The Author of Sri Chaitanya-Charitamrita Part II


An Appreciation.

THE author has made a work so chequered and speckled, such a tessellated pavement of authoritative texts, such an exquisite wickerwork of the profound secrets of the Shastras and the fascinating anecdotes of Lord Gauranga that the causal eye is easily riveted and the more does the reader proceed with the study of the work the more is he drawn towards the sublimity of a life of unalloyed devotion, the fetters of his heart are loosened and his attraction for sensual enjoyment wanes. Had it been full of abstruse reasonings only, it would have taxed the brain of the reader who would have found no interest in it and shelved the book for a lighter and more interesting one.

There are men given to sophistry who must be disentangled from the meshes of suicidal reasoning as also those with whom ‘the world is too much. Late and soon, getting and spending they lay waste their powers and the author has not forgotten them. There is also a race of men given to the idea that the world is Brahma; they, under the influence of illusion, take it for what it seems, just as one may mistake a tope for a serpent. These wiseacres must be disillusioned. They must be taught that this world is not an empty dream. They must learn the doctrine of simultaneous distinction and non-distinction between Krishna and the Jiva, which is inconceivable to the empiricist, the elevationist and the salvationist.

The unparalleled and unprecedented tact of the author in interesting the reader in the subject, in playing the part of raconteur who keeps all spellbound without floundering for a moment, in presenting a picture outwardly very like what even the man of vitiated taste would not dislike, and leaving all wiser and more sublime, places him high in the rank of the standard writers of the world. He approaches the low and the wretched and lifts them higher and nobler; herein lies his speciality.

He depicts the transcendental amorous pastimes with due gravity and sublimity and gives such a rude shock to the psilanthropists that they have risen against him and reviled him as they are up against anybody who tries to stem the tide of immorality in this Iron age.

The Author and the True Doctrine.

Some have the presumption to hold that the doctrine of Sree Krishna Chaitanya as delineated in Chaitanya Charitamrita is a novel one. The fact is that the ancients tried to formulate this doctrine but were not able to give it a perfect form and shape. What Chaitanya said was revealed long ago by Him to Brahma when the world was first created. Brahma told it to his disciples but the heard-transcendental-word was transformed in course of ages on account of the hammerings of the attributes Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. When the heard-transcendental-word becomes so much deformed that even the truth is overcast and clouded the Supreme Lord Vishnu appears in this world in order to set it right.

That truth was seven times revealed in the seven successive births of Brahma. In course of time that truth was partly eclipsed and various conflicting sophistical doctrines made headway. Those who have strayed away from the path of service and placed erroneous doctrines in the same category with the doctrine of unalloyed devotion must be checked and prevented from corrupting and defiling those who are treading the path of service; moreover the people of the world should be shown the path of devotion and service. It is for these reasons amongst others that Chaitanya appeared in this world.

The author advises all to listen to the story of Chaitanya in a spirit of reverence and not with the sole intent to criticise it adversely.

The Author’s Idea of the Guru.

The author proclaims with the voice of a trumpet that Guru, the Vaishnava and Bhagawan are the greatest objects of veneration. In the very beginning of Chaitnya Charitamrita he speaks of Sri Rupa, Sanatana, Raghunatha Bhatta, Sri Jiva, Gopal Bhatta and Raghunath Das who were his spiritual teachers; he regards his guru as the manifestation of the Supreme Lord Himself. He says that the Shastras regard the guru as the associated counterpart of Krishna Himself assumes the form of the guru in order to bestow His grace on the devotees. The guru while functioning as the indweller of the heart remains invisible to the disciple. So Krishna appears before him as mahanta guru or the greatest devotee.

The Author on the Devotee.

The author speaks boldly that Krishna always enjoys Himself in the heart of the devotee. The idea is not a figment of the brain but the author is backed by the Sreemad Bhagavata which says, “The Sadhus are the very core of My heart and I am the very heart of them. They know nobody but Me and I too know none but them.”

The Author on Salvation.

Strange and preposterous as it may appear to the empiricist the author strongly condemns the very desire for salvation which is the be-all and end-all of existence to all but those who have an assiduous devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna. He says, ‘The darkness of ignorance is called Kaitaba. It is the desire for piety, acqusition, predilection and deliverance.

Of all forms of Kaitaba the desire for salvation is the worst as it destroys our devotion to Krishna. To him Bhakti (service, devotion) is the means of attaining love for Krishna the only legitimate end of human existence.’

The Author on God.

Brahma, Paramatma and Bhagawan--these are the three conceptions of Godhead. Bhagawan is the Supreme Lord, Brahma is the halo of His transcendental body while Paramatma is only a part of His aspects. Sri Krishna Chaitanya, says the author, is Bhagawan Gobinda Himself. By this assertion the author means that Mahaprabhu is not a mere manifestation of Godhead nor a creature of apotheosis but Krishna Himself in the role, first, of the greatest scholar and, next, of the leading devotee of the universe, Who thawed the Bamidonian snow, made the torrent of love reach the highest flood-level and inundated the world in the nectarine deluge of devotion.

( To be continued. )