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The Desire Tree of Devotional Service

A summary of chapter nine has been given as follows by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. In this chapter the author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta has devised a figurative example by describing “the desire tree of bhakti.” He considers Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is known as Viśvambhara, to be the gardener of this tree because He is the main personality who has taken charge of it. As the supreme enjoyer, He enjoyed the fruits Himself and distributed them as well. The seed of the tree was first sown in Navadvīpa, the birth site of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and then the tree was brought to Puruṣottama-kṣetra (Jagannātha Purī), and then to Vṛndāvana. The seed fructified first in Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī, and then in his disciple Śrī Īśvara Purī. It is figuratively described that both the tree itself and the trunk of the tree are Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Paramānanda Purī and eight other great sannyāsīs are like the spreading roots of the tree. From the main trunk there extend two special branches, Advaita Prabhu and Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, and from those branches grow other branches and twigs. The tree surrounds the entire world, and the fruits of the tree are to be distributed to everyone. In this way the tree of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu intoxicates the entire world. It should be noted that this is a figurative example meant to explain the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Text 1:
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual master of the entire world, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, by whose mercy even a dog can swim across a great ocean.
Text 2:
All glories to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, who is known as Gaurahari! All glories to Advaita Ācārya and Nityānanda Prabhu!
Text 3:
All glories to the devotees of Lord Caitanya, headed by Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura! In order to fulfill all my desires, I remember their lotus feet.
Text 4:
I also remember the six Gosvāmīs — Rūpa, Sanātana, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Dāsa Raghunātha.
Text 5:
It is by the mercy of all these Vaiṣṇavas and gurus that I attempt to write about the pastimes and qualities of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Whether I know it or know not, it is for self-purification that I write this book.
Text 6:
I take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who Himself is the tree of transcendental love of Kṛṣṇa, its gardener and also the bestower and enjoyer of its fruits.
Text 7:
Lord Caitanya thought, “My name is Viśvambhara, ‘one who maintains the entire universe.’ Its meaning will be actualized if I can fill the whole universe with love of Godhead.”
Text 8:
Thinking in this way, He accepted the duty of a planter and began to grow a garden in Navadvīpa.
Text 9:
Thus the Lord brought the desire tree of devotional service to this earth and became its gardener. He sowed the seed and sprinkled upon it the water of His will.
Text 10:
All glories to Śrī Mādhavendra Purī, the storehouse of all devotional service unto Kṛṣṇa! He is a desire tree of devotional service, and it is in him that the seed of devotional service first fructified.
Text 11:
The seed of devotional service next fructified in the form of Śrī Īśvara Purī, and then the gardener Himself, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, became the main trunk of the tree of devotional service.
Text 12:
By His inconceivable powers, the Lord became the gardener, the trunk and the branches simultaneously.
Texts 13-15:
Paramānanda Purī, Keśava Bhāratī, Brahmānanda Purī and Brahmānanda Bhāratī, Śrī Viṣṇu Purī, Keśava Purī, Kṛṣṇānanda Purī, Śrī Nṛsiṁha Tīrtha and Sukhānanda Purī — these nine sannyāsī roots all sprouted from the trunk of the tree. Thus the tree stood steadfastly on the strength of these nine roots.
Text 16:
With the sober and grave Paramānanda Purī as the central root and the other eight roots in the eight directions, the tree of Caitanya Mahāprabhu stood firmly.
Text 17:
From the trunk grew many branches, and above them innumerable others.
Text 18:
Thus the branches of the Caitanya tree formed a cluster or society, with great branches covering all the universe.
Text 19:
From each branch grew many hundreds of subbranches. No one can count how many branches thus grew.
Text 20:
I shall try to name the foremost of the innumerable branches. Please hear the description of the Caitanya tree.
Text 21:
At the top of the tree the trunk branched into two. One trunk was named Śrī Advaita Prabhu and the other Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu.
Text 22:
From these two trunks grew many branches and subbranches that covered the entire world.
Text 23:
These branches and subbranches and their subbranches became so numerous that no one can actually write about them.
Text 24:
Thus the disciples and the granddisciples and their admirers spread throughout the entire world, and it is not possible to enumerate them all.
Text 25:
As a big fig tree bears fruits all over its body, each part of the tree of devotional service bore fruit.
Text 26:
Since Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu was the original trunk, the taste of the fruits that grew on the branches and subbranches surpassed the taste of nectar.
Text 27:
The fruits ripened and became sweet and nectarean. The gardener, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, distributed them without asking any price.
Text 28:
All the wealth in the three worlds cannot equal the value of one such nectarean fruit of devotional service.
Text 29:
Not considering who asked for it and who did not, nor who was fit and who unfit to receive it, Caitanya Mahāprabhu distributed the fruit of devotional service.
Text 30:
The transcendental gardener, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, distributed handful after handful of fruit in all directions, and when the poor, hungry people ate the fruit, the gardener smiled with great pleasure.
Text 31:
Lord Caitanya thus addressed the multifarious varieties of branches and subbranches of the tree of devotional service:
Text 32:
“Since the tree of devotional service is transcendental, every one of its parts can perform the action of all the others. Although a tree is supposed to be immovable, this tree nevertheless moves.
Text 33:
“All the parts of this tree are spiritually cognizant, and thus as they grow they spread all over the world.
Text 34:
“I am the only gardener. How many places can I go? How many fruits can I pick and distribute?
Text 35:
“It would certainly be a very laborious task to pick the fruits and distribute them alone, and still I suspect that some would receive them and others would not.
Text 36:
“Therefore I order every man within this universe to accept this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and distribute it everywhere.
Text 37:
“I am the only gardener. If I do not distribute these fruits, what shall I do with them? How many fruits can I alone eat?
Text 38:
“By the transcendental desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, water has been sprinkled all over the tree, and thus there are innumerable fruits of love of Godhead.
Text 39:
“Distribute this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world. Let people eat these fruits and ultimately become free from old age and death.
Text 40:
“If the fruits are distributed all over the world, My reputation as a pious man will be known everywhere, and thus all people will glorify My name with great pleasure.
Text 41:
“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India [Bhārata-varṣa] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.
Text 42:
“ ‘It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.’
Text 43:
“ ‘By his work, thoughts and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which will be beneficial for all living entities in this life and the next.’
Text 44:
“I am merely a gardener. I have neither a kingdom nor very great riches. I simply have some fruits and flowers that I wish to utilize to achieve piety in My life.
Text 45:
“Although I am acting as a gardener, I also want to be the tree, for thus I can bestow benefit upon all.
Text 46:
“ ‘Just see how these trees are maintaining every living entity! Their birth is successful. Their behavior is just like that of great personalities, for anyone who asks anything from a tree never goes away disappointed.’ ”
Text 47:
The descendants of the tree [the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu] were very glad to receive this order directly from the Lord.
Text 48:
The fruit of love of God is so delicious that wherever a devotee distributes it, those who relish the fruit, anywhere in the world, immediately become intoxicated.
Text 49:
The fruit of love of Godhead distributed by Caitanya Mahāprabhu is such a great intoxicant that anyone who eats it, filling his belly, immediately becomes maddened by it, and automatically he chants, dances, laughs and enjoys.
Text 50:
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the great gardener, sees that people are chanting, dancing and laughing and that some of them are rolling on the floor and some are making loud humming sounds, He smiles with great pleasure.
Text 51:
The great gardener, Lord Caitanya, personally eats this fruit, and as a result He constantly remains mad, as if helpless and bewildered.
Text 52:
With His saṅkīrtana movement the Lord made everyone mad like Himself. We do not find anyone who was not intoxicated by His saṅkīrtana movement.
Text 53:
Persons who had formerly criticized Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, calling Him a drunkard, also ate the fruit and began to dance, saying, “Very good! Very good!”
Text 54:
After describing the Lord’s distribution of the fruit of love of Godhead, I now wish to describe the different branches of the tree of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Text 55:
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.