Hari-kathaArticlesElephantine Ecstasy

Elephantine Ecstasy

[Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga, on the subject of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, Chapter Two.]

Mahaprabhu stayed in the Gambhira for eighteen years. He there relished the moods of Srimati Radharani. He carried Krsna in His heart, just like Srimati Radhika does, and He experienced the sentiments She feels when She serves Krsna. Krsna’s beauty and sweetness appeared in Mahaprabhu’s heart. How could He tolerate this? He entered transcendental madness and would be absorbed day and night in ecstasy and the agony of separation. Before Krsna did not understand His own sweetness and beauty, so He appeared as Mahaprabhu to comprehend this, and He took shelter of Srimati Radhika’s complexion and mood to do so.

Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami now explains in brief the later pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu stayed in the Gambhira always absorbed in the moods of Srimati Radhika. Sometimes He heard Krsna’s flute, and He then ran out of the Gambhira, just like the Vraja-devis’ left their homes and all their relatives. They ran to Krsna in the forest and there Krsna tested them to see how much love and dedication they had. If they became angry at Krsna or left, then it would show that they had no pure love. Sometimes we are tested to see if we have love or if we are selfish. If any disturbance or obstacle comes, and we then become agitated and angry, it is a symptom that we do not have selfless love.

atmendriya-priti-vancha — tare bali ‘kama’
krsnendriya-priti-iccha dhare ‘prema’ nama
–Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 4.165

 

[The desire to gratify one’s own senses is kama (lust), but the desire to please the senses of Lord Krsna is prema (love).]

Krsna tested to see why the gopis had come to Him. But He saw that the fruits of the tree of the gopis’ love were very sweet. When the sadhakas practice bhakti and cross the various stages, then Guru and Krsna test them at different check posts. When the four kumaras were stopped at the check post of Vaikuntha, then their anger at being tested caused all living entities in the universe to suffer as a result. But Krsna tested the gopis so much, yet still, they did not become angry, and they humbly waited, without any anger fire. They were cool like the Himalayas. They only felt spotless selfless love and they only had one tendency—to serve God.

Prahlada Maharaja served the Lord 24 hours of the day; therefore, he did not become disturbed even for a moment by the atrocities of his demonic father. The gopis are expansions of Srimati Radhika and also there were sadhana-siddhas who had become qualified by taking shelter of the nitya-siddhas. They passed Krsna’s test. They did not want anything from Him other than His service. The gopis were internally serving Krsna while He spoke to them and tested them, but they became so blissful while engaged in these services, that they considered their happiness an obstacle in their service. They thought, “Two enemies are attacking us: ananda and madana.” The gopis took Krsna in to their hearts through their eyes and embraced Him. Then they considered ananda and madana (bliss and amorous desire) as two enemies that came between them and Krsna. They contemplated, “How can we serve Krsna?” While Krsna was talking, the gopis were completely absorbed internally in many varieties of service.

Mahaprabhu would pray in the mood of the gopis, “How can I see and serve Krsna? I want to be strong and watch Krsna but ananda and madana have caused an obstacle in this. I want to decorate Him with ornaments, garlands, and flowers, but I become senseless in ecstasy and then cannot see anything.”

Absorbed in this manner, Mahaprabhu would fall senseless. Later, when Mahaprabhu entered bahya-dasa, external awareness, He asked Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, “What happened? What did I say?” After Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya explained His condition to Him, saying He was experiencing pure love for Krsna, Mahaprabhu replied, with great lamentation. He said, “You are My real friends. But I have no love for Krsna. I am very poor. I always serve My body and senses; they are not ready to serve Krsna, therefore I have come back to My external senses.

“Oh Svarupa, Oh Rama-raya, alas, alas, really I have no love for Krsna! I am only wasting My time out of love for external objects, therefore I do not serve Krsna constantly. I am a hypocrite. If I had love for Krsna in truth, I would not be able to remain alive. I would have no friendship with this body. I feel no separation. If I had love for Krsna, then I would not be able to feed, decorate, and take care of this body. One who has love for Krsna cannot give up His service for a moment. If one really has love, if he is separated from Krsna for a moment, he gives up his body. Where there is yoga, union, there can be no viyoga, separation. Therefore I have no love. I only show some symptoms to garner respect from others. I don’t have a drop of love for Krsna. If I had love for Krsna really, I would be like a firefly racing towards the blazing fire. When I heard the flute of Krsna, I ran to Him, but because I have no love for Him, I have come back here. Demons like Ravana and Kamsa had no love for Krsna, therefore even after seeing Him, they made no relationship with Him, and they did no service.”

Mahaprabhu then said:

na prema-gandho ‘sti darapi me harau
krandami saubhagya-bharam prakasitum
vamsi-vilasy-anana-lokanam vina
bibharmi yat prana-patangakan vrtha
— Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 2.45

 

“My dear friends, I have not the slightest tinge of love of Godhead within My heart. When you see Me crying in separation, I am just falsely exhibiting a demonstration of My great fortune. Indeed, not seeing the beautiful face of Krsna playing His flute, I continue to live My life like an insect, without purpose.”

dure suddha-prema-gandha, kapata premera bandha,
seha mora nahi krsna-paya
tabe ye kari krandana, sva-saubhagya prakhyapana,
kari, iha janiha niscaya
— Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 2.47

 

“Actually, My love for Krsna is far, far away. Whatever I do is actually an exhibition of pseudo love of Godhead. When you see Me cry, I am simply falsely demonstrating My great fortune. Please try to understand this beyond a doubt.” [Ref. VedaBase]

Mahaprabhu wept bitterly. He said, “Rama-raya, Svarupa, I heard Krsna’s flute, but I have no love, therefore I did not stay with Him and serve Him. I only cry to show everyone that I am an advanced personality. If I had real love, I would be clean within and without like the pure water of the Ganga. I carry My body because of attachment for it and have no taste for the ocean of nectar. One who has anuraga cannot hide it, just like a black spot cannot be concealed on a spotlessly white sheet. Oh Svarupa, Oh Rama-raya, please give Me a drop of your love.”

Mahaprabhu continued, “When I go to the mangala-arati of Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subhadra, and Sudarsana, then I feel My life successful seeing the lotus eyes of Jagannatha. Then My mind, body, and senses are cooled with the transcendental nectar of Lord Jagannatha’s beauty, as I stand at the Garuda-stambha.”

In the morning Mahaprabhu would go to see Jagannatha, but He would burn in separation, feeling the moods of Radharani when She went to Kuruksetra and saw Krsna there. Krsna-prema is outwardly like a blazing fire, and if one drinks this prema, one is burnt inside, but at the same time, this love is so sweet, that once tasting it, one cannot give it up. Mahaprabhu was very far away from Jagannatha—at the Garuda-stambha, the pillar at the entrance of the temple reserved for Garuda, the eagle carrier of Visnu. From there, Mahaprabhu wept while gazing at Jagannatha, and many people surrounded him. He thought with the mood of Srimati Radhika, “How can I go and see Him? We are separated by so many people. There are so many obstacles to our meeting.”

When Mahaprabhu returned to the Gambhira, He was still thinking of Lord Jagannatha, who He perceived as Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara, and He would lament and cry out:

amuny adhanyani dinantarani
hare tvad-alokanam antarena
anatha-bandho karunaika-sindho
ha hanta ha hanta katham nayami
— Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 2.58

 

“O My Lord, O friend of the helpless! You are the only ocean of mercy! Because I have not met You, My inauspicious days and nights have become unbearable. I do not know how I shall pass the time.”

Mahaprabhu continued, “Please come to Vrndavan. Don’t stay here in Kuruksetra any longer. Please return to Vrndavan. There is too much opulence here, and Your mood and service here is very strange. So please come to Vrndavan. O Krsna, without seeing You in Vrndavan, My heart is burning in agony. You are My only friend and You are the ocean of mercy. I cannot tolerate being separated from You any longer.”

Remembering Krsna’s beauty in Vrndavan, Mahaprabhu wept and thought, “Where can I meet You? Please tell Me.” Thinking like this, Mahaprabhu’s body experienced many bhavas, and it was like His body became a battlefield. The different ecstasies of hairs standing on end, horripilation, changing of colors, choked voice, incessant tears, and so forth, were like soldiers attacking the divine form of Mahaprabhu. These ecstasies were like many elephants entering a field of sugarcane. The elephants generally eat plants and grass that are not sweet, so when they taste sugarcane they become intoxicated. They take up twenty sugarcane stalks at once, smash them all, and drink the juice. They then rampage through the field and roll in the sugarcane in bliss. But what befalls the sugarcane field? The elephants eat more and more sugarcane and cannot stop, and the sugarcane field is destroyed. Similarly, when one drinks the nectar of Krsna’s beauty, the body becomes so happy, so full of ecstasy—the body cannot tolerate this and it begins to fall apart.

People think that Vaisnavas suffer from strokes and different material illnesses. They cannot understand antara-dasa—internal awareness. What can help at that time? Only maha-sankirtana. Once when Srila Gurudeva was in Mathura, at three thirty or four a.m. he fell senseless. He would sleep on the veranda. Seeing Gurudeva senseless, we carried him into his room and called for a doctor. The doctor gave him many types of medicine. He said Gurudeva had suffered a stroke and gave medicine for him to recover. He also said Srila Gurudeva must be given complete rest without any disturbance and without speaking or meeting with anyone. So Gurudeva stayed in his room for three days. After three days, when Gurudeva had recovered, he asked the brahmacaris, “Why did you stay outside the whole time?” We replied that the doctor had ordered us to do so because he said it was a very dangerous time. Afterwards, the doctor continued to give Gurudeva medicine for many months. When Srila Gurudeva spoke the evening of the third day after this incident, then he commented on this example of the elephants trampling and ravaging the sugarcane field. He said that when asta-sattvika-bhavas manifest on the body, the body cannot tolerate this and starts to fall apart. Bhava-dasa is very strange. People think, “The Vaisnava has left this world from a stroke,” or they see any other sickness as the cause of the Vaisnavas’ departure. But advanced Vaisnavas do not pass away from any material cause; it is a transcendental condition. Material doctors have not taken any training in Vraja-bhava and have no relation with the soul. They cannot fathom these truths.

Sriman Mahaprabhu then prayed:

he deva he dayita he bhuvanaika-bandho
he krsna he capala he karunaika-sindho
he natha he ramana he nayanabhirama
ha ha kada nu bhavitasi padam drsor me

— Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 2.65

 

“‘O My Lord! O dearest one! O only friend of the universe! O Krsna, O restless one, O only ocean of mercy! O My Lord, O My enjoyer, O beloved to My eyes! Alas, when will You again be visible to Me?'” [Ref. VedaBase]

Mahaprabhu lamented, “Why haven’t You come? Why are You late? You must have had many problems and many responsibilities. Please give Me darsana just for a minute and then leave. I only want Your darsana.”

Mahaprabhu then said, “If you come, I will make You a garland. Will You wear it? Are You afraid someone will doubt Your character if You wear it? Please accept My service.”

The Lord then began to speak like a madman. He shouted, “Fire, fire, fire, I am burning!”

“Where is the fire?” the bhaktas asked.

But the Lord did not reply to the devotees. He addressed Krsna, “Oh Prabhu, You have many followers and friends, why would You come to Me? I am unqualified for You. I am only a simple village girl and have no qualification to please and serve You.”

Mahaprabhu continued:

tomara capala-mati, ekatra na haya sthiti,
ta’te tomara nahi kichu dosa
tumi ta’ karuna-sindhu, amara parana-bandhu,
tomaya nahi mora kabhu rosa
–Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 2.69

 

“My dear Krsna, Your mind is always restless. You cannot remain in one place, but You are not at fault for this. You are actually the ocean of mercy, the friend of My heart. Therefore I have no reason to be angry with You.” [Ref. VedaBase]

Krsna then appeared before Mahaprabhu in His mind’s eye and Mahaprabhu raced to embrace Him, but just as suddenly Krsna disappeared. Weeping, Mahaprabhu said, “Oh Krsna, why have You given darsana if You were just going to leave immediately? You should never give Your darsana to anyone. It is not good. People can remain happy as long as they have not seen You. Until then they do not know the meaning of love and sweet friendship. But You come close, and then You hide in the heart. But a little later, You steal everything and then run away. You then don’t give darsana, and we are devoid of any dear friend. I am ready to serve You, but You have run away, and I wait for You for what seems like eternity. Did You become angry at Me for not doing some service? Please don’t be angry. I am fallen and unqualified; therefore, how can I serve You? I never took any training. But why did You come and steal My heart and then run away? Oh beloved.” Chanting, “Krsna, Krsna, Madana, Madana,” Mahaprabhu fell senseless. Then, in inward awareness, He saw, “Krsna has come.” He jumped up and roared: “Now I will never let You go! I will bind You with ropes in My heart!”

Mahaprabhu’s senses and body began to dance in ecstasy. He exclaimed, “My prana-vallabha has come!” His body and senses were then like His disciples, following His instructions how to serve. Krsna disappeared and then Mahaprabhu fell senseless again on the ground. He could not tolerate this. In this way, Mahaprabhu would get up, dance, and then fall senseless again and again. When Mahaprabhu fell senseless, all the joints of His body separated. He became twenty feet long, and His body remained connected together only by His skin. Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara would sing the songs of Candidasa, Vidyapati, and Jayadeva, and over a long time, Mahaprabhu returned to His normal appearance. Mahaprabhu would listen to these songs in the moods of Srimati Radhika throughout the day and night and experienced the ecstasy of love and separation from Krsna.

Mahaprabhu before desired to taste vraja-rasa and so He came as Mahaprabhu. He tasted this rasa and taught the bhaktas how to enter Vraja-dhama and how to make relationship with the Vrajavasis. He distributed vraja-prema everywhere. Brahma, Siva and great yogis could not achieve this vraja-prema even after extreme austerity, but without doing any hard sadhana, people received this prema from Mahaprabhu and entered Vraja-dhama. By attaining the mercy of Mahaprabhu, one gets relationship with His followers, and only then can one enter Vraja-dhama.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes are the greatest treasure. This wealth was reserved with Svarupa Damodara. He gave this to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who in turn gave it to Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami. Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami kept all these jewels in the Caitanya-caritamrta. Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami said, “If I do not keep this treasure here, people would not be able to achieve anuraga for Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna. If people cannot understand this or disagree with anything, they should study and hear it repeatedly with a sincere and prayerful mood and then everything will be revealed. I have written completely under guidance of the Gosvamis and followed their opinion. I have not pandered to the opinions of the common people. Some may complain that there are many Sanskrit verses in this Caitanya-caritamrta, but they are explained also in the common tongue of Bengali. All the slokas of the Srimad-Bhagavatam are in Sanskrit, but still, people hear the Bhagavatam and listen to purports given by commentators, so similarly, this Caitanya-caritamrta can be hear and studied under guidance of Vaisnavas. I will first write the pastimes of Mahaprabhu in synopsis because I am old and feeble and I don’t know how long I will live. As long as I am alive, I will continue to explain Mahaprabhu’s pastimes. If Mahaprabhu gives His mercy, then I will be able to write this completely. I am old and my senses are feeble, I can barely see or hear, but still, somehow, I am writing, even without knowing how. What I have now written is some indications about the antya-lila of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If Mahaprabhu gives me a long life, then I will write everything in length nicely, but I don’t know how long I will live.”

Why is Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami speaking like this? He experiences bhava and the body cannot tolerate it. When a leaf is on the tree, it is very healthy, but when it dries and falls off the tree, then the leaf is lifeless. As long as the body is connected to the soul and the consciousness of the soul looks after the body, then the body is maintained. But when the soul is always absorbed in Krsna and neglectful of maintaining the body, then the relation to the body is finished and the body falls apart. Guru and Vaisnavas become like this in their advanced age. They have no relation with their bodies. Their bodies become disconnected to them, like dry leaves. Their sevakas take care of them, otherwise they would leave very quickly. The Vaisnavas feel, “Who will care for this useless body?” When you have a lot of time, then you bathe, feed, and clothe the body, and take it to doctors for panca-karma and sat-karma, but when you are separate from the body, and always serving the Supreme Soul with your soul, then you will not look at the body or care if it has any disturbance. If someone takes care of the Vaisnavas’ bodies at that time, they will get krsna-prema. Sometimes the Vaisnavas will come to bahya-dasya and ask their sevakas, “Why are you taking care of this body? What is the use?” and then they go again into internal consciousness. People think Vaisnavas go into comas, but this is only their complete absorption in krsna-seva. They keep their bodies in this world for some time for the benefit of sadhakas, so that without difficult sadhana others can become connected to vraja-bhava-seva in antara-dasa and achieve qualification to enter the prema-rajya, realm of pure love.

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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