Archive for the tag 'Caitanya-caritamrta'

Monday Morning Greetings #44 – Lessons from the CC: Antya-līlā, Chapter 3, Part 2

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

Monday Morning Greetings #40 – Lessons from the CC: Antya-līlā, Chapter 3

October 3rd, 2016

Lessons from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Anyta-līlā, Chapter 3
Lesson 1: One should not instruct or criticize one’s teacher.
One young boy would regularly visit Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Dāmodara Paṇḍita, one of his disciples, was concerned that people may criticize Śrī Caitanya. The child was not only the son of a beautiful young widow, but Śrī Caitanya was still a young and handsome man and, more importantly, in the renounced order of life. He thus began to instruct him.
“Dāmodara Paṇḍita impudently said to the Lord, ‘Everyone says that You are a great teacher because of your instructions to others, but now we shall find out what kind of teacher you are.’” Antya-līlā 3.11
“You are known as Gosāñi (teacher or ācārya) but now talk about your attributes and reputation will spread throughout the city of Puruṣottama. How Your position will be impaired!” Antya-līlā 3.12
“Dāmodara Paṇḍita was a great devotee of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Sometimes, however, a person in such a position becomes impudent, being influenced by the eternal energy and material considerations. Thus a devotee mistakenly dares criticize the activities of the spiritual master or the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Antya-līlā 3.11
Note: What to do if one is actually concerned that a teacher or senior is doing something wrong? Never criticize. Bring your concerns to a trusted peer of your teacher who can make a impartial decision on whether there is a problem and who is in the position to correct or instruct him.
Lesson 2: Although a student may violate etiquette in correcting a teacher and the teacher may rebuke the student, the teacher will forgive him if the student is simple-hearted and his motive pure.
“Having said this, Dāmodara Paṇḍita became silent. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu smiled, pleased within Himself, and considered the impudence of Dāmodara Paṇḍita.” Antya-līlā 3.18
[Śrī Caitanya thought:] “This impudence is also a sign of pure love for Me. I have no other intimate friend like Dāmodara Paṇḍita.” Antya-līlā 3.19

“[…] The Lord could understand that it was because of Dāmodara Paṇḍita’s simplicity that he impudently dared criticize him. Nevertheless such behavior by a devotee is not very good.” Antya-līlā 3:17
Lesson 3: A devotee should never neglect the welfare of their parent.
After chastising Dāmodara Paṇḍita Śrī Caitanya orders him to stay with his widowed mother to protect her:
“The Lord said, ‘My dear friend Dāmodara, you had better go to Nadia and stay with My mother.’” Antya-līlā 3.21
Lesson 4: A devotee who is neutral or detached can be objective and speak strongly about religious principles.
By sending Dāmodara Paṇḍita to stay and protect his mother, he is not only saving him from more offenses, but using his critical nature in service: He informs him:
“I can see no one but you to protect her, for you are so careful that you can caution even Me.” Antya-līlā 3.22
“You are most neutral among my associates. That is very good, for without being neutral one cannot protect religious principles.” Antya-līlā 3.23
Lesson 5: A devotee exchanges love with others, especially other devotees, by offering them prasādam.
After instructing Dāmodara Paṇḍita to go and look after his mother, he sent with him prasādam to offer to the various devotees in her town.
“After saying this, Śrī Cainatnya Mahāprabhu ordered that varieties of prasādam offered to Lord Jagannātha be brought. The Lord then gave him the prasādam, separately packed, to offer to various Vaiṣṇavas and His mother.” Antya-līlā 3.41
Lesson 6: One should carefully follow the order of one’s spiritual master.
After Dāmodara Paṇḍita received his instructions from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu he carefully carried them out.
“He delivered all the prasādam to such great Vaiṣṇavas as Advaita Ācārya. Thus he stayed there and behaved according to the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” Antya-līlā 3.43
Lesson 7: A devotee who desires to spread God-consciousness to others should be very emphatic even to those that are sinful and think of ways to deliver them.
In a discussion with Haridāsa Ṭhākura, the preeminent teacher of the holy name, Śrī Caitanya expressed his unhappiness that there is no way to rectify those that are most sinful, even those that slaughter animals.
“How will these yavanas be delivered? To great my unhappiness, I do not see any way.” Antya-līlā 3.51

“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was always anxious to deliver the fallen souls because their fallen condition gave Him great unhappiness. That is the platform by which one can propagate the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” Antya-līlā 3.51
Lesson 8: It is the main service of those in line from Śrī Caitanya to try to relieve His anxiety by compassionately preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
To relieve Śrī Caitanya’s anxiety Haridāsa Ṭhākura addresses Him:
“Haridāsa Ṭhākura replied, ‘My dear Lord, do not be in anxiety. Do not be unhappy to see the condition of the yavanas in material existence.” Antya-līlā 3.52

“These words of Haridāsa Ṭhākura are just befitting a devotee who has dedicated his life and soul to the service of the Lord. When the Lord is unhappy because of the condition of the fallen souls, the devotee consoles Him, saying “My dear Lord do not be in anxiety.” This is service. Everyone should adopt the cause of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to try to relieve Him from the anxiety He feels. This is actual service to the Lord. One who tries to relieve Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s anxiety for the fallen souls is certainly a most dear and confidential devotee of the Lord.” Antya-līlā 3.52
Lesson 9: As long as the holy name is chanted innocently, even if chanted improperly, its potency will not be diminished.
In answer to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s question of how the yavanas will be delivered, Haridāsa explains that even when the yavanas utter the word “Ha Rama”, which in their language means condemned, the potency of the holy name is not diminished.
“Namācārya Haridāsa Ṭhākura, the authority on chanting the holy name said, ‘The chanting of the Lord’s holy name to indicate something other than the Lord is an instance of nāmābhāsa. Even when the holy name is chanted in this way, its transcendental power is not destroyed.’” Antya-līlā 3.55
Lesson 10: Despite its potency, one should vigilantly avoid offenses to the holy name if one wants to receive the full benefit of chanting.
“If a devotee once utters the holy name of the Lord, or if it penetrates his mind or enters his ear, which is the channel of aural reception, that holy name will certainly deliver him from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, with correct or incorrect grammar, or properly joined or vibrated in separate parts. O brāhmaṇa, the potency of the holy name is therefore certainly great. However, if one uses the vibration of the holy name for the benefit of the material body, for material wealth or followers, or under the influence of greed or atheism—in other words, if one utters the name with offenses—such chanting will not produce the desired result very soon. Therefore one should vigilantly avoid offenses in chanting the holy name of the Lord.” Antya-līlā 3.60
Lesson 11: Even one’s surrounding environment becomes purified when one chants loudly, especially when one’s chanting is accompanied by others.
After hearing how the yavanas can be delivered, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu raises the concern how the moving and non-moving living entities can be delivered from material bondage. Haridāsa responds:
“You have loudly chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and everyone, moving and not moving, has benefited by hearing it.” Anyta-līlā 3.69
“My Lord, the living entities who have heard Your loud saṅkīrtana have already been delivered by bondage to the material world, and after the non-moving living entities like trees hear it, there is an echo.” Antya-līlā 3.70
“Actually, however, it is not an echo: it is the kīrtana of the non-moving living entities. All this, although inconceivable, is possible by Your mercy.” Antya-līlā 3.71
“When loud chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is performed all over the world by those who follow in your footsteps, all living entities, moving and non-moving, dance in ecstatic devotional love.” Antya-līlā 3.72
Lesson 12: There is no limit in how far we can glorify the Lord’s pure devotee.
After Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu heard Haridāsa’s explanations on the power of the holy name He was so impressed that he went to His personal devotees and began glorifying Haridāsa as if “he had hundreds of mouths”. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja’s comments:
“The transcendental qualities of Haridāsa Ṭhākura are innumerable and unfathomable. One may describe a portion of them, but to count them all is impossible.” Antya-līlā 3.95
Lesson 13: The most important spiritual practice is to chant a prescribed number of the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra.
“Haridāsa Ṭhākura constructed a cottage in a solitary forest. There he planted a tulasī plant, and in front of tulasī he would chant the holy name of the Lord 300,000 times daily. He chanted throughout the day and night.” Antya-līlā 3.100

“[…] the process of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra with a vow before the tulasī plant has such great spiritual potency that simply by doing this one can become spiritually strong. Therefore we request the members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement to follow Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s example rigidly.” Antya-līlā 3.100
Lesson 14: One should only take food in the house of a brāhmaṇa or Vaiṣṇava where food is offered to Kṛṣṇa with love.
Lesson 15: Whether one is a renunciate or a householder, if one is serious about spiritual life one should not live an unnecessarily luxurious life.
Haridāsa Ṭhākura would only eat what he could beg from a brāhmaṇa’s house.
“For his bodily maintenance he would go to a brāhmaṇa’s house and beg some food […]“ Antya-līlā 3.101

“If we take food from the house of others, such as karmīs, we shall have to share the qualities of those from whom we take alms. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took prasādam in the house of Vaiṣṇavas. This is the general process. The members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are advised not to take food from anywhere but a Vaiṣṇava or brāhmaṇa’s house where the Deity worship is performed […] We must always remember that a devotee’s life is one of vairāgya-vidyā, or renunciation and knowledge. Therefore all devotees are warned not to live unnecessarily luxurious lives at the cost of others.” Antya-līlā 3.101

Monday Morning Greetings #29 – Lessons from the CC: Antya-līlā, Chapter 2

July 18th, 2016

Lessons from the Caitanya-caritāmta, Antya-līlā, Chapter 2
Lesson 1: The Supreme Lord is merciful and thus adopts various means to liberate His devotees.
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu delivered almost all the fallen souls by directly meeting them. He delivered others by entering the bodies of great devotees, such as Nakula Brahmacārī. And He delivered still others by appearing before them, as in the case of Nṛsiṁhānanda Brahmacārī. ‘I shall deliver the fallen souls.’ This statement characterizes the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Antya-līlā 2.5-6
Directly meeting (sākṣād darśan) and appearing before one (āvirbhāva) have a slight variance in meaning. The former refers to His manifest form that is visible to everyone. The latter refers to His unmanifest form, which is only visible only to a select few. For example, Lord Caitanya mystically appeared (āvirbhāva) in His unmanifest form at the Pānihāṭi festival, where only Lord Nityānanda and those qualified could see Him.
Lesson 2: We should seek the association of those advanced in devotion as their audience has a powerful purifying effect on our hearts.
“When Śrī Caitanya was personally present, anyone in the world who met Him even once was fully satisfied and became spiritually advanced.” Antya-līlā 2.7
Lesson 3: To become a successful preacher one must be empowered with devotion.
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes how by manifesting His own devotion in the hearts of His pure devotees, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu influences others to become Kṛṣṇa conscious:
“Thus He empowered living beings [His pure devotees] by manifesting in them so much of His own devotion that people in all other countries became devotees by seeing them.” Antya-līlā 2.14
Lesson 4: Chanting the four syllable mantra gau-ra-āṅ-ga (gaurāṅga) is as powerful as chanting the four syllable mantra rā-dhā kṛṣ-ṇa (rādhā kṛṣṇa).
Nakula Brahmacārī was so overwhelmed with ecstatic love that it appeared he was directly manifesting Śrī Caitanya. Śivānanda Sena wanted to test if this was true and thus asked him if he knew what confidential mantra he was chanting.
“You are chanting the Gaura-gopāla mantra, composed of four syllables. Now please give up the doubts that have resided within you.” Antya-līlā 2.31

“Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura explains the Gaura-gopāla mantra in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. Worshippers of Śrī Gaurasundara accept the four syllable gau-ra-aṅ-ga as the Gaura mantra […] Therefore one who chants the mantra “gaurāṅga” and one who chants the names of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are on the same level.” Antya-līlā 2.35
Lesson 5: Expression of affection is the highest truth.
“Although Nṛsiṁha Brahmacārī felt jubilation within his heart to see Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu eating everything, for the sake of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva he externally expressed disappointment.” Antya-līlā 2.66
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu mystically appeared (āvirbhāva) to eat the offerings that Nṛsiṁha Brahmacārī had prepared especially for Him. At that time Śrī Caitanya also ate a separate offering that Nṛsiṁha Brahmacārī made for Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, his worshipable Deity. Although Nrsimananda was jubilant because he understood that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was non-different from Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, he feigned distress to express love for Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, showing that the expression of affection is the highest truth.
Lesson 6: One should respect those related to those one loves even if one has no particular regard for them.
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu derives no happiness from meeting one who is not a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Thus because Gopāla Bhaṭṭācārya was a Māyāvādī scholar, the Lord felt no jubilation in meeting him. Nevertheless, because Gopāla Bhaṭṭācārya was related to Bhagavān Ācārya, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu feigned pleasure in seeing him.” Antya-līlā 2.91
Lesson 7: One should not hear or read Māyāvādī philosophy, even if advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as it can adversely influence one’s devotional attitude (that the Lord is the master and the living entity is His servant), and even if it doesn’t influence one, still it is painful for a devotee to hear because it is antagonistic to God.
“When a Vaiṣṇava listens to the Śārīraka-bhāṣya, the Māyāvāda commentary upon the Vedānta-sūtra, he gives up the Kṛiṣhṇa conscious attitude that the Lord is the master and the living entity is His servant. Instead, he considers himself the Supreme Lord.” Antya-līlā 2.95
Lesson 8: Simplicity (honesty) is the first quality of a devotee.
“The Lord replied, ‘I cannot tolerate seeing the face of a person who has accepted the renounced order of life but who still talks intimately with a woman.’” Antya-līlā 2.117

“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments that saralatā, or simplicity, is the first qualification of a Vaiṣṇava, whereas duplicity or cunning behavior is a great offense against the principles of devotional service. As one advances in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one must gradually become disgusted with material attachment and thus become more and more attached to the service of the Lord. If one is not factually detached from material activities but still proclaims himself advanced in devotional service, he is cheating. No one will be happy to see such behavior.”
Lesson 9: A devotee must not underestimate the power of sense objects.
“So strongly do the senses adhere to the objects of their enjoyment that indeed a wooden statue of a woman attracts the mind of even a great saintly person.” Antya-līlā 2.118

“The senses and the sense objects are so intimately connected that the mind of even a great saintly person is attracted to a wooden doll if it is attractively shaped like a young woman. The sense objects, namely form, sound, smell, taste, and touch, are always attractive for the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Since the senses and sense objects are naturally intimately related, sometimes even a person claiming control over his senses remains always subject to the control of sense objects. The senses are impossible to control unless purified and engaged in the service of the Lord. Thus even though a saintly person vows to control his senses, the senses are still sometimes perturbed by sense objects.” Antya-līlā 2.119
Lesson 10: A person who has knowledge should also be humble and renounced.
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu told Rāmānanda Rāya, “Sanātana Gosvāmī’s renunciation of material connections is just like yours. Humility, renunciation and excellent learning exist in him simultaneously.’” Antya-līlā 1.201
Lesson 11: A devotee is humble.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī addresses himself as varāka-rūpo, which means the insignificant Rūpa, or the form (rūpa) of insignificance.
“Although I am the lowest of men and have no knowledge, the Lord has mercifully bestowed upon me the inspiration to write transcendental literature about devotional service. Therefore I offer my obeisances at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has given me the chance to write these books.” Antya-līlā 1.212
Lesson 12: A devotee takes his own mistakes seriously.
Choṭa Haridāsa was ordered by Śrī Caitanya not to see Him for begging rice from a woman for that was apparently improper for one in the renounced order. He took his mistake seriously and fasted, even though the lady was an older women and a great devotee.
“Haridāsa fasted continuously for three days.” Antya-līlā 2.115
Lesson 13: One should not abuse the liberality of Vaiṣṇavism in the name of service.
Śrī Caitanya was much more liberal in His attitude towards women than the other spiritual groups at the time, especially when it came to engaging women in devotional service. He punished Choṭa Haridāsa, a sannyāsi, severely for such an apparently small mistake in the service of Kṛṣṇa – he was begging rice to feed Śrī Caitanya – to set the example that one should not take advantage of liberality in the name of spirituality.
Lesson 14: A devotee is merciful and forgiving to others who make mistakes, especially those who are sincere devotees.
After Śrī Caitanya shunned Choṭa Haridāsa, the devotees petitioned the Lord on his behalf:
“Then Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and other confidential devotees approached Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to inquire from Him. ‘What great offense has Junior Haridāsa committed? Why has he been forbidden to come to Your door? He has now been fasting for three days.’” Antya-līlā 2.115-116
Lesson 15: Simplicity or non-duplicity is the main quality of a devotee.
“The Lord replied, ‘I cannot tolerate seeing the face of a person who has accepted the renounced order of life but still talks intimately with a woman.’” Antya-līlā 2.117

“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments that saralatā, or simplicity, is the first qualification of a Vaiṣṇava, whereas duplicity or cunning behavior is a great offense against the principles of devotional service. […] If one is not factually detached from material activities but still proclaims himself advanced in devotional service, he is cheating. No one will be happy to see such behavior.”
Lesson 16: Even an advanced devotee has to be cautious in dealing with the objects of sense enjoyment.
Śrī Caitanya continues in His response to the devotees explaining why His admonishment to Choṭa Haridāsa was so strong:
“So strongly do the sense adhere to the objects of their enjoyment that indeed a wooden statue of a women attracts the mind of even a great saintly person.” Antya-līlā 2.118

“The senses are impossible to control unless purified and engaged in the service of the Lord. Thus even though a saintly person vows to control his sense, his senses are still sometimes perturbed by sense objects.”
Lesson 17: Before taking sannyāsa one must be certain that one is fit for that āśrama.
Śrī Caitanya continues his response to the petitioners on behalf of Choṭa Haridāsa:
“There are many persons with little in their possession who accept the renounced order of life like a monkey. They go here and there engaging in sense gratification and speaking intimately with women.” Antya-līlā 2.120

“One who accepts the order of sannyāsa but again becomes agitated by sensual disturbances and talks privately with women is called dharma-dhvajī or dharma-kalaṅka, which means that he brings condemnation upon the religious order. Therefore one should be extremely careful in this connection.”

Monday Morning Greetings #20 – Lessons from the CC: Antya-lila, Chapter 1

May 16th, 2016

Dhanurdhara Swami will add once a month an excerpt from a new book he is writing called “Lessons from the CC”. It will contain chapter by chapter summaries of all the instructions in Vaiṣṇava behavior contained in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. He is starting with Antya-līlā, Chapter 1.
Lessons from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā, Chapter 1
Lesson 1: To remove impediments to our spiritual endeavors one should acknowledge one’s shortcomings and pray for the mercy of great spiritual teachers. 
Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja humbly admitting his frailties (he was already near the end of life) fervently prays for the mercy of the saintly devotees before beginning the most confidential subject of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s antya-līlā..
“My path is very difficult. I am blind, and my feet are slipping again and again. Therefore, may the saints help me by granting me the stick of their mercy as my support.” Antya-līlā 1.2
“I pray to the lotus feet of the six Gosvāmīs — Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Dāsa Raghunātha — so that all impediments to my writing this literature will be annihilated and my real desire will be fulfilled.”  Antya-līlā 1.3-4
Lesson 2: A Vaiṣṇava feels great urgency to enlighten others and thus seeing impending death due to old age meditates on how to finish his legacy.  
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja, fearing that he won’t be able to complete the Caitanya-caritāmṛta due to his advanced age, had summarized what he is about to speak in Madhya-līlā.
“I am now almost an invalid because of old age, and I know that at any moment I may die. Therefore I have already described some portions of the antya-līlā.” Antya-līlā 1.11
Lesson 3: A Vaiṣṇava is very liberal hearted in terms of giving shelter to others.
Śivānanda Sena took responsibility for arranging and managing all aspects of the Bengali Vaiṣṇavas long journey to Purī to join Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Even when a dog took shelter of his group he gave it shelter.
“While going to Jagannātha Purī, Śivānanda Sena allowed a dog to go with him. He supplied it food to eat and maintained it.” Antya-līlā 1.17
Lesson 4: A Vaiṣṇava fully accepts his responsibilities without excuse for mistakes.
Śivānanda Sena gave shelter to a dog who joined his pilgrimage party. When he disappeared because the dog was not given food in his absence, he himself fasted after learning that the dog was nowhere to be found.
“When the men returned without success, Śivānanda Sena became very unhappy and fasted for the night.” Antya-līlā 1 .23
Lesson 5: A Vaiṣṇava is very humble and seeks forgiveness for his mistakes.
Śivānanda Sena gives shelter to a stray dog. Under his care the dog is then lost. He fears it is due to his neglect. His reaction when the dog is found:
“When he saw the dog sitting in that way and chanting the name of Kṛṣṇa, Śivānanda, because of his natural humility, immediately offered his obeisances to the dog just to counteract his offenses to it.”  Antya-līlā 1.31
Lesson 6: The association of advanced devotees is inconceivably powerful and we should eagerly seek it out.
The results of Śivānanda Sena’s favor to even a stray dog:
“The next day, no one saw that dog, for it had obtained its spiritual body and departed for Vaikuṇṭha, the spiritual kingdom.”
Purport: “This is the result of sādhu-saṅga — consequent association with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and promotion back home, back to Godhead. This result is possible even for a dog, by the mercy of the Vaiṣṇava. Therefore, everyone in the human form of life should be induced to associate with devotees. By rendering a little service, even by eating prasādam, what to speak of chanting and dancing, everyone can be promoted to Vaikuṇṭhaloka.”  Antya-līlā 1.32
Lesson 7: The most important and powerful practice of devotional service is taking shelter in a pure devotee and invoking their mercy and shelter.
Śivānanda Sena accepted responsibility for a dog that took shelter of his pilgrimage party to Purī. When the dog was not fed in his absence he lamented. Upon arriving in Purī the devotees were astonished to see the dog eating the remnants of green coconut pulp thrown to him by Śrī Caitanya and chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra again and again. The next day the dog was gone because it went back to Godhead showing that regardless of one’s elevation in consciousness, if somehow or other one humbly seeks shelter of a Vaiṣṇava one can achieve the highest destination.
“We may conclude that even as dogs we must take shelter of a Vaiṣṇava. The benefit will be the same as that which accrues to an advanced devotee under a Vaiṣṇavas care.” Purport, Antya-līlā 1.24
“The next day, no one saw that dog, for it had obtained its spiritual body and departed for Vaikuṇṭha, the spiritual kingdom.”  Antya-līlā 1.32
Lesson 8: When Vaiṣṇavas meet after a long time, they sit together and discuss good news (about Kṛṣṇa consciousness).
Upon his arrival at Jagannātha Purī, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī meets Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Haridāsa Ṭhākura at the latter’s hut.
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then sat down with Haridāsa and Rūpa Gosvāmī. They inquired from one another about auspicious news and then continued to talk together for some time.”  Antya-līlā 1.49
Lesson 9: The glory of mahā-prasadam.
“When they [Śrī Rūpa and Haridāsa Ṭhākura] received the remnants of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s prasādam through Govinda, they respected it, and then they both began to dance in ecstasy.” Antya-līlā 1.64
Lesson 10: Tests are necessary to strengthen one’s resolve in spiritual life.
While Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, accompanied by his most confidential devotees, was going to visit Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Caitanta Mahāprabhu praised Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī profusely to test those devotees and observe their reaction.
“Just to examine Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and Rāmānanda Rāya, the Lord began to praise the transcendental qualities of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī before them.” Antya-līlā 1.106
Why does the Lord test his devotees? Just like we shake a nail it to test if is secure enough to withstand the initial blow of a hammer, the Lord or spiritual master tests a devotees capability to contain their mercy before bestowing it.
Lesson 11: A Vaiṣṇava is averse to personal praise.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was exceptionally impressed with Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s poetry and he requested him to share it with the devotees. Śrī Rūpa’s reaction to his request shows how a devotee responds to personal praise:
“When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered Rūpa Gosvāmī to read the verse they had previously heard, Rūpa Gosvāmī, because of great shyness, did not read it but instead remained silent.” Antya-līlā 1.112
Lesson 12: A devotee is patient and works steadily towards his goal.
The six Gosvāmīs made great literary contributions. Even their works of philosophy were composed in verse. The books that we enjoy were thus not produced overnight, but after years of austerity. Below Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta reveals that the Vidagdha-mādhava, one of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s dramas, took almost twenty years to compose showing the steadfastness and patience of a devotee in working towards his goal.
“Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura informs us in this connection that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī finished the drama known as Vidagdha-mādhava in the year Śakābda 1454 (A.D. 1532) and the Lalita-mādhava in Śakābda 1459 (A.D. 1537). The discussion between Rāmānanda Rāya and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī at Jagannātha Purī took place in Śakābda 1437 (A.D. 1515).” Purport, Antya-līlā 1.126
The discussion being described was about the introductory verse to the Vidagdha-mādhava. So if the introductory verse was existent in at least 1515, and the book was finally published in 1532, it means that the work took at least eighteen painstaking years to finish!
Lesson 13: Kṛṣṇa consciousness is beyond duality.
Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya requests Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī to chant some of his poetry. This particular verse describes how Kṛṣṇa consciousness is beyond duality as it describes how on the absolute platform even the greatest distress is the greatest happiness:
“ ‘My dear beautiful friend, if one develops love of Godhead, love of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, all the bitter and sweet influences of this love will manifest in one’s heart. Such love of Godhead acts in two ways. The poisonous effects of love of Godhead defeat the severe and fresh poison of the serpent. Yet there is simultaneously transcendental bliss, which pours down and defeats the poisonous effects of a snake, as well as the happiness derived from pouring nectar on one’s head. It is perceived as doubly effective, simultaneously poisonous and nectarean.’ ”  Antya-līlā 1.148
Lesson 14: Despite substantial accomplishments a devotee never feels proud.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s reaction to Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya’s profuse praise of his poetry:
“Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī said, ‘In your presence, which is just like brilliant sunshine, I am as insignificant as the light of a glowworm.’ ” Antya-līlā 1.173
Lesson 15: One cannot understand the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa by scholarship alone.
When Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya asks Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī to further recite his poetry he quotes the following from the Lalita-mādhava (1.23) spoken by Paurṇamāsī in a conversation with Gārgī.
“‘The dust from cows and calves on the road creates a kind of darkness indicating that Kṛṣṇa is returning home from the pasture. Also, the darkness of evening provokes the gopīs to meet Kṛṣṇa. Thus the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs are covered by a kind of transcendental darkness and are therefore impossible for ordinary scholars of the Vedas to see.’” Antya-līlā 1.188
People who are covered by passion and ignorance cannot understand Kṛṣṇa. In Vṛndāvana, however, even in a hazy storm of dust or the dark of night devotees can understand what Kṛṣṇa is doing. Śrīla Prabhupāda thus describes that “the purport of this verse is that under no circumstances is Kṛṣṇa ever lost to the vision of exalted devotees like the gopīs.”
Lesson 16: Only by poetry can one describe love (bhakti).
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu praised the metaphors and other literary ornaments of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s transcendental poetry. Without such poetic attributes, He said, there is no possibility of preaching transcendental mellows.” Antya-līlā 1.198
To effectively communicate love one not only has to describe the sentiments of love, but one has to recreate those feelings of love. This can be done in writing only by metaphors and other literary ornaments and thus poetry is the most effective medium to invoke emotions.
Lesson 17: If we write poetry it should have a profound effect.
“‘What is the use of a bowman’s arrow or a poet’s poetry if they penetrate the heart but do not cause the head to spin?’” Antya-līlā 1.195