, Sriman, Subhananda and Sri Rama Pandita. Sri Nityananda Prabhu was appointed as a dancer. Another group was formed consisting of Vasudeva, Gopinatha and Murari. All these were responsive singers, and Mukunda was the chief singer. Another two persons, Srikanta and Vallabha Sena, joined as responsive singers. In this group, the senior Haridasa [Haridasa Thakura] was the dancer.
The Lord formed another group, appointing Govinda Ghosa as leader. In this group the younger Haridasa, Visnudasa and Raghava were the responding singers. Two brothers named Madhava Ghosa and Vasudeva Ghosa also joined this group as responsive singers. Vakresvara Pandita was the dancer. There was a sankirtana party from the village known as Kulina-grama, and Ramananda and Satyaraja were appointed the dancers in this group. There was another party that came from Santipura and was formed by Advaita Acarya. Acyutananda was the dancer, and the rest of the men were singers. Another party was formed by the people of Khanda. These people were singing in a different place. In that group, Narahari Prabhu and Raghunandana were dancing.
Four parties chanted and danced in front of Lord Jagannatha, and on either side was another party. Yet another was at the rear. There were altogether seven parties of sankirtana, and in each party two men were beating drums. Thus fourteen drums were being played at once. The sound was tumultuous, and all the devotees became mad. All the Vaisnavas came together like an assembly of clouds. As the devotees chanted the holy names in great ecstasy, te
ars fell from their eyes like rain. When the sankirtana resounded, it filled the three worlds. Indeed, no one could hear any sounds or musical instruments other than the sankirtana.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wandered through all seven groups chanting the holy name, “Hari, Hari!” Raising His arms, He shouted, “Jaya Jagannatha!” Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu then exhibited another mystic power by performing pastimes simultaneously in all seven groups. Everyone said, “Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is present in my group. Indeed, He does not go anywhere else. He is bestowing His mercy upon us.” Actually, no one could see the inconceivable potency of the Lord. Only the most confidential devotees, those in pure, unalloyed devotional service, could understand.
Lord Jagannatha was very much pleased by the sankirtana, and He brought His car to a standstill just to see the performance. King Prataparudra was also astonished to see the sankirtana. He became inactive and was converted to ecstatic love of Krsna. When the King informed Kasi Misra of the glories of the Lord, Kasi Misra replied, “O King, your fortune has no limit!” The King and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya were both aware of the Lord’s activities, but no one else could see the tricks of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Only a person who has received the mercy of the Lord can understand. Without the Lord’s mercy, even the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, cannot understand.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had been very satisfied to see the King accept the menial task of sweeping the street, and for this humility the King received the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He could therefore observe the mystery of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s activities. Although the King had been refused an interview, he was indirectly bestowed causeless mercy. Who can understand the internal potency of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? When the two great personalities Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Kasi Misra saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s causeless mercy upon the King, they were astonished.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed His pastimes for some time in this way. He personally sang and induced His personal associates to dance. According to His need, the Lord sometimes exhibited one form and sometimes many. This was being executed by His internal potency. Indeed, the Personality of Godhead forgot Himself in the course of His transcendental pastimes, but His internal potency [lila-sakti], knowing the intentions of the Lord, made all arrangements. Just as Lord Sri Krsna formerly performed the rasa-lila dance and other pastimes at Vrndavana, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed uncommon pastimes moment after moment.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s dancing before the Ratha-yatra car could be perceived only by pure devotees. Others could not understand. Descriptions of Lord Krsna’s uncommon dancing can be found in the revealed scripture Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced in great jubilation and inundated all the people with waves of ecstatic love. Thus Lord Jagannatha mounted His car, and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inspired all His devotees to dance in front of it.
Now please hear about Lord Jagannatha’s going to the Gundica temple while Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced before the Ratha car. The Lord performed kirtana for some time and, through His own endeavor, inspired all the devotees to dance. When the Lord Himself wanted to dance, all seven groups combined together. The Lord’s devotees—including Srivasa, Ramai, Raghu, Govinda, Mukunda, Haridasa, Govindananda, Madhava and Govinda—all combined together. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu desired to jump high while dancing, He placed these nine people in the charge of Svarupa Damodara. These devotees [Svarupa Damodara and the devotees in his charge] sang along with the Lord, and they also ran beside Him. All the other groups of men also sang.
Offering obeisances to the Lord with folded hands, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu raised His face toward Jagannatha and prayed as follows:
Having recited all these verses from scripture, the Lord again offered His obeisances, and all the devotees, with folded hands, also offered prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced and jumped high, roaring like thunder and moving in a circle like a wheel, He appeared like a circling firebrand. Wherever Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stepped while dancing, the whole earth, with its hills and seas, appeared to tilt. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced, He displayed various blissful transcendental changes in His body. Sometimes He appeared as though stunned. Sometimes the hairs of His body stood on end. Sometimes He perspired, cried, trembled and changed color, and sometimes He exhibited symptoms of helplessness, pride, exuberance and humility.
govindAya namo namaH
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Krsna, who is the worshipable Deity for all brahminical men, who is the well-wisher of cows and brahmanas, and who is always benefiting the whole world. I offer my repeated obeisances to the Personality of Godhead, known as Krsna and Govinda.”
jayati jayati devo devakI-nandano ’sau
jayati jayati kRSNo vRSNi-vaMza-pradIpaH
jayati jayati megha-zyAmalaH komalAGgo
jayati jayati pRthvI-bhAra-nAzo mukundaH
“All glories unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as the son of Devaki! All glories to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as the light of the dynasty of Vrsni! All glories to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose bodily luster is like that of a new cloud, and whose body is as soft as a lotus flower! All glories to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appeared on this planet to deliver the world from the burden of demons, and who can offer liberation to everyone!”
jayati jana-nivAso devakI-janma-vAdo
yadu-vara-pariSat svair dorbhir asyann adharmam
vraja-pura-vanitAnAM vardhayan kAma-devam
“Lord Sri Krsna is He who is known as jana-nivasa, the ultimate resort of all living entities, and who is also known as Devaki-nandana or Yasoda-nandana, the son of Devaki and Yasoda. He is the guide of the Yadu dynasty, and with His mighty arms He kills everything inauspicious, as well as every man who is impious. By His presence He destroys all things inauspicious for all living entities, moving and inert. His blissful smiling face always increases the lusty desires of the gopis of Vrndavana. May He be all-glorious and happy!”
nAhaM vipro na ca nara-patir nApi vaizyo na zUdro
nAhaM varNI na ca gRha-patir no vanastho yatir vA
gopI-bhartuH pada-kamalayor dAsa-dAsAnudAsaH
“I am not a brahmana, I am not a ksatriya, I am not a vaisya or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmacari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing with brilliance.”
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu fell down with a crash while dancing, He would roll on the ground. At such times it appeared that a golden mountain was rolling on the ground. Nityananda Prabhu would stretch out His two hands and try to catch the Lord when He was running here and there. Advaita Acarya would walk behind the Lord and loudly chant “Haribol! Haribol!” again and again. Just to check the crowds from coming too near the Lord, the devotees formed three circles. The first circle was guided by Nityananda Prabhu, who is Balarama Himself, the possessor of great strength. All the devotees headed by Kasisvara and Govinda linked hands and formed a second circle around the Lord. Maharaja Prataparudra and his personal assistants formed
a third circle around the two inner circles just to check the crowds from coming too near. With his hands on the shoulders of Haricandana, King Prataparudra could see Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu dancing, and the King felt great ecstasy.
While the King beheld the dancing, Srivasa Thakura, standing in front of him, became ecstatic as he saw the dancing of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing Srivasa Thakura standing before the King, Haricandana touched Srivasa with his hand and requested him to step aside. Absorbed in watching Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu dance, Srivasa Thakura could not understand why he was being touched and pushed. After he was pushed again and again, he became angry. Srivasa Thakura slapped Haricandana to stop him from pushing him. In turn, this made Haricandana angry. As the angered Haricandana was about to speak to Srivasa Thakura, Prataparudra Maharaja personally stopped him. King Prataparudra said, “You are very fortunate, for you have been graced by the touch of Srivasa Thakura. I am not so fortunate. You should feel obliged to him.”
Everyone was astonished by the dancing of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and even Lord Jagannatha became extremely happy to see Him. The car came to a complete standstill and remained immobile while Lord Jagannatha, with unblinking eyes, watched the dancing of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The goddess of fortune, Subhadra, and Lord Balarama both felt great happiness and ecstasy within their hearts. Indeed, they were seen smiling at the dancing.
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced and jumped high, eight wonderful transformations indicative of divine ecstasy were seen in His body. All these symptoms were visible simultaneously. His skin erupted with goose pimples, and the hairs of His body stood on end. His body resembled the simuli [silk cotton tree], all covered with thorns. Indeed, the people became afraid just to see His teeth chatter, and they even thought that His teeth would fall out.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s whole body flowed with perspiration and at the same time oozed blood. He made the sounds “jaja gaga, jaja gaga” in a voice choked with ecstasy. Tears came forcefully from the eyes of the Lord, as if from a syringe, and all the people surrounding Him became wet. Everyone saw the complexion of His body change from white to pink, so that His luster resembled that of the mallika flower. Sometimes He appeared stunned, and sometimes He rolled on the ground. Indeed, sometimes His legs and hands became as hard as dry wood, and He did not move. When the Lord fell to the ground, sometimes His breathing almost stopped. When the devotees saw this, their lives also became very feeble. Water flowed from His eyes and sometimes through His nostrils, and foam fell from His mouth. These flowings appeared to be torrents of nectar descending from the moon. The foam that fell from the mouth of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was taken and drunk by Subhananda because he was very fortunate and expert in relishing the mellow of ecstatic love of Krsna. After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had performed His devastating dance for some time, His mind entered into a mood of ecstatic love.
After abandoning the dancing, the Lord ordered Svarupa Damodara to sing. Understanding His mind, Svarupa Damodara began to sing as follows:
sei ta parANa-nAtha pAinuWhen this refrain was loudly sung by Svarupa Damodara, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu again began rhythmically dancing in transcendental bliss. The car of Lord Jagannatha began to move slowly while the son of mother Saci went ahead and danced in front. While dancing and singing, all the devotees in front of Lord Jagannatha kept their eyes on Him. Caitanya Mahaprabhu then went to the end of the procession with the sankirtana performers. His eyes and mind fully absorbed in Lord Jagannatha, Caitanya Mahaprabhu bega
yAhA lAgi’ madana-dahane jhuri’ genu
“‘Now I have gained the Lord of My life, in the absence of whom I was being burned by Cupid and was withering away.’”
n to play the drama of the song with His two arms. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu was dramatically enacting the song, He would sometimes fall behind in the procession. At such times, Lord Jagannatha would come to a standstill. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu again went forward, Lord Jagannatha’s car would slowly start again. Thus there was a sort of competition between Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Jagannatha in seeing who would lead, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so strong that He made Lord Jagannatha wait in His car. While Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was dancing, His ecstasy changed. Raising His two arms, He began to recite the following verse in a loud voice.
yaH kaumAra-haraH sa eva hi varas tA eva caitra-kSapAsThis verse was recited by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu again and again. But for Svarupa Damodara, no one could understand its meaning. I have already explained this verse. Now I shall simply describe it in brief.
te conmIlita-mAlatI-surabhayaH prauDhAH kadambAnilAH
sA caivAsmi tathApi tatra surata-vyApAra-lIlA-vidhau
revA-rodhasi vetasI-taru-tale cetaH samutkaNThate“That very person who stole my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet still my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire.”
Formerly, all the gopis of Vrndavana were very pleased when they met with Krsna in the holy place Kuruksetra. Similarly, after seeing Lord Jagannatha, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu awoke with the ecstasy of the gopis. Being absorbed in this ecstasy, He asked Svarupa Damodara to sing the refrain. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spoke thus to Lord Jagannatha:
avazeSe rAdhA kRSNe kare nivedanaI have already described in brief Srimati Radharani’s statement from Srimad-Bhagavatam. In that ecstatic mood, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recited many other verses, but people in general could not understand their meaning. The meaning of those verses was known to Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, but he did not reveal it. However, Sri Rupa Gosvami has broadcast the meaning.
sei tumi, sei Ami, sei nava saGgama
“You are the same Krsna, and I am the same Radharani. We are meeting again in the same way that We met in the beginning of Our lives.
tathApi AmAra mana hare vRndAvana
vRndAvane udaya karAo Apana-caraNa
“Although We are both the same, My mind is still attracted to Vrndavana-dhama. I wish that You will please again appear with Your lotus feet in Vrndavana.
ihAG lokAraNya, hAtI, ghoDA, ratha-dhvani
tAhAG puSpAraNya, bhRGga-pika-nAda zuni
“In Kuruksetra there are crowds of people, elephants and horses, and also the rattling of chariots. But in Vrndavana there are flower gardens, and the humming of the bees and chirping of the birds can be heard.
ihAG rAja-veza, saGge saba kSatriya-gaNa
tAhAG gopa-veza, saGge muralI-vAdana
“Here at Kuruksetra You are dressed like a royal prince, accompanied by great warriors, but in Vrndavana You appeared just like an ordinary cowherd boy, accompanied only by Your beautiful flute.
vraje tomAra saGge yei sukha-AsvAdana
sei sukha-samudrera ihAG nAhi eka kaNa
“Here there is not even a drop of the ocean of transcendental happiness that I enjoyed with You in Vrndavana.
AmA laJA punaH lIlA karaha vRndAvane
tabe AmAra mano-vAJchA haya ta’ pUraNe
“I therefore request You to come to Vrndavana and enjoy pastimes with Me. If You do so, My ambition will be fulfilled.”
While dancing, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to recite the following verse, which He tasted in the association of Svarupa
Ahuz ca te nalina-nAbha padAravindaMSpeaking in the mood of Srimati Radharani, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:
yogezvarair hRdi vicintyam agAdha-bodhaiH
gehaM juSAm api manasy udiyAt sadA naH
“[The gopis spoke thus:] ‘Dear Lord, whose navel is just like a lotus flower, Your lotus feet are the only shelter for those who have fallen into the deep well of material existence. Your feet are worshiped and meditated upon by great mystic yogis and highly learned philosophers. We wish that these lotus feet may also be awakened within our hearts, although we are only ordinary persons engaged in household affairs.’”
anyera hRdaya mana, mora mana vRndAvana,After hearing Srimati Radharani’s statements, Lord Krsna’s love for the inhabitants of Vrndavana was evoked, and His body and mind became very much perturbed. After hearing of their love for Him, He immediately thought Himself to be always indebted to the residents of Vrndavana. Then Krsna began to pacify Srimati Radharani as follows:
‘mane’ ‘vane’ eka kari’ jAni
tAhAG tomAra pada-dvaya, karAha yadi udaya,
tabe tomAra pUrNa kRpA mAni
“For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because My mind is never separated from Vrndavana, I consider My mind and Vrndavana to be one. My mind is already Vrndavana, and since You like Vrndavana, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy.
prANa-nAtha, zuna mora satya nivedana
vraja AmAra sadana, tAhAG tomAra saGgama,
nA pAile nA rahe jIvana
“My dear Lord, kindly hear My true submission. My home is Vrndavana, and I wish Your association there. But if I do not get it, then it will be very difficult for Me to keep My life.
pUrve uddhava-dvAre, ebe sAkSAt AmAre,
yoga-jJAne kahilA upAya
tumi vidagdha, kRpAmaya, jAnaha AmAra hRdaya,
more aiche kahite nA yuyAya
“My dear Krsna, formerly, when You were staying in Mathura, You sent Uddhava to teach Me speculative knowledge and mystic yoga. Now You Yourself are speaking the same thing, but My mind doesn’t accept it. There is no place in My mind for jnana-yoga or dhyana-yoga. Although You know Me very well, You are still instructing Me in jnana-yoga and dhyana-yoga. It is not right for You to do so.
citta kADhi’ tomA haite, viSaye cAhi lAgAite,
yatna kari, nAri kADhibAre
tAre dhyAna zikSA karAha, loka hAsAJA mAra,
sthAnAsthAna nA kara vicAre
“I would like to withdraw My consciousness from You and engage it in material activities, but even though I try, I cannot do so. I am naturally inclined to You only. Your instructions for Me to meditate on You are therefore simply ludicrous. In this way, You are killing Me. It is not very good for You to think of Me as a candidate for Your instructions.
nahe gopI yogezvara, pada-kamala tomAra,
dhyAna kari’ pAibe santoSa
tomAra vAkya-paripATI, tAra madhye kuTinATI,
zuni’ gopIra Aro bADhe roSa
“The gopis are not like the mystic yogis. They will never be satisfied simply by meditating on Your lotus feet and imitating the so-called yogis. Teaching the gopis about meditation is another kind of duplicity. When they are instructed to undergo mystic yoga practice, they are not at all satisfied. On the contrary, they become more and more angry with You.
deha-smRti nAhi yAra, saMsAra-kUpa kAhAG tAra,
tAhA haite nA cAhe uddhAra
viraha-samudra-jale, kAma-timiGgile gile,
gopI-gaNe neha’ tAra pAra
“The gopis have fallen into the great ocean of separation and are being devoured by the timingila fish of their ambition to serve You. The gopis are to be delivered from the mouths of these timingila fish, for they are pure devotees. Since they have no material conception of life, why should they aspire for liberation? The gopis do not want that liberation desired by yogis and jnanis, for they are already liberated from the ocean of material existence.
vRndAvana, govardhana, yamunA-pulina, vana,
sei kuJje rAsAdika lIlA
sei vrajera vraja-jana, mAtA, pitA, bandhu-gaNa,
baDa citra, k
“It is amazing that You have forgotten the land of Vrndavana. And how is it that You have forgotten Your father, mother and friends? How have You forgotten Govardhana Hill, the bank of the Yamuna and the forest where You enjoyed the rasa-lila dance?
vidagdha, mRdu, sad-guNa, suzIla, snigdha, karuNa,
tumi, tomAra nAhi doSAbhAsa
tabe ye tomAra mana, nAhi smare vraja-jana,
se AmAra durdaiva-vilAsa
“Krsna, You are certainly a refined gentleman with all good qualities. You are well-behaved, softhearted and merciful. I know that there is not even a tinge of fault to be found in You. Yet Your mind does not even remember the inhabitants of Vrndavana. This is only My misfortune, and nothing else.
nA gaNi Apana-duHkha, dekhi’ vrajezvarI-mukha,
vraja-janera hRdaya vidare
kibA mAra’ vraja-vAsI, kibA jIyAo vraje Asi’,
kena jIyAo duHkha sahAibAre?
“I do not care for My personal unhappiness, but when I see the morose face of mother Yasoda and the hearts of all the inhabitants of Vrndavana breaking because of You, I wonder whether You want to kill them all. Or do You want to enliven them by coming there? Why are You simply keeping them alive in a state of suffering?
tomAra ye anya veza, anya saGga, anya deza,
vraja-jane kabhu nAhi bhAya
vraja-bhUmi chADite nAre, tomA nA dekhile mare,
vraja-janera ki habe upAya
“The inhabitants of Vrndavana do not want You dressed like a prince, nor do they want You to associate with great warriors in a different country. They cannot leave the land of Vrndavana, and without Your presence, they are all dying. What is their condition to be?
tumi vrajera jIvana, vraja-rAjera prANa-dhana,
tumi vrajera sakala sampad
kRpArdra tomAra mana, Asi’ jIyAo vraja-jana,
vraje udaya karAo nija-pada
“My dear Krsna, You are the life and soul of Vrndavana-dhama. You are especially the life of Nanda Maharaja. You are the only opulence in the land of Vrndavana, and You are very merciful. Please come and let all the residents of Vrndavana live. Kindly keep Your lotus feet again in Vrndavana.”
prANa-priye, zuna, mora e-satya-vacanaWhile speaking to Srimati Radharani, Krsna became very anxious to return to Vrndavana. He made Her listen to a verse which banished all Her difficulties and which assured Her that She would again attain Krsna. Sri Krsna said:
tomA-sabAra smaraNe, jhuroG muJi rAtri-dine,
mora duHkha nA jAne kona jana
“My dearest Srimati Radharani, please hear Me. I am speaking the truth. I cry day and night simply upon remembering all you inhabitants of Vrndavana. No one knows how unhappy this makes Me.”
vraja-vAsI yata jana, mAtA, pitA, sakhA-gaNa,
sabe haya mora prANa-sama
tAGra madhye gopI-gaNa, sAkSAt mora jIvana,
tumi mora jIvanera jIvana
Sri Krsna continued: “All the inhabitants of Vrndavana-dhama—My mother, father, cowherd boyfriends and everything else—are like My life and soul. And among all the inhabitants of Vrndavana, the gopis are My very life and soul. And among the gopis, You, Srimati Radharani, are the chief. Therefore You are the very life of My life.
tomA-sabAra prema-rase, AmAke karila vaze,
Ami tomAra adhIna kevala
tomA-sabA chADAJA, AmA dUra-deze laJA,
rAkhiyAche durdaiva prabala
“My dear Srimati Radharani, I am always subservient to the loving affairs of all of you. I am under your control only. My separation from you and residence in distant places have occurred due to My strong misfortune.
priyA priya-saGga-hInA, priya priyA-saGga vinA,
nAhi jIye, e satya pramANa
mora dazA zone yabe, tAGra ei dazA habe,
ei bhaye duGhe r
“When a woman is separated from the man she loves or a man is separated from his beloved woman, neither of them can live. It is a fact that they live only for each other, for if one dies and the other hears of it, he or she will die also.
sei satI premavatI, premavAn sei pati,
viyoge ye vAJche priya-hite
nA gaNe Apana-duHkha, vAJche priyajana-sukha,
sei dui mile acirAte
“Such a loving, chaste wife and loving husband desire all welfare for each other in separation and do not care for personal happiness. Desiring only each other’s well-being, such a pair certainly meet again without delay.
rAkhite tomAra jIvana, sevi Ami nArAyaNa,
tAGra zaktye Asi niti-niti
tomA-sane krIDA kari’, niti yAi yadu-purI,
tAhA tumi mAnaha mora sphUrti
“You are My most dear, and I know that in My absence You cannot live for a moment. Just to keep You living, I worship Lord Narayana. By His merciful potency, I come to Vrndavana every day to enjoy pastimes with You. I then return to Dvaraka-dhama. Thus You can always feel My presence there in Vrndavana.
mora bhAgya mo-viSaye, tomAra ye prema haye,
sei prema parama prabala
lukAJA AmA Ane, saGga karAya tomA-sane,
prakaTeha Anibe satvara
“Our love affair is more powerful because of My good fortune in receiving Narayana’s grace. This allows Me to come there unseen by others. I hope that very soon I will be visible to everyone.
yAdavera vipakSa, yata duSTa kaMsa-pakSa,
tAhA Ami kailuG saba kSaya
Ache dui-cAri jana, tAhA mAri’ vRndAvana,
AilAma Ami, jAniha nizcaya
“I have already killed all the mischievous demons who are enemies of the Yadu dynasty, and I have also killed Kamsa and his allies. But there are two or four demons still living. I want to kill them, and after doing so I shall very soon return to Vrndavana. Please know this for certain.
sei zatru-gaNa haite, vraja-jana rAkhite,
rahi rAjye udAsIna haJA
yebA strI-putra-dhane, kari rAjya AvaraNe,
yadu-gaNera santoSa lAgiyA
“I wish to protect the inhabitants of Vrndavana from the attacks of My enemies. That is why I remain in My kingdom; otherwise I am indifferent to My royal position. Whatever wives, sons and wealth I maintain in the kingdom are only for the satisfaction of the Yadus.
tomAra ye prema-guNa, kare AmA AkarSaNa,
Anibe AmA dina daza bize
punaH Asi’ vRndAvane, vraja-vadhU tomA-sane,
“Your loving qualities always attract Me to Vrndavana. Indeed, they will bring Me back within ten or twenty days, and when I return I shall enjoy both day and night with You and all the damsels of Vrajabhumi.”
mayi bhaktir hi bhUtAnAmSri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would sit in His room with Svarupa Damodara and taste the topics of these verses day and night. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced completely absorbed in ecstatic emotion. While looking at the face of Lord Jagannatha, He danced and recited these verses. No one can describe the good fortune of Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, for he is always absorbed in the service of the Lord with his body, mind and words. The senses of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were identical with the senses of Svarupa. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to become fully absorbed in tasting the sin
diSTyA yad AsIn mat-sneho
“Devotional service unto Me is the only way to attain Me. My dear gopis, whatever love and affection you have attained for Me by good fortune is the only reason for My returning to you.”
ging of Svarupa Damodara. In emotional ecstasy, Caitanya Mahaprabhu would sometimes sit on the ground and, looking down, would write on the ground with His finger. Fearing that the Lord would injure His finger by writing in this way, Svarupa Damodara checked Him with his own hand. Svarupa Damodara used to sing exactly according to the ecstatic emotion of the Lord. Whenever a particular mellow was being tasted by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara would personify it by singing.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu looked upon the beautiful lotuslike face and eyes of Lord Jagannatha. Lord Jagannatha was garlanded, dressed with nice garments and adorned with beautiful ornaments. His face was glittering from the rays of sunshine, and the entire atmosphere was fragrant. An ocean of transcendental bliss expanded in the heart of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and symptoms of madness immediately intensified like a hurricane. The madness of transcendental bliss created waves of various emotions. The emotions appeared like opposing soldiers staging a fight. There was an increase in all the natural emotional symptoms. Thus there were awakening emotions, peacefulness, joined, mixed, transcendental and prevalent emotions, and impetuses for emotion. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s body appeared like a transcendental Himalayan mountain bearing ecstatic emotional flower trees, all of them blooming. The sight of all these symptoms attracted everyone’s mind and consciousness. Indeed, the Lord sprinkled everyone’s mind with the nectar of transcendental love of Godhead. He sprinkled the minds of the servants of Lord Jagannatha, the government officers, the pilgrim visitors, the general populace and all the residents of Jagannatha Puri.
Upon seeing the dancing and ecstatic love of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, everyone became astonished. In their hearts they became infatuated with love of Krsna. Everyone danced and chanted in ecstatic love, and a great noise resounded. Everyone was overwhelmed with transcendental bliss just to see the dancing of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Apart from the others, even Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balarama, with great happiness, began to move very slowly upon seeing the dancing of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Jagannatha and Lord Balarama sometimes stopped the car and happily observed Lord Caitanya’s dancing. Anyone who was able to see Them stop and watch the dancing bore witness to Their pastimes. When Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was dancing and wandering in this way, He fell down in front of Maharaja Prataparudra. Maharaja Prataparudra picked the Lord up with great respect, but upon seeing the King, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to His external senses. After seeing the King, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu condemned Himself, saying, “Oh, how pitiful it is that I have touched a person who is interested in mundane affairs!” Not even Lord Nityananda Prabhu, Kasisvara or Govinda took care of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He fell down. Nityananda was in great ecstasy, and Kasisvara and Govinda were elsewhere.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had already been satisfied by the King’s behavior, for the King had accepted the service of a sweeper for Lord Jagannatha. Therefore Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu actually desired to see the King. However, just to warn His personal associates, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, externally expressed feelings of anger. King Prataparudra became frightened when Lord Caitanya showed external anger, but Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya told the King, “Don’t worry.” Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya informed the King, “The Lord is very satisfied with you. By pointing you out, He was teaching His personal associates how to behave with mundane people.” Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya continued, “I shall submit your petition when there is an opportune moment. It will then be easy for you to come and meet the Lord.”
After circumambulating Jagannatha, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went behind the car and began pushing it with His head. As soon as He pushed, the car immediately started to move, making a ratt
ling noise. The people all around began to chant the holy name of the Lord, “Hari! Hari!” As the car began to move, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took His personal associates in front of the cars occupied by Lord Balarama and Subhadra, the goddess of fortune. Greatly inspired, He then began to dance in front of them. After finishing the dance before Lord Baladeva and Subhadra, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came before Lord Jagannatha’s car. Upon seeing Lord Jagannatha, He began to dance again.
When they reached the place called Balagandi, Lord Jagannatha stopped His car and began to look left and right. On the left side, Lord Jagannatha saw a neighborhood of brahmanas and a coconut-tree grove. On the right side, He saw nice flower gardens resembling those in the holy place Vrndavana. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees were dancing in front of the car, and Lord Jagannatha, having stopped the car, watched the dancing. It was customary that food be offered to the Lord at vipra-sasana. Indeed, innumerable dishes of food were offered, and Lord Jagannatha tasted each one of them. All kinds of devotees of Lord Jagannatha—from neophytes to the most advanced—offered their best cooked food to the Lord. These devotees included the King, his queens, his ministers and friends and all other big and small residents of Jagannatha Puri. All the visitors who had come from different countries to Jagannatha Puri, as well as the local devotees, offered their personally cooked food to the Lord. The devotees offered their food everywhere—in front of the car and behind it, on the two sides and within the flower garden. Wherever possible, they made their offering to the Lord, for there were no hard and fast rules. While the food was being offered, a large crowd of people gathered. At that time Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stopped His dancing and went to a nearby garden.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered the garden and, immersed in great ecstatic emotion, fell flat on a raised platform there. The Lord was very much fatigued from the hard labor of dancing, and there was perspiration all over His body. He therefore enjoyed the fragrant, cool breeze of the garden. All the devotees who had been performing sankirtana came there and took rest under each and every tree.
Thus I have described the great performance of congregational chanting by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as He danced in front of Lord Jagannatha. In his prayer known as the Caitanyastaka, Srila Rupa Gosvami has given a vivid description of the Lord’s dancing before the car of Jagannatha.
rathArUDhasyArAd adhipadavi nIlAcala-paterAnyone who hears this description of the car festival will attain Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He will also attain the elevated state by which he will have firm conviction in devotional service and love of Godhead. Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.
sa-harSaM gAyadbhiH parivRta-tanur vaiSNava-janaiH
sa caitanyaH kiM me punar api dRzor yAsyati padam
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu danced down the main road in great ecstasy before Lord Jagannatha, the master of Nilacala, who was sitting on His car. Overwhelmed by the transcendental bliss of dancing and surrounded by Vaisnavas who sang the holy names, He manifested waves of ecstatic love of Godhead. When will Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu again be visible to my vision?”
(From the BBT edition of Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya-lila, chapter 13)