The Author of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita IV

(By Sj Satyanjan Sen M.A. B.L.)
The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)
September 1930

The Author on Asceticism.

IN Madhya, ch. III. the author says that the ascetic should not indulge the palate but should practise self-restraint. He must not leave anything on the dinner plate. It is not proper for him to remain in his native village with his friends and relations. The lord strictly forbids us to practise hypocrisy in the garb of ascetic but tells us to use the things of the world without being swayed by attachment to them. The ascetic should not gossip about worldly matters nor hear such talks nor eat well nor put on gaudy dress; he should respect others, not crave for honour and should worship Radha and Krishna with his whole heart. He should not accept anything from worldly people even for the purpose of serving saintly Vaishnabas. If he eats food given by a worldly man, his mind becomes polluted and with such a mind he cannot remember Krishna. He should worship Krishna with a pitcher of water and a twig of tulasi, put on rags and eat only that which barely sustains his life (Part 3. ch. 6).


When Chaitanya Deva became a Sannyasi, Purushottama Acharyya a native of Navadwipa also renounced the world and went to Benares. He was asked by the spiritual guide to study Vedanta and to teach it to the world. Utterly indifferent to the enjoyments of this world and extremely rich in the knowledge of religious literature he devoted his all to Sri Krishna. He did not crave for honour and respect by leading the life of a Sannyasi but only wanted to serve Krishna with a whole heart. It was for serving Krishna that he felt a certain misgiving and did not go through all the formalities of the acceptance of a Sannyas life.

With the guru’s permission he left for Neelachal to join Chaitanya Deva. When Damodar Swarup, as Purushattam came to be called after he had become a Sannyasi, met the Lord at Neelachal and fell at His feet craving for His grace, He embraced him heartily and both were beside themselves with joy. When they calmed down the Lord said that it was very fortunate that he had come. Swarup begged pardon that he had not already come to Him but gone elsewhere. “I am a hapless creature”, said he, “I cannot love you as I should; I went astray but You, in your infinite mercy, have not left me in the dark but have drawn me to the region of life and light.”

Then Swarup touched the feet of Nityananda and exchanged words of greeting with Jagadananda, Mukunda, Sankara and Sarvabhauma. Next he fell prostrate at the feet of the venerable Paramananda Puri who gave him a loving embrace. The Lord provided him with a servant and solitary lodgings.

It was at Puri that he was introduced to Ramananda who was a high official but was allowed by the King to reside at Puri to be the personal companion of the Lord. Swarup and Ramananda were most intimate with the Lord Who tasted the sweetness of the songs of the melodious bards Vidyapati, Chandidas and Jayadeva in their company. During the last years of His mundane appearance the Lord felt the pangs of Radha’s separation from Krishna so keenly that, in human estimation, He well-nigh went mad and was often in an apparently delirious condition. At night He clung to the necks of Swarup and Ramananda and gave vent to His feelings and Damodar sang songs that corresponded to these feelings. None but these two could calm down His passion.

At first Swarup lived by himself and scarely spoke, so the people of the locality did not suspect that he was the repository of all knowledge. Then came a time when every poem, stanza or book had to be examined by Swarup before it could be allowed to be heard by the Lord.

Swarup has left us a record of the ascetic lila of Sri Chaitanya Deva and the author acknowledges his indebtedness to him. Swarup is the highest authority as he knew all the secrets of the Lord’s heart and may well be called His constant companion.

The author expresses the relations between Swarup and the Lord thus : Paramananda Puri had paternal affection for Him, Ramananda regarded Him as a friend, Gobinda was His willing slave and Gadadhar, Jagadananda and Swarup cherished divine amorous love for Him.

The pastimes of Chaitanya are a treasure-house, Swarup was its keeper. He left it in charge of Raghunath; and Raghunath opened the door to the author of Charitamrita who has made it the common property of all the devotees who, in their turn, squander the treasure as they might, and can never exhaust it.

Once upon a time the Lord recited a sloka of which the inner meaning was known to Swarup only.

But Rupa Goswami heard it and composed a sloka following the hidden meaning. The Lord asked Swarup how Rupa was able to do so. The noble Swarup who was altogether free from envy and malice told that it was fortunate that Rupa had won His special favour or he would not have been able to compose such a sloka. The Lord then asked Swarup to be the instructor of Rupa Goswami.

Raghunath Das, who came of an aristocratic family, when he renounced the world and came to the Lord, was handed over to Swarup for training and came to be known as Swarup’s Raghunath. The Lord told Raghunath that Swarup knew more of devotional love than He Himself.

Swarup was fully conversant with the transcendental character of the pastimes of the Lord and is reputed as the second embodiment of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. He was most liked by Adwaita and Nityananda, and, to Srivash, he was the very apple of his eye. His intimacy with the Lord made him a sort of middleman between Him and His followers.

The Vaishnavas of Bengal came to Puri and the Lord sent Swarup and Gobinda to receive them and both garlanded Adwaitacharyya. Swarup introduced Gobinda to Adwaitacharyya. Gobinda was the personal attendant of Iswar Puri who was Chaitanya Deva’s spiritual preceptor and had sent Gobinda to serve Gauranga.

When the Vaishnavas sat down to partake of


the Lord served it with His own hand but none would touch it if the Lord did not eat first. Swarup informed the Lord of the difficulty and He acceded to the desires of the devotees.

When Lord Gauranga with His Gaudiya devotees was washing and cleansing the Gundicha Temple, Swarup was always by His side and when a very simple-hearted devotee washed His feet and drank of the washings. He reproved Swarup, whose men He called these devotees. He said, “Just see how your Gaudiya plunges Me in the mire of sin; in the very temple of God does he wash my feet and drink the washings.” Swarup took the devotee to task and begged pardon of the Lord, on his behalf.

It is not the fact that the Lord actually grew angry, but He made a display of anger. Though He is the Master of the Universe and none can blame the devotee who washes His holy feet in a temple, still Lord Gauranga plays the part of a devotee who must not allow His feet to be washed in a temple, lest the pseudo-Gurus should make it a precedent to have their feet washed in the temple of God.

The temple was cleansed thoroughly and Swarup and his party treated the Lord with a choral song, and, as usual, his voice charmed Him. Then they partook of mahaprasad and Swarup particularly treated the Lord with sweetmeat.

On the occasion of the Netrotsaba Festival the Lord and His followers started for the Temple of Jagannath. Kashiswar who cleared the way, and Gobinda, Puri and Bharati went ahead of Chaitanya Deva, followed by Swarup and Adwaita who walked abreast and the rest of the devotees.

In the Car Festival the Lord Himself garlanded Swarup and other choristers who performed the kirtan. There were seven groups of singers and Swarup was the leader of the first. They sang for some time when the Lord expressed His willingness to dance and the principal singers, Sribas, Ramai, Raghu, Gobinda, Mukunda, Haridas, Gobindananda, and Madhaba—all joined Swarup. The Lord’s mood changed suddenly and Swarup who knew the innermost recesses of the Lord’s heart sang a song of divine love and the Lord danced merrily.

There was a time when the Lord tasted the sweet poems of divine amour in Swarup’s company throughout day and night. None can even imagine how fortunate Swarup was. His body, mind and words and all were dedicated to Lord Gauranga and the very senses of Chaitanya identified themselves with those of Swarup and His ears drank with avidity the songs as they flowed in sweet profusion; and so immersed was the Lord in the sublime love delineated in the songs that He sat with downcast eyes feeling the pangs of separation from Krishna and wrote on the ground with the finger in a sad mood till Swarup held His hand lest He should have His finger hurt to bleeding. The inspired song of Swarup touched the chord of His heart and both were carried away by the current of transcendental love.

(To be continued)