III. The moods of Nityananda
Nityananda is a character of the greatest significance in Mahaprabhu’s līlā. He was chief among the preachers of the Lord’s message in Bengal and was responsible for the conversion of many businessmen and people from lower castes to Vaishnavism. Without exception he is identified as Balaram, Krishna’s older brother, the ancient deity known as his first expansion (ādi-vyūha), Sankarshan.
Kavi Karnapur states that Nitai and his followers were gopālā gopa-veśinaḥ, "cowherd boys in spirit, who dressed that way also." (GGD 14) In numerous songs Vasudeva Ghosh and others describe Nityananda dressed in this way, accompanied by other "gopalas." They would imitate the līlā of Krishna’s sakhās (friends) by doing such things as herding cows and playing all the other games they used to play with Krishna. They carried flutes and sticks and wore peacock feathers, etc. (CBh 3.5.353)
Whenever Mahaprabhu displayed his opulences, Nityananda would be there to take the role of Ananta and hold an umbrella over his head. Being identified with Ananta, he was the one who glorified Chaitanya with a thousand mouths. When Mahaprabhu showed the form of Rama to Murari, Nityananda took the form of Lakshman.
Vrindavan Das, the chief expounder of Nitai’s glories, begins the Caitanya-bhagavata by identifying Nityananda with Balaram. He supports his authority to enjoy the rasa līlā by citing the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. Nityananda is ishwara, the supreme controller. He is the supersoul, the source of the oversouls of the entire cosmic manifestation, the individual universals as well as the individual souls; he is the supreme enjoyer. He is the kind distributor of love for Gauranga and is therefore beyond criticism. Mahaprabhu is quoted as saying that even if Nityananda should enter a wine shop or take a low-class woman on his lap, he is still always worshipable.
Vrindavan Das seems here to be obliquely referring to Nityananda’s marriage, which other than Jayananda, none of these authors mentions explicitly. Nitai had been an avadhuta, a renunciate of some kind, when he suddenly married the two daughters of Surya Das. This no doubt caused an uproar, and even more so when when he changed his mode of dress and began wearing various jewelled ornaments of silver and gold and other finery.
In one place, Vrindavan Das quotes Gauranga as saying that these decorations represent the different aspects of devotion. Vrindavan Das does mention that after the intimate meal at the temple of Tota Gopinath, Mahaprabhu gave some confidential instructions to Nityananda which no one else could hear. Those instructions, according to the later Nityananda-vamsa-vistara had to do with his getting married.
Only in one place, in Murari Gupta’s Kaḍacā, do we find an exception to Nityananda’s unwavering masculine identity. In the play at Chandrasekhara’s house, Baladeva (Nityananda) comes on stage in the dress of a gopi in order to taste a “special” rasa. When he took the sapling-like band of the lord of his life, his body became drenched with the tears flowing from his eyes. (KCC 2.16.6)
It should be noted that not one of the other authors has accepted Murari’s version. Everyone else has cast Nityananda as Jarati, the barai buri or Yogamaya. Barai ineans old woman. In the Radha-Krishna songs of Chandi Das, the barai is the old woman of the house who surreptitiously supports the amours of her dependent heroine. Later on this old woman’s role is divided between Mukhara, Radha’s affectionate, intentionally bumbling grandmother, and Paurnamasi, the much more serious figure also known as Yogamaya who mystically manoeuvers all the events of Vrindavan.
Kavi Karnapur says; “Nityananda’s acceptance of the role of Yogamaya is not amazing because the god known as Sesha becomes the abode, bed, seat, shoes, cloth, pillow, umbrella, etc., of the Lord. In order to serve the Lord, he accepts all other forms and is therefore called Sesha, the remainder.” (CCN 3.45)
Nityananda is thus the form of service (sevā-vigraha). Although God in every respect, he is God as servant to himself.
Vrindavan Das shows a penchant for describing Nityananda’s mood of a cowherd boy and other wild and erratic manifestations of his devotional ecstasy. After Mahaprabhu tells Nityananda to give up the muni-dharma of reclusive meditation, Nitai returns dancing to Gauda with his party of gopalas, turning every place they go upside down. There was among them, however, another Gadadhar, Gadadhar Das who was not a gopala. There (in perhaps the only place Radha’s name is mentioned in the entire Caitanya-bhāgavata), Gadadhar Das is said to be constantly absorbed in Radha’s mood, calling out; “Who will buy my cow’s milk?” (CBh 3.5.238)
At Gadadhar’s house in Eriyadaha, there was a performance of Dana-līlā (where presumably Nityananda took Krishna’s role and Gadadhar Das, Radha’s). (CBh 3.5.400)(NOTE 11) Vrindavan Das’s conclusion is:
nityānanda hoite tāhā pāila jagate
“The love for Krishna in the mood of the gopis which is described in the Bhagavata was attained in the world through Nityananda.” (CBh 3.5.303)
There are many occasions when Vrindavan describes Nityananda’s glories through the mouth of Sri Chaitanya. Mahaprabhu tells Raghava Pandit; “I tell you confidentially that Nityananda is completely non-different from me.” (CBh 3.5.100-104)
When Mahaprabhu tells the devotees to take pieces of Nityananda’s kaupin, he says; “By Nityananda’s grace one can attain Vishnu-bhakti. You should know that he is Krishna’s complete shakti.” (CBh 2.12.26)
This does not form very strong evidence of Nityananda’s being Radha, and nowhere does Vrindavan make such a statement. Generally, though, Nityananda’s strong absorption in a masculine role makes the proposition seem unnatural. Murari, therefore, notes that Balaram was not present at the vastra-haraṇa incident: “At that time the avadhuta, Nityananda, appeared on the scene again. In great happiness he’ also joined the dancing and chanting of the Lord’s names. The lotus-eyed Nitai played with Gauranga just as the bearer of the plough had previously played with the cowherd boys in Vrindavan. When this dancing came to an end, the Lord said to the best of the brahmins: ‘Wash the feet of the avadhuta. Drink the water and take it on your heads.’” (KCC 2.10.19-20)
Even so, “Whenever Mahaprabhu wants to enjoy in a particular way, Nityananda takes a suitable form. The Lord becomes a gopi, Nitai the barai. Who will understand if he has no sensibility?” (CBh 2.18.218-19)
There is a group of devotees who say that Nityananda is Radha, using the above argument to equate Nityananda with Krishna’s shaktis. They point to songs by a Vrindavan Das who is supposed to he the writer of the Caitanya-bhāgavata. This identification is doubtful, however. There are other texts also ascribed to this Vrindavan Das, particularly the Nityānanda-vaṁśa-vistāra, in which Nityananda is established rather prosaically as the guru of all the rasas, including madhura.
One of this Vrindavan Das’s songs goes like this;
Nitai is the lover, the ocean of rasa,Where did this idea came from? Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami does not permit Nityananda to participate in any of Mahaprabhu’s exclusively madhura-rasa līlās. Even when he dances in gopī-bhāva before Jagannath, Nitai remains some what distant:
the guru of all the types of love.
Whatever one may want, that is what he gives,
for he is the tree which fulfils all desires.
Just like Radha, he has jealous fits of anger
and stays always by his side,
Not caring for day or night, he wanders always
in the pleasure of talks of Krishna.
Sitting on his left side, he smiles sweetly,
calling him the lord of his life.
As Radha desires in her mind,
so too does he.
Like the golden ketaki flower, he is the form of rasa,
coming to fulfill his own desire.
Vrindavan Das makes his appeal
to see Nitai as Radha.(NOTE 12)
”Due to being overwhelmed by Radha’s love, it was as if the Lord took that very form. Nityananda watched from a distance and offered prayer. Seeing the deep emotion of the Lord, he remained somewhat distant. Other than Nityananda, who can stop the Lord. The Lord’s mood did not cease and the kirtan did not continue.” (Cc., 2.14.235-38)Bhaktivinoda Thakur in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya on this section comments that the reason he stayed distant was because his own jurisdiction in rasa would have been contradictory.
Nityananda’s increasing popularity and the belief of his disciples in his divine intimacy and identity with Gauranga who was supposed to have given the bighest love of the gopis to everyone played an important part in his identification with Radha. Kaviraj says; “Mahaprabhu cared not whether some one asked for prema; he judged not their qualifications. His only consideration was, ‘I must give.’”
If Krishna took the mood of Radha to experience the glory of her love and to pay back his debt to her by suffering its sweet pains and by giving it to the other souls of this world, then how could he avoid giving it to Nityananda, who was so close to him? Murari has said that Nityananda is also rasa-viśeṣa-vinodī. He wanted to experience madhura-rasa by the power of Mahaprabhu’s mystique.
According to the legend, Nityananda took the householder ashram at the request of Sri Chaitanya in order to temper the movement’s revolutionary spirit and make the necessary compromises with society that would insure its long survival. The rebellion against society on the caste question could not go on forever. Marriage was the “taming of Nitai.”
Nityananda was the avadhuta; he could go into some frenzied dance with the cloth meant to cover his loins bound instead around his head; or he could sit in Malini’s lap and suck her breast like a baby, though she was well past her child bearing age and he a mature thirty-two years of age, and, what is more, make her bring forth milk. Such a person could not forever maintain the respect and awe of the serious community. Mahaprabhu, though respecting Nitai’s spiritual temperament, was the one who tamed him, who made him self-conscious enough to keep his clothes on and eventually told him to get married. When he got married he accepted all the trappings of varnashrama-dharma. He had to take his upanayana (sacred thread initiation) again, dutifully following all the rules rigidly. Even so, there was much opposition before and criticism after the marriage.
No one can doubt that Nityananda responded to the challenge of being a householder preacher in true style. His wives were jewels; in one he bore his children and in the other he invested his spiritual energy. Through Vasudha, his lone, powerful son, Virabhadra, was born. Vasudha’s sister Jahnava raised him. It was Jahnava who went to Vrindavan more than once, met Sri Jiva and Kaviraj Goswami and whom all accepted as Ananga Manjari, the younger sister of Radharani and the shakti of Balaram, Krishna’s brother.
Jahnava became the symbol of Vrindavan’s manjari-bhajana in Gauda Desh. She promoted the Goswami books through Srinivasa Acharya and Narottam. Jahnava’s adopted son Ramacandra of Baghnapada wrote the Ananga-manjari-samputika in which he quotes from a passage attributed to the Brahmanda Purana called the Dharani-sesa-samvada.
One doctrine that arises out of this dialogue between the Earth and the snake Ananta is that Radha is the hladini energy, Krishna the samvit potency, and Baladeva the sandhini. Baladeva is the substance of which God’s playthings are made. Balaram thus cannot be excluded from the madhura-līlā because he is automatically present everywhere. The text then equates Ananga Manjari with him.
Another song by the second Vrindavan Das illustrates this idea:
Rama in a secret form, fulfils his own desires
by becoming Ananga Manjari.
In the affairs of rasa-līlā, he remains in Vrindavan
enjoying with Govinda.
Hari, Hari! Who can understand
Rama’s way of doing things?
The purusha and prakriti, in unlimited forms,
taking which, the Lord enjoys.
Radha’s sister, her own younger sister,
who wears a blue dress,
Defeating spring ketaki flowers,
and the white jati and jasmine,
speaking so sweetly and softly.
In his friend-body, he is a friend;
in his serving mood, a servant;
in parental affection, a young boy.
Vrindavan Das therefore has surrendered to him
knowing him to be the jewel of his desire.(NOTE 13)
Another song by the same author exults in Nitai’s pervading all the features of Radha and Krishna’s most intimate līlās. In the Ananga-manjari-samputika, Radha’s younger sister has a direct, amorous relationship with Krishna, arranged out of Radha’s desire to see the happiness of them both.
At the time of her departure from the mortal world, Jahnava is said to have transformed into a beautiful image of Ananga Manjari standing in a dancing pose on Krishna’s right side. This Ananga-Kanai-Rai is the worshipable triad of the devotees of Nityananda. A yearly festival is held at the Tota Gopinath temple in Puri commemorating the previously described meeting of Nityananda with Gadadhar and Sri Chaitanya. A kirtan sung at this festival contains the words, “Nitai Gaura Gadai, Ananga Kanai Rai,” words not found in the Caitanya-bhagavata version of the incident.
At any rate, all these ideas represent thoughts developed among Nityananda’s family descendents and their followers. The curious thing is that although Vrindavan Das criticized the Gauranga Nagaras in the Caitanya-bhagavata, Nityananda and his followers were probably more partial to Gaura-kirtan than to Radha-Krishna kirtan. Virabbadra preached the names of Nitai and Gaura. Singing of the beautiful Lord Gauranga naturally involved descriptions of his physical attractiveness This led the followers of Nityananda to a greater appreciation of the Srikhanda devotees. The songs of Lochan Das and Narahari are song with great gusto by the followers of Nityananda even today, their love for Mahaprabhu exceeding that for Krishna, for Mahaprabhu is the new, “improved” Krishna.
IV. Gadadhar in the Caitanya-caritamrita
By the will of providence, Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj was given the final say about Sri Krishna Chaitanya. He had the opportunity of hearing and reading all of the available materials bequeathed by Murari, Kavi Karnapur and Vrindavan Das, whom he some times follows and sometimes contradicts. Often he acted as a judge when there were differences of opinion, accepting one author’s version over those of the others. The most valuable source of information for Krishna Das was Raghunath Das who Iived with Svarupa Damodar in Mahaprabhu’s Puri residence, Gambhira, for the last eighteen years of Mahaprabhu’s life.
Kaviraj made the Pancha Tattva doctrine one of the introductory elements of his work, quoting the verse written by Svarupa Damodar we have referred to above, but seems loathe to accept its implications, as Karnapur did, of equating Gadadhar with Radha. Kaviraj Goswami may have thought that after accepting Sri Chaitanya as the combined form of Radha and Krishna it was impossible for Radha to have another separate existence. Therefore, he calls Gadadhar: prabhur līlā-śakti(CC 1.1.41), śakti avatāra (1.7.17), antaraṅga-bhakta (1.7.17), and teṁho lakṣmī-rūpa tār same keho nāi(1.10.15). “The followers of Gadadhar Pandit are glorious, for they all have Sri Krishna Chaitanya as the lover of their lives” (1.12.89).
In the Madhya-līlā, Kaviraj Goswami says that amongst the Puri associates of the Lord, Ramananda worshiped him in friendship (sakhya), Paramananda Puri in guardianship (vātsalya) and Govinda Das in servitude. Gadadhar, Jagadananda and Svarupa Damodar were absorbed in the ecstasy of the chief of the rasas (madhura). By these four relationships the Lord was controlled. (CC 2.2.78)
Nevertheless, even though Gadadhar’s name comes first in the list, it was Svarupa Damodar who took the front-line position as the most intimate associate of the Lord. In the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Svarupa Damodar is said to be the chief of all the sannyasi disciples of the Lord.(NOTE 14) Svarupa Damodar’s specialty was kirtan and Gadadhar’s was reading the Bhāgavata. Hearing the līlā of Dhruva and Prahlada from Gadadhar the Lord would display all the different ecstatic symptoms. Svarupa Damodar’s age is unclear. Vrindavan Das describes him as a friend of Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Gadadhar’s guru, and his father’s friend. (CBh 3.10.86-7) They call each other brother. (CBh 3.10.114, 116) If this is true, then Swarup Damodara must necessarily have been much older than Gadadhar. Yadunandana indicates in the Gadādhara-śākhā-nirṇaya that Damodar was a disciple of Gadadhar himself, but there is no proof other than that. Jagadananda and Gadadhar were both slightly younger than Mahaprabhu. It seems more reasonable to think of Svarupa Damodar as of a similar age, but there is nothing to contradict Vrindavan Das’s statement.
At any rate, if all Gadadhar delivered were readings of the stories of Dbruva and Prahlada, then it’s not too surprising that Mahaprabhu was more entranced when Svarupa and Ramananda sang or recited the Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, Gīta-govinda, Chandidas and the Tenth Canto of the Bhāgavata. Gadadhar moved to the lonely sands of the Chataka Parvata where he stayed alone with Tota Gopinath, the black Krishna; the golden Krishna was lost in rādhā-bhāva in the Gambhira. What would Radha do there? Like Rupa Goswami’s Radha in the New Vrindavan of Dvaraka, he (she) worshiped his lonely deity, even though he was living with a Krishna he no longer recognized.
When Mahaprabhu desired to go to Vrindavan, he was beld back by the sorrowful pleas and the various tricks of the devotees in Puri. When Gadadhar also expressed a desire to go, the Lord objected that his commitment was to a life in Puri, or kṣetra-sannyāsa.
Gadadhar replied, “Wherever you go, that is Nilachala. As far as I am concerned, my commitment to a permanent life of renunciation in Puri can go to hell.”
Mahaprabhu said, “You have your service to Gopinath that has to be taken care of.”
“Seeing your feet is worth a million such services.”
“You will give up your service to Gopinath and I will have to accept the sinful consequences. If you want to please me, then stay here and don’t abandon Gopinath.”
“Don’t worry about the sins,” said Gadadhar. “I will take the responsibility for that. If you do not want me to go with you, I will just go alone.” Saying that, Gadadhar followed some distance behind Mahaprabhu’s party. When they got as far as Cuttack, the Lord made him join the group. Who can describe the glories of Pandit Goswami’s love for Chaitanya, for whom he gave up his vows to Gopinath as if they were straw.
Although externally the Lord expressed displeasure, internally he was pleased. He said; “If your intention was to give up your vows then you’ve been successful. You have left Puri and come to a distant land. You want to stay with me for your own happiness. Seeing you break your religious principles like this, I am very unhappy. If you want to see me happy then return to Nilachala. I swear that I will not hear any more about this.”
Having made his unswerving decision, the Lord got on the boat to cross the Mahanadi leaving Gadadhar on the bank. The boat set off and Gadadhar fell to the ground in a swoon. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya had him lifted up. He said, “Get up, Pandit. The Lord’s līlās are like this. He suffers, even breaks his own word to fulfil his devotee’s promise, just as in the case of Bhishma. So now he is suffering separation from you so that your promise will not be broken.” (CC 2.16.130-146)
Mahaprabhu criticized Gadadhar’s selfishness in wanting to remain with him as though this was his vow in this life. Ultimately, for this or whatever reason, the Lord left him. Could Krishna leave Radha? In prakata-līlā, Krishna sometimes does leave. That is only a show. When the Lord returned after failing to reach Vrindavan his conclusion was; “I left behind Gadadhar giving him a great deal of pain. As a result, I was unable to reach Vraja. Now you all please be kind to me and think of a way in which I can freely go there.”
Hearing this Gadadhar became overwhelmed with love for the Lord and falling at his feet humbly said; “Wherever you are, that is Vrindavan. The Yamuna, the Gahga, all the places of pilgrimage are there. Still, if you want to go to Vrindavan just to teach the world, then go. You are free to do as you please.”(CC 2.16.278-81)
The last incident involving Gadadhar Pandit in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta is the one in which he became the spiritual master of Vallabha Bhatta. (CC 3.7.86-162) Here is a summary of that account:
The whole of Puri was well aware that Sri Krishna Chaitanya was giving the scholar Vallabha Bhatta the cold shoulder and not listening to any of his explanations of the Bhagavata. Feeling slighted. Vallabha went to Gadadhar and, finding him less tough-skinned, tried to persuade him to listen to his writings. Gadadhar became confused by Vallabha’s request, but being weak, he was ultimately forced to hear the brash scholar’s explanations. Because of his own noble nature, he was too polite to deny him; internally, he took shelter of Krishna knowing that Mahaprabhu would be displeased. He knew, though, that the Lord within his heart would recognize the purity of his intention. Thus, even though Gadadhar was not at fault, Mahaprabhu’s associates were unhappy with him.
Strengthened by the Gadadhar’s apparent cooperation, however, Vallabha once again tried to establish a position amongst the Gaudiyas led by Sri Chaitanya and Adwaita. His efforts were to no avail. Finally Chaitanya brought about the surrender of Vallabha’s ego through various measures of neglect and chastisement. Thus, although Vallabha was originally a worshiper of the baby Krishna, in Gadadhar’s association his mind was turned to the worship of the youthful and romantic Krishna. He even asked Gadadhar for initiation.
The effete Gadadhar was once again reluctant to act without Mahaprabhu’s approval. Here Krishna Das Kaviraj compares the character of Gadadhar to that of Rukmini, reminding us that the brasher of Krishna’s queens, Satyabhama, was present in Mahaprabhu’s līlā as Jagadananda Pandit. Satyabhama made Krishna fight with Indra and the demigods to bring back the heavenly Panrijata tree. Rukmini, however, was mild and dedicated, unable to tolerate any harsh words from Krishna. Unkind words spoken even in jest caused her to faint and fall like a banana tree in a windstorm. Similarly, Jagadananda was forward and argumentative in his relationship with Mahaprabhu whereas Gadadhar was mild. Even if the Lord was desirous of seeing him lovingly angry, Gadadhar was unable to muster up any such audaciousness before his Lord because he was too conscious of the his divinity.
Gadadhar answered Vallabha’s request for initiation by saying, “I am not independent. Gauranga is my master. Without his order I can do nothing. You came to see me and for that the Lord has been critical of me.” But when Mahaprabhu eventually came around and began to look favorably on Vallabha and accepted his invitation for prasad, then Gadadhar was also invited.
As Gadadhar walked to Vallabha’s residence with Swarup Damodar, Jagadananda and Govinda, Swarup asked him why he did not go and reprove the Lord for his neglect of him in a matter where he was without fault. Gadadhar’s answer was, “The Lord is all-knowing and completely independent. I don’t think it is good to try to force him to act against his will. Whatever he says I must accept and tolerate. He will act mercifully after he has judged my faults.”
When they arrived at the Lord’s residence, Gadadhar fell down at the Lord’s feet crying. The Lord smiled and embraced him. Speaking sweetly, he said so that all could hear; “I tried to provoke you but you remained unmoved. You tolerated everything I did without becoming angry. You have purchased me with your unswerving and yet unaffected behavior.”
Who can understand the emotional character of Gadadhar Pandit? The Lord has been called Gadadhar’s life (prana). Who can estimate how much mercy the Lord had upon him, for the world sings of the Lord as “Gadai’s Gauranga.” Who can understand the unfathomable activities of the Lord? He showed everyone Gadadhar’s brahminical qualities, his mercy and his deep love for the Lord.
Unlike earlier writers, Kaviraja Goswami never called Gadadhar Radha. He felt more comfortable comparing him to Rukmini because his nature seemed closer to hers. Radharani had full power over Krishna. How could Gauranga so easily turn his back on Gadadhar and send him back to Puri from Cuttack when going to Vrindavan? Radha is famous for rebuking her omnipotent lover in complete disdain for his opulence. Such a possessive love (vama-svabhava) was more visible in Jagadananda than in Gadadhar (dakṣiṇā-svabhāvā). Thus a full acceptance of Gadadhar’s Radha-hood was resisted by the Vrindavan school. They were willing to call him Mahaprabhu’s shakti, his antaranga bhakta, etc. Following this path, some even call him Radha’s shakti, her effulgence or a variety of other things (CBh 2.18.115), but never, it seems, Radha herself.
One thing Radhakrishna Goswami states his understanding of Gadadhar He quotes verses, which he attributes to Rupa Goswami, stating that Gadadhara is Radha and that all the Goswamis of Vrindavan are his followers. According to him, Svarupa Damodar and all the other worshipers of Mahaprabhu in madhura-rasa were considered followers of Gadadhar. (ata eva tār gaṇa jata brajer gosāi, Cml).
Radhakrishna Goswami argues that one has to enter the līlā of the Lord through subservience to the Lord’s associates. One must follow Radha to attain Krishna in his fullest aspect. Similarly, whatever Krishna’s altered mood in his golden form may be, Radha remains with him, though as a male and a renunciate, and one must follow that renunciate in order to attain the sweeter aspects of Gaura-Krishna worship.(NOTE 15)
Radhakrishna Goswami adds that Rupa and Sanatan gave the service of their deities, Govindaji and Madanamohana, to disciples of Gadadhar. Paramananda, the servant of Gopinath, was also Gadadhar’s disciple. Their reason: they knew Gadadhar’s glories. (NOTE 16) The verse attributed to Rupa Goswami is
sa khalu bhavati rādhā śrīla-gaurāvatāre
prabhu-nija-dayitānāṁ tac ca sāraṁ mataṁ me
The best of the earthly gods (brahmins), who, in this incarnation of the Lord of golden complexion, was known as the most fortunate seliolar (Gadadhar Pandit) and who was a great renunciate, is certainly Radha. Narahari Sarkar, Damodar and all those who dear to the Lord hold this opinion, as do I.
Regardless of whether or not the verse is actually Sri Rupa’s, it shows that the worship of Mahaprabhu as the all-attractive Krishna, which was started by Gadadhar and preached by Narahari, had attained a status even in the eyes of the Vrindavan devotees.
In this incarnation Krishna did not come with weapons to destroy the wicked; by showing the perfection of devotional love, he cleansed everyone’s heart. He weaved a garland of the names of God, the sweet-smelling flowers of love, and placed it around the necks of the people of a world forgetful of him. Just as he himself tasted Radha’s love, it was Radha-prema that was the ultimate object of the devotional path his followers delineated. The goal of Gaudiya sādhanā (practice) is not the service of Krishna directly but of Krishna through Radha. Radha is a more important object of worship than even Krishna. The devotees of Vrindavan call out; “Jai Radhe,” as their greeting. Shyama himself always follows Radha. That is the glory of this particular līlā of Krishna.
Even Balaram desires Radha’s mercy. Radha perhaps formally has to show respect to her lover’s older brother but ultimately she has full control over her Lord. Balaram has to accept her ultimately as his mother and goddess.(NOTE 17) Gadadhar’s later līlā with Mahaprabhu is no longer available for scrutiny.
Jayadeva in his Caitanya-maṅgala says that Gaura Hari went to Tota Gopinath when it was time to leave this world and from there ascended into his eternal abode. Others say he entered into the body of Tota Gopinath, thus giving himself entirely to Gadadhar as his final act on this earth.
Today worship of Gadadhar or Gadai-Gauranga has faded into the background, probably due to the overwhelming dominance of the followers of Nityananda. Bhaktivinoda Thakur, however, though initiated among the followers of Jahnava-Nityananda (through the descendents of Ramachandra Goswami), was an ardent devotee of Gadadhar whom he would see turn into Radha while Gaura in his naṭa-vara-veśa turned to Krishna. He imagined Ananga Manjari taking him by the hand and giving him over to the Supreme Couple.
None of the Pancha Tattva is to be neglected, for all are participants in a līlā that is Radha-maya. Radha’s glories are spread everywhere. One cannot divorce Nityananda entirely from that spirit for that would ultimately eliminate him from having any real importance in Mahprabhu’s līlā. Mahaprabhu tastes Radha-bhava and gives it to everyone; why not to his dearest brother Nitai? But, if one wishes to enter fully the mysteries of madhura-rasa, one should follow Rupa, Swarup and the chief among the energies of Gauranga, Srila Gadadhar Pandit. The extent to which discomfort with the homoerotic overtones in some of the earlier accounts of Gadadhar's relation to Mahaprabhu played a role in this relegation is worthy of consideration.
NOTE 11. Whatever Gadadhar Das’s internal moods were, externally he showed spirit. He apparently went and told the magistrate (Musimi) of his village to say Krishna’s name otherwise he would “tear off his head.”
NOTE 12. I haven’t been able to track down a reference to this song.
NOTE 13. H. K. Mukhopadhyaya’s Vaisnava-padavali, p 497.
NOTE 14. CBh 3.10.41. Sannyasa carries with it the significance of taking a female identity in relation to God. In the Sadhana-dipika, renunciation from household responsibility is said to be the prerequisite for entering into the mysteries of manjari-bhajana and līlā smarana. Lochan Das addresses the significance of Gadadhar’s sannyasa as proof of his identity with Radha. Nityananda and Adwaita had wives, shaktis. Thus they were automatically cast as śaktimān (possessors of power). Mahaprabhu eluded the trap of becoming a purusha (male) again and adopted the sannyasa order. Another uncertain book, the Samskara-dipika gives gopī-bhāvāśrayāya svāhā as the incantation used when donning the kaupin. Although there are exceptions, many orthodox branches of the school still follow the rule that one’s manjari identity is given only to renunciates.
NOTE 15. Sadhana-dipika, 7th Kaksa, p. 166; iti hetor gaura-līlāyām api tathaiva śrī-rādhā-gadādharasyaivānugatye śrī-gaura-govindasya bhajanaṁ sarvotkṛṣṭam.
NOTE 16. ibid., 1st Kaksa. p. 4; tataḥ sarvasva-rūpaṁ jānatā śrīla-rūpeṇa śrī-sanātanena ca mūla-svarūpa-śakti-śrī-rādhā-gadādhara-parivāre śrīman-mahāprabhor ājñānusāreṇa sva-sva-sthāne sva-sva-sevā samarpitā | tatrāpi śrī-paṇḍita-gosvāmi-śiṣyaḥ premi-kṛṣṇa-dāsa-gosvāmine samarpitā śrī-rūpeṇa | tathā hi śrīmad-gadādharasyāsya svarūpaṁ pūrva-lakṣaṇam | jānatā śrīla-rūpeṇa sevā tasmai samarpitā ||
See also 1st Kakṣā, p. 1: śrī-caitanya-priyatamaḥ śrīmad-rādhā-gadādharaḥ |
tat-parīvara-rūpasya śrī-govinda-prasevanam ||
NOTE 17. Krishna-bhajanamritam, pp. 15-16. tarhi baladeva-lakṣmaṇayor api śrī-kṛṣṇa-patnyo janaki-rukmiṇī-rādhādyā mātara īśvaryaḥ| evaṁ cet śrī-rādhādīnāṁ balaratnādayopy anugraha-vāñchakāḥ.
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