05 Nov Seminar Lecture (1) : Lord Krishna’s Vrindavana Pastimes
THE FOLLOWING LECTURE ON LORD KRISHNA’S PASTIMES IN VRINDAVANA IS THE FIRST LECTURE IN A SERIES OF SEVEN, GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CARU SWAMI.
His Holiness began the class by singing the Advaita Ashtakam prayers of Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya.
Huhunkâra-garjanâdi ahorâtra sadgunam
Hâ Krishna râdhikâ-nâtha prârthanâdi bhâvanam,
Dhoopa-dipa-kasturi cha chandanâdi lepanam
…… listen audio version : click here
Another version of the lecture given by His Holiness on the auspicious occasion of the appearance day of Sri Advaita Acharya on 25/1/2007 is
available on: click here
This prayer concluded with the Maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
And then with prema dhwani:
Jaya Om Visnupad Paramahamsa Parivakacharaya Astottarasata Sri Abhaya Caranara Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhuada ki jaya.
Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu’s Appearance day celebrations ki Jay.
Today is Sri Advaita Acharya’s appearance day. So I will speak about him. This time we will see Advaita Acharya’s purport first and then his pastimes of Sri Advaita Acharya prabhu.
There are lots of books and descriptions about Advaita Acharya prabhu, like Bhakti Ratnakar, also in Chaitanya Charitamrita, Chaitanya Bhagavata. There is one book called Advaita Charita Sudha, the nectarian pastimes of Sri Advaita Acharya prabhu. So I am just going to speak from these books.
Advaita Acharya as you all know is one of the Pancha-tattvas:
Panca tattvatmakam Krishnam, Bhakta rupa svarupakam.
Bhaktavataram Bhaktakhyam namami bhaktasatikam.
Bhaktarupa, bhakta swarupa and bhakta avatara. Krishna Himself has appeared as a devotee and there is bhakta svarup- a personification of devotee- Nityananda prabhu and, bhakta avatara; incarnated as bhakta, that is Advaita Acharya. In Caitanya Caritamrita we can find that Sri Advaita Acharya is the incarnation of Sri Mahavishnu. So Advaita Acharya is the Mahavishnu Himself, the personality who is the cause of the material creation and from whom different Vishnu tatvas appeared and Advaita Acarya is Mahavishnu himself. And it is also mentioned that Advaita Acarya is the Sadasiva from Vaikuntha. Sadasiva and Mahavishnu appeared as Advaita Acharya.
Advaita Acharya’s fathers name is Kuber Mishra and mothers name is Mallha Devi. Somewhere it is described that Kubera is a friend of Lord Shiva. The son of Viswava and the brother of Ravana is the treasurer of the demigods and a great worshiper of lord Shiva and in that way he is the friend of lord Shiva. The friend of lord Shiva appeared as Kuvera Mishra and Sadashiv appeared as Advaita. There was an interesting incident in the life of Kubera Mishra. He was a very old man. He was at that time about 73 years old. One day a priestly person came and appeared to blaspheme the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna. So Kuvera Mishra became perturbed hearing the blasphemous words of that man. Then Kuvera Mishra decided to give up his body. He decided to commit suicide. Because in the scriptures it has been said that when there is blasphemy against the lord or his devotees, we should either try to rectify that person and if one cannot rectify that person, then one should actually give up his body. Or if one cannot give up his body then one should at least leave that place immediately. So Kuvera Mishra decided to give up his body being unable to tolorate the blashphemy against the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at that time, a person, a devotee appeared before him and he said; don’t worry, very soon a great personality is going come. And that personality will be the cause in establishing Krishna consciousness in this age of Kali. So being consoled by this devotee, Kuvera Mishra refrained from committing suicide. And that night Kuvera Mishra had a beautiful dream. He saw two very brilliant personalities holding hands with each other and one was telling to the other; ‘let us go and establish the dharma in this age of kali on the earth planet, on this material nature. Then these two great personalities entered into Kuvera Mishra’s heart. When Kuvera Mishra woke he was very happy to have seen such a beautiful dream, and then his wife also woke up and told that she also saw a similar dream.
And soon after that, Kuvera Mishra’s wife Nalha Devi conceived Advaita
Acharya prabhu. After ten months Advaita Acarya prabhu was born on this particular day which is an auspicious day, the 7th day or saptami of the month of Magh. I forgot to mention one thing. Advaita Acharya’s father was in Navadip at that time. When Advaita Acarya’s mother was pregnant he went back to Srivapur in East Bengal in a place called Navagram. There Kuvera Mishra used to be the minister of a king, a powerful king of that area called Divyashingha. He resigned from that position and settled in Navadip in order to have the association of devotees. When he went back to Signhasta, also a place in East Bengal, also a place from where Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s family came. Jagannatha Mishra came also from Simhasta district. When Kuvera Mishra went back, Divyasingha requested to become minister again. He accepted that post. The king was actually very much attracted to Kuvera Mishra. And Advaita Acharya was born on this particular day in Singhasta. When Advaita was six months old rice giving ceremony or annaprasanna was performed. Rice as the remnants of the lord was given. He was named at that time. He actually has three names. His name was Kamalaksha because his eyes were like lotuses. Kamal means lotus and Akshi means eyes. Names for the children according to the sastra were given in
accordance with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So the one who has
lotus like eyes is called Kamalaksha.
One name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Kamalaksha. Since he was non-different from the supreme personality of godhead, his other name was Advaita. Since he was destined to bring all auspiciousness to this world, another name was Mangal. Mangal means auspiciousness. So these are the three names of Advaita Acharaya ie. Kamalakshya, Advaita and Mangal. Of course he has other names also, as I sang; Sitanatha Advaita caranaravinda bhavanam. Another name of Advaita Acharya is Sitanath. Sitanath means the lord of Sitadevi. Later Advaita Acharya was married to two sisters; Sitadevi and
Sridevi. Sitadevi and Sridevi are the incarnations of Yogamaya. His Holiness expresses that he forgot to read the Advaita Asthakam and will do that at the end.
When he was about three years old, before admission to school, he was sent to school at the age of five, Advaita Acharya’s mother had a dream. In the dream Advaita was in his mother’s lap and he was saying; ‘mother, I will bring all the places of pilgrimage here and make you stay here’. When she woke up she was happy to have had such a beautiful dream. And then Advaita Acharya asked her; ‘it seems that you had a beautiful dream?’ Initially mother refused to tell that dream and when he kept on insisting, she said, ‘yes, I saw a dream in which Advaita will bring all the places of pilgrimage here to take bath here. Then he took his mother to a place that is mountainous and got to a hill. Then he said, ‘mother, all the personalities of the pilgrimage are coming- Ganga, Jamuna Devi. They all came and then transformed into one orchard and thus became a place of pilgrimage’. That place is still available. Singhasta. The name of that place is called Paunatirtha. Paun means from and tirtha means the place of pilgrimage. This is the place where Advaita Acharya fulfilled the promise to his mother.
Then Advaita Acharya was sent to school. He was so brilliant. He could learn everything in one time that for others would take about a month to learn. He was very brilliant. Within very short time he completed his studies. When he was young, the king had a son, the prince who was of the same age as Advaita Acharya. The prince and Advaita became close friend and used to spend most of the time together. So one day they went to Durga temple. The prince offered obeisance but Advaita Acharya just stood on without offering obeisances. The prince said, what happened? Will you not pay obeisances to the Devi?’ Advaita did not say anything and just stood there. The prince, after all he is a kshatrya, got angry. He expressed his anger in the form of offence. He started calling him; ‘see the worshiper of Krishna!. He doesn’t respect Devi!’. One of the nicknames of Advaita Acharya was Krishnabola, because he used to always chant the name of Krishna from his early years. Krishnabola means the one who always chant the name of Krishna. The prince used to say, ‘that all of his friends are also the devotee of Krishna and do not bow down to anyone else. Because of these kind of people there is inauspiciousness in the country’. At this Advaita Acharya got angry and roared like a thunder. The prince became unconscious and lay flat on the ground. The king not being able to see the prince on time, sent his men to look out for him. And they found the prince in the unconscious state in the temple. The other boys told them what has actually happened. They then started looking for Advaita Acharya. The king called for Advaita Acharaya. They started looking for Advaita Acharya. They first went to Kuvera Mishra’s
house. Kuvera Mishra told them that that day was his birthday but they could not find him anywhere. They all looked around and finally found Advaita in a cave. It was not exactly a cave, rather it was rather an anthill. The boys have dug up a hole and made like a cave and Advaita, just about six or seven years old boy was there inside sitting. Then they brought him back to the temple. In the mean time they also tried to bring the prince back to a conscious state by blowing conch shell but nothing could help. The king then enquired what has happened between them. Advaita replied thus; ‘I can tolerate any insult to me, but I can’t tolerate any insult to the Lord and his devotees. So when he started to blaspheme the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I could not tolerate myself, so I just roared at him out of my anger’. He became unconscious. Actually he became unconscious because of his offence to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because of the offences he became unconscious. The king begged him to kindly get him back to consciousness. Advaita Acharya said; ‘ I can’t do anything. He committed offences to the Lord!’. He suggested giving him some charanamrita of the Lord and he will come back to his consciousness. So the charanamrita was given to the prince and soon he came back to his normal state. This news spread all over and everybody could recognize that Advaita Acharya is a great personality. Although they could recognize that he is a great personality they could not recognize his actual identity.
There was also another incident. The other students were envious of Advaita. Although he was a student of about seven or eight years old, the teachers installed him as an in-charge for other boys in school. The other students were about eighteen to nineteen years old, yet they became envious of Advaita. He was so brilliant that they could not tolerate his glories. They even went to report to the king. They told that this Mangal- at that time he was known as Mangal or Kamalakshya; saying he is always talking about Krishna. ‘He doesn’t want to become a devotee. He is not respecting the Deities’. In this way they reported to the king and the king became very angry. The king called upon Advaita Acharya and tried to make him understand that he should be respectful to the Deities. Advaita could not accept that. He explained worshiping Krishna is the ultimate worship and all other demigods are actually Krishna’s servants and maidservants only. And they don’t like to accept worship and obeisances from the devotees of the Lord. The king understood though but he wasn’t fully convinced.
At that time the king was celebrating the Kali puja- worshiping Kali. Actually the ksatriyas, especially in Bengal used to worship Kali. They were saktas. They were the worshipers of sakti instead of becoming a devotee of the Lord. Advaita Acharya just came into the temple room and walked away without offering obedience to the goddess Kali. At this the king became very angry and started to blashpheme.
Adaivaita Acharya would not accept that. He does not seem to offer obeisances. Then his father came there and told him; look, since the king is not ordinary he should abide by him. “I am your father and I tell, at least to please the king you must offer obeisances to the goddess Kali’ Advaita replied, ‘I can pay obeisance to the goddess kali but the consequences will not be good, so please be prepared to the consequences’.
After saying that, he went and offered obeisances and as soon as he looked back the deities broke into pieces right there. Then everybody could understand that this will bring great inauspiciousness. When the deities break like that, it is a sign that there follows great inauspiciousness. The king immediately fell on his lotus feet, saying; ‘now I recognize that I made a mistake’. Advaita told then to his father to leave that place. Because that place has become not very peaceful. He said; ‘this place is becoming very offensive to the Lord and we should not stay here. So let’s go to Snantipur’.
Kuvera Mishra was very fond of Advaita Acharya. Although he was then a young boy he listened to his instructions, and he packed up. When the king got to know he came and begged them to stay back. The king was trying to convince Kuvera Mishra to stay there. He confessed that he would accept all his instructions. But Advaita approached his father and said, ‘look we have made op our mind and if you don’t go I am going to leave you all. I am going to leave this place. The king fell at Advaita Acharya’s feet and said; I understand and I am convinced now that we have to pray to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. “That you are the incarnation of the lord. And that’s why the Deities would not accept your obedience. She could not tolerate that you are paying obeisances to her and that’s why she left this place. She left for my kingdom. So please do not go away”. But Advaita Acharya has already decided and nothing could stop him. So he left the place. Before that he told the king to become a devotee of Krishna, chant the holy name of Krishna and worship Radha Krishna. Till that time worshiping Radha Krishna was not established in that place. He said; ‘when your heart, becomes completely purified only then he can come to Shantipur’. In this way he instructed the king to visit Shantipur. The king then actually became a devotee. He built a temple of Krishna and started to regularly worship Krishna. Later on he went to Shantipur after giving his kingdom to his son. Advaita Acharya initiated him and his name became Krishna Das.
When Advaita Acharya came to Santipur he was sent to one Sayuka Bhattacarya, a very great scholar. He was a professor. Advaita Acharya was sent to him to study. This place was called Surya. Advaita stayed about two years there with him and completed his studies. His teachers were very fond of him. His teacher recognized that Advaita was an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Advaita completed his studies and was about to leave his teacher, Bhattacarya was very sad. Advaita asked him ‘what would l offer you as my guru dakshnina?’. ‘Give me Krishna prema as the gurudakshina’. Then Advaita replied with obeisances, ‘yes; I as your student must try to offer seriously’. Bahttacarya embraced him. He experienced transcendental ecstasy and became a great devotee of Krishna.
Advaita came back to Shantipur. His father and all others were very happy to have him back. At that time he defeated a visiting scholar. It was quite similar to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu defeating Keshava Kashmiri. That big person came from South India. His name was Sandar. He was a great scholar who has defeated all the scholars in different parts of India and came to Shantipur. When he challenged Advaita Acharya, Advaita Acharya defeated him. He was an impersonalist but due to Advaita’s contact he was then transformed into a devotee.
Advaita Acharya’s father, while at his 89th year of age called one day Advaita and told that he is getting very old and he is preparing to leave his body. At that time Advaita was 15 year old. He told that after his death Advaita should offer pinda daan in Gaya. Very soon Advaita’s father died. Advaita lamented at this departure of his father. When the funeral ceremony was going on, Advaita’s mother very calmly walked into the funeral pire and accompanied her husband.
After the death of his father Advaita went to Gaya and offered pinda to the departed soul and then went Yamuna to have the darshan of Gopinath. Then he went to Jagannath Puri. He travelled to the pilgrimage in the same way Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did. He went to South India, to Dwaraka and other holy places and then to Vridhavan. When in Vrindhavan he was one night in a dream resting under a tree and in that dream the Lord appeared to him and told him that he is Madan Mohan. The Lord said, ‘I am here in the nearby forest. When the Moslims attacked the temple my pujari took me and kept me there, so please come and rescue me’. When Advaita woke up he felt what morose that such beautiful dream broke and in the morning he called the residents of that area and sought help to unearth and get the Deity. That place is called Dada Sabitya Kunja in Vrindaban. From that Kunja they found the Deity of Sri Madan Mohan. Advaita Acharya installed the Deities and gave responsibilities to the village people to take care of Them. He appointed a brahmana to be an in-charge of the Deities’ worship. Then Advaita Acharya left for pilgrimage of Vrindavana.
In the mean time some Indian muslims came there to break the Deities. When they came to that temple they saw the particular Deity was not there. They then thought that they only had heard of a rumor and actually there was no Deity in that temple. Thinking like that, they left. So next morning, when the pujari came he could not find the Deities. He thought because of the offences, the Lord has left that place. He started to cry. Advaita Acharya came back and could not see the Deities there. He also felt very sad at the Deity’s disappearance. He thought that he left the service of the Deity and went for the pilgrimage, that’s why the Deity left. He also started to cry. At that time Krishna appeared to him and said; ‘why do you cry, I am hiding behind the flowers in the garden. Don’t think I am gone. How can I leave you?’ When Advaita Acharya went there, he found the Deity on the mountain of flowers. He became very happy. Since Krishna at that time introduced Himself as Gopal, since then the name of the Deity called Madan Gopal. That Deity is also present in Vrindavana.
Advaita Acharya left Virndavana went back to Navadipa. Everybody there were pleased at his arrival. At that time too Advaita Acharya was very actively propagating Krishna Consciousness. People used to gather in houses and perform kirtana. The king has become a devotee too.
One day Haridasa Thakur came to Advaita Acarya’s house. Advaita immediately recognized him and invited him to stay in his house. Haridas Thakur accepted his invitation. In the mean time when Smartas got to know that a Muslim is staying in Advaita’s house and indulging in chanting the holy name, they became very angry. They came to Advaita’s house and complained: How dare you keep a Muslim in your house? At that time if anybody drinks water touched by a Muslim he would be ostracized from the Brahman family. They even threatened Advaita that they will ostracize him too. ‘We will banish you’, they said!. Advaita replied them to do whatever they like. “I am not going to ask Haridas Thakur to leave my house!. Haridas Thakur approached him and asked why he would take the blames like that, please let me go. I will come to visit you from time to time and will stay some where under a tree, please let me go. Advaita replied; ‘no’.
Advaita Acharya suggested Haridas Thakur to pull the fire out of that village. Do it please he said, in order to exhibit the glory of the Lord and His devotees. So being requested by Advaita Acharya Haridas pulled fire and thus no one in the village could light fire in their homes. As soon as they light fire it got extinguished. They could not cook anything. The brahmanas began performing sacrifices, yet they could not do anything. Even if they bring fire from other villages, as soon as they entered their village the fire extinguished no matter how big the fire they would bring. They were worried and then only realized that they have offended Adavaita Acharya and that’s why its happening like that. So hey came and fell at Advaita Acharya’s feet.
They narrated what had been happening. ‘We know now that we have committed offence to you’, they confessed. Advaita Acharya replied; ‘you all are brahmanas, Vedagya, the exponents of the Veda’. Factually the exponents of the Vedas can produce fire from their mouth. Chant the mantras and produce fire. ‘Why don’t you ignite fire from your mouth?’ he told. They admitted that in the age of kali the brahmanas have lost such potency. Advaita further told that they are very proud of the brahminical position. ‘You did not offend me but you actually offended Haridas Thakur’, he told. He further told that because of the offenses to Haridas Thakur, they are getting this reaction. So if you all want to absolve yourselves from the offenses then they must beg forgiveness from him. You are so proud of your brahmiwnical position and saying Haridas was born in the Muslim family, let you be informed that he is Brahma himself!. So then they all went and fell unto his feet. Then only the fire came back and people could light the fire in their homes.
It is also interesting to note that Advaita Acharya participated in Mahaprabhu’s pastimes. Advaita Acharaya knew Chaitanya Mahaprabhu even before his birth. He is the one who actually persuaded Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This you all very well know, that seeing the condition of this world he became very concerned and he felt that only Krishna can solve the problems of this world. He only can establish dharma in this vicious materialistic age. He prayed to Krishna to come, offering Tulsi and mala. It’s written in the scriptures that if someone prays to Krishna offering Tulasi mala and Ganga water, Krishna cannot repay His debts to him. So Advaita Acarya’s roaring like a lion was inviting Caitanya Mahaprabhu to come, or Krishna to come as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Due to Advaita Acarya Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came. When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started the sankiratan he sent one devotee to call Advaita Acharya. He went to Santipur and invited Advaita Acharya. Advaita asserted that he will accept Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu if he would place his lotus feet on his head. “I want to test him, but don’t tell anything besides that I refused to come’, he told the devotee. ‘Let me see how he would react!”. Saying this he went to along with him to Mayapur, Navadip, but hid himself in the house of Nandanacarya like Nityananda prabhu. I forgot the name of that devotee. When that devotee went and reported to Mahaprabhu, Mahaprabhu said, ‘oh he Nara! He wants to check me out’; Advaita was used to be called as Nara by Mahaprabhu at that time. He is trying to check me and that’s why he is hiding in the house of Nandanacarya. So ‘ you go to Nandanacarya’s house and call him’, said Mahaprabhu to that devotee. So that devotee went to Nandana Acharaya’s house and requested Advaita Acharya and he came to Mahaprabhu very happily. Mahaprabhu glorified him. Before Mahaprabhu’s appearance he met Madhavendra Puri and he was initiated by him. Madhavendra Puri gave him Radha Krishna mantra and taught him to worship Radha Krishna together. So Madhavendra Puri is the first sibling of Bhaktilata. Bhaktilata was sprouting then and the sibling is Sri Madhavendra Puri- bhaktilata teho prathama ankul. Ankul means sibling. Quite before Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance Madhavendra brought prema bhakti or manifested prema bhakti in this world. From Madhavendra Puri Advaita Acharya received the prema bhakti – worshiping of Radha Krishna. Worshiping Radha Krishna is madhurya and that is also in parakiya mellow. And that is available only in the Gaudiya vaisnava sampradaya. In other vaisnava sampradaya worshiping of Radha Krishna in their conjugal mellow is not available.
So in this way Madhavendra Puri accepted Advaita Acharya as his disciple and in that sense Nityananda prabhu and Advaita Acharya are God-brothers. They have a very loving relationship. They used to fight often. There are so many incidences described in Caitanya Caritamrita and Caitanya Bhagavad about their fighting. Stories like Nityananda prabhu questioning about Advaita Acharya is there. Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Advaita Acharya had very loving relationship. One day Advaita Acharya thought that Mahaprabhu is always glorifying him. He felt that the nectar of his chastisement was not being offered to him.
So in order to get the nectar of chastisement from Mahaprabhu he propagated impersonalism- advaitavad. When this news reached, Caitanya Mahaprabhu came running Mayapur to Santipur. He went straight to Advaita and started to beat him, pounded on his back. Advaita Acharya was an old man at that time and Mahaprabhu was young, Sita Devi was so afraid and started to cry. ‘Save, save my husband’ she said, crying, while Advaita Acharya began to laugh. He said; ‘now my lord, you have offered me your mercy’.
Caitanya Mahaprahu revealed His identity as the Supreme Personality of Godhead to Advaita Acharya. Adavaita Acharya had six sons. From Sita Devi he had three sons. They are Acyuta, Krishan Mishra and Gopala Deva. These three sons became very devout devotees of Krishna. From Sridevi he had three sons namely Balaram, Sarup and Jagannath. They became impersonalists- the non-devotees. In Caitanya-caritamrita it has been described that they became asat. These three sons of Advaita became asat- dry, lifeless. The other three sons Acyuta, Krishna Mishra and Gopaldev became the devotees among which Acyutananda was the most brilliant. In Gauranga-dipika Acyutananda has been described as the incarnation of a cowherd damsel, a gopi named Acyuta manjari.
There is also an interesting incident about Acyutananda. One day someone asked Advaita Acharya,’who is the guru of Caitanya Mahaprabhu?’. Advaita asked; ‘Why?, Isvara puri is the guru of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’. Acyutananda was little boy at that time and he came running and said, ‘that is an offence, that is an offence’. How can one say that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Jagat guru himself has a guru? he exclaimed. Nobody can be his guru!. While in India, as a pastime that he played the pastimes of accepting initiation from Isvarapuri. Advaita Acharya accepted this indeed as the concussion.
His Holiness at the end of his lecture reminded again that the day is Advaita Acharya’s appearance day and urged everyone to try to make it a significant one.
Transcription : His Grace Vrajendrasuta Dasa
Editing : Her Grace Hemavati Radhika Dasi
Audio source: click here