Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Vrindavan (Part II)

3. Mahaprabhu turns back from Kanai Nat Shala

The third attempt Mahaprabhu made to go to Vrindavan was more serious, but here again there is a difference in the tone of the stories, with only CCN and CC giving primordial importance to Vrindavan, and CC making the meeting with Rupa and Sanatan the principal, though hidden, purpose of the trip. As we have noted elsewhere, the dates of the MGK are in some dispute and the unity of the composition has been challenged. The date on the manuscripts is given as 1513 AD, but this first trip to Vrindavan also took place in 1515, the successful trip accomplished later in the same year. So this fateful year marked not only the trip to Vrindavan but also the liberation of Rupa and Sanatan from their employ in Hussein Shah's court.

Murari Gupta may himself have been the one who filled out the later portions of Mahaprabhu's biography as he heard it from other sources. The style of the later (post-1513) portions does not differ from the previous portions.

CBh, however, entirely skips the trip to South India, which MGK describes it in 3.3.14-15, though the section on Paramananda Puri (3.3.15) does fit in sequence with Vrindavan Das's account. More analysis will have to be given to MGK's version; it is quite possible that 3.18 was the last part of an earlier redaction of the work and the entire fourth book a later addition, containing material that is not touched by Vrindavan Das. Some of these things can be found in CCMK, which invites the question of whether Vrindavan Das and Kavi Karnapur both had access to the same edition, or to one more complete than the other. For the purpose of this article, however, we will continue to analyse following the most probable chronological sequence of their composition: (1) MGK, (2) CCMK, (3) CBh, (4) CCN and (5) CC.

MGK clearly states that Mahaprabhu wanted to go to Mathura (3.17.1) and that was the purpose of his trip to Bengal, though that motive is less prominent in the account of Vrindavan Das. MGK devotes two chapters to this trip, one dominated by the story of Devananda Pandit and his transformation into a devotee by the grace of Vakreshwar, the second the visit to Ramkeli village. The passage is of some interest, since it differs considerably from the CBh version:

sva-pādaṁ tasya śirasi dhṛtvā prāha janārdanaḥ |
vṛndāvana-nivāsī tvaṁ satyaṁ satyaṁ na saṁśayaḥ ||4||
mathurāṁ gantum icchāmi tvayā sārdhaṁ yathā-sukham |
lupta-tīrthasya prākaṭyaṁ tathā vṛndāvanasya ca ||5||
kartum arhasi tat sarvaṁ mat-kṛpāto bhaviṣyati |
bhakti-svarūpiṇī sākṣāt prema-bhakti-pradāyinī ||
Janardana [MGK uses all epithets of Vishnu/Krishna to designate Mahaprabhu] placed his feet on Rupa head and said, "You are truly a resident of Vrindavan. Of this there is no doubt. I want to go to Mathura with you, which would be most agreeable. You should reveal the forgotten holy places and Vrindavan itself. All this shall be done in the future by my grace. My mercy is bhakti itself, which bestows devotional love.
śrutvā prāha mahā-buddhiḥ sānujaḥ śrī-sanātanaḥ |
ārāmaḥ kṛṣṇa-candrasya ramyaṁ vṛndāvanaṁ śubham ||7||
śrī-rādhayā saha kṛṣṇo yatra krīḍati sarvadā | |
agamyam yogibhir nityaṁ deva-siddhair naretaraiḥ ||8||
nirjanaṁ taj-janādyaiś ca gatvā kiṁ syāt sukhāya ca
tvat-kṛpā-śastra-rūpeṇa chittvā me dṛḍha-śṛṅkhalām ||9||
rāja-pātrādi-rūpāṁ ca prāpayya nija-sannidhim |
śakti-sañcāraṇaṁ krṭvā kuru kṛṣṇa yathā-sukham ||10||
Hearing  this, the greatly intelligent Sanatan along with his brother said, "The auspicious land of Vrindavan is Krishna's pleasure garden, for that is where he sports with Radha eternally.  It is inaccessible to yogis or gods or the perfected siddhas or other humans. It is a secluded place, so how will going there with all these people be pleasurable? But if you cut our bonds in the shape of our position in the court with the sword of your mercy and give us your association, empowering us, then you can do with us as you like."  
tad-vākyāmṛtam eva hi pītvā prāha hasan prabhuḥ |
bhavan-manorathaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ sadā pūrṇaṁ kariṣyati ||11||
evaṁ taṁ parisantoṣya kṛṣṇo nāṭya-sthalaṁ gataḥ |
rajanyāṁ cintayām āsa satyam uktaṁ na saṁśayaḥ ||12||
sanātanena kṛtinā tan-mukhena ca mādhavaḥ |
mām āha nirjanaṁ satyaṁ vṛndāraṇyaṁ sudurlabham ||13||
loka-saṅghair gate nityaṁ duḥkham eva na saṁśayaḥ |
saṅgaṁ tyaktā gamiṣyāmi dakṣiṇaṁ cādhunā vraje ||14||
After hearing this necateran speech, Mahaprabhu laughed and said, "Krishna will always fulfill your desires." Having pleased them, the Lord continued as far as the Natya Shala. That night, however, he reflected, "It is true what the very competent Sanatan said. Without a doubt. Krishna himself has spoken through his mouth. He told me that it is very difficult to know the real, secluded Vrindavan. Going there with a big crowd of people will certainly lead to distress. I will go there without any company, but for now I shall head back south."
This concludes the MGK section. CCMK 19.1 starts by saying that Mahaprabhu's intention was to go to Mathura by following the Ganges as far as Prayag, where he would follow the Yamuna to Braj. Ramananda Raya persuades him to wait until Vijaya Dashami. But after describing the walk as far as Nabadwip, Karnapura pretty much abandons the story except to add information that we have never seen elsewhere, namely that Mahaprabhu returned to Puri and then went to Vrindavan and while he was there Ramananda Raya left his body (20.35-36). CCMK ends very shortly thereafter, enhancing our suspicions that MGK originally ended at around the same place in the lila. CCN deals with the subject in Act 9, but does not elaborate more than to tell that Keshava (Bosu) told the king that Mahaprabhu would not be going to Vrindavan, but would return to Puri and go some other time. Karnapura's description then merges into one of the final trip to Vrindavan.

Caitanya-bhägavata has a fuller description of the visit to Ramkeli:
When Lord Chaitanya came to Nilacala, King Prataparudra was away waging war against the southern kingdom of Vijayanagara. So he did not meet with him. Meanwhile, Lord Chaitanya, after a long sojourn in Nilacala eagerly went back to Bengal. The Lord felt especially loving towards the Ganga and so he went quickly to Bengal. (CBh 3.3.269-272)
But a few verses later, Mahaprabhu tells Sarvabhauma's brother Vachaspati that he desired to go to Mathura, after spending a few days bathing in the Ganga. (3.3.278) In the CBh version, while staying at Kuliya, crowds of people started coming. After some time there, he began proceeding to Mathura (3.4.3) along the Ganges until he arrived at Ramkeli. Here it is clear that the disquiet that arose from is arrival came from the king himself. Although Vrindavan Das places places words of praise in Hussein Shah's mouth, when Keshav (Khan) and others discuss the situation and agree that his mood could change at any moment; he cannot be trusted (3.4.77-82). When they advise him in this way, however, Mahaprabhu diminishes the importance of worldly powers or their ability to control him and here makes the prediction that his name will be sung in every town and village (3.4.126), and even Muslimams will shed tears chanting it (3.4.121). Then he suddenly changes his mind:

īśvarer icchā bujhibāra śakti kāra
nā gelen mathurā phirilā āra bāra
bhakta saba sthāne kohilen ei kathā
āmi calibāṅ nīlācala candra yathā
Who can understand the Lord's mind? He went back to instead of proceeding to Mathura. To all the devotees he said, "I am going to see the Lord of Nilachala."
The next work to look at is CCN, almost all of which has been incorporated into the CC account. In the 9th Act there are many incidents described that are taken directly from Shivananda Sen's memories of Mahaprabhu's failed attempt to go to Vrindavan via Bengal. Here Karnapura seems to have followed Vrindavan Das, condensing his account of the conversation between the Shah and Keshava Basu, presumably the same as Vrindavan Das's Keshava Khan, also known as Keshava Khattri. Keshava tells the king, "But he has gone back. He won't take this road to go to Mathura. He is intending to go back to Puri and take the forest path." (ataḥ paraṁ ca śrutam | tataḥ kiyad dūraṁ gatvā punaḥ pratyāvṛtto na tena pathā mathurāṁ gamiṣyati api tu puruṣottamam āgatya vana-pathenaiveti na jānīmaḥ satyam asatyaṁ vadati |). The reason given for his turning back is that he fears people and wished to travel alone (satyam eva loka-bhiyā tato'pi nivṛttaḥ | tato'pi kenāpy avidita eva calitavān |). Then from here he enters directly into his description of the fourth and final, successful attempt to go to Vrindavan.
āgataś ca sahasā sa ekako
nīlaśaila-tilakaṁ vilokya ca |
loka-saṅkula-bhiyā vanādhvanā
nihnutaḥ sa mathurāṁ jagāma ca ||
Having returned to Puri and taken darshan of Jagannath, Mahaprabhu suddenly left for Mathura in secret, taking the forest path in fear of being followed by many people. (CCN 9.18)
CC has the final version, and since Rupa and Sanatan's input is undoubtedly the source of this account, it is the most revealing about Mahaprabhu's purpose in going to Vrindavan. In fact, Rupa and Sanatan are so interconnected with Mahaprabhu and Vrindavan that Kaviraj Goswami makes the entire incident seem like one seamless story, with the movements of each interwoven with those of the others. Ultimately it must be said that Mahaprabhu's visit to Vrindavan is as much about his relation to Rupa and Sanatan as it is about him. Mahaprabhu made his will for Vrindavan manifest through them. This was less widely unknown until much later, probably the time when goings back and forth to Vrindavan became more frequent, so that the supplementary portions of the MGK could reflect these elements as shown above.

Kaviraj Goswami starts the story of Rupa and Sanatan in the first chapter of the Madhya-līlā, where he gives the Madhya and Antya līlās in sutra form. After describing the difference between his biography and that of Vrindavan Das, whom he glorifies as the "Vyasa" of Mahaprabhu's līlā, and Nityananda's preaching activities, he goes into a glorification of the two brothers (2.1.31-45). It is clear from the entire Madhya-līlā, in Krishnadas Kaviraj's eyes, centers around Rupa and Sanatan's interactions with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and the latter's trip to Vrindavan weaves in and out of his meetings with them and his instructions to them to go to Vrindavan to rediscover the lost sacred places as well as to write books and to set the idea example for the life of a renounced Vaishnava.

Kaviraj immediately sets the scene by placing Mahaprabhu's ecstasies firmly in the context of the gopis' separation from Krishna. That Mahaprabhu chanted the yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ in front of the ratha in Puri is mentioned here for the first time. But this story has the purpose not only of revealing of Chaitanya's inner mood and understanding of Vrindavan, but of legitimizing Rupa Goswami as the ultimate authority on it. Two of Rupa's own verses and the commentaries of the Goswamis on BhP 10.82.47 are repeated here as they are again on two other occasions in the CC (yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ appears at 2.1.58, 2.13.121 and 3.1.78), and these tellings are at the beginning, middle and end of the Madhya-līlā. Rupa and Sanatan play a smaller role in the Antya līlā, but there Krishnadas is indebted to Raghunath Das more than anyone else. And although in CC Chaitanya's teachings arise primarily in the company of Sarvabhauma, Ramananda, Rupa, Sanatana and Prakashananda Saraswati, the greater portion of the Madhya-līlā is devoted to the teachings given the two brothers (chapter 19 for Rupa and chapters 20-24 for Sanatan). At any rate, the triple repetition of the yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ verse and Rupa's insight into its meaning may justifiably be called the essence of Krishnadas Kaviraj's message in Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

In this context, Kaviraj Goswami specifically makes it clear that Mahaprabhu really had no other purpose in coming to Ramkeli other than to see the two brothers.

gauḍa nikaṭe āsite nāhi mora prayojana
tomā duṁhā dekhite mora iṁha āgamana
ei mora monera kathā keho nāhi jāne
sabe bale kene āilā rāmakeli grāme

I had no reason to come here near the capital city. I came here just to see the two of you. Nobody knows that I was thinking this and so they wonder why I came to Ramkeli village. (2.1.212-213)
In this context, it should be noted that a major part of Rupa and Sanatan's significance arises not only out of their innate good qualities, their literary abilities and their insights into the devotional spirit of Mahaprabhu, but also their very experience with the higher echelons of Muslim power. No doubt they were familiar with Persian, the court language of the Muslim rulers, as well as with their habits and beliefs. In their expressions of humility, they repeatedly condemned themselves for their fallen state as a result of this association, and it is most probable that they were, in their daily lives as courtiers, externally Muslim in all respects, while internally maintaining their Hindu beliefs. Kaviraj reveals for the first time that they had corresponded with Mahaprabhu and he had indeed told them to maintain such an attitude. But at the time of this meeting in Ramkeli, they were already quite unable to carry on this schizophrenic existence and were looking for a way out.

We two are millions of times more degraded, fallen and sinful than Jagai and Madhai. We are of wicked birth because we are the servants of Muslims and our activities are exactly like those of the Muslims. We constantly associate with people who are inimical toward the cows and Brahmins. Due to our abominable activities we are now bound by the neck and hands and have been thrown into the ditch filled with the excrement of evil sense enjoyment. (CC 2.1.196-199)
Moreover, in Kaviraj Goswami's version it is Sanatan who warns Mahaprabhu of the Muslim ruler's untrustworthiness:

yadyapi tomāra bhakti kore gauḍa-rāja
tathāpi javana-jāti nā kori pratīti
Even though the king has expressed devotion for you, he is a Muslim and I don’t trust him. (2.1.222-223)
He goes on to explain that going to Vrindavan in a large group is not appropriate but that one's devotional attitude is best served by going there alone. Kaviraj takes pains to explain that Mahaprabhu is God himself and therefore not afraid of a Muslim king or anyone else, as indeed is shown by his march through the jungles of Jharikhand. Nevertheless, as a subtext throughout all the accounts of Chaitanya's life is the Muslim presence, and it would seem that Rupa and Sanatan's familiarity with the governing milieu was a great asset in his sending them to Vrindavan to rediscover the holy places there.

So, having accomplished his purpose, Mahaprabhu returned to

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sri Chaitanya in Vrindavan (Part I)

Mahaprabhu speaking to Pathan soldiers on his way back from Braj.

hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇeti kṛṣṇeti mukhyān
mahāścarya-nāmāvalī-siddha-mantrān |
kadābhyasya vṛndāvane syāṁ kṛtārthaḥ ||
When will I be fulfilled in Vrindavan by chanting over and over the most amazing siddha mantras of the Holy Name, the Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna that was sung by Chaitanya Deva, the embodiment of mercy? (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta 17.89)
Coming up next month in Vrindavan is the celebration of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's historic visit to Mathura/Vrindavan, where he arrived on Karttik Purnima in 1515. Since this is the 500th anniversary of that trip, we have been looking through Mahaprabhu's biographies to understand its significance in the context of Gaudiya Vaishnava history. Since this event is most elaborated described in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, where Krishnadas Kaviraj -- himself writing in Vrindavan -- is fully aware of its meaning. Coincidentally, Kaviraj's work was completed exactly 100 years after this event, marking the completion of the first century of remarkable developments in the Gaudiya Vaishnava school. [See also the three-part article on Kheturi.]

Taking all the biographies into account, we see that Mahaprabhu made three failed attempts to go to Vrindavan before finally succeeding in 1515. Thus, taken as a whole, the necessity for his going to Vrindavan was clearly stated and is agreed upon by everyone. The trip itself is spoken of in some but not all of these biographies, and we will have something to say about this later on in this article.

For the moment, let it be said that Krishnadas Kaviraj framed his account on that of Karnapur's Caitanya-candrodaya, which is the source of much of the Madhya-lila of CC, which includes the trip to Vrindavan. But Kaviraj Goswami has extensively embellished on that structure, especially through information garnered from his privileged sources, Rupa and Raghunath, and then built his telling of this part of Caitanya's life, when he was still traveling outside of Jagannath Puri, so that the trip to Vrindavan is its climax.

Interestingly, the CC was completed exactly 100 years after Mahaprabhu's arrival in Vrindavan, and not only does it give the complete story of that visit, but also serves as its fulfilment or culmination. It also gives us an important perspective from which to look at the present situation in Vrindavan and to reflect on its future.

The synoptic accounts

I am using the term synoptic accounts to refer to those biographies of Chaitanya that follow the lead of Murari Gupta’s Karcā. They could also justifiably called the Nabadwip accounts. In other words, they share a common chronology of Mahaprabhu's life -- but only up to his taking sannyas, where not only they fall of in their informativeness, but they also lose their way as works of literature. In other words, the trip to Vrindavan does not form a rasa-producing narrative, any more than the account of someone's summer vacation plays a dramatic role in the greater story of his or her life.

The synoptic accounts are:

1. Śrī-Kṛṣṇa-caitanya-caritāmṛtam (Sanskrit) Murari Gupta (1535). (MGK)
2. Śrī-Caitanya-caritāmṛta-mahākāvyam (Sanskrit) by Kavi Karnapur (1542). (CCMK)
3. Śrī-Caitanya-bhāgavata (Bengali) by Vrindavan Das Thakur (c. 1550). (CBh)
4. Śrī-Caitanya-maṅgala (B) by Lochan Das (c. 1572). (CML)

Though the three subsequent accounts of Mahaprabhu's life follow the outline and often the details given in MGK, they supplement it with further details as well as a mood that comes from their own "party." Murari himself was a childhood friend and fellow student of Nimai Pandit who was also witness to his transformation after the trip to Gaya. His work is dated 1513, but certain events, such as the trip to Vrindavan, which took place after that date, are chronicled, but without much reliable factual information. That this portion was a later addition to the text is hinted at by the absence of this particular portion in CCMK and CBh; it is however found in the CML, which is of a later date, indicating perhaps that the expanded version of MGK became available to Lochan Das at some other time.

Karnapur was the son of Shivananda Sen, which gave him greater access to the stories of Jagannath Puri as perceived by the Bengalis who made their annual trip with him for the Rathayatra. His second work on Chaitanya's life (CCN) shows the effect of this connection. Vrindavan Das sees and describes Mahaprabhu through the eyes of Nityananda, and Lochan Das represents the Shrikhanda Gaura Nagar school.

There are several other biographies that do not fall into the synoptic category.

5. Śrī-Caitanya-maṅgala (Bengali) by Jayananda (c. 1560). (CMJ)
6. Śrī-Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭakam (S) by Kavi Karnapur (1572). (CCN)
7. Śrī-Caitanya-caritāmṛta (B) by Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami (1612). (CC)

Of these, CMJ is generally considered unreliable due to being totally out of synch with the synoptic accounts, and since Jayananda seems to have had little or no input from Mahaprabhu's close associates, as is the case with the others. CCN is a more original work which also has borrowed a great deal from MGK but has additional information about the period in which Mahaprabhu travelled throughout India. Kaviraj Goswami's CC seems to be the most informative as the author has gathered information from various sources that were not available to the authors who remained stationed in Bengal. He seems to have made use of all the prior biographies and yet collected a great deal of the lore that came through the six Goswamis. He is also at great pains to establish the bonafides of Rupa, Sanatan and Raghunath Das in his attempt to elucidate a more sophisticated theology of Chaitanya as incarnation and as teacher of a new revelation.

There are also other sources of information for Chaitanya's life, primarily the padas of the Bengali Mahajanas like Balaram Das and Basu Ghosh, and a few other fragmentary biographies like Gauranga-vijaya. It should also be noted that there are works in the Oriya language that are generally neglected, and unfortunately have not been consulted for this article.

1. Mahaprabhu's first attempt at going to Vrindavan

Mahaprabhu first had the idea of going to Vrindavan or Mathura after meeting Ishwara Puri in Gaya. This is mentioned briefly in four verses in MGK (1.16.8-11), the first in which he determines to go to madhu-puri and the second in which a disembodied voice tells him to return and advises him that he will go to Vrindavan in the future. And the last two in which he acquiesces to the voice from the sky. This account is followed very closely in CCMK (4.66-68). Vrindavan Das gives a more elaborate account, describing Mahaprabhu's ecstasies and sense of urgency:
"O my Krishna, my dear Lord, O Lord Hari, you are my life and soul! You have stolen my heart, now which way have you run away? In which direction can I find my beloved Lord?" The Lord cried out in intense separation from his beloved Lord and wept bitterly. The Lord was totally absorbed in relishing the nectar of love of Krishna and rolling on the ground - his body was covered with dust. He cried out as if greatly afflicted, "Where is my beloved Krishna and where has he gone leaving me?... All of you return to your homes, I do not want to go back to my family anymore. I am going to Mathura to find the beloved Lord of my heart, Sri Krishna Chandra... (CBh 1.17.116-123)
And the heavenly voice is expressed at much greater length:
ekhone mathurā nā jāibā dvijamaṇi
jāibāra kāla āche yāibā tokhone
nabadvīpe nija gṛhe calaha ekhone

"You will not go to Mathura at this time, O jewel of the twice-born! When the time comes for you to go to Mathura, you will go. But for now return to your own home in Nabadwip. You are the Lord of Vaikuntha and have descended into the world with all your associates to deliver it. You will make the infinite universes ring with Harinam sankirtan and distribute loving devotion (prema-bhakti) to the world. You are omniscient. You already know everything. We know the reason why you have descended to this material world.

"Remember that you have descended to give a taste for that prema which bewitches the minds of even Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, Sanaka and the other sages, and the glories of which Ananta Sesa continuously sings. We are your servants, still we wish to tell you this and so we have submitted this to your lotus feet. You yourself determine your own destiny. No one can act counter to your will. So my Lord please return to your home and later you shall go to Mathura." (1.17.129-137)
As is often the case in CBh, it appears that Vrindavan Das was expanding this portion for dramatic effect in order to reprise the subject again when Mahaprabhu did go to Vrindavan. However, as with the other synoptic accounts, this was never fulfilled. MGK does give a brief account in 4.26.1-7 in what is probably a later addition. This section also mentions in passing the meeting with Rupa in Prayag and Sanatan in Kashi.

CML follows MGK closely, but like CBh embellishes: Mahaprabhu says, “Let’s go to Vrindavan” to his companions, but they protest that they don’t have the money for such a long trip. Mahaprabhu convinces them, “Don’t worry. Your needs are allotted to you with your birth, but if you do not worship Krishna, is it worth living at all?” But as he starts on his way, a heavenly voice like the thundering of a cloud says,
śuno śuno mahāprabhu ohe viśvambhara
nā jāiho madhupurī jāho nija ghara
sannyāsa kariyā tīrtha koribe paryaṭana
samayera baśa hoiyā jābe vṛndāvana

Listen, Mahaprabhu, O listen Vishwambhar!
Do not go to Mathura, but return to your home.
When you take sannyas, you will visit the holy places
and then, when the time is right, you will go to Vrindavan. (p. 88)
Chaitanya does not protest, but as in the other synoptic accounts follows the heavenly instruction.

Interestingly, Krishnadas Kaviraj, who also stresses Mahaprabhu's desire to go to Vrindavan as one of the dramatic threads of his biography, does not mention Mathura or Vrindavan or the celestial voice in this context (Cf. CC 1.17.9).

2. The second attempt, after sannyasa

After taking sannyasa, Mahaprabhu again entered into an ecstatic state and spent three days wandering in the Rarh desh, i.e., the Birbhum-Bardhaman area on the west bank of the Bhagirathi. This is described in MGK 3.3, but no mention is made there of any desire on his part to go to Vrindavan at that time. CCMK follows his lead (11.57ff) with little innovation. CBh (3.1), however, adds certain details, saying that Mahaprabhu's intention was to go to Bakreshwar (3.1.64). The main difference in these accounts lies in the number of people and their identities and who was accompanying Mahaprabhu. CBh differs from the others by saying that there were a great number of people even though the Lord's intention was to remain in solitude:

prabhu bole--bakreśvara āchena je bane
tathāi jāimu muñi thākimu nirjane
The Lord said, "I will go to that forest where Lord Vakreshwar resides, and I will remain there in solitude." (CBh 3.1.64). 
In almost all respects Krishnadas Kaviraj closely follows the CCN version (Act 5), which adds a number of unique details to the synoptic account, particularly the element that Mahaprabhu was obsessed with going to Vrindavan at the time. In particular the Bhāgavata quote (11.23.57) and Mahaprabhu's explanation thereof (CC 2.3.6-9) are a direct translation of CCN 5.9ad.

etāṁ samāsthāya parātma-niṣṭhām
adhyāsitāṁ pūrvatamair mahadbhiḥ
ahaṁ tariṣyāmi duranta-pāraṁ
tamo mukundāṅghri-niṣevayaiva
Fixed in faith in the supreme soul,
I will do as the ancient great souls did
and take the vow of renunciation, the sannyas order.
In this way, by serving the lotus feet of Mukunda alone,
I shall cross over the boundless ocean of darkness.
(SB 11.23.57, CCMK 11.66, CCN 5.1, CC 2.3.6)
prabhu kahe sādhu ei bhikṣuka-vacana
mukunda-sevana-vrata kaila nirdhāraṇa
parātma-niṣṭhā mātra veṣa dhāraṇa
mukunda-sevāya haya saṁsāra tāraṇa
sei veṣa kaila ebe vṛndāvana giyā
kṛṣṇa niṣevaṇa kari nibhṛte basiyā
The Lord said, “I approve of the words of this monk, for he has indicated that sannyas is a commitment to the service of Mukunda, who alone grants liberation. The meaning of renunciation is simply to demonstrate such a commitment to the Supreme Soul, for by serving Lord Mukunda, one crosses over the material ocean. Now that I have taken those garments [of a monk], I shall go to Vrindavan where I can sit alone somewhere and engage in Lord Krishna’s service.” (CC 2.3.7-9)
It would seem that the common theme of the different accounts is Mahaprabhu's determination to be alone and to dedicate himself fully to spiritual life. However, it will be seen that Kaviraj Goswami, writing from the perspective of Rupa and Raghunath, feels that Vrindavan is so central to Mahaprabhu's entire devotional system that he makes the Madhya-līlā both begin and conclude with Vrindavan firmly in the middle.

At Sachi Mata's request (in the CCN/CC telling) Mahaprabhu goes to Jagannath Puri where he feels the separation from Krishna. Krishnadas Kaviraj structures the Madhya-līlā around his relationship with the two brothers Rupa and Sanatan, and it would not be unfair to say that this middle portion is about them as much as it is about Chaitanya. In both the first and fourteenth chapters, Kaviraj tells the story of the gopis' desire to be reunited with Krishna in the bucolic Vrindavan of their childhood, and how Rupa Goswami was the only person besides Svarupa Damodar to understood this mood. The relationship with Rupa and Sanatan, though evidently established earlier through some letter exchanges, was cemented on Mahaprabhu's third attempt to go to Vrindavan.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Authenticity of the Caitanya-Caritāmṛta-Mahā-Kāvya, Part II

Go to Part I.


Mukherjee's arguments can be met as follows:

(i) Whatever Krishnadasa Kaviraja may have written of Rupa's handwriting, and whatever beauty it may have possessed, it was inevitable that Rupa's handwriting would be an object of interest for the devotees in the sampradaya. There can be no doubt that relics still excite a great deal of respect among devotees of all persuasions in India. That so few movable relics remain is probably due to this very interest. While I was in Vrindavan, there was a great to-do about the prayer beads, supposedly Rupa's own, that had been stolen from his bhajan kutir at Radha Damodara. Nevertheless, it is hard to see that Rupa's handwriting has anything to do with the argument that has been presented here. Vishnudasa's comments make no mention of Rupa's calligraphy. It is Rupa's authority as the helmsman of the 'official' course of devotional practice in the post-Chaitanya period that is important here and not the quality of the calligraphy.

Many reputed scholars were known to copy manuscripts. To give just one well-known example, the poet and court scholar Vidyapati of Mithila made a copy of the Bhāgavata-purāṇa which is still extant.(30) Mukherjee has argued that the manuscripts that do seem to be written by Rupa's hand are all ones which he copied in order later to quote from them in his other works. Why then would he personally copy this one since he never refers to or quotes from it anywhere? It could be argued from the words sundara-rūpam in the Vaiśākha-māhātmya colophon that he actually took pleasure in his calligraphic abilities. If he was as good as Chaitanya himself seems to have said, could he not have thus enjoyed the employment of his talents?

Nor is the date of the Vaiśākha-māhātmya of any great relevance, except that it supports the idea that Rupa sometimes wrote the date at the end of a book that he had simply copied. This was not an unheard of practice; scribes were known to write the date at the end of manuscripts they had copied. The Vidyapati manuscript too has a date of completion. That there is an absence of consistency should not surprise us and we should not draw too many conclusions from it. Yet we cannot argue that because Rupa neglected to put the date on certain of his own books that he never put the date on manuscripts he had simply copied, especially when we have evidence to the contrary. Indeed, the fact that these manuscripts had been found in the Radha Damodar library does increase their credibility. If the forgery of the CCMK was a great plot, did the plotter also go to these other manuscripts and write verses on them giving the copying date to increase the credibility of his own claims? If so, he was further-sighted than any of the forgers who have been discussed above. Even the twentieth-century counterfeiters did not go to such lengths!

Mukherjee has presented an argument about the word Monday in the colophon of the CCMK, presumably as a type of sthūna-nikhana-nyāya, an attempt to add more fuel to the fire. Unfortunately, the absence of the weekday in the copyist's date makes the whole argument completely pointless. Other than “the dark fortnight of Ashadh” there is no absolute correlation of one date to the other. If the date was an intentional forgery with devious purpose, then it certainly would have been counterproductive to make it too similar to the original date of composition. But there is little point in pursuing this argument because of the lack of correlation.

(iii) Would Rupa Goswami have copied a copy of a manuscript written by a mere boy from a far-off land? Would he have had the time? Could he have been bothered while engaged in more important matters?

First of all, we must understand that Rupa Gosvami considered Chaitanya to be God incarnate. He was the object of his and his associates' spiritual lives. Although Rupa and his followers gave priority to the Vṛndāvana-līlā, they still worshipped Chaitanya. It is sometimes said that Rupa only perfunctorily mentioned Chaitanya in his books, but we must remember that he wrote three aṣṭakas to glorify him, in the phala-śrutis of which he states unequivocally the importance of hearing about Chaitanya's activities. (31) Even today, we find that disciples of a powerful spiritual master spend a great amount of time talking about their guru, much as members of a fan club discuss their hero, if I may use the example. Why should we think that Rupa, etc. were any different? Radha and Krishna may have been the object of study, but Chaitanya was surely the topic of conversation.

In view of this, if there were a mahā-kāvya written by a young devotee who had received 'special mercy' from the Lord, who by this special mercy had developed a prodigious poetic talent, who in the rich zamindari atmosphere of his family home in Kanchrapara had every opportunity to develop that talent, and who in the association of his father, of Srivasa (the fifth member of the Pancha Tattva) who lived nearby in Halisahar, and of Nityananda who lived only five or six miles away in Khardaha, had first-hand accounts of the early and middle events of Chaitanya's life, would not such a major work have excited the interest of Rupa, his brother Sanatana and their friends? Remember CBh had still not come on the scene.

Shivananda was undoubtedly proud of his son's talents. He was also an important man in the sampradāya, both as a devotee and as a donor. When his son wrote a book that displayed his formidable talents, what would such a parent have done, if not send it to the highest authority for his approval? We have noted above some of the external difficulties with the MGK. It seems that MGK did not meet with universal approval amongst Chaitanya's devotees. In some ways CCMK even seeks to 'correct' portions of MGK. (32) Would not Shivananda have sought the approbation of the person who had succeeded Svarupa Damodara as the supreme arbiter in the sampradaya of not only theological correctness but also poetic good taste? By 1542, none of the Pancatattva was left alive, Svarupa Damodara was dead--to whom else could one have turned but the famed Rupa and Sanatan?

Even if the copy were not sent for judgement or approval, it might have been just sent as a present. In either case, it is hard to imagine Rupa ignoring it. If it had been sent to Sanatan, who was after all, the elder brother and Rupa's spiritual master, then it would have been up to Rupa to have a copy made of the book if he wanted one for himself. The copy itself seems to have been written in more than one hand. For what reason, we do not know. Perhaps Rupa did not approve, or perhaps he did not have the time to complete it. Ultimately, for our argument's sake it is not important whether Rupa wrote it at all. What is important is the date of copying which has been given as 1545 and remains perfectly plausible.

(iv) It is true that we know of many Vishnudasas and that we cannot be sure which one this is. Like Krishnadasas or Gopaladasas, we have so many that we are hopelessly lost. There are fewer Vishnudasa Gosvamis, however, and the disciple who refers to him in this way has helped us to recognize this person as a disciple of Krishnadasa Kaviraja who lived in Vraja with him at the time that he was writing the CC, and probably for some time before that. The proposition that Vishnudasa means Krishnadasa is untenable.(33) If for devious motives someone wished to increase the credibility of a manuscript, why would he disguise the name of the very person through whom he wished to gain such benefit? Does such a contrivance not defeat its very purpose by expecting too much subtlety on the part of its audience?

Vishnudasa was known as Gosvami to his followers (rather than Prabhu, Prabhupada, Maharaja, Mahashaya, Acharya, Thakura, Bhatta, or any of the other honorifics commonly used by disciples to refer to their spiritual masters). He was a Vrajavasi who knew how to write Sanskrit verses, and was close enough to the senior devotees to refer to them in the way our mysterious Vishnudasa did in the verses that follow CCMK.

At the end of the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi commentary (Svātma-prabodhinī) our known Vishnudasa Goswami has written five verses. Unfortunately, he does not refer to himself by name anywhere in these verses or in the text of his commentary. For his identity we are dependent on a note found on the title page of a manuscript of it found in the Jaipur library of the Govinda temple: śrī-viṣṇu-dāsa-gosvāmi-krtā ujjvala-ṭīkā (34) Here too, the writer of this note identifies Vishnudasa as Goswami.

I have quoted those five verses below, so that the reader can see their stylistic resemblance to the verses quoted from the CCMK manuscript. In particular, I call attention to the use of the words prabala-karuṇa which fills the same position in a mandākrāntā metre (verse 4) as pracura-karuṇa in the CCMK verses, both of them in reference to Rupa. Other points of similarity are in references to Rupa as mat-prabhu-varaiḥ śrī-rūpāṅghri-yugāśritāḥ (v.3) and rūpaika-dhāmnā (v. 5), the use of the word kenāpi as a humble reference to himself in both works, and the attention to dates in which word codes are used for numbers.

na hi para-mata-khaṇḍanāya vādair
na ca nija-mata-saṅgrahāya loke |
api tu nija-mano'valambanārthaṁ
param iha kila naḥ prayatna eṣaḥ ||1||

so'haṁ yasya kṛpāmṛtena sucirāt puṣṭaḥ suduḥsāhase
yasyājñā-madhu-dhārayā ca nitarāṁ mattaḥ pravṛtto'tra hi |
tasya śrī-kavirāja-sad-guṇa-nidher mat-sarva-śiksā-guroḥ
karṇānanda-bharāvahaṁ tu bhavatāt saivāsakṛn mat-kṛtih ||2||

kṣudreṇāpi mayā yad atra viduṣām apy asphuṭādhvany aho
svālambāya paraṁ yathāmati mudā vyākhyātam ātmeccayā |
śrī-rūpāṅghri-yuga-śritah kṛta-dhiyas tuṣyantv iha svair guṇair
mat-prauḍha-śrama-sat-phalaṁ param idam nānyan mamāpekṣitam ||3||

śrī-rūpeṇa prabala-karuṇā-śālinā darśitam yan
mādṛṅ-mugdha-prakṛti-janatā-śreyase rāga-vartma |
tasmin yeṣāṁ ratir atitarāṁ vartate sāra-bhājāṁ
teṣāṁ pādāmbuja-nati-matī koṭiśah syāj janir me ||4||

saṁvatsare bāji-rasa-rtu-candre
vṛṣastha-sūryāsita-pañcadaśyām |
kenāpy asau rūpa-padaika-dhāmnā
vyalekhi ṭīkā sva-manorathāptyai ||5|| (35)

The date given here is 1667 Samvat or AD 1610.

We cannot say with absolute certainty that these two Vishnudasas are one and the same person. Even if they were, it does not free us from the doubts in question. Could not this disciple of Krishnadasa have had access to the library at Radha Damodara? Affer all, Krishnadasa probably wrote his CC seated there, taking advantage of the library in order to write this resumé of all the works of the six Gosvamis. His samadhi is there, beside that of Jiva. Vishnudasa would have thus been able to forge and place his manuscript of CCMK in the library as well as effect the numerous changes that would have been necessary to provide supporting evidence.

On the other hand, he would also have had the chance to find a genuine manuscript of CCMK, become genuinely excited about a book that had fallen into disuse and yet seemed to have received the holy attention of Rupa. He would have been in a position to make some inquiries about it ftom the highest living authorities of the sampradāya and finally, to make his own copy and add his exultant comments. He would undoubtedly have known the legend of Karnapura from Kaviraja and thus the same appreciation of a prodigious talent would have awakened in him, just as it had in Rupa before him.

(v) What books were read publicly in Vrindavan in the early years of the Goswamis' residence there? Certainly we should be prepared to accommodate a certain amount of variety here. In CBh, Gadadhar Pandit is said by Vrindavan Dasa to have read Dhruva and Prahlada stories to Chaitanya and it is said that these were his favourites. (36) On the other hand, Krishnadasa prefers to think that besides the BhP (rāsa-līlā), Chaitanya listened to five famous texts: that is, Gīta-govinda, Kṛṣṇa-karnāmṛta, Jagannātha-vallabha-nāṭaka and the songs of Vidyapati and Chandi Dasa.(37) At any rate, the reading of one book does not preclude the reading of another. We know from CC that upon arrival in Vrindavan, Raghunatha Dasa used to recite Chaitanya's līlā to Rupa and Sanatan. After all, even though the two brothers were Chaitanya's associates, they had not been with him in Nabadwip and later had only spent a few months with him in Puri. Since these latter pastimes were more important to them and more revelatory of the purpose of the incarnation than those related to Nabadwip, they were naturally more interested in the accounts of Raghunatha Dasa when he came to join them in Vrindavan sometime after 1534. In CC, Adi 10, Krishnadasa writes that after the death of Svarupa Damodara, Raghunatha Dasa decided to come to the holy land of Vrindavan and commit suicide by jumping from Govardhan. Rupa and Sanatan did not let him die, but adopted him as a third brother and kept him as their companion. "From his mouth they heard all the activities of Mahaprabhu, both private and public... Night and day he performed the mental service of Radha and Krishna, but for three hours a day he would speak about the deeds of Chaitanya."(38)

In the face of such evidence, it is hard to see how Mukherjee can suggest that "during the period when the direct and intimate associates of Chaitanya were alive they did not have assemblies to discuss the pastimes of Chaitanya, but rather they discussed the Bhāgavata which Raghunatha Bhatta recited for them."

Since Raghunatha Dasa arrived in Vrindavan not long after 1534 after some seventeen years of living in close association with Chaitanya in Puri, there is some validity to the question of whether Rupa, etc. would concern themselves with another work on the life of Chaitanya at all, especially if the new work were neither completely original nor particularly superior, being subject to faults attributable to the author's youth and inexperience. My answer to this is simply that the statement śāśvatam in Vishnudasa's verses need not be taken at face value. The great 'Church fathers' may not have read the work constantly, but why not a few times? Even though to read through the whole work with commentary might only take a few sessions, that is enough to qualify for śrutvā śrutvā. Hyperbole and exaggeration are not absent from Gaudiya writings. The CCMK became less interesting with the arrival of the vernacular works CBh and the Caitanya-maṅgala of Locanadasa (CM), and was reduced to only peripheral interest with the completion of the CC. The reasons for this will be given below.

(vi) If attention to dates was rare, then how much more rare was critical historical judgement! If someone wrote the CCMK in the seventeenth century, he would have to have been possessed of extreme discernment to have been able to do the following: (a) extract from the finely woven web of Kaviraja Gosvami's account of CC the original elements which were absent from MGK; (b) add others of his own imagining, not in CC: AND (c) yet to avoid using any material which was unique to works post-dating the hypothetical date of 1542 to which he had attributed CCMK's composition. Mukherjee has implied that Vishnudasa, or the other members of this clique, must have been possessed of such historical awareness if they put such emphasis on the date of the copying of the manuscripts by Rupa, but this conclusion is over-extended.

Another unanswered question which needs serious consideration is why would such a plot be hatched in the first place? One simply cannot believe that anyone in Vrindavan would go to so much trouble for no apparent reason. Furthermore, it must have been quite an important reason, for this person acted not as an individual, but as a member of a clique, for more than one hand has been involved in the various confirmations and copyings. Unless we can show a reasonable motive, we cannot accept any argument purely on the basis of suspicions arising out of a commentator's overly strong attestations.

We have three possible motives for such a forgery:

(a) Was it done for fame and fortune or personal aggrandizement? If so, Vishnudasa would have done better to write it in his own name. Indeed, if our two Vishnudasa's are one, then he is of such great humility that he does not even put his own name on a work (Svātma-prabodhinī) to which he had consecrated great efforts.

(b) Was it done to gain approval for an idea contained within it? This seems to have been Mukherjee's proposition. If so, we must first find what that idea was. Is there anything new in CCMK? There are certainly some new details if it is taken as a work written in 1542 and following the MGK, for the writer makes numerous emendations and additions to the accounts of Murari. On the other hand, from the point of view of the period following CBh, CM, CCN, CC, there is absolutely nothing at all that can be considered new or startling, nothing that could be seen as philosophically or theologically significant or supportive of any position in seventeenth-century debates on the life or nature of Chaitanya. Rather, it carries archaic characteristics that would affirm its early date. If the author wished to add a greater element of Vrindavan līlā to it, he did so, but even this has been done without any indication of a familiarity with the siddhāntas of the CC, or even the works of Rupa.

(c) Was it then written merely to confirm the Karnapura legend? The tone of amazement found in Vishnudasa's verses shows why he valued this book -- not for any new information found therein, but because it is the proof of Kavi Karnapura's young genius, and through that, a confirmation of Chaitanya's divine glories. Other than CCMK, however we have a sufficient number of works written by Karnapura, superior do it, which establish sufficiently his reputation. According to Kaviraja, it was Karnapura's āryā verses that were his earliest. These were apparently available to him at that time. What need was there of anything further to prove that Karnapura was a child prodigy? Kaviraja's personal reputation was sufficiently high that no necessity for such a special work, purely for the sake of supporting his statements in CC, could possibly have been felt.

(vii) Now we come to the difficult question of why this book was not mentioned in the CC. First, we should note that Krishnadasa Kaviraja, despite using twenty-eight different incidents from Karnapura's CCN as well as several from the CCMK never states unequivocally that Karnapura is one of the authoritative sources for the life of Chaitanya. He has recognized only Murari Gupta, Vrindavan Dasa, Svarupa Damodara and Raghunatha Dasa in this way. In some places, his rejection of Karnapura appears to be an oversight, such as when he credits Vrindavan Dasa as being the source of a story which in fact can only be found in the CCN.(39) However, nowhere does Krishnadasa ever quote MGK or CBh literally, whereas much of what has been borrowed from Karnapura is literally translated, and is even quoted directly eight times, though he is nevertheless never given the same level of credit. Thus the problem to be resolved is not simply one of Krishnadasa's ignoring the CCMK, but of a general relegation of Karnapura to a secondary position as an authoritative source. (40)

It may well be possible that Kavi Karnapura, who apparently waited thirty years before completing his next known work, Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka, in 1572, was perhaps ashamed of what he had done as a young lad. CCN is something of a revision of his earlier work. This is doubly possible if we know that the book did not meet with the response that had been hoped for. We know this sensation amongst authors; it is not uncommon. CCMK was eventually superseded by the Chaitanya Bhāgavata, which also drove Murari Gupta's kaḍacā into oblivion. The CCMK is decidedly an immature work, though not entirely without charm, yet Rupa knew of the boy's reputation and was interested in this composition about the life of Chaitanya. Thus at first it could have been an object of great interest, but later became less so amongst the Vaishnavas in general for the reasons discussed. Along with Muran Gupta and Locanadasa, Karnapura's views are not strictly in line with that of the Vrindavan school that Chaitanya was a combination of Radha and Krishna rather than simply Krishna himself.


Ultimately, the only way in which the question of the authenticity of CCMK can truly be settled is by a critical comparative reading of it, examining it in the light of other texts on Chaitanya's life. This is the method by which it might be established that the CC could only have borrowed from CCMK and not vice-versa. Although a thorough execution of this procedure will have to await a later occasion, I should like to point to at least three instances in which I believe it possible to establish exactly this conclusion, all taken from passages dealing with Chaitanya's pilgrimage to the South.

Example (i)

(a) When Chaitanya left Puri, Murari Gupta pictures him singing:

kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa he
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa pāhi mām |
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa he
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa rakṣa mām || (3.14.9)

(b) In the CCMK, Karnapura has him chant:

kṛṣṇa keśava kṛṣṇa keśava kṛṣṇa keśava pāhi mām |
rāma rāghava rāma rāghava rāma rāghava rakṣa mām || (12.120)

(c) In his presumed second version of the story, Karnapura pictures the same Chaitanya singing the following in the CCN,

kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa jaya kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa he
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa jaya kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa he |
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa jaya kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa he
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa jaya kṛṣṇa pāhi mām ||(7.5)

(d) Krishnadasa Kaviraja has the following:

kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa he
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa he |
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa pāhi mām
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa rakṣa mām ||
kṛṣṇa keśava kṛṣṇa keśava kṛṣṇa keśava pāhi mām |
rāma rāghava rāma rāghava rāma rāghava rakṣa mām ||

(Madhya 7, p. 141)

This serves as a typical example of Krishnadasa's procedure. He has used all sources as completely as possible. Where there is a confiict between accounts, he has been selective. Where there is none, he has combined them as far as possible.

In this case, the only source for the second stanza in his version of Chaitanya's song is CCMK. If the author of CCMK were borrowing from CC then he would have deliberately rejected the portion that was common to the MGK, CCN and CC to select only that portion that was unique.

(ii) As Chaitanya departs from Puri, Murari describes Kashi Mishra, Chaitanya's host, lamenting at his departure, saying that he felt more distress at the loss of his guest than at the death of his own son. In CCMK and CC it is Sarvabhauma who says these words.(41) Furthermore, other than the CC only the CCMK and CCN versions contain Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya's advice to Chaitanya to visit Ramananda Raya.

yady evaṁ gantāsi tadā kṛpālo
godāvarī-tīra-bhuvaṁ samīyāḥ |
tatrāsti kaścit paramo mahātmā
śrī-kṛṣṇa-pādāmbuja-matta-bhṛṅgaḥ |
nopājihīthā viṣayīti rāmā-
nandaṁ bhavānanda-tanūja-ratnam ||
"Oh merciful one, if you must leave, then please go to the land on the banks of the Godavari River. There lives a great soul who is a maddened bee at the lotus-like feet of Sri Krishna. Do not reject Ramananda, the jewel amongst the sons of Bhavananda, thinking him to be a materialistic person." (CCMK, 12.74-5)
(b) In the CCN (Act 7, p. 231) Karnapura writes:

sārvabhaumaḥ : gantavyam iti niścaye kṛte mayokta-godāvarī-tīre rāmānando vartate so'vaśyam evānugrāhyaḥ||| sa khalu sahaja-vaiṣṇavo bhavati| pūrvam asmākam upahāsa-pātram āsīt| samprati bhagavad-anugrahe jāte tan-mahima-jnatā no jātā.

"If you have decided that you must go then you must definitely be mercîful to Ramananda who lîves by the Godavari of which I have spoken. He is reputed to be a 'natural' Vaishnava. Previously he was the object of my ridicule, but by your mercy I have come to know of his greatness."

(c) If we compare Karnapura's two accounts to the one found in the CC (Madhya 7, p. 140), we see that Krishnadasa has made a selective mixture of them:

tabe sārvabhauma kahe prabhura caraṇe |
avaśya karibe mora ei nivedane ||
rāya rāmānanda āche godāvarī tīre |
adhikārī hoyen teṁho vidyānagare ||
śūdra-viṣayi-jñāne tāṁre upekṣā na karibe |
āmāra vacane tāṁre avaśya milibe ||
tomāra saṅgera jogya teṁho eka jana |
pṛthivīte rasika bhakta nahi tāṁra sama ||
pāṇḍitya āra bhakti-rasa duṁhāra teṁho sīmā |
sambhāṣile jānibe tumi tāṁhāra mahimā |
alaukika vākya-ceṣṭā tāṁra na bujhiyā |
parihāsa kariyāchi vaiṣṇava baliyā ||
tomāra prasāde ebe jānilo tāṁra tattva |
sambhāṣile jānibe tāṁra jemana mahattva ||
Then Sarvabhauma said to the Lord, "You must grant this request of mine. On the banks of the Godavari lives the governor of Vidyanagara named Ramananda Raya. Do not ignore him on the grounds that he is of a low caste and a materialistic person, but be sure to meet with him on my word. He is someone who is worthy of your association for there is no rasika devotee in the world equal to him. He possesses the ultimate in scholarship and in devotional sentiment, and if you speak to him you will know his greatness. Not understanding his other-wordly utterances I mocked him, calling him a Vaishnava, but after receiving your grace, I now know the truth about him. If you speak with him you shall know the extent of his glories."
Krishnadasa appears to have started with a rough translation of the CCMK verses quoted above, but adds to it the word śūdra. He has also added details of Ramananda's occupation absent from all other editions and corrected his place of residence from the Kanchi found in MGK, CCMK and CM to Vidyanagar. The glories of Ramananda are expanded out of Krishnadasa's own imaginings based on his reputation and teachings as he knew them, particularly in the emphasis on rasa. The latter portions of Sarvabhauma's speech are taken from the CCN version from which Krishnadasa has noticeably dropped the word sahaja.(42)

Comparing the three readings above, we ask the following questions: If the author of CCMK had borrowed from CC rather than MGK, would he not have adopted Krishnadasa's correction of the place name? Why did he drop Krishnadasa's śūdra-viṣayi, Karnapura's sahaja-vaiṣṇava for simply viṣayī? Most strikingly absent to one aware of the far-reaching influence that Krishnadasa had on later Gaudiya Vaishnavism, is the concept of bhakti rasa. It seems impossible that any work from that school would show no consciousness at all of Rupa's doctrines, particularly not one by a Vishnudasa who had written a commentary on the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi.

(iii) Of course, the Ramananda episode is much longer and contains many other complications and discrepancies, a few more of which we will now deal with.

(a) According to MGK, 3.14.1-5, Chaitanya leaves Jiyada Nrisingha and arrives at Kanchinagara to see Ramananda. He comes to Ramananda's house, finding him engaged in meditation on Krishna at the end of his daily worship. Ramananda sees the golden form of Chaitanya three times during the course of his meditation and then opens his eyes to see the Lord in the form of a sannyāsin before him. Ramananda then pays obeisance to Chaitanya and Chaitanya embraces him, calling him śrī-rādhikā-pada-saroja-ṣaṭ-pada. (Note the similarity to the vocabulary of CCMK, 12.75 quoted above.) Chaitanya then reveals the secrets of the Vrindavan sports of Krishna to Ramananda, and tells him to join him later in Puri. (43) Murari also describes one other meeting when Chaitanya makes his return to Puri, at which time they again conversed.

(b) The account of Ramananda's vision of Chaitanya as Krishna himself is confirmed by Lochana's CM (iv, 1.82-114), but this author omits almost all other details. He does relate that Chaitanya returned to Godavari to stay with Ramananda for the four months of the rainy season. (iv, 2.13)

(c) The CCMK departs from the MGK version considerably. Here, Chaitanya does not see Ramananda at all the first time he arrives at the Goda vari, being somewhat indecisive about whether he should do so or not (13.130):

tataḥ sa godāvarikām upetya
manasy athāndolitatāṁ jagāma |
sambhāṣitavyaḥ kim asau na veti
śrīmad-bhavānanda-suto mahātmā

This is perfectly in keeping with Sarvabhauma's warnings about Raman anda's reputation of being a materialistic person. He only sees Ramananda on his return trip at which time he engages him in the conversation which Krishnadasa has made so famous. Later on, however, after a short stay in Puri until Snanayatra (the bathing festival), Chaitanya, sad at not seeing Jagannath, went to Alalanath and then again to Kanchi where he stayed with Ramananda for the duration of the rainy season. (45)

(a) In the CCN, (46) Karnapura writes a very similar account of the meeting, with the difference that it took place on Chaitanya's first visit to the banks of the Godavari. Here he does not mention the return visit or the Chaturmasya sojourn at ail. Nevertheless, in the CC, Krishnadasa has followed the CCN version most closely. He does, however, admit that Chaitanya visited Ramananda on his way back to Puri, while omitting any mention of a stay for the rainy season.

The first question that arises upon a comparison of the above accounts of Chaitanya's meetings with Ramananda Raya is on the marked difference between the two attributed to Karnapura. Clearly, CC has adopted the CCN version in describing the first visit to the Godavari as being of prime importance. The CCMK is idiosyncratic in that it is the only version in which Chaitanya is indecisive about a meeting with Ramananda upon his first arrival there. If the forger of the CCMK had written his book with the intention of ascribing it to Karnapura, then why did he reject all the other accounts, particularly that of Karnapura's own CCN, to chalk out an entirely new course for the tale? Karnapura himself, rewriting this portion of Chaitanya's career, might have dared to rearrange some of the details, perhaps because of new information available to him, or more likely because of the restrictions placed on him by the dramatic medium he had adopted. Naturally, Krishnadasa would have inclined to the revised edition, but would a forger have dared to reject both the version of Karnapura in 1572--the one that had convinced Krishnadasa (possibly with Raghunatha Dasa's confirmation), as well as that of Murari himself, the original version that had been backed by Lochanadasa?

In the case of the change of names from Kanchi to Vidyanagara, if the author of CCMK had borrowed from CC rather than MGK, would he not have adapted his corrections about the place-name to MGK? If he was showing preference for MGK's version in this regard, then why does he reject other portions of MGK to take a limited part of Krishnadasa's version? Though Karnapura seems to have reconsidered his original position on these details, in many others the CCMK account is far closer to CCN than CC. Most importantly, CCMK shows absolutely no influence whatsoever of Rupa Goswami's theological doctrines, which permeate Krishnadasa's account of the conversation. (47)


Of particular importance to both Majumdar and Mukherjee is the colophon to the chapter of the CC where Krishnadasa daims that he has based his description of the meeting with Ramananda on the notes of Svarupa Damodara.(48) Since these notes are no longer extant, there is no way that we can verify this claim. Nevertheless, we are reasonably certain of Svarupa Damodora's intimacy with Ramananda in the later life of Chaitanya, so he must be considered an authoritative source of information on details of Ramananda's life. On the other hand, we find that there are significant similarities between the two Karnapura accounts and that given by Krishnadasa. We have already pointed out that Kavi Karnapura has recounted this story both in CCMK and CCN. CC has woven these two accounts together, making direct quotations from both works, adding another verse attributed to Ramananda in the Padyāvali and finally adding more sophisticated details based on the doctrines of Rupa Gosvami. (49)In this we find no statement which is attributable to any source other than those which have already been mentioned. What specific element in Krishnadasa's version of Ramananda's encounter with Chaitanya shows Svarupa Damodara's identifying stamp that would account for Krishnadasa's claim that he was the source for his account?

All we really know of Svarupa Damodara's contribution to the evolution of Gaudiya theology is that he was the originator of the milita-tanu doctrine of Chaitanya, a doctrine that plays such a significant part in Krishnadasa's work. Yet this one fact seems sufficient to answer the question that we have raised. In CC, Ramananda's vision of Chaitanya is exactly parallel to that outlined in Svarupa Damodara's famous verses used to introduce CC, (50) that of rasarāja mahābhāva du-i eka rūpa -- Radha and Krishna combined to make one, Krishna covered with the mood and golden colour of Radha. On the other hand, MGK and CM describe Ramananda's vision of Chaitanya somewhat differently. I summarize these passages here for scrutiny:

(a) MGK, 3.15.2-3: Here, while meditating on Krishna, Ramananda sees him three times as having a golden form. When he finally opens his eyes, he sees the same param brahma standing before him in the dress of a sannyAsin and he offers obeisance to him, etc. (51)

(b) CM, iv.11.106-111. Lochanadasa has elaborated directly along the unes in MGK. He goes to greater lengths to describe Ramananda's vision of Chaitanya, seeing him switching back and forth from the black Krishna form to the golden form of Chaitanya. (52)

(c) The CCMK contains nothing on the subject of visions. As in all the other accounts, Chaitanya embraces him, but this is all. Ramananda does not acknowledge that Chaitanya is his God in any way. In the CCN, Karnapura does not describe any vision either, rather Ramananda makes a simple statement of recognition that Krishna is playing the role of a renunciate, and since he has had so many other incarnations, this is not a matter for great astonishment.(53)

(d) CC, Madhya 8, 226-9, 280, 285-6 (pp. 155-6). This version seems to have adopted a great deal of the flavour present in CM above, with the further addition of Svarupa Damodara's theological vision.(54)Ramananda says:

"At first I saw you in the form of a monk, and now I see you as a black cowherd. In front of you there is a golden doll and your entire body is covered by its golden effulgence. Within that I see you with a flute against your lips, with lotus eyes that are constantly moving in many moods. Seeing you in this way I am astonished, please tell me honestly what is the reason for this?... . 'Then the Lord laughed and showed him bis real form, the king of rasa and the highest love (bhāva) together in one body'... 'The Lord embraced him and consoled him saying, "Other than you I have shown this form to no one. The pale skin colour is not my own, but (has arisen from) the touch of Radha's limbs. She touches no other but the son of the king of the cowherds. I have made my body and mind take on her sentiments, and now (through that) I relish my own sweetness."'
Within all the accounts of the encounter between Ramananda and Chaitanya, the importance of the former, especially his awareness of the highest devotional truths is emphasized. It may indeed be that he had a hand in the formulation of the rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalita-kṛṣṇa-svarūpa theory of Chaitanya's nature. Nevertheless, no knowledge of that theory creeps into any of the accounts prior to CC. If Krishnadasa indeed felt this feature to be the essential fact of the Ramananda-Chaitanya encounter, then Karnapura's omission of it would no doubt have influenced him negatively and induced him to give full credit for his account to Svarupa Damodara.


I have concentrated here on certain aspects of the tale of Chaitanya's meeting with Ramananda, and that too somewhat superficially. This discussion is centred on an account that has been dealt with by nearly all of Chaitanya's biographers. It should be remembered, however, that the scope of CCMK as a whole is greatly limited in comparison not only to the CC but even to CCN. Krishnadasa did not concern himself greatly with the first part of Chaitanya's life, feeling that it had been adequately covered in the synoptic accounts. Of these, the first two were the most authoritative and so he referred only to them by name. Though none of these four books contain a great deal of information about the later events of Chaitanya's career, nevertheless, where they did serve Krishnadasa with original and valuable or even colourful data, no matter how trifling, Krishnadasa used them. Thus vestiges of idiosyncratic details of not only CM and MGK, but also the CCMK can be found throughout the CC. This is clearly seen in the above examples and a more thorough scrutiny would no doubt yield hundreds more in the same vein.(55)

In conclusion, the doubts raised by Dr. Mukherjee are insufficient to establish that Kavi Karnapura is not the author of CCMK. Although the MS evidence led him to understandable doubts, it seems equally understandable that Majumdar accepted its authenticity without question. Nevertheless, it remains true that Kavi Karnapura is unfortunately one of the major Gaudiya Vaishnava authors left whose works have not yet been critically edited or subjected to scholarly analysis. A more complete examination of ail bis work is necessary. It is hoped that this will be done in order to establish more about him personally and what his importance was to the sampradAya, both as a historian and as a theologian.


(30) See Mitra and Majumdar, Vidyāpatir Padāvali, 1952, Introduction, p. xlix. The MS is kept at the Darbhanga Govemment Library.

(31) These añöakas are to be found in Stavamālā. See also Stava-kalpa-druma, ed. Bhaktisaranga Gosvami (Vrindavan, 1959), 5964.

(32) cf. Das, 'The role of śakti in Gauralīlā', 1985. Some examples of expansions and changes are given in the later portion of this article. Other examples can be found.

(33) There is no record anywhere of Krishnadasa being so named. In fairness, however, such confusion of names is not altogether uncommon in the subcontinent.

(34) UN, 555.

(35) Translation:
1. This effort has not been made for the purpose of defeating the opinions of others by argument or to convince other people of my own position. It has simply been for my own personal education.

2. May this work of mine just once bring pleasure to the ears of Krishnadasa Kaviraja, who is my teacher in all subjects, by whose sweet orders I have dared to take up this difficult task, and by whose mercy I have been nourished for a long time.

3. Even though I am insignificant, I have joyfully written this commentary out of my own desire, according to my own understanding, etc. May those of mature intelligence who have taken refuge at the lotus feet of Rupa Goswami find satisfaction in it, out of their own good qualities. This will be the supreme fruit of my labours and I expect no other reward.

4. Furthermore, the path of spontaneous devotion was demonstrated by Rupa Goswami, who is possessed of powerful mercy for the benefit of people like myself who are of an ignorant nature. I pray that I may be born millions of times with an inclination to those persons who are wholeheartedly devoted to that path.

5. In the Samvat year 1667, on the dark moon day while the sun is in Taurus, someone whose only abode is the feet of Rupa Goswami has written this commentary to attain the fulfilment of his desires.

(36) CBh, iii. 10.32-34. prahlāda-caritra āra dhruvera carita | śatāvṛtti kariyā śunena sāvahita ||

(37) CC, Madhya 2, p. 105.

(38) tabe dui bhāi tāṁre marite nā dila |
nija tṛtīya bhāi kari nikaṭe rākhila ||
mahāprabhur līlā jata bāhira antara |
dui bhāi tāṁra mukhe śune nirantara ||
rātri dine rādhā kṛṣṇera mānasa sevana |
prahāreka mahāprabhura caritra kathana ||

(39) The story of the cleaning of the Gundicha temple described in CCMK, 10 and CC, Madhya 11.77-146.

(40) cf. Majumdar, op. cit., 1024, 338-9.

(41) MGK, iii, 13.17; CCMK, 12.97; CC, 7.47.

(42) The word sahaja is fraught with nuances, and its usage here has been a cause ot some controversy. It is thought by some that Ramananda was a Tantrik. Certainly CCMK 13.39 has some such overtones. However, O'Connell has argued persuasively that too much should not be made of this term when used about Ramananda.

(43) MGK, iii, 16.9-11.

(44) Note the use of the word sam|bhāṣ, found twice in the CC version.

(45) CCMK, 13.56-60.

(46) CCN, Act 7, pp. 236-43.

(47) Anyone interested in seeing how Krishnadasa has depended on CCMK and CCN for details of this conversation should look at Majumdar, op. cit., 332-8.

(48) Madhya 8.310, p. 156
dāmodara svarūpera kaḍacā anusāre |
rāmānanda milana līlā karila pracāre ||

(49) Padyāvali; vv. 11, 12. The first of these two is CCMK, 13.41 and CC, Madhya 8.69, p. 146.

(50) CC, Adi 1.6
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādini-śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau |
caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad dvayaṁ caikyam āptaṁ
rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam ||

sa sva-gṛhe kṛṣṇa-pūjāvasāne dhyāyan
param brahma vrajendra-nandanam |
dadarśa vāra-trayam adbhutam mahat
gaurāṅga-mādhuryam atīva vismitaḥ ||
unmīlya netre ca tad eva rūpaṁ
dṛṣṭvā paraṁ brahma sannyāsa-veśam |
praṇamya mūrdhnā vihitaḥ kṛtāñjaliḥ
papraccha kutratya bhavān iti prabho ||

je cila sekhāne kṛṣṇa-śveta-rakta-dyuti |
sakala dekhāya eka gaura-mūrati ||
kaṣita e daśabāna kāñcana-varaṇa |
tāhā cāḍi hailā prabhu śyāma-sucikkana ||
kānaḍā kusumākṛti aṅgera varaṇa |
mayūra śikhaṇḍa śire muralī-vadana ||
nānā ābharaṇa aṅge cikanīya kālā |
pīta-vastra paridhāna gale vana-mālā ||
tāhā dekhi mahārāja ānandita-mana |
punar api hailā prabhu gaura varaṇa ||
paśu pakṣi vṛkṣa āra yata latā pātā |
gaura-aṅga-chaṭā jhalamala kare tathā ||

(53) CCN, 7.17
mahā-rasika-śekharaḥ sarasa-nāṭya-līlā-guruḥ
sa eva hrdayeśvaras tvam asi me kim u tvām stumaḥ |
tavaitad api sāhajam vividha-bhūmikā-svīkṛtir
na tena yati-bhūmikā bhavati no'tivismāpanī ||

pahile dekhila tomā sannyāsi-svarūpa |
ebe tomā dekhi muñi śyāma-gopa-rūpa ||
tomāra sammukhe dekhoṁ kāñcana-pañcālikā |
tāra gaura-kāntye tomāra sarva-aṅga ḍhākā ||
tāhāte prakaṭa dekhi sa-vaṁśī-vadana |
nānā-bhāve cañcala tāhe kamala-nayana ||
ei mata tomā dekhi haya camatkāra |
akapaṭe kaha prabhu kāraṇa ihāra ||
tabe hāsi tāre prabhu dekhāila svarūpa |
rasarāja mahābhāva dui eka rūpa ||
āliṅgana kari prabhu kaila āśvāsana|
tomā vinā ei rūpā nā dekhe kona jana ||
gaura aṅga nahe mora rādhāṅga-sparśana |
gopendra-suta vinā teṁho nā sparśe anya-jana||
tāṁra bhāve bhāvita āmi kari ātma-mana |
tabe nija-mādhurya rasa kari āsvādana||


Chakravarty, Ramakanta. Vaishnavism in Bengal. Calcutta: Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar, 1985.

Dās, Haridās. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Abhidhāna. Nabadwîp: Haribol Kutir, 1957.

Dās, Jagadānanda. “The role of śakti in Gauralīlā” in Gifts of Sacred Wonder, ed. Neal Delmonico. Calcutta: Subarnarekha, 1985: 3-54.

Jagadānanda Paṇḍita. Prema-vivarta. First published in Sajjana-toṣaṇī, 1897. 3rd edition, ed. B. S. Sarasvati Gosvami, Mayapur, 1926.

Kavi Karnapura. Änanda-vṛndāvana-campū, with Vishvanātha Cakravartī's Subodhinī commentary. Benares: Becharam Tripathi, 1886.

Kavi Karnapura: Gaura-ganoddeśa-dīpikā [GGD]. Beng. trans. by Ram Narayan Vidyaratna. 5th edition, ed. Ramdev Misra. Berhampore: Radharaman Press. 4th edition, 1922.

Kavi Karnapura. Caitanya-caritāmṛta Mahākāvya [CCMK]. Text, commentary and Bengali transi. ed. Ram Narayan Vidyaratna. Murshidabad: Radharaman Press, 1925.

Kavi Karnapura. Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka [CCN]. (Haridāsa Saṁskṛta Granthamālā, no. 67.) Benares: Chowkhambha, 1966.

Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja. Caitanya-caritāmṛta [CC], ed. Gopinath Basak. Nabadwip, 1974.

Locana Dāsa. Caitanya-maṅgala, ed. Bhakti Kevala Audulomi. Calcutta: Gaudiya Mission, 1979.

Majumdar, Biman Bihari. Caitanya Cariter Upādān. University of Calcutta, 1939.

Mitra, K. and Majumdar, B. B., Vidyāpatir Padāvali. Calcutta, 1952.

Mukherjee, Tarapada. “Caitanya-caritāmṛta-mahākāvya”, Caturaṅga, May 1985 (Calcutta), 57-70.

Mukherjee, Tarapada. “Caitanya-caritāmṛter racanā-kāl ebaṁ brajer gauḍīya-sampradāya”, Sāhitya Pariṣad Patrikā, 87.1, 1987 (Calcutta), 1-39.

Murari Gupta, Kṛṣṇa-caitanya-caritāmṛta [MGKJ, ed. Mrinal Kanti Ghosh, Amrita Bazar Patrika Press, 4th edition with Bengali translation and introduction by Haridās Dās. Calcutta, 1945.

Narahari Cakravartī. Narottama-vilāsa [NV], ed. Ramanarayan Vidyaratna. Berhampore: Radharaman Press, 1921.

Narahari Cakravartī. Bhakti-ratnākara (BRK], ed. Nandalal Vidyasagar. Calcutta: Gaudiya Mission, 1960.

Nityānanda Dāsa. Prema-vilāsa [PV], ed. Ramdev Misra. Berhampore: Radharaman Press, 1911.

Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī. Navadvīpa-śataka, ed. N. K. Vidyālaṅkāra. Nadia: Gaudiya Mission, 1941.

Rādhā Kṛṣṇa Gosvāmī. Sādhanā-dīpikā [SD], ed. Haridas Shastri. Vrindavan: Purana Kalidaha, n.d.

Raghunātha Dāsa. Stavāvali; ed. with Bengali trans. by Ram Narayan Vidyaratna. Murshidabad:

Radharaman Press. 2nd edition ed. Ramdev Misra, Berhampore, 1922. Rupa Gosvami. Padyāvali; ed. S. K. De. Dhaka: Dhaka University, 1934.

Rūpa Gosvāmī. Stavamālā. ed. Bhavadatta Śāstrī and Kāśīnātha Pāṇḍuraṅga Parāb. (Kāvyamālā series, no. 84.) Bombay: Nirṇaya Sāgara Press, 1903.

Rūpa Gosvāmī. Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi [UN], with Sanskrit commentary of Viṣṇudāsa Gosvāmī, ed. and Beng. transl. Haridās Dās. 2nd edition ed. Kanailal Adhikary, Nabadwip, 1963.

Yadunandana Dāsa. Karṇānanda, in Vaiṣṇava Sāhitya o Yadunandana, Shantilata Roy, Calcutta University, 1976, 457-89.

Go back to PART I

Go back to PART I

The Authenticity of the Caitanya-Caritāmṛta-Mahā-Kāvya, Part I


Until recently, Kavi Karnapura has generally been accepted without question as the author of a book on the life of Sri Krishna Chaitanya entitled Śrī-caitanya-caritāmṛta-mahā-kāvya [CCMK]. The date of this work is given as 1542(1) by the author himself in its final verse. In the two penultimate verses of the work, he identifies himself as the youngest son of Shivananda Sena and as a mere child (śiśu).(2)

If Kavi Karnapura is indeed the author, it is certainly a matter of great interest as he is one of the most prolific and authoritative writers amongst Chaitanya's followers. His father, Shivananda Sena, was a rich and influential devotee of Chaitanya, responsible for the management of the yearly trips to Puri that played such an important role in the latter part of the great saint's life.(3)

Unfortunately, with the exception of a few such autobiographical words in Karnapura's own compositions, such as the Ānanda-vṛndāvana-campū [AVC], Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka [CCN] and Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā [GGD] the only information that we have about Karnapura's life is from Krishnadasa Kaviraja's Caitanya-caritāmṛta [CC].

In the CC (AD 1612) it is written that on one of Shivananda's visits to Puri, Chaitanya said to him, "The next son born to you must be named Puridasa (after one of Chaitanya's associates, Paramananda Puri)." On Shivananda's next visit to Puri, he brought some of his sons with him, including the young Paramanandadasa or Puridasa. On that occasion, the young baby sucked the toe of the saint, and this was credited with the later benign effect of making him capable of speaking poetry.(4) This ability was proved on a later occasion when Shivananda came to Puri and Chaitanya asked the child to recite a verse. This he did, having composed one in the āryā metre.(5) Krishnadasa Kaviraja points out there that he was only seven years old at the time.

Another anecdote is recounted in the same place about Karnapura as a child of seven. Chaitanya gave him an initiation in the holy name, but the child refused to recite it out loud. This led to some amusement when the saint said, "I have made the whole world sing the names of Krishna, but I have failed with this child." Only Svarupa Damodar, Chaitanya's secretary, was able to comprehend that the boy was not reciting it aloud because of the scriptural prohibition on the audible recital of the mantra given by a spiritual master.

The upshot of these stories, which are at least partially confirmed in Karnapura's own works, is that Paramanandadasa Sena, or Puridasa Sena, was a precocious child, a prodigy who had had some important contact with Mahaprabhu. He received what might be termed "a special mercy" from him that was held to be the source of his talents. In his concluding verses to the CCN the poet himself admits that his outstanding ability to write poetry was due to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's grace. (6)

In an eighteenth-century commentary to AVC, 1.4, Visvanatha Chakravarti further informs us that it was Chaitanya himself who bestowed the title karṇapūra (“a flower ornament for the ears”) on the child. (7)


Krishnadasa Kaviraja's account of Karnapura's meeting with Chaitanya comes near the end of the CC. It is therefore clear that in his view Karnapura was not much older than seven when Chaitanya left the world in 1533. The CCMK is the first book attributed to this young author, dated 1464 of the Saka era, or AD 1542, when he would have been not much more than sixteen years old. The verse giving this information is confirmed in all manuscripts.

vedā rasāḥ śrutaya indur iti prasiddhe
śāke tatha khalu śucau śubhage ca masi |
vāre sudhākiraṇa-nāmny asita-dvitiyā
tithy-antare parisamāptir abhūd amuṣya ||

Further information given in the verse is that it was a Monday, the second day of the dark fortnight in the month of Asharh.

No other title is attributed to our author until considerably later than CCMK, 1572, the date of Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka (CCN), another work on the life of Chaitanya, this time in the form of a play.(7a) This book is one of the principal sources of information upon which Krishnadasa Kaviraja has relied for his account of the life of Chaitanya at Puri. A great portion of CC's Madhya-līlā and some of the Antya-līlā are based on it; several of its verses have been quoted, including three glorifying Rupa Goswami.(8) In Krishnadasa Kaviraja's CC, a popular and responsible biography, this is the only book of Karnapura's that is quoted by name.

A third book by Karnapura, Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (GGD), dated AD 1576, is considered important for the reconciliation of divergent opinions on the relative importance of the Vrindavan and Navadvipa līlās of Krishna. In this book, Karnapura first expounds Svarupa Damodar Gosvami's doctrine of the Pancha Tattva, which later plays such an important role in the theology of Krishnadasa Kaviraja.(9) Biman Bihari Majumdar and, more recently, Ramakanta Chakravarty have both emphasized the salutary effects that GGD must have had on the debate between the intractable supporters of the Gauranga Nagara doctrine and the exclusively Krishna-worshipping followers of both Advaita and the Vrindavan school, among other things.(10) See my article on Kheturi for more information.

In fact, however, Krishnadasa Kaviraja has differed from Karnapura to some extent, particularly in his doctrine of Chaitanya-śakti, for Karnapura has directly identified Gadadhar with Radha, which Krishnadasa Kaviraja seems to have determinedly avoided. Meanwhile, Chakravarty has firmly placed Karnapura in the Gauranga Nagara camp.

Other than these, our author penned several undated books that parallel to some extent the works of the authors in Vrindavan. All of them were related to the activities of Radha and Krishna and are less important for the purposes of this article. One of them, Kṛṣṇāhnika-kaumudī, closely resembles in plan a work of Krishnadasa Kaviraja's, Govinda-lilāmṛta. With the information currently available, however, it is impossible to tell whether these two persons were acquainted with one another personally.

We do not know whether Karnapura ever visited Vrindavan. It is known, however, that he was present to Kheturi at the great festival held there, likely at some time in the 1570's (11), a date about which there is considerable difference of opinion.(12) We do not know when and where he died, though a memorial to him is maintained at the 64 Samadhi site near the Rangaji temple in Vrindavan.


In an article entitled "Caitanya-caritāmṛta-mahā-kāvya," which appeared in the Bengali periodical Caturaṅga of May 1985, the late Dr. Tarapada Mukherjee raised a number of questions about the authenticity of CCMK, casting doubt on both the date of its composition and the name of its author. Basing the greater part of his argument on a study of the colophons of a number of old manuscripts, Mukherjee concluded that the work is a forgery dating probably from the seventh or eighth decades of the seventeenth century.

That he felt there was a problem is not altogether surprising. We have already encountered a number of forgeries and doubtful dates in the study of Gaudiya Vaishnava literature. Some of these attempts have been quite sophisticated. The most celebrated, which still has some people mystified, is Govindadāsera Kadacā, an account of Chaitanya's travels in South India in 1510-12. The first manuscript of this book was apparently discovered by a descendant of Advaita Acharya, Jay Gopal Goswami of Shantipur. It was then published several times, accepted and promoted by many reputable scholars, including Dinesh Chandra Sen.(13) This book has since been vehemently discredited, primarily on account of anachronisms in language and geographical names. (14)

Some other works, not entirely spurious, are also controversial. The Prema-vilāsa, for instance, is attributed to Nityananda Dasa, a disciple of Nityananda's wife, Jahnava. Nityananda Dasa would have been a contemporary of Krishnadasa Kaviraja, a three-time visitor to Vrindavan in Jahnava's company, as well as an associate of Virabhadra on his mission to East Bengal.(15) As such, one would judge him to be an authoritative chronicler of the early post-Chaitanya period. Nevertheless, much of what he says has raised the eyebrows of modern historians. Some has been proved completely impossible and false, with the result that Prema-vilāsa has been almost completely discredited.

Some of the misinformation that Nityananda Dasa puts forth seems to have clear propaganda purposes, but not all has yet been explained. The most famous of the disputed accounts in this book is the supposed suicide of Krishnadasa Kaviraja, who is said to have jumped into Radha Kunda upon hearing of the loss of the only existing manuscript of CC, which had been sent to Bengal with Gopala Bhatta's disciple, Srinivasa. (16) The story is anachronistic and it is hard to imagine that an author living so close to the actual events would have been able to convince anyone that Krishnadasa had sent the Caitanya-caritāmṛta back to Bengal as early as 1580 (the most probable approximate date of Srinivasa Acharya's important trip with the writings of the Gosvamis) when the book itself was not written until 1612.(17)

Another title, Karṇānanda, written by Yadunandana, the grand-disciple of the above-mentioned Srinivasa, is said by the author to have been written in 1529 Saka, i.e. AD 1607. This is disproved by the great number of quotations from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, the date of which seems to have been established beyond any doubt.(18)

The inability to establish definitively the authenticity of books in the Gaudiya tradition extends even to the first complete work written about the life of Chaitanya. All the biographies of Chaitanya refer to Murari Gupta's kaḍacā or notebook (MGK) as one of the most important sources of information about the great saint's early life. The printed edition of this work goes by the name of Śrī-Kṛṣṇa-caitanya-caritāmṛta-mahā-kāvya. In the introductory verses, this simple poem in quasi-Puranic style purports to be a mahā-kāvya, not a collection of notes as the word kaḍacā itself implies, even though some parts, especially those describing the later pastimes, are threadbare . Furthermore, in the first printed editions of this work, a date 1425 Saka (AD 1503) is given in the colophon, which would be completely impossible. In later editions this date was changed to 1435 (AD 1513). Since Chaitanya's life covers the span from AD 1485-1533, this date for a biography which mentions even the death of its subject is not believable even to its editor.(19)

Murari apparently received the permission of Chaitanya to write this biography in 1508-9 just prior to Chaitanya's renunciation. It has therefore been suggested that the latter portions dealing with his life outside Nabadwip were added later. It is clear from a reading of the book that the portions covering Chaitanya's life after his renunciation are less detailed and less informed than those to which Murari would have been an eyewitness. Only two manuscripts of this book have ever been found and no critical reading has been able to clarify these problems. From the standpoint of internal evidence also, certain problems present themselves in the MGK, both to the devotee and the historian. Nevertheless, the existence of other works which give direct credit to MGK for source materials and whose debt to that work are demonstrable tend to support its authenticity. In the course of our discussion we shaîl be obliged to return to some of the problems related to Murari's biography, for CCMK is both the closest to MGK in date and in content.

Last, but not least in the litany of problematic texts in the Gaudiya line, are the numerous spurious Sahajiya works ascribed to Krishnadasa Kaviraja, Narottam Dasa, Rupa and Sanatan and other reputable authors of the sampradaya. (20) These are easily identifiable by their espousal of doctrines that are clearly heterodox.


Dr. Mukherjee spent many years researching the Gaudiya manuscripts found in the Vrindavan Research Institute [VRI], most of which came from the Radha Damodar temple library, i.e., Jiva Goswami's personal collection. He prepared the catalogue of Bengali manuscripts held by the VRI, a critical edition of Caitanya-caritāmṛta based on its holdings, as well as taking up extended research into legal documents related to the Gaudiya sampradaya. In this case, he based his arguments on certain unusual features of the manuscript evidence found in the Vrindavan Research Institute.

Since Dr. Mukherjee's article appeared in Bengali in a periodical that may not be easily available to the reader, and as his evidence is quite interesting in its own right, I will summarize the main points of his argument here.

(i) Mukherjee's suspicions were first raised by the claim that Rupa Gosvami had copied the text of CCMK by his own hand.

Krishnadasa Kaviraja writes about the beauty of Rupa Gosvami's hand writing.(21) At this date, such a great interest in an author's handwriting is unusual and consequently very little of the personal handwriting of any medieval Bengali writer has survived. Nevertheless, the Vrindavan Research Institute has received certain manuscripts from the Radha Damodar temple, several of which are ostensibly in Rupa's own handwriting. These manuscripts can be divided into three categories:

(a) Those which are attested by the scribe, e.g. have something like vyālekhi rūpeṇa, e.g., Vaiśākha-māhātmyam (dated 1457 Saka), no. 7688. This work contains Padma-purāṇa Pātāla-khaṇḍa, chs. 84-95. The colophon states: samāptam idam vaiśākha-māhātmyam| śri-madhusūdanāya namaḥ| svaraśara-śakre sāke māse tapasye tathāṅgi tapanasya | mādhava-māhātmyam idaṁ sundara-rūpaṁ vyālekhi rūpeṇa || śrī-govardhanāya namaḥ śrī-gopāla-caraṇāya namaḥ| śrī-harāya namaḥ|

(b) Those, which have someone else's attestation: e.g. śrīmad-rūpa-sva-hasta-likhita-nṛsiṁha-paricaryā śrīmad-rūpa-gosvāmi-likhita-jagannātha-vallabha-nāṭakam, etc.

(c) Those with handwriting that resembles the above two, such as Karnāmṛta-stotra, Krama-dīpikā (Gopāla-dhyāna), Mukunda-mālā, etc.

Rupa stayed at Radha Damodar in his last days and his samadhi is on the temple grounds. One would naturally expect that he should give his collection of manuscripts to his nephew, disciple and successor, Sri Jiva. From several dalils (testimonials) of the period, it is clear that the official library (pustak ṭhaur) of the school was there. Furthermore, the use of quotations from most of the above texts in various works by Rupa lends credence to these ascriptions. Nevertheless, there are several reasons for doubting the claims of the colophons. First, the date written in Vaiśākha-māhātmya raises a doubt. Rupa did not write the date of completion of all the books that he himself authored, so why should we believe that he would do so after simply copying a manuscript? Perhaps it was another, later Rupa (Kaviraja) who could have copied it.

(ii) A manuscript of CCMK belonging to category (b) above is the Vrindavan Research Institute's MS No. 7686. It is written in Bengali letters on 45 folios of which two are missing. At the end of the text is found the verse which has already been quoted above, and another date written in numbers, 1467 = 1545. This is presumably the date of the copying, but the scribe has not given his name or any other information. However, at the head of the manuscript, Caitanyāmṛta 2 is written in Nagari script and to its side, śrī-rūpa-gosvāmi-hasta-likhitaṁ śrī-caitanyāmṛta-kāvyam in Bengali letters. Mukherjee supposes that the Nagari dates to the attested AD 1665 indexing of the contents of the Radha Damodar library (the writing matches) and that the Bengali postdates it. He poses the question: who at this late date, long after the deaths of Jiva and Kaviraja, would be able to identify Rupa's handwriting? The writer of this anonymous attestation unfortunately did not give his sources.

In this MS the date in numbers is supplemented by the tithi: day one of the dark fortnight of Asharh, 1545, and this closely resembles the date of composition written in the verse (see section ii above). In view of the similarity one may assume that we are merely looking at versions of the same date (given the latitude that is commonly experienced when civil dates are being rendered into tithis), and that the weekday, had there been room for it, would again have been Monday. Mukherjee's suggestion seems to be that the date written in numerals is perhaps only a mistaken reading of the date given in the colophon verse.

(iii) In order for the CCMK to have been copied by Rupa within the short space of three years after its composition, the following would have had to have taken place. As we have seen, the date of CCMK's completion is 1542. Before being sent from Karnapura in Bengal to Rupa Gosvami in Vrindavan, it must presumably have first been copied by someone else. The journey itself would have taken at least six to eight weeks on foot. Upon receiving the MS Rupa would have had to drop everything, in particular his important work of composing the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, which one assumes was absorbing his attention at this time, in order to copy it.(22) Of course Rupa would have been interested in Chaitanya's life, but would he not rather have had someone else do the copying? Although it would not have been a physical impossibility for the above events to have taken place, it does seem an uncommonly quick succession of events for those slow moving times.(23)

(iv) These then are the preliminary doubts that are raised by Mukherjee. He thus concludes that the claim that Rupa had written this manuscript ought to be rejected unless an impartial external witness were to be found. Unfortunately, though such a witness has indeed been forthcoming, Mukherjee finds that his evidence has simply magnified his suspicions.

The evidence referred to above is found at the end of at least three manuscripts, the first of which comes from Dhaka University and is mentioned in S. K. De's edition of Padyāvali(24) It consists of the following four verses and a prose footnote to them.

caitanya-candro jagad uddidhīrṣuḥ
sva-prema-ratnaṁ vraja-sāgarottham |
dīnāya dātuṁ nija-rūpato'sau
ghurṇan ghṛṇī prādurabhūt sva-vṛndaiḥ ||1||

arvāg-jive pracura-karuṇaiḥ śrīla-rūpāgrajādyaiḥ
sammodān mat-parama-gurubhiḥ śrīla-kāśiśvarākhyaiḥ |
bhaṭṭācāryair api ca paramānanda-saṁjñair vraje'smin
śrutvā śrutvā mudita-hṛdayaiḥ śaśvad āsvāditaṁ yat ||2||

caitanya-candra-caritāmṛtam adbhutābhair
dvyaṣṭābdikair viracitaṁ kavi-karṇapūraiḥ |
rūpākhya-mat-prabhu-varaiḥ sva-karāmbujena
śāke haya-rtu-bhuvane likhitaṁ purā yat ||3||

ālokya sāmpratam anena kumedhasāpi
svapne'pi tad-ratim ṛte mṛtaka-prabheṇa |
kenāpi lubdha-manasā hata viṣṇudāsa-nāmnā
sva-jīvana-mahauṣadham ācitaṁ tat ||4||
1. The moon-like compassionate Chaitanya, desiring to save the world, became incarnate in his own form, surrounded by his associates, to give to the unfortunate the jewel of his own love.

2. The [CCMK] was listened to again and again and constantly relished here in Vraja by Rupa, his older brother Sanatana, and others who possess so much mercy for the ignorant living beings, and by my grand-spiritual-master named Kashishwar, and with delight by Paramananda Bhattacharya.

3. This CCMK was composed by the amazingly talented Kavi Karnapura when he was only sixteen years old. In the year 1467 Saka it was copied by the lotus hand of my great master named Rupa.

4. Presently this wicked-minded individual named Vishnudasa, who has no affection [for Chaitanya] even in his dreams, who is like a dead man, an unimportant person whose mind is filled with greed, has gathered it up as a great medicine that will preserve his life.' (25)
The prose sentence that follows in the Dhaka manuscript is: idaṁ kāvyaṁ śrīla-rūpa-gosvāminā caturdaśa-śata-pūrva-saptas aṣṭhitama-śaka-varṣe likhitaṁ tad-anantaraṁ śrī-viṣṇu-dāsa-gosvāminā -- "This poem was copied by Rupa Gosvami in the Saka year 1467, and afterwards by Vishnudasa Gosvami."

No Vishnudasa (Haridas Das lists nine different individuals of that name amongst the followers of Chaitanya (26)) is known who fits the description given of having Rupa as his guru and these three parama gurus. It is clear that he lives in Vraja also and has the ability to write Sanskrit verses. The description does, however, fit Krishnadasa Kaviraja himself. Mukherjee thus makes the logical leap that the one named Vishnudasa is in fact Krishnadasa.

In an age when so few people cared about the date of even the composition of a work, why should this Vishnudasa pay so much attention to the date of a manuscript's copying? Both he and his presumed disciple seem completely indifferent to the date of the composition of the work itself and yet both repeat the date of the copying, which seems to be somewhat misplaced enthusiasm.

(v) The four persons named in Vishnudasa's verses are said to have regularly and enthusiastically attending readings of CCMK. They are Rupa, Sanatana, Kashishwara, and Paramananda Bhattacarya, all of whom are prominent figures on the sixteenth-century Vrindavan scene.(27) Mukherjee feels that the idea of a group of devotees listening to Chaitanya's life-story presented in these verses is derived from CC, Ādi 8 where, in the course of glorifying the Caitanya Bhāgavata (CBh), Krishnadasa Kaviraja mentions that Haridasa Acharya and his associates listened to it constantly in the Govinda temple. Mukherjee argues that Rupa and the others mentioned were direct associates of Chaitanya, whereas Haridasa Acharya and the others listed there were of the following generation. Since they had never known the great saint personally, their attitude must have been different from that of those who had so known him. According to Krishnadasa, the book which was read in the meetings of the first generation of Chaitanya followers in Vrindavan was the Bhāgavata-purāṇa itself and not Chaitanya's life. (28)

(vi) Mukherjee then argues that one would never have suspected the authenticity of the CCMK if Vishnudasa had not gone out of his way to establish it in such an aggressive way. According to him, "If we understand that the devotees led by Rupa and Sanatana were regular listeners to the CCMK and that Rupa copied the book with his own hand then we will know that every word, every event and every character depiction has been approved by them. In such a case we would know that nothing in the book was not well received by the highest authorities of the disciplic chain."

In other words, the point of Vishnudasa's verses is purely and simply to legitimize an illegitimate work. And, since the purpose of Vishnudasa and that of the writer on the manuscript in the Radha Damodara temple was identical, we can therefore conclude that the person who wrote it was this very same person.

(vii) Finally, perhaps the most damning indictment of the CCMK is that there is no mention of it in the CC. Generally, Krishnadasa has been very conscientious about giving credit where credit is due for his quotations. He has been liberal in his use of CCN, and has not hesitated to mention it. Why then his silence on the subject of CCMK?

B.B. Majumdar has expressed disappointment in Krishnadasa Kaviraja for having borrowed most heavily from both CCMK and CCN in the CC, Madhya 8, while stating that he has written on the basis of Svarupa Damodara's notes without giving any credit at all to Karnapura. (29) ukherjee's feeling is that Majumdar has uncritically accepted that the CCMK is genuine. This has now been placed in doubt and so the only legitimate conclusion that can be made is that the borrowing has been done in the other direction. In other words, the author of the CCMK has copied from CC.

This is given further support by the absence of any truly ancient MS for, other than the questionable one from Radha Damodar, no other manuscript of the CCMK has been discovered which dates prior to the eighteenth century, even though (unlike the MGK) there is no shortage of manuscripts of CCMK, in either Vrindavan or Bengal.

Briefly then: According to Mukherjee, there is no reason to believe that any of the information given in the verses written by Vishnudasa has any validity. Indeed they awaken suspicions about the daim that the manuscript of CCMK found in the Radha Damodara library could be genuine. The exaggerated daims on the interest of the first generation of Chaitanya disciples in this work is belied by the fact that no other work of the period, particularly the CC, mentions it. The over-emphasis on the date of the copying and the identity of the scribe are also reasons for suspicion. The closest that we come to knowing a factual date for CCMK is thus the date of the library catalogue in 1665, around which time this book must have been written and introduced into the library, probably by Vishnudasa himself and his associates.


(1) All dates are AD unless otherwise specified; 78 years are added to Saka dates to arrive at AD, 57 subtracted from Samvat.

(2) CCMK, 20.49.

(3) Information about Shivananda Sena can be found in MGK, 4.17.6; CCN, 8.57, 9.9, 9.31-32, 10.1-6; CCMK, 13.127, 14.10-2, 20.17; CBh, 3.5.445, 3.9.491, 3.9.493; Cc 3.1.12-28, 3.10.139,
3.12.11, 3.12.44, 3.16.60.

(4) CC,Antya 11, p. 411.

(5) CC, Antya 16, p. 434. The verse 15 as follows:

śravasoh kuvalayam akṣṇor
añjanam uraso mahendra-maṇi-dāma |
maṇḍanam akhilam harir jayati ||

This verse does not appear in any of Karnapura's known works. He did write an Ārya-śataka that was published by Haridas Das from the Haribol Kutir in Nabadwip in 1953. Unfortunately it is incomplete, as the first folios of the only MS had been lost. Haridas Das placed the verse from the Caitanya-charitāmṛta at the beginning of his printed edition, assuming that this was its proper place.

(6) pp. 394-5, yasyocchiṣṭa-prasādād ayam ajani mama prauḍhimā kāvya-rūpī vāg-devyā yaḥ kṛtārthīkṛta iha samayotkīrtya tasyāvatāram | etc.

(7) The quote is: tataḥ santuṣṭena bhagavatā kavi-karṇapūra iti nāma tad-dinam ārabhya kṛtavatā. This may be doubtful. If it were true then why did the author of the Chaitanya-caritāmṛta not mention it in the course of his account of Karnapura's meetings with Chaitanya?

(7a) Karnapura quotes his own Alaṅkāra-kaustubha in CCN (3.31). So it seems he wrote that work before CCN.

(8) Madhya 19, p. 255,
priya-svarūpe dayita-svarūpe prema-svarūpe sahajābhirūpe |
nijānurūpe prabhur eka-rūpe tatāna rūpe sva-vilāsa-rūpe || CCN, 9.70. See also 9.75, 104.

(9) GGD, v.9, p. 10.
pañca-tattvātmakaṁ kṛṣṇaṁ bhakta-rūpa-svarūpakam |
bhaktāvatāraṁ bhaktākhyaṁ namāmi bhakti-śaktikam ||.
The same verse is quoted in CC, i, 1.14. There are however some important differences. That is to say, the attitude towards Gadadhara Pandit. See Jagadananda Das, 1985, 31.

(10) Chakravarty, Vaishnavism in Bengal, 1985, 20-51; Majumdar, Caitanya Cariter Upādān 1939 111-13.

(11) Narottama-vilāsa, 108.

(12) Chakravarty, Vaishnavism in Bengal, 231. This author prefers a date between 1610 and 1620. This is impossible as it would make Jahnava over 90-years-old and incapable of attending and playing the important role which she did according to all the accounts. I personally favor 1585 as the date, i.e., the 100th anniversary of Chaitanya’s birth. Prema-vilāsa, ch. 19, pp. 308-9; Narottama-vilāsa 101-8; Bhakti-ratnākara, 411-30.

(13) ed. D. C. Sen (Calcutta University, 1926).

(14) cf. Majumdar, Caitanya Cariter Upādān, ch. 13, pp. 414-24. Majumdar has concluded, despite the anachronisms found in this work, that there is probably some element of truth in the manuscript. Primarily, he has been led to this conclusion by his inability to find a motive on the part of Jay Gopal Gosvami (see op. cit., 420-1).

(15) cf. Nityānanda-vaṁśa-vistāra attributed to Vrindavan Dasa, ed. Nabina Candra Addhya (Calcutta, 1874).

(16) pp. 169. In Karṇānanda, ch. 7, p. 489, the author refers specifically to Prema-vilāsa, mentioning this incident in relation to Raghunatha Dasa. We know that Raghunatha was dead in 1584 which is much closer to our hypothetical date of 1575. Thus, this one serious lapse may have led to undue confusion. For Raghunatha's will and death date see Mukherjee, 1987: 324.

(17) cf. Chakravarty, op.cit., 208.

(18) cf. Mukherjee, 'Caitanya-caritāmṛter racanā-kāl evaṁ brajer gauḍīya-sampradāya', 1987.

(19) Introduction to the third edition by Mrinal Kanti Ghosh (p. xxv).

(20) cf. M. M. Basu's Post Chaitanya Sahajiya Cult contains numerous examples. Also S. B. Das Gupta, Obscure Religious Cults (Calcutta, 1947).

(21) CC, Antya 1, pp. 330-1.
kāhāṅ puṅthi likho bali eka patra nilo |
akṣara dekhiyā prabhura mane sukha hoilo ||
śrī-rūpera akṣara yena mukuṭāra pāṁti |
prīta hañā kore prabhu stuti ||

(22) The Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi is undated. Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is dated AD 1541. Utkalikā-vallarī is the next dated work, 1549. It is assumed that UN was written between these two works.

(23) Mukherjee writes "While Rupa is absorbed in the creation of a completely new rasa-śāstra on the basis of the entire philosophy, literature and religious writings of India, he takes the time out to make a copy of a copy of the Mahākāvya. This is quite hard to believe. Indeed it is as hard to swallow as the suicide of Krishnadasa Kaviraja by jumping into Radha Kund. However, some anonymous reporter wishes us to believe in this astonishing affair." (“Caitanya-caritāmṛta mahā-kāvya," 1985, 35.)

(24) The Dhaka University Library, MS No. 2389, date unknown. The two others referred to here are Mathura Research Institute's No. 358010 and Vrindavan Research Institute No. 1147, both said by Dr. Mukherjee to be relatively recent.

(25) Mukherjee has not translated these verses, but he seems to have interpreted the word mat-parama-gurubhiḥ to refer to all the personalities mentioned. In fact, it is in apposition to Kashishwara alone, which is in the honorific plural.

(26) Haridas Das, Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Abhidhāna, 1957. See vol. 4, under name.

(27) BRK, 1.2024 seems to be based on Vishnudasa's verses:

lokanātha bhūgarbha paṇḍita kāśīśvara |
śrī-paramānanda kṛṣṇa-nāma vijña-vara ||
e sabāra jaiche prema ācaraṇa |
tāhā eka mukhe kichu nā yāya varṇana ||
vṛndāvana sadā sanātana rūpa saṅge |
vilasaye śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-kathā raṅge ||

Paramananda Bhattacharya was a disciple of Gadadhara Pandit and a founder of the Gopinath temple in Vrindavan with Madhu Pandit (BRK, 1.267, 2.475 if.). Cf. also Sādhanā-dīpikā, 1.16 if., 1.20, p. 2. Kashishwar was the first sevāyat of Rupa's own Radha Govinda temple.

(28) Raghunath Bhatta: rūpa gosāñira sabhāya kare bhāgavata paṭhana | CC, Antya 13.126, p. 420.

(29) See discussion in Majumdar, op.cit., 184-192.

Go to Part II.