Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Carita | Book 1 Chapter 1

First Sarga

A Summary of Śrī Gaurāṅga's Mission


May my Lord be ever victorious, whose potencies are immense and immaculate, whose lustre is glittering golden, whose eyes are as wide-spread as the petals of the lotus, whose beautiful arms extend down to His excellent knees, and who munificently distributes the myriad mellows of devotion while delightfully dancing.


It is that very son of Jagannātha who is the creator and protector of the universes, and the destroyer of the universal miseries. Being fully sense-controlled and all- pervading, He is able to give mankind protection in the age of Kali. Taking birth in the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī Devī, He takes away the burden of this age, and brings the process of pure devotion to Himself.


Applauded by the best of the brāhmaṇa community within those lands comprising Navadvīpa, Śrī Hari dwelt happily in the home of his father, giving him great happiness. He then studied the scriptures embracing the six branches of the Vedas.


When He stayed at the home of His guru, He would show an attachment to service and devotion to cleanliness. Considering the ultimate needs of men as spritual, Viśvambhara Śrī Hari, proclaimed the thing most dear to His heart, Śrī Hari-nāma, as the process of spiritual enlightenment for the age. In Gayā, where the stone is marked with the footprint of Śrī Hari, He Himself performed the last rites for His father.


Thence onwards, His sole enjoyment lay in the remembrance of His confidential identity and indifferent to the external world, His hairs thrilled in jubilation. However directed by a message spoken from the sky, He then returned from Gayā to His family home.


There the Master showed the mature stage of pure love for Kṛṣṇa. Surrounded by the chiefs of the community of devotees, delighting in Hari-kīrtana and Kṛṣṇa-kathā, He crushed the lions amongst the demons.


Murāri Gupta, an associate of the golden lord, presented this pure and auspicious history for the sake of the saints who forever hanker to drink through their thirsty ears glorious nectar about the Lord of wide-spread fame. Since His heart was enlivened by this chance for Gaura-kathā, Murari's eyes rolled to and fro and he shed tears of joy.


Bhakta Śrīvāsa was like the effulgent sun bringing into bloom the lotus hearts of the twice-born. He instructed Murāri Gupta, "Now the time has come. You must narrate the unique and ever-fresh history of Śrī Hari." With folded hands, Śrī Murāri surrendered to his order, bowing repeatedly at Śrī Śrīvāsa's feet. Then also to fulfil his own heart's desire, Murāri described the glory of Śrī Caitanya's person, which dispels the depraved qualities of Kali.


Murāri, the son of a physician, then deliberated, "How can one so lowly as I relate the tale of Śrī Caitanya, which is so auspicious and filled with significance, when even Bṛhaspati himself, the master of eloquence, surely could not do so? Still, I am duty-bound to serve the vaiṣṇava's order.


"The opulence shining from Śrī Kṛṣṇa's remembrance is my perpetual and spotless illumination. Certainly the vaiṣṇava's order and no other means can be fruitful."


So saying, He began to narrate His history, which is nurtured by devotion to the Supreme Lord, which increases the benefits of religiosity, economic development, sense pleasure, liberation, and ultimately awards devotion to Śrī Viṣṇu.


I offer obeisances unto Śrī Caitanya. He is the very same unborn primeval Lord Hari, who bears in His four hands the conch, club, lotus and disc, whose chest is marked with Śrīvatsa. His pure brow is adorned by a pearl, and he is clad in fine raiment.


For the pleasure of the saints, I shall speak some narrations of the Lord's pastimes. Therein some grammatical errors may occur. At such times may the great souls engaged in the ultimate welfare activity bless me and render my work pure, for it is on their authority that I write.


In the supreme holy place for vaiṣṇavas renowned as Śrī Navadvīpa, there dwelt self-controlled and saintly vaiṣṇava-brāhmaṇas born of pure lineage.


They were all great souls, expert in their work and conversant in the conclusions of the śāstras. Many others, such as physicians, craftsmen, and merchants also lived there.


All of them were attached to following the duties prescribed in the scriptures according to their nature, and thus they remained in a purified state by simply gaining their bodily maintenance through their respective kinds of knowledge. They devoted their work to the Lord, and for this reason Navadvīpa appeared like Vaikuṇṭha, the abode of the Lord, where anxiety is unknown.


There Śrīvāsa shone like a bee intoxicated by the brilliant lotus-like feet of Śrī Hari. His arms were spread wide and high, and his body was wet with tears of prema actuated by transcendental emotions which manifest themselves in symptoms of divine madness. Incessantly he sang about Śrī Kṛṣṇa, inspired by intense longing for Him. Another advanced brāhmaṇa Gopīnātha Ācārya, took to the path of hearing Śrī Nāma-japa. Then fully intoxicated with Kṛṣṇa-prema, Gopīnātha would again and again loudly cry out His names. He thus created a wave of song, dance and music on which he would dance like the ocean flooding its shores.


Śrī Advaita Ācārya's lustre resembled the rays of the early rising sun. Adept in arousing Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the lotus hearts of thoughtful men, His compassion was as broad as the ocean, and His cool moon-like personality extinguished the fire of lust in the hearts of all. He was very expert in practicing loving meditation on Śrī Gaura, and possessed unparalleled expertise in the dance of transcendence. That magnanimous and resplendent Advaita ruled as the chief of the community of devotees, and by His example He taught them the science of realizing the ultimate rasa.


In that abode of Navadvīpa where Śrī Candra Śekhara Ācārya, sovereign of the guru- brāhmaṇas and the abode of all virtue, shone in transcendence, hairs erect, thrilled by Kṛṣṇa's names, and soaked by tears flooding from his eyes as he reeled under the impact of Śrī Nāma...


...where the Lord of the universe danced out of paternal affection for the sage Haridāsa, who rejoiced together with the siddhas, demigods and principal controllers of the universe, as he minutely observed that dance...


...where, brought forth from the foot of Vāmana-deva, the swiftly-flowing river Gaṅgā glides in grandeur. Her ice is melted by compassion for all conditioned souls, and out of rivalry with the Yamunā river, who once embraced Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and the Sarayū, who embraced Śrī Rāma Candra, she at last embraces Śrī Hari in His brilliant golden form at Navadvīpa.


There, Jagannātha Miśra came to reside. He appeared like the moon shining on an ocean of pure brāhmaṇa dynasties. He was an equipoised guru, a teacher of the Vedas, and was endowed with all godly attributes. His mind was absorbed in profound meditation on Śrī Kṛṣṇa's feet. His spotless heart melted out of love for Him, and soon day by day Jagannātha began to prosper appearing like the moon in its waxing fortnight.

Thus ends the First Sarga entitled "A Summary of Śrī Gaurāṅga's Mission," in the First Prakrama of the great poem Śrī Caitanya Carita.