domingo, 11 de septiembre de 2011

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata - Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura - Ādi-khaṇḍa 10

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata - Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura

Chapter Ten: Marriage with Śrī Lakṣmīpriyā

All glories to Lord Caitanya, Śrī Gauracandra! He is the supreme controller of all controllers and He most dear to Lord Nityānanda. He possesses as eternal transcendental form. O Lord, mercifully look upon the conditioned living souls. All glories to You, for You are the best of the brāhmaṇas, the son of Śrī Jagannātha Miśra! All glories to Your devotees, the most elevated souls! You are an ocean of compassion, and Your beautiful eyes are like lotus petals. Be so kind, O Lord, as to grant me this prayer: May I remain constantly absorbed in Your magnanimous character.

Please read in this chapter about Lord Caitanya’s pleasurable pastimes as a young scholar. He totally absorbed Himself in scholarly pursuits not finding time for anything else. After completing His daily brahminical duties early each morning, the Lord of the universe, Śrī Nimāi Paṇḍita, went to the house of Śrī Gaṅgādāsa Paṇḍita. He was accompanied by students who respected Him as an authoritative scholar and considered themselves His disciples. At Gaṅgādāsa’s place He conducted debates. Many students who were not in His group for the debate and who did not submit to His tutorship were affronted or slighted by Nimāi and His followers. After establishing His arguments in the debate, Nimāi would discuss the different points He had made with His group, just as the other groups would do. Murāri Gupta was not amongst Nimāi Paṇḍita’s group, so Nimāi confronted him and refuted his arguments.

Nimāi wore His dhotī neatly wrapped around His slim, elegant frame, and sat amidst the students in the mood of a valiant prince. The sandalwood paste tilaka decorating His forehead shone with a soft golden glow, and His exquisite and regular set of teeth were so effulgent that brilliant white pearls looked old and lack-lustre in comparison. At age sixteen, Nimāi’s youth blossomed like spring. He was beauty personified; even Cupid fell captive to His charm.

The erudition He exhibited in His pastimes as a scholar far superseded the knowledge and learning of Bṛhaspati. If any of the students tried to learn the scriptures on his own, Nimāi was quick to taunt him.

The Lord would challenge, “Who is here? Such a great scholar to refute My arguments? Without even knowing the rules of proper conjugation some persons try to understand grammar by themselves and fool themselves into complacency. Yet in spite of their vanity, because of their ignorance they cannot answer My arguments properly. They cannot even debate the arguments properly.”

Murāri Gupta heard these provocative and boastful words of the Lord but remained silent and continued to do his work. Still Nimāi would not leave him alone. He taunted Murāri Gupta at every opportunity, but seeing the calm reaction of His dear servant, the Lord was actually very satisfied.

Once Nimāi said to Murāri Gupta, “You are a Vedic doctor. Why do you study grammar here? Go to your leaves and herbs and make a compound so you can cure the sick. Grammar is extremely difficult to learn. Here there is no mention of mucus, bile, or indigestion. How do you want to accomplish anything in learning grammar just by studying on your own? Rather, go home and try to cure the sick.”

Śrī Murāri Gupta was the partial expansion of Rudra, Lord Śiva, and had a volatile temper. Yet Lord Viśvambhara could not see a single trace of anger in him.

In reply, Murāri Gupta said, “O learned brāhmaṇa, please tell me one thing: I see that you taunt everyone. Why are You so arrogant? On what subjects did You not receive a proper answer from me? Whether the discussion was on verb rules, astrology with its different purports, or other philological questions, I answered them all. Without asking and waiting for a reply You flaunt me. What do You really know? You are a learned brāhmaṇa, so why do You act like this? What more can I say?”

“Alright, discuss and analyse what you have read today," said Nimāi. Murāri Gupta began his explanations and the Lord immediately refuted them. Murāri Gupta explained in a certain way but the Lord would explain the same subject in another way. At last the master, not His servant, accepted defeat. By the Lord’s influence, Murāri exhibited great erudition and the Nimāi was extremely pleased by Murāri’s explanation. The Lord placed His soft lotus hands on Murāri Gupta, and upon receiving that sublime touch, Murāri experienced indescribable bliss.

“This Nimāi cannot be an ordinary person," though Murāri to himself. "How would it be possible for an ordinary person to possess such vast learning? My body felt such spiritual excitement just by the touch of His hands. I think that I should not be ashamed to learn under His tutorship. There is no one as intelligent or learned in all of Navadvīpa.”

Then Murāri Gupta, the Ayurvedic doctor, submitted to the Lord, “O Viśvambhara, I will learn under Your tutorship.” In this affectionate manner the master and His servant interacted. The Lord then took all His friends to the Ganges for a bath. The divine pastimes of Śrī Caitanya as a scholar were enacted in this mood.

Śrī Mukunda and Sañjaya are truly very fortunate soul for in their house in Navadvīpa the Supreme Lord displayed many of these scholarly pastimes. Mukunda’s son was studying under Nimāi Paṇḍita and he himself was very attached to the lotus feet of the Lord in devotional service. Annexed to Mukunda’s house was a temple of goddess Durgā and in that courtyard students sat around the Lord, crowding the entire compound. There sat Nimāi Paṇḍita, the best of the brāhmaṇas. It looked as though Lord Gaurāṅga was holding a court of scholars. Nimāi Paṇḍita would deliver many explanations and establish many arguments, and then He would refute those arguments with new arguments.

He often spoke out against teachers in Navadvīpa. Once the Lord said, “Sometimes people do not even possess fundamental knowledge about conjugation, but because it is Kali-yuga such a person accepts the title of Bhaṭṭācārya. Let Me see if any one of these Bhaṭṭācārya’s can find discrepancies in My arguments and explanations. Then I will accept when they flout their big titles like Bhaṭṭācārya and Miśra.” In this way the Lord would act like a proud scholar; none of His servants could understand His mood nor could they recognize Him as their worshipful Supreme Lord.

Mother Śacī one day noticed that her son had grown into a handsome young man and she started thinking about His marriage. Śrī Vallabha Ācārya, a good and pious brāhmaṇa was then residing in Navadvīpa. He was equal to King Janaka, the father of Sītā-devī, and in every respect his daughter possessed unsurpassed beauty. She was Lakṣmīdevī, the goddess of fortune in person. Her father was constantly thinking about finding a suitable match for her.

By divine arrangement Śrī Lakṣmīdevī once met Śrī Gaurasundara on the banks of the Ganges when they had each gone for a bath. Lord Gauracandra immediately recognized his eternal consort and smiled sweetly at her. Lakṣmīdevī also recognized her eternal master and offered Him prayers as she clasped His lotus feet. Both the transcendental personalities recognized each other, and they returned home in blissful expectation. Who can understand such sublime and supramundane pastimes of the Supreme Lord?

Again by arrangement of the Lord, a brāhmaṇa named Vanamālī came to visit mother Śacī. After they exchanged respectful greetings, mother Śacī affectionately offered the brāhmaṇa a seat. Then Śrī Vanamālī Ācārya asked, “Why aren't you seriously considering your son’s marriage? In Navadvīpa resides a very pious and elevated brāhmaṇa. He is pure; he always follows the path of religion, and he is a descendent of good line of brāhmaṇas. His daughter is certainly not inferior to Lakṣmīdevī in beauty, character or respect.”

“My son has lost his father," replied mother Śacī. “Let Him study further and grow a little older; then I shall certainly consider His marriage.” The apathetic reply made Vanamālī feel dejected and he left Śacī’s house. But by divine arrangement, on his way out he met Śrī Gaurāṅga. As soon as the Lord saw Vanamālī, He affectionately embraced him.

“Please tell me who you were just visiting," inquired the Lord.

“I came to pay my respects to Your mother," answered Vanamālī. "I brought up the subject of Your marriage to her, but I don't know why she didn't respond positively to it.”

The Lord fell silent, and having offered due respects to the brāhmaṇa, He went home, smiling within Himself. At home He immediately spoke to His mother, “Why didn't you favour the brāhmaṇa’s proposal?”

Mother Śacī was more than pleased, for she could understand the Lord’s indication. The next day she requested Vanamālī to return and told him, “The proposal you made yesterday--I request you to please act on it immediately.” After touching her feet in respect, the brāhmaṇa went straight to the house of Vallabha Ācārya.

Śrī Vallabha received the brāhmaṇa with all respect and offered him the seat of honour. "I think it is time you arranged your daughter’s marriage," said Vanamālī. "I have found the fit candidate for her. His name is Viśvambhara. He is the son of Śrī Jagannātha Miśra, a very elevated and respectable brāhmaṇa. Viśvambhara is most scholarly and He is certainly an ocean of all good qualities. Please consider these points and tell me how you feel.”

Vallabha Ācārya was extremely pleased. He said, “Only through accumulating immense piety could a girl get such a husband. If Kṛṣṇa were pleased with me or if the goddess of fortune were satisfied with my daughter, only then could I ever hope for such a son-in-law. Please don't delay; proceed with this proposal and complete all the necessary details. But first there is one thing that I must mention. I feel hesitant to speak about it. I have no means to give anything as a dowry. I can simply give my daughter and five pieces of auspicious haritakī fruit. Please convey this to them.”

The brāhmaṇa was extremely satisfied with Vallabha Ācārya’s attitude and he returned to mother Śacī’s house with the news of his success. "They are agreeable," he reported. "Now we have to choose the right day and right moment according to astrological calculations.”

The news spread. Close relatives and friends were jubilant and they all came forward with great enthusiasm to make themselves useful on the occasion. A special ceremony held before the day of the marriage was conducted at an auspicious time amidst festivities where professional dancers and musicians performed. Brāhmaṇa priests sat in the four corners of the wedding area and chanted Vedic mantras. In the middle sat the crown jewel of the brāhmaṇa class, Lord Gaurāṅga, as brilliant as the rising full moon. At the end of the function the brāhmaṇas were gifted with incense, sandalwood, flower garlands, and spices. Śrī Vallabha Ācārya had also come according to the customs and performed his ritualistic duties.

On the day of His wedding, Nimāi respectfully offered oblations to His forefathers at dawn. The sound of sweet music and the tinkle of a dancer’s ankle bells filled the air. Sounds of joyful chatter came from all directions. The guests that came were numerous and large groups of chaste women thronged the place. Relatives and respectable brāhmaṇas also came. Mother Śacī satisfied all the chaste housewives with gifts of fruits, grains, vermilion, oils and other commodities. Different demigods, along with their wives, also came in human forms to see the marriage of the Lord. Vallabha Ācārya performed his many rituals with increasing pleasure. In the evening just before sunset, Nimāi went to the house of Śrī Vallabha Ācārya at the chosen auspicious time. He was accompanied by many people and when He arrived all the guests felt submerged in waves of ecstasy.

Vallabha Ācārya offered the Lord a seat with utmost respect strictly according to the rules of the scriptures. He felt an indescribable joy within. Finally he brought his daughter Lakṣmīdevī, fully decorated with beautiful ornaments, and presented her to the Lord. According to the marriage customs, Lakṣmīdevī was lifted off the ground and carried seven times around the Lord. The chanting of Hari’s name resounded but Lakṣmī sat with folded hands and offered silent prayers to the Lord.

During the auspicious ceremony of exchanging glances between bride and bridegroom, people showered flowers jubilantly from all directions on Śrī Lakṣmī and Nārāyaṇa. That Śrī Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu, had appeared as Lord Gaurāṅga, and Śrī Lakṣmī offered Him a garland of flowers at His lotus feet. She worshiped Him, surrendering herself as though she were those very flowers. Joyous sounds accompanied by loud chanting of Lord Hari’s name rent the air. It was the only sound to be heard in any direction. The Lord drank in the moonlike beautiful face of Śrī Lakṣmīdevī as He sat with her on His left. His blooming youthful beauty excelled the attractiveness of Cupid himself. Who can possibly describe in detail the joy in Śrī Vallabha’s house?

Looking like Bhīṣmadeva, Śrī Vallabha Ācārya then sat down to give away the bride. The Lord was exquisitely decorated with flower garlands and sandalwood paste and wore beautiful, shining clothes. Vallabha Ācārya poured water on His lotus feet, those same lotus feet which are washed and worshiped by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva in order to acquire the strength and potency to create this material world. The brāhmaṇa then offered his daughter according to the regulations in the scriptures and all the while felt waves of ecstasy within his heart. The rest of the ceremonies were conducted properly and the Lord spent that night in their house.

The next morning Nimāi returned to His own house with Lakṣmīdevī. They were carried on a palanquin, and people came from everywhere to see the Lord and His bride. Beautifully decorated with flowers, gold ornaments, studded crowns and sandalwood paste artistically dotted over their beautiful faces, Lakṣmīdevī and Lord Nārāyaṇa were effulgent with a transcendental glow. People all around acknowledged their own good fortune at seeing this divine couple. The ladies especially stood mesmerized at the sublimely beautiful sight.

One lady commented, “She must have worshiped Lord Śiva and Pārvatī for a long time with great devotion; otherwise it could not have been possible to get a husband like Him. Perhaps they themselves are Lord Śiva and Pārvatī.”

“They are either Indra and Śacī, or Lord Madana and Ratī.” said another lady.

Someone else suggested, “No they must be Lakṣmī and Nārāyaṇa.”

“They look exactly like Sītā and Lord Rāmacandra," said another woman, “and they are so charming as They ride on the palanquin.”

The ladies each offered a variety of opinions as they watched the divine couple with mixed wonder and joy. The Lord brought His new bride home in the evening amidst joyful shouting, sweet music and laughter. Mother Śacī went out to meet the newly-wed couple and brought them into the house. She felt infinite joy, and bustled around distributing valuable gifts to everyone and pleasing the guests with sweet words. Whoever hears this narration of the Lord’s marriage with devotion will certainly be able to break the ties of material bondage.

Śacīdevī felt her house glowing with a new iridescent light. Now that Lakṣmīdevī was in her rightful position next to Lord Nārāyaṇa, Śrī Gaurāṅga, Śacīdevī saw an extraordinary light everywhere, inside as well as outside the house. She could not describe the wonderful phenomenon. Sometimes she saw a very beautiful light right next to her son, but when she looked again she saw it was no longer there. At other times she could smell the divine fragrance of flowers and lotuses and this surprised her beyond description. She often wondered about the actual truth of all this.

“I think I know the reason for all this," mother Śacī though to herself. "My daughter-in-law must be an incarnation or expansion of Lakṣmīdevī. That is why I sometimes see a brilliant light or smell a divine lotus fragrance. My previous sufferings and our poverty seems to have vanished. I don't know how I have received this girl as my daughter-in-law for she is certainly Lakṣmīdevī.”

In this way mother Śacī would speculate, but the Supreme Lord Gaurāṅga, although manifest, did not yet reveal His original and absolute identity. Who can understand the wonderful activities and potencies of the Supreme Lord? However and whenever the Supreme Lord desires to act, He is free to do so. And if the Supreme Lord Himself does not reveal these esoteric truths, then even Lakṣmīdevī does not have the potency to fathom the transcendental phenomenon. The Vedas and Purāṇas as well as all other scriptures repeat the same truth: No one can know the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord, without receiving the mercy of the Lord.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya and Nityānanda Prabhu are the life and soul of this insignificant servant Vṛndāvana dāsa, and he offers his humble song at their lotus feet.

The samādhi of Śrīla Vṛndāvan Dās ṬhākuraThe samādhi of Śrīla Vṛndāvan Dās Ṭhākura

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