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  • Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
 
 

About Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

This account originally appeared in a short work by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura entitled, 'Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts.' (dated 20th August 1896.)" This was taken from "Prologue" to "Teachings of Lord Chaitanya" (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 1974. pages xiii-xxii.) Who better could we find to include here than the pure unalloyed Devotee, and foremost scholar in Vaishnava circles Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to perform this task. He starts his essay;
 
Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Lord Sri KrishnaKrishna
It is described that there are three aspects of the Supreme that must...
Chaitanya in combined Form of Sri Sri RadhaRadha
Radha, also known as Radhika and Radharani was a Gopi (milkmaid)...
Krishna.

"Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayapur in the town of Nadia just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Phalguna (1407 Sakadba), answering to the 18th of February 1486 of the Christian Era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of His birth, and the people of Nadia were then engaged, as was usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father, Jagannatha Misra, a poor 'brahmana' of the Vedic order, and His mother, Saci-devi, a model good woman, both descended from 'brahmana' stock originally residing in Sylhet.

Mahaprabhu was a beautiful child, and the ladies of the town came to see Him with presents. His mother's father, Pandita Nilambara Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the child would be a great personage in time; and he, therefore, gave him the name Vishvambhara. The ladies of the neighbourhood styled him Gaurahari on account of His golden complexion, and His mother called Him Nimai on account of the 'nimba' tree near which He was born. Beautiful as the lad was, everyone heartily loved to see Him every day. As He grew up He became a whimsical and frolicsome lad. After His fifth year, He was admitted into a pathasala where He picked up Bengali in a very short time.
 
Caitanya Mahaprabhu

His father, Jagannatha Misra, a poor 'brahmana' of the Vedic order, and His mother, Saci-devi, a model good woman, both descended from 'brahmana' stock originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful child, and the ladies of the town came to see Him with presents. His mother's father, Pandita Nilambara Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the child would be a great personage in time; and he, therefore, gave him the name Vishvambhara... (In the image: Murtis of JagannathJagannath
King Indradyumna was a great devotee of Vishnu...
Mishra, Sachi Mata and new born Vishvambhar, Yoga Pitha, Mayapur).

"Most of His contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Chaitanya which are simple records of His early miracles. It is said that when He was an infant in His mother's arms He wept continually, and when the neighbouring ladies cried 'Haribol' He used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of utterance of 'Haribol' in the house, foreshewing the future mission of the hero. It has also been stated that when His mother gave Him sweetmeats to eat, He ate clay instead of the food. His mother, asking for the reason, He stated that as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, He could eat clay as well.

His mother, who was also the consort of a 'pandita', explained that every article in a special state was adapted  to a special use. Earth, while in the state of a jug, could be used as a water pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food, but clay in its other states was not. The lad was convinced and admitted His stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in the future. Another miraculous act has been related. It is said that a brahmana on pilgrimage became a guest in His house, cooked food and read grace with meditation upon Krishna.

In the meantime the lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The 'brahmana', astonished at the lad's act, cooked again at the request of Jagannatha Misra. The lad again ate up the cooked rice while the 'brahmana' was offering the rice to Krishna with meditation. The 'brahmana' was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep, and so the lad showed Himself as Krishna to the traveller and blessed him. The 'brahmana' was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the object of his worship. It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the lad from His father's door with a view to purloin His jewels and gave Him sweetmeats on the way. The lad exercised His illusory energy and deceived the thieves back towards His own house.

The thieves, for fear of detection, left the boy there and fled. Another miraculous act that has been described is the lad's demanding and getting from Hiranya and Jagadisa all the offerings they had collected for worshiping Krishna on the day of Ekadashi. When only four years of age He sat on rejected cooking pots which were considered unholy by His mother. He explained to His mother that there was no question of holiness and unholiness as regards to earthen pots thrown away after the cooking was over. These anecdotes relate to His tender age up to the fifth year.
 
"In His eighth year, He was admitted into the tola of Gangadasa Pandita in Ganganagara close by the village of Mayapur. In two years He became well read in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric. His readings after that were of the nature of self-study in His own house, where He had found all-important books belonging to His father, who was a 'pandita' himself. It appears that He read the 'smrti' in His own study, and the 'nyaya' also, in competition with His friends, who were then studying under the celebrated 'pandita' Raghunatha Siromani.
 
"Now, after the tenth year of His age, Chaitanya became a passable scholar in grammar, rhetoric, the 'smrti' and the 'nyaya'. It was after this that his elder brother Vishvarupa left his house and accepted the 'ashrama' (status) of a 'sannyasi' (ascetic). Chaitanya, though a very young boy, consoled His parents, saying that He would serve them with a view to please God. Just after that, His father left this world. His mother was exceedingly sorry, and Mahaprabhu, with His usual contented appearance, consoled His widowed mother.
 
Caitanya Mahaprabhu

It was at His mother's request that He married Visnupriya, the daughter of Raja Pandita Sanatana Misra. (In the image: Vishnupriya holding foot wear of Her Husband Lord Chaitanya).

It was at the age of 14 or 15 that Mahaprabhu was married to Lakshmidevi, the daughter of Vallabhacharya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered one of the best scholars of Nadia, then renowned seat of 'nyaya' philosophy and Sanskrit learning. Not to speak of the 'smarta panditas', the 'Naiyayikas' were all afraid of confronting Him in literary discussions. Being a married man, He went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for acquirement of wealth. There He displayed His learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that He preached Vaishnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaishnavism, He ordered Tapanamishra to go to and live in Benares.

During His residence in East Bengal, His wife Lakshmidevi left this world from the effects of snake bite. On returning home, He found His mother in a mourning state. He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at His mother's request that He married Visnupriya, the daughter of Raja Pandita Sanatana Misra. His comrades joined Him on His return from pravasa or sojourn. He was now so renowned that He was considered to be the best pandita in Nadia.

Keshava Misra of Kashmir, who had called himself the Great Digvijayi, came to Nadia with a view to discuss with the 'pandita' of that place. Afraid of the so-called conquering pandita, the tola professors of Nadia left their town on pretence of invitation. Keshava met Mahaprabhu at the Barokona-ghata in Mayapur, and after a very short discussion with Him he was defeated by the boy, and mortification obliged him to decamp. Nimai Pandita was now the most important 'pandita' of His times.

"It was at the age of 16 or 17 that He travelled to Gaya with a host of His students and there took His spiritual initiation from Ishvara Puri, a Vaishnava 'sannyasi' and a disciple of the renowned Madhavendra Puri. Upon His return to Nadia, Nimai Pandita turned religious preacher, and His religious nature became so strongly represented that Advaita Prabhu, Srivasa and others who had before the birth of Chaitanya already accepted the Vaishnava faith were astonished at the change of the young man.

He was then no more a contending 'naiyayika', a wrangling 'smarta' and a criticizing rhetorician. He swooned at the name of Krishna and behaved as an inspired man under the influence of His religious sentiment. It has been described by Murari Gupta, an eye-witness, that He showed His heavenly powers in the house of Shrivasa Pandita in the presence of hundreds of His followers, who were mostly well-read scholars. It was at this time that He opened a nocturnal school of 'kirtana' in the compound of Shrivasa Pandita with His sincere followers. There He preached, there He sang, there He danced, and there He expressed all sorts of religious feelings.

Nityananda Prabhu, who was then a preacher of Vaishnavism and who had then completed His travels all over India, joined Him at that time. In fact, a host of 'pandita' preachers of Vaishnavism, all sincere at heart, came and joined Him from different parts of Bengal. Nadia now became the regular seat of a host of Vaishnava 'acaryas' whose mission it was to spiritualize mankind with the highest influence of the Vaishnava creed.
 
 

 
 

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