Russia, 3 May 2016
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Yesterday was actually the appearance day of Vrindavana dasa Thakura, so I will briefly discuss his life history. Vrindavana dasa Thakura is also known as Chaitanya-lila Vyasa – one who spreads the sweet pastimes of Krishna. Krishna’s pastimes are known best by most. Krishna as Shrila Dvaipayana Vedavyasa manifested the Shrimad-Bhagavatam; which included all of Krishna’s lilas and again, was manifested by Vyasadeva Gosvami.
In the same way, Vrindavana dasa Thakura also manifested the sweet pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. For this regard, he is called Chaitanya-lila Vyasa. In his Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, Kavi Karnapura also explains that Vyasadeva appeared in this Kali-yuga in the form of Vrindavana dasa Thakura.
There is not much written in our shastras regarding Vrindavana dasa Thakura’s life history. Vrindavana dasa Thakura was very humble, so he did not write many things about his own life history. Not many even know who his father was, as his name is not openly mentioned. His mother was Narayani-devi dasi. Have you heard of her? Narayani-devi was the niece of Shrivasa Thakura. She was the daughter of Shrivasa Thakura’s brother, he was her uncle.
During the time when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu enacted His household life lilas in Navadvipa-dhama, at the age of 4 or 5, Narayani-devi was very much attached to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Especially when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would perform nama-sankirtana in the house of Shrivasa Thakura everyday, shrivasira angane. So, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to come to the house of Shrivasa Thakura everyday. At that time, as a small child, maybe about four or five years old, Narayani used to come very close to Gaurasundara and He would show so much love and affection towards her. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sometimes even gave His own remnants to Narayani. As a small child, Narayani was an expert dancer. No one ever taught her how to dance, still, she danced very nicely.
Most of the time, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was absorbed in the ecstatic moods of krishna–lilas and the young Narayani would be dancing along very nicely; her gopi dance was especially nice, which made Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very happy. Mahaprabhu would ask Narayani to dance everyday because she was such an expert at dancing. Also, Narayani brought water from the Ganges river everyday to offer to Shriman Mahaprabhu.
It is explained, when Naryani became mature, she married and gave birth to a baby boy. Her son’s name was Vrindavana dasa Thakura. When we perform Navadvipa-dhama-parikrama, we always visit Mamagachi, the birth place of Vrindavana dasa Thakura. There, he lived with his mother Narayani-devi. In Treta-yuga, when Lord Ramachandra manifested, He also stayed a few months in that place. There is also a very beautiful temple there.
In this way, Vrindavana dasa Thakura received the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Vrindavana dasa Thakura manifested a very nice grantha called Chaitanya-bhagavata. Initially, Vrindavana dasa Thakura actually titled his grantha Chaitanya-mangala. But another devotee, who also wrote on Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lilas, gave his grantha the same name, Chaitanya-mangala. For this regard, Vrindavana dasa Thakura changed his grantha’s name from Chaitanya-mangala to Chaitanya-bhagavata. Vrindavana dasa Thakura was thinking, “First, I have to glorify Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His gaura-lilas.” But how could he possibly write about gaura-lilas without first receiving the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu? So he thought, “I have to glorify Nityananda Prabhu first.”
nitaiyer koruna habe, braje radha-krsna pabe
dharo nitai-carana du’khani
(Nitai Pada Kamala, Narottama Dasa Thakura)
[“If you actually want to approach the association of Radha-Krishna, you must first achieve the mercy of Lord Nityananda. When He is merciful toward you, then you will be able to approach Radha-Krishna. Therefore, you should firmly grasp the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda.”]
If you receive the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, then you will also receive the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; with the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, you will attain the Divine Couple, Radha and Krishna in Goloka Vrindavana. Because nityananda-tattva is called guru-tattva, baladeva-tattva. What does Baladeva mean? Bal means shakti or energy. Without this transcendental energy, chit-shakti, you cannot develop your bhajana and sadhana. All the transcendental energy comes from Baladeva Prabhu. Baladeva Prabhu is known as our original guru-tattva. Guru destroys all kinds of anarthas from the hearts of his disciples through hari-katha. By a sadhaka’s own endeavors or efforts, he cannot remove anarthas from his heart. Try to understand this. What is needed? The mercy of Baladeva Prabhu and Nityananda Prabhu. Conditioned souls have many kinds of desires, but without the desire of Lord, you cannot attain any fruits. This means, when Krishna’s desire arrive, all of our desires will be fulfilled, otherwise not. In the same way, we cannot develop our spiritual life without the mercy of Baladeva Prabhu.
So, Vrindavana dasa Thakura very humbly thought, “First, I will glorify Nityananda Prabhu. Because Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the heart and soul of Nityananda Prabhu.” Similarly, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami first thought, “I will go to Jagannatha Puri and meet with Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.” Raghunatha dasa Gosvami left his house and went to meet with Nityananda Prabhu in Panihati. But, Nityananda Prabhu then caught his choti. And Nityananda Prabhu told Raghunatha, “You are a thief, chora.” Chora means thief. Nityananda continued, “Because Gaurasundara is My heart and soul. Gaurasundara, He is the treasure of My heart. Why do you want to break My treasure chest and take My very valuable things? You are a thief. I will have to punish you.” Then Nityananda Prabhu gave His mercy to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and ordered him to organize a flat rice festival known as Chida Dahi Mahotsava. Meaning, in this lila, Nityananda Prabhu established this siddhanta – Without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, no one can attain Gaurasundara. Our main objective is how to receive the mercy of Gurupada-padma Nityananda Prabhu or Baladeva Prabhu.
When Vrindavana dasa Thakura started to write about gaura-lila, he first glorified nityananda-lila. As he was writing and writing, he became completely absorbed in Nityananda, and forgot to write about gaura-katha. He then thought, “I have written everything about Nityananda Prabhu, but I did not include much about gaura-katha.” He only briefly covered gaura-lila in his writings. Understand this. Only later did, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami manifest the Chaitanya-charitamritam, which included all gaura-lilas.
In this way, our shastras explain why Vrindavana dasa Thakura is called Gaura-lila Vyasa avatara and how we should give respect to Vrindavana dasa Thakura. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami very humbly said, “I am wretched, I have no bhakti. But, Nityananda Prabhu gave me mercy.” In a dream, Nityananda Prabhu directly ordered Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, “You must write gaura-lilas.” He gave him this instruction directly. Though Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami never directly met with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he wrote about all gaura-lila-kathas, which he heard from Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami even gave him some karcha, karcha means, some short notes about Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is referred to as svarupere karcha; karcha means, giving notes.
When Svarupa Damodara would meet with Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu everday, he would write notes in his diary. These notes were given by Raghunatha dasa Gosvami to Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. With this and the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was able to manifest the Chaitanya-charitamrita. So in the Chaitanya-charitamrita, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami wrote, “I am writing something as the remnants of Vrindavana dasa Thakura.”
In the Chaitanya-bhagavata, Vrindavana dasa Thakura mostly glorified the period prior to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sannyasa-lila. When Krishnadasa Kavirja Gosvami wrote about Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila, he mostly emphasized on His after sannyasa lila-katha. So, what is mostly written in the Chaitanya-charitamrita grantha? Mostly, the period after Lord Chaitanya Mahrapbhu’s sannyasa–lilas, His Jagannatha Puri lila-kathas. He did write about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s bal–lilas, His childhood pastimes; he wrote about everything, but mostly emphasized on glorifying the pastimes which took place after Mahaprabhu’s sannyasa–lila. He wrote stories of when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was growing up and stories of what occurs after He received sannyasa. Because all of Mahaprabhu’s lilas are very, very empathetic, heart melting and full of karuna.
Bolo Vrindavan dasa Thakura ki Jai! Gaur Premanande Hari Haribol!
Transcriber: Jayshree dasi (UK)
Editors: Sanatan das (USA), Divya Premamayi dasi (Slovakia)