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The Pastimes of the Lord in His Childhood and Youth

This chapter fully describes Lord Caitanya’s kaiśora-līlā, or the activities He performed just before attaining youth. During this time He studied deeply and was victorious over greatly learned scholars. During His kaiśora-līlā the Lord also sported in the water. He went to East Bengal to secure financial assistance, cultivate knowledge and introduce the saṅkīrtana movement, and there He met Tapana Miśra, whom He instructed about spiritual advancement and ordered to go to Vārāṇasī. While Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu was touring East Bengal, His wife, Lakṣmīdevī, was bitten by a serpent or by the serpent of separation, and thus she left this world. When the Lord returned home, He saw that His mother was overwhelmed with grief because of Lakṣmīdevī’s death. Therefore at her request He later married His second wife, Viṣṇupriyā-devī. This chapter also describes the Lord’s argument with Keśava Kāśmīrī, the celebrated scholar, and the Lord’s criticism of his prayer glorifying mother Ganges. In this prayer the Lord found five kinds of literary ornaments and five kinds of literary faults, thus defeating the paṇḍita. Later the Kāśmīrī Paṇḍita, who was known to have been victorious all over the country, submitted himself to the goddess of learning, and by her order he met Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu on the morning of the next day and surrendered unto Him.

Text 1:
I worship Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, whose nectarean mercy flows like a great river, inundating the entire universe. Just as a river flows downstream, Lord Caitanya especially extends Himself to the fallen.
Text 2:
All glories to Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu! All glories to Lord Nityānanda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to all the devotees of the Lord!
Text 3:
Long live Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His kaiśora age! Both the goddess of fortune and the goddess of learning worshiped Him. The goddess of learning, Sarasvatī, worshiped Him in His victory over the scholar who had conquered all the world, and the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmīdevī, worshiped Him at home. Since He is therefore the husband or Lord of both goddesses, I offer my obeisances unto Him.
Text 4:
At the age of eleven Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu began to teach students. This marks the beginning of His kaiśora age.
Text 5:
As soon as the Lord became a teacher, many, many students came to Him, every one of them astonished to hear His mode of explanation.
Text 6:
The Lord defeated all kinds of scholars in discourses about all the scriptures, yet because of His gentle behavior, none of them were unhappy.
Text 7:
The Lord, as a teacher, performed various kinds of pranks in His sporting pastimes in the water of the Ganges.
Text 8:
After some days the Lord went to East Bengal, and wherever He went He introduced the saṅkīrtana movement.
Text 9:
Struck with wonder by the influence of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s intellectual prowess, many hundreds of students came to the Lord and began studying under His direction.
Text 10:
In East Bengal there was a brāhmaṇa named Tapana Miśra, who could not ascertain the objective of life or how to attain it.
Text 11:
If one becomes a bookworm, reading many books and scriptures and hearing many commentaries and the instructions of many men, this will produce doubt within his heart. One cannot in this way ascertain the real goal of life.
Text 12:
Tapana Miśra, being thus bewildered, was directed by a brāhmaṇa in a dream to go to Nimāi Paṇḍita [Caitanya Mahāprabhu].
Text 13:
“Because He is the Lord [īśvara],” the brāhmaṇa told him, “undoubtedly He can give you proper direction.”
Text 14:
After seeing the dream, Tapana Miśra came to the shelter of Lord Caitanya’s lotus feet, and he described all the details of the dream to the Lord.
Text 15:
The Lord, being satisfied, instructed him about the object of life and the process for attaining it. He instructed him that the basic principle of success is to chant the holy name of the Lord [the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra].
Text 16:
Tapana Miśra desired to live with the Lord in Navadvīpa, but the Lord asked him to go to Vārāṇasī [Benares].
Text 17:
The Lord assured Tapana Miśra that they would meet again in Vārāṇasī. Receiving this order, Tapana Miśra went there.
Text 18:
I cannot understand the inconceivable pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for although Tapana Miśra wanted to live with Him in Navadvīpa, the Lord advised him to go to Vārāṇasī.
Text 19:
In this way Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu contributed the greatest benefit to the people of East Bengal by initiating them into hari-nāma, the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, and making them learned scholars by educating them.
Text 20:
Because the Lord was engaged in various ways in preaching work in East Bengal, His wife, Lakṣmīdevī, was very unhappy at home in separation from her husband.
Text 21:
The snake of separation bit Lakṣmīdevī, and its poison caused her death. Thus she passed to the next world. She went back home, back to Godhead.
Text 22:
Lord Caitanya knew about the disappearance of Lakṣmīdevī because He is the Supersoul Himself. Thus He returned home to solace His mother, Śacīdevī, who was greatly unhappy about the death of her daughter-in-law.
Text 23:
When the Lord returned home, bringing with Him great wealth and many followers, He spoke to Śacīdevī about transcendental knowledge to relieve her of the grief she was suffering.
Text 24:
After coming back from East Bengal, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu again began educating others. By the strength of His education He conquered everyone, and thus He was greatly proud.
Text 25:
Then Lord Caitanya married Viṣṇupriyā, the goddess of fortune, and thereafter He conquered a champion of learning named Keśava Kāśmīrī.
Text 26:
Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura has previously elaborately described this. That which is clear need not be scrutinized for good qualities and faults.
Text 27:
Offering my obeisances to Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura, I shall try to describe that portion of the Lord’s analysis which, when he heard it, made the Digvijayī feel himself condemned.
Text 28:
Once on a full moon night the Lord was sitting on the bank of the Ganges with His many disciples and discussing literary topics.
Text 29:
Coincidentally, Keśava Kāśmīrī Paṇḍita came there. While offering his prayers to mother Ganges, he met Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Text 30:
The Lord received him with adoration, but because Keśava Kāśmīrī was very proud, he talked to the Lord very inconsiderately.
Text 31:
“I understand that You are a teacher of grammar,” he said, “and that Your name is Nimāi Paṇḍita. People speak very highly of Your teaching of beginners’ grammar.
Text 32:
“I understand that You teach Kalāpa-vyākaraṇa. I have heard that Your students are very expert in the word jugglery of this grammar.”
Text 33:
The Lord said, “Yes, I am known as a teacher of grammar, but factually I cannot impress My students with grammatical knowledge, nor can they understand Me very well.
Text 34:
“My dear sir, whereas you are a very learned scholar in all sorts of scriptures and are very much experienced in composing poetry, I am only a boy — a new student and nothing more.
Text 35:
“Therefore I desire to hear your skill in composing poetry. We could hear this if you would mercifully describe the glory of mother Ganges.”
Text 36:
When the brāhmaṇa, Keśava Kāśmīrī, heard this, he became still more puffed up, and within one hour he composed one hundred verses describing mother Ganges.
Text 37:
The Lord praised him, saying, “Sir, there is no greater poet than you in the entire world.
Text 38:
“Your poetry is so difficult that no one can understand it but you and mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning.
Text 39:
“But if you explain the meaning of one verse, we can all hear it from your own mouth and thus be very happy.”
Text 40:
The Digvijayī, Keśava Kāśmīrī, inquired which verse He wanted explained. The Lord then recited one of the one hundred verses Keśava Kāśmīrī had composed.
Text 41:
“ ‘The greatness of mother Ganges always brilliantly exists. She is the most fortunate because she emanated from the lotus feet of Śrī Viṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead. She is a second goddess of fortune, and therefore she is always worshiped both by demigods and by humanity. endowed with all wonderful qualities, she flourishes on the head of Lord Śiva.’ ”
Text 42:
When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked him to explain the meaning of this verse, the champion, very much astonished, inquired from Him as follows.
Text 43:
“I recited all the verses like the blowing wind. How could You completely learn by heart even one among those verses?”
Text 44:
The Lord replied, “By the grace of the Lord someone may become a great poet, and similarly by His grace someone else may become a great śruti-dhara who can memorize anything immediately.”
Text 45:
Satisfied by the statement of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the brāhmaṇa [Keśava Kāśmīrī] explained the quoted verse. Then the Lord said, “Now kindly explain the special qualities and faults in the verse.”
Text 46:
The brāhmaṇa replied, “There is not a tinge of fault in that verse. Rather, it has the good qualities of similes and alliteration.”
Text 47:
The Lord said, “My dear sir, I may say something to you if you will not become angry. Can you explain the faults in this verse?
Text 48:
“There is no doubt that your poetry is full of ingenuity, and certainly it has satisfied the Supreme Lord. Yet if we scrutinizingly consider it we can find both good qualities and faults.”
Text 49:
The Lord concluded, “Now, therefore, let us carefully scrutinize this verse.”
Text 50:
“You are an ordinary student of grammar. What do You know about literary embellishments? You cannot review this poetry because You do not know anything about it.”
Text 51:
Taking a humble position, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “Because I am not on your level, I have asked you to teach Me by explaining the faults and good qualities in your poetry.
Text 52:
“Certainly I have not studied the art of literary embellishments. But I have heard about it from higher circles, and thus I can review this verse and find in it many faults and many good qualities.”
Text 53:
The poet said, “All right, let me see what good qualities and faults You have found.”
Text 54:
“My dear sir, in this verse there are five faults and five literary ornaments. I shall state them one after another. Kindly hear Me and then give your judgment.
Text 55:
“In this verse the fault of avimṛṣṭa-vidheyāṁśa occurs twice, and the faults of viruddha-mati, bhagna-krama and punar-ātta occur once each.
Text 56:
“The glorification of the Ganges [mahattvaṁ gaṅgāyāḥ] is the principal unknown subject matter in this verse, and the known subject matter is indicated by the word ‘idam,’ which has been placed after the unknown.
Text 57:
“Because you have placed the known subject at the end and that which is unknown at the beginning, the composition is faulty, and the meaning of the words has become doubtful.
Text 58:
“ ‘Without first mentioning what is known, one should not introduce the unknown, for that which has no solid basis can never be established anywhere.’
Text 59:
“In the word ‘dvitīya-śrī-lakṣmī’ [‘a second all-opulent goddess of fortune’], the quality of being a second Lakṣmī is the unknown. In making this compound word, the meaning became secondary and the originally intended meaning was lost.
Text 60:
“Because the word ‘dvitīya’ [‘second’] is the unknown, in its combination in this compound word the intended meaning of equality with Lakṣmī is lost.
Text 61:
“Not only is there the fault avimṛṣṭa-vidheyāṁśa, but there is also another fault, which I shall point out to you. Kindly hear Me with great attention.
Text 62:
“Here is another great fault. You have arranged the word ‘bhavānī-bhartṛ’ to your great satisfaction, but this betrays the fault of contradiction.
Text 63:
“The word ‘bhavānī’ means ‘the wife of Lord Śiva.’ But when we mention her husband, one might conclude that she has another husband.
Text 64:
“It is contradictory to hear that Lord Śiva’s wife has another husband. The use of such words in literature creates the fault called viruddha-mati-kṛt.
Text 65:
“If someone says, ‘Place this charity in the hand of the husband of the wife of the brāhmaṇa,’ when we hear these contradictory words we immediately understand that the brāhmaṇa’s wife has another husband.
Text 66:
“The statement by the word ‘vibhavati’ [‘flourishes’] is complete. Qualifying it with the adjective ‘adbhuta-guṇā’ [‘wonderful qualities’] creates the fault of redundancy.
Text 67:
“There is extraordinary alliteration in three lines of the verse, but in one line there is no such alliteration. This is the fault of deviation.
Text 68:
“Although there are five literary ornaments decorating this verse, the entire verse has been spoiled by these five most faulty presentations.
Text 69:
“If there are ten literary ornaments in a verse but even one faulty expression, the entire verse is nullified.
Text 70:
“One’s beautiful body may be decorated with jewels, but one spot of white leprosy makes the entire body abominable.
Text 71:
“ ‘As one’s body, although well-decorated with ornaments, is made unfortunate by even one spot of white leprosy, so an entire poem is made useless by a fault, despite alliteration, similes and metaphors.’
Text 72:
“Now hear the description of the five literary embellishments. There are two ornaments of sound and three ornaments of meaning.
Text 73:
“There is a sound ornament of alliteration in three lines. And in the combination of the words ‘śrī’ and ‘lakṣmī’ there is the ornament of a tinge of redundancy.
Text 74:
“In the arrangement of the first line the letter ‘ta’ occurs five times, and the arrangement of the third line repeats the letter ‘ra’ five times.
Text 75:
“In the fourth line the letter ‘bha’ occurs four times. This arrangement of alliteration is a pleasing ornamental use of sounds.
Text 76:
“Although the words ‘śrī’ and ‘lakṣmī’ convey the same meaning and are therefore almost redundant, they are nevertheless not redundant.
Text 77:
“Describing Lakṣmī as possessed of śrī [opulence] offers a difference in meaning with a tinge of repetition. This is the second ornamental use of words.
Text 78:
“The use of the words ‘lakṣmīr iva’ [‘like Lakṣmī’] manifests the ornament of meaning called upamā [analogy]. There is also the further ornament of meaning called virodhābhāsa, or a contradictory indication.
Text 79:
“Everyone knows that lotus flowers grow in the water of the Ganges. But to say that the Ganges takes birth from a lotus flower seems extremely contradictory.
Text 80:
“The existence of mother Ganges begins from the lotus feet of the Lord. Although this statement that water comes from a lotus flower is a contradiction, in connection with Lord Viṣṇu it is a great wonder.
Text 81:
“In this birth of the Ganges by the inconceivable potency of the Lord, there is no contradiction although it appears contradictory.
Text 82:
“ ‘Everyone knows that lotus flowers grow in the water but water never grows from a lotus. All such contradictions, however, are wonderfully possible in Kṛṣṇa: the great river Ganges has grown from His lotus feet.’
Text 83:
“The real glory of mother Ganges is that she has grown from the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu. Such a hypothesis is another ornament, called anumāna.
Text 84:
“I have simply discussed the five gross faults and five literary embellishments of this verse, but if we consider it in fine detail we will find unlimited faults.
Text 85:
“You have achieved poetic imagination and ingenuity by the grace of your worshipable demigod. But poetry not well reviewed is certainly subject to criticism.
Text 86:
“Poetic skill used with due consideration is very pure, and with metaphors and analogies it is dazzling.”
Text 87:
After hearing the explanation of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the champion poet was struck with wonder. His cleverness stunned, he could not say anything.
Text 88:
He wanted to say something, but no reply would come from his mouth. He then began to consider this puzzle within his mind.
Text 89:
“This mere boy has blocked my intelligence. I can therefore understand that mother Sarasvatī has become angry with me.
Text 90:
“The wonderful explanation the boy has given could not have been possible for a human being. Therefore mother Sarasvatī must have spoken personally through His mouth.”
Text 91:
Thinking thus, the paṇḍita said, “My dear Nimāi Paṇḍita, please hear me. Hearing Your explanation, I am simply struck with wonder.
Text 92:
“I am surprised. You are not a literary student and do not have long experience in studying the śāstras. How have You been able to explain all these critical points?”
Text 93:
Hearing this and understanding the paṇḍita’s heart, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied in a humorous way.
Text 94:
“My dear sir, I do not know what is good composition and what is bad. But whatever I have spoken must be understood to have been spoken by mother Sarasvatī.”
Text 95:
When he heard this judgment from Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the paṇḍita sorrowfully wondered why mother Sarasvatī wanted to defeat him through a small boy.
Text 96:
“I shall offer prayers and meditation to the goddess of learning,” the champion concluded, “and ask her why she has insulted me so greatly through this boy.”
Text 97:
Sarasvatī had in fact induced the champion to compose his verse in an impure way. Furthermore, when it was discussed she covered his intelligence, and thus the Lord’s intelligence was triumphant.
Text 98:
When the poetic champion was thus defeated, all the Lord’s disciples sitting there began to laugh loudly. But Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked them not to do so, and He addressed the poet as follows.
Text 99:
“You are the most learned scholar and the topmost of all great poets, for otherwise how could such fine poetry come from your mouth?
Text 100:
“Your poetic skill is like the constant flow of the waters of the Ganges. I find no one in the world who can compete with you.
Text 101:
“Even in the poetic compositions of such great poets as Bhavabhūti, Jayadeva and Kālidāsa there are many examples of faults.
Text 102:
“Such mistakes should be considered negligible. One should see only how such poets have displayed their poetic power.
Text 103:
“I am not even fit to be your disciple. Therefore kindly do not take seriously whatever childish impudence I have shown.
Text 104:
“Please go back home, and tomorrow we may meet again so that I may hear discourses on the śāstras from your mouth.”
Text 105:
In this way both the poet and Caitanya Mahāprabhu went back to their homes, and at night the poet worshiped mother Sarasvatī.
Text 106:
In a dream the goddess informed him of the Lord’s position, and the poetic champion could understand that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.
Text 107:
The next morning the poet came to Lord Caitanya and surrendered unto His lotus feet. The Lord bestowed His mercy upon him and cut off all his bondage to material attachment.
Text 108:
The poetic champion was certainly most fortunate. His life was successful by dint of his vast learning and erudite scholarship, and thus he attained the shelter of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Text 109:
Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura has described all these incidents elaborately. I have only presented the specific incidents he has not described.
Text 110:
The nectarean drops of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pastimes can satisfy the senses of everyone who hears them.
Text 111:
Praying at the lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Raghunātha, always desiring their mercy, I, Kṛṣṇadāsa, narrate Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, following in their footsteps.