Thursday, May 26, 2016

Glories of Sri Ramananda Raya

Subject: Sri Ramananda raya tirobhava tithi [disappearance day]

compiled by Damaghosa dasa, Narasimha dasa and Yasoda nandana dasa

Srila Prabhupada explains the unique position of Sri Ramanada Raya

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Sub branches of the Caitanya Tree : Adi 10.84 : PURPORT :

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught His principles through four chief followers. Among them, Ramananda Raya is exceptional, for through him the Lord taught how a devotee can completely vanquish the power of Cupid. By Cupid's power, as soon as one sees a beautiful woman he is conquered by her beauty. Sri Ramananda Raya, however, vanquished Cupid's pride. Indeed, while rehearsing the Jagannatha-vallabha-nataka he personally directed extremely beautiful young girls in dancing, but he was never affected by their youthful beauty. Sri Ramananda Raya personally bathed these girls, touching them and washing them with his own hands, yet he remained calm and passionless, as a great devotee should be. 

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu certified that this was possible only for Ramananda Raya. Similarly, Damodara Pandita was notable for his objectivity as a critic. He did not even spare Caitanya Mahaprabhu from his criticism. This also cannot be imitated by anyone else. Haridasa Thakura is exceptional for his forbearance because although he was beaten with canes in twenty-two marketplaces, nevertheless he was tolerant. Similarly, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, although he belonged to a most respectable brahmana family, was exceptional for his humility and meekness.

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Caitanya Tree : Adi 10.131 : PURPORT :

In Jagannatha Puri Lord Caitanya lived at the house of Kasi Misra, who was the priest of the king. Later this house was inherited by Vakresvara Pandita and then by his disciple Gopalaguru Gosvami, who established there a Deity of Radhakanta. The Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (193) states that Kasi Misra was formerly Kubja in Mathura..Pradyumna Misra, an inhabitant of Orissa, was a great devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Pradyumna Misra was born of a brahmana family and Ramananda Raya of a non-brahmaṇa family, yet Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised Pradyumna Misra to take instruction from Ramananda Raya. This incident is described in the Antya-lila,Chapter Five.

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Caitanya Tree : Adi 10.131 : PURPORT :

Bhavananda Raya was the father of Sri Ramananda Raya. His residence was in Alalanatha (Brahmagiri), which is about twelve miles west of Jagannatha Puri. By caste he belonged to the karana community of Orissa, whose members were sometimes known as kayasthas and sometimes as sudras, but he was the governor of Madras under the control of King Prataparudra of Jagannatha Puri.

ramananda raya, pattanayaka gopinatha
kalanidhi, sudhanidhi, nayaka vaninatha


ramananda raya—of the name Ramananda Raya; pattanayaka gopinatha—of the name Pattanayaka Gopinatha; kalanidhi—of the name Kalanidhi; sudhanidhi—of the nameSudhanidhi; nayaka vaninatha—of the name Nayaka Vaninatha.


The five sons of Bhavananda Raya were Ramananda Raya, Pattanayaka Gopinatha, Kalanidhi, Sudhanidhi and Nayaka Vaninatha. Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Caitanya Tree : Adi 10.133

ei panca putra tomara mora priyapatra
ramananda saha mora deha-bheda matra


ei—these; panca—five; putra—sons; tomara—your; mora—Mine; priya-patra—very dear; ramananda saha—with Sri Ramananda Raya; mora—Mine; deha-bheda—bodily difference; matra—only.


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Bhavananda Raya, "Your five sons are all My dear devotees. Ramananda Raya and I are one, although our bodies are different."


The Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (120-24) states that Ramananda Raya was formerly Arjuna. He is also considered to have been an incarnation of the gopi Lalita, although in the opinion of others he was an incarnation of Visakhadevi. He was a most confidential devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Although I am a sannyasi, My mind is sometimes perturbed when I see a woman. But Ramananda Raya is greater than Me, for he is always undisturbed, even when he touches a woman." Only Ramananda Raya was endowed with the purogative to touch a woman in this way; no one should imitate him. Unfortunately, there are rascals who imitate the activities of Ramananda Raya. We need not discuss them further.

In Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's final pastimes, both Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara always engaged in reciting suitable verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam to pacify the Lord's ecstatic feelings of separation from Krsna. It is said that when Lord Caitanya went to southern India, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya advised Him to meet Ramananda Raya, declaring that there was no devotee as advanced in understanding the conjugal love of Kṛṣṇa and the gopis. While touring South India, Lord Caitanya met Ramananda Raya by the bank of the Godavari, and in their long discourses the Lord took the position of a student, and Ramananda Raya instructed Him. 

Caitanya Mahaprabhu concluded these discourses by saying, "My dear Ramananda Raya, both you and I are madmen, and therefore we met intimately on an equal level." Lord Caitanya advised Ramananda Raya to resign from his government post and come back to Jagannatha Puri to live with Him. Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu refused to see Maharaja Prataparudra because he was a king, Ramananda Raya, by a Vaisnava scheme, arranged a meeting between the Lord and the King. This is described in the Madhya-lila, Chapter Twelve, verses 41-57. Sri Ramananda Raya was present during the water sports of the Lord after the Ratha-yatra festival.

Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu considered Sri Ramananda Raya and Sri Sanatana Gosvami to be equal in their renunciation, for although Sri Ramananda Raya was a grhastha engaged in government service and Sri Sanatana Gosvami was in the renounced order of complete detachment from material activities, they were both servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who kept Krsna in the center of all their activities. Sri Ramananda Raya was one of the three and a half personalities with whom Śrī Caitanya Mahaprabhu discussed the most confidential topics of Krsna consciousness. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised Pradyumna Misra to learn the science of Krsna from Sri Ramananda Raya. As Subala always assisted Krsna in His dealings with Radharani in krsna-lila, so Ramananda Raya assisted Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His feelings of separation from Krsna. Sri Ramananda Raya was the author of Jagannatha-vallabha-nataka. 

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Caitanya Tree : Adi 10.134

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Caitanya Tree : Adi 10.135-136

Prataparudra Maharaja, who belonged to the dynasty of the Ganga kings and whose capital was in Cuttack, was the Emperor of Orissa and a great devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It was by the arrangement of Ramananda Raya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya that he was able to serve Lord Caitanya. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (118) it is said that King Indradyumna, who established the temple of Jagannatha thousands of years ago, later took birth again in his own family as Maharaja Prataparudra during the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Maharaja Prataparudra was as powerful as King Indra. The drama named Caitanya-candrodaya was written under his direction.

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Caitanya Tree : Adi 10.137 : PURPORT :

In the Antya-lila of Caitanya-caritamṛta, Chapter Two, verses 104-106, there is a description of Madhavidevi. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu considered her one of the maidservants of Śrimati Radharani. Within this world, Caitanya Mahaprabhu had three and a half very confidential devotees. The three were Svarupa Gosani, Sri Ramananda Raya and Sikhi Mahiti, and Sikhi Mahiti's sister, Madhavidevī, being a woman, was considered the half. Thus it is known that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had three and a half confidential devotees.

vidyapati, jayadeva, candidasera gita
asvadena ramananda-svarupa-sahita


vidyapati—the author of the name Vidyapati; jayadeva—of the name Jayadeva; candidasera—of the name Candidasa; gita—their songs; asvadena—tastes; ramananda—of the name Ramananda; svarupa—of the name Svarupa; sahita—along with.


The Lord used to read the books of Vidyapati, Jayadeva and Candidasa, relishing their songs with His confidential associates like Sri Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami.


Vidyapati was a famous composer of songs about the pastimes of Radha-Krsna. He was an inhabitant of Mithila, born in a brahmaṇa family. It is calculated that he composed his songs during the reign of King Sivasimha and Queen Lachimadevi in the beginning of the fourteenth century of the Saka Era, almost one hundred years before the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The twelfth generation of Vidyapati's descendants is still living. Vidyapati's songs about the pastimes of Lord Krsna express intense feelings of separation from Krsna, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu relished all those songs in His ecstasy of separation from Krsna.

Jayadeva was born during the reign of Maharaja Laksmana Sena of Bengal in the eleventh or twelfth century of the Saka Era. His father was Bhojadeva, and his mother was Vamadevi. For many years he lived in Navadvipa, then the capital of Bengal. His birthplace was in the Birbhum district in the village Kendubilva. In the opinion of some authorities, however, he was born in Orissa, and still others say that he was born in southern India. He passed the last days of his life in Jagannatha Puri. One of his famous books is Gita-govinda, which is full of transcendental mellow feelings of separation from Krsna. The gopis felt separation from Krsna before the rasa dance, as mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the Gita-govinda expresses such feelings. There are many commentaries on the Gita-govinda by many Vaiṣṇavas.

Candidasa was born in the village of Nannura, which is also in the Birbhum district of Bengal. He was born of a brahmaṇa family, and it is said that he also took birth in the beginning of the fourteenth century, Sakabda Era. It has been suggested that Candidasa and Vidyapati were great friends because the writings of both express the transcendental feelings of separation profusely. The feelings of ecstasy described by Candidasa and Vidyapati were actually exhibited by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He relished all those feelings in the role of Srimati Radharanī, and His appropriate associates for this purpose were Sri Ramananda Raya and Sri Svarupa DamodaraGosvamī. These intimate associates of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu helped the Lord very much in the pastimes in which He felt like Radharani.

Śri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Ṭhakura comments in this connection that such feelings of separation as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu enjoyed from the books of Vidyapati, Candidasa and Jayadeva are especially reserved for persons like Śri Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara, who were paramahamsas, men of the topmost perfection, because of their advanced spiritual consciousness. Such topics are not to be discussed by ordinary persons imitating the activities of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. For critical students of mundane poetry and literary men without God consciousness who are after bodily sense gratification, there is no need to read such a high standard of transcendental literature. 

Persons who are after sense gratification should not try to imitate raganuga devotional service. In their songs, Candidasa,Vidyapati and Jayadeva have described the transcendental activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mundane reviewers of the songs of Vidyapati, Jayadeva and Candidasa simply help people in general become debauchees, and this leads only to social scandals and atheism in the world. One should not misunderstand the pastimes of Radha and Krsna to be the activities of a mundane young boy and girl. The mundane sexual activities of young boys and girls are most abominable. Therefore, those who are in bodily consciousness and who desire sense gratification are forbidden to indulge in discussions of the transcendental pastimes of Śrī Radha and Krsna. 

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 13: The Advent of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Adi 13.42

pandita-gosani adi yanra yei rasa
sei sei rase prabhu hana tanra vasa


pandita-gosani—Gadadhara Pandita; adi—headed by; yanra—whose; yei—whatever; rasa—transcendental mellow; sei sei—that respective; rase—by the mellow; prabhu—the Lord; hana—is; tanra—his; vasa—under control.


Personal associates like Gadadhara, Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya, and the six Gosvamis (headed by Rupa Gosvami) are all situated in their respective transcendental humors. Thus the Lord submits to various positions in various transcendental mellows.


In verses 296 through 301 the emotional devoted service of Sri Nityananda, Sri Advaita Prabhu and others has been fully described. Describing such individual service, the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika, verses 11 through 16, declares that although Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared as a devotee, He is none other than the son of Nanda Maharaja. Similarly, although Sri Nityananda Prabhu appeared as Lord Caitanya's assistant, He is none other than Baladeva, the carrier of the plow. Advaita Acarya is the incarnation of Sadasiva from the spiritual world. All the devotees headed by Srivasa Thakura are His marginal energy, whereas the devotees headed by Gadadhara Pandita are manifestations of His internal potency.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Advaita Prabhu and Nityananda Prabhu all belong to the visnu-tattva category. Because Lord Caitanya is an ocean of mercy, He is addressed as mahaprabhu, whereas Nityananda and Advaita, being two great personalities who assist Lord Caitanya, are addressed as prabhu. Thus there are two prabhus and one mahaprabhu. Gadadhara Gosvamī is a representative of a perfect brahmaṇa spiritual master. Srivasa Thakura represents a perfect brahmaṇa devotee. These five are known as the Panca-tattva.

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 17: The Pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Youth : Adi 17.301

rāja-ājñā lañā teṅho āilā kata dine
rātri-dine kṛṣṇa-kathā rāmānanda-sane


rāja-ājñā—the permission of the King, Pratāparudra; lañā—getting; teṅho—Rāmānanda Rāya; āilā—returned; kata dine—in some days; rātri-dine—day and night; kṛṣṇa-kathā—talks of Lord Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes; rāmānanda-sane—in the company of Rāmānanda Rāya.


Upon the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Ramananda Raya took leave of the King and returned to Jagannatha Puri. After he arrived, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu very much enjoyed talking with him both day and night about Lord Krsna and His pastimes.

Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta - 1975 Edition : Cc. Madhya-lila : Madhya 1: The Later Pastimes of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu : Madhya 1.128

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