Following in the Footsteps of Lord Caitanya

from a lecture by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


There are six kinds of opulences: richness, then fame, strength, influence, beauty, education and renunciation. So He exhibited all these six. He was very beautiful; therefore His name is Gaurasundara. Very beautiful-tall and stout and strong. There was no comparison of His beauty at that time, He was so beautiful, fair complexion. This time He did not appear in black complexion because people after fair complexion. So... And son of a very respectable brāhmaṇa family, and very highly educated. His scholarly manifestation you'll find in the explanation of one verse:


ātmārāmāś ca munayo

nirgranthā apy urukrame

kurvanty ahaitukīṁbhaktim

ittham-bhūta-guṇo hariḥ


This verse was twice explained, two times explained: once before Sanatāna Gosvāmī and once before Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya was considered at that time to be the greatest learned man in India. At that time nyāya-śāstra, logic, amongst the learned scholar logic is the greatest weapon to get victory over His opponent. So learned scholar is always a very learned scholar in logic, nyāya-śāstra. So this logic was taught in Bihar, Dharvanga. India, in different parts of India, different kinds of education was imparted. In Benares, the Mayavāda philosophy was very prominent. In Dharvanga, logic was very prominent. In Navadvīpa, philosophy was very prominent, and nyāya also. Similarly, in Bharampura, Bharatpura. There are many places, just like at the present moment there are many places, university. So He was great logician, Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In His boyhood He would ask His contemporary friends to argue with Him on a subject matter, and He'll defeat him. And again He'll establish it. The very point on which He defeated His friend, He'll again establish it, and again nullify it. He was so talented. His name was therefore, other name, was Nimāi Paṇḍita. One name is Gaurasundara, another name is Nimāi Paṇḍita. Paṇḍita means very learned scholar. And that is not hearsay, that because we are devotees we are speaking of Lord Caitanya very learned scholar. The evidence is there in the explanation of ātmārāma śloka. He has explained that śloka in sixty-four different ways, one verse. He has described one word, ātmārāma, in eleven ways. Similarly munayo, nirgranthāḥ, urukrama, bhakti. Each word He has enunciated in so many ways.

So He showed His opulence in wisdom also. Just like Kṛṣṇa showed His opulence by speaking Bhagavad-gītā in wisdom, not only miracles. Miracles a magician can also show. That is not very important thing. A yogī also can show so many miracles. But scholarly presentation of a certain thing, that requires opulence. And the most wonderful opulence He showed that is very unique, especially in this age, that at the age of twenty-four years He renounced the world. He had His very beautiful and obedient wife, Lakṣmī devi, sixteen years old. She was by name Lakṣmī, and actually she was goddess of fortune. And His mother was so affectionate, there is no comparison. So in a home, where mother is..., affectionate mother is present, and very beloved wife is present, and at the very young age.... He was twenty-four years old, and His wife was sixteen years old. Materially that is the age for sense gratification, but He renounced. He didn't care for His wife, didn't care for His mother. So renunciation is also one of the opulences, and it is described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam about His renunciation: tyaktvā sudustyaja-surepsita rājya-lakṣmīṁ[SB 11.5.34]. Su-dustaya. Su-dus... Tyaja means give up, and du means difficult, difficult, and su means very difficult. In any word, if you apply, affix the word su, it becomes hundred times more magnified. Just like buddhi. Buddhi is intelligence, and if you affix subuddhi, that means very, very intelligent. Similarly dustyaja, "difficult to give up,'' and when you affix this alphabet su, it becomes "very, very, very difficult.'' So su-dustyaja, this word, has been used. Tyaktvā sudustyaja-surepsita rājya-lakṣmīm [SB 11.5.34]. Rājya-lakṣmīn means very happy home, home life, homely life. That is called rājya-lakṣmīn—one who is very happy at home. And the symptom of happiness at home, according to Vedic understanding, is the mother, wife and son. If one has got very good mother, one has got very good wife, and one has got very good son, then his homely life is heaven. That is the standard of happiness. So He was young man, and although He had a wife, He knew that He would give up, that He did not begot children. So His children were His devotees. Vṛndāvana dasa Ṭhākura has worshiped Him, saputrāya sakala traya: "My dear Lord, I offer my obeisances unto You along with Your sons.'' So Vṛndāvana dasa Ṭhākura is offering obeisances Lord Caitanya, and specifically mentioning, "with Your sons.'' Where are the sons? He did not beget any children. So His sons means His devotees, His followers. Kalatrāya means wife.

So Caitanya Mahāprabhu had all these facilities. He was learned, very honored young man in His country; He had many followings. In one incidence we can understand how beloved leader He was. The Kazi challenged His saṅkīrtana movement and first times warned Him not to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and when He did not care for it, then he ordered that, er, that mṛdaṅga should be broken. So the constables came and broke the mṛdaṅgas. This information was given to Lord Caitanya, and He ordered civil disobedience. He was the first man in the history of India who started this civil disobedience movement. It is not Gandhi who is the originator of civil disobedience; it was Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He said that "Defy the order of the Kazi.'' Kazi means magistrate. So "This evening we shall go at the Kazi's house in hundreds of thousands, with mṛdaṅga and kīrtana.'' So simply by His order many hundreds of thousands young men—not young men; young, old, all kind of men-gathered, and... The point is just how popular leader He was. Even in His young age, when He was only twenty years old, how popular He was. So..., and because He was a learned brāhmaṇa, people would send Him many presentation. A brāhmaṇa is not expected to work. That is dhana pratigraha. Pratigraha means accept offerings from others. Just like you offered so many things to me-money, clothing, food—so a sannyāsī, a brāhmaṇa, can accept. Not others. A gṛhastha cannot. There are restriction. A brahmacārī can, but he can accept on behalf of his spiritual master, not personally. These are the rules. So He was learned brāhmaṇa, and people used to present Him profusely, so He had no economics problem. Not that He renounced the world on account of poverty or some strain. He had no poverty, He was opulent. A brāhmaṇa does not require any great amount of wealth just to pull on his family. So that much amount was more than that He was receiving. He was teacher also. Paṭhana, pāṭhana, yajana, yājana. Brahmin's business is to teach and to become a very learned scholar and teach people how to worship Kṛṣṇa and become devotee himself, and accept charities from others and distribute it again. So He had all these opulences without any difficulty, and His family life—mother, wife... Caṇākya Paṇḍita says,

mātā yasya gṛhe nāsti

bhāryā cāpriya-vādinī

araṇyaṁtena gantavyaṁ

yathāraṇyaṁtathā gṛham

Caṇākya Paṇḍita is giving too much stress on mother and wife in family life. So he says if one's mother is dead and if his wife is not very..., apriya-vādinī, and does not behave very well, ill-behaving, so Caṇākya Paṇḍita advises him that aranyaṁtena gantavyam: such person should immediately go to the forest. Because in the Vedic understanding there is no divorce. If the wife is not very pleasing, there is no question of divorcing. Caṇākya Paṇḍita does not advise it, the advise that he should divorce such wife, but he says, aranyaṁtena gantavyam: he should give up family life and go to the forest. Divorce was completely unknown, even up to, say, five years ago. Now this Nehru government has enacted Divorce Act in Hindu law, but actually, Hindu law-maker, they have no such thing as divorce.

So Caitanya Mahāprabhu, this is one of the brilliant examples of opulence, that He renounced His so happy family life, not disturbing life, and very, at a very young age, when everyone is after enjoying family life. So is it not a great opulence? Very great opulence. Young man, having good mother, good wife, good home, good reputation, good following, good parentage, beauty—everything—but He renounced. That is the greatest opulence. He renounced everything for Kṛṣṇa. That is the greatest opulence of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Similarly, if we can follow His footprints. Not that we have to give up everything, but give up everything for Kṛṣṇa. That is very nice.


 Questions and Answers -- Montreal, August 26, 1968


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