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Discussions on the nectarine qualities and pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna. Please don't copy and paste here without starting a discussion.

The Two Prabhus and the Alcoholic Sannyasi - Caitanya-bhagavata 2.19

Gaurasundara - Wed, 03 Aug 2005 05:25:26 +0530
As an offering for my 1400th contribution to this forum, I would like to relate a rather charming (and shocking) pastime that is related within the hallowed pages of the Caitanya Bhagavata. Much of it is paraphrased to help the narrative.

Sriman Mahaprabhu and Sriman Nityananda Prabhu desired to visit the house of Sri Advaita Acarya in Santipura, and set off on the trip. On the way, they came across the village of Lalitapura which was situated near the Ganges. Therein lived a householder-sannyasi in one of the homes. Mahaprabhu asked Nityananda if he knew whose ashram it was and who resided there, to which Nityananda replied, "O Lord, this is the house of a sannyasi. If we see him then we will have good fortune." The two Prabhus smiled as they visited the house, upon which Mahaprabhu offered salutations to the sannyasi.

On seeing Mahaprabhu's most enchanting form, beautiful limbs and smiling face, the sannyasi blessed Him with various benedictions including wealth, family, a good wife and learning. Mahaprabhu objected to this, suggesting that the sannyasi should rather have blessed Him to attain the mercy of Krsna and that the blessings given were no real blessings at all. "The blessing of bhakti for Visnu is inexhaustible and indestructible, O Gosain," said Mahaprabhu. "Whatever you have said does not befit you."

Smiling, the sannyasi muttered aloud in a tone dripping with sarcasm and condescension - "I see now what I have only heard about. People chase you away with a stick if good advice is given, and the behaviour of this brahmana's son is just like that. I happily blessed Him to attain wealth, and instead of appreciating it He finds fault in me!"

Speaking directly to Mahaprabhu, the sannyasi said, "Listen, why do you criticise my blessings? If one does not indulge the senses, enjoy very beautiful women and collect money, then what is the use of this life? And you are so embarrassed to accept the blessings of wealth? Tell me, even if you have devotion to Visnu, what will you eat if you have no wealth?"

On hearing these words, Mahaprabhu smiled and raised His hand to His forehead. "Listen Gosain, we will all eat what is destined for us by our karma. If wealth and family are the aim of our life, then why are they taken away at death? No one wants fever, so why does it appear and afflict us? It is because of karma. Some people claim that the Vedas direct us to seek the pleasures of the heavenly planets, but this is simply the compassion of the Vedas on the foolish. The Vedas teach that by chanting the holy name of Hari and bathing in the Ganges, things like wealth and children will automatically come. Hearing this, the ordinary people will engage in these activities but will actually be practicing acts of bhakti. Without understanding this intention of the Vedas, foolish people give up Krsna-bhakti and engage in sensual pleasures. O Gosain, try to understand. There really is no greater blessing other than devotion to Krsna."

After hearing Prabhu's explanation, the sannyasi smiled and thought within himself - "This brahmana is crazy, and it is because of misguidance. I think that this sannyasi [Nityananda] has misled this brahmana boy and is taking Him away somewhere."

With even more sarcasm the sannyasi retorted, "Just see how these days I appear ignorant before a mere child! I have travelled throughout the world, to places like Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridvara and Badarikasrama. I have even been to Gujarat, Kashi, Gaya, Vijayanagara, and Sri Lanka. Even after all this pilgrimage, I still couldn't understand right nor wrong and so I need to be taught by this child, who is still drinking His mother's milk!" At this, Nityananda intervened and told the sannyasi, "O Gosai, there is no need to argue with such a child. Please forgive Him for My sake. I know your glories full well."

Hearing his own praises and being pleased, the sannyasi's mood changed and he invited the two Prabhus for lunch at his house. Nityananda agreed to the proposal and suggested a meal after Their taking a bath, as They wanted to continue on their journey to Santipura. The sannyasi revised his idea and thought it would be a better idea if They took bath there itself, eat something and set off on the journey after being thus refreshed. Remembering that They had incarnated to deliver the fallen, Mahaprabhu and Nityananda agreed to remain on the sannyasi's premises. After taking a bath, They offered a meal to Krsna that consisted of various fruits and then sat down with the sannyasi to eat the remnants.

The sinful sannyasi was a drinker of wine. Making gestures to Nityananda, the sannyasi asked, "O Sripada, shall I bring You some anand [bliss]? Where can I find fine guests such as Yourselves?" ohmy.gif By virtue of His travels and His visiting of various places, Nityananda could understand that this person was a drunkard-sannyasi. Rebuffing the sannyasi's repeated offers of anand, He informed him that it was time for Them to take Their leave. In the midst of all this, the sannyasi's wife was attracted to the enchanting beauty of the two Lords and gazed at Them with full concentration. Seeing her husband bother Them continuously, she asked him to stop disturbing Their meal and leave Them alone.

Observing all of this fuss, Mahaprabhu asked, "What is this anand the sannyasi is talking about? Nityananda replied, "He is talking about wine."

At this, Prabhu remembered Visnu and left the house after washing His hands. After jumping into the Ganges the two Lords went to the house of Advaita Acarya by floating in the waters of the Ganges.

For me, the funniest part of this story is when Mahaprabhu innocently asks "What is this anand?" As if He didn't know! biggrin.gif I found it a delightful illustration of His innocence and integrity. It is funny to imagine how in all of this fuss where the sannyasi is bothering Nityananda to drink some wine, the wife telling the husband to keep quiet, and in the middle Mahaprabhu asks "what are you all talking about?" Hahahaha..

Even the original Bengali is funny, I laughed out loud when I read it:

prabhu bale - "ki Ananda balaye sannyAsI?"
nityAnanda balaye - "madirA hena vAsI"

Any thoughts from anyone on this pastime?
jijaji - Wed, 03 Aug 2005 05:38:39 +0530
In the tantric tradition 'wine' is often referred to as 'anand'...

lbcVisnudas - Wed, 03 Aug 2005 05:42:19 +0530
"O Sripada, shall I bring You some anand [bliss]?

Among the satsangees of the Kali temple I used to frequent, this story was told to "highlight" or "prove" the view that Nitaichand was a great Tantricka adept. The offering of the anand (vijaya in Mahanirvanatantra) was to Nitaichand Prabhu, as the "sadhu" could see that he would understand the reference.
Jai Nitai Jai Gaurahari!
Jagat - Wed, 03 Aug 2005 05:47:51 +0530
Coincidentally, I happen to have just gone over this story with reference to Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati's commentaries for a B.P.Puri Guru-tattva book. Here is what I have come up with. I was refered to this section from a Vivriti to the 11th canto. BSS's point is that the Jati Goswamis are like this sannyasi, in the sense that by compromising with materialistic society they offer boons that are mundane in nature, or offer people what they want rather than prema, the gift Mahaprabhu came to give.

The Lalitpur sannyasi

When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was still known as Vishwambhar and living in Nabadwip, he proposed to Nityananda Prabhu that they go visit Adwaita Acharya in Shantipur, about 25 kilometers south along the Ganges. About halfway there, they came to a village called Lalitpur.

By the banks of the river lived a householder who dressed in saffron like a sannyasi. Such so-called sannyasis are sometimes called ghara-pAgalA, or “householder madmen”; they practise a kind of left-handed tantric spirituality, drinking liquor and consorting with women as a part of it. These unorthodox practices are not considered Vedic.

Saraswati Thakur makes the following comments:

Such householder sannyasis are practitioners of a kind of tantra in the mode of ignorance, practicing illicit sex and the keeping of women, and yet they call themselves renunciates or tyagis. According to some Shakta texts, they claim that these practices are legitimate according to the scriptures. Nowadays, the pandit Sri Annada Charan Mitra wears saffron though a householder, and in Vrindavan, Sri Madhusudan Goswami also wears saffron, claiming that he does so for the sake of preaching.

In fact, the wearing of saffron is prescribed for renunciates following the vidhi marga (maryAdA patha), or path of scriptural injunctions. All the great acharyas of the middle ages thus wore saffron. Rupa and Sanatan Goswami initiated the path of raganuga bhakti (anurAga-patha), and naturally gravitated toward the transcendental practices of the paramahamsas. They thus rejected even the kind of sannyasa that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself took [the eka-daNDa sannyas of the Advaita sampradaya], and wore the white cloth symbolic of those completely transcendental to the four orders of the Varnashram system.

Gopala Bhatta Goswami’s spiritual master was Prabodhananda Saraswati, who also wore saffron, but belonged to the triple-staff or tridanda order of sannyasis, which is appropriate for those who are functioning as acharyas or gurus. Nevertheless, he too showed that he considered the raganuga path and the transcendental attitude of Rupa and Sanatan to be superior, as well as their white dress.

Jiva Goswami, the principal disciple of Rupa Goswami and acharya of the Gaudiya sampradaya, promoted the doctrine of Radha and Krishna’s married state (svakiya-vada), but did so in the same way that one breaks the fangs of a poisonous snake, to pull the rug out from under those who use the paramour doctrine (parakiya-vada) to promote their own immorality. In fact, his purpose was to make the Divine Couple’s paramour doctrine more comprehensible. (Gaudiya-bhashya to Cbh 2.19.43)

In other words, wearing the saffron cloth is appropriate only for those in the renounced order of life, who appropriately function as spiritual masters to society. Nevertheless, those like Prabodhananda Saraswati indicated that the transcendental position or paramahamsa state, symbolized by the white bahirvasa of the Six Goswamis, is superior. In both these renounced conditions, however, there is no room for the cohabitation of sannyasis with women.

Acting as though they did not know this, the two Prabhus entered this sannyasi’s compound, as it is a pious act to see a man who has dedicated his life to the service of God. On seeing him, they offered their obeisance. The sannyasi was enchanted by Vishwambhar's charming appearance, perfectly shaped limbs and radiant smile. He joyfully blessed him, saying, "May you enjoy wealth, a good marriage, many descendants, and vast learning."

Mahaprabhu immediately replied, "Gosai, this is not a real blessing. Bless me instead that I receive Krishna's grace. A blessing that brings one loving devotion to Lord Krishna is inexhaustible and indestructible. You are a sannyasi, so it is not becoming for you to bless me with such mundane benefits."

Here, Siddhanta Saraswati makes the following comments—

In the opinion of these householder sannyasis, a blessing means getting married, overcoming poverty, wealth, higher social status, mundane education, and other such things. Gaurasundar showed no favor to this particular group of “householder madmen” and his intent here was to show the flaws in their way of offering blessings. Worldly people who are seeking material advantages are unable to understand the mentality of the Vaishnava paramahamsas, who are free of all such desires, and so think they are just like them.

Sannyasis of this sort gravitate toward the doctrine of Jati Goswami, the claim of hereditary guru privilege. Mahaprabhu had absolutely no affection for such ideas, but nevertheless, he sought to teach the sannyasi a lesson, that Krishna’s pleasure is the greatest blessing of all. Mundane people think that the insignificant ashes of material desire are glorious—anything but devotion to Krishna. As they are unable to understand the glories of the Bhagavata dharma, which is beyond material desires, they confuse the superficial Vishnu worship rituals of the caste brahmins (or Smartas) with pure Vaishnavism.

These sannyasis, like those who claim hereditary guru privilege, are eager to receive the title “goswami” or “gosai.” Mahaprabhu addressed the householder sannyasi as “gosai” in mock respect, but the truth is that such people do not deserve this title, which is reserved for those who have mastered the senses. The Bhagavatam says that those with uncontrolled desires descend into darkness (adAnta-gobhir vizatAM tamisram, 7.5.30). Rupa Goswami’s definition of the term gosvämin is given in the first verse of the Upadeshamrita—

vAco vegaM manasaH krodha vegaM
jihvA vegam udaropastha vegam
etAn vegAn yo viSaheta dhIraH
sarvAm apImAM pRthivIM sa ziSyAt

One who has the ability to tolerate the urges of speech, mind, anger, taste, the belly, and the genitals is able to instruct the entire world.

On hearing Mahaprabhu’s reply, the sannyasi changed his attitude and ansered with a snort. "I have heard of people like you before. You try to say something nice to them and they give you a kick in return. This is exactly how this young brahmin is behaving. I happily wished for him to become rich, but he simply criticizes me."

Aloud, he said, "Tell me, young brahmin, why did you find fault with my blessings? What is the point of living if you have not enjoyed sex pleasure with a beautiful woman, or have insufficient wealth? I wished these things for you, but you find that embarrassing? And even if your body is filled with devotion to Krishna, what will you live on if you have no money? Tell me that."

The Lord simply smiled at his words and placed his hand on his forehead in amazement at the sannyasi's foolishness. He then took the occasion to teach the world that one should not ask for anything other than devotion to Krishna. He said, "Listen, Gosai, we will get whatever food we get automatically as the result of our past deeds. In this world, people desire to have money, a wife and children, but they still have to leave everything at death? On the other hand, no one wants fevers, so why do we suffer from them? The reason for all this is karma, but not many people know it.

“Most people think that they can become wealthy or have family happiness by chanting God's name and taking ablutions in the Ganga. It is true that the Vedas promise such material results, but the ultimate purpose of all the Vedic injunctions is to bring us to Krishna.”

The householder sannyasi smiled and thought that perhaps Vishwambhar had been brainwashed. He suspected that Nityananda Prabhu, who was also dressed as a sannyasi, had mesmerized him. Aloud, he said, "I have traveled around the world. I have been to Ayodhya, Mathura, Badrikashram, Benares, and even Srilanka. But this young pup is going to teach me right and wrong?"

Nityananda Prabhu managed to cool the householder sannyasi’s temper with sweet words and the two Prabhus bathed in the Ganges and offered some fruit for their noon-day meal. But when the sannyasi showed his true colors as a left-handed Tantrik by offering them liquor, they made their escape.

Those who follow the vAmAcAra, or left-handed Tantra, have several practices that are not approved by orthodox Hindus of any tradition. Specifically, they use what are called the ‘five M’s’ (or paJca-ma-kAra), namely meat (mAMsa), fish (matsya), alcoholic beverages (madya), sexual relationships (maithuna) and fried grain (mudrA). They also use a woman’s menstrual blood in their ritual worship of the woman. The AcAra-bheda-tantra says that one is to place the red sign of the Goddess on one’s forehead and hold the wine cup in one’s right hand, and then drink while meditating on the Shakta guru and and the Goddess. There is a mantra that one is to recite five times to the cup before drinking. One is advised not to drink beyond the point that one’s senses remain steady. Then there are mantras that are to be recited afterwards in order to pacify the senses. More instructions on this matter can be found in the PrANa-toSaNI-tantra and the KulArNava-tantra. (GauDIya-bhASya to Chaitanya Bhagavata 2.19.86)

Concluding this story, Vrindavan Das states that the Lord is merciful even to drunkards and materialists, but he is not so merciful to the Mayavadis. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati comments, “Ordinarily, those in the mundane concept of life who have strong ideas about morality have greater respect for monistic philosophers than for womanizers and the such. The most merciful Lord, however, does not support this superficial point of view. Mahaprabhu opposed the views of the Vedantists who detest the personal Lord as inimical to devotion. Even though someone may be weak and fall prey to a life of sensuality or drink, the Lord still considers such a person better than one whose heart has been hardened by the impersonalist or atheist doctrine.” (GauDIya-bhASya to Chaitanya Bhagavata 2.19.95)

Bhaktivinoda Thakur similarly writes,

viSaya-vimUDha Ara mAyAvAdI jana
bhakti-zUnya duGhe prANa dhare akAraNa
ei dui saGga nAtha nA haya AmAra
prArthanA kariye Ami caraNe tomAra

Both those who are bewildered by the promise of sense-enjoyments and Mayavadi impersonalists are devoid of devotion. Their lives have no purpose. I pray at your feet, O Lord, that I never be subjected to the association of either one or the other.

se duera madhye viSayI tabe bhAla
mAyAvAdI-saGga nAhi mAgi kona kAla

Of the two, however, I would rather be with a sensualist than with a Mayavadi, to whose company I hope I will never be subjected.

viSayI-hRdaya jabe sAdhu-saGga pAya
anAyAse labhe bhakti bhaktera kRpAya

A sensualist may be transformed by the association of a devotee whose mercy can easily turn him to a life of devotion.

mAyAvAda doSa jAra hRdaya pazila
kutarke hRdaya tAra vajra-sama bhela

On the other hand, once the impersonalist contamination has touched someone’s heart, it becomes as hard as stone with all manner of false argument.

bhaktira svarUpa Ara viSaya Azraya
mAyAvAdI anitya boliyA saba kaya

The Mayavadi considers devotion itself, the devotee and the object of devotion all to be temporary manifestations of the material world.

dhik tAra kRSNa-sevA zravaNa-kIrtana
kRSNa aGge vajra hAne tAhAra stavana

I curse his so-called service to Krishna, his hearing of the BhAgavatam and chanting of the Holy Names. His prayers to Krishna are like thunderbolts on his body.

mAyAvAda sama bhakti pratikUla nAi
ataeva mAyAvAda saGga nAhi cAi

There is nothing more harmful to devotion than Mayavada, therefore I do not wish to ever be with people who subscribe to that philosophy.

bhakativinoda mAyAvAda dUra kari
vaiSNava-saGgete baise nAmAzraya dhari

Bhaktivinoda hereby rejects the Mayavada philosophy and takes shelter of the Holy Names in the association of devotees. (zaraNAgati, 27)
jijaji - Wed, 03 Aug 2005 05:51:23 +0530
QUOTE(lbcVisnudas @ Aug 3 2005, 03:12 AM)
"O Sripada, shall I bring You some anand [bliss]?

Among the satsangees of the Kali temple I used to frequent, this story was told to "highlight" or "prove" the view that Nitaichand was a great Tantricka adept. The offering of the anand (vijaya in Mahanirvanatantra) was to Nitaichand Prabhu, as the "sadhu" could see that he would understand the reference.
Jai Nitai Jai Gaurahari!

Avadhuta is an order associated with the Tantric path as well...
jijaji - Wed, 03 Aug 2005 06:13:11 +0530
Geez they sure 'slame' the mayavadi's hey..?

Yet Nimai took the eka-danda from Keshava Bharati and accepted the name Chaitanya which is normally the accepted name given to the brahmacharis in the 'Bharati' order of Sankara..

maybe it's just a coincidence cool.gif

go figure
Gaurasundara - Wed, 03 Aug 2005 06:58:48 +0530
QUOTE(Jagat @ Aug 3 2005, 01:17 AM)
Of the two, however, I would rather be with a sensualist than with a Mayavadi, to whose company I hope I will never be subjected.

Out of interest, it is true that later in the same chapter of CB, Sri Vrndavana das Thakura uses this sannyasi incident as an example of how Prabhu showerd "more mercy" to these tantrika-sannyasis rather than the orthodox sannyasis of Kashi. The mood is, "Look, He even hung out with drunkards, but not with Mayavadis." Sri Thakurpada even relates an incident where Mahaprabhu was supposed to meet with the Kashi Mayavadis and was expected to, being a part of the same sampradaya etc, and how He deliberately avoided them and gave them the slip much to their surprise. According to the text, He stayed in Ramacandra Puri's house for 2 months while in Kashi, but avoided the Mayavadis because of their blasphemy to bhakti and Krsna.