Dhanurdhara Swami July 4th, 2005
The Glories of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami Part I
Lesson 1: To perfect spiritual life one must become detached from family life.
In the introductory verse to the chapter, Srila Krishna dasa Kaviraja gives a strong warning about the danger of becoming overly attached to family life.
?With the ropes of His causeless mercy, Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu employed a trick to deliver Raghunatha dasa Gsowami from the blind well of contemptible family life. He made Raghunatha dasa Goswami one of His personal associates, placing him under the charge of Svarupa Damodar Goswami. I offer my obeisances unto Him.? Antya-lila 6.1
Comment: In this verse entanglement in family life is described as ?ku-grha?, contemptible and ?andha kupat?, a blind well. Entanglement in family life is condemned for its tendency to foster the illusion that our relationships in this world, based on bodily identification, is our eternal identity. Although the story of Raghunatha dasa will make this point strongly, it is not just condemning the grhastha ashram, which invokes detachment when properly followed, but the tendency in any ashram to not move forward in spiritual life due to material attachment when a higher level of commitment is beckoning.
Lesson 2: A devotee absorbed in Krishna consciousness is especially sensitive to the feelings of others.
?Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu felt pangs of separation from Krishna, He didn?t manifest His feelings externally, for he feared the unhappiness of His devotees.? Antya-lila 6.4
Lesson 3: An aspirant for sannyasa should be tested before leaving household life.
Raghunatha dasa goes to see the Lord at Santipur with the desire to leave his family. He is instructed, however, by Sri Caitanya to return home.
?Instead of becoming a so called renunciant, Raghunatha dasa, following the instructions of the Lord, returned home and played exactly like a pounds-and shillings man.? Antya-lila 6.14
Comment: Many people seek a life of renunciation without proper qualification and for the wrong reason. Sri Caitanya thus instructs Raghunatha dasa to return home to test his resolve for renunciation.
Lesson 4: True detachment is not just remaining aloof from sense objects, but indifference to them.
?Ragaunatha dasa was inwardly completely renounced, even in family life, but he did not express his renunciation externally. Instead, he acted like an ordinary businessman. Seeing this, his father and mother were satisfied.? Antya-lila 6.14-15
Lesson 5: One should not take sannyasa simply because of material frustration.
While at home Raghunatha dasa demonstrated his competence in material affairs by using his diplomatic skills to resolve his uncle?s serious legal problems. Srila Krishna dasa Kaviraja comments on Raghunatha?s expertise affirming that his eventual renunciation of the world was not due to incompetence and frustration.
?In this way Raghunatha dasa passed one year exactly like a first class business manager, but the next year he again decided to leave home.? Anty- lila 6.35
Lesson 5: The highest renunciation is based on mature devotion invoked by the mercy of Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
Almost daily, Raghunatha dasa would run away from home only for his father to bring him back. In frustration his mother suggests binding him with ropes. His father replied:
?Raghunatha dasa, our son, has opulences like Indra, the heavenly King, and his wife is as beautiful as an angel. Yet all this could not tie down his mind.? Antya-lila 6.39
?How then could we keep this boy home by binding him with rope? It is not possible even for one?s father to nullify the reactions of one?s past activities.? Antya-lila 6.40
?Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has fully bestowed His mercy on him. Who can keep home such a madman of Caitanyacandra?? Antya-lila 6.41
Lesson 6: One should humbly enter the assembly of an exalted Vaisnava.
As Raghunatha dasa shyly enters the assembly of Lord Nityananda, his arrival is called to the Lord?s attention.
?Raghunatha dasa offered his obeisances by falling prostrate at a distant place, and the servant of Nityananda Prabhu pointed out, ?There is Raghunatha dasa, offering you obeisances.?? Antya-lila 6.47
Comment: Falling prostrate at a distant place is a symptom of natural humility.
Lesson 7: When intimate love is expressed indirectly it increases the expression of that love.
Lord Nityananda responds to the announcement of Raghunatha dasa?s arrival.
?Hearing this, Lord Nityananda Prabhu said, ?You are thief, now you have come here. Today I shall punish you!?? Antya-lila 6.47
Comment: Just as a candle in a dark room loses its brilliance when it is opened to the outside light, the demonstration of intimate love loses force when directly expressed. The strongest expression of love is thus indirect. As an articulation of deep affection for Raghunatha dasa, Lord Nityananda therefore called him a thief, a distant person, when he is actually accepting him as a close associate. He announces that he will punish him, when he is bestowing upon him the highest reward, the service of the Vaisnavas.
Lesson 8: Senior vaisnavas and those socially prominent should be seated in front and served first during prasadam.
?On that platform, all the most important associates of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, as well as other important men, sat down in a circle around the Lord.? Antya-lila 6.60
Comment: The word for the most important associates ?prabhura nija gane? means ?the most intimate associates of the Lord?, and the word for important men is ?bada bada loka? literally ?big, big people?.
Lesson 9: Although prasadam is ideally honored quietly, one may also enthusiastically call the Lords Holy Names.
?Lord Nityananda Prabhu ordered, ?All of you eat, chanting the holy name of Hari.? Immediately the holy names ?Hari, Hari? resounded filling the entire universe?. Antya-lila 6.86
Lesson 10: While honoring prasadam one can also meditate on Krishna and Balarama eating with the cowherd boys.
?When all the Vaisnavas were chanting the holy names ?Hari, Hari? and eating, they remembered how Krishna and Balaram ate with Their companions the cowherd boys on the bank of the Yamuna.? Antya-lila 6.87
Lesson 11: To invoke the presence of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we must appeal to the mercy of Lord Nityananda by serving the Vaisanvas.
During the cida-dadhi mahotsava, where all the vaisnava?s were so excellently served, Lord Nityananda, in meditation, called Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Krishna Das Kaviraja thus comments:
?Who can understand the influence and mercy of Lord Nityananda Prabhu? He is so powerful that He induced Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to come eat chipped rice on the bank of the Ganges.? Antya-lila 6.89
Lesson 12: A devotee is very eager to distribute prasadam
The author describes the enthusiasm of Raghunatha dasa to distribute the Lord?s prasadam:
?As they came, bringing all kinds of food, Raghunatha dasa purchased it all. He gave them the price for their goods and later fed them the very same food. Anyone who came to see how these funny things were going on was also fed chipped rice, yogurt and bananas.? Antya-lila 6.92-93