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Disappearance of Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvami



Today I want to discuss the life history of Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada and glorify his contributions. He was a very prominent rasika-acharya in our Gaudiya Sampradaya, and in radha-krishna lila, he is Tungavidya-sakhi. Throughout his life, Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada wrote many rasa-madhurya granthas and also glorified Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika very clearly explains:


tuṅgavidyā vraje yāsīt sarva-śāstra viśāradā

sā prabodhānanda-yatir gaurodgāna sarasvatī


Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika (163)


[The gopi Tungavidya, who was most learned in all the scriptures, has today become the sannyasi Prabodhananda, whose words are all used in the glorification of Lord Gauranga.]


In Vraja, during krishna-lila, as Tungavidya-sakhi, he is very expert in all kinds of shastra-vidya. And now, the same Tungavidya appeared in gaura-lila, the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as the great personality Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada. His prominent disciple was Gopala Bhatta Gosvami— who took initiation from Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada.


Hari-bhakti-vilasa also clearly explains:


bhakter vilāsāṃś cinute prabodhā-

nandasya śiṣyo bhagavat-priyasya

gopāla-bhaṭṭo raghunātha-dāsaṃ

santoṣayan rūpa-sanātanau ca



Hari-bhakti-vilasa (1.2)


[Gopala Bhatta, disciple of Srila Prabodhananda, a dear associate of Lord Chaitanya, is compiling this Hari-bhakti-vilasa to please Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami.]


In Hari-bhakti-vilasa, Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada’s foremost disciple, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami said, “I pay my obeisances to Rupa Gosvamipada, Sanatana Gosvamipada and Raghunatha dasa Gosvamipada.” He collected all the shlokas in Hari-bhakti-vilasa from the South Indian panditas.


Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada was very near and dear to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was a transcendental poet, aprakrita-kavi. All of his granthas were very sweet and so pleasing to all devotees. He composed: Vrindavana-mahimamrita-shataka, Navadvipa-shataka, Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi, Chaitanya-chandramrita, Sangita-madhava, Ashcharya-rasa-prabandha, Shruti-stuti-vyakhya, Kama-bija-kama-gayatri-vyakhya and Viveka-shataka; he also wrote a commentary on Gita-govinda. Thus, Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada was a very prominent rasika-acharya.


When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, He travelled to Jagannatha Puri, where He delivered Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Next, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu proceeded to South India where He met with Raya Ramananda in Kabur, on the banks of the Godavari River. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu afterwards, arrived at Srirangam in South India. While there, Mahaprabhu was dancing and singing in front of Srirangamji.


As Lord Chaitanya was dancing and singing, all of the visitors became completely intoxicated by His beauty. At that time, Sri Sampradaya devotees, Vyenkata Bhatta, Trimalla Bhatta and Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada, all witnessed Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s moods and activities, and in this way, they were completely intoxicated by Him.


The Bhatta parivara, the Bhatta family, invited Mahaprabhu to come stay in their house; the Lord stayed for four months, as it was the beginning of Chaturmasya. Vyenkata Bhatta, Trimalla Bhatta and Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada, all accepted diksha-mantras from the Sri Sampradaya called Ramanuja Sampradaya. Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada also took sannyasa from the Ramanuja Sampradaya. At that time Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was still a very small boy; his father’s name was Vyenkata Bhatta. Throughout the Lord’s four-month stay, although being young, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami served Him and was so attached with Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


While staying in their house, Sriman Mahaprabhu would, every day, nicely speak on the sweet and beautiful pastimes of Krishna— krishna-katha. Gurudeva explained that since Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had just met with Raya Ramananda (their conversation is known as raya-ramananda-samvada), He was now speaking this high-class rasa-madhurya, rasa-lila-kathas about the gopis, from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Venu-gita, Yugala-gita, Gopi-gita and Bhramara-gita, every day.


Everyone became completely intoxicated by hearing Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s beautiful narrations of the very sweet pastimes of Krishna. One day, Shachinandana Gaurahari asked Vyenkata Bhatta, Trimalla Bhatta and Prabodhananda Sarasvati, “Your ishtadeva is Lakshmi-devi. I heard in shastra that Lakshmi-devi is one-pointed to Lord Narayana. She is called ‘sati nari’ - she is a very chaste lady.


“Although she is one-pointed with Lord Narayana, I have heard that Lakshmi-devi is also performing hard austerities in Vrindavana to meet with Krishna. Why? Krishna is called gopa-jati and Lakshmi-devi is a chaste lady and completely one-pointed with Lord Narayana, how has she now become intoxicated by Krishna?”


As Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu developed such an intimate friendship with their family, He continued joking with them in this way, “Why does your ishtadevi Lakshmi-devi want to meet with Krishna? And also, why does she desire to enter the rasa dance? For this reason she is currently performing hard austerities. Perhaps it is that she has lost Her chastity?”


They answered, “Prabhu, why are You joking with us? Our ishtadevi is Lakshmi-devi. Also, our shastras explain that there are no differences between Krishna and Narayana or Narayana and Krishna:


rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan

nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu

kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo

govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi


Sri Brahma-samhita (5.39)


[I worship the original personality, Govinda, who manifests Himself in the material world as Sri Ramachandra and many other incarnations who are His plenary portions and sub-portions, and who personally appears in the form of Sri Krishna].


So there are no differences between Rama, Nrisimha, Kalki, Varaha, Narayana and Krishna, because the Lord is one. Another shloka also explains this siddhanta-tattva, and further clarifies how, according to the conception of the scriptures, there are no differences between Narayana and Krishna; this is because the same Krishna manifests in the form of Narayana. In this regard they replied, “Prabhu, why are You saying this? Lakshmi-devi wants to relish the madhurya-rasa from Krishna, and there is no difference between Krishna and Narayana. So, why are You joking with us?”


Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “Okay, what you are saying is true. There are no differences between Narayana and Krishna. However, I have heard how some Shrutis personified have performed hard austerities and entered in the rasa dance, and were able to perform sweet lilas with Krishna and the gopis. But Lakshmi-devi did not enter. Srimad-Bhagavatam very clearly explains:


kasyānubhāvo ’sya na deva vidmahe

tavāṅghri-reṇu-sparśādhikāraḥ

yad-vāñchayā śrīr lalanācarat tapo

vihāya kāmān su-ciraṁ dhṛta-vratā


Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.16.36)


[(The Nagapatni, wives of Kaliya, prayed to Sri Krishna:) “Oh Deva! Sri Lakshmi-devi gave up all her desires, took a vrata and performed austerities for a long, long time just to attain the dust of Your lotus feet. Nonetheless, she failed to achieve her heart’s desire.]


She was unable to fulfil this desire. So, why did Lakshmi-devi not enter in the rasa dance with the gopis and meet with Krishna? Because even Shrutis like Gopala-tapani and other Upanishads manifested personified forms, and by performing hard austerities, were allowed to enter the rasa-lila. Why?”


At the time their only response was, “We do not know.”

Then, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very nicely explained how Narayana actually has sixty qualifications, Ramachandra has sixty two and a half qualifications and Krishna, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Son of Nanda Maharaja, has sixty four qualifications. However, four of Krishna’s qualifications are unique and unparalleled.


One of Krishna’s extraordinary qualifications is His rupa-madhurya – the sweetness of his beauty. Then lila-madhurya – the sweetness of His pastimes. Then prema-madhurya – the sweetness of His divine love. And finally, Krishna’s venu-madhurya – the sweet sound of His flute. These four qualities of Krishna are unique and unparalleled, and only Krishna possesses them.


Everybody becomes completely intoxicated by Krishna’s beauty and by hearing the sound of His flute. Though there are no differences between Krishna and other incarnations, one speciality is that all other incarnations are actually hankering to take darshana of the beautiful form of Krishna. And Lakshmi-devi, is also attracted to Krishna because of these four things. Therefore, so much greed has come in her heart to enter Krishna’s sweet rasa-lila:


jaya jaya ujjvala-rasa sarva-rasa-sāra

parakīyā-bhāve jāhā vrajete pracāra


Gaudiya Giti Guccha - Jaya Radhe, Jaya Krishna (10)


[All glories, all glories to ujjvala-rasa (shringara-rasa), which is the essence and most excellent of all rasas and which is known as the parakiya-bhava of Vraja.]


Krishna’s topmost lila is His parakiya rasa-lila. And Lakshmi-devi wants to enter this rasa dance, so she performs hard austerities in Vrindavana on the banks of the Yamuna at Baelvana. But Krishna told Her, “If you want to enter My rasa dance, you have to follow some rules. First, you must give up your brahmini-abhimana, your behaviour as a brahmini. Next, you have to take birth in Vraja, vraja-janma - you must take birth in the womb of a gopi. Then, You will have to associate with vraja-gopis, and learn their activities like vetting cow dung.


You will also have to marry one gopa. Then, with the sweet attachment – anuraga, towards Me and under guidance of the vraja-gopis, You may enter My rasa-lila.” However Lakshmi-devi did not want to follow all these rules. So for this reason, Krishna did not accept Her as a vraja-gopi, and She could not enter the rasa-lila.


Actually Lakshmi-devi desired to enter the rasa dance in her form as Lakshmi, but this is not possible. Another speciality of Krishna is that He said, “Gopa-jāti āmi bahu gopa-gaṇa saṅge. - I take birth in a gopa dynasty, and without being born in a gopa dynasty, I cannot accept You.”


gopa-jāti kṛṣṇa, gopī — preyasī tāṅhāra

devī vā anya strī kṛṣṇa nā kare aṅgīkāra


Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 9.135)


[Lord Krishna belongs to the cowherd community, and the gopis are the dearmost lovers of Krishna. Although the wives of the denizens of the heavenly planets are most opulent within the material world, neither they nor any other women in the material universe can acquire Krishna’s association.]


Thus, Krishna could not accept Lakshmi-devi and she did not receive permission from Yogamaya to enter in the rasa dance of the gopis.


nāyaṁ śriyo ’ṅga u nitānta-rateḥ prasādaḥ

svar-yoṣitāṁ nalina-gandha-rucāṁ kuto ’nyāḥ

rāsotsave ’sya bhuja-daṇḍa-gṛhīta-kaṇṭha

labdhāśiṣāṁ ya udagād vraja-sundarīṇām


Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.60)


[In the rasa festival, Sri Krishna embraced the vraja-sundaris around their necks with His elephant-trunk-like arms, thus fulfilling their hearts’ desires. Even Lakshmi, who is so intimately associated with Him being situated on His chest, does not attain this mercy. It is also not attained by the most beautiful girls of the heavenly planets, whose bodily lustre and fragrance resemble the lotus flower, what to speak of other (mortal) beautiful women.]


The Uddhava stuti very clearly explains this conception. In the heavenly spiritual world, the ladies have such a beautiful form and so many sweet fragrances come from their bodies— like the fragrance of lotus petals. This verse also gives evidence how Lakshmi-devi cannot enter in the rasa dance. But just look how fortunate the gopis are; they are able to perform rasa-lila while Krishna holds their neck with His own two hands.


Thus, the vraja-sundaris are greatly fortunate:


Even Lakshmi-devi cannot enter in the rasa-lila. So in this way, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu proved that without the association of vraja-gopis, without performing bhajana and sadhana under the guidance of nitya-siddha-parikara of Srimati Radhika, like Lalita or Vishakha, under any circumstance you cannot enter in rasa-lila. But Lakshmi-devi does not want to follow the gopis’ anugatya - the instruction of the gopis. And for this reason she did not enter.


So Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in this way, very nicely glorified Krishna, the gopis and especially Srimati Radhika. According to radha-tattva, Srimati Radhika is the pleasure potency of Krishna— Krishna’s hladini-shakti. Srimati Radhika gives pleasure to Krishna, this is why one of Her names is hladini-shakti.


And with Her pleasure potency, She makes Krishna dance, which brings Him so much ananda, bliss. One of Srimati Radhika’s special qualifications is Her madanakhya-mahabhava, and in this regard, Krishna becomes completely controlled by Her prema.


kṛṣṇake karāya śyāma-rasa-madhu pāna

nirantara pūrṇa kare kṛṣṇera sarva-kāma


Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 8.180)


[Srimati Radharani induces Krishna to drink the honey of the conjugal relationship. She is therefore engaged in satisfying all the lusty desires of Krishna.]


And these were some of the very nice explanations given by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu regarding lakshmi-tattva and the tattva on the queens of Dvaraka and also the vraja-gopis. In Chaitanya-charitamrita, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami also very clearly explains these three tattvas. Finally, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained about gopis’ mahima - the glories of the gopis, who, amongst them all, Srimati Radhika is the topmost.


Even all the queens of Dvaraka are hankering on how to receive just a sprinkle of the footdust from Srimati Radhika. Even the wife of Brahma, Brahmani, or the wife of Shiva, Shivani, are all hankering how to receive a sprinkle of dust from the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika. Because all kinds of mystic powers manifested from the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika.


ananta-koṭi-viṣṇu-loka-namra-padmajārcite

himādrijā-pulomajā-viriñcajā-vara-prade

apāra-siddhi-ṛddhi-digdha-sat-padāṅgulī-nakhe

kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam


Sri Radha-kripa-kataksha-stava-raja (verse 11)


[O You who are worshipped by Lakshmi-devi—the mistress of unlimited Vaikuntha planets—and who bestows benedictions upon Sri Parvati, Indrani, and Sarasvati, even one of the nails on Your lotus feet gives rise to an infinite variety of spiritual perfections. Oh, when will You make me the recipient of Your merciful sidelong glance?]


Radha-kripa-kataksha very clearly explains this tattva: how all are hankering to receive a sprinkle of the footdust from Srimati Radhika. Even Uddhava, who is the very nearest and dearest of Krishna in Dvaraka and Mathura, came to Vraja and again and again bowed his forehead unto the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika.


āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ

vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām

yā dustyajaṁ sva-janam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā

bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām


Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.61)


[(Sri Uddhava prayed:) “Oh, how wonderful the character of vraja-devis is. They have given up everything that is difficult to renounce, such as children, family and the path of chastity, and they have taken shelter of the path of prema-bhakti to Sri Krishna that is sought after by the Shrutis. My prayer is that I may appear as a bush, a creeper or even a blade of grass in Sri Vrindavana and thus receive the footdust of the gopis’ lotus feet.”]


vande nanda-vraja-strīṇāṁ pāda-reṇum abhīkṣṇaśaḥ

yāsāṁ hari-kathodgītaṁ punāti bhuvana-trayam

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.63)


[(Sri Uddhava said:) “I bow down to the dust of the feet of the gopis who reside in Nanda Baba’s Vraja. Oh, whatever these gopis have sung about Krishna’s pastimes always has and always will purify the entire world.”]


Uddhava repeatedly recited these mantras. Uddhava did not attain this highest prema of Srimati Radhika, yet he is still hankering how to attain a sprinkle of the footdust from Srimati Radhika - ‘radhika carana renu’.


Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami explains:


anārādhya rādhā-padāmbhoja-reṇum

anāśritya-vṛndāṭavīṁ tat-padāṅkām

asambhāṣya-tad-bhāva-gambhīra-cittān

kutaḥ śyāma-sindho rasasyāvagāhaḥ


Sva-sankalpa-prakasha-stotra (1)


[How can a person become immersed in the ocean of shyama-rasa (madhurya-rasa) if he has never worshipped the dust of Sri Radha’s lotus feet; if he has never taken shelter of Her pastime-place Sri Vrindavana, which is marked with the impressions of Her lotus feet; and if he has never associated with and served the devotees whose hearts are submerged in the ocean of Her profound sentiments? It will never be possible.]


If you want to submerge in shyama-rasa, also called shringara-rasa, the highest transcendental paramour mood, or madhurya-rasa, you have to follow three principles. First, you have to be one-pointed with Srimati Radhika— radha-eka-nishtha. Second, you have to stay in Vraja, but not just anywhere in Vrindavana, only in vraja-vasa - the places where Radha-Krishna perform Their sweet and amorous pastimes - yatraiva radha adhipata, places like Seva-kunja, Nidhuvana, Nikunjavana, Giriraja Govardhana and Radha-kunda, Javata and Kokilavana.


When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu glorified Vraja and madhurya-lila katha, especially Srimati Radhika’s and Krishna’s sweet lilas in this way, Vyenkata Bhatta, Trimalla Bhatta and Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada’s minds completely changed and they began performing bhajana and sadhana to Srimati Radhika and Krishna. Before, they were the devotees of Lakshmi - Narayana, but now they became devotees of Radha and Krishna.


This is how Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada and all of his family completely changed their spiritual lives by going from Sri Sampradaya to ‘śuddha unnatojjvala-rasāṁ bhagavat radha krishna upāsana’. Especially Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada, who came to Vrindavana and stayed in Luk-luki-kunda. In Kamyavana, very near Charana-pahadi, there is one kunda called Luk-luki-kunda where Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada performed his bhajana and sadhana while remembering very nice and beautiful pastimes.


Today, his samadhi-mandira is near Kaliya-daha. As I previously mentioned, Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada composed many sweet granthas like Vrindavana-shataka, Navadvipa-shataka, Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi, Chaitanya-chandramrita, Sangita-madhava, Ashcharya-rasa-prabandha, Shruti-stuti-vyakhya, Kama-bija-kama-gayatri-vyakhyana and he also wrote a commentary on Gita-govinda.


Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada especially manifested one grantha called Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi where he only glorified Srimati Radhika. In the first few shlokas, he very humbly paid his obeisances to Srimati Radhika. But he also wrote, “I cannot directly pay my pranamas to the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika, so I offer my pranamas to the direction which is facing Srimati Radhika.”


yasyāḥ kadāpī vasanāñcala-khelanottha-

dhanyāti dhanya-pavanena kṛtārtha-mānī

yogīndra-durgama-gatir madhusūdano ’pi

tasyā namo ’stu vṛṣabhānu-bhuvo diśe ’pi


Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (2)

by Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati


[I offer my obeisance to the direction facing the daughter of Vrishabhanu Maharaja - Srimati Radhika’s. She completely captivates the heart of Madhusudana Sri Krishna whom the greatest yogis rarely attain. When a gentle gust of wind playfully touches Her cloth and carries its sweet fragrance towards Krishna and touches His body, He embraces it to His heart and feels that His life has become blessedly fulfilled.]


yat-kiṅkarīṣu bahuśaḥ khalu kāku-vāṇī

nityaṁ parasya puruṣasya śikhaṇḍa-mauleḥ

tasyāḥ kadā rasa-nidher vṛṣabhānu-jāyās

tat-keli-kuñja-bhavanāṅgana-marjanī syām


Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (8)

by Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati


[O Radhika! The Supreme Enjoyer who wears a crown of peacock feathers, falls at the feet of Your maidservants and propitiates them with many humble and grief-stricken words to be allowed entrance into Your kuñja (where both of You engage in playful amorous pastimes). Let me become just one stick in the broom used by Your sakhis to clean the kuñja of that ocean of rasa, the daughter of Vrishahanu Maharaja.]


Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada very humbly said, “I have no qualifications to serve Srimati Radhika.” This is called his humility, dainya. In this verse he is stating, “If I take birth in Vrindavana, as the stick of a broom in Nidhuvana, then my life will be successful.” Why? Because when Srimati Radhika displays mana towards Vrajendra-nanda Shyamasundara He bows His forehead to the lotus feet of the manjaris and pleads with Srimati Radhika to turn Her face towards Him.

In his Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi, Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada wrote many glorifications about Srimati Radhika; this grantha is very nice and beautiful. He also composed Navadvipa-shataka, Vrindavana-shataka - glorification of Vrindavana, Chaitanya-chandramrita and he also glorified Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


Because without taking shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, no one can attain Krishna, the beloved of the gopis. And without taking shelter of Navadvipa-dhama no one can attain Vrindavana-dhama.


For this reason, Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada glorified Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His abode, His dhama, Gaura-dhama:


yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde

vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta-puṇya-rāśiḥ

tathā tathotsarpati hṛdy akasmād

rādhā-padāmbhoja-sudhāmbu-rāśiḥ

Chaitanya-chandramrita (88)

by Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati


[To the extent that a pious soul attains pure devotion to Gauranga and becomes absorbed in rendering service to His lotus feet, to that extent the nectar ocean of devotional ecstasy flowing from the lotus feet of Sri Radhika gradually arises without any material cause and floods his heart.]


In this way, Prabodhananda Sarasvati Gosvamipada glorified Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and how one who completely surrenders to the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to spontaneously become the maidservant of Srimati Radhika— radha-dasyam. This will automatically come.


Gaura Premanande! Hari Hari bol!

Thank you!

Jaya jaya Sri Radhe!



Date: 8 July 2020 Location: Zoom


 

Transcriber: Shyamapriya dasi (Holland) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia), Sanatana dasa (USA) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)



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