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EDITORIAL

April 29, 1999   VNN3733  

Narasinghadeva And Caitanya Lila


BY SWAMI B.V. TRIPURARI

EDITORIAL, Apr 29 (VNN) — (from Sanga wfd@efn.org)

'You are a devotee of Narasinghadeva yet you are very attached to me. You may think this a problem but it is not.' Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to show, 'Narasinghadeva and I are one'."

From an address on Lord Narasingha's Appearance Day, 1997 by Swami B.V. Tripurari. Transcription by Malati dasi.

Today is the holy appearance day of Bhagavan Narasingha who is a very prominent incarnation of Krsna. According to the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, 'Krsna is the original personality of Godhead!' 'Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam'.In the beginning of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Saunaka Rsi asked Suta Goswami some questions, one of which was referring to the different avataras of Krsna.

Sukadeva Goswami later elaborates upon those. He says, 'tattva sarga visargas ca, stanam posanam uttaya, manvataranu isanu katha, nirodha muktir asraya'. These are the ten subjects of the Bhagavatam. One of them, 'Isanu katha', means topics about the Lord's incarnation. It is introduced in the beginning by Saunaka Rsi. "Tell us about the avataras of Krsna! " That is in the very first chapter. In the third chapter, Suta Goswami begins to answer these questions and after describing the three Visnus, namely Mahavisnu, from whom the Universes come, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, who enters into every universe and Ksirodakasayi Visnu who enters every atom and every heart, he begins to narrate the lila-avataras and sakti-avesa-avataras. In the end of his narration he uses the word 'asankya', these incarnations of God are uncountable.

Prahlada, the great devotee of Narasinghadeva, said a similar thing,'You appear in incarnations in all species of life, like waves on the ocean are uncountable so are your appearances for the benefit of the conditioned souls.' So they are not all mentioned. Some are mentioned, some prominent ones, and Narasinghadeva is mentioned by Suta Goswami there in the third chapter as a prominent incarnation. After describing some of the prominent incarnations he makes that statement. 'Ete camsa kala pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam'.

All these incarnations are either parts or partial parts, plenary portions or parts of plenary portions of the purusa, but (tu) 'krsnas tu', but krsna is the actual source of all incarnations. This is the Gaudiya Vaisnava understanding and according to it Narasinghadeva is like one aspect of Krsna; Krsna acting in a particular way for a particular time and circumstance. The appearance of the Lord in any of his different incarnations is relevant to the circumstances in which the devotees find themselves. It is mentioned in the third canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam by Lord Brahma in his prayers for creation. He says to the Lord: "You appear in accordance with the heart of your devotees." Indeed he appears in reciprocation to the devotees relative to his circumstances, such is the appearance of Narasinghadeva to Bhakta Prahlada.

In our Gaudiya Vaisnava lineage our deity is actually Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Because our deity is Caitanya Mahaprabhu our deity is Radha Krsna. 'Sri Krsna Caitanya, Radha Krsna nahe anya, rupanuga janera jivana'.

We are the followers of Srila Rupa Goswami and his followers and it is said, 'Rupanuga janera jivana'. The life and soul of the followers of Rupa Goswami is this one point. 'Sri Krsna Caitanya Radha Krsna nahe anya'. That Sri Krsna Caitanya is Radha and Krsna combined. So our deity is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and thereby Radha and Krsna. At the same time we have respect and regard for all the avataras of the Lord. And on the respective days of their appearance we celebrate those days, we worship them,.we remember them in a general way. When our bhakti becomes very developed in terms of developing our love for our deity, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha and Krsna, still we will think about these different avataras but then more specifically in light of our relationship in service to Radha and Krsna. They are the same from the point of view of tattva, but they are different also when we consider from the point of view of aesthetic experience - 'rasa' .In Caitanya lila this was demonstrated.

As we are devotees of Lord Caitanya, I would like to speak something about Lord Narasinghadeva in terms of His appearance in Caitanya Lila. There was one devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is the 13 th branch of the figurative tree of devotional love of God. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami has described the figurative tree of love of God, how the fruits of Krsna prema came to the world. It is found as a seed in Madhavendra Puri, and then it sprouts in Isvara Puri, and then the tree itself as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, two branches as Adwaita and Nityananda and so many other branches and sub-branches representing all of the devotees. The fruit is love of God and the branches have been ordered to distribute this love of God everywhere.

The thirteenth branch is Pradyumna Brahmachari. But that Pradyumna brahmacari was renamed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprbhu Narasinghananda brahmacari. It is said that his deity was Narasinghadeva, who spoke to him directly in his heart. He was also a devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appearing in the lila and we find this in different places of Caitanya lila where there are great devotees of different incarnations of the Lord.

Apparently the deity or Istadevata of Pradyumna brahmacari was Narasinghadeva. Yet appearing in Caitanya lila, he was also a devotee of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. But the fact that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was actually Narasinghadeva and God himself, that is something that not everybody knew, and even those who knew it, did not always know it. In the lila sometimes, Mahaprabhu showed that he was God, and sometimes he showed himself to be a devotee.

There was a previous incident to this in which Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed himself to be Narasinghadeva. During the sraddha ceremony for the diseased father of Srivas Thakur, part of the ceremony is the chanting of 'Visnu Sahasra Nama', the thousand names of Visnu. While Srivas was chanting, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Gaurasundara, appeared at the house of Srivasa Thakura and was listening to the recitation of the thousand names of Visnu. When Srivasa came to the name of Narasinghadeva, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went into the bhava, the ecstasy, of Narasingha. He began to roar like a lion and his eyes became red with rage. He picked up a stick like it was a club and he began running in the streets of Maypura and Nadia, chasing people. Everyone was running and taking shelter inside their houses. Only Srivas Pandit could draw the Lord back and calm him down and bring him out of the bhava of Narasinghadeva. Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed himself to be nondifferent from Narasingha and after he did that Mahaprabhu said: "O, I caused fear in the hearts of so many people. That is an offense to the people. How will I make up for that offense?" And Srivasa Thakura said, 'You cannot commit any offense to anyone! If anyone saw you on this occasion in the bhava of Narasinghadeva, they will become liberated. No question of any offense.' So sometimes he showed himself to be God, especially in the early part of his lila, and sometimes as a devotee, but mostly as a devotee.

Pradyumna brahmacari was a devotee of Lord Narasinghadeva and a principal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu renamed him Narasinghananada brahmacari, because he could understand, ' You are a great devotee and Narasingadeva has reciprocated your love. He speaks to you directly.' When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to go to Vrindavan (he was coming from Jaganatha Puri through Nadia to go to Vrindavan) it was this Narasinghananda brahmacari who decided to build a road for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to walk upon. Now he did not have a big tractor or even a shovel. How did he do it? He went into meditation, taking the dictates from Narasinghadeva in his heart. He was the vehicle through which Bhagavan Narasingha took the opportunity to render service to Gaurasundara, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And a mental roadway was built through the meditation of Nrsmhananda brahmacari by the grace of Bhagavan Narasingha. We say mental, but spiritual really because his mind was fully saturated and spiritualized. After all, in order to meditate we have to have a pure heart, the mind has to be still, undisturbed by all the things we have done and the fear that they may come and attack us again.

In the mind of Narasinghananda brahmacari a beautiful road was built, made with jewels, thousands of flowers with no stems along the side of the road.

Lakes were built with beautiful swans and places for bathing, birds chirping, beautiful trees to offer shade along the road. In this way he constructed very elaborately a beautiful road for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to walk on. He got about 200 hundred miles into the thousand mile journey and the road stopped - a road block. He could not go any further in his meditation. And he said Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will not go any further than Kanainatasala, 202 miles from Nadia. All the devotees were amazed.

What is he saying? And it came to pass. Mahaprabhu only went that far. So he actually walked on the spiritual, mental meditative road that Narasinghananda brahmacari made by the grace of Narasinghadeva.

Later on, Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to bring out fully the glory of this devotee and showed to Narasinghanandan his own oneness with Narasinghadeva.

You are a devotee of Narasingha yet you are very attached to me. You may think this a problem. But this is not a problem. He wanted to show him 'Narasinghadeva and I are one'.

He was in Jagannatha Puri and the nephew of Sivanandana Sena, Sikhanda Sena, was staying nearby Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu turned to him and said, 'All the devotees in Bengal are just preparing to come to Jaganatha Puri as they did annually for the Ratha Yatra. Please go and tell them do not come this year, for I myself will come there in the month of December and visit.' When Sikantha Sena arrived, Adwaita Prabhu was just gathering all the devotees to make the pilgrimage to Puri and they received this news.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu himself will come here this year They were all overjoyed and awaited Mahaprabhu's arrival. Jagadananda Pandita and Sivananda Sena made so many arrangements. But the time came when Caitanya Mahaprabhu should have arrived and it passed without him arriving. They were waiting and thinking every day, he will come, by nightfall, when the sun sets, and he had not arrived they went deeper into depression.

Narasingananda brahmacari came upon Sivananda Sena and Jagananada Pandit in such depression and said, 'Why are you so sad?' And they told, 'Mahaprabhu has not come!' Narasingha brahmacai said, 'I think he will come. He will come tomorrow. Just tomorrow he will arrive. So do not be in any anxiety!' Because of the spiritual reputation of Narasinghananda brahmacari and because of his ecstatic love they believed him. They thought, Caitanya Mahaprahbu will come tomorrow. The next day at that house, Narasinghananda began to organize a feast in preparation for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's arrival and everyone was joyfully engaged in preparing so many foodstuffs.

Narasinghananda himself made the offering. He made an offering to Lord Jagannatha and he made an offering to Lord Narasingha. He had his own deity of Narasingha and while he made the offering he saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu walk into the room, jump on the altar, eat the offering of Jagannatha, and eat the offering from Narasinghadeva. Then Narasinghananda brahmacari became morose. He was bewildered. 'I am happy that Caitanya Mahaprabhu has come,' he said, 'but he has eaten the offering of my deity, Narasinghadeva and if Lord Narasinghadeva has to fast, then certainly I, as his devotee, have to fast also. If he does not eat today then I cannot eat today.

So while he was speaking like that, Sivananda Sena and Jagadananda and others were amazed and they tended to believe him that in his own ecstasy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had come and had eaten the offerings. In fact he began to cook again for his deity Narasinghadeva and Jagannatha thinking that they had gone hungry. But at the same time it was revealed to him. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu again appeared and said, 'You can cook again if you like but Narasinghadeva and I are one. Your affection for me is not any kind of deviation from your affection and worship for your Istadevata, your personal Deity.'

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared regularly in the house of Srivasa Thakura when there was kirtan. He appeared regularly in the house of Sacimata when she offered food, when Nityananda Prabhu danced and when Raghava Pandit cooked. This is called avirbhava, this type of appearance of Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his devotees. Not everyone could see. So the inhabitants of Nadia, they had to live with the vision and the ecstasy of Narashingananda and they had Mahaprabhu's association through his experience. The next year when they went to Puri, Mahaprahbu mentioned that incident to Sivananda Sena, 'O, that Narasinghananda cooked very nicely on that day!' And Sivananda Sena could understand, it is confirmed,. Mahaprabhu actually came there. So this is one nice incident in which Narasingha Bhagavan appears in Caitanya lila .He spoke directly in the heart of Narasinghananda brahmacari and wanted to relieve him from his anxiety. That your deity, Narasinghadeva, and Caitanya Maharabhu are one. Do not doubt it for a moment.


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