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Sri Sri Prema Dhama Deva Stotram - Sri Gauranga burns like a volcano in the fire of separation

Perumal - Thu, 22 Jul 2004 05:40:07 +0530
Since I have been accepted as a full member of this forum of devotees who are searching for pure love for Sri Krishna, I feel I should give the devotees something beautiful and sweet. Especially since on other days I have expressed so much bitterness and even rage.

I have been working on a long term project I took up about six years ago. Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Maharaj kindly approved for me to publish a new edition of a book written by Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj, that is, Sri Sri Prema Dhama Deva Stotram. I have been working through the text and it is now in its third revision. Srila Govinda Maharaj read a draft edition one year ago, and it is nearing completion. One particular verse stands out in my mind, at the moment. Verse 54, so I am presenting it here together with a commentary for devotees to read and reflect upon. I hope you all like it.

- Muralidhar
Perumal - Thu, 22 Jul 2004 05:45:54 +0530
Sri Sri Prema Dhama Deva Stotram
Verse 54

sri svarupa raya sanga gambhirantya-lilanam
dvadasavdha banhi garbha vipralambha silanam
radhikadhirudha bhava kanti krsna kuñjaram
prema dhama devam eva naumi gaurasundaram

Diving deep into the reality of His own beauty and sweetness, Lord Govinda stole the mood of Radharani and, garbing himself in Her brilliant luster, He appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. For the last twelve years of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's manifest pastimes He was deeply absorbed in union and separation. He shared His heart's innermost feelings with His most confidential devotees such as Swarup Damodar and Ramananda Raya:

bahire visajvala haya, antare anandamaya

"The wonderful characteristic of divine love of Krishna is that although externally it works like fiery lava, internally it is like sweet nectar filling the heart with the greatest joy."

Volcanic eruptions of ecstasy flowed from the heart of Sri Gauranga in the agony of Sri Radha's feelings of separation from Krishna. This golden Lord, who appeared like an intoxicated elephant, is none other than Lord Govinda.

I fall at the feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden volcano of divine love.


The Fire Bed of Separation - from the Heart Service Will Appear
by Sripad Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj

Srila Govinda Maharaja is in a deep mood of separation. Speaking slowly, movingly, cautiously, initially on the subject of retirement and why there is no retirement from the plane of Krishna consciousness...

After his so-called retirement Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was in the deepest mood of separation for twelve years in the Gambhira, his room in Jagannath Puri, in the company of Swarup Damodar and Ramananda Raya. Srila Sridhar Maharaja writes in his Prema Dhama Deva Stotram:

sri svarupa raya sanga gambhirantya-lilanam
dvadasavdha banhi garbha vipralambha silanam
radhikadhirudha bhava kanti krsna kuñjaram
prema dhama devam eva naumi gaurasundaram

Srila Guru Maharaja describes "a fire bed." And what kind of fire it is, we can notice within the poetry of Madhavendra Puri's sick bed sloka. Madhavendra Puri was on his disappearance bed. At that time also this service sloka come from his lotus mouth. In Chaitanya Charitamrta it is written: "This sloka is spoken by Radha Thakurani. By her mercy it appeared in the heart and words of Madhavendra. How Mahaprabhu savored this poetry! There isn't a fourth man who can taste it."

"There isn't a fourth man who can taste it." A very strong comment: Radharani herself entered the fire bed of separation and this sloka came out of her.

ayi dina-dayardra natha he
mathura-natha kadavalokyase
hrdayam tvad-aloka-kataram
dayita bhramyati kim karomy aham

And Madhavendra Puri, at the time of his disappearance, got that mercy. What kind of mercy? You see, the deep separation mood from Krishna is making one mad, but not fully become mad. After that, what position will come when one still has not got Krishna? That is deep separation and hopelessness. Hopeless deep separation (tanra krpaya sphuriyache madhavendra-vani).

No hope. When we see that we have no hope for our Krishna consciousness, at that time deep separation will come to the heart and from that happiness will come out. "I am thinking there is no hope — what shall I do now (dayita bhramyati kim karomy aham)?" In explaining this verse, Srila Guru Maharaja expressed the deepest feelings we have ever heard, but I do not want to say what they are. It will be too much. Anyhow…

Radharani, Madhavendra, Gaurachandra — but no fourth man. But there was Nityananda Prabhu and other very exclusive devotees. At least four were constantly with Mahaprabhu... what was I talking about originally?

You were speaking about retirement in relation to Krishna consciousness...

Oh, retirement! Yes. Service is not only or always physical. It is not something that can always be physically observed. Service is not always physically or even mentally performed. But who is fully dedicated, from his heart, service will appear.

And there is no retirement, from the biggest devotee to the smallest — everywhere — the service world is like that sevamaya bhumika (the land of dedication). When describing Seva Bhumi (the land of service), or anything spiritual, it is always necessary to use the word cinmaya (transcendental) to make it clear that we are speaking of a divine connection with the transcendental plane. All the actions of those living in the transcendental plane are for the service of Krishna: eating, sleeping, working. Anything done will be service, if one is living within the transcendental plane of dedication. Everything will be service there. And Mahaprabhu says that the best service is sravan, kirtan (talking about Krishna).

prabhu kahe——age kaha, sunite pai sukhe
apurvamrta-nadi vahe tomara mukhe

When Raya Ramananda was explaining the pastimes of Radha Krishna, Mahaprabhu said, "Tell me more and more — again and again. I am feeling too much happiness. It is a nectarean ocean!"

In our idea an ocean is something salty. But talk of Krishna and his pastimes is an ocean of nectar. The scriptures also say we are, in fact, all children of the nectar ocean (srnvantu visve amrtasya putra). So there should not be any bad taste because our original wealth is nectar, but covered by illusion, everything has become bad. So it is necessary to come out from illusion.

What ocean was churned by the gods and the demons? It was a milk ocean (keer — condensed milk). And from that ocean appeared the Moon, Lakshmi Devi, Airavata (Indra's celestial elephant) and the Divine Cow — Surabhi. As the moon rose out of the ocean of nectar, Krishna rose out of the family of Nanda Maharaja (nanda-kula-candra). Rupa Goswami's sloka in this regard is very nice: kva nanda kulacandra. Chandraka is also related with the peacock:

ratnangadam pranaya-keli-kala-vilasam
syamam tri-bhanga-lalitam niyata-prakasm
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

[Delighting in pastimes of Divine Love, wearing a garland of Vrindavan flowers, a peacock-feather locket dangles as his jeweled hands play the flute. He eternally manifests an exquisite sinuous form of divine dark beauty (Shyamasundar): Govinda, the Original Person, I adore.]

Rupa Goswami's poetry expresses so beautifully the mood of separation from within the heart of Radharani:

kva nanda-kula-candramah kva sikhi-candrakalankrtih
kva mandra-murali-ravah kva nu surendra-nila-dyutih
kva rasa-rasa-tandavi kva sakhi jiva-raksausadhir
nidhir mama suhrttamah kva tava hanta ha dhig vidhih

[Where is the moon risen from the family of Nanda? Where is the one who wears the peacock feather? Where is the deep sound of his flute? Where is my shining blue sapphire? Where is the rasa of the Rasa Dance? Where, my friend, is the cure for the suffering that has become my life? Where is the best friend of my heart? Tell me where? Without him, I curse the life that I am destined to live!]
— Lalita Madhava, Rupa Goswami

There are many slokas we have seen expressing the mood of separation of Radharani or other devotees but none are like…

ayi dina-dayardra natha he
mathura-natha kadavalokyase
hrdayam tvad-aloka-kataram
dayita bhramyati kim karomy aham

Srila Gurudeva, this sloka from Chaitanya Charitamrita is very difficult for us to understand because it appears superficially to be so simple.

In Chaitanya Charitamrita it is revealed by Krishna himself that the chastisement of his beloved steals his mind away from the prayers of the Vedas (priya yadi mana kari' karaye bhartsana, veda-stuti haite hare sei mora mana). Actually everything is related with this sloka (ayi dina dayardra natha). One day it will be revealed, and we will be able to understand the meaning. That is good. But it is true although Kaviraja Goswami himself knows the inner meaning he does not claim, "I know." Who knows will never claim, "I know the meaning of that sloka."And that is the difficulty. Actually it is not a question of knowing or unknowing, or what is known or unknown. It is a matter of life and death!

ka-i-avarahi-am pemmam na hi hoi manuse loe
ja-i hoi kassa virahe hontammi ko jia-i

[Other than the false display of cheaters, real prema can't be found in a human being in this world. For one who actually has prema, separation results in death (pralapo vyadhir unmado, moho mrtyur dasa dasa).]

akaitava krsna-prema, yena jambunada-hema,
sei prema nrloke na haya
yadi haya tara yoga, na haya tabe viyoga,
viyoga haile keha na jiyaya

["Like the gold of heaven, Krishna prema does not exist on earth. In human society it is only shown by pretenders. Who really has love for Krishna, cannot live without it for a moment. Separation is not an option, it is an impossibility."]

But Mahaprabhu was submerged in the depths of Radha Bhava in his boiler room (Gambhira) twenty-four hours a day the last twelve years of his life (dvadasavdha banhi garbha vipralambha silanam). Those who have Krishna prema cannot live without it, but Mahaprabhu was living in a fire bed of Krishna prema for twelve years! This is inconceivable.

This condition gradually manifested and intensified as Mahaprabhu's Lila progressed. Advaita Acharya had originally requested Krishna, as Mahaprabhu, to descend into this world to save the fallen souls. Mahaprabhu received news from Advaita Acharya through a mystic poem that this desire was fulfilled and now Mahaprabhu may, as he likes, fulfill his own inner purpose (sri-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayaiva).

Advaita Acharya's Poetry of Madness:

baulake kahiha,——loka ha-ila baula
baulake kahiha,——hate na vikaya caula
baulake kahiha,——kaye nahika aula
baulake kahiha,——iha kahiyache baula"

Tell whom is mad — everyone is mad,
Tell whom is mad — rice retail is bad,
Tell whom is mad — mad market is bad,
Tell whom is mad — who speaks is mad!"

When offered one or two sweets (sandesh) much joy will come to the heart. We will take that sandesh happily. But when surrounded by thousands and thousands of pieces of sandesh we will lose all interest in eating. The meaning of the third line baulake kahiha,——kaye nahika aula: what he wants to give, the divine madness of Krishna prema, is already given abundantly — not necessary to give more. We have been engulfed in an ocean of nectarean sweetness. If surrounded by thousands of pieces of nectarean sandesh, then no one will buy, nor will anyone eat. Mahaprabhu inundated the world with Krishna prema through his nama sankirtan and then entered into the fire bed of separation.

Before his final pastimes (Antya Lila) Mahaprabhu was also within the fire bed of separation but sometimes coming out — coming and going, coming and going. But when he got news from Advaita Acharya, "More is not necessary," then he fulfilled his own desire and began exclusively tasting the deep separation mood of Radharani twenty-four hours a day for the last twelve years of his life (radha-bhava, dvadasa vatsara aiche dasa——ratri-dine, krsna-rasa asvadaye dui-bandhu-sane).

Advaita Acharya did not tell Mahaprabhu directly to withdraw his nama sankirtan pastimes but spoke cryptically. When asked, Mahaprabhu said Swarup Damodar knows the meaning of "Advaita's mad poem." But Swarup Damodar was in a hazy position and deferred to Mahaprabhu, "What is the meaning of this?" He knows everything, but to be doubly sure he asked Mahaprabhu's opinion. Mahaprabhu answered enigmatically, suggesting that Advaita Acharya is a tantric and he alone knows why he contracts a Deity and then dismisses him. Mahaprabhu said, "Maybe this is the meaning, I do not know." But Mahaprabhu knows, Swarup Damodar knows, and from that day, Mahaprabhu's emotional state changed dramatically; His feelings of separation from Krishna began doubling exponentially in intensity and magnitude.

Guru Maharaja composed the slokas of Prema Dhama Deva Stotram not in one or two days, but in deep meditation, gradually, year after year. First Guru Maharaja composed twelve slokas. He then extended that — extended, extended, extended… In this way, he gradually included the entire pastimes of Mahaprabhu (Gaura Lila). When Srila Bhakti Prajñan Keshava Maharaja heard this composition he said, "Impossible! No one can compete with Sridhar Maharaja." He marvelled how Srila Guru Maharaja "included within his poetry Mahaprabhu's philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda siddhanta."

We first published twelve slokas in Gaudiya Darshan. So first it was twelve slokas and then it become more, then more, then more, finally it became seventy. Srila Guru Maharaja put the whole Gaura Lila inside. That idea came to Srila Guru Maharaja. Within the Prema Dhama Deva Stotram he fully represented the pastimes and personality of Mahaprabhu including the "fire bed" of separation that characterized the last twelve years of his divine pastimes.

If one has not read Chaitanya Charitamrta, Chaitanya Bhagwat, Chaitanya Mangal, Swarup Damodar's Kadacha [notes], Murari Gupta's Kadacha, there is no problem, one can simply read Prema Dhama Deva Stotram and get everything.

After thus fully glorifying Srila Guru Maharaja, Srila Govinda Maharaja re-entered his deep mood of separation and began singing:

jaya jaya sundara nanda kumara...

abhinava kutmala guccha samujjvala
kuñcita kuntala bhara,
pranayi anerita vandana sahakrta
curnita vara ghanasara...

— From the Gitavali in the Stavamala of Rupa Goswami.
Jagat - Thu, 22 Jul 2004 15:57:18 +0530
Change dvadasavdha banhi to "dvAdazAbda-vahni."

NB. Sorry, I also made a mistake here.
Perumal - Thu, 22 Jul 2004 17:30:03 +0530
Thanks Jagat,
much appreciated