Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Carita | Book 1 Chapter 12

Twelfth Sarga

Gaurāṅga Dispels the Grief of Mother Śacī


Śacī lamented sorrowfully for her dear daughter-in-law who was so dedicated to dharma, and the streams of tears flowing from her eyes bathed her breasts.


She cried, "O most vile and vicious serpent! For what reason have you done this deed? Why did you not bite me with your terrible teeth and leave aside my daughter- in-law?


"My dharmic son departed for foreign lands accompanied by His students to earn gold and grains and engaged his wife in my service.


"Now bereft of my daughter-in-law, how can I look my son in the face?" Śacī lamented intensely at the passing away of her dear daughter-in-law. Being agitated by grief, she instructed her relatives and friends:


"Please perform the required family purificatory rituals." And they all did so. But as Śacī departed for her home tears dropped continuously from her restless eyes.


At once her friends and relatives gave her comforting care, and after a long time Śacī Devī apparently became awakened to stable and happy consciousness. She would remember the face of her son, and her mouth was always filled with the names of Kṛṣṇa.


Meanwhile, after the Parameśvara passed many days very gladly in the company of those great saintly persons, He returned, bringing their gifts of silver, gold, and fine garments back to His home.


When Śacī suddenly saw her son arriving one day, His effulgence bright as the full moon, her heart was not content but rather filled with the great anguish of separation from her daughter-in-law.


Upon seeing Śacī Devī, the lotus-eyed Lord fell at her feet, took the dust from her feet and placed it on His head, but when He looked into His mother's pure face, He became mystified.


The sinless Lord sprinkled the nectar of His smile and words upon her, and after presenting to her whatever wealth He had gained, said, "O Mā! Do not keep this sad face. Tell Me! How is your daughter-in-law today?"


Śacī Mātā, although made happy by Viśvambhara's words of nectar, spoke in dejected accents as she thought of Gaura's excellent wife. Then from the depths of her heart, she narrated to Him the whole story of His wife's departure from this world as teardrops trickled from her lotus eyes on earth.


Because His mother was weeping, Gaurāṅga's body also quickly became suffused with grief as well as joy. After hearing her words, He who is renowned as the slayer of the demon of doubt, addressed His mother with eyes moist with compassion.


Then the master of all living beings spoke in such a way as to conceal from His mother the fact of His own divinity. He said, "Hear from me about the true situation. Actually Lakṣmī was formerly an Apsarā, who recently descended to the earth.


"It is known that once, while she was dancing amidst the assembly hall of the liberal Indra-deva, the feet of that Apsarā whose face was luminous like the moon slipped for one moment and thus she disrupted the rhythmic syncopation of the dance. Noticing this, the sureśvara cursed her, saying, `Take birth as the daughter of a man on earth!'


"She fell at the feet of Indra and he spoke further, `O beauteous one! Thereafter you shall become the wife of the Lord of all beings, and experience the immense happiness of the abode of Śrī Hari which is rarely achieved by the gods.


"`Now go, most lovely lady!' Hearing this statement from the lord of the gods, the maiden became very joyous. Now to free herself from the sinful contamination born of Indra's curse, she has bathed in the water of the gods and departed for the Lord's abode.


"In other words, that Apsarā accepted the form of Lakṣmī Devī. She has now departed by her own wish for the shelter of Lord Hari's lotus feet. Therefore let your lamentation be finished. Divine destiny will surely take its course, for the entire universe is controlled by the influence of the almighty Lord in His form of Time."


Upon hearing these words from her son, whose face shone like the moon, Śacī Mātā gave up her lamentation. Thus having accepted the role of a human being, Śrī Hari acted in such a way as to conceal from His mother His supreme position.


Indeed it is not astonishing that Gaura Hari pacified Śacī Devī by telling this story of Indra's curse on the Apsarā. For by Śrī Hari's rasa of influence He motivates Brahmā to create the three worlds and Śiva to destroy them.

Thus ends the Twelfth Sarga entitled "Gaurāṅga Dispels the Grief of Mother Śacī," in the First Prakrama of the great poem Śrī Caitanya Carita.