Lord Chaitanya’s Life in Poetry (Part 2)
by Patita Pavana das Adhikary
Once while our Hero Nimai walked the holy Ganga’s side,
He encountered Lakshmipriya destined as His bride.
Intent on offering flow’rs fresh to God on Ganges bank,
She’d brought along sweet lotus buds the Lord Supreme to thank.
But when she recognized Vishwambhar as the apple of her eye,
She took her string of lotus buds and garlanded Nimai.
And from the very moment of their meeting She adored,
He was none other than her Master and her Eternal Lord.
Whene’er the Energetic comes, His consort comes as well,
The Potent and the Potency united ever dwell.
A FATHER’S DREAM
One night while Mishra lay in bed a spirit came to him,
To warn him not to chastise Nimai with strict discipline.
Surprised, he challenged, “Your words are most defiled.”
For when a father spares the rod, he spoils his growing child.”
Ignoring warnings, Jagannath knew how to treat his Boy.
To see a father’s natural love, the spirit left in joy.
VISHWAROOP TAKES SANNYAS
The Lord feared no one but His elder brother Vishwaroop.
Who spent his time at Shri Adwaita’s Sanskrit study group.
Devoted in their hearts, these students of the ancient tongue,
Lived only for the lilas of the ancient Bhagavatam.
When visiting Adwaita’s tol, He was the axis of their eyes,
And Vishwaroop knew Nimai to be Krishna in disguise.
He’s stand among the students and religious discourse ceased,
By hearing Nimai’s words of wisdom polished priests were pleased.
And Vishwaroop renounced the world on matrimony’s eve,
He left his family, friends and kin in solitude to grieve.
His friends desired to follow him in prints he’d left behind,
In off’ring consolation, Shri Adwaita was to find,
The words explaining that he felt a thrill to end all cares,
For Krishna would be coming soon in answer to their prayers.
THE COOKING POTS
When brother Vishwaroop took up the swami’s sannyas staff,
Beyond His youthful stage of playing pranks young Nimai passed.
He soothed His parents with sweet words while books took up his days,
And seeing His swift advancement, every pandit was amazed.
But Nimai’s father felt uneasy for this talent shown,
For was it not through study Vishwaroop renounced his home?
To keep at bay renunciation from Nimai’s bright mind,
From reading, study and the like our Hero was confined.
The Lord was shaken by this rule, and Shachi found her Son,
In tears atop old cooking pots, so dejected, whereupon,
She asked Him nicely to step down from that “unholy heap”.
The Lord replied to Mother Shachi, rooted to His seat,
“How could this place be dirty when these post were all employed
In cooking food for Krishna by devotees unalloyed?”
“But even if they are unclean, My touch will make them pure,
Conceptions such as foul or fair to Spirit don’t occur,”
And Shachi was surprised He spoke such truthful words with ease,
She took Her son to have a bath within the River Ganges.
Young Nimai was of course of Brahmin stock and Brahmin bred.
In time His father had Him vested with the sacred thread.
The Lad became a student in the school of Gangadas,
The teacher and his pupils found His scholarship first class.
Mukunda Datta, Murari Gupta and others of the tol,
Saw Nimai as the best young pandit hailing from Bengal.
His folks still feared that He’s renounce them, leaving them alone,
They prayed to God that He would marry and remain at home.
And when they saw their Darling look at them with loving eyes,
Forgetting cares He might depart, their joy reached to the skies.
THE PASSING OF JAGANNATH MISHRA
Blissfully the years passed by till suddenly one day,
Jagannath succumbed to time and fate and passed away.
Through words imbued with tenderness, Nimai soothed His mother’s heart,
Which ached in pain in separation from her husband torn apart.
Consoled with utmost sympathy, all grief she cast aside.
By Nimai’s tactful speaking was His mother pacified.
And Shachi Mother loyal stayed as faithful unto Him,
If e’er the Lad became upset, then she understood His whim.
When needs arose, He’d asked her to depend on Krishna’s grace,
And well she’d listen when she saw the sweet smile upon His face.
When once there was a scarcity of food, she was consoled,
For Nimai walked into the house, His arms piled high with gold.
Uncanny are the ways of Krishna, holy are His deeds,
And he who tries to see His glories back to Godhead speeds.
THE YOUNG BRAHMACHARI
A model brahmachary, Nimai never took Prasad,
Unless He first had given His obeisance unto God.
When just a youth, the Lord established Nabadwip’s best tol,
The cream of scholars thus gave heed to Nimai Pandit’s call.
He taught them in the household of a great devotee friend,
And sought to put an end to the memorizing trend.
The Lord insisted that each student wear the sacred clay,
That decorates the Vaishnava brow each second of the day.
No student was allowed in class whose face was tilak free,
The lord compared such barren brows to rankest butchery.
The Lord repeated thrice each day Gayatri mantra chants,
With reverence He looked on women, ne’er a lusty glance.
He had no time for idle gossip, bhakti filled His speech,
He passed His hours absorbed in shastra, speaking just to teach.
He’d saunter ‘bout the town and challenge His contemporaries,
Acquiring reputation for His Sanskrit commentaries.
No other pandit dared to challenge His polemic skill,
While elders offered boons to this debater versatile.
Polemic skills established, His debates were ne’er disproved,
Until disproving them Himself by no opponent moved.
THE BLESSINGS OF SHRIVAS PANDIT
Exhorting Nimai, Shrivas Pandit said to Him one day,
“Scholasticism without bhakti leads one far away.
“Make no mistake that mundane lore should be the end of learning
Pure love for Krishna is our goal, say the saints of true discerning.”
“Mere rascals are those wranglers cultivating mundane lore,
Until they know of Krishna-prema, they’re doomed forevermore.”
Said Nimai taking on His head these boons submissively,
“Your blessings will cause Krishna-prem to awake in Me!”
THE LORD MEETS ISHWARA PURI
One day the Lord received a great Vaishnava sannyasi guest.
His name was Ishwara Puri, and the Lord to Him expressed,
Appreciation for the volume written by the saint,
Replied the saint, “If You have read it, then mention any taint.”
Pure all works inspired by Krishna, Mahaprabhu replied,
And later Nimai took this saint as His guru and guide.
Whenever Nimai walked through town, the merchants offered gifts.
His words of benediction gave each eager trader bliss.
THE LORD AND THE ASTROLOGER
Consulting an astrologer, the Lord asked of the birth,
That He’d “accepted” in His past sojourn upon the Earth.
Surprised, the gazer of the stars saw many holy forms,
He found he was observing incarnations by the swarms.
Nrisimhadev, Varaha, Krishna from the groves of Vraj,
Lords Matsya, Kurma, Hayagriva, and Ayodhya’s Raj.
Bewildered by the baffling power of Nimai’s wondrous forces,
He could not know our Hero was the Sovereign Source of sources.
He asked the Lord, “Be pleased to see me on another day.”
The Lord Divine and Source Sublime just smiled and went His way.
THE LORD VISITS SHRIDHAR
The Lord proceeded on His way to visit Shridhar’s shack.
Where hermit Shridhar chanted names of Krishna by the lakh.
By day he vended greens and leaves, at night he muttered chants,
Of Krishna’s names for which his neighbors had no tolerance.
The Lord delighted in creating quarrels to amuse,
How innocent were Shridhar’s answers, Nimai’s bliss enthused.
For Shridhar did not know this pandit trying to start disputes,
Was Krishna who had come to see his saintly attributes.
Said He, “How is it that you’re poor, O Shridhar, when you praise Narayan?
Yet rich are those exalting Shiv of Mountains Himalayan!”
“Possessed of highest pedigree, adorned with jewels and gold,
Of boundless fortune are the ones who’ve demigods extolled.”
“O Pandit!” answered Shridhar, “Time spares none its sharpened scythe.
The dog, the pauper, and the king at time of death must writhe.”
“That man who strives to satisfy his riches sensual,
And never learns to love the Lord is but an animal.”
“While men who are addicted to their carnal appetites,
And never seek out life’s true goal are polished parasites.”
“The karmi runs agog for sex-life, eating and the lot,
He never gets one tenth of what the pure Vaishnava’s got.”
“The Vaishnavas pose themselves as poor, no luxuries displayed,
But facing them with folded hands are three serving Maids,”
“Salvation, Wealth and Learning, are Three Maiden Deities,
Who seek to serve the Vaishnava, while he seeks the Lord to please.”
The Lord rebuked him saying, ”No, you have a hidden share,
Of wealth you are hoarding with no desire at all to spare,”
“A small sum for a Brahmin Who has come to you,
You’d better give Me now some greens, a Brahmin’s simple due."
Impoverished Shridhar lived each day in truth an honest man,
Yet stubborn Nimai forced him to surrender to His plan,
For Shridhar could not keep Chaitanya’s reprimands at bay,
He gave the Lord His share of greens and radishes each day.
Once satisfied, the Lord inquired, “What do you think of Me?”
Shridhar responded, “You’re expanded from the Lord Hari!”
“My dear friend, Shridhar”, He replied, “Your understanding fell.”
I am the Lord of Gangamayee who you worship well!”
These words appeared to pious Shridhar as a great offense,
He gave a warning to the Lord for His mock impudence.
He said, “O Nimai, now respect these waters’ sacred flow,
As men increase in age, they should increase the things they know.”
Through Yogamaya Nimai’d kept outside of Shridhar’s view,
No jiva ever sees the Lord unless He wants them to.
The lord may come and walk among us, but one thing is certain,
He veils Himself from mortals behind Yogamaya’s curtain.
Chaitanya teaches one great lesson from this incident,
Sacrificing sense desire’s a feature prominent,
That’s common to the lofty lot of lovers of the Lord,
And bhaktas such as Shridhar are by Krishna much adored.
One day our Hero offered Shridhar earthly opulence,
Refusing, Shridhar spurned as rubbish, worthless ornaments.
So please with Shridhar, who displayed renunciation huge,
Mahaprabhu revealed His six-arm Form, Lord Shri Sadabhuj.
And two of these six arms were gleaming with a golden hue,
They held a hermit’s water pot and danda staff bamboo.
A bow and arrow clenched within the fists of greenish arms,
Were Rama’s which He used to cause the troops of Ravan harm.
Two poised and bluish arms possessed a silver flute.
These were the arms of Krishna, the Unequalled Absolute.
Is there a mortal man this Shridhar’s fortune parallels?
For in Chaitanya’s causeless shelter, this devotee ever dwells!
THE WEDDING OF NIMAI PANDIT
When just fifteen, the Lord was wed to Lakshmipriya devi,
And relatives rejoiced at Nimai’s wedding ceremony.
A model wife, and always cheerful, Lakshmi served her Lord,
Contented was the household Master, by His wife adored.
And always sure to clean the house entrusted to her care,
She’d cook for guests the Husband asked to visit with Him there.
An ideal devotee husband, He relied on Krishna’s will,
To bring essential foodstuffs, and to keep the treasury filled.
He demonstrated by example how that when a guest’s received,
If there’s no food within the house, there’s nothing to be grieved.
There’s water for the visitor, a straw serves as his seat,
Each guest was welcomed tactfully with salutations sweet.
A FATEFUL JOURNEY
A married man, the Lord decided to acquire some funds,
His actions taught that an honest wage is never to be shunned.
Despite the fact that He was still within the flower of youth,
Disciples by the thousands now flocked to Him for truth.
Towards the east our Hero went to teach the Absolute,
And there He was approached by one disciple resolute.
Named Tapan Mishra who’d been called to Nimai in a dream,
In which he’d been directed by a super-human being.
The other-worldly spirit said, “O Tapan, I proclaim,
The Lord Himself will come to teach you, and Nimai is His name.”
And Tapan asked the Lord most humbly for enlightenment,
He wished to know the means and end for his own betterment.
Said Nimai Pandit blessing him, “You are most fortunate,
“For you’ve developed deep desire to serve Lord Krishna, yet,
“There’s just one means to gain His grace in wicked Kali’s Age,
You must surrender to God’s, in chanting to engage.”
“The one who chants attains transcendence, and the one who hears,
Is benefited by its nectar ent’ring in his ears.”
“The goal of Vedic study’s learned when Krishna, God, is pleased,
By chanting you will speed back to home with eagerness and ease.”
“Please always chant adoringly Shri Krishna’s holy name,
His potency is felt in full if never it’s defamed:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
From Bengal east the Lord returned with presents from His class,
Alas! A serpent’s pois’nous bite had caused His wife to pass
…Away from this world to the next, yet Sachi was consoled,
By soothing words from Nimai’s lips, contented and controlled.
Entreated by His mother, Nimai wed another time,
His wife Shrimati Vishnupriya served her Lord sublime.
This daughter of a monarch’s pandit left no stone unturned,
To see her Lord was cared for well, her unalloyed concern.
Devoted Buddhimanta Khan, a Nabadwip landlord,
Was pleased to pay the wedding costs, for Nimai much adored.
This Buddhimanta Khan in Satya Yuga’d been a king,
He ruled his subjects with a love for God unwavering.
Shri Narad Muni once informed him of the Kali Age,
“Lord Krishna comes with golden colour,” prophesied the sage.
“He has the love and glow of Radha, and He chants aloud,
The Name of Krishna joyously within a kirtan crowd.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
That monarch called Suvarna Sen then prayed for a birth,
To follow Shri Chaitanyadeva when He appeared on Earth.
When suddenly a voice was heard, it echoed from the sky,
It told the king, “Grieve not, O Sire, your prayers are answered nigh.”
“Your earnest tears have earned for you the highest benison,
Revere Chaitanya when you’re born as Buddhimanta Khan.”
Patita Pavana das Adhikary