12 May 2020

Conversation between Raya Ramananda and Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Chanting is taking place from 780 locations. We are starting the japa talk now. Welcome to all the listeners. When we chant then we become speakers and listeners. Only then we remember. We play so many roles.

sravanam kirtanam visno samaranam

At the time of katha, someone becomes a speaker and others become listeners. A listener should also become a speaker. First sravana, then kirtana You can take this as today’s message. We also become a speaker by saying ,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

At time of japa we chant for ourselves. We become speaker and listener. We do it for our personal benefit. We become bhajanandi (bliss experienced while chanting the names of the Lord). But when we hear the glories of the holy name then by becoming a speaker we make others hear this kirtana. This katha and kirtana should reach other people also. This is for people’s benefit. When we do so then we become goshtianandi (bliss experienced in meeting our community people).

In ISKCON we do both bhajananandi and goshtianandi. When we become bhajananandi then only can we become goshtianandi. Today’s topic is Raya Ramananda. Today is the Disappearance Day of Ramananda Raya. Today he disappeared from Jagannatha Puri. He was not a conditioned soul like us. He was nitya siddha jiva of Krsna Lila. He was an eternal intimate associate of Krsna’s eternal pastimes. Vishakha from Krsna Lila had appeared as Raya Ramananda. He was also the son of Bhavananda Raya. One time Caitanya Mahaprabhu said to Bhavananda Raya that he was Maharaja Pandu once and his wife now is Queen Kunti.They had five sons, of whom Ramananda was the oldest. In the month of Vaishakh, Caitanya Mahaprabhu set off on His pilgrimage to South India. As He was leaving, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya requested Him to visit Ramananda Raya on the banks of the Godavari and glorified him.

As Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered Andhra Pradesh and came near the banks of River Godavari, He met Raya Ramanand without any search. Anayas means without making any effort. Raya Ramananda was bathing in the river with Brahmins. As soon as He saw him He thought him to be Raya Ramananda. He thought to run and embrace him, but then the Lord thought, “ I’m a sannayasi, hence I have to be little grave and can’t show my emotions.” He sat there and was waiting for him. In the mean time, Raya Ramananda saw the huge body with effulgence of the Lord and he understood that He is the Lord.

bahu koti candra jini vadana ujjavala

He came ahead and offered obeisances. Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked him to get up. Though Mahaprabhu recognised him, He asked him to identify himself. Ramananda replied that he was nothing but a lowly, sudra servant. When the Lord heard him speak in this humble manner, the Lord ran towards him and took him in His arms. All ecstatic symptoms were seen and translated over there. Both the Lord and His servant felt the onset of divine emotions and they both experienced the eight ecstatic transformations of prema. This is called bhakti bhava. With this we get to know that how close their relationship is! It’s not that we love the Lord, but the Lord keeps on loving us always. They kept on embracing each other and became unconscious then regained consciousness agian. Seeing that there were outsiders present, the Lord controlled His emotions and told Ramananda that He had been told by Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya to seek him out. Raya Ramananda said that Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya is very merciful. From this we get to know many things about the character and personality of Raya Ramananda.

Then one brahamana took the Lord to his home.The two then each went their way to finish their duties, returning to the same spot in the evening. Every evening, both of them would meet. Mahaprabhu stayed there for 7 days only because of Raya Ramananda. Otherwise the Lord resided only for one night in every place. Because if he tried to leave the place in the daytime, people were ready to leave with Mahaprabhu. And who will make them understand ? It was better to leave the place while everyone is sleeping.

There is place known as Kovur where Lord and Raya Ramananda met and had discussions. There is a Gaudiya Matha over there. Srila Prabhupada also went there in 1972 where Caitanya Mahaprabhu had inquired and made Raya Ramanand speak. So who is the speaker? Every night there is a discussion between Raya Ramananda and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The speaker is Raya Ramananda and the listener is Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

The Lord asked Ramananda to clarify certain spiritual truths and then empowered him to respond.

Mahaprabhu asked Ramananda Raya to explain to him, with evidence from the scriptures, the ultimate goal of life. Ramananda started his response by explaining that devotion to Visnu was the ultimate aim of human achievement. Raya Ramananda described the progressive path of different practices leading to that goal, starting from the practice of varnasrama dharma,

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear. [BG18.66]

Mahaprabhu said, “No No, This is peripheral or external.”

Then Raya Ramananda said, “Offering the fruits of one’s activities to Krsna (karmarpana)”

yat karosi yad asnasi
yaj juhosi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kurusva mad-arpanam

O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.[BG 9.27]

Mahaprabhu said, “No No,This is external.”

Raya Ramananda said,”Renunciation of prescribed duties (karma-tyaga ) and devotion mixed with knowledge (jnana-mishra-bhakti ), offering the scriptural basis for each step.” Mahaprabhu rejected each proposal, however, saying that it was superficial or external, for none of these practices were potential means for achieving the pure devotion which He had come to give.

Then dasya bhakti.
Mahaprabhu said, “Fine. Tell more.”
Then Raya Ramananda said, “Sakhya bhakti, Vatsalaya bhakti and Madhurya bhakti.”
Mahaprabhu said, “Yes, this is allright.”

When they started the discussion on Madhurya bhakti, then they started to discuss Radharani and the Gopis. Radharani has the topmost bhava and She has the topmost devotion. Caitanya Mahaprabhu started to ask more and more confidential things about Radharani. At one time, Caitanya Mahaprabhu closed Raya Ramananda’s mouth with His hand as people will not understand such dealings and might commit offence by comparing it with the lust of this material world. This conversation between Raya Ramananda and Caitanya Mahaprabhu is exclusive in Caitanya-caritamrta. This discussion of Madhurya Rasa is found in a very few places in Caitanya-caritamrta. One such discussion took place with Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami in Prayag.

Then Mahaprabhu would listen to Gita Govinda, Krsna Karnamrta, Vidyapati’s songs and Srimad-Bhagavatam and He would to listen to confidential things regarding Madhurya rasa. A special discussion took place with Raya Ramananda. Also there are some discussions at the time of Ratha-yatra in Antya lila. At that time Mahaprabhu is slowly manifesting the emotions of Radharani. He preached the holy name in Madhya Lila.

hare krsna nama gaur korila prachar

To distribute the Hare Krsna maha-mantra Krsna does the preaching. Krsna also comes to establish religion in every millennium. He wound up His duties in Madhya Lila. Then His personal, private and confidential reason was accomplished by Him in Antya lila and He became Radha to understand Her emotions. He takes a back seat and Radha is there in front in Jagannatha Puri. Krsna doesn’t do much over there.

He had become Radha and then He had to search for Krsna. To do so the Lord had brought His devotees from Goloka. The foremost devotee in this case is Raya Ramananda. One day in Kovur, He gave special darsana to Raya Ramananda.

We say, sri krsna caitanya radha krsna nahi anya.

Raya Ramananda saw Radha and Krsna in Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Raya Ramananda is Vishakha. How can He hide Himself in front of Vishakha? He had to give such darsana to Vishaka. Radha and Krsna had become one. Actually They are two. Residents of Kovur say that this is Vrindavana of the South. There is one Vrindavana in the North. Raya Ramananda was asking the Lord to stay with him. The Lord replied that He wants to stay with him all the time. Mahaprabhu said,” I’ll finish My tour of South India and then we will meet and stay together in Jagannatha Puri. I want to spend the rest of My life in your association. You can take early retirement from your Governor position.”

The Lord and Raya Ramananda disappeared one by one. They both lived together till they departed. Caitanya Mahaprabhu started to live at Kashinath Mishra’s house. This was arranged by King Prataparudra. Then Mahaprabhu stayed in the Gambhira with some intimate associates like Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, Govinda Das, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Over there Raya Ramananda would stay over for the whole night. Mahaprabhu would spend the whole night in the mood of separation of Radha. Mahaprabhu was always searching in the mood of separation of Radha, “Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?”

Sometimes Krsna would be near Radha, but She would still search for Him. That was the feeling and emotions of Mahaprabhu because now He is in the mood of Radha. To console the Lord from such feelings of separation, two prabhus would sing for Him. One was Swarupa Damodar and the second was Raya Ramananda who would tell Him kathas.

He would tell Him the Jagannatha Vallabh Drama. Just like Radha has Lalita and Vishakha as Her left and right so similar things happened over here. Like Lalita and Vishakha consoled Radha in her separation times, this happened here. Gambhira is now Vrindavana. Gundica Mandira is also there. Radha, Gopis and Vrajavasis pull Jagannatha ratha to Sundarachal – from Nilachala to Sundarachal. Jagannatha Puri is Navadvipa, Dvaraka and Vrindavan too. It is the confluence of many dhamas.

There was one more special service of Raya Ramananda. Even after being sannayasi Lord Caitanya would say that when I see a wooden woman doll then some distractions may arise. (This is not true, but Mahaprabhu would say that.) Raya Ramananda was a perfect brahmachari.

Raya Ramananda prepared many young girls, devi dasis for drama and dance. The girls performed in front of Lord Jagannatha to please Him. Raya Ramananda bathed, decorated them for drama. Raya Ramananda himself directed many dramas and performances. He was not affected by such things as he was beyond dualities. There were no thoughts of bhoga or enjoyment in his mind. At that time Mahaprabhu would say, “See he is Raya Ramananda. There is no tinge of lust within him, but only love.” His residence is still there at Grand Road in Jagannatha Puri.

Today Raya Ramananda re-entered the eternal pastimes of Krsna. Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes are eternal and Krsna’s pastimes are also eternal. We can’t say that he quit Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Lila.There are some personalities who were present in both the lilas. He plays both the roles as Raya Ramananda and Vishakha.

Raya Ramananda tirobhav tithi Maha mahotsav ki Jai!
Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu ki Jai!
Jagannatha Puri Dhama ki Jai!
Gaur Premanande
Hari Haribol!