Dhanurdhara Swami October 31st, 2016
Lessons from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā, Chapter 3, Part 2
Lesson 16: Even a sincere devotee who achieves success can expect opposition from envious people.
“A landholder named Rāmacandra Khān was the zamindar of that district. He was envious of Vaiṣṇavas and was therefore a great atheist. Unable to tolerate that such respect was being offered to Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Rāmacandra Khān planned in various ways to dishonor him. By no means could he find any fault in the character of Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Therefore he called for local prostitutes and began to discredit His Holiness.” Antya-līlā 3.102-104
Lesson 17: A Vaiṣṇava always tries to find the ways and means to give one Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
When the prostitute sent by Rāmacandra Khān propositioned Haridāsa Ṭhākura he told her to just wait until he finished his prescribed number of rounds hoping that in the process of waiting she would hear the holy name and be spiritually elevated:
“Please sit down and hear the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra until my regular chanting is finished. Then your desire will surely be fulfilled.” Antya-līlā 3.121
Purport: “Haridāsa Ṭhākura never wanted to enjoy the prostitute, but he tricked her to deliver her by giving her a chance to hear the holy name of the Lord while he chanted.” Antya-līlā 3.126
Lesson 18: The most potent process of advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is to associate with advanced devotees along with chanting the holy name.
“After offering her obeisances to the tulasī plant and Haridāsa Ṭhākura, she sat down at the door. Hearing Haridāsa Ṭhākura chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, she also chanted, ‘O my Lord Hari, O my Lord Hari.’” Antya-līlā 3.122
Purport: “[…] The conclusion is that associating with a Vaiṣṇava, chanting the holy name of the Lord and offering obeisances to the tulasī plant or a Vaiṣṇava all lead one to become a transcendental devotee who is completely cleansed of material contamination.” Antya-līlā 3.122
Lesson 19: The best charity is charity given to those sincerely dedicated to spiritual life and completely dependent on God.
Purport: “[…] According to Vedic civilization, charity should be given only to the qualified brāhmaṇas […] Persons engaged in pursuing spiritual understand have no time to earn their livelihood. They depend completely on the mercy of the Lord.” Antya-līlā 3.136
Lesson 20: Even if one cannot surrender fully to Kṛṣṇa immediately, by taking up the process of chanting the holy name and rendering service to the tulasī plant one will quickly advance in devotional service.
“Chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra continuously and render service to the tulasī plant by watering her and offering prayers to her. In this way you will very soon get the opportunity to be sheltered at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.” Antya-līlā 3.137
Lesson 21: If one receives charity for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness he must be very vigilant that it is used only for service and never for sense gratification.
“Thereafter, the prostitute distributed to the brāhmaṇas whatever household possessions she had, following the order of her spiritual master.” Antya-līlā 1.139
Śrīla Prabhupāda uses the example of the prostitute to show that those gifted money, especially for devotional service, should never use it selfishly or be dependent on those who gave it.
Purport: “[…] A Vaiṣṇava guru accepts money or other contributions, but he does not employ such contributions for sense gratification. A pure Vaiṣṇava thinks himself unfit to help even one person from the reactions of sinful life, but he engages one’s hard earned money in the service of the Lord and this frees one from sinful reactions. […]” Antya-līlā 3.139
Lesson 22: A Vaiṣṇava Guru is never dependent on the contributions of his disciples.
Purport: “[…] A Vaiṣṇava guru is never dependent on the contributions of his disciples. Following the instructions of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, a pure Vaiṣṇava does not personally take even a single paisa from anyone, but he induces his followers to spend for the service of the Lord whatever possession they have.” Antya-līlā 3.139
Lesson 23: By eating frugally a devotee can control senses, focus on Kṛṣṇa, and attain love of Godhead.
“She worshiped the tulasī plant, following in the footsteps of her spiritual master. Instead of eating regularly, she chewed whatever food she received as alms, and if nothing was supplied she would fast. Thus by eating frugally and fasting she conquered her senses, and as soon as her sense were controlled, symptoms of love of Godhead appeared in her person.” Antya-līlā 3.141
Lesson 24: In judging a Vaiṣṇava one should consider only their adherence to Vaiṣṇava principles and not their ethnicity, social status, or place of birth.
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes how the prostitute became a revered devotee despite her fallen past.
“Thus the prostitute became a celebrated devotee. She became very advanced in spiritual life, and many stalwart Vasinavas would come to see her.” Antya-līlā 3.142
Purport: “[…] Therefore, it is one’s strict adherence to the principles that should be considered, not the country of one’s birth. Many devotees join our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement from Europe and America, but one should not therefore consider them European Vaiṣṇava or American Vaiṣṇava . A Vaiṣṇava is a Vaiṣṇava and should therefore be given all respects due a Vaiṣṇava.” Antya-līlā 3.142
Lesson 25: A Vaiṣṇava guru is judged and glorified by his ability to change the character of his disciples.
“Seeing the sublime character of the prostitute, everyone was astonished. Everyone glorified the influence of Haridāsa Ṭhākura and offered him obeisances.” Antya-līlā 3.143
Lesson 26: To disturb a great Vaiṣṇava is a great offense that will certainly wreak havoc in one’s life.
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes the result of Rāmacandra Khān’s offense:
“By inducing the prostitute to disturb Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Rāmacandra caused a seed of offense at the lotus feet to germinate. This seed later became a tree, and when it fructified, Rāmacandra Khān ate its fruits.” Antya-līlā 3.144
“Rāmacandra was naturally a non-devotee. Now having offended the lotus feet of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, he became like a demoniac atheist.” Antya-līlā 3.145
“Because of blaspheming the cult of Vaiṣṇavism and insulting the devotees for a long time, he now received the result of his offensive activities.” Antya-līlā 3.147
Lesson 27: Following in the footsteps of Lord Nityānanda, a devotee preacher should make it his or her mission to spread the cult of bhakti and to defeat prominent atheistic views that confuse people.
“For two purposes—to spread the cult of bhakti and to defeat and subdue the atheists—Lord Nityānanda, the most dedicated devotee of the Lord, moved throughout the country.” Antya-līlā 3.149
Lesson 28: When you insult a devotee you will not only receive the reaction yourself, but those around you will also suffer.
When Lord Nityānanda visited the home of Rāmacandra Khān, he was seriously insulted. Later not only was Rāmacandra Khān’s house plundered by the army of the Muslim minister, but the whole village was plundered. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja thus comments:
“Whenever an advanced devotee is insulted, for one man’s fault the entire town or place is afflicted.” Antya-līlā 3.164
Lesson 29: The single most powerful impetus for spiritual attainment is the blessings of a Vaiṣṇava.
Haridāsa Ṭhākura lived for some time in the village where Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī grew up and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī used to visit him daily. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes the result:
“Naturally Haridāsa Ṭhākura was merciful towards him, and because of the merciful benediction of this Vaiṣṇava, he later attained the shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s lotus feet.” Antya-līlā 3.170